Larry Ferlazzo’s Websites of the Day…

…For Teaching ELL, ESL, & EFL

February 19, 2013
by Larry Ferlazzo
0 comments

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
0 comments

The Best Posts On Metacognition

'Thinking' photo (c) 2008, Wade M - license: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/

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”

My top ten learner autonomy and metacognition resources is from Lizzie Pinard.

Coming up with explanations helps children develop cause-and-effect thinking skills is a report from Science Daily on a new study.

The role of metacognition in language learning is by Lizzie Pinard.

Helping language learners visualise their linguistic development: growing learning is by Lizzie Pinard.

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
0 comments

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
0 comments

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
0 comments

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
7 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.

June 17, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
0 comments

The Best Resources, Articles & Blog Posts For Teachers Of ELLs In 2014 – So Far

486918837174942_a-409579c0_EragUw_pm

Another day, another  “The Best…” list…..

You might also be interested in:

The “All-Time” Best Resources, Articles & Blog Posts For Teachers Of English Language Learners

The Best Resources, Articles & Blog Posts For Teachers Of ELLs In 2013 – Part Two

The Best Resources, Articles & Blog Posts For Teachers Of ELLs In 2013 – So Far

The Best Resources, Articles & Blog Posts For Teachers Of ELL’s In 2012 — Part Two

The Best Resources, Articles & Blog Posts For Teachers Of ELL’s In 2012 — Part One

The Best Resources, Articles & Blog Posts For Teachers Of ELL’s In 2011 — Part Two

The Best Resources, Articles & Blog Posts For Teachers Of ELL’s In 2011 — Part One

The Best Resources, Articles & Blog Posts For Teachers Of ELL’s — 2010

The Best Sites For Teachers Of English Language Learners — 2009

Here are my choices for The Best Resources, Articles & Blog Posts For Teachers Of ELL’s In 2014 – So Far:

Helping language learners visualise their linguistic development: growing learning is by Lizzie Pinard. I’m adding it to The Best Posts On Metacognition. She wrote another great post on metacognition and language-learning, and you can find that link within that post. She also shared My top ten learner autonomy and metacognition resources..

I’ve often written about the Picture Word Inductive Model, my favorite teaching strategy for Beginning English Language Learners. I’ve published a post at The British Council with a more detailed explanation on how to use it in the classroom. You might be interested in all my previous posts there, which you can find here.

I’ve written over forty posts for The New York Times
that each include a student interactive and teaching ideas for English Language Learners.

Flashcards in the Classroom: Ten Lesson Ideas is from ELT Experiences. I’m adding it to The Best Tools To Make Online Flashcards.

Videos: Using Art As A Language-Learning Activity

Here Are The Eleven Sites I’m Using For My Summer School “Virtual Classroom”

Geography Instagram Videos By English Language Learners

Stanford University has released a treasure trove of resources about teaching ELLs.

The Image Bank is from The British Council. I’m adding it to The Best Ways To Use Photos In Lessons.

Six ways teachers can stay energized is another one of my monthly posts at Teaching English at the British Council.

Here’s an excerpt:

The-remembering-self-is

Last year, I wrote about a fun game for English Language Learners that I learned from late-night talk show host Jimmy Fallon (see Jimmy Fallon Comes Up With A Great Game For English Language Learners).

Today, I learned another one…

He calls it Word Sneak, and it’s a simple one — two people are given five words that they have to fit into a conversation.

Obviously, it’s very funny the way he uses it in this video clip, but it can also be used a nice interactive exercise for students.

I’m assuming that some other teacher has used this kind of game before so, if you have, and have some good additional suggestions, please leave them in the comments….

I’m adding this idea to The Best Sites To Practice Speaking English, where I’ve also been listing classroom speaking activities.

Good language teachers, as seen through the eyes of teachers and learners is by Adam Simpson. There’s a lot of substance there, and I would label it as a “must-read.”

