Larry Ferlazzo’s Websites of the Day…

…For Teaching ELL, ESL, & EFL

February 5, 2013
by Larry Ferlazzo
0 comments

Brain “Priming” In The Classroom

I’ve written several posts about brain “priming” research and how I apply it in the classroom, as well as some of my ethical reservations.

I primarily use it on days for standardized tests, and they’re all fairly innocuous (such as asking students to think and write for a minute about a successful ancestor). Also, even though some researchers have said that priming is not going to be successful if people are told in advance what is being done to them, I tell students ahead of time what we’re doing and why in the hope that they can apply these techniques to help them prepare for future high-pressure situations they might be in, like job interviews, and also because I just wouldn’t feel good about this kind of overt manipulation. I write about these ideas in my upcoming book.

Even though some researchers say it might not work if “subjects” are given prior knowledge of priming, more recent research related to placebos in medical treatment have found them to be effective even if patients know they are placebos (see my book for more information on that research), and it doesn’t seem like it’s that much of a stretch to apply those finding to priming. And, interestingly enough, I just learned about a big controversy going on in brain priming research which just may prove that point.

Apparently, though there have been a number of  successful replications of famous priming experiments, there have also been failed replications (I’m assuming that’s not that unusual in science). These failures have raised questions about if priming truly does exist (though it still has many believers, including Nobel Prize Winner Daniel Kahneman).

In one recently well-publicized failed replication of a famous priming experiment, one groups of people were given words to rearrange like like “bingo” and “Florida,” “knits” and “wrinkles,” “bitter” and “alone.” Another group were given words that had no connection. In the original famous experiment, the first group then walked down the hall slower than the second group.

However, in last year’s failed replication, it didn’t work at all — except in one instance. And that was when the group with the “slow” words was told that they were expected to walk slowly. Then they did.

I, and apparently many others who are far more knowledgeable on the subject than me, still tend to believe that priming works. But if we’re wrong, and clearly the jury is still out on that, telling my students ahead of time about the research seems to not only be the ethical way to go but a way that will also lead to positive results.

What do you think — am I missing something?

October 9, 2010
by Larry Ferlazzo
8 Comments

The Ethics of “Priming” The Brain (& A Question)

I’ve written several posts about brain “priming” experiments, and how the idea could be useful in helping get students in a positive frame of mind prior to taking a standardized tests. Some of these successful experiments have included having students complete “sentence scrambles” prior to a test that, once unscrambled, have them saying they are smart.

Ethically, I think doing that sort of thing seems okay to me because it’s pretty innocuous, it’s designed for the very short-term, and, even though it might not work, I figure it can’t hurt, either. And it’s surely less ethically questionable than spending a huge amount of class time on test prep.

A new study on brain priming has just come out, though, and I think it raises more serious ethical questions.

In the experiment, participants were given one of two groups of words — one related to money (like “wealth” and “price”) and other to time (like “clock” and “day”) In the experiment, which was duplicated with the same results, the people with the money words said they would spend the next twenty-four hours focused on working, while the people with the time words said they would spend it with friends.

If these experiments are indeed true, it could certainly be applied to school — students could be given words related to being successful or doing homework. But that doesn’t set well with me. It just seems like I would be trying to manipulate student behavior outside of the classroom and in their lives. Yes, yes, I know, we all try to do that in other ways. But doing it through brain-priming seems different, and I don’t feel comfortable with it.

At the same time, I think doing it before the standardized tests is okay, and don’t feel like there are the same ethical issues for the reasons I’ve already given.

So, what do you think? Is it a valid concern? Does my distinction make sense? Or do you think brain priming is okay in both situations, or in neither one?

I’ll be asking my IB Theory of Knowledge students these same questions when we begin studying ethics, and I’m very interested in hearing what readers think…

March 26, 2010
by Larry Ferlazzo
1 Comment

More On Test-Day Brain-”Priming”

I’ve written several posts about how we consciously do little explicit test-preparation at our school and, instead, feel that focusing every day on helping our students become lifelong learners is the best test prep we can do. In those posts, I do share, however, that we do whatever we can to help make our students feel comfortable and positive on the test days themselves (see Display The Letter “A” On Test Days & Your Students Will Do Better? and Getting Into A “Smart” Frame Of Mind on Test-Days). Earlier this month, several of implemented the ideas reflected in those recent posts during the California State High School Exit Exams.

One of those posts talked about some reporting by Malcolm Gladwell on studies that showed students did better on standardized tests if they either had to do some “sentence scrambles” that had positive messages or if they just wrote what they thought a scientist did in his/her life.

Another study has just come-out with similar findings
. In this study, though, test-takers just had to write about a “successful personal experience” before taking the test. Those that did so scored higher than those in the control group.

Another idea that falls into the “can’t hurt” category when state tests come in May….

February 17, 2010
by Larry Ferlazzo
2 Comments

“Brain-Priming”

I’ve written before about Malcolm Gladwell’s citing a study that showed students who were asked to take five minutes and write everything they knew about a professor (not a particular professor — just the qualities, responsibilities, etc of one) scored higher on a test they then took (see Getting Into A “Smart” Frame Of Mind on Test-Days). He says this is called ‘Brain-Priming.”

A new study has come-out and reached the same conclusions.

Both studies, though, raise the same question in my mind — both “primed” two groups: one to think about a professor, and the other to think about a less academically successful person. I wonder why neither had another group that wasn’t “primed” at all?

November 10, 2013
by Larry Ferlazzo
0 comments

Research Studies Of The Week

'magnifying glass' photo (c) 2005, Tall Chris - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

I often write about research studies from various fields and how they can be applied to the classroom. I write individual posts about ones that I think are especially significant, and will continue to do so. However, so many studies are published that it’s hard to keep up. So I’ve started writing a “round-up” of some of them each week or every other week as a regular feature:

Thinking of quitting smoking? Mondays may be your day is a report in USA Today about a new study that found people were more likely to initiate efforts to quit smoking on a Monday. It seems to me that this reinforces an idea that I’ve always thought — that having students review their weekly goals at the beginning of the week was a good practice. As the article says:

The researchers are not surprised. “People see Mondays as a fresh start, a chance to get their acts together,” says Morgan Johnson, research director for The Monday Campaigns, a not-for-profit organization that leads public health efforts such as Meatless Mondays. The group, based in New York, sponsored the new study after finding that calls to smokers’ quit lines and visits to the federal government’s Smokefree.gov website also peaked on Mondays.

I’m adding this info to My Best Posts On Students Setting Goals.

Scientists Discover Why Exercise Makes You Smarter is from Psychology Today. I’m adding it to The Best Resources On How Exercise Helps Learning.

The Best Learning Motivator EVER! is by Eric Jensen. I’m adding it to The Best Resources For Learning How To Best Give Feedback To Students.

Stop YELLING AT YOUR KIDS. It’s Bad for Them. is an article in Slate about a study that I’ve previously written about, but this article is particularly good:

Researchers from the University of Pittsburgh found that “harsh verbal discipline”—cursing, insults, and shouting—can be as harmful to kids as hitting or spanking.

Here’s an additional excerpt from the article:

But-whats-wrong-with

Even though it’s not “my” article, I’m going to add it to My Best Posts On Classroom Management since that’s the best place to put it for now.

I’ve written a lot about brain “priming” and its use and possible misuse in the classroom. The New York Times just published a thoughtful article examining similar issues related to it.

How Field Trips Build Critical Thinking Skills is a post from MindShift about a recent study. Though it’s not a study, you might also be interested in Why the much-maligned field trip really matters from The Washington Post.

This new study confirms what every teacher knows — self-control is stronger in the morning and decreases as the day goes on. It goes along with previous research that has found self-control is an asset that can be depleted.

Speaking a Second Language May Delay Different Dementias is a report on a new study. I’m adding it to The Best Resources For Learning The Advantages To Being Bilingual.

June 20, 2013
by Larry Ferlazzo
0 comments

My Best Posts On New Research Studies In 2013 — So Far

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I’m continuing to do early versions of “The Best Of The Year” lists so in December, when I do the final ones, I won’t have to review an entire year’s worth of posts.

I write many posts about recent research studies and how they can relate practically to the classroom. In fact, I post a regular feature called Research Studies of the Week. In addition, I write individual posts about studies I feel are particularly relevant to my work as a teacher.

You might also be interested in:

My Best Posts On New Research Studies In 2012 — So Far

My Best Posts On New Research Studies In 2011

Here are my choices for My Best Posts On New Research Studies In 2013 — So Far:

Intriguing New Study On Student Engagement

Interesting New Study By Carol Dweck

How Many Studies Must A Man Do Before He Gives Up On Trying To Prove Extrinsic Motivation Works?

