Larry Ferlazzo’s Websites of the Day…

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September 30, 2016
by Larry Ferlazzo
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A Look Back: What Is The “Zeigarnik Effect” & How Did I Apply It In The Classroom Today?

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Next February, this blog will be celebrating its ten-year anniversary! Leading up to it, I’m re-starting a series I tried to do in the past called “A Look Back.” Each week, I’ll be re-posting a few of my favorite posts from the past ten years.

You might also be interested in A Look Back: Best Posts From 2007 To 2009. and A Look Back: 2010’s Best Posts From This Blog.

I originally shared this post in 2011. You might also be interested in another post I wrote about the same topic: More On The “Zeigarnik Effect”

Bluma Zeigarnik was a Russian psychologist who identified what came to be called the “Zeigarnik Effect.” You can read more about it here, but, basically, it means that once we start doing something, we’re going to tend to want to finish it.

I’m sure many teachers have never heard of the Zeigarnik Effect, but often apply it. We might have students who just tend to procrastinate when doing an assignment, or are afraid of getting something wrong and are reluctant to start, or have a hard time getting going for other reasons . So we encourage students to get started by just answering the first question, or writing the first paragraph, or give reading the first page a try.

I’ve certainly done that often in the past, but recently learning that the strategy actually has a name and scientific evidence to back it up now makes me more conscious of it as another component of my “toolbox.”

One of my students does have a strong tendency toward procrastination. Today, we were completing a short “book talk” form (see My Best Posts On Books: Why They’re Important & How To Help Students Select, Read, Write & Discuss Them for more information on the idea), and everybody was working away on it except for “John” (not his real name). He said he didn’t know what to write. The article I read about the Zeigarnik Effect immediately came to mind, and I asked him to complete the first question, which just asked for the title of the book and the author’s name. I pointed out that all he had to do was copy it from the cover of his book.

He immediately did so, and then went on to complete the entire form. Would I have made that same suggestion if I hadn’t read about Zeigarnik yesterday? Maybe, maybe not. But it has now made me more conscious of thinking about what might be easy tasks or questions that would be good ways to start challenging assignments (or to use to get students who face a variety of challenges starting on doing any assignments)….

May 29, 2012
by Larry Ferlazzo
0 comments

More On The “Zeigarnik Effect”

I’ve previously posted about the Zeigarnik Effect (see What Is The “Zeigarnik Effect” & How Did I Apply It In The Classroom Today?).

It basically means that once we start doing something, we’re going to tend to want to finish it.

Scientific American recently ran a piece on it. I was particularly struck by this portion of the post:

Zeigarnik ascribed the finding to a state of tension, akin to a cliffhanger ending: your mind wants to know what comes next. It wants to finish. It wants to keep working – and it will keep working even if you tell it to stop. All through those other tasks, it will subconsciously be remembering the ones it never got to complete. Psychologist Arie Kruglanski calls this a Need for Closure, a desire of our minds to end states of uncertainty and resolve unfinished business. This need motivates us to work harder, to work better, and to work to completion. It adds impetus to minds that may otherwise be too busy or oversaturated to bother with the details. In other words, it ensures that those orders will stay in the waiters’ heads until it is certain that your food will hit the table as promised.

The “Need For Closure” got me thinking about having students use the reading strategy of “asking questions.” It seems to me that this desire might be one reason why that reading strategy is so effective…..

April 5, 2011
by Larry Ferlazzo
8 Comments

What Is The “Zeigarnik Effect” & How Did I Apply It In The Classroom Today?

Bluma Zeigarnik was a Russian psychologist who identified what came to be called the “Zeigarnik Effect.” You can read more about it here, but, basically, it means that once we start doing something, we’re going to tend to want to finish it.

I’m sure many teachers have never heard of the Zeigarnik Effect, but often apply it. We might have students who just tend to procrastinate when doing an assignment, or are afraid of getting something wrong and are reluctant to start, or have a hard time getting going for other reasons . So we encourage students to get started by just answering the first question, or writing the first paragraph, or give reading the first page a try.

I’ve certainly done that often in the past, but recently learning that the strategy actually has a name and scientific evidence to back it up now makes me more conscious of it as another component of my “toolbox.”