Drawing Dictations is by Sandy Millin. I’ve started adding all dictation resources to The Best Resources For Learning How To Use The Dictogloss Strategy With English Language Learners.

Teaching mixed ability – some tips is from TEFL Reflections. I’m adding it to The Best Resources On Teaching Multilevel ESL/EFL Classes.

Experimenting with English (Part 2) – Activities for learners to do outside the classroom [26 and counting!] is another excellent post by Lizzie Pinard. I’m adding it to The Best Resources For Learning About Homework Issues.

McGraw Hill has a ton of online videos showing ELL teachers in action. I’m adding it to The Best Online Videos Showing ESL/EFL Teachers In The Classroom. Thanks to Judie Haynes for the tip.

navigator

ESL/EFL teachers who have been around awhile know of Jason Renshaw, who at one point had what I thought (and continue to think) was the best resource on the Web for ESL teachers — English Raven. Unfortunately, he took it off-line a few years ago, and now describes himself as a “former Tesol teacher, textbook author and web resources developer, now learning designer and elearning developer in higher ed (Open Universities Australia).”

Jason has continued his blog — with a somewhat different focus — and he has fortunately kept his huge archive there on TESOL available. His Open Source English resources, accompanied with his screencasts on how to use them, are a treasure trove.

One of my favorite inventions of his is called a “Sentence Navigator.” A screenshot of one small example is at the top of this post. It’s sort of a complex multiple choice exercise — I use some of the ones Jason produced, I create originals, and also have students make them for their classmates.

Jason explained them in an older article as:

a sentence navigation grid: five slots each containing three words. It will be up to the student to “navigate” this grid in order to build an appropriate answer to the question. The student will do this by circling the correct word in each slot and then referring to the teacher for feedback. Once all of the correct words have been circled, the student will be permitted to write the full answer in the space beneath.

Jason was kind enough to let me upload up two full units of Sentence Navigators to this blog so that any teachers can download them to use in class:

Sentence Navigator One

Sentence Navigator 2

Plus, he sent over a Screencast he had made explaining how to use them:

If you’re not using these already in your classroom, I hope you can start and see how useful they can be…

Thanks, Jason!

Play It Again And Again, Sam is from NPR and, I think, may help explain why jazz chants are effective in language instruction.

MusiXmatch is a free Chrome extension that will provide karaoke-style lyrics to most YouTube music videos. It can be used very easily on desktop and mobile devices.

Using songs, and using lyrics karaoke-style, is a longstanding and effective language-learning strategy, and you can read about many of them at The Best Music Websites For Learning English.

You can read more about it at TechCrunch.

The Best Posts & Videos About Sugata Mitra & His Education Ideas

The What Works Clearinghouse at the U.S. Department of Education has released an updated Guide for Teaching Academic Content and Literacy to English Learners in Elementary and Middle School.

The recommendations are good ones, and it’s always nice to be able to tell one’s administrator that you’re following the recommendations of the U.S. Department of Education .

Even though they say it’s for elementary and middle school, I think it’s safe to say the ideas make sense in high school, too.

I’m adding it to The Best Websites For Developing Academic English Skills & Vocabulary.

Creating The Conditions For Self-Motivated Students is another of my posts at the British Council Teaching English website. It includes specific suggestions for teaching English Language Learners, but most of what I write there is applicable to all students.

Here’s an interview with Ann Foreman and Paul Braddock, the key people behind the extraordinarily popular and helpful Learning English British Council Facebook page for teachers.

“The Image Story” Is A Nice Site & Provides An Even Better Classroom Idea

My colleague Katie Hull-Sypnieski and I wrote wrote a lengthy and, if I say so myself , excellent article that has been published by ASCD Educational Leadership.

It’s titled Teaching Argument Writing to ELLs, and it discusses very practical ways to teach writing to Beginning, Intermediate and Advanced English Language Learners — especially in light of the new Common Core Standards. But I think it offers helpful advice even if you’re teaching in a country not using CCSS.

