Larry Ferlazzo’s Websites of the Day…

…For Teaching ELL, ESL, & EFL

February 8, 2018
by Larry Ferlazzo

NY Times Video Series On “Inside An Olympian Mind” Is Jackpot For Any Teacher Using Visualizing Strategies With Students


I’ve written a lot about how I’ve used exercises with both English Language Learners and mainstream students to help them visual success (see My Best Posts On Helping Students “Visualize Success”).  That “Best” list includes lots of research on the idea, along with results from my Teacher Action Research projects (see The Best Resources For Learning About Teacher Action Research – Help Me Find More).

Today, The NY Times published a series of short videos having Olympic athletes share what they visualize before their competition begins, including animations of what they see.   They are perfect to show students since some might think the exercise is a waste of time.

You can see all of them at Inside An Olympian Mind.

Here’s an example of one:

I’m also adding this info to A Beginning List For Learning About The 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympics.

November 18, 2012
by Larry Ferlazzo

“The Visualizing Marathon: 132 graphics on health, transport and politics”

The Guardian just had a weekend event where designers created many infographics that readers can now vote on. You can check them out at The Visualizing Marathon: 132 graphics on health, transport and politics.

I think the most intriguing are the interactive ones on disease.

February 26, 2011
by Larry Ferlazzo

Visualizing Success

I’ve written a fair amount about how I sometimes have my students visualize success (see My Best Posts On Helping Students “Visualize Success”).

A study just came out reinforcing its effectiveness. The research focused on developing healthy eating habits, but it seems to me that it’s easily applicable to the classroom.

Here’s an excerpt:

Those who made a concrete plan, wrote it down and also visualized how they were going to carry out the action (i.e. when, where and how they would buy, prepare and eat fruit) increased their fruit consumption twice as much as those who simply set out to eat more fruit without visualizing and planning how they were going to do it.

These kinds of visualization techniques are borrowed from sports psychology. “Athletes do lots of work mentally rehearsing their performances before competing and it’s often very successful. So we thought having people mentally rehearse how they were going to buy and eat their fruit should make it more likely that they would actually do it. And this is exactly what happened,” says Bärbel Knäuper. This research points to a simple yet effective means of changing eating habits.

March 28, 2010
by Larry Ferlazzo
1 Comment

What Does The Navy Seals Training Program Have To Say About Students Visualizing Success?

I’ve written several posts about my ongoing experiment with having students visualize themselves succeeding academically.

I just discovered an article that describes how the Navy Seals have begun training their recruits to visualize themselves succeeding in difficult tasks:

With mental rehearsal they were taught to visualize themselves succeeding in their activities and going through the motions.

I’m going to convert the article to a short read aloud. This should get the attention of some of my students, especially the boys!

February 28, 2010
by Larry Ferlazzo

More Results From Students Visualizing Success

I’ve written about how I’m having students in my classes trying visualizing success each day (see Results From Having ELL Students “Visualize Success”).

I just got around to tabulating assessment results in my mainstream ninth-grade English class. There was no difference at all in reading fluency assessments between the students who are doing the visualization and those who are not.

There was, however, a difference in the cloze assessments (fill-in-th-gap), which tend to reflect vocabulary development and reading comprehension. Those who are not practicing the visualization technique in class had an 8.4% increase in their cloze scores, while those who were doing it had a 10% increase. It’s not a huge difference, and it may be a correlation and not causal, but it’s clearly worth continuing.

February 18, 2010
by Larry Ferlazzo
1 Comment

Where Can I Find Online Videos of Athletes Visualizing Success?

A colleague told me that the Olympics television coverage yesterday of Lindsey Vonn’s Gold Medal ski run showed her and other skiers visualizing the course before their runs.

As regular readers know, I’ve been using visualization with my students.

I’d love to find some online clips of the skiers prior to their races, of other athletes doing the same thing, or even video showing them talking about them doing it. I think my students would benefit from watching them — it would provide some good reinforcement. I haven’t been successful, though, in finding them. For example, there are plenty of clips of Vonn in action, but none of her warming-up.

Does anybody have suggestions?

January 7, 2010
by Larry Ferlazzo

Visualizing Success Through Student Art

I’ve written before about my ongoing experiment with students visualizing success. It seems to be going well, and I’m going to be very interested in late January when we have our first assessments to determine if there is any measurable affect on the data.

