Larry Ferlazzo’s Websites of the Day…

…For Teaching ELL, ESL, & EFL

February 19, 2013
by Larry Ferlazzo
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Free Book Excerpts — Lesson Plans On Bloom’s Taxonomy & Metacognition

Eye On Education has just made an excerpt from my upcoming book, Self-Driven Learning, available free online. Just go to the link and click on “Click for PDF sample pages.”

It will lead you to a portion of my chapter on higher-level thinking skills, and includes ideas and lessons for Bloom’s Taxonomy and metacognition. It’s not the entire chapter, but it will certainly give you a flavor of the book, as well as some useful lesson ideas.

June 1, 2012
by Larry Ferlazzo
0 comments

A Very Good Article On Metacognition

I’ve previously posted about a very useful study done on metacognition by Dr. Steve Fleming (see Does Getting Better At Metacognition Physically Alter The Brain?) and his follow-up comments (Update On Metacognition Study).

Today, BrainFacts.org published a nice interview with him discussing metacognition. In fact, it’s been one of the most accessible pieces on the topic that I’ve seen — Metacognition — I Know (or Don’t Know) that I Know.

I’m adding it to The Best Posts On Metacognition.

May 13, 2012
by Larry Ferlazzo
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The Best Posts On Metacognition

Helping students strengthen their understanding of metacognition — thinking about their thinking — is an important goal of my teaching. And I’ve written a lot about it. I thought it would be helpful to gather all of those posts in one “The Best…” list.

Here are My Best Posts On Metacognition:

ALSO:

How People Learn:Bridging Research and Practice is a new book from The National Academy Of Sciences and can be read for free online. It focuses on three teaching strategies — activating prior knowledge, focusing on big concept ideas and encouraging pattern recognition, and developing awareness of metacognition.

Do Students Know Enough Smart Learning Strategies? is an important post at MindShift that describes a recent Australian study. It highlights the importance of helping students develop metacognitive skills.

Metacognition and Student Learning is from The Chronicle on Higher Education.

Bringing Metacognition into the Classroom is by Lizzie Pinard.

The Importance Of Explaining “Why”

Feedback is welcome.

If you found this post useful, you might want to look at the 900 other “The Best…” lists and consider subscribing to this blog for free.

April 24, 2012
by Larry Ferlazzo
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What Is Metacognition?

The Royal Society has just published a journal issue on metacognition.

It’s pretty technical, and I don’t think particularly helpful to teachers.

However, they also published a short video interview with the guest editors of the journal. In it, one of the editors, Christopher Frith, had some useful comments on metacognition. I think most of us know it already, but it was helpful to hear it anyway. It’s just another reminder to me about creating a “The Best…” list on my posts about metacognition.

Here are his two comments that struck me:

Psychologists describe [metacognition] as monitoring and control. An example is when you’re doing something like typing, you monitor what you’re doing so you notice if you’ve made an error and then you slow down — which is the control bit — to prevent the error from happening in the future.

At the very top end of metacognition when we are reflecting on what we’re doing, it has a very important social function. We can actually tell people why we did something. It turns out that most of the time we’re not very good at knowing why we do things. But by actually discussing it with other people we get better.

April 8, 2012
by Larry Ferlazzo
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Student Writing & Metacognition

I’ve previously posted about having English Language Learner students write and describe the process they’ve used to write an essay (see A Pretty Darn Good Lesson — If I Say So Myself :) ). They then record themselves using the Fotobabble web tool.

I’ve got to collect all my posts related to metacognition into a “The Best…” list…

Last week, I had my Beginning ELL students do something similar, but a little different.

We’ve been working writing research essays, and using graphic organizers that they construct. Their first one was on an animal of their choosing (we’re going on a field trip to the zoo soon). They’ll be doing another one on a country of their choice and, to further solidify the writing process in their minds, they described the process they used. They’re holding their essays and their graphic organizers in the photos.

It’s a simple exercise that covers all four domains — reading, writing, speaking, and listening (we post them on our class blog and show them to the class).

Here are a couple of examples:

March 13, 2012
by Larry Ferlazzo
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Update On Metacognition Study

Earlier today, I wrote a post titled Does Getting Better At Metacognition Physically Alter The Brain? In it, I described some interesting studies done on metacognition using MRI’s.