Won’t Researcher Roland Fryer Ever Give Up On Trying To Prove Extrinsic Motivation Works Better Than The Intrinsic Kind?

The Power Of Stories

The Importance Of Explaining “Why”

Study Says Ability To Identify Patterns Key To Second Language Learning

Another Study On Schools Providing Students Home Computers Finds The Obvious Results

Important Research On Grammar Instruction

Interesting Study, Disappointing Interpretation

Texting & Marshmallows

Quote Of The Day: “Sex Differences in Mathematics and Reading Achievement”

Appealing To The Self-Interest Of Bullies

Simple Writing Exercise Said To “Narrow Achievement Gap”

Need More Evidence About The Dangers Of Extrinsic Rewards? Here It Is From The Harvard Business Review

Another Example Of Mentoring Success

Our Students Are Not Supermen & Superwomen

How Did I Not Know About This National Academy Of Sciences Report On Student Motivation?

Media Coverage Of Mayo Clinic’s Research On Paying People To Lose Weight — Not Seeing The Forest For The Trees

“Short Bouts of Exercise Boost Self Control” — Is That Your Experience With Students?

Learning Another Language Makes Your Brain Grow Bigger — Literally

“The High Cost Of Rudeness”

Study: Self-Esteem Activity Helps Latino Students, Too

Study: More Power Equals More Self-Control & Less Power Equals — You Guessed It!

More Understanding Equals More Interest & Intrinsic Motivation

It’s Official: “What Works Clearinghouse” Approves Study That Shows Relationships Promote Perseverance & Cash Bonuses Do Not

Brain “Priming” In The Classroom

New Research Shows Why Social Emotional Learning (SEL) and Character Education Are Not Enough

How Do We Contribute To Students Being Rude In Class?

Surprise, Surprise: Study Finds That Relationships Promote Perseverance & Cash Bonuses Do Not

The “Best Learning Techniques” Are Useless If Students Won’t Do Them — A Critical Take On A Well Done Study

More Info On Student Cellphone Use In Class Research

The Best Posts & Articles On The “Motivation Trumps IQ” Study

“Share your Good News, and You [ & Others ] will be Better Off”

Feedback is welcome.

If you found this post useful, you might want to consider subscribing to this blog for free.

You might also want to explore the 1100 other “The Best…” lists I’ve compiled.

February 25, 2013
by Larry Ferlazzo
0 comments

February’s Best Posts From This Blog

I regularly highlight my picks for the most useful posts for each month — not including “The Best…” lists. I also use some of them in a more extensive monthly newsletter I send-out. You can see older Best Posts of the Month at Websites Of The Month (more recent lists can be found here).

These posts are different from the ones I list under the monthly“Most Popular Blog Posts.” Those are the posts the largest numbers of readers “clicked-on” to read. I have to admit, I’ve been a bit lax about writing those posts, though.

Here are some of the posts I personally think are the best, and most helpful, ones I’ve written during this past month (not in any order of preference):

Summary: Week Four Of Twitter Chat On Student Motivation Using #selfdrivenlrng Hashtag

I Began This Blog Six Years Ago: Here Are My All-Time Most Popular Posts

Video: Excellent Classroom Example of Dan Pink’s “One Sentence Project”

What A Neat Lesson Idea For Using Photos!

Knowledge Isn’t Power — “Power is Power”

Study: More Power Equals More Self-Control & Less Power Equals — You Guessed It!

Free Book Excerpts — Lesson Plans On Bloom’s Taxonomy & Metacognition

“Teachers As ‘Persuaders’: An Interview With Daniel Pink”

The Harlem Shake As A Language-Learning Activity

“7 Qualities to Maximize the Impact of Your Lesson Plans”

“Several Ways to Balance Between District Mandates & Student Needs”

You Can Now Pre-Order My Book, Self-Driven Learning, On Amazon

I’ll Be A Guest At An Ed Week Webinar On “Developing Intrinsic Motivation in Students”

“What Does It Mean to Be a Citizen?”

“Brainy Box” Is A Winner!

“How Peer Assistance Can Improve Teacher Practice”

Brain “Priming” In The Classroom

What A Great New Financial Literacy Tool For English Language Learners & Everybody Else

“Creating a Culture of Improvement With Peer Assistance & Review (PAR)”

Student Reflection Form On Goals & Joy

New Research Shows Why Social Emotional Learning (SEL) and Character Education Are Not Enough

One New Activity I’m Doing To Help ELLs Learn Academic Vocabulary – & Practice Speaking It

Washington Post Reprints My Evaluation Post

“Response: Do’s and Don’ts for Better Project-Based Learning”

June 15, 2011
by Larry Ferlazzo
0 comments

The Best Resources On “Becoming What We Read”

'Reading About Cisco' photo (c) 2011, Bruce McKay - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/

(Note: This post was not originally a “The Best…” list, but as more and more information on this topic became available, I decided to turn it into one.)

In my book, English Language Learners: Teaching Strategies That Work, I include a chapter on the importance of relationship-building in the classroom — both between teacher and students and between students and other students. One way to reinforce that through literacy development is to have students read both true-life stories (I specifically suggest a piece written about Martin Luther King) and ethnic folktales that reinforce that message.

Two new studies suggest that I might have been on to something….

Becoming a vampire without being bitten: A new study shows that reading expands our self-concepts is a report on one study that had participants read either Harry Potter or Twilight. Results showed that:

Harry Potter readers “became” wizards and the Twilight readers “became” vampires. In addition, participants who were more group-oriented in life showed the largest assimilation effects. Finally, “belonging” to these fictional communities delivered the same mood and life satisfaction people get from affiliation with real-life groups.

And, today, a Wall Street Journal article titled Contagiously Stupid Characters explained that:

College students who read a brief screenplay about a moronic soccer hooligan subsequently did worse on a test of knowledge than a control group.

The article quote a researcher as saying:

“The present study is, to our knowledge, the first to show media priming effects of story characters on cognitive performance,”

Here’s another study:

Inspiring Stories Can Lead to Empathy is a report on a study that “found that the participants often would spontaneously reflect on their own lives and express a desire to be better people after hearing stories meant to induce admiration for virtue or compassion for social or psychological pain.”

Books Don’t Take You Anywhere is a satirical article from The Onion that is somewhat related to this topic.

In The Minds Of Others: Reading fiction can strengthen your social ties and even change your personality is the title of a Scientific American article. It discusses the effect that empathy can have on readers. You can only read the beginning of the article for free, and have a pay a few dollars to gain access to the entire piece. I think it’s worth it. Here’s how it sums up the research conclusions:

1. Reading stories can fine-tune your social skills by helping you better understand other human beings.

2. Entering imagined worlds builds empathy and improves your ability to take another person’s point of view.

3. A love affair with narrative may gradually alter your personality—in some cases, making you more open to new experiences and more socially aware.

10 Novels That Will Sharpen Your Mind [Interactive]:And boost your social skills to boot is from Scientific American and builds upon previous studies I’ve shared here.

Changing our Minds discusses a study and other ideas that suggest “fiction helps us understand ourselves and others.”

The Business Case for Reading Novels is from The Harvard Business Review. It reviews research on the role of reading fiction in helping people develop empathy.

Your Brain on Fiction is from The New York Times.

Why fiction is good for you is from The Boston Globe.

If We Are What We Read, Who Are We, Exactly? is from The Atlantic.

You are what you read, study suggests is from MSNBC.

Psychologists Discover How People Subconsciously Become Their Favorite Fictional Characters is from Medical Daily.

Readers build vivid mental simulations of narrative situations, brain scans suggest
is from Phys.org.

You might also be interested in other posts I’ve written about priming.

How Good Books Can Change You is from The Atlantic.

“LOSING YOURSELF” IN A FICTIONAL CHARACTER CAN AFFECT YOUR REAL LIFE is from Ohio State University.

Wrapped up in a Book: The Role of Emotional Engagement in Reading is form PLOS blogs.

Study: “How Stories Get Into Your Brain”

In addition, you might want to check-out My Best Posts On Books: Why They’re Important & How To Help Students Select, Read, Write & Discuss Them.

December 8, 2010
by Larry Ferlazzo
2 Comments

The Best Reflective Posts I’ve Written About My Teaching Practice — 2010

I thought readers might find it useful for me to list in one post some useful (at least in mind :)) pieces I’ve written about my own teaching practice over the past year. It was certainly a helpful exercise for me to review them.

There are some posts that could have been included here, but, instead, I’ve decided to add them to a future post titled “The Best Articles (And Blog Posts) Offering Practical Advice To Teachers — 2010.”

Most of the titles are self-explanatory.

