Larry Ferlazzo’s Websites of the Day…

…For Teaching ELL, ESL, & EFL

October 17, 2010
by Larry Ferlazzo
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“Richard Rothstein: Why teacher quality can’t be only centerpiece of reform”

“Rothstein: Why teacher quality can’t be only centerpiece of reform” is a must-read piece by Richard Rothstein in the Washington Post.

I’m adding it to The Best Posts About The Appalling Teacher-Bashing Column Superintendents Wrote In The Washington Post.

December 28, 2009
by Larry Ferlazzo
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Excerpt From Great Richard Rothstein Book

I like education writer Richard Rothstein a lot, as you can see from some previous posts.

I just learned that an excerpt from his excellent book, Class and Schools: Using Social, Economic, and Educational Reform To Close The Black-White Achievement Gap. is available online.

I also included several quotes from his book in my own, Building Parent Engagement In Schools. I use his research to help reinforce why schools need to work with parents to respond to the major impediments to student achievement outside the schoolhouse walls.

Thanks to Susan Ohanian for the tip.

August 8, 2016
by Larry Ferlazzo
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A Look Back: What Were The Number One Websites For Learning In 2007 & 2008?

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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.  

I first began publishing “Best” lists in at the end of 2007 and the beginning of 2008 (there are now 1,600 of them!).

Here are the sites I identified as the best in their respective categories for that year, along with my original commentary.  Surprisingly, they are still  online.  Even though I wouldn’t say any one of them is still the “best” available (except, perhaps, for Henny Jellema’s site – that is an extraordinary one for Beginning ELLs), I think – apart from Tumblr – they all still provide good learning experiences:

Best Web 2.0 Application For Education:

Tumblr — This “micro-blogging” site upgraded their service this year. It’s a great place for students to easily post a whole lot of their work. Students can have individual or group “Tumblrs.” A student can also share their password with a small number of students who can leave comments.

The Best Web 2.0 Application For ESL/EFL Learners:

VoiceThread — You can upload pictures and create an audio narrative to go along with them. In addition, audio comments can be left by visitors. VoiceThread also provides a great deal to teachers by allowing them to get their premium services for free, including allowing them to create a zillion VoiceThreads for free. Happily, they’ve finally incorporated the feature of allowing you to include images off the web just by inserting its url. It’s that new feature that made me choose VoiceThread as number one.

The Best Online Learning Game:

This really consists of two music games by the same creator — Luke Whittaker.  One is called Sound Factory  and the other is A Break In The Road. I’m not going to even going to try to describe these wonderful games here.  You can read my post and try them yourself.

Best Internet Site For English Language Learners:

Henny Jellema’s Online TPR Exercises — You’ve got to see this site to believe it. I can’t imagine the amount of work that went into creating the exercises. However, as he cautions, it’s critical to combine using his online activities with physical TPR lessons.

Best Social Studies Website:

HippoCampus has great (and complete) online and accessible textbooks for many subjects, including History and Government. Their resources include extraordinary multimedia presentations.

Best Science Website For Student & Teachers:

California Science — It’s from MacMillan/McGraw Hill and has some great online activities. However, what makes this site stand-out (and my ESL/EFL bias is clear here) is that it contains translations in many languages (including Hmong!) of the science concepts taught in the textbooks.

Best Math Site For English Language Learners:

It’s actually three sites, all from the extraordinary Learn Alberta organization. The three math sites are Math Under The Sea, Math 5 Live, and Spy Guys Math. Instead of explaining each one, I’m going to suggest that they’re definitely worth the time to just go and check out.

Best News/Current Events Site For English Language Learners:

BBC Learning English — It was a tough choice between this and the Voice of America, but the BBC won out because its design is much more attractive and has images.

Best Article About Education:

I’m ranking Richard Rothstein’s great article in the latest issue of The American Prospect as number one. It’s called Leaving “No Child Left Behind” Behind. The title says it all.

Best Reference Website For English Language Learners:

There are several winners from this list.

Dictionaries:

The Language Guide For Beginning English Language Learners.

Harcourt’s E-Glossary for students just entering the Intermediate stage.

Thesaurus:

Visuwords is a unique, and fun, way to find synonyms in a visual display. It’s free, and it also functions as a dictionary.

Encyclopedia:

Simple English Wikipedia

Information On Countries & States:

A tie between Fact Monster & Infoplease.

Best Place To Learn Web 2.0 Basics:

Russell Stannard’s Teacher Training Videos.