I contacted the author of the study with a question, Dr. Stephen Fleming, and he graciously responded very quickly. Here’s my email and his answer:

MY QUESTION:

Dr. Fleming,

I’m a high school teacher in California, and write a blog with over 25,000 daily subscribers — mostly educators.

I’ve recently learned about your research on metacognition, and have posted on my blog about it.

Helping my students learn about the physical impact learning has on their brain has had an important impact on them. I saw that in your 2010 paper on metacognition, which I write about in my blog, you found that people with a greater metacognitive function had a greater developed prefrontal cortex, but you weren’t sure if that was because it had developed because of their practice of metacognition or if they were just born with it.

Since 2010, have you determined which it was? As I write in my post, it would be a great asset for teachers if we could help our students see that their brains actually change as they practice metacognition.

Larry Ferlazzo

DR. FLEMING’S RESPONSE

Dear Larry,

Many thanks for your interest in our research, and for featuring our article on your blog.

Unfortunately we still do not know the answer to your question. There are two main challenges in carrying out this study. First, one would have to develop a reliable method for training metacognitive function in isolation of other changes in cognitive skill, such as decision-making, memory, etc. As yet I do not know of such a protocol, but would love to hear your ideas on this.

And second, longitudinal measures of brain structure and function would be required at different stages during the training. This is certainly feasible, but a caveat is that the field is still developing in its understanding of what different types of MRI measures mean for brain function. For example, we don’t know how the measure of structure we used in our paper (voxel-based morphometry) affects the functional properties of a particular brain region.

This would be a great study to carry out, and I would love to know the results!
In my own research, I am currently focussed on understanding the computations underlying metacognition at the individual level. Hopefully we can then use this knowledge to examine questions about differences between individuals.

Best wishes
Steve

So it looks like we’ll have to wait awhile for the answer….

Thanks to Dr. Fleming for his gracious response!

March 13, 2012
by Larry Ferlazzo
0 comments

Does Getting Better At Metacognition Physically Alter The Brain?

I’ve posted a lot about the importance of metacognition, and how I try to help students recognize its importance and apply it.

The Wellcome Trust in the United Kingdom just published a report on a very interesting study on metacognition — Metacognition – I know (or don’t know) that I know.

It’s apparently one of the few studies done on the topic with MRI’s. They were able to identify metacognition with a small part of the brain. Here’s the most interesting part of the report:

The findings, published in ‘Science’ in September 2010, linked the complex high-level process of metacognition to a small part of the brain. The study was the first to show that physical brain differences between people are linked to their level of self-awareness or metacognition.

Intriguingly, the anterior prefrontal cortex is also one of the few parts of the brain with anatomical properties that are unique to humans and fundamentally different from our closest relatives, the great apes. It seems introspection might be unique to humans.

“At this stage, we don’t know whether this area develops as we get better at reflecting on our thoughts, or whether people are better at introspection if their prefrontal cortex is more developed in the first place,” says Steve.

Boy, if scientists find that practicing metacognition physically alters the brain, that sure would be a great addition to my brain lessons (see The Best Resources For Showing Students That They Make Their Brain Stronger By Learning).

The study referenced in the report took place in 2010. I’ve contacting Dr. Fleming to see if he has developed any further conclusions since that time.

February 23, 2012
by Larry Ferlazzo
1 Comment

Nice Way To Connect Photos To Metacognition

I’ve previously written how I used photos of my students in class to promote their metacognition. It’s always gone well.

Today, Alison Anderson wrote a guest post in Richard Byrne’s blog that I think took that concept a step further and has made it a regular occurrence in her classroom. In the post, titled Look At The Camera and Say “Think,” she describes how she takes pictures of students at work and asks them for their homework to describe what was happening and what they were thinking.

She describes it more in-depth and shares a lot of other good ideas. It’s definitely worth checking out.

I’ll be adding her ideas to The Best Ways To Use Photos In Lessons.

October 31, 2011
by Larry Ferlazzo
6 Comments

An Effective Five-Minute Lesson On Metacognition

I often write about helping students exercise, and be aware of, metacognition (see Another Lesson Combining Metacognition, Writing, Speaking, & Listening) and include extensive lesson plans about it in my latest book.

Today, I did a five-minute unplanned lesson on metacognition that I believe was extraordinarily effective.

We were looking at writing “hooks” — openings for their biographical essays on either George Washington or Ben Franklin — and comparing several examples of good and bad ones. Students were to work in pairs and choose the best ones and write a one sentence explanation of why they thought it was better.

Prior to their beginning the activity, and after I had modeled it, I introduced the word “metacognition” as part of an explanation of why I wanted them to write their reasons.

Students know I play basketball a lot (it’s not unusual for me to come to class with a black eye from someone’s elbow or I might be limping), so I crunched up a piece of paper, threw it, and intentionally missed the garbage can. The paper fell to the right (of course, students loved that I missed). I told the class, “Okay, now I know that I have adjust my shot. I’m thinking about it, and maybe I need to adjust to the left. I think I’d have a better chance if I threw it underhand, too, because it would have a higher arc.”

I crunched-up another sheet of paper, threw it, and it landed just short, hitting the rim of the can (again, great cheers from the class). I said, “It looks like I’m getting closer. I think I’ll just have to throw it a little harder and it should go in.”

I got another piece of paper, and threw it — bulls-eye!. I said, “Now, the next times I want to try to make a basket here, I’ll know to throw it underhand and aim better. That’s the kind of thinking I go through on the basketball court, and how we improve in lots of ways. We take the time to think about “Why?”

I then told the class, “Let’s see how I do shooting the ball without using metacognition.” I crumpled up three pieces of paper and just threw them one-by-one in the direction of the can. None went in. I told the class, “I’m going to ask a question, and I don’t want anyone to call out an answer. Why didn’t those three balls go in? Tell a partner.” Students shared and then I called on one, who responded, “Because you didn’t think about it first.”

“Exactly, I told the class. If we don’t ‘think about our thinking,’ we won’t learn from our mistakes or from our successes. We’ll always start from scratch when we face a problem. By using metacognition, we’ll be able to more effectively apply what we learn now to the future.”

Students immediately got to work without any whining about having to write their reasons for choosing the “hooks.” It seemed to me that they really got “it.”

What do you think? And do you have effective short lessons that get the idea of metacognition across?

March 3, 2011
by Larry Ferlazzo
1 Comment

Another Lesson Combining Metacognition, Writing, Speaking, & Listening

Late last year, I wrote a post titled A Pretty Darn Good Lesson — If I Say So Myself :) . In it, I described, and included links to student examples, of how our Intermediate English students “wrote about how they were going to write” and autobiographical incident essay, and then recorded it on Fotobabble. I also shared that we were planning on using that model throughout the year and make it progressively more challenging to our students.

I thought readers might want to hear about how we (when I say we, I mean Katie Hull, my co-teacher and co-author of an upcoming book on teaching English Language Learners) have been doing in that progression.

This week, after showing students a model of a persuasive essay, we had them write a short paragraph about a time they had to persuade someone to do something. In their paragraph, we asked them to use some of the key vocabulary words we had been learning (persuade, convince, reason, support, facts, etc.). Unlike the time I wrote about it before, this week students had to do more than just fill-in-the-blanks — they had to full construct their own paragraph. It’s a dry run for a more extensive persuasive essay they’ll be writing. We also took photos of students writing their paragraph, which we uploaded.

You can see and hear Bee’s example here. You can listen to Bryan, Mai Pa, and Payia. You can listen to many more here on our class blog.

The day after students recorded their paragraphs, we listened to them in the classroom. On small pieces of paper, after each one minute passage was played, all students needed to write what they liked about the recording, or describe the picture it made them see in their mind, or make a connection by writing what it made them remember (reading strategies we use and which we are also applying to listening activities). A student would then collect them all and give them to the student who spoke. While that was going, we would give specific feedback to the student (we’ve been working on pronouncing clearly and reading with “feeling”).

At the end of the year, we’ll be having students assess themselves using an Improvement Rubric (I write more about this in my upcoming book, Helping Students Motivate Themselves, and include samples).

It was a great lesson on many levels, and Fotobabble sure makes it easy.

November 5, 2010
by Larry Ferlazzo
0 comments

Student Metacognition & Instructional Strategies

I’ve written a lot about Kelly Young, who provides extraordinary training in instructional strategies, plus great curriculum, to schools throughout the United States.

On one of the pages of his Pebble Creeks website, he gives a short overview of the primary instructional strategies we use at our school, and at the other ones with whom he works.

We recently completed a lesson he developed where students describe each strategy after having spent two months using them. We then have students explain if and how it helps them learn, and then they make a poster out of what they’ve written.

This year, I had my ninth-grade students convert their poster into an essay and post it on our class blog. There are twelve or thirteen essays there now. I always find it interesting to see what students have to say — it helps me see if I have done a good job at helping them see how it’s in their self-interest to do what we do in the class. One of my goals this year was to make a priority of helping students see the “why” behind what we do, so these essays are a good indicator on how successful, or unsuccessful, I’ve been. This kind of metacognition on their part should contribute to their becoming better writers and readers.

Of course, students can always write what they think I want to hear instead of what they really think. But I hope I contribute towards a classroom culture where that isn’t the case.

But I don’t think I can ever know for sure…

Either way, I think the essays are worth a look.

August 24, 2010
by Larry Ferlazzo
0 comments

“There’s a metacognition deficit”

David Brooks has written a very good column in The New York Times today headlined A Case of Mental Courage.

He says “there’s a metacognition deficit” in our society and:

In this atmosphere, we’re all less conscious of our severe mental shortcomings and less inclined to be skeptical of our own opinions.

It sounds like this quote could fit right in my weekend post “Five Quotes That All Of Us (Including Self-Righteous School Reformers) Should Keep In Mind.”

I often like his columns, except when he writes about schools. Then, he’s almost incoherent.

January 12, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
0 comments

Learning & The Brain Materials

Developing A Self-Motivated Student Culture

Meet Self-Motivation Chatboard

My Best Posts On “Motivating” Students

The Best Resources For Learning How To Best Give Feedback To Students

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

The Best Sites For Cooperative Learning Ideas

The Best Resources For Learning The Advantages To Being Bilingual

The Best Resources For Helping Teens Learn About The Importance Of Sleep

The Best Resources For Showing Students That They Make Their Brain Stronger By Learning

My Best Posts On Students Setting Goals

The Best Resources For Doing A “One-Sentence Project”

The Best Resources For Learning About The Importance Of “Grit”

The Best Resources For Learning About Teens & Stress

My Best Posts On Classroom Management

The Best Resources For Helping Students (& The Rest Of Us) Learn The Concept Of Not Blaming Others

My Best Posts About Helping Students Develop Their Capacity For Self-Control

The Best Articles About The Study Showing Social Emotional Learning Isn’t Enough

Eight Things Skilled Teachers Think, Say, and Do

SATURDAY WORKSHOP:

Today’s Meet Brain-Based Chatboard
Also, see links for the Friday workshop above…

Helping Students Make A Connection Between What They’re Learning In School To Their Goals In Life

“Relevance” & Student Learning

The Best Posts & Articles About Providing Students With Choices

The Best Resources For Learning About Formative Assessment

The Best Resources On Student & Teacher Reflection

The Best Posts On Metacognition

The Best Resources For Helping Teachers Use Bloom’s Taxonomy In The Classroom

The Best Posts & Articles About Asking Good Questions

November 1, 2013
by Larry Ferlazzo
2 Comments

Using Freire & Fotobabble With English Language Learners

'Paulo Freire-simon Rodrigues' photo (c) 2007, geya garcia - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

I’ve written several times about how I use critical pedagogy with English Language Learners, specifically using a Freirian model (see “Freire’s Learning Sequence” from this blog and a New York Times piece I wrote).

In addition, I’ve often written about how I use the Fotobabble tool, which lets you post an image and provide a thirty second narration with it (see Student Writing & Metacognition).

Well, our student teachers and I put the two together this week with our Beginning English Language Learners.

Johnny Doolittle, an art teacher at our school, regularly uses his prep (free) period to help our ELLs, and this week did an art project with them. Along with creating art, our student teachers thought it would be a good time to use some Diego Rivera artwork in the context of a critical pedagogy lesson.

Students followed this sequence with the art:

1. Show a picture or short video clip portraying a national or international problem, or a common challenge your students face.

2. Next, ask students to share what they believe is happening. What is the problem they think is being portrayed?

3. Ask students what they think caused the problem.

4. This is followed by asking students if they, members of their family, or friends have ever experienced a similar problem.

5. Next, students can share how they responded to the problem.

6. The final task is to ask them to talk about other ideas they might have about how to respond to the problem, potentially bringing everything together in a poster to share.

This is where Fotobabble came in — we then took a picture of students with their “storyboarded” answers, and recorded their narration.

It worked pretty well. Here are a couple of example:

Also, students showed the art they created with Mr. Doolittle, and described the steps they took to create it:

October 1, 2013
by Larry Ferlazzo
1 Comment

Using Freire & Fotobabble With English Language Learners

'Paulo Freire-simon Rodrigues' photo (c) 2007, geya garcia - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

I’ve written several times about how I use critical pedagogy with English Language Learners, specifically using a Freirian model (see “Freire’s Learning Sequence” from this blog and a New York Times piece I wrote).

In addition, I’ve often written about how I use the Fotobabble tool, which lets you post an image and provide a thirty second narration with it (see Student Writing & Metacognition).

Well, our student teachers and I put the two together this week with our Beginning English Language Learners.

Johnny Doolittle, an art teacher at our school, regularly uses his prep (free) period to help our ELLs, and this week did an art project with them. Along with creating art, our student teachers thought it would be a good time to use some Diego Rivera artwork in the context of a critical pedagogy lesson.

Students followed this sequence with the art:

1. Show a picture or short video clip portraying a national or international problem, or a common challenge your students face.

2. Next, ask students to share what they believe is happening. What is the problem they think is being portrayed?

3. Ask students what they think caused the problem.

4. This is followed by asking students if they, members of their family, or friends have ever experienced a similar problem.

5. Next, students can share how they responded to the problem.

6. The final task is to ask them to talk about other ideas they might have about how to respond to the problem, potentially bringing everything together in a poster to share.

This is where Fotobabble came in — we then took a picture of students with their “storyboarded” answers, and recorded their narration.

It worked pretty well. Here are a couple of example:

Also, students showed the art they created with Mr. Doolittle, and described the steps they took to create it:

August 7, 2013
by Larry Ferlazzo
0 comments

The Best Resources On Student & Teacher Reflection

'Reflections - fountain' photo (c) 2008, Sudarshan V - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

I have several other “The Best…” lists that relate to reflection (on goal-setting, self-control, metacognition, asking good questions, critical thinking, etc.), but thought I’d put one together specifically on the topic.

And I hope that readers will contribute more.

Here are my choices for The Best Resources On Student & Teacher Reflection:

I’m a big fan of Hannah Arendt and use her work to help students see the importance of reflection. Here are two related previous posts:

Video: “Hannah Arendt” — The Movie (& The Importance Of Reflection)

Quote Of The Day: Hannah Arendt & The Origin Of Evil

A Taxonomy of Reflection: Critical Thinking For Students, Teachers, and Principals is by Peter Pappas.

Empowering Students Through Reflection and Feedback is from Let’s Get Engaged.

Four Levels of Student Reflection is from Faculty Focus.

Reflective Thinking

Why The Brain Benefits From Reflection In Learning is from Teach Thought.

A Mid-Year Reflection for Teachers and Students is by Maurice Elias at Edutopia.

If you found this post useful, you might want to look at previous “The Best…” lists and also consider subscribing to this blog for free.

June 22, 2013
by Larry Ferlazzo
0 comments

The Best Articles (And Blog Posts) Offering Practical Advice & Resources To Teachers In 2013 – So Far

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I continue my mid-year “The Best…” lists…

The title of this “The Best…” list is pretty self-explanatory. What you’ll find here are blog posts and articles this year (some written by me, some by others) that were, in my opinion, the ones that offered the best practical advice and resources to teachers this year — suggestions that can help teachers become more effective in the classroom today or tomorrow. Some, however, might not appear on the surface to fit that criteria, but those, I think, might offer insights that could (should?) inform our teaching practice everyday.

For some, the headlines provide enough of an idea of the topic and I haven’t included any further description.