You might also be interested in last year’s edition:

The Best Reflective Posts I’ve Written About My Teaching Practice — 2009

Here are my choices for The Best Reflective Posts I’ve Written About My Teaching Practice — 2010 (not in any order of preference or, in fact, not in any order at all:

Emphasizing What Students Can Do, Instead Of What They “Can’t”

Can The New “Economic Integration” Study Be Relevant To The Issue Of Tracking By Ability?

The Ethics of “Priming” The Brain (& A Question)

“But Teachers Never Apologize”

“Inner Voice Plays Role in Self Control”

Why Am I Disagreeing With Someone Who Doesn’t Like Standardized Tests?

The (Ironic) Power Of Touch

Saying “Thank You”

Framing A Lesson As “Fun”

I’m In A Great Training This Week — Here Are Some Things I’m Learning….

Do You Keep Plants In Your Classroom?

Does Failure Really “Start To Become Irreversible” At Age Ten?

“Learning Goals” versus “Performance Goals”

“People who are angry pay more attention to rewards than threats” — No Kidding!

The Value Of Sharing Positive Events

When & Why Is It Important To Have Silence In The Classroom?

Surprise, Surprise — Study Suggests “Drill & Kill” Might Not Be Effective

“Background Music Can Impair Performance, Cites New Study”

My “Take” On Recent Study Saying Home Computer Usage Can Lead To Lower Test Scores

“Sense of Touch Colors Our View of the World”

Avoiding Goal-Setting Problems — In The Classroom & In Education Policy

Modeling Classroom Behavior With Student Video

How Students Evaluated Me This Year — Part Two (Intermediate English Class)

How Students Evaluated Me This Year — Part One

Will Doodling Help Students Learn Better?

My Students Reflect On Standardized Tests

“Anger At Our Children” (Or Our Students)

What Can Teachers Learn From Terrorists?

Gratitude Letters & Student Achievement

Believing That Every Student Can Succeed Academically

The Importance Of Good Endings

A Question On Teacher Attire

Students Annotating Text

I’ve Never “Motivated” A Student

This I How I Assess Student Success

Is Teacher Handwriting Important?

“Mr. Ferlazzo, I Need My Post-It, Too”

“I Haven’t Been Feeling Very Respected….”

“Webcam Research Helps Kids Improve Reading Fluency”

Feedback is welcome.

If you found this post useful, you might want to consider subscribing to this blog for free.

You might also want to explore the nearly 500 other “The Best…” lists I’ve compiled.

October 31, 2010
by Larry Ferlazzo
0 comments

October’s Best Posts

I regularly highlight my picks for the most useful posts for each month — not including “The Best…” lists. I also use some of them in a more extensive monthly newsletter I send-out. You can see back issues of those newsletters here and my previous Best Posts of the Month at Websites Of The Month.

These posts are different from the ones I list under the monthly “Most Popular Blog Posts.” Those are the posts the largest numbers of readers “clicked-on” to read. I have to admit, I’ve been a bit lax about writing those posts, though.

This month’s list is longer than usual.

Here are some of the posts I personally think are the best, and most helpful, ones I’ve written during this past month (not in any order of preference):

  • “Teachers Have Got To Stop Blaming Parents”
  • This Is A Great Explanation Of One Of My Biggest Concerns About “School Reformers”
  • Seeing Countries Through The Eyes Of Others
  • Now, This Is What A Useful & Effective Teacher Assessment Might Look Like
  • Qwiki Is Going To Be A Winner For English Language Learners (& Others)
  • Is Bill Gates Really As Clueless About Schools As He Sounds In This Interview?
  • ELL Teaching Methods Can Help All Students
  • Joliprint Is A Great Way To Print-Out Webpages
  • A Pretty Darn Good Lesson — If I Say So Myself :)
  • Emphasizing What Students Can Do, Instead Of What They “Can’t”
  • Middlespot Search Engine Unveils A New Version That Looks Great
  • “Simple Booklet” Is A New Tool Many Teachers Will Want To Use
  • Two Infographics On Technology In The Classroom
  • Results Of My Survey On Tech Use In Schools
  • Can The New “Economic Integration” Study Be Relevant To The Issue Of Tracking By Ability?
  • Why I Write This Blog
  • My New Piece In The Huffington Post
  • “Teacher Eyes On The Wrong Prize?”
  • Being Bilingual Builds “a More Resilient Brain”
  • The Ethics of “Priming” The Brain (& A Question)
  • Timeline Reader
  • Google Search Has Just Gotten Better For English Language Learners
  • “Flight And Expulsion” Is An Impressive Interactive Map About Refugees
  • Wow! National Geographic Unveils Exceptional “Great Migrations” Site
  • My First Piece At The Huffington Post
  • Screentoaster Is Back!
  • QuizBreak!
  • “ABRACADABRA” Is A Nice Reading Site From Canada
  • Just What Our Schools Need — A Second Appalling Manifesto
  • “School Librarians And English Language Learners”
  • October 30, 2010
    by Larry Ferlazzo
    0 comments

    PostRank’s Top Posts For October From This Blog

    I regularly share my picks for the most useful posts of each month. I also publish a list of the month’s most popular posts, based on the number of times they are “clicked-on” (though I’m a bit behind on that one).

    I also share a list of Post Rank’s analysis of each month’s top posts. Post Rank uses a variety of ways to measure level of “engagement” that readers have with specific blog posts. I have a constantly updated “widget” on my blog’s sidebar that lists these posts, but I thought a monthly post would be helpful/interesting to subscribers who don’t regularly visit the blog itself.

    Here are their rankings for the month of October:

    1. The Best Social Studies Websites — 2010
    2. Be Prepared To Laugh With Tears Flowing After Watching “Collaborative Planning” Video
    3. QuizBreak!
    4. “Simple Booklet” Is A New Tool Many Teachers Will Want To Use
    5. What Our Superintendent Says About “Waiting For ‘Superman’”
    6. Results Of My Survey On Tech Use In Schools
    7. What Are These Superintendents Thinking?
    8. The Best Infographics — 2010
    9. Interview Of The Month: Washington Post Journalist Valerie Strauss
    10. Now, This Is What A Useful & Effective Teacher Assessment Might Look Like
    11. Google Search Has Just Gotten Better For English Language Learners
    12. Screentoaster Is Back!
    13. The Best Sites For Beginning iPhone Users Like Me
    14. Slideshow On Bloom’s Taxonomy Using Digital Tools
    15. Keeping Our Eyes On The Wrong Prize
    16. The Ethics of “Priming” The Brain (& A Question)
    17. October’s Best Tweets — Part One
    18. The Best Sites Where Students Can Upload PowerPoint Presentations To The Web
    19. “The Visual History Of Halloween”
    20. The Best Sites For Learning About The Volcano & Tsunami In Indonesia
    21. Two Infographics On Technology In The Classroom
    22. The Best Sites For Learning About The World’s Oceans
    23. Being Bilingual Builds “a More Resilient Brain”
    24. Teaching ELL’s The “Unplugged” Way
    25. “Some Awesome Free Tools To Make Infographics”
    26. “School Librarians And English Language Learners”
    27. Emphasizing What Students Can Do, Instead Of What They “Can’t”

    April 17, 2010
    by Larry Ferlazzo
    3 Comments

    Test-Prep Tips

    Later this week, I’ll be writing about individual conversations I’ll be having with each of my students leading up to our standardized tests in early May.

    Now, though, I thought readers might find it useful to have a summary of key points I share in my post, My Best Posts On How To Prepare For Standardized Tests (And Why They’re Bad). In addition, I’ll share my list of “Important Test Words” that I review with my students during the half-hour of explicit test-prep I do with them a day or two prior to the test.  As I’ve said before, our school does not believe in teaching to the test and, instead, feel that what we do during the year will develop life-long learners who will do well on the tests.

    Feel free to offer additional suggestions in the comments section of this post.

    GENERAL TEST-TAKING STRATEGIES:

    Read each question carefully and more than once

    Read the questions before you read the longer text

    Underline important words in the text as you read

    Do easy questions first

    Skip the hard questions and come back to them later (put a mark in your test booklet next to the ones you skip)

    Eliminate wrong answers and make your best guess

    Trust yourself, your first guess is usually the best

    If you do want to change an answer, be sure to erase the first one completely

    RESEARCH-BASED ACTIONS THAT CAN PUT STUDENTS IN A POSITIVE FRAME OF MIND ON TEST DAY & “BRAIN-PRIMING” STRATEGIES:

    * Give Peppermints to students during the test

    * Prior to the test, have students write for a minute or two about a time, or times, when they were successful

    * Have signs around the room that have the letter “A” very visible — such as an inspirational phrase like “You’re a Great Student!” surrounded by “A”‘s.