Best Website To Help Beginning Readers:

Starfall — Starfall has been helping people learn to read for years, and is still the best out there. I’d recommend their I’m Reading section for older readers.

The Best Website For Intermediate Readers:

Into The Book — This is an absolutely incredible resource designed to help students learn reading strategies — visualize, predict, summarize, etc. For the past couple of years it had only been partially completed. In the course of examining sites for inclusion in this list, though, I found that all its exercises were finished. Users are led through the process of learning each reading strategy with interactive exercises.

 

 

January 14, 2016
by Larry Ferlazzo
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Quote Of The Day (& How I’m Using It In Class): “the winner is the person who keeps asking questions”

I’ve previously shared a quote from Ta-Nehisi Coates and how I’m using it in class (see Good Quote From Ta-Nehisi Coates On Writing & How I’m Using It In Class).

Today, Dan Rothstein shared a short interview with Coates that has just appeared in New York Magazine.

Here’s how it ends:

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I’m going to share the quote with students, along with this writing prompt:

What does Ta-Nehisi Coates say is the most important lesson he has learned? What do you think he means? To what extent do you agree or disagree in the importance of that lesson? To support your position, be sure to include specific examples drawn from your own experience, your observations of others, or any of your readings.

I’m adding it to The Best Posts On Writing Instruction, where you’ll find a collection of writing prompts.

December 26, 2015
by Larry Ferlazzo
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The Best Education-Related Books Visitors To This Blog Read In 2015

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It’s that time of year again — time to share the choices from readers of this blog for the best education-related book they read in the this past year.

You might also be interested in:

The Best Education-Related Books Visitors To This Blog Read In 2014

The Best Education-Related Books Visitors To This Blog Read In 2013

The Best Education-Related Books Visitors To This Blog Read In 2012

The Best Education-Related Books Visitors To This Blog Read In 2011

The Best Education-Related Books Visitors To This Blog Read In 2010

The Best Education-Related Books Visitors To This Blog Read In 2009

The Best Education-Related Books Visitors To This Blog Read In 2008

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

My choice is Culturally Responsive Teaching & The Brain by Zaretta Hammond. You can read an interview I did with the author here.

Now, here are the choices of many readers who sent their comments and tweets (even if you didn’t send them in earlier, you can still leave your favorites in the comments):

Heather Gauck:

Digital Leadership by Eric Sheninger. Amazing tips and direction for educational transformation.

Shelly Buchanan:

Creative Schools: The Grassroots Revolution That’s Transforming Education by Sir Ken Robinson. Please read. Right away.

Kris Giere:

This is Not a Test by Jose Vilson. It resonated with me on so many levels and does well to remind us of the complexity and intersectionality of life as an educator.

Matt Renwick:

The Prize
by Dale Russakoff is a balanced, close observation of how Newark schools spent the $100 million gift from Mark Zuckerberg. That the funds made little to no impact on the daily lives of students is both sad and surprising. Russakoff doesn’t pit charter schools vs. public schools, but rather shines a light on the realities of operating a large urban district plagued by poverty.

Jim Bentley:

Make Just One Change By Dan Rothstein and Luz Santana. The QFT (Question Formulation Texhnique) is a powerful way to get students asking deep questions and guiding inquiry.

George Panagiotakopoulos:

“Why Don’t Students Like School?: A Cognitive Scientist Answers Questions About How the Mind Works and What It Means for the Classroom”

By Daniel Willingham. This is an amazing book which answers so many questions about teaching and learning. It is a cognitive psychologist’s point of view about how learning can be more efficient and how a teacher can maximize her contribution to students’ learning. I think that it is a book which every teacher must read!!

Jaime:

The best book I read is “The Motivated Brain: Improving Student Attention, Engagement, and Perseverance” by Gayle Gregory, Martha Kaufeldt

Bill L:

Finally got to Mike Schmoker’s Focus. Glad I read it.

Breanna Lukes:

A Path Appears by Nicholas D. Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn. Amazing book about doing the most good by focusing our time, energy, and money where it will make the most impact. These writers and the amazing people and organizations they discuss leave readers beieving that the world is full of hope and kindness, despite what the media might report.