One of my students does have a strong tendency toward procrastination. Today, we were completing a short “book talk” form (see My Best Posts On Books: Why They’re Important & How To Help Students Select, Read, Write & Discuss Them for more information on the idea), and everybody was working away on it except for “John” (not his real name). He said he didn’t know what to write. The article I read about the Zeigarnik Effect immediately came to mind, and I asked him to complete the first question, which just asked for the title of the book and the author’s name. I pointed out that all he had to do was copy it from the cover of his book.

He immediately did so, and then went on to complete the entire form. Would I have made that same suggestion if I hadn’t read about Zeigarnik yesterday? Maybe, maybe not. But it has now made me more conscious of thinking about what might be easy tasks or questions that would be good ways to start challenging assignments (or to use to get students who face a variety of challenges starting on doing any assignments)….

October 14, 2011
by Larry Ferlazzo
3 Comments

The Best Resources For Learning About “Psychological Effects” Useful To Teachers

This post was formerly called “”The Benjamin Franklin Effect” In The Classroom.” However, since it originally included additional resources on other psychological “effects” and “laws,” I’ve renamed it and added new resources at the end.

Many teachers know that an effective classroom management move to turn a disruptive student into an ally is by giving him/her responsibilities in the classroom — tutoring another student, offering them a key classroom job, etc.

I knew it, and have used it, but didn’t know until recently that an actual psychological finding explains why this strategy works. It’s called “The Benjamin Franklin Effect”:

You grow to like people for whom you do nice things and hate people you harm.

Here’s the story about the “effect’s” origins:

In his autobiography, Franklin explains how he dealt with the animosity of a rival legislator when he served in the Pennsylvania legislature in the 18th Century

“Having heard that he had in his library a certain very scarce and curious book, I wrote a note to him, expressing my desire of perusing that book, and requesting he would do me the favour of lending it to me for a few days. He sent it immediately, and I return’d it in about a week with another note, expressing strongly my sense of the favour. When we next met in the House, he spoke to me (which he had never done before), and with great civility; and he ever after manifested a readiness to serve me on all occasions, so that we became great friends, and our friendship continued to his death.”

This is not Ben Franklin’s first appearance in this blog. You might be interested in seeing Ben Franklin’s Daily Schedule.

Nor is this the first time I’ve written about a psychological “effect” or “law” and how it relates to the classroom. You might be interested in:

What Is The “Zeigarnik Effect” & How Did I Apply It In The Classroom Today?

Here’s a post on Campbell’s Law.

And I wrote about the Hawthorne Effect here.

Here’s more from Farnam Street on The Ben Franklin Effect.

Here’s a twist on “embodied cognition”:

I’ve previously posted about a study that explored the impact of wearing certain kinds of clothes can affect the person wearing them — see Can An Educator’s Clothes Affect How He/She Teaches? Recently, though, The New York Times published an article on the same study and, even more interestingly, The New York Times Learning Network posted a related lesson plan.

The Compelling (not just interesting) Input Hypothesis is a new paper by Stephen Krashen. Here’s an excerpt: “Compelling means that the input is so interesting you forget that it is in another language. It means you are in a state of “flow” (Csikszentmihalyi, 1990). In flow, the concerns of everyday life and even the sense of self disappear – our sense of time is altered and nothing but the activity itself seems to matter. Flow occurs during reading when readers are “lost in the book” (Nell, 1988) or in the “Reading Zone” (Atwell, 2007). Compelling input appears to eliminate the need for motivation, a conscious desire to improve. When you get compelling input, you acquire whether you are interested in improving or not.”

The 12 cognitive biases that prevent you from being rational is from Farnam Street.

June 6, 2018
by Larry Ferlazzo
0 comments

The Best Resources On Class Instruction In 2018 – So Far

 

Here’s another mid-year “Best” list…

I’m adding this list to All 2018 Mid-Year “Best” Lists – In One Place!

Four years ago I began publishing a regular Classroom Instruction Resources Of The Week post and have so far published:

The Best Resources On Class Instruction – 2015

The Best Resources On Class Instruction In 2016 – So Far

The Best Resources On Class Instruction In 2016 – Part Two

The Best Resources On Class Instruction In 2017 – So Far

The Best Resources On Class Instruction In 2017 – Part Two

Here are this year’s mid-year choices:

Comprehension Skills or Strategies: Is there a difference and does it matter? is from Timothy Shanahan. I’m adding it to The Best Posts On Reading Strategies & Comprehension – Help Me Find More!

A journey of a thousand miles… how can we help students begin?is from Harry Fletcher-Wood and is very good. It goes along with other posts I’ve written about the “Zeigarnik Effect.”