    * Prior to the test, have students complete “sentence scrambles” that have positive messages

    * Prior to the test, have students write for a minute or two about what they think a scientist does.

    * Have students drink a glass of water one-half hour prior to taking the test.

    IMPORTANT TEST WORDS:

    narrator

    figurative language

    except

    consistent

    denotation

    connotation

    similar

    theme

    author’s purpose

    tone

    compare

    contrast

    negative

    tendency

    recurring

    influenced

    assumes

    persuasive

    primary

    personification

    traditional

    tradition

    excerpt

    rhetorical

    logically

    April 3, 2010
    by Larry Ferlazzo
    6 Comments

    The Best Posts On How To Prepare For Standardized Tests (And Why They’re Bad)

    Check out excerpt from my book, Self-Driven Learning, “Ethical and Effective Test Prep”

    It’s approaching the time in many states when our students will have to take annual standardized tests.

    I’ve written quite a few posts about how I prepare my students to take them, as well as posts writing about how bad the tests are. I thought I’d bring them all together in one “The Best…” list.

    I’ve made it quite clear that our school we intentionally do little explicit “test-prep” work with our students. Instead, we believe the work we do during the entire year prepares them to be lifelong learners and that will show-up in test results. We also do a number of things to help students feel positive on test days.

    Please feel free to offer suggestions for other good resources on how to prepare students for the tests, or pieces that show why the tests are bad.

    You might also be interested in A Beginning “The Best…” List Of Free & Decent Online Practice Sites For State Tests — Help Me Add More!

    Here are my choices for The Best Posts On How To Prepare For Standardized Tests (And Why They’re Bad):

    PREPARING FOR TESTS

    Test-Taking Strategies

    Testing Time

    Getting Into A “Smart” Frame Of Mind on Test-Days

    What Snacks Do You Give Students On Test-Taking Days?

    Display The Letter “A” On Test Days & Your Students Will Do Better?

    More On Test-Day Brain-”Priming”

    Test-Prep Tips

    Talking With Students About Standardized Tests

    More Test-Prep Hints

    “To Improve Girls’ Science Scores, Show Them Women Scientists”

    A Beginning “The Best…” List Of Free & Decent Online Practice Sites For State Tests — Help Me Add More!

    Brief Social Conversations Improves Performance On Cognitive Tasks

    Thinking About Our Ancestors Helps Us Do Better In Tests

    “Brief Diversions Vastly Improve Focus, Researchers Find”

    The Most Effective Thing I’ve Done To Prepare Students For Standardized Tests

    “Write About A Success That One Of Your Ancestors Had”

    The Cognitive Benefits of Chewing Gum is by Jonah Lehrer at Wired. He reports on a study that showed test-takers chewing gum scored higher than those who did it — it kept the chewers more alert. I thought was particularly interesting because the only other similar research I had read was financed by the Wrigley Company, which didn’t inspire a great deal of confidence in its integrity.

    Chewing Gum May Improve Test Scores reports on a new study that says chewing gum can improve test performance, but only for fifteen or twenty minutes after chewing stops. It says the gum should only be chewed prior to the test and will actually ultimately hurt test performance if it continues. contradicts the previous study.

    Does chewing gum help you concentrate? Maybe briefly. is by Dan Willingham.

    Can chewing gum before a test improve score? is by Valerie Strauss at The Washington Post.

    How NOT To Prepare A Student For A Standardized Test

    The Advantages Of Helping Students Feel Powerful

    Standardized Tests & Student Motivation

    WHY THESE TESTS ARE BAD:

    Meeting Testing Goals By Lowering Standards

    “Why Rising Test Scores May Not Mean Increased Learning”

    Standardized Tests

    So Is What Obama Was Talking About…

    “Test scores poor tool for teacher evaluation”

    Refusing To Give A Standardized Test

    “Why you should be skeptical about standardized test scores”

    Race to Self Destruction: A History Lesson for Education Reformers is by Yong Zhao.

    Michelle Rhee’s Cheating Scandal is by Dana Goldstein.

    Transcript (& Selected Highlights) From President Obama’s Town Hall Meeting On Education

    The Loneliness of the Long-Distance Test Scorer by Dan DiMaggio

    “As The Stakes Go Up, The Validity Goes Down”

    The Test Generation is an article by Dana Goldstein that was just published in The American Prospect magazine.

    Do Standardized Tests Reflect Student Learning in Schools? is by Patrick Ledesma.

    Resistance to test-based school reform is growing is by Valerie Strauss at The Washington Post.

    ‘I am a bad teacher’ appeared in Valerie Strauss’ blog in The Washington Post.

    New National Research Council Report Finds That Incentives & Punishments Not Successful In Helping Schools & Their Students

    High-stakes tests and cheating: An inevitable combination? is from The Hechinger Report.

    Testing Insanity: Amount of Time on Testing is a fascinating chart by John T. Spencer.

    Is the use of standardized tests improving education in America? is a good summary of research from Pro/Con.

    If Gifted And Talented Programs Don’t Boost Scores, Should We Eliminate Them? comes from The Shanker Blog.

    Why Test-Driven Accountability Is Grasping at Straws is by John Thompson

    Standardized tests for everyone? In the Internet age, that’s the wrong answer. is from The Washington Post.

    Undermining quality teaching and learning: A self-determination theory perspective on high-stakes testing

    “Teach With, Not ‘To” The Test”

    When an adult took standardized tests forced on kids is from Valerie Strauss’ blog at The Washington Post.

    music video comes via Tom Whitby and The Educator’s PLN:

    Standardized Testing & Creative Thinking


    Remembering Test Scores and Learning about Regression toward the Mean
    is by Larry Cuban.

    Standardized Testing Fails the Exam is by W. James Popham and appeared in Edutopia

    Study: Students from high schools with improving ISTEP scores perform no better on ACT exams is from Indiana University. Here is Diane Ravitch’s commentary on it. Here are more of her thoughts.

    Tests Seen as Bar to Better Assessment is from Education Week.


    Massachusetts professors protest high-stakes standardized tests
    is from The Washington Post.

    Quote Of The Day: Historical Misuse Of Standardized Testing

    My discussion with Matt Barnum Part 1 is by Gary Rubinstein.

    Shouldn’t We Have Choice in Testing? is by John Thompson.

    ‘Test-and-punish’ sabotages quality of children’s education is by Linda Darling-Hammond.

    Test Prep Hullabaloo — Maybe Short Term Gain, For Sure Long Term Loss

    Quote Of The Day: UK Study Questions Focus On Test Prep

    The Dark History of the Multiple-Choice Test is from Edutopia.

    Why Standardized Tests Don’t Measure Educational Quality is by James Popham (it’s older, but great).

    The Most Important Info On The D.C. Test Score Increase

    Games People Play in Modern School Reform is by Sam Chaltain.

    The Best Posts On Study Finding That Standardized Tests Don’t Measure Cognitive Ability

    This is older study by David Berliner on high-stakes testing, but it’s important and informative.

    The Real World Is Not an Exam is from The New York Times.

    SURVIVING THE POST-TEST BLUES

    Post-Test Weeks…

    WHAT STUDENTS THINK OF THEM

    My Students Reflect On Standardized Tests

    Building Social Capital In The Classroom Helps With Test-Taking

    Additional suggestions are welcome. Though many of these posts point to articles written by others, I’m sure I’ve missed some great ones that are out there. I’d love to revise list and add them.

    If you found post useful, you might want to consider subscribing to blog for free.

    You might also want to explore the 400 other “The Best…” lists I’ve compiled.

    March 29, 2010
    by Larry Ferlazzo
    0 comments

    March’s Best Posts

    I regularly highlight my picks for the most useful posts for each month — not including “The Best…” lists. I also use some of them in a more extensive monthly newsletter I send-out. You can see back issues of those newsletters here and my previous “Top Ten” picks at Websites Of The Month.

    These posts are different from the ones I list under the monthly “Most Popular Blog Posts.” Those are the posts the largest numbers of readers “clicked-on” to read.

    This month’s list is longer than usual.

    Here are the posts I personally think are the best, and most helpful, ones I’ve written during this past month (not in any order of preference):

    Giving Students “Reflection Cards”

    More On Test-Day Brain-”Priming”

    Another Way For Students To Strengthen Self-Control?

    “Connect With English” Video Series & Worksheet

    Packing Away Your Troubles…

    “Is Education on the Wrong Track?”

    NY Times Launches Great Way For Students To Write For An Authentic Audience

    “What Can You Do To Finish The Year Strong?”

    Jeopardy!

    “Requests Work Better Than Orders…”

    One Way To Help Students Who “Shut Down”?

    Crocodoc Gets Even Better!

