Larry Ferlazzo’s Websites of the Day…

…For Teaching ELL, ESL, & EFL

June 16, 2016
by Larry Ferlazzo
1 Comment

Dan Willingham Writes The Best Piece On “Grit” That I’ve Seen

“Grit” is all over the news lately, and I’ve previously shared a number of related resources (see The Best Resources For Learning About “Grit”).

In fact, there’s been so much written about it, sometimes it’s difficult to know where to start or who to believe.

But that won’t be a problem anymore because Dan Willingham has clearly written the best (and most accessible) analysis of grit that I have seen – and, believe me, I’ve seen a lot of them! (and this is one day after he gave the best advice you’ll see on students listening to music in the classroom!).

It’s in this summer’s issue of the American Educator under the title of “Grit” Is Trendy, but Can It Be Taught? and it’s freely available online.

He provides an excellent analysis of the research, along with reviewing common critiques.

Here’s one short excerpt:

pablo (3)

You’ll definitely want to the the whole piece, but I also wanted to share another excerpt that provided an angle on grit that I don’t think you’ll find elsewhere:

Another perspective is that we might want to measure grit not for evaluation but as a way of communicating to students that this characteristic matters. If the ethos of a school includes the ideal of intellectual passion, that individuals ought to find an idea or project or skill they want to pursue for years, despite difficulties or setbacks, because it fascinates them—well, isn’t that grit? And if that’s an intellectual ideal at the school, doesn’t it make sense to check in with students periodically to see if they have found their passion? Note that this is a different role for grit. Now, grit is not a means to an end (such as academic achievement or success in the military) but an end in itself; the hope is that students will find something they love enough to be gritty about.

So go read it — it’s not short, but it’s not going to take you that long to read it, either.

June 14, 2016
by Larry Ferlazzo

Excellent Advice From Dan Willingham On Students Listening To Music In Class

I’ve written in the past about students listening to music in the past (see The Best Research On Listening To Music When Studying).

I’ve generally found that playing any kind of music to an entire class ends up being distracting – at least to some. However, I’ve also seen that letting particular individual students listen to music on their phones can help them concentrate, and is worth the work of helping other students understand why I don’t let everybody do it (see “Fair Isn’t Always Equal” by Rick Wormeli).

Recently, Dr. Dan Willingham wrote a useful post on the research around multi-tasking.

What really caught my eye, though, was a response to a question in wrote in the comments section about listening to music. It offered great common sense, and I wish other education researchers were as plain-spoken as he:


May 28, 2016
by Larry Ferlazzo

References For Dan Willingham’s Ed Week Post


Ackerman, R., & Lauterman, T. (2012). Taking reading comprehension exams on screen or on paper? A metacognitive analysis of learning texts under time pressure. Computers in human behavior28(5), 1816-1828.

Chen, G., Cheng, W., Chang, T. W., Zheng, X., & Huang, R. (2014). A comparison of reading comprehension across paper, computer screens, and tablets: Does tablet familiarity matter?. Journal of Computers in Education1(2-3), 213-225.

Connell, C., Bayliss, L., & Farmer, W. (2012). Effects of eBook Readers and Tablet Computers on Reading Comprehension. International Journal of Instructional Media39(2). 131-140.

Daniel, D. B., & Willingham, D. T. (2012). Electronic textbooks: why the rush?.Science335, 1569.

Daniel, D. B., & Woody, W. D. (2013). E-textbooks at what cost? Performance and use of electronic v. print texts. Computers & Education62, 18-23.

Foasberg, N. M. (2014). Student reading practices in print and electronic media.College & Research Libraries75(5), 705-723.

Hasher, L., & Zacks, R. T. (1979). Automatic and effortful processes in memory. Journal of experimental psychology: General108(3), 356-388

Kim, H., & Kim, J. (2013). Reading from an LCD monitor versus paper: Teenagers’ reading performance. International Journal of Research Studies in Educational Technology2(1), 1-10.

