Larry Ferlazzo’s Websites of the Day…

…For Teaching ELL, ESL, & EFL

December 21, 2015
by Larry Ferlazzo

Check Out Roxanna Elden’s New Children’s Book: “Rudy’s New Human”

roxanna elden

Roxanna Elden, one of the best education writers on the planet (and whom I’ve written about a lot), has just published a children’s book titled Rudy’s New Human.

Here’s a guest post from her where she introduces the book, shares an exciting and unique opportunity to let readers see a previous draft, and provides suggestions to all of us who want to write our own children’s book in the future:

Roxanna Elden is a National Board Certified Teacher and the author of See Me After Class: Advice for Teachers by Teachers. Her first children’s book, Rudy’s New Human, comes out this week.

In teaching, there is no such thing as a final draft. Teaching requires a non-stop series of judgment calls in real time; even with good material, there will always be places the plot slows down, clumsy descriptions, lines of dialogue we wish we’d been able to edit out. 

Authors, on the other hand, always write multiple drafts of their work. In fact, if you go to bookstore events, chances are you’ll hear authors express embarrassment about their first drafts. That’s because they’ve had the opportunity to ask themselves, as many times as necessary, “Is this what I want to say? Is this how I want to say it?” 

I got a big reminder of this contrast over the past year, while working on my first children’s book: RUDY’S NEW HUMAN. The book is narrated by a canine-narrator named Rudy and inspired by the real-life experience of my real dog Rudy as he adjusted to having a baby in the house. The pictures are by supremely talented illustrator Ginger Seehafer, who is also a mom to two humans and two cats.

Here’s where the contrast kicks in: It took more than a year for this 30-page book to go through all the stages of editing, proofreading, and other quality control that led to publication. By publishing industry standards, this was a pretty quick turnaround.

For teachers used to living in permanent rough draft mode, this may be one of the most surprising aspects of the publishing process.

But there’s another thing about the publishing world that’s an adjustment from teaching: The silence.

The flip side of permanent rough draft mode is that teachers are used to getting immediate feedback. A class full of students will let you know right away when the plot slows down or a line of dialogue lands wrong. As a hopeful author, there’s no one to let you know how you’re doing. You write the best draft you can, revise endlessly, research possible agents, email your material out with a personal note, and then…. Wait.

No one puts their head down or checks their phone or starts a side conversation in an outdoor voice to let you know your material isn’t clicking for them, but the sense of rejection can be just as deafening. For more about the publishing process, here is my post entitled, Three Answers to the Question, “So, How Do I Get Published?”

As a nod to the rough-draft nature of teaching, Ginger and I are also offering a secret look at some rough draft pages of RUDY’S NEW HUMAN to anyone who pre-orders the book before the official release date, January 5. 

To get the bonus material, pre-order the book from any retailer before January 5, then email a copy of your receipt to You’ll get an email back with our first-draft of the text, notes, and early sketches, all of which you’re welcome to share with your colleagues and students. Plus, you’ll get a whole new understanding of why most authors hide their first drafts from the world. 

I’m adding this post to So, You Want To Write A Book? Here’s The Best Advice…


January 8, 2016
by Larry Ferlazzo

Classroom Instruction Resources Of The Week

Each week, I publish a post containing three or four particularly useful resources on classroom instruction, and you can see them all here.

You might also be interested in The Best Articles (And Blog Posts) Offering Practical Advice & Resources To Teachers In 2015 – So Far and The Best Resources On Class Instruction – 2015.

Here are this week’s picks:

Why Your Students Forgot Everything On Your PowerPoint Slides is from Larry Cuban’s blog. I’m adding it to The Best Sources Of Advice For Making Good Presentations.

We’re Thinking About ADHD All Wrong, Says A Top Pediatrician is a useful NPR article for teachers to review. It’s also worth checking out at least some of the several hundred comments left at the site, too.

Refresh Your Class Culture for a New Year is from Middleweb.

Why Is Classroom Management Such a Problem for New Teachers? is from Ed Week. I’m adding it to  Best Posts On Classroom Management.

This is a great “anchor chart” that I’m adding to The Best Sources For Advice On Student Blogging:

This Onion piece is a good illustration of why I have this “Best” list: The Best Posts, Articles & Videos Explaining Why Punishment Is Often Not The Best Classroom Strategy:

December 29, 2015
by Larry Ferlazzo

My Twelve Best BAM! Radio Shows In 2015


As regular readers know, I do a ten-minute weekly BAM! Radio show to accompany my Education Week Teacher columns.