    “Self-Control As A Limited Energy Resource” In The Classroom

    “Can The Brookings Institution Really Be That Clueless?”

    Why I Oppose Teach For America Coming To Sacramento

    More On Drinking Water & Test Scores

    Drinking Water Helps Students’ Brains (& Their Test Scores)

    “On The Importance Of Being Unprincipled”

    “What Does It Mean To Be Human?”

    Asking Questions Improves Your Memory

    DocsPal

    What Are The Oldest Living Things On Earth?

    “When You Expect Rapid Feedback, the Fire to Perform Gets Hotter”

    “High Learning Leads To High-Earning”

    “How Do You Think Your Mother Felt When I Called To Say You Were Doing Well In Class?”

    “To Hell With Good Intentions”?

    How Do You Think Working Hard & Learning Everything You Can In This Class Might Help You Now & In The Future?

    Make A Monster

    “Prizing English Language Learners”

    Why I Write This Blog

    Nominate A Blogger For “Blog Of The Month” & A Twitterer For “Twitterer Of The Month”

    Did You Know That THE Key To Saving American Education Is Firing Bad Teachers?

    Display The Letter “A” On Test Days & Your Students Will Do Better?

    The Importance Of Good Endings

    What Snacks Do You Give Students On Test-Taking Days?

    “Are You Going To Have A Good Day Or Bad Day Today?”

    “Gotta’ Keep Reading” Is A Not-To-Be-Missed Video

    “What’s Your Reading History? Reflecting on the Self as Reader”

    Two Ways I’m Using Our School Library

    Helping Students Who Are Grieving

    Very Interesting NY Times Magazine Article On Teaching

    “Rebuilding Destroyed Cities”

    Movieclips Is Now Available “Globally”

    “Should Have, Could Have: What Parents Regret About High School”

    More Results From Students Visualizing Success

    “How The Average American Spends Their Day”

    What Does The Navy Seals Training Program Have To Say About Students Visualizing Success?

    What To Look For In A Classroom

    February 28, 2010
    by Larry Ferlazzo
    0 comments

    February’s Best Posts

    I regularly highlight my picks for the most useful posts for each month — not including “The Best…” lists. I also use some of them in a more extensive monthly newsletter I send-out. You can see back issues of those newsletters here and my previous “Top Ten” picks at Websites Of The Month.

    These posts are different from the ones I list under the monthly “Most Popular Blog Posts.” Those are the posts the largest numbers of readers “clicked-on” to read.

    This month’s list is longer than usual.

    Here are the posts I personally think are the best, and most helpful, ones I’ve written during this past month (not in any order of preference):

    “Languages smarten up your brain”

    I Like Fotobabble

    Third Anniversary Of This Blog — What Have Been My Most Popular Posts?

    “Myths of Independent Reading”

    Crocodoc

    A Question On Teacher Attire

    The Power of “Touch” In The Classroom

    A Lesson Highlighting Community Assets — Not Deficits

    Have You Ever Felt Like You & Your Students Are “Enduring” Class Instead of Enjoying It?

    The Saddest School-Related Statistic I’ve Heard In Awhile….

    “Brain-Priming”

    TIME Magazine Can Do Better Than This…

    “Idolizing Just One Person Undermines The Struggle”

    Students Annotating Text

    If You Teach ELL’s In Grade Six Or Above, These Are “Must-Have” Resources

    Call Me Cynical, But I Just Don’t Think This Workbook Is Going To Help Us “Close The Achievement Gap”

    Useful Writing Exercise For Helping Students Develop Self-Esteem

    Story Jumper Looks Good

    I’ve Never “Motivated” A Student

    “School Secretary Fired For Translating For Parents”

    Persuasive Essays, Low-Income Communities & The Census Count

    A Really Nice Online Writing Exercise

    “Will Sleeping More Make Me Smarter?” — A Lesson I’m Trying This Week

    Universcale Looks Pretty Amazing

    On Rewards & Classroom Management

    Are Some School Reform Technocrats Using Failed Urban Renewal Projects As Their Blueprint?

    Interview Of The Month: Marvin Marshall On Positive Classroom Management

    “A History Of The World”

    “If it is familiar, it has not eaten you yet”

    Excerpt From My Upcoming Book On Teaching English Language Learners

    December 17, 2009
    by Larry Ferlazzo
    1 Comment

    Getting Into A “Smart” Frame Of Mind on Test-Days

    As regular readers know, my school is not a big fan (and nor am I) of a lot of specific “test-prep” leading up to our annual state tests.

    We spend very little time on direct test-preparation (the day before the tests begins, several of my colleagues and I may spend a half-hour on test-taking strategies and specific test “vocabulary” — see a previous post titled Test-Taking Strategies), but we spend the rest of the year preparing students to become life-long learners.

    In addition, our administrators manage the Herculean task of rearranging our class schedules for six days and organizing test booklets so that every student takes every test with their subject teacher, in the classroom where they’ve been studying that subject every year, and with their same classmates. In other words, students will take the English test in their regular English class (which has been expanded to three hours for that day). This, I believe, dramatically reduces test anxiety and enhances motivation on the part of students to do their best.

    In Malcolm Gladwell’s book “Blink,” he describes an intriguing experiment that might have some practical relevance to our students taking tests. Before I share it, though, I should point out that it’s not footnoted, and that though Gladwell is a great storyteller, he is often critiqued for misinterpreting research. So, with those caveats, here’s the excerpt:

    “Two Dutch researchers did a study in which they had groups of students answer forty-two fairly demanding questions from the board game Trivial Pursuit. Half were asked to take five minutes beforehand to think about what it would mean to be a professor and write down everything that came to mind. Those students got 55.6 percent of the questions right. The other half of the students were asked to first sit and think about soccer hooligans. They ended up getting 42.6 percent of the Trivial Pursuit questions right. The ‘professor’ group didn’t know more than the ‘soccer hooligan’ group. They weren’t smarter or more focused or more serious. They were simply in a ‘smart’ frame of mind, and, clearly, associating themselves with the idea of something smart, like a professor, made it a lot easier—in that stressful instant after a trivia question was asked—to blurt out the right answer. The difference between 55.6 and 42.6 percent, it should be pointed out, is enormous. That can be the difference between passing and failing.” (p. 56)

    In addition to the issues I’ve already raised, it does seem strange that the researchers didn’t have a control group that they just gave the questions to — perhaps they did and Gladwell just didn’t include those results.

    But I wonder if doing something like this might be worth a try on testing days?  Is anybody aware of similar research results?

    I’m wondering if this kind of what Gladwell calls brain-”priming” might have some value?  What do you think?

    June 2, 2007
    by Larry Ferlazzo
    1 Comment

    Websites of the Month

    If I get behind updating this page, you can always see the months that are missing by going to the category “Best Posts Of The Month”

    I regularly highlight my picks for the ten or twelve best posts for each month. Here you can find a collection of them all. I also use these in a more extensive monthly newsletter I send-out. You can see back issues of those newsletters here.

    These posts are different from the ones I list under the monthly “Most Popular Blog Posts.” Those are the posts the largest numbers of readers “clicked-on” to read.

    The ones here are the posts I personally think are the best, and most helpful, ones I’ve written.  These don’t include my “The Best…” lists

    MAY 2010 TOP TEN LIST

    The Brain & Poverty — Upcoming New & Potentially Useful Study

    “Will we succeed? The science of self-motivation”

    Very Accessible Report On The Importance Of Home Libraries

    Here’s What I’m Doing For My Class Final Exam

    Will Doodling Help Students Learn Better?

    Very Important Study On Learning & The Brain

    MovieClips Gets Even Better!

    My Concerns About Charters

    An Analogy For Bloom’s Taxonomy

    Creating A Jazz Chant

    Teaching Students To Write “Hooks”

    “Eliminating the Achievement Gap Is Educational Alchemy”

    “Motivating Students Via Mental Time Travel”

    “Using A Star Chart to Teach English Language Learners” (This Post Is Not About Astronomy!)

    Fotobabble Gets Even Better!

    Here We Go Again: Private Foundations Have A Place (And Have To Be Kept In Their Place)

    Comparing Online Translators

    Instead Of Encouraging Students To Skip College, How About If We Help Them Get There & Graduate?

    Lazyfeed Looks Good

    “All 23 of the “Interesting Ways” presentations in one place”

    The Best Critique Of “Value-Added” That I’ve Seen…

    Versions of Etherpad Are Raining From The Sky…

    Now This Is The Way To Make Academic Talks Accessible — Great Examples Of Graphic Note-Taking

    “Anger At Our Children” (Or Our Students)

    Guzzle

    Some Excellent Classroom Management Advice

    This Is Why We Have To Be Very Careful With Error Correction

    “More Simple Ways To Introduce Reluctant Colleagues To Technology”

    Some Great New “TED Talks” Resources

    Nice Endorsement Of My ELL Book

    What Does A Study On Voter Turn-Out Have To Do With Working With Students?

    “How Americans See Europe”

    Performance Assessment

    ZooBurst Looks Super-Cool!

    “City-Data”

    April, 2010 “Top Ten” List

    “Finishing The Dream” Is Impressive

    Admongo

    Crocodoc Becomes Number One!

    Nice Review Of My ELL Book

    More Test-Prep Hints

    “The Hubble Telescope’s Greatest Hits”

    Let’s Write A Book Together!

    “Top 40 Nature Photographs Of All Time”

    Getting Students To Talk About What They’re Reading &”Book Talks”

    Here’s Yet Another Possible Self-Control Strategy — And I Really Like It…

    Another Self-Control Strategy?

    Talking With Students About Standardized Tests

    Test-Prep Tips

    EducoPark For “Life Lessons”

    “100 Places To Remember Before They All Disappear”

    Advice On Giving Advice

    The Problem With “Bribing Students”

    What Can Teachers Learn From Terrorists?

    BBC News Globe

    Rethinking Schools Article On Teach For America

    Bookemon

    Concerns & Questions About The “Talent Transfer Initiative”

    “Getting English-Language Learners to Thrive”

    The First Review Of My New Book!

    “Read A Children’s Book” Form For Students

    Great Interview With Diane Ravitch

    What Can Students Learn About Self-Control From President Obama?

    Why Haven’t I Posted About Palm Breeze CAFE Before?!!?!

    More On The Problem With “Bribing Students”

    My Book On Teaching Engish Language Learners Is Now Available

    New Study Shows That Paying Students For Higher Test Scores Doesn’t Work

    Gratitude Letters & Student Achievement

    Would Arne Duncan Have Eaten The Marshmallow?

    “Disadvantaged students reap most financial return from college education, study finds”

    “Mental Imagery” & Success

    Make Your Textbook Come Alive!

    Better Self-Control = Better Grades

    Encouraging Low-Income Students To Go To College

    Now You Can “Search Inside” My Book On Engaging Parents In School

    “Timelines: Sources From History” Is Pretty Impressive

    “Scientists find how relaxed minds remember better”

    Interview Of The Month: Carrie Rose From The Parent/Teacher Home Visit Project

    “Book Discussion Group Guidelines”

    “Be Niiiiiicccccceeeee”

    “Home Libraries Provide Huge Educational Advantage”

    March, 2010 “Top Ten” List

    Giving Students “Reflection Cards”

    More On Test-Day Brain-”Priming”

    Another Way For Students To Strengthen Self-Control?

    “Connect With English” Video Series & Worksheet

    Packing Away Your Troubles…

    “Is Education on the Wrong Track?”

    NY Times Launches Great Way For Students To Write For An Authentic Audience

    “What Can You Do To Finish The Year Strong?”

    Jeopardy!

    “Requests Work Better Than Orders…”

    One Way To Help Students Who “Shut Down”?

    Crocodoc Gets Even Better!

    “Self-Control As A Limited Energy Resource” In The Classroom

    “Can The Brookings Institution Really Be That Clueless?”

    Why I Oppose Teach For America Coming To Sacramento

    More On Drinking Water & Test Scores

    Drinking Water Helps Students’ Brains (& Their Test Scores)

    “On The Importance Of Being Unprincipled”

    “What Does It Mean To Be Human?”

    Asking Questions Improves Your Memory

    DocsPal

    What Are The Oldest Living Things On Earth?

    “When You Expect Rapid Feedback, the Fire to Perform Gets Hotter”

    “High Learning Leads To High-Earning”

    “How Do You Think Your Mother Felt When I Called To Say You Were Doing Well In Class?”

    “To Hell With Good Intentions”?

    How Do You Think Working Hard & Learning Everything You Can In This Class Might Help You Now & In The Future?

    Make A Monster

    “Prizing English Language Learners”

    Why I Write This Blog

    Nominate A Blogger For “Blog Of The Month” & A Twitterer For “Twitterer Of The Month”

    Did You Know That THE Key To Saving American Education Is Firing Bad Teachers?

    Display The Letter “A” On Test Days & Your Students Will Do Better?

    The Importance Of Good Endings

    What Snacks Do You Give Students On Test-Taking Days?

    “Are You Going To Have A Good Day Or Bad Day Today?”

    “Gotta’ Keep Reading” Is A Not-To-Be-Missed Video

    “What’s Your Reading History? Reflecting on the Self as Reader”

    Two Ways I’m Using Our School Library

    Helping Students Who Are Grieving

    Very Interesting NY Times Magazine Article On Teaching

    “Rebuilding Destroyed Cities”

    Movieclips Is Now Available “Globally”

    “Should Have, Could Have: What Parents Regret About High School”

    More Results From Students Visualizing Success

    “How The Average American Spends Their Day”

    What Does The Navy Seals Training Program Have To Say About Students Visualizing Success?

    What To Look For In A Classroom

    February, 2010 “Top Ten” List

    “Languages smarten up your brain”

    I Like Fotobabble

    Third Anniversary Of This Blog — What Have Been My Most Popular Posts?

    “Myths of Independent Reading”

    Crocodoc

    A Question On Teacher Attire

    The Power of “Touch” In The Classroom

    A Lesson Highlighting Community Assets — Not Deficits

    Have You Ever Felt Like You & Your Students Are “Enduring” Class Instead of Enjoying It?

    The Saddest School-Related Statistic I’ve Heard In Awhile….

    “Brain-Priming”

    TIME Magazine Can Do Better Than This…

    “Idolizing Just One Person Undermines The Struggle”

    Students Annotating Text

    If You Teach ELL’s In Grade Six Or Above, These Are “Must-Have” Resources

    Call Me Cynical, But I Just Don’t Think This Workbook Is Going To Help Us “Close The Achievement Gap”

    Useful Writing Exercise For Helping Students Develop Self-Esteem

    Story Jumper Looks Good

    I’ve Never “Motivated” A Student

    “School Secretary Fired For Translating For Parents”

    Persuasive Essays, Low-Income Communities & The Census Count

    A Really Nice Online Writing Exercise

    “Will Sleeping More Make Me Smarter?” — A Lesson I’m Trying This Week

    Universcale Looks Pretty Amazing

    On Rewards & Classroom Management

    Are Some School Reform Technocrats Using Failed Urban Renewal Projects As Their Blueprint?

    Interview Of The Month: Marvin Marshall On Positive Classroom Management

    “A History Of The World”

    “If it is familiar, it has not eaten you yet”

    Excerpt From My Upcoming Book On Teaching English Language Learners

    January, 2010 “Top Ten” List

    “Giving Classrooms a Purpose”

    More “Fun Theory”

    “Point, Quote, Connect”

    Updates On Some Classroom Lessons & Research I’ve Been Doing

    Update On My ELL Book

    Newscred Looks Good

    1 Cast For Video News

    A Growth Mind-Set For Educators

    “How to have more self-discipline”

    How Do You Use Photos In The ELL Classroom?

    How Much “Content” Knowledge Do You Really Need To Be An Effective Teacher?

    Update On My Website For Students

    How Do Students Feel About Using Computers To Help Learn English?
    Newest Assessment Results From Family Literacy Project

    TinkrBox

    Interview Of The Month: Jim Burke
    My Thoughts On Seth Godin’s Post “Without Them”

    Class Blogs

    A Few Reflections On Daniel Pink’s New Book, “Drive”

    Thanks, Thomas Edison, For The Light Bulb, Phonograph and…the SAT?

    More On Saying “I’m Sorry” To Students
    I Love This Quote From Education Secretary Arne Duncan

    “Dumb Arguments for Stupid Ideas”

    “How Not To Communicate With Parents”

    More Research On Self-Control

    If You Drop-Out Of High School, You’ll Be Less Healthy

    “William And The Windmill”

    I Like Sprixi

    Academic Research Has Its Place, But It Also Has To Be Kept In Its Place

    Intriguing Study On Self-Control
    Helping Students Respond To Writing Prompts

    How I Organize My Classroom Library

    Students’ Personal Space

    Walking In Someone Else’s Shoes

    December, 2009 “Top Ten” List

    What Are Small Learning Communities?

    Want To Know What’s Happened Since My “Marshmallow” & “Visualizing Success” Lessons?

    “Looking At Every Problem As An Opportunity….” Lesson — More Advice Needed

    Creating A Lesson On “Blaming Others” & Need Your Help

    Interview Of The Month: John Norton From The Teacher Leaders Network

    Kngine Might Be An Excellent Search Engine

    “Earning Power: A Visual Survey of 80 Occupations”

    Student Goal-Setting Lesson I’m Trying Out On Monday

    Report On How Goal-Setting Lesson Went

    Thinkmeter Looks Neat

    “Shake, Rattle And Slide”

    English Central Gets Even Better

    The Importance Of Saying “I’m Sorry” To Students

    “Movieclips” Is A Real Find!

    Improvisation In The ESL/EFL Classroom — At Least In Mine


    Evaluating Teachers In Order To Fire Them?

    A Not To Be Missed New Website: Zinn Education Project: Teaching a People’s History”

    Is Figuring Out How To Make Schools Better A Puzzle Or A Mystery?

    November, 2009 “Top Ten” List

    The Best Piece Of Classroom Management Advice I’ve Ever Read

    Mugurdy Search Engine

    “Be A Martian”

    What Alice Mercer Saw When She Observed My Class

    Do Teachers REALLY Come From The Bottom Third Of Colleges? Or Is That Statistic A Bunch Of Baloney?

    The Difference Between Praise & Acknowledgment

    “A Parent Engagement Model That Works”

    Meeting Testing Goals By Lowering Standards

    “Bracey Report on the Condition of Public Education”

    A Few Simple Ways To Introduce Reluctant Colleagues To Technology

    “I just thought it would end differently this time”

    “I Notice”

    Neat Lincoln Memorial Interactive

    When You Have A Sub…

    Compasses Or Road Maps

    October, 2009 “Top Ten” List

    In addition to my most recent “The Best…” lists, here are my choices for this month’s “best” posts (not in order of preference):

    “Blinded By Reform”

    “Planet Quest”

    Great Picture Book Maker

    “I Like This Lesson Because It Make Me Have a Longer Temper” (Part One)

    Update On My Books

    “Funniest videos about teaching / learning English”

    Interview Of The Month: Claus von Zastrow From The Learning First Alliance

    What Would Paulo Freire Do If He Was A School Superintendent?

    Linklist Is A Winner

    “I Made My Agreement With Mr. Ferlazzo And Kept It…”

    Want To Talk About Classroom Management Issues?

    “I Was Disappointed With What Happened Yesterday…”

    Getting Our Students & Their Families Thinking About College

    “The Fun Theory”

    Incredible New Site On Cave Of Lascaux

    “Audience Sounds”

    You Need To Check-Out “English Central”

    When Are Teenagers In The “Flow”?

    “One Survivor Remembers” Available For Free

    “What Would You Tell Your Parents You Learned In Class This Month?”

    “I Know My Brain Is Growing…” Slideshow Of Student Work

    “Why Rising Test Scores May Not Mean Increased Learning”

    September, 2009 “Top Ten” List

    In addition to my most recent “The Best…” lists, here are my choices for this month’s “best” posts (not in order of preference):

    “ELL 2.0: How to Make the Most of the Web”

    My Book On Teaching English Language Learners

    “This Is Your Brain On Learning”

    What Is School Leadership?

    Job Voyager Is Very Cool!

    “The Ten Worst Teaching Mistakes”

    “Now I Know My Brain Is Growing When I Read Every Night”

    “How Much Is A College Degree Worth?”

    “State’s exit exams deserve a failing grade”

    Reading Logs — Part Two (or “How Students Can Grow Their Brains”)

    Shamans In Hospitals — Wow!

    The Hopes And Dreams Of My Students

    “Seeing The Forest Through The Trees”

    Scribble Maps

    Concerns About Book “Leveling”

    The Best Part Of The President’s Speech & How I’ll Use It

    Use Storybird To Create A Story

    Great New Website From The BBC For Math, English & Science

    The United States (& The World) As A 100 People

    “Test scores poor tool for teacher evaluation”

    August, 2009 “Top Ten” List

    In addition to my most recent “The Best…” lists, here are my choices for this month’s “best” posts (not in order of preference):

    New Blog Reminder

    Paying Students For Increased Test Scores

    The League Of Scientists

    “Fifty Stimulating Classroom Starters”

    What Do You To Make Sure Small Groups Work Well In Class?

    Do You Want To “Build Influence”?

    When To Teach Vocabulary

    Answers To “What Do You Do On The First Day Of School?”

    “The Truth About Grit”

    The “Wizard English Grid” Is A Nifty Teaching & Learning Tool

    New Article On Teachers Making Home Visits To Parents

    What Kind Of Feedback Should We Give Our Students?

    “How Different Groups Spend Their Day”

    Why I Support The Cellphone Ban At Our School

    My Thoughts On A Very Intriguing Video On Motivation & Incentives

    “Next Generation Learning”

    “Data-Driven” Versus “Data-Informed”

    July, 2009 “Top Ten” List

    In addition to my most recent “The Best…” lists, here are my choices for this month’s “best” posts (not in order of preference):

    Make Neat Geography Games With “Map Battle”

    Some Great ESL/EFL Resources

    Google Voice & English Language Learners

    PinDax Is Similar To Wallwisher

    What Do You Do On The First Day Of School?

    ProProfs Does It Again — This Time With Polls

    “Rooh It!” Looks Good For Webpage Annotation

    “Newsy” Is Neat!

    Where To Find The Most Popular News Stories On The Web

    Student Evaluations Of Summer School Class

    Exceptional New History Site

    Results From My Year-Long U.S. History Tech Experiment

    Flash Meeting Looks Great For Real-Time Collaboration

    “EFL Teaching Recipes”

    My Entire U.S. History Curriculum Is Available Online

    Bloom’s Taxonomy For Language Learners

    “How To Use Leftover Class Time Wisely”

    I’ve Begun A New Blog — “Engaging Parents In School”

    June, 2009 “Top Ten” List

    In addition to my most recent “The Best…” lists, here are my choices for this month’s “best” posts (not in order of preference):

    Most Popular Education Articles On The Web

    Solar Symphony Game

    “Raising Walls”

    “Does Slow and Steady Win the Race?”

    “Interesting Ways” Series On Using Web 2.0 Apps In Schools

    PhotoPeach Gets Even Better

    The 200 Most Popular Museum Websites

    “Welcome To The Web” Is An Exceptional Site

    “New” Color Photos Of Hitler

    Hypercities

    What Do You Do On The Last Day Of Class? (Part Two)

    I Like “Yarp”

    May, 2009 “Top Ten” List

    In addition to my most recent “The Best…” lists, here are my choices for this month’s “best” posts (not in order of preference):

    “Playing History”

    “Tools For ESL Lesson Planning”

    More On Engaging Parents

    “The Last Day Of Class”

    The “Most Popular” Blogs That Might Also Be Useful To Educators

    “The Best Teacher I Ever Had”

    TED Talks With Subtitles

    My “Verdict” On Twitter

    Blerp Is A Winner

    Sketchcast Is Back!

    Digital Research Tools

    “The Seven Secrets Behind Great Teaching”

    Ben Franklin Timeline

    Kindersay Is Back

    “I’ll Work If You Give Me Candy”

    “How David Beat Goliath: When Underdogs Break The Rules”

    Culture Crossing

    “Fascinating Egyptian Mummies”

    April, 2009 “Top Ten” List

    In addition to my most recent “The Best…” lists, here are my choices for this month’s “best” posts (not in order of preference):

    Titatok & Tar Heel Reader For Student Writing — Again

    Wallwisher Is A Winner — Big Time!

    “Come On, Our Schools Aren’t That Bad…”

    I Really Like “Next Stop” For Student Writing

    Note Pub Might Work Great For Publishing Student Work

    Intriguing NASA Interactive

    PodOmatic

    Mindopia For Career Exploration

    Extraordinary Photos

    Word Ahead

    “The Art Of Storytelling”

    What Do You Do To Keep Students (And You!) Focused Near The End Of The Year?

    NASA At Home & City

    March, 2009 “Top Ten” List

    In addition to my most recent “The Best…” lists, here are my choices for this month’s “best” posts (not in order of preference):

    Updated Multilingual Glossary Of Academic English Vocabulary

    Excellent Immigration Graphic

    MapBuzz Is An Easy Tool To Use

    Accessible Multiple Intelligence Test

    Two Hundred “The Best…” Lists!

    National Curriculum? No Thanks

    Not Bad Advice For Teachers

    February, 2009 “Top Ten” List

    In addition to my most recent “The Best…” lists, here are my choices for this month’s “best” posts (not in order of preference):

    * Awesome Stories Has Just Gotten More “Awesome”

    * Virtual Grammar Lab

    * Favthumbs Could Be Very Useful To Teachers

    * I’m Adding “Themes” To Several “The Best” Lists

    * Citizenship Quiz

    * Simply Box Might Be A Winner For Research

    * Kid Rex Search Engine

    * USA Today Weather & Climate Interactives

    * Top Notch Citizenship Resource

    * Superb English Site Back Online

    * A Good Collection Of Clozes

    January, 2009 “Top Ten” List

    In addition to my most recent “The Best…” lists, here are my choices for this month’s “best” posts (not in order of preference):

    * Dictionary Added To Best Reference Site

    * Screentoaster Is Now Open To The Public

    * Mel Zoo Is An Excellent Search Engine

    * Simple Technology Guides

    * Pixcetra

    * Pete’s PowerPoint Station

    * FinAid For College Help

    * Capitol Words

    * Miniature Earth

    December, 2008 “Top Ten” List

    In addition to my most recent “The Best…” lists, here are my choices for this month’s “best” posts (not in order of preference):

    Two Excellent Sites For Beginning Readers

    Classroom Management Article

    Grapevine Is Great For English-Speaking Practice

    Gizmoz Is Good For Speaking Practice

    Qitera

    School Content Filters

    Living Wage Calculator

    ELL/ESL/EFL Carnival Is Up!

    November, 2008 “Top Ten” List

    In addition to my most recent “The Best…” lists, here are my choices for this month’s “best” posts (not in order of preference):

    * “The Best…” Lists Reorganized

    * Wectar Adds Nice Feature

    * Voice Of America Special English — From China

    * A Good Question For Classroom Management

    * Incredible Website Launches Today!

    * Tar Heel Reader Update

    * Smhoop

    * Another Neat Online Spelling Bee

    * Screentoaster Is Excellent For Speaking Practice

    October, 2008 “Top Ten” List

    In addition to the most recent “The Best…” lists, my choices for the “Top Ten” posts of this month (not in order of preference) are:

    * More Great Resources From Oxford Press

    * Open Road TV

    * Wectar For Recommendations

    * An Exceptional Reading & Writing Site

    * Messianic Arrogance?

    * Bay Bridge 360

    * Your Disease Risk

    * Tizmos

    * Excellent Flowgram On Web Tools For Language Learners

    * “Why Do You Let Others Control You?”

    * What A Great Way To Write A Book Review!

    * Scribblar Is A Cool Tool

    September 2008 Top Ten List

    Apart from recent “The Best…” lists that I’ve written, here are my picks for September (not in order of preference):

    * One Of The Coolest Online Music Tools Ever

    * Know How 2 Go

    * Great Environmental Teaching Tools For California Students

    * “Web 2.0 For Dummies”

    * iKnow! Has Extraordinary Potential

    * Cambridge Ventures Arcade

    * Listen & Read

    * Lessons For Living Well

    * Communicating With Students

    * Pic-Lits

    Summer 2008 Top Ten List

    Here are my picks for the best posts of the summer so far, excluding my many new “The Best…” lists:

    Reach The World Geo Games

    Human Footprint Interactive

    After The Deluge

    Talking Pets

    Green Planet Search

    Planet Science

    The Broth Is A Great Find!

    English Interactive

    Upcoming Student Technology Projects

    Embedded Learning Portal Again

    June 2008 Top Ten List

    Here are my picks for June, excluding several new “The Best…” lists:

    Extraordinary U.S. History Site

    “Seven Secrets Of Student Learning”

    Wordle

    Tox Mystery

    280 Slides

    Mingoville

    May 2008 Top Ten List

    Here are my choices for May (they’re not in any order of preference):

    Tutpup Math & Spelling Games

    More About Maintaining A “Good” Class

    Beat The Clock

    Listen And Write

    Webon

    Middlespot

    Mapdango

    Splashcast & Qlipboard

    Interested In Joining Our Sister Classes Project In The Fall?

    Gut Instinct

    Explore A Pyramid

    April 2008 Top Ten List

    This month, I wrote quite a few “The Best…” lists. Instead of listing all the new ones here, I’d encourage readers to just go to Websites of the Year to find them.

    I’d like to list five additional posts, too:

    YAKIToMe Converts Text To Speech

    Tikatok Is Great!

    Zip Code Census Dashboard

    Play The News

    “Burbank Students Use Blog To Learn English”

    March 2008 Top Ten List

    Here are my choices for March:

    I’ve written several new “The Best….” lists. I won’t list all the new ones here, but you can find all of them at Websites Of The Year.

    Here are my other favorite posts for this month:

    ESL/EFL Sister Classes Project

    Hospital Connection

    Visual Geography

    Article About Our School Getting Out of School Improvement

    New “Best Search Engine” For English Language Learners

    Home Computer Project Update

    The “Digital Vaults” Are An Incredible Find!

    The Goals Of Education

    February Top Ten List

    This month includes several of the newest “Best of…” lists I’ve compiled. I won’t bother listing them here, but you can check them all out on my Websites of the Year.

    The others include:

    What Are You Doing In That Computer Lab?

    Pixton Comic Strips

    Plagiarism

    Teacher Book Wizard

    Breathing Earth

    Create An Online Scavenger Hunt With Zunal

    January Top Ten List

    This month includes the five newest “Best of…” lists I’ve compiled. I won’t bother listing them here, but you can check them all out on my Websites of the Year.

    The other five are:

    Make My Face

    Spelling City

    Scribble States Game

    TechLearning Article on ESL and Video Games

    Traveler IQ Challenge

    December Top Ten List

    Excellent Web 2.0 Guides

    Wordmaster

    Physics Life & Instructify

    Daft Doggy Does It Again!

    Animated Idioms

    Show Beyond Audio Slideshows Again

    Flashback History Movies

    Neat Music Sites

    To Filter, Or Not To Filter? Is That The Question?

    Best November Posts

    * Browser Books Again

    * Translating and Listening

    * Kid-Friendly Simon Sez Santa

    * Another Fantastic Service From Daft Doggy

    * Newspaper Article On Our Home Computer Project

    * One True Media

    * Does Using Technology Add Value To The Classroom?

    * Tumblr

    * Maps Of The World

    * Launchball

    Best October Posts

    Amazing New Webquest Tool

    Free Rice Game

    Problem/Solution Essays

    Kindersay

    “In Practice” Post

    News For English Language Learners

    Another Ecological Footprint Calculator

    Everyday Life

    Create A Talking Picture

    Wonderful Panoramas

    Sketchcast

    Excellent Online Language Program

    Top Twelve” Posts In September

    * Home Computers & English Language Learning

    * Extraordinary Research Site

    * Trading Cards

    * Online ESL Journals

    * A Zillion More Talking Stories

    * What Do You Do In The Computer Lab?

    * Wordbuilder

    * Bite Size Math and Literacy

    * HippoCampus For History, Government & Math

    * Another TechLearning Article

    * Fantastic Cambridge Sites!

    * Awesome Stories

    August Top Ten Posts

    * International Reading Association Award

    * Using Online Video Games For ESL

    * More Talking Stories

    * Computers and Relationships Article

    * The Best Online Slideshow Creator Yet!

    * Great New Slideshow Creator

    * Top Ten Tools

    * Nishi School Games

    * Embedded Learning Portal

    July’s Top Ten Websites

    * Great Site For U.S. History Projects

    * Musical Game Room

    * Amazing Karaoke Site

    * ESL Listservs

    * Back-up Storage

    * New TechLearning Article

    * Literactive

    * What Was There?

    * Twenty Questions Game

    * Create Video Quizzes (this is actually from a few months ago, and I just realized that I’ve never put it on a Top Ten list)

    Top Ten Websites For June

    * Talk Dog

    * Screencasts & ESL

    * Another Online Video Game

    * Favorite Game Sites

    * Create a Medieval Tapestry

    * E-Cards

    * Online Talking Stories

    * Picture Sentences

    * Be a Detective

    * Student Trips

    May Top Ten List

    Make a Slideshow Online

    Making Faces

    Create Video Quizzes

    Temporary Student Email Addresses

    Make a Virtual “You” (three websites are highlighted in this post)

    Profile America

    Free E-Mail Newsletters on Education

    FOSSweb Online Science

    April’s “Top Ten”

    * “Creating” Online Videos with English Language Learners

    * Hello World English

    * Easy Online Film-Making

    * Two Best Beginning To Read Sites

    * Easy Geography

    * Face Match

    * Many Math Activities

    * Citizenship

    * English 180

    * Talking Stories

    * Samuel L. Jackson, My ESL Students, And Me

    March Websites of the Month

    Photo Books

    International Reading Association Award

    Phrase Builder

    English 180

    Spelling

    Talking Stories

    Science Translations

    The Learning Edge

    Intriguing Way To Learn Vocabulary

    Talking Dictionary