Lisa Pettifer:

2015 produced a lot of edu reading that I found challenging, nourishing or affirming. More challenging in places than Headstrong by Dame Sally Coates, more nourishing than John Tomsett’s Love Over Fear and far more affirming than anything else was Flip the System, a collection of essays edited by René Kneyber and Jelmer Evers, and with a range of contributors including Gert Biesta, Tom Bennett, Mark Priestley and Carol Campbell. This book made my summer. It rarely leaves my side. It offers enormous hope that the teaching profession can heal itself, direct itself and monitor itself…

Sara Hjelm:

This was hard.. I read so many good books this year. In the end there are two, both powerful enough to get hashtags of their own on Twitter; David Daidau’s #WrongBook and #FlipfheSystem. David’s book filled my summer, a slow read while the rain poured down, but Flip the System has been my constant companion ever since I got it and still is, so in the end that is my choice. Get it, read it and let it flip your thinking! Go Flip the System!

Thanks to everyone who contributed!

Again, feel free to share your own recommendations in the comments section…

June 6, 2015
by Larry Ferlazzo
0 comments

This Week’s “Round-Up” Of Useful Posts & Articles On Ed Policy Issues

Here are some recent useful posts and articles on educational policy issues (You might also be interested in The Best Articles, Posts & Videos On Education Policy In 2014 – Part Two):

Boosting Educational Attainment and Adult Earnings is from Education Next. I’m adding it to The Best Sites For Learning That Money Does Matter For Schools.

The hard ethical challenges that confront teachers today is by Richard Rothstein. I’m adding it to The Best Commentaries On The Atlanta Test-Cheating Verdict.

‘We now know students cannot be tested out of poverty’ appeared in The Washington Post. I’m adding it to The Best Posts & Articles On The New NCLB Reauthorization Bill.

Chicago Schools Chief Resigns Amid Federal Investigation is from The New York Times.

What teachers really need to stay, improve and succeed appeared in The Washington Post. I’m adding it to The Best Posts & Articles About The Importance Of Teacher (& Student) Working Conditions.

Education Studies Warrant Skepticism is by Walt Gardner. I’m adding it to The Best Resources For Understanding How To Interpret Education Research.

Myth: You can do more with less is by Pasi Sahlberg. I’m adding it to The Best Articles Providing An “Overall” Perspective On Education Policy.

The states that spend the most (and the least) on education, in one map is from The Washington Post.

How Do You Measure a Teacher’s Worth? appeared in TIME. I’m adding it to The Best Resources For Learning About Effective Student & Teacher Assessments.

April 3, 2015
by Larry Ferlazzo
0 comments

The Best Commentaries On The Atlanta Test-Cheating Verdict

The verdict has been announced for the defendants in the Atlanta test-cheating scandal.

I can’t excuse their actions, but the charges and trial sure seem to be an enormous over-reaction, and I can’t not wonder if the fact that all of the accused were African-American entered into the equation.

Much has been written about the case over the past few years, and I have accumulated some of those articles at The Best Posts & Articles About The Atlanta Testing Scandal.

I thought the verdict itself was worth a separate “Best” list. Feel free to add suggestions in the comments section:

Taking the Fall in Atlanta is by Richard Rothstein.

When Teachers Cheat is from The Atlantic.

The Biggest Outrage in Atlanta’s Crazy Teacher Cheating Case is from The Fiscal Times. Thanks to Ben Spielberg for the tip.

Atlanta Educators Convicted in School Cheating Scandal is from The New York Times.

The Atlanta Cheating Verdict: Some Context is from NPR.

Atlanta teacher convictions: Do standardized testing pressures foster cheating? (+video) is from The Christian Science Monitor.

When Teachers, Not Students, Do The Cheating is from NPR.

Why the Atlanta cheating scandal failed to bring about national reform is from The Guardian.

America is criminalizing Black teachers: Atlanta’s cheating scandal and the racist underbelly of education reform is from Salon.

Atlanta Injustice Demands a Response is by David B. Cohen in Ed Week.

Quote Of The Day: Sentencing In Atlanta Trial Delayed Until Tuesday

Quote Of The Day: Prison Sentences In Atlanta

Accountability for Whom? is by Pedro Noguera.

Why Jailing Cheating Teachers Probably Won’t Help America’s Kids is from Take Part.

Just in case you haven’t seen this video segment on the Atlanta cheating scandal from last night’s The Daily Show, here it is…

I think it’s pretty good, though it does omit two important points — it doesn’t really talk about the overall problem of focusing on test scores, and doesn’t say anything about the fact that all the defendants were people of color.

Judge Reduces 3 Educators’ Sentences In Atlanta Cheating Scandal is from NPR.

What Really Happened to Atlanta’s Students When Their Teachers Cheated is from The Atlantic.

The hard ethical challenges that confront teachers today is by Richard Rothstein.

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