Larry Ferlazzo’s Websites of the Day…

…For Teaching ELL, ESL, & EFL

June 27, 2012
by Larry Ferlazzo

Video Of Yong Zhao’s Keynote Speech At ISTE

Professor Yong Zhao gave a terrific keynote speech yesterday at the ISTE Conference in San Diego (I wasn’t there, but followed it through Twitter). I’ve posted about many articles by Professor Zhao, and he’s contributed to my Education Week column.

Here’s a video of his keynote (thanks to Alice Mercer for letting me know ISTE posts videos of speeches). It’s embedded, and you may have to click through in order to view it if you’re reading this post on an RSS Reader:

Professor Zhao has also posted his slide presentation here, and sample chapters of his new book.

March 29, 2015
by Larry Ferlazzo

Quote Of The Day: The Dangers Of STEM Obsession

It looks like Fareed Zakaria has been reading Yong Zhao’s writings.

He has just published a great column in The Washington Post titled Why America’s obsession with STEM education is dangerous.

It’s a must-read that was shared on Twitter by Ron Ritchhart.

I’m adding it to The Best Sites For Getting Some Perspective On International Test Comparison Demagoguery.

Here’s an excerpt:


January 25, 2015
by Larry Ferlazzo

Videos: Intriguing New Documentary On Schools Called “Most Likely To Succeed”

A new documentary on education had its premiere this afternoon at Sundance. It’s called “Most Likely To Succeed.” I learned about it through a tweet by Daniel Pink.

I’m not entirely sure about its thematic focus, but it does include impressive people like Linda Darling-Hammond and Yong Zhao.

Here are some clips, including an interview with the filmmakers at the end:

CLIP 5 from One Potato Productions on Vimeo.

MLTS Teaser: Vince from One Potato Productions on Vimeo.

Yong Zhao from One Potato Productions on Vimeo.

Linda Darling-Hammond from One Potato Productions on Vimeo.

December 31, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo

Quote Of The Day: “Inside a Chinese Test-Prep Factory”

One day after The Washington Post published an expose of test-taking culture in South Korea (see Statistic Of The Day: This Is Why We Don’t Want Our School Culture To Be Like South Korea’s), The New York Times publishes its own Asian testing story — this one focused on China, Inside a Chinese Test-Prep Factory.

Here’s an excerpt:


Of course, scholar Yong Zhao has been raising these questions for years about China (I’ve written about his work many times in this blog), and it’s nice to see him quoted in the Times story.

I’m adding this post to The Best Sites For Getting Some Perspective On International Test Comparison Demagoguery.

April 16, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo

This Week’s “Round-Up” Of Useful Posts & Articles On Education Policy

''Wisconsin is Open For Business Closed for Schools'' photo (c) 2011, rochelle hartman - license:

Here are some relatively recent articles and blog posts on educational policy issues that are worth reading:

All schools should have good teachers is from The Los Angeles Times. I’m adding it to The Best Articles For Helping To Understand Both Why Teacher Tenure Is Important & The Reasons Behind Seniority-Based Layoffs.

How Seniority Reform Backfired In Minneapolis is by John Thompson. I’m adding it to the same list.

Evidence Based Education Policy and Practice: A Conversation is from Larry Cuban’s blog.

Evaluation: A Revolt Against The “Randomistas”? is by Alexander Russo. I’m adding it to The Best Resources For Understanding How To Interpret Education Research.

What Is A Standard Deviation? is from The Shanker Blog. I’m adding it to the same list.

A Brilliant Management Insight Helps Chipotle Retain Its Best Employees is an interesting article from Business Insider that I think has applications for the development of teacher leadership. I’m adding it to The Best Posts, Articles & Videos On “Teacher Leadership.”

Big data: are we making a big mistake? is from The Financial Times. I’m adding it to The Best Resources Showing Why We Need To Be “Data-Informed” & Not “Data-Driven.”

Ainge: Analytics Sometimes Leads To Shortcuts is from RealGM Basketball. I’m adding it to the same list.

New Common Core exams will test whether a robo-grader is as accurate as a human is from The Hechinger Report. I’m adding it to The Best Posts On Computer-Graded Essays.

