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…


April 16, 2017
by Larry Ferlazzo

“End the Year With Moments ‘Students Will Remember'”

End the Year With Moments ‘Students Will Remember’ is the headline of my latest Education Week Teacher column.

In it, Pernille Ripp, Alfonso Gonzalez, Jeremy Adams, Roxanna Elden, Ann Mausbach, Kim Morrison, Michael Haggen, and Maia Heyck-Merlin contribute their ideas on how to end the school year well.

Here are some excerpts, as well as a reminder of the Facebook Live discussion that I’ll be hosting on the topic this Wednesday:

I’m adding it to The Best Ways To Finish The School Year Strong.

March 23, 2017
by Larry Ferlazzo

My Latest BAM! Radio Show Is On Handling Tough Teaching Moments

Tough teaching moments and how to handle them is the topic of my latest eight-minute BAM! Radio Show.

Cindi Rigsbee, Roxanna Elden, and Robert Ward join me in the discussion, and they’ve also all contributed written commentaries to one of my future Education Week Teacher columns.

I’m adding it to All My BAM Radio Shows – Linked With Descriptions.

August 7, 2016
by Larry Ferlazzo

Great Source Of Advice For New Teachers



Roxanna Elden, one of my favorite teacher writers, has created a wonderful free resource for new teachers.

Here’s an excerpt from her announcement:

Educator and author creates a free School Year Starter Kit to help rookies focus on the first day.

With teacher shortages growing in many states and one in ten teachers quitting by the end of their first year, it’s more important than ever to help rookies get a good start to the year – something many districts try to address during New Teacher Orientation. Yet NTOs often leave out the main subject on teachers’ minds: The first day of school. To address this, educator and author Roxanna Elden has created a new, free tool: The School Year Starter Kit.

The Starter Kit is deceptively simple – a free, three day email series with links to all the basics teachers need to prepare for the first day. Among them: Suggested classroom rules. Tips on how to assign seats and remember student names. A ten-day countdown checklist. And do’s and don’ts for the all-important first day lesson plan.

Everything in the kit serves as a reference rather than a reading assignment.

Elden spoke with hundreds of teachers about their first-year experiences for her book, See Me After Class: Advice for Teachers by Teachers. She also attended these events herself as a beginner in two different school districts. She’s found that teachers recall a surprisingly similar experience – orientations combine fire-hose levels of information with inspirational parables. Bette Midler’s song, Wind Beneath My Wings, is a staple. Says Elden: “This means the message we send teachers right before they step into their first classroom is: ‘You are the wind beneath kids’ wings. Your job is to be the force of nature that keeps children from dropping out of the sky. But also, be confident! Students can sense when you’re not confident. Now, read this binder that describes our evaluation system.’”

Personally, I think it offers good advice to all of us educators – not just new ones!

August 7, 2016
by Larry Ferlazzo
1 Comment

“Ways ‘to Launch a Successful Year With Students'”

Ways ‘to Launch a Successful Year With Students’ is the headline of my latest Education Week Teacher column.

In it, Roxanna Elden, Dave Stuart Jr., Ekuwah Moses, Matt Wachel , Pam Allyn, and Kevin Parr offer suggestions on how to start a new school year on the right foot.

Here are some excerpts:







June 20, 2016
by Larry Ferlazzo

My Ten Best BAM! Radio Shows In 2016 – So Far



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 2016 – So Far.

I’m adding this list to All Mid-Year 2016 “Best” Lists In One Place.

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

You might also be interested in My Twelve Best BAM! Radio Shows In 2015.

Here are My Twelve Best BAM! Radio Shows In 2016 – So Far (they are not in any particular order):

Epic Classroom Management Mistakes and How to Avoid Them with Gianna Cassetta and Karen Baptiste.

Bridging the Cultural Barrier with Immigrant Parents with Rusul Alrubail, Anna Bartosik and Jordan Lanfair.

Ed Tech Problems: Avoiding Those You Can, Managing Those You Can’t with Anne Jenks, Larissa Pahomov, and Jared Covili.

Teaching: If I Knew Then What I Know Now… with Roxanna Elden, Dave Stuart Jr., and Julia Thompson.

The Look and Feel of Culturally Responsive Instruction with Django Paris.

The Best Principal I’ve Ever Seen… with Ted Appel and Cathy Beck.

How Great Principals Help Teachers Grow: They Do This, Not That with Mark Estrada and Diana Laufenberg.

Why the Death of Paper Books May Be Greatly Exaggerated with Dan Willingham and Kristin Ziemke.

Student Grades Are In, Time to Reflect on Them with Kristina Doubet and Myron Dueck.

What Are the Best Ways to Assess Student Work? with Andrew Miller, Suzie Boss, and Meg Riordan.

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