This is a very complete TED TALK UNIT from Brian Sztabnik. If you want to have your students create their own TED Talks, you won’t find anything better than this resource. I’m adding it to The Best Teacher Resources For “TED Talks” (& Similar Presentations).

Here are some interesting thoughts on the KWL chart from Crawling Out Of The Classroom. I’m adding it to The Best Resources For Learning About The Importance Of Prior Knowledge (& How To Activate It).

Positive Framing Examples and Non-Examples is from Teach Like A Champion. I’m adding it to  Best Posts On Why It’s Important To Be Positive In Class.

Tips for Teaching RACE Constructed Response Strategy is from Teaching To Inspire. I’m adding it to The Best Scaffolded Writing Frames For Students.

Eight Daily Classroom Data Sources to Empower Student-Directed Learning is by Kathy Dyer. I’m adding it to The Best Resources Showing Why We Need To Be “Data-Informed” & Not “Data-Driven”

Kelly Gallagher is sharing an argument unit he is teaching on mass shootings.

The MTBoS Search site is a search engine for posts from Math teachers.  It’s pretty impressive.  I’m adding it to The Best Apps, Online Tools & Other Resources For Math.

I really like the instructional activity the video in this tweet shares:

Teaching Tolerance published an impressive set of materials titled A Framework for Teaching American Slavery. I’m adding it to The Best Sites To Teach About African-American History.

Everyday Equity in the Classroom: A Start is by Josh Parker and appears in Ed Week. I’m adding it to New & Revised: Resources To Help Us Predominantly White Teachers To Reflect On How Race Influences Our Work.

A Pernicious Myth: Basics Before Deeper Learning appeared in Ed Week. This line stuck out for me:

Shifting from Bloom as ladder to Bloom as web is particularly critical if the goal is to re-engage learners for whom school is not working well.

I’m adding it to The Best Resources For Helping Teachers Use Bloom’s Taxonomy In The Classroom.

Using Jilk’s (2016) “It was smart when…” statement to name and notice students’ mathematical strengths is from Embracing Life With Major Revisions. I’m adding it to The Best Posts On Looking At Our Students Through The Lens Of Assets & Not Deficits and to The Best Apps, Online Tools & Other Resources For Math.

Improving reading comprehension through strategy instruction is from The Education Endowment Foundation. I’m adding it to The Best Posts On Reading Strategies & Comprehension – Help Me Find More!

3 Techniques for Students Who Know What They Want to Say But Not How to Say it is from Moving Writers. I’m adding it to Best Posts On Writing Instruction.

The Danger of the Story of “Both Sides” is from Teaching Tolerance. I’m adding it to The Best Resources On “The Danger Of A Single Story”

Civic Online Reasoning is new from The Stanford History Education Group. I’m adding it to The Best Tools & Lessons For Teaching Information Literacy – Help Me Find More.

First Encounters With Race and Racism: Teaching Ideas for Classroom Conversations is from The New York Times Learning Network. I’m adding it to A Collection Of Advice On Talking To Students About Race, Police & Racism.

Station Learning Engages High School English Students is by Starr Sackstein. I’m adding it to The Best Resources For Planning “Learning Stations” – Please Add More.

A FRONT THE WRITING DISCUSSION TEMPLATE (AND THE FEEDBACK WE GOT ON IT) is by Doug Lemov. I’m adding it to Best Posts On Writing Instruction.

 

May 9, 2018
by Larry Ferlazzo
0 comments

Classroom Instruction Resources Of The Week

Each week, I publish a post or two 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 (& Blog Posts) Offering Practical Advice & Resources To Teachers In 2016 – Part Two and The Best Resources On Class Instruction In 2017 – Part Two.

Here are this week’s picks:

A journey of a thousand miles… how can we help students begin? is from Harry Fletcher-Wood and is very good. It goes along with other posts I’ve written about the “Zeigarnik Effect.”

Use this study guide with your students ahead of the U.S-North Korea summit is from the PBS NewsHour. I’m adding it to A Beginning List Of The Best Resources For Teaching & Learning About The North Korea Missile Crisis.

USING QUESTIONS TO ENGAGE STUDENTS IN LEARNING AND ASSESSMENT is from Scott Reed (Thanks to Cara Jackson for the tip). I’m adding it to The Best Posts & Articles About Asking Good Questions — Help Me Find More.