I’m adding it to The Best Online Resources For Helping Students Learn To Write Persuasive Essays and to My Best Posts On Writing Instruction.

Origami & The Language Experience Approach

English Language Learners Design Their Own “Ideal” Neighborhoods

Our Latest Response From A Sister Class — This Time From South Africa!

We’re In The Middle Of My Favorite Unit Of The Year — Comparing Neighborhoods

Getting to grips with project based learning and I’m interested in project based learning but I don’t know where to begin! are two good posts by Adam Simpson discussing PBL and English Language Learners. I’m adding them to The Best Sites For Cooperative Learning Ideas.

Four questions to ask before using an Ed Tech tool is yet another one of my posts over at Teaching English-British Council.

Borrowed Words is a net interactive that shows from which languages English has borrowed the most words from during which periods of time.

Activate – Games for Learning American English is from the American English site of the U.S. Department of State. It’s a useful and free downloadable book. I’m adding it to The Best Ideas For Using Games In The ESL/EFL/ELL Classroom. Thanks to Barbara Sakamoto for the tip.

My colleague and co-author, Katie Hull Sypnieski, and I published a post over at Edutopia titled English-Language Learners and Academic Language.

Using “Dvolver Moviemaker” With English Language Learners

How My ELL Students Evaluated Me At The End Of First Semester

“Thinglink” Announces Free Virtual Classrooms

Creating Instagram Video “Book Trailers” With English Language Learners

Assessing English language learners is yet another of my posts at The British Council’s TeachingEnglish site.

Hot Spot Interview — Report From Venezuela

The Best Mobile Apps For English Language Learners

 

 

 

June 14, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
0 comments

Around The Web In ESL/EFL/ELL

'Picture Books' photo (c) 2010, Enokson - license: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

I’ve started a somewhat regular feature where I share a few posts and resources from around the Web related to ESL/EFL or to language in general that have caught my attention:


English-Speaking Abilities of Immigrants: A Snapshot From the U.S. Census Bureau
is from Education Week. I’m adding it to The Best Ways To Keep-Up With Current ELL/ESL/EFL News & Research.

Editorial Is bilingual education worth bringing back? is from the LA Times.

Learning a second language in adulthood can slow brain ageing is from The Telegraph. I’m adding it to The Best Resources For Learning The Advantages To Being Bilingual.

Translating The Web With Millions: Luis Von Ahn Answers Your Questions is from NPR. It’s an interview with the founder of Duolingo.

Describing photos (comparing, contrasting and speculating) is from EFL Smart Blog. I’m adding it to The Best Ways To Use Photos In Lessons.

Artistically Challenged Pictionary is from Carissa Peck. I’m adding it to The Best Ideas For Using Games In The ESL/EFL/ELL Classroom.

Whiteboard Soccer is from David Deubelbeiss. I’m adding it to the same list.

WebQuests – the best way to foster critical thinking, social skills and problem-solving? is from Teaching English With Technology. I’m adding it to The Best Places To Create (And Find) Internet Scavenger Hunts & Webquests.

Dictations are fun! is from TEFL Reflections. I’m adding it to The Best Resources For Learning How To Use The Dictogloss Strategy With English Language Learners.

Helping language learners visualise their linguistic development: growing learning is by Lizzie Pinard. I’m adding it to The Best Posts On Metacognition.

June 8, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
0 comments

Around The Web In ESL/EFL/ELL

'ESL 2010' photo (c) 2010, Elmira College - license: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

I’ve started a somewhat regular feature where I share a few posts and resources from around the Web related to ESL/EFL or to language in general that have caught my attention:

ELLs Test-Drive New English-Language Proficiency Assessments is from Ed Week. I’m adding it to The Best Resources For Learning About The “Next Generation” Of State Testing.

Multilingual or not, infants learn words best when it sounds like home is a report on a somewhat interesting study.