You might also be interested in:

The Best Articles (And Blog Posts) Offering Practical Advice & Resources To Teachers In 2012 — Part Two

The Best Articles (And Blog Posts) Offering Practical Advice To Teachers In 2012 — Part One

The Best Articles (And Blog Posts) Offering Practical Advice To Teachers In 2011

The Best Articles (And Blog Posts) Offering Practical Advice To Teachers — 2010

The Best Articles (And Blog Posts) Offering Practical Advice To Teachers — 2009

In addition, you might find these useful:

The Best Reflective Posts I’ve Written About My Teaching Practice In 2011

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

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

Here are my choices for The Best Articles (And Blog Posts) Offering Practical Advice & Resources To Teachers In 2013- So Far:

How My Ninth-Grade English Class Evaluated Me This Year

Here are articles, including excerpts from my latest book, that I’ve written this year and that are very practical:

Q & A Collections: Student Motivation is the title of one of my posts at Education Week Teacher. It brings all my Ed Week posts on student motivation together in one place.

The Power Of Stories

The Importance Of Explaining “Why”

“Keep Calm & Carry On”

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

I’ve published a list of the ten most popular posts from my Ed Week Teacher blog.

I’ve previously posted about LearnZillion and put it on The Best MATH Sites That Students Can Use Independently And Let Teachers Check On Progress list. Since that time, they’ve added English Language Arts lessons, and are planning to also have ones related to Social Studies. So, now, I’m also adding it to The Best Sites That Students Can Use Independently And Let Teachers Check On Progress list.

The Simple Things I Do To Promote Brain-Based Learning In My Classroom is by Judy Willis. I’m adding it to The Best Resources On “Brain-Based Learning” — Help Me Find More.

What to Do When You’ve Made Someone Angry is an excellent Harvard Business Review article, and very applicable to the classroom (as well as in other areas of life).

Here’s an excerpt:

When-youve-done

It’s a refinement on what I’ve written about the importance of saying “I’m sorry” to students. I tried out Bregman’s advice in class. A student was upset because I didn’t get over to him as quickly as he would have liked when he had a question (a chronic reaction from this particular student). We’ve talked before about how I have many other students who need my help, and, typically, I just quickly say “Sorry” when he expresses his impatience and move on to his question. This time, though, I said, “Sorry, I can see that you wanted to get this work done and were frustrated you had to wait to get my help before you were able to move on” and then got to his question. He clearly was able to “let go” of his anger quicker than usual and re-focus on the work. It’s just one more positive classroom strategy to have in one’s “back pocket.”

Classroom Management Strategy: “Sometimes The Only Thing Worse Than Losing A Fight Is Winning One”

My Best Posts On Writing Instruction

Social and emotional learning gaining new focus under Common Core is a very useful and interesting article published by Ed Source.

The Best Multilingual Resources For Parents is a new “The Best” list I posted over at my other blog, Engaging Parents In School.

The Best Sources Of Advice On How To Get A Teaching Job

Classroom Management Strategy: Here Are Three Things I Want. What Are Three Things You Want?

The Best Resources On “Close Reading” — Help Me FInd More

This is definitely one of the most interesting and useful TED videos I’ve seen (it’s actually a from a TEDx event). Marc Chun talks about Diving Into Deeper Learning. Unfortunately, since it’s a TEDx video, and not one from TED, they don’t have a transcript available. But it’s definitely worth watching. I’m adding it to The Best Resources For Learning About The Concept Of “Transfer.”

The BAM Radio Network interviewed several guests, including Daniel Pink and me, for a program on student motivation. You can listen to it here.

Stop Telling Your Employees What to Do is a post at the Harvard Business Review that has a lot of applicability to the classroom. Here’s an excerpt:

I’m adding it to The Best Posts & Articles On “Motivating” Students.

A Very, Very Beginning List Of The Best Resources On Bullying — Please Suggest More

A Beginning List Of The Best Resources On Using Technology To Help Engage Parents is a post over at my other blog, Engaging Parents In School.

The Best Ideas On How To Finish The School Year Strong….

Famous Person Project

All Excerpts From My Book, “Self-Driven Learning,” In One Place

In addition to this blog, I regularly post at several other sites:

Engaging Parents In School:

Larry Ferlazzo's Engaging Parents in School Site
Weekly Posts At Classroom Q & A With Larry Ferlazzo:

Monthly Posts At The New York Times Learning Network on Teaching English Language Learners:

New York Times Learning Network
Periodic Posts at Edutopia:

Edutopia
All My Class Blogs:

I’ve written regularly in my blog and in my books about the advantages of helping develop intrinsic motivation.

Here’s some more evidence from a TIME Magazine report titled Pushing Teens to Change Their Eating Habits Could Backfire on a recent study regarding parents, their children, and diet:

Anyone see any classroom parallels?