Mangen, A., & Kuiken, D. (2014) Lost in an iPad: Narrative engagement on paper and tablet. Scientific Study of Literature, 4, 150-177. They report readers are less likely to say they are “transported”when reading narrative on a screen.

Mizrachi, D. (2015). Undergraduates’ Academic Reading Format Preferences and Behaviors. The Journal of Academic Librarianship41(3), 301-311.

Olsen, A. N., Kleivset, B., & Langseth, H. (2013). E-Book Readers in Higher Education. SAGE Open3(2), DOI: 10.1177/2158244013486493

Rasmusson, M. (2015) Reading paper-reading screen. A comparison of reading literacy in two different modes. Nordic Studies in Education, 34, 3-19.

Scholastic Publishers (2014). Kids & Family Reading Report, 5th ed. Downloaded August 5, 2015

Shepperd, J. A., Grace, J. L., & Koch, E. J. (2008). Evaluating the electronic textbook: is it time to dispense with the paper text?. Teaching of Psychology,35(1), 2-5.

Woody, W. D., Daniel, D. B., & Baker, C. A. (2010). E-books or textbooks: Students prefer textbooks. Computers & Education55(3), 945-948.

Zucker, T. A., Moody, A. K., & McKenna, M. C. (2009). The effects of electronic books on pre-kindergarten-to-grade 5 students’ literacy and language outcomes: A research synthesis. Journal of Educational Computing Research,40(1), 47-87.

March 18, 2015
by Larry Ferlazzo

Excellent Article By Dan Willingham On Reading

American Educator, the quarterly magazine of the American Federation of Teachers, always has interesting and useful articles in it, and this Spring edition is no different.

The most useful one to teachers, though, is clearly the one by Daniel Willingham. For The Love Of Reading: Engaging Students in a Lifelong Pursuit is a must-read article for every educator. It’s adapted from his new book, Raising Kids Who Read: What Parents and Teachers Can Do.

I’m adding it to The Best Resources Documenting The Effectiveness of Free Voluntary Reading.

December 8, 2017
by Larry Ferlazzo

The Best Social Emotional Learning Resources Of 2017

I publish a regular series called SEL Weekly Update, and I thought it would useful to readers and to me to review them and highlight the ones I think are the best of the year.

You might also be interested in The Best Social Emotional Learning (SEL) Resources.

I’ll be adding this list to All 2017 “Best” Lists – In One Place!

You might also be interested in A Collection Of My Best Resources On Student Motivation and My Best Posts On New Research Studies In 2017 – Part Two.

Here are my choices:

Q & A Collections: Student Motivation & Social Emotional Learning is the headline of one of my Education Week Teacher columns.It brings together links to all the columns on Student Motivation & Social Emotional Learning from the past six years!

New Study Suggests That Motivation & Growth Mindset Are Most Important Factors For Student Success

Yet Another Study Documents The Long-Term Harm Of Short-Term Extrinsic Motivation

Extrinsic Motivation Strikes Out Again

New Study Finds Students Less Motivated In School The More They Think Wealth & Income Inequality Is Stacked Against Them

Using The “Curiosity Gap” To Enhance Student Motivation

Intriguing Research On How To Increase Intrinsic Motivation

Here’s A Great Motivating Question For Students To Consider…

A Look Back: Video – “10 Strategies to Help Students Develop Intrinsic Motivation to Write”

All Teachers Could Benefit From Watching New PBS NewsHour Segment On Motivation

Michelle Obama Just Explained How to Be Successful in 6 Short Words is from Inc (“Focus on what you can control.”). I’m adding it to Best Posts On Students Setting Goals.

The Importance of Academic Courage is by Ron Berger. I’m adding it to The Best Resources For Learning About The Importance Of “Grit”

Forget The 10,000-Hour Rule; Edison, Bezos, & Zuckerberg Follow The 10,000-Experiment Rule appeared in Medium. I’m adding it to The Best Resources For Learning About The 10,000 Hour Rule & Deliberate Practice.