How should students revise? A brief guide is from Carl Hendrick. I’m adding it to The Best Resources For Helping Students Learn How Best To Study.

This tweet shares an important point:

Here’s something we should keep in mind:

I’m adding this tweet to The Best Rubric Sites (And A Beginning Discussion About Their Use):

October 10, 2016
by Larry Ferlazzo
0 comments

A Look Back: 2011’s Best Posts From This Blog

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Next February, this blog will be celebrating its ten-year anniversary! Leading up to it, I’m re-starting a series I tried to do in the past called “A Look Back.” Each week, I’ll be re-posting a few of my favorite posts from the past ten years.

At the end of each month, I’ll also compile a few of them that I think readers might find particularly useful.

In August, I posted A Look Back: Best Posts From 2007 To 2009.

In September, I posted A Look Back: 2010’s Best Posts From This Blog.

It took me a shorter amount of time to share 2011’s “Best” posts – it was either not a very good year or I’m becoming more selective 🙂

Here they are:

A Look Back: Everything You Wanted To Know About Writing A Book, But Were Afraid To Ask

A Look Back: “Compromise” Is Not A Dirty Word

A Look Back: Qualities Of A Successful Language Learner

A Look Back: “Helping Students Motivate Themselves”

A Look Back: Five Questions That Will Improve Your Teaching

A Look Back: Alternatives To Collective Punishment

A Look Back: How I Milked A Lesson For Every Last Ounce Of Learning And Why I’m An Idiot For Not Thinking Of It Earlier

A Look Back: Is This The Most Important Research Study Of The Year? Maybe

A Look Back: “Draw A Stickman”

A Look Back: What Is The “Zeigarnik Effect” & How Did I Apply It In The Classroom Today?

A Look Back: What Can We Learn About Classroom Management From Abraham Lincoln?

 

December 5, 2012
by Larry Ferlazzo
0 comments

My Best Posts Over The Years — Volume Five

I’ve been writing this blog for six or seven years. I thought readers might find it useful for me to dig back in the “archives” and highlight my choices for some of the best posts that appeared during that time.

The first list in this series, My Best Posts Over The Years — Volume One, focused on the year 2007 and included a fair amount of still-useful material (at least in my opinion).

I’d say the same thing about my review of posts from 2008, which you can find in My Best Posts Over The Years — Volume Two.

Volume Three covered 2009.

Volume Four reviewed 2010.

And now it’s time to look back at 2011:

I published my third book, Helping Students Motivate Themselves. You can find lots of excerpts at the link.

Here are some of my favorite “The Best…” lists from that year (of course, they’ve all been updated since that time):

The Best Resources Showing Why We Need To Be “Data-Informed” & Not “Data-Driven”

The Best Tools For Creating Fake “Stuff” For Learning

The Best Resources On The Importance Of Building Positive Relationships With Students

The Best Posts Discussing Arrogance & School Reform

So, You Want To Write A Book? Here’s The Best Advice…

The Best Posts & Articles About Compromise

The Best Posts, Articles & Videos About Learning From Mistakes & Failures

The Best Videos Illustrating Qualities Of A Successful Language Learner

The Best Articles Describing Alternatives To High-Stakes Testing

I published quite a few articles in other publications that year:

Videotaping teachers the right way (not the Gates way) appeared in The Washington Post.  I still think it’s the best piece I’ve ever written.

“Finishing the School Year Strong” was a very popular piece that appeared in Education Week.

Five Questions That Will Improve Your Teaching

What’s really wrong with ‘parent trigger’ laws

Why schools should not grade character traits

Here are some useful classroom management posts:

What Can We Learn About Classroom Management From Abraham Lincoln?

Collective Punishment In The Classroom

Whenever You’re Tempted To Use Punishment As A Classroom Management Tool, Remember This Comic Strip

What Is The “Zeigarnik Effect” & How Did I Apply It In The Classroom Today?

Here are my favorite posts on instruction:

How I Milked A Lesson For Every Last Ounce Of Learning And Why I’m An Idiot For Not Thinking Of It Earlier

An Effective Five-Minute Lesson On Metacognition

Is This The Most Important Research Study Of The Year? Maybe

This Is The Best Lesson Plan On Punctuation I’ve Ever Read

Three “Bonus” Posts:

Three Good Questions For Teachers To Ask Themselves

Moonwalking Birds Video

“Draw A Stickman” & Make Him Come To Life

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