This comic strip provides a perfect example of the wrong way to initiate a serious conversation with anyone, including a student:

Source: gocomics.com

Simple Writing Exercise Said To “Narrow Achievement Gap”

The Value Of “Mimic Writing”

Helping Students Make A Connection Between What They’re Learning In School To Their Goals In Life

How to Give Effective Feedback, Both Positive and Negative is useful column in The New York Times. Here’s an excerpt:

I’m adding it to The Best Resources For Learning How To Best Give Feedback To Students.

The Advantages Of Helping Students Feel Powerful

Here’s A Goal-Tracking Sheet I’m Giving To Students

Response: Best Homework Practices is one of my posts at Education Week Teacher.

This quote is from Marta Kagan in 7 Lessons From the World’s Most Captivating Presenters. I’m adding this info to The Best Sources Of Advice For Making Good Presentations:

“Descriptive Norms” In The New York Times & In The Classroom

Student Engagement “Requires A Conversation” is another post at my Education Week column.

Here’s a great story from Marvin Marshall, a great writer on positive classroom strategies:

Here’s The Latest Reflection/Goal-Setting Sheet I’m Using With Students

The Best Posts & Articles On Student Engagement

The Best Resources For Learning About Ability Grouping & Tracking — Help Me Find More

Many Ways To Help Students Develop Academic Vocabulary is one of  my posts over at Education Week Teacher.

The Best Resources For Doing A “One-Sentence Project”

Bill Ferriter has written a post, including samples, of one-page “unit overview sheets” that he gives to students at the beginning of a course of study and revisits each day.

Links To The Entire Six Week Twitter Chat On Helping Students Develop Intrinsic Motivation

“Ten Elements Of Effective Instruction” is the title of one of my posts at Education Week Teacher.

The Best Resources For Learning About The Concept Of “Transfer” — Help Me Find More

Writing Letters To Students Redux

Eye On Education, the publisher of my new books on student motivation, Helping Students Motivate Themselves and Self-Driven Learning, have just posted a short video clip from a webinar I did for them.

In it, I share three strategies that can help students develop intrinsic motivation:

 

“Asking Good Questions Is Important Because…..”

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

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

Several Ways to Balance Between District Mandates & Student Needs is a post at my Education Week Teacher blog.

The Best Ways To Deal With Rudeness In Class

Response: Do’s and Don’ts for Better Project-Based Learning is a good Education Week Teacher post.

I’ve written a lot about effective ways to give student feedback, and you can seem a collection of pieces about the topic at The Best Resources For Learning How To Best Give Feedback To Students.

An article entitled Choice Words by Doug Fisher and Nancy Frey has been published by the National Association of Secondary School Principals, and it’s an exceptional commentary with practical suggestions on giving effective feedback.

I especially like the framework they use — dividing helpful feedback into ones that emphasize student accomplishments, identity and agency.

Short, Sweet & Effective Advice On Helping Students Motivate Themselves

The Best Resources On Grading Practices

The Best Resources For Learning About Performance Assessment

A “Taxonomy For Understanding”

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.

June 13, 2013
by Larry Ferlazzo
0 comments

My Best Posts On Writing Instruction

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Photo Credit: D. Sharon Pruitt via Compfight

I’ve published a number of posts on writing instruction, and thought I’d bring them all together into one “The Best” list.

I’ve previously posted tons of lists sharing sites that are useful in writing instruction, but none collecting posts I’ve written about what to actually do in the classroom.

Before I get to those posts, though, here are the website lists:

The Best Websites For K-12 Writing Instruction/Reinforcement
The Best Places Where Students Can Write Online
The Best Sites For Grammar Practice
Not “The Best,” But “A List” Of Mindmapping, Flow Chart Tools, & Graphic Organizers
The Best Resources For Researching & Writing Biographies
The Best Resources For Learning How To Write Response To Literature Essays
The Best Places Where Students Can Write For An “Authentic Audience”
The Best Places Where Students Can Create Online Learning/Teaching Objects For An “Authentic Audience”
The Best Places To Read & Write “Choose Your Own Adventure” Stories
The Best Sites To Learn About Advertising
The Best Websites For Developing Academic English Skills & Vocabulary
The Best Online Interactive Exercises For Writing That Are Not Related To Literary Analysis
The Best Online Resources To Teach About Plagiarism
The Best Resources For Learning Research & Citation Skills
The Best Sites For Students To Create & Participate In Online Debates
The Best Online Resources For Helping Students Learn To Write Persuasive Essays
The Best Spelling Sites
The Best Sites For Gaining A Basic Understanding Of Adjectives
The “Best” Sites For Helping Students Write Autobiographical Incident Essays
The Best Sites To Learn “Feelings” Words
The Best Sites For ELL’s To Learn About Punctuation
The Best Resources To Help Students Write Research Essays
The Best Sites For Learning To Write A Story
The Best Writing Advice From Famous Authors
The Best Resources On Punctuation