5 Things You Might Not Know About ELLs is a good post from Scientific Learning.

New York State Sets Focus on English-Learners is from Ed Week.

New Ideas on Feedback from IATEFL 2014 is an interesting post. I’m adding it to The Best Resources For Learning How To Best Give Feedback To Students.

The role of metacognition in language learning is by Lizzie Pinard. I’m adding it to The Best Posts On Metacognition.

June 2, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
1 Comment

Research Studies Of The Week

'magnifying glass' photo (c) 2005, Tall Chris - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

I often write about research studies from various fields and how they can be applied to the classroom. I write individual posts about ones that I think are especially significant, and will continue to do so. However, so many studies are published that it’s hard to keep up. So I’ve started writing a “round-up” of some of them each week or every other week as a regular feature.

By the way, you might also be interested in My Best Posts On New Research Studies In 2013.

Here are some new useful studies (and related resources):

What Relationships Mean in Educating Boys is an Ed Week report on two studies finding that the relationship between a teacher and a young male student is particularly important in creating positive learning experiences. I’m adding it to The Best Resources On The Importance Of Building Positive Relationships With Students.

How to Train Your Mind to Think Critically and Form Your Own Opinions is from LifeHacker, and reviews a number of studies. I’m adding it to The Best Resources On Teaching & Learning Critical Thinking In The Classroom.

The Doctor Who Coaches Athletes on Sleep is an article from The Atlantic. It discusses the role of sleep in a variety of ways, including academic performance. There’s plenty of research on those areas at The Best Resources For Helping Teens Learn About The Importance Of Sleep. However, what makes this article stand-out from those others is its discussion of its impact on athletic performance. That info could be very useful with student athletes who might not be as concerned about its other effects.

Coming up with explanations helps children develop cause-and-effect thinking skills is a report from Science Daily on a new study. I’m adding it to The Best Posts On Metacognition.

Your brain is like a muscle: use it and make it strong is an article from a new site called Frontiers. It appears to have articles by neuroscientists that are edited by kids. I’m adding it to The Best Resources For Showing Students That They Make Their Brain Stronger By Learning.

When it comes to classes, small is better is the title of a report on a meta-analysis. I’m adding it to The Best Resources For Learning About How Class Size Does Matter.

June 1, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
0 comments

Around The Web In ESL/EFL/ELL

'IMG_2183' photo (c) 2008, adrigu - license: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

I’ve started a somewhat regular feature where I share a few posts and resources from around the Web related to ESL/EFL or to language in general that have caught my attention:

Common-Core Test Experts Explain ELL and Special Education Supports is from Education Week. I’m adding it to The Best Resources On ELL’s & Standardized Tests.

Proposal to Restore Bilingual Education in California Advances is also from Ed Week.

Florida Could Shift Alliances for English-Language-Proficiency Standards, Tests is from Ed Week. I’m adding it to The Best Resources For Learning About The “Next Generation” Of State Testing.

11 places to visit on a tour of the English language is from The Week. It doesn’t quite fit, but I’m adding it to The Best Videos Documenting The History Of The English Language.

Flashcards in the Classroom: Ten Lesson Ideas is from ELT Experiences. I’m adding it to The Best Tools To Make Online Flashcards.

13 Experts Share ESL Learning Advice (Plus Over 70 Online Resources) is from The Spanish Place.

Check out this interesting chart from The Washington Post:

Asking Questions is from The British Council. I’m adding it to The Best Posts & Articles About Asking Good Questions — Help Me Find More.

A low-prep, low-tech, effective game for revision is from A Hive of Activities. I’m adding it to The Best Ideas For Using Games In The ESL/EFL/ELL Classroom.

My top ten learner autonomy and metacognition resources is from Lizzie Pinard. I’m adding it to The Best Posts On Metacognition.

Fed up with end-of-year tests? A Digital Scavenger Hunt is the solution! is from Larissa’s Languages. I’m adding it to The Best Ways To Use Photos In Lessons.

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: