Larry Ferlazzo’s Websites of the Day…

…For Teaching ELL, ESL, & EFL

October 22, 2017
by Larry Ferlazzo

The Best Resources For Learning About Retrieval Practice


The teaching/learning/studying strategy called “retrieval practice” has been gaining a lot of attention recently as more and more studies have found that is very effective.

A simple definition of the idea is challenging students to remember something they have already learned – but not necessarily immediately after they learned it.

Many of us teachers use it already in different ways. For example, I’ll often ask students to take a moment and think about a fact or strategy we’ve discussed (for example, “What is a thesis statement?”) and then have them share with a partner.

One purpose for this list to push myself to be more conscious of this instructional strategy and look for more ways to easily implement it in my classroom:

Here’s the best practical piece for teachers that I’ve found on the topic: Retrieval Practice: The Most Powerful Learning Strategy You’re Not Using is from Jennifer Gonzalez.


How is a Student’s Memory at Test Time? is by Eric Jensen, and offers some particularly good advice about retrieval practice in the classroom.

Promoting Metacognition with Retrieval Practice in Five Steps is from The Effortful Educator.

Check out

Learn how to Study Using… Retrieval Practice is from The Learning Scientists.


Let me know what I’m missing!

October 21, 2017
by Larry Ferlazzo

Video: “Would you use time travel to kill baby Hitler?”

I shared a number of resources about this topic a couple of years ago when it was in the news (see Killing Baby Hitler & Student “What If?” Projects).

We talk about it each year in my Theory of Knowledge classes when studying history – I connect it to our “What If?” projects (see The Best Resources For Teaching “What If?” History Lessons).

Vox produced this video in 2016 when it was in all the media, but I must have missed it.  I just accidentally saw it, and will be adding it to other related resources.

October 21, 2017
by Larry Ferlazzo

Classroom Instruction Resources Of The Week

Each week, I publish a post or two containing three or four particularly useful resources on classroom instruction, and you can see them all here.

You might also be interested in The Best Articles (& Blog Posts) Offering Practical Advice & Resources To Teachers In 2016 – Part Two andThe Best Resources On Class Instruction In 2017 – So Far.

Here are this week’s picks:

Why This/Not That? A thinking routine to move kids from identification to analysis appeared in Moving Writers. I’m adding it to The Best Posts & Articles About Asking Good Questions — Help Me Find More.

Core Knowledge has released their elementary school History and Geography curriculum, and it is free to download and use.  I doubt if most educators would want to use it all “as is,” but it certainly has some resources from which to pick-and-choose.  You can read more about it at Education Week.

Multiple-choice Testing: Are the Best Practices for Assessment Also Good for Learning? is from The Learning Scientists. I’m adding it to The Best Ways To Use Multiple Choice Exercises.

Why I (Re)Write? #NationalDayofWriting is from Used Books in Class. I’m adding it to The Best Resources On Getting Student Writers To “Buy-Into” Revision – Help Me Find More.

I’m a big fan of Zaretta Hammond, author of Culturally Responsive Teaching & The Brain  (you can read an interview I did with her here). She’s just released a free study guide for her book.

Fighting Extinction: Researching and Designing Solutions to Protect Endangered Species is a lesson plan from The New York Times Learning Network. I’m adding it to The Best Resources For World Biodiversity Day (& Endangered Species Day).

After Charlottesville: Public Memory and the Contested Meaning of Monuments is a lesson plan from Facing History. I’m adding it to The Best Resources For Teaching About Confederate Monuments.

October 21, 2017
by Larry Ferlazzo

“ESSA & English Language Learners”

ESSA & English Language Learners is the headline of my latest Education Week Teacher column.

In it, Margo Gottlieb, Sarah Said, Catherine Beck, Heidi Pace, Heather Wolpert-Gawron, Tabitha Dell’Angelo, and Lindsey Moses share their thoughts about how The Every Student Succeeds Act will affect English Language Learners.

Here are some excerpts:

October 20, 2017
by Larry Ferlazzo

The Best Resources For Helping Beginner ELLs Learn About Holidays

As I shared a few months ago (see Beginning A New “Best” Series Of Interest To ELL Teachers), I’m beginning to create an updated series of “Best” lists for Beginning English Language Learners. They will ultimately replace the resources I have on my outdated website.

I’ve done quite a few so far, and you can find them all at All My Thematic “Best” Lists For Beginning ELLs – In One Place!

I’ve got several more to go, however, and here’s the latest one – on Holidays!

I have a separate list on Halloween (The Best Resources For Helping Beginner ELLs Learn About Halloween & The Day Of The Dead) and will be developing other ones specifically on Christmas and Valentine’s Day (I have included a few Christmas & Valentine’s links here, too). I have individual lists on just about every holiday imaginable, but they include links for every ELL from Beginning to Advanced. This post, like others in this series, are just including resources accessible to Beginners. The holidays will also be listed in chronological order starting from Halloween, which is when my students will be using the list:

VETERANS DAY (November 11th)

Learning Chocolate Veterans Day

THANKSGIVING (November 23rd)

Learning Chocolate Thanksgiving

Learning Chocolate Thanksgiving Feast


HMONG NEW YEAR (November  and December)

All About Hmong New Year

CHRISTMAS (December 25th)

Learning Chocolate Christmas

Learning Chocolate Christmas 2

Learning Chocolate Christmas 3

Christmas Vocabulary Game

Christmas Word Game

More Christmas Words


NEW YEAR’S (January 1st)

Learning Chocolate Happy New Year!


MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR. DAY (January 15th or third Monday of January)

Learning Chocolate Martin Luther King, Jr. Day


VALENTINE’S DAY (February 15th)

MES Games has a nice activity to develop Valentine’s Day vocabulary.

Learning Chocolate Valentine’s Day

Make A Valentine with Starfall.

PRESIDENTS DAY (February 19th or third Monday of February)

Learning Chocolate President’s Day


LUNAR NEW YEAR (Between January and February)

Chinese New Year Words


ST. PATRICK’S DAY (March 17th)

Learning Chocolate Saint Patrick’s Day

MES Games has a vocabulary building activity for St. Patrick’s-related words.


EASTER (Between March 22nd & April 25th)

Easter Activities

MES-Games has another fun activity to learn Easter words.

Learning Chocolate Easter

PASSOVER (March or April)



Ramadan Activities


Memorial Day Activities



LABOR DAY (First Monday in September)

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