And, now, here are my writing instruction posts:

I published a four-part series on teaching writing over at my Education Week blog. Here’s a link to the final post in that series — it contains links to the previous three, too.

My Revised Final Exams (And An Important Lesson)

Five ways to get kids to want to read and write

“Instead of seeing students as Far Below Basic or Advanced, we see them as learners” is a guest post written by my colleague Lara Hoekstra.

More Mount Everest Resources, Including Prompt We’re Using As Part Of Our “Final”

Writing Prompts — Feel Free To Contribute Your Own!

Rwanda Lesson & Writing Prompt

Here’s The “Growth Mindset” Article & Prompt We’re Using As Part Of Our Semester Final

“Point, Quote, Connect”

Helping Students Write Essays

Student Writing & Metacognition

My Student Handout For Simple Journal-Writing

New Study Says That Half Of “Evidence-Based Practices” In Writing Instruction Not “Signaled” By Common Core

I’ve posted a collection of all my Education Week Teacher posts on teaching reading and writing. It includes contributions from lots of great educators.

Student-Created Prompts As A Differentiation Strategy

Here’s What I’m Having My ELL Geography Students Do As Their Semester “Final”

Here’s What I’m Having My ELL U.S. History Students Do As Their Semester “Final”

Here’s What My IB Theory Of Knowledge Students Are Doing For Their Semester “Final”

Writing Prompt For “The Long March”

Quote Of The Day: “We Must Always Take Sides”

Helping Students Respond To Writing Prompts

Video (& Writing Prompt): “A failure isn’t a failure if it prepares you for success tomorrow”

Excellent (& I Mean EXCELLENT!) Post On Asking Questions

This Is Exactly What I Mean By Connecting Social Emotional Learning & Literacy Instruction….

Another Good Writing Prompt: Reconciliation

Feel free to offer links to your best posts (or pieces that others have written) on teaching writing….

June 3, 2013
by Larry Ferlazzo
1 Comment

The Importance Of Explaining “Why”

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I’ve often written — in articles, in my books, and here in this blog — about the importance of agitating students to explain their answers. As I wrote in The New York Times while discussing a lesson where students had to do a sequencing task by putting text fragments in the correct order:

Putting the passages in the correct order, however, is just one part of this kind of learning task. Equally important is having students explain (for example, by highlighting “clues”) why they believe certain text goes where it does. As research shows, this kind of “explanation-based learning” can have numerous benefits, especially increasing the odds of students using the strategies they successfully apply in these sequencing activities to other comprehension tasks.

New research has just come out reinforcing the importance of “explanation-based learning” and its ability to help students gain a greater understand so they can transfer their knowledge to new situations.  You definitely want to read the entire article at Education Week, but here’s an excerpt:

“Often students are able to say facts, but not able to understand the underlying mathematics concept, or transfer a problem in math to a similar problem in chemistry,” said Joseph Jay Williams, a cognitive science and online education researcher at the University of California, Berkeley.

For example, a student asked to explain why 2×3=6 cannot simply memorize and parrot the answer, but must understand the underlying relationship between multiplication and addition, Mr. Williams said. Students who can verbally explain why they arrived at a particular answer have proved in prior studies to be more able to catch their own incorrect assumptions and generalize what they learn to other subjects.

“We know generating explanations leads to better educational outcomes generally. When children explain events, they learn more than when just getting feedback about the accuracy of their predictions,” said Cristine H. Legare, an assistant psychology professor and the director of the Cognition, Culture, and Development Laboratory at the University of Texas at Austin.

I’m adding this info to both The Best Posts On Metacognition and to The Best Resources For Learning About The Concept Of “Transfer.”