This Is The ‘Harry Potter’ Synopsis Publishers Rejected Over 20 Years Ago is from The Huff Post. I’m adding it to The Best Posts, Articles & Videos About Learning From Mistakes & Failures.

Using SEL to Challenge ‘Systems of Oppression’ is the headline of one of my latest Education Week Teacher columns.

Three Specific Actions I’m Taking This Year To Support Student Academic & SEL Development

Sesame Street launches tools to help children who experience trauma, from hurricanes to violence at home is from The Washington Post. I’m adding it to The Best Ways For Responding To Student Trauma – Help Me Find More.

Infants Can Learn the Value of Perseverance by Watching Adults is from The Atlantic, and it seems to me it’s a reasonable extrapolation that our students can learn the same when we make mistakes and model learning from them. I’m adding it to The Best Resources For Learning About The Importance Of “Grit”

The Best Resources On Developing A Sense Of Community In The Classroom

The Best Ways To Talk With Someone Who Disagrees With You

The Best Resources For Learning About “Nudges” In Schools

The Best Resources On Social Capital In Schools

All My BAM! Radio Shows About Social Emotional Learning

The Best Resources On Helping Students Make Good Decisions

How children’s self-control has changed in the past 50 years is from The Washington Post. I’m adding it to Best Posts About Helping Students Develop Their Capacity For Self-Control.

Quiz Yourself: How Much Do You Know About Social-Emotional Learning is from Ed Week.

A new study finds that students who experienced Social Emotional skills training were more likely to vote than others. Read about it in Researchers Accidentally Found One Way to Help Kids Grow Up to Be Voters.

A different new study found other positive results:

Comparing students who participated in SEL programs to those who didn’t, the results showed significant benefits that persisted from one to nearly four years afterward.

How Ending Behavior Rewards Helped One School Focus on Student Motivation and Character is from MindShift. I’m adding it to  Best Posts On “Motivating” Students.

This is a list of excellent suggestions on how to promote metacognition in students. I’m adding it to Best Posts On Metacognition.

How to Work with a Bad Listener is from The Harvard Business Review. I’m adding it to The Best Ideas To Help Students Become Better Listeners — Contribute More.

Building a Modern Marshmallow Test: New Ways to Measure Social-Emotional Learning is from Ed Week.

Social and Emotional Learning for English Learners is from New America.

CARRY ON MY SON: THE SIGNAL AND THE NOISE IN COACHING is a post from Doug Lemov. It’s definitely worth reading his commentary on this great video clip. I’m adding it to The Best Ways To Use Stephen Curry & The Warriors For Teaching Social Emotional Learning Skills.

Study’s Conclusion Is Not As Useless As It Sounds: Low-Income Adolescents Are Less Likely To Attend College

Understanding these three principles will help you develop true intrinsic motivation is from Quartz and is an interview with pioneer researchers in the field. I’m adding it to Best Posts On “Motivating” Students.

How the Golden State Warriors Can Help Explain Social-Emotional Learning is from Ed Week. I’m adding it to The Best Ways To Use Stephen Curry & The Warriors For Teaching Social Emotional Learning Skills.

No, No, No! Do Not Grade SEL Skills!

Forget Grit. Focus on Inequality. appeared in Ed Week. I’m adding it to The Best Resources For Learning About “Grit.”

10 Incredible Lessons We Learned From Michael Phelps on Grit and Perseverance is a very accessible article that could easily be used with students, along with a simple writing prompt. I’m adding it to The Best Resources For Learning About The Importance Of “Grit”

When an Argument Gets Too Heated, Here’s What to Say is from The Harvard Business Review.

UNVEILING THE MYSTERY OF METACOGNITION is from Research Schools Network. I’m adding it to Best Posts On Metacognition.