The Classroom of the Future: Student-Centered or Device-Centered? is by Anthony Cody at Education Week Teacher.

A Teacher Offers Sound Advice to Tom Friedman is from Diane Ravitch’s blog.

Teaching as a Second Act, or Maybe Even a Third is from The New York Times.

One of many nails in the VAM coffin…. is from Better Living Through Mathematics. I’m adding it to The Best Resources For Learning About The “Value-Added” Approach Towards Teacher Evaluation. Thanks to Alice Mercer for the tip.

Here is a VAM mathematical formula from Florida. I’m adding it to the same list.

I’m adding this tweet to The Best Resources On “Race To The Top” (& On “Personalized Learning”):

How Does PISA Put the World at Risk (Part 5): Racing to the Past is by Yong Zhao. I’m adding it to The Best Posts & Articles On 2012 PISA Test Results.

The Great Lakes Center has done an important review of infamous Raj Chetty, John Friedman, & Jonah Rockoff study on teacher’s value-added. I’m adding it to the list where many critiques of that study can be found, The Best Posts On The NY Times-Featured Teacher Effectiveness Study.

Classes of Donkeys is by David Truss, and offers some thoughtful commentary on the popular Class Dojo behavior management tech tool. I’m adding it to The Best Posts & Articles On “Motivating” Students.

On Using And Not Using ClassDojo*: Ideological Differences? is by Larry Cuban. Motivating is from ELT Reflections, and is also on Class Dojo. I’m adding both to the same “Best” list.

I’ll end this post with this tweet:

March 13, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo

This Week’s “Round-Up” Of Good Posts & Articles On Education Policy

'Protest March Against Cuts In Education Budget' photo (c) 2008, William Murphy - license:

Here is a collection of recent useful posts and articles on educational policy issues:

Vergara Plaintiffs Shouldn’t Put Individual Teachers On Trial is by Paul Bruno. I’m adding it to The Best Resources On California Court Case Attacking Teacher’s Rights.

This took Teach For America 24 years to figure out?
is by Valerie Strauss. I’m adding it to The Best Posts & Articles Raising Concerns About Teach For America.

How Does PISA Put the World at Risk (Part 1): Romanticizing Misery is by Yong Zhao. I’m adding it to The Best Posts & Articles On 2012 PISA Test Results.

An Even Sadder Tale of D.C. Common Core Testing is by John Thompson. I’m adding it to
The Best Resources For Learning About The “Next Generation” Of State Testing.

Essay-Grading Software Seen as Time-Saving Tool is from Education Week. I’m adding it to The Best Posts On Computer-Graded Essays.

This story about what’s happening in San Jose is worth reading about — it seems to me that they’re doing exciting stuff, but, though I don’t pretend to know the whole story, it’s very surprising to me the local union pushed forward on this right now (both stories are from Ed Source): San Jose Unified, teachers to ask State Board for waiver from tenure law and State Board punts, for now, on San Jose’s request for waiver from tenure law.

Teacherpreneurs Panel and How We Benefit Students is by Ariel Sacks. I’m adding it to The Best Resources On Being A Teacherpreneur.

A Great Divide: The Election Fight for California’s Schools is from Capital and Main.

Can Professional Environments in Schools Promote Teacher Development? Explaining Heterogeneity in Returns to Teaching Experience is a new Harvard report showing how important working conditions are to teacher effectiveness. I’m adding it to The Best Posts & Articles About The Importance Of Teacher (& Student) Working Conditions.

Are Working Conditions Related To Teacher Effectiveness? is another recent study. I’m adding it to the same list.

In standoff with California over testing, U.S. Education Department blinks is from The Washington Post.

January 1, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo

The Best Education-Related Books Visitors To This Blog Read In 2013


It’s that time of year again — time to share the choices from readers of this blog for the best education-related book they read in the this past year.

You might also be interested in:

The Best Education-Related Books Visitors To This Blog Read In 2012

The Best Education-Related Books Visitors To This Blog Read In 2011

The Best Education-Related Books Visitors To This Blog Read In 2010

The Best Education-Related Books Visitors To This Blog Read In 2009

The Best Education-Related Books Visitors To This Blog Read In 2008

Speaking of education-related books, you might also be interested in two other posts:

The Top 75 New York Times Best-Selling Education Books of 2013 comes from The New York Times Learning Network.