I thought readers might be interested in my choices for the best shows I’ve done in 2015.

I’m adding this list to All My 2015 “Best” Lists In One Place.

You can see all my shows at All My BAM Radio Shows – Linked With Descriptions.

Here are My Ten Best BAM! Radio Shows In 2015 (they’re numbered, but are not in any particular order):

1. Three Classroom Myths and Misconceptions about the Growth Mindset with Eduardo Briceño.

2. What Is Grit? Can Grit Be Taught? Who Is Responsible for Grit? with Ebony McGee, Kristi Mraz, Christine Hertz

3. Encouraging Other Teachers Who Work with English Language Learners with Sonia Nieto, Alicia Lopez

4. The Do’s and Don’ts of Effective Professional Development with Rick Wormeli

5. What Are the Differences Between Project-Based, Problem-Based and Inquiry Learning? with Jeff Wilhelm, Suzie Boss

6. Differentiated Instruction and Tracking Students: Is It Time to Reconsider? Laura Robb, Regie Routman

7. Effective Classroom Management: Do This, Not That with Pernille Ripp, Dr. Bryan Harris

8. How Can We Increase the Ranks of Teachers of Color? with Gloria Ladson-Billings

9. What Are the Myths and Misconceptions Around Formative Assessment? with Nancy Frey

10. Second Thoughts: Teacher Attire, Does it Really Matter? with Roxanna Elden, Renee Moore

11. Dissecting Grades: What Do They Mean, What Are They Worth? with Rick Wormeli

12. What Are the Habits of Lifelong Readers, How Do We Instill Them? with Donalyn Miller

November 1, 2015
by Larry Ferlazzo

“Our Teaching Mistakes & What We Learn From Them”

Our Teaching Mistakes & What We Learn From Them is the title of my latest Education Week Teacher column.

In it, Roxanna Elden, Julia Thompson, Ekuwah Moses, Jenny Edwards, Kevin Parr and Leslie Blauman bare their souls to the world as they write about their biggest teaching mistakes.

I share mine, too, and teachers of English Language Learners might find it particularly interesting.

Here are some excerpts:






October 21, 2015
by Larry Ferlazzo

My Latest BAM! Radio Show Is On Our Biggest Teaching Mistakes


My Biggest Teaching Mistake and What I Learned from It is my latest ten-minute BAM! Radio Show.

Ekuwah Moses, Julia Thompson, Roxanna Elden join me in the conversation, which is a topic in one of my future Education Week Teacher columns.

You can find all my past shows at All My BAM Radio Shows – Linked With Descriptions.

October 14, 2015
by Larry Ferlazzo

Excellent New Free Resource For New Teachers


Roxanna Elden, one of the wisest and most entertaining writers and speakers on life in the classroom, has just announced a great free resource for new teachers.

Here’s part of her announcement:

According to the US Department of Education, half of all new educators quit within five years. In lower-income schools, half quit within just three years. With teacher shortages growing in many states, it’s more important than ever to help rookies through the October-November low point known as “the Disillusionment Phase.” 

With this in mind, Roxanna Elden, author of See Me After Class: Advice for Teachers by Teachers, has created a new tool: the “Disillusionment Power Pack.” 

Teachers who sign up will receive emails for one month beginning the day they subscribe. The emails include journal pages from the author’s first year of teaching, stories behind the stories she now tells in speeches, and insights meant to help teachers through the time frame when new teachers’ great ideas are falling apart and kids are no longer on their best behavior, but the end of the school year is nowhere in sight.

New teachers often feel like the weak link, but are too self-conscious to voice their self-doubt to mentors or colleagues. Even meetings meant to support new teachers can feel competitive, with participants more eager to share successes than confess mistakes. Says Elden, “For better or worse, there is no good way to ‘out’ yourself as a struggling teacher your first year. And yet, what teachers need most is for someone to be straightforward about how tough teaching can be. Especially when you feel like the weak link. Especially when everyone around you is sharing success stories.” Elden has addressed this issue before, including in her TED-style talk on The Myth of the Super Teacher, viewed over 40,000 times internationally, and in an NPR interview on how teachers can survive the October Blues.

She says that in October of her own first year, she needed to hear not from another rookie or award-winning master teacher, but from someone who’d powered through self-doubt and low points to become a successful teacher. In other words, she needed to hear from a future version of herself.

“The Disillusionment Power Pack is the series of emails I’d send to the first-year-version of myself, the teacher crying in a Burger King parking lot wondering if my students would be better off with someone else in front of the room.”

You can read more about it here.

You might also be interested in The Best Advice For New Teachers.