I recently tried a slightly different version of the same idea. One of my students, who is clearly very smart, has had incredible difficulties focusing an concentrating on any academic work — in any of his classes. I’ve tried every strategy imaginable and, though he and I have a very good relationship, nothing has worked (we’ve also been trying to work with his family).

He really likes to draw. So I suggested to him that he take half of the time we spend on “practice reading” (or silent sustained reading) each day and write a sentence saying what his goal in class was for that day. After he wrote the sentence, he was to draw himself accomplishing it. For example, today he decided to write “Today, I’m going to do all my work” and drew a pretty good artistic rendering of himself doing just that.

And he really did it. In fact, since we’ve started doing this exercise, he’s been remarkably focused in class.

We’ll see if it’s a long term solution or not, but it’s an example of looking at students through a “lens” of assets instead of deficits, and figuring out how to effectively “leverage” those talents.

December 11, 2009
by Larry Ferlazzo

Want To Know What’s Happened Since My “Marshmallow” & “Visualizing Success” Lessons

As regular readers know, two months ago we did some pretty successful lessons on self-control (“I Like This Lesson Because It Make Me Have a Longer Temper” (Part One) — using the famous “Don’t eat the marshmallow” experiment) and last month began an experiment having students regularly visualize academic success (Helping Sudents Visualize Success and More On Helping Students Visualize Success).


I realized last week that I hadn’t done much follow-up since the initial self-control lesson. So, today, as part of our regular “Friday Reflection” I asked students to share the last two times they “didn’t eat the marshmallow” (the last two times they wanted to do something that they knew they shouldn’t do, but resisted) and how they felt about it afterwards. I’m going to start incorporating this question into these end-of-the-week reflections twice-a-month, though I will also explicitly ask students to share what strategy/thinking-process they used to help them resist the temptation. After I had students share with partners, we “lifted-up” some successful strategies people used, and I think that worked out to be an excellent teaching opportunity.  We discussed the importance of thinking through consequences and trying to distract one’s self.

Here are some student responses (from both my mainstream ninth-grade English and my Intermediate English class):

I wanted to steal an iPod but I didn’t do it because I thought of something different.

The time when I didn’t eat the marshmallow was the time I wanted to steal from the snack bar because I didn’t want to spend my $5.

A time that I wanted to hit Cheng, but I stopped because I remembered we were friends. If felt much better afterwards because I didn’t hit him.

The time I want to hit my little sister but I stopped myself. I felt that if I did hit her she was going to tell my mom and I was going to get into a lot of trouble.

Last week there was a piece of pie that I wanted so bad, but I thought that if I took it I was going to get into a whole lot of trouble afterwards. So I walked away from it and it felt good to do something good.


Since the initial lesson, I’ve been having students take twenty seconds twice each class to visualize themselves being successful in the academic activity that we were just about to begin — reading, writing, speaking, listening.  I’ve given people the option to do it with their eyes closed or open, along with the option not to participate (though, if they choose that option, they need to sit silently while others do so.)

We’re giving monthly clozes (fill-in-the-blank) assessments to my class and another Intermediate English class that is not doing this exercise to see if there are any effects.

As part of today’s Friday’s reflection, I asked students to answer the question “Are you participating in the visualization activity?  If so, what do you see?”  I made it clear that it was okay to say “No.”

It appears that about forty percent of my mainstream ninth-grade English class are doing it, and over sixty percent of my Intermediate English students are.

Here is a sampling of responses from the students who said “yes”:

“Yes, I see a lot of different words that come from my mind when I close my eyes.”

“Yes, I see me writing very well and reading very well.”

“I see myself speaking English.”

“Yes, I see myself reading very good.”

“Yes, I see myself studying and doing my best.  But when I do it, it’s not easy.”

“Yes, I see myself speaking to many people.”

I’ve also begun asking students to see themselves achieving the goals they set for themselves as part of our goal-setting lesson earlier this week.

So, all in all, I’m feeling pretty good — not just about the initial lessons, but also the follow-up.

I’ll keep people posted. And, of course, if anybody has suggestions for additional follow-up activities, I’m all ears….

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