Education Books In One Sentence was a fun hashtag I started one day on Twitter.

I broke my own rules and chose four instead of one, and you can see them in the photo illustrating this post.

Now, here are the choices of over fifty readers to sent their comments and tweets (even if you didn’t send them in earlier, you can still leave your favorites in the comments):

Renee Boss:

Best book I read this year–Trusting Teachers with School Success by Kim Farris-Berg and Edward Dirkswager with Amy Junge. This book is encouraging because it promotes teachers as leaders and professionals who should make the decisions in our schools.

Mandy Vasek:

My fave 2013 read was Jim Collins’ Good to Great. Getting the RIGHT people on the bus is key to success. I also helped lead a book study with Dave Burgess’ Teach Like a Pirate. IMO, this should be a must do for all campuses no matter the level. It was very successful…and FUN.

Carrie Vartlett:

Teach Like a Pirate was my favorite this year. The PLN related to it is awesome, too!

Mike Pinto:

“Quiet” by Susan Cain. As an extrovert, it gave me a perspective on introversion and how many great leaders are introverts. Worth the read and the reflection.


Notice and Note by Kylene Beers.

Svetlana Sutic:

The Element by Sir Ken Robinson.How to find the point where natural talent meets personal passion.

John Young:

Embedded Formative Assessment by Dylan Wiliam. Very insightful book with excellent research based strategies bought multiple copies for my staff and gifted one to each of my teaching daughters.

Lisa Gearman:

Two books I carry around in my backpack are Untangling the Web by Adam Bellow and Steve Dembo and The Classroom Teacher’s Technology Survival Guide by Doug Johnson. Both are great for practical advice you can use immediately, and I use them for PD training ideas.


Best book used in leadership team read this year…book study…The Leadership Challenge by Kouzes & Posner

Tim O’Connor:

I am just finishing up Dan Pink’s – To Sell is Human. This book gave me better insight into how to become more persuasive and thoughtful towards others. As a technology coach that promotes change in education it was very helpful, however all educators can benefit from such a book.


Ungifted: Intelligence Redefined

Matt Renwick:

World Class Learners by Yong Zhao takes a different perspective about standardized tests and international comparisons. Instead of simply questioning the validity of high stakes testing, he actually provides data that suggests these practices could actually harm creativity and innovation. Dr. Zhao also shares ideas for helping teachers and students become more engaged in important work.

bob dillon:

Open by David Price has reshaped my thinking around the acceleration needed to open our schools to change

R. Deutsch:

Energize Research Reading and Writing: Fresh Strategies to Spark Interest, Develop Independence, and Meet Key Common Core Standards, Grades 4-8 by Christopher Lehman (Heinemann, 2012). Great practical book that spells out what REAL research should look like . It would make a wonderful choice for English and content area teachers working together. Not only for grades 4-8; so much of what he describes would be perfect for high school students as well.

Jamaal A. Bowman:

How Children Succeed by Paul Tough. It provides very specific and promising strategies on how to counteract poverty, and attempts to explain why good standardized tests results do not lead to college and career success.

Renee Moore:

Ann Byrd and Barnett Berry, Teacherpreneurs [disclosure, yes, my students and I are featured in it] which makes it even more interesting! Seriously, a look at the possibilities for teaching to move out of its centuries old frame into a modern profession.

Diane Ravitch’s, Reign of Error for challenging the educational crisis myths.

Jonathan Kozol, Fire Among the Ashes:25 Years Among the Poorest Children in America — the culmination of his work that began with Savage Inequalities; looks at some of the children he has followed as they grown into adulthood.

Michelle cordy:

Net Smart by Horward Rheingold is essential reading for educators and anyone interested in doing a deep dive into the abundance of information and connectivity brought to us in the present day.

Joanne Fuchs:

Teach Like a Pirate by Dave Burgess. Inspiring, made me take a fresh look at the way I reach.

Diane Peterson:

Teach Like A Pirate by Dave Burgess – gives energy, shares passion, offers encouragement and support, and gives usable ideas to highten students’ interest to learning.

Generation iY by Tim Elmore – amazing research for all involved with youth and how to reach and teach Gen Y for a productive, successful future adult generation.

Lesli Moylan:

Smart by Nature. Great book about different ways schools across country integrating sustainability into curriculum and culture of individual schools and districts.

The Teaching Factor:

There are so many great books:

Teach Like a Pirate reminds readers to make learning fun and relevant.

Falling in Love with Close Reading and Notice and Note both help all content area teachers get students to stop and pay attention while they are reading.

Not a teacher book but YA novel that brings thought, caring, and perspective on our daily life, The Obe and Only Ivan was a favorite read with my students.

Jon Konen:

Reading in the Wild by Donalyn Miller. Put away the text books and get “wild” about reading authentic literature! Donalyn gives you a learning structure to promote student independence and a love of reading!

A Stevens:

The two best educationally related books that I have read this year are mindset by Carol Dweck and Teaching Through Text by McKenna and Robinson.

Peggy Drolet:

Here are a few suggestions

Douglas W. Green, EdD:

As always, I find that some of the best books for education were not written strictly for educators. The best ideas generalize well across fields, and the the hot areas for research and innovation are where the disciplines collide. I summarize the best books I find here. My summaries will help with purchasing decisions and reviewing the book after you read it. If I had to pick one book this year it would be “Little Bets: How Breakthrough Ideas Emerge from Small Discoveries” by Peter Sims.

Jon Harper:

Cagebusting Leadership by Frederick Hess was a great read. It gets us to stop whining and start looking at what we have to get the job done.

Karen Linch:

Real Talk for Real Teachers by Rafe Esquith made me realize that teaching to high stakes tests will never lead to the kind of learning our students deserve.

Ms. Hunni:

Penny Kittle’s: Book Love and Write Beside Them


Ten Minute InService by Todd Whitaker and Annette Breaux

Brenda Giourmetakis:

Ten things a child with autism wishes you knew by Ellen Notbohm. Sensible, awesome suggestions

Colinda Clyne:

I have two: the motivational Teach like a Pirate by Dave Burgess, about keeping enthusiasm and passion in your practice, and as a history teacher, the invaluable guide to historical thinking concepts, The Big Six by Peter Seixas and Tom Morton.

Tracy Tarasiuk:

“Focus” be Mike Schmocker-the title really says it all

Kathryn Coffey:

“Opening Minds: Using Language to Change Lives”, by Peter H. Johnston

John Norton:

Full disclosure: I served as editor for both of these books. They come straight from real classrooms and represent visionary teaching practices.

Connected from the Start: Global Learning in the Primary Grades, by Kathy Cassidy.

Teaching In High Gear: My Shift Toward a Student-Driven, Inquiry-Based Science Classroom, by Marsha Ratzel.

Catherine Trinkle:

Focus by Mike Schmoker. I am committed to teaching the simplified, focus way and I know my students are working harder and learning more as the outcome.

Michael Doyle:

Ira Socol’s Drool Room blew me away, enough to make me feel unsteady in the classroom. It will change what I do, and possibly who I am.

Should be mandatory reading for anyone who works with less than perfect children.

Mrs. Rasmussen:

Book Love by Penny Kittle We have to get students reading, and Kittle’s book teaches how.


Donalyn Miller’s Reading in the Wild or Penny Kittle’s Book Love


Reading in the Wild by Donalyn Miller. Honest, challenging, thought-provoking!


Either reading in the Wild by Donalyn Miller or Igniying a Passion for Reading by Steven Layne.

Some readers sent in their choices with a tweet, and I’ve collected them with Storify:

Thanks to everyone who contributed and, again, you can leave your choices in the comments!

December 3, 2013
by Larry Ferlazzo
1 Comment

The Best Posts & Articles On 2012 PISA Test Results

'Pisa2008_Pisa tower' photo (c) 2008, Wit Suphamungmee - license:

Sorry, I couldn’t resist adding this photo


The Internet is awash with articles about this morning’s release of the 2012 Program for International Student Assessment, or PISA, test results.