New Research Suggests That “Community Trust” Enhances Self-Control & Long-Term Thinking

Encouraging Social and Emotional Learning In the Context of New Accountability is a new report from The Learning Policy Institute. I’m adding it to The Best Summaries/Reviews Of Research On Social Emotional Learning – Let Me Know What I’ve Missed and to The Best Resources For Understanding The Every Student Succeeds Act.

Four Teaching Moves That Promote A Growth Mindset In All Readers is from MindShift. I’m adding it to The Best Resources On Helping Our Students Develop A “Growth Mindset.”

New Report Connecting SEL To Standards Should Be On “Must-Read” List For Most Educators


I’m adding this new video from Jo Boaler to The Best Resources On Helping Our Students Develop A “Growth Mindset”:

A Look Back: “Here’s A Narrated Version Of My Slide Deck On SEL & The Common Core”

Seven Facts on Noncognitive Skills from Education to the Labor Market looks very interesting. It’s from The Hamilton Project. I’m adding it to The Best Info On Skills Employers Are Looking For In Job-Seekers.

When Practice Does Make Perfect is by Dan Willingham. I’m adding it to The Best Resources For Learning About The 10,000 Hour Rule & Deliberate Practice.

Here’s a brand-new short video of Daniel Pink discussing motivation in the context of schools. It comes from the great Brainwaves video series.

I’m also including a video that Brainwaves did with me where I share some specific strategies teachers can use to promote intrinsic motivation among students.

I’m adding this info to Best Posts On “Motivating” Students.

You might also interested in this Edutopia excerpt from one of my books. It’s been shared 41,000 times: Strategies for Helping Students Motivate Themselves

November 25, 2017
by Larry Ferlazzo

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, Videos & Posts On Education Policy In 2017 – Part Two):

House Republicans have a little-known plan to raise taxes on teachers by $2 billion is from The Washington Post. I’m adding it to The Best Data On How Much Money Teachers Pay Out Of Their Own Pocket – What Do You Spend?

AltSchool wants to change how kids learn, but fears have surfaced that it’s failing students is from TechCrunch.

Education Department considers narrowing civil rights work is from The Associated Press.

In Newark, a study about school changes rings true — and raises questions — for people who lived them is from Chalkbeat. I’m adding it to The Best Posts & Articles For Learning About Newark’s $100 Million From Facebook.

This Is Just How Badly Scott Walker Has Decimated Public Schools in Wisconsin is from Mother Jones. I’m adding it to The Best Resources On The Awful Friedrichs Case.

Even When States Revise Standards, the Core of the Common Core Remains is from Ed Week. I’m adding it to A Collection Of My “Best” Lists On The Common Core.

I’m adding this tweet to The Best Resources For Learning About The “Value-Added” Approach Towards Teacher Evaluation:

November 20, 2017
by Larry Ferlazzo

Ed Tech Digest

Four years ago, in another somewhat futile attempt to reduce the backlog of resources I want to share, I began this occasional “Ed Tech Digest” post where I share three or four links I think are particularly useful and related to…ed tech:

Three versions of personalized learning, three challenges is by Dan Willingham. I’m adding it to The Best Resources For Understanding “Personalized Learning”

Three Options for Adding Voice Comments in Google Docs is from Richard Byrne. I’m adding it to The Best Resources For Learning How To Use Google Docs/Google Drive.

Removing digital devices from the bedroom can improve sleep for children, teens is from Science Daily. I’m adding it to The Best Resources For Helping Teens Learn About The Importance Of Sleep.

11 Essentials for Excellent Digital Portfolios is by Vicki Davis. I’m adding it to The Best Resources For Developing Student Portfolios.

How to Use Social Media in Your Career is from The NY Times and is a great introduction to social media for anyone new to it. I’m adding it to My Best Posts For Tech Novices (Plus A Few From Other People).

Skip to toolbar