I’m just quickly posting the best resources I’ve seen this morning (the last portion of this post has newly added important commentaries), and articles offering real insightful commentary will be coming later. However, I’ve included a few pieces that came out prior to this morning and, of course, you can also check out The Best Sites For Getting Some Perspective On International Test Comparison Demagoguery.

Here are choices, and please suggest more in the comments:

How public opinion about new PISA test scores is being manipulated is by Richard Rothstein.

Reading the PISA Tea Leaves: Who Is Responsible for Finland’s Decline and the Asian Magic is by Yong Zhao.

Randi On PISA: Time to End Failed Policies of NCLB & RTTT is from Diane Ravitch’s blog.

Key PISA test results for U.S. students is from The Washington Post.

Are Finland’s vaunted schools slipping? is by Pasi Sahlberg.

Tom Loveless: Why Shanghai Leads the World on International Tests Like PISA is from Diane Ravitch’s blog.

U.S. students lag around average on international science, math and reading test is from The Washington Post.

OECD education report: Lessons for the UK from other nations is an exhaustive series of articles from The Telegraph.

American 15-Year-Olds Lag, Mainly in Math, on International Standardized Tests is from The New York Times.

Take-away Pisa for busy people is from The BBC.

Are you Smarter Than a 15-Year-Old? is from Smithsonian Magazine.

Here are a number of resources from OECD, which administers the test:

PISA 2012 Results: What Makes Schools Successful? ReSouRceS, PolIcIeS And PRActIceS

PISA 2012 Results in Focus: What 15-year-olds know and what they can do with what they know

PISA 2012 Results: Ready to Learn: Students’ Engagement, Drive and Self-Beliefs (Volume III)

PISA 2012 Results

NASSP Statement on PISA Results: Despite Fervor Over Scores, US Continues to Ignore Lessons

My View of the PISA Scores is by Diane Ravitch.

The PISA Puzzle is by Dana Goldstein. Here are a couple of excerpts from her Slate piece:

There’s another PISA result that should be heeded just as much as, if not more than, the rankings themselves: The OECD found that school systems with greater teacher leadership opportunities, like Canada’s, outperform those like ours, in which administrators and policymakers exert more top-down control over the classroom, through scripted lessons or teacher evaluation systems that heavily weigh student test scores. Yet you won’t hear about that much on PISA Day, because those have both become popular interventions during the Obama era of education reform…..

Maybe the takeaway from PISA shouldn’t be that Common Core is the answer, but rather that we need a comprehensive approach to educating and caring for our poorest children in order to close the achievement gap between rich and poor in this country, and between American students and their developed-nation peers.


Four lessons on new PISA scores — Ravitch is from The Washington Post.

So…what can we DO about those low PISA scores? is by Barnett Berry.

Could Changes in School Culture Make U.S. Schools More Competitive? is from Ed Week.

10 things teachers need to know about the Pisa results is from The Guardian.

7 Reasons I Don’t Care About the PISA Results is by Rick Hess at Education Week.

Quote Of The Day: “Our Kids — Coddled or Confident?”

Want to Look Great on Global Education Surveys? Test Only the Top Students is from Business Week.

The Meaning of PISA is by Marc Tucker at Ed Week.

“PISA Day”—An Ideological and Hyperventilated Exercise is by Richard Rothstein.

Attention OECD-PISA: Your Silence on China is Wrong is by Tom Loveless.

The New York Times Editorializes on Teachers and PISA, with Multiple Errors is from Diane Ravitch.

A PISA contradiction is by Valerie Strauss at The Washington Post.

Why Arne Duncan’s PISA Comments Miss the Mark is from Education Week.

The Global Search for Education: The World Test? is from The Huffington Post.

Beware Chinese data: Its schools might not be so great is by Jay Mathews at The Washington Post.

How Does PISA Put the World at Risk (Part 1): Romanticizing Misery is by Yong Zhao.

David Berliner on PISA and Poverty is from Diane Ravitch’s blog.

How Does PISA Put the World at Risk (Part 5): Racing to the Past is by Yong Zhao.

Academics call for pause in PISA tests is from The Washington Post.