Larry Ferlazzo’s Websites of the Day…

…For Teaching ELL, ESL, & EFL

January 22, 2018
by Larry Ferlazzo

Extremely Useful Animated Video Series On Ethical Dilemmas

I’ve written several posts sharing the work of Michael Sandel, a Harvard professor who writes and talks about ethical dilemmas.

Today, I discovered that Harvard recently posted a series of short animated videos he uses in his online courses, and they’re fabulous!

I’ll certainly be using several of them in my IB Theory of Knowledge classes this week since we happen to be studying Ethics.

You can see and access the entire playlist here.

Here are a couple of examples:

You might also be interested in The Best Videos About The Famous “Trolley Problem”

January 22, 2018
by Larry Ferlazzo

Guest Post: Getting Started With Flipgrid

Editor’s Note: I invited Jess Bell to write about how she uses Flipgrid with her students.

Jess Bell has taught ENL and English in an urban school setting in Indianapolis for sixteen years, the last six in a 1:1 technology environment. She strives to foster a love of reading in her students. Twitter: @jessbell79 Email

There are many new education apps and programs right now, and it can be hard to know which tools will be the best fit for you and your classroom. One of the best new tools I’ve started using lately is Flipgrid. Flipgrid, whose tagline is “amplify student voice,” allows students to record and post videos as part of a video discussion forum.

Flipgrid has a free account (Flipgrid One) and a paid account (Flipgrid Classroom, for $65 per teacher per year). Both accounts allow students to record videos in response to a prompt. This can be a text question, a video you upload, or a video you record. Teachers can give students simple feedback  Both accounts allow video sharing and moderation settings by a teacher. Recording is easy, and can be done on an iPad, chromebook, student phone etc…

When I first heard about Flipgrid, I was intrigued, but was unsure how it would fit into my classroom. I teach HS English and English as a New Language. After exploring Twitter (@flipgrid) and several ed blogs, I figured I would give it a try. Like with most technology, some students love it and some students don’t. Many students like the opportunity to record videos and share their thoughts. My ENL students are practicing their listening and speaking skills as they record their own response and watch other student videos. I find students who don’t like it tend to be shy, and warm up to it with some practice.

This what a grid looks like when students (or participants) record a video. They can read the description, watch the video if one is ready, and then click on the green + symbol and start recording. When recording you see yourself and restart the video if you make a mistake. There is also a sticky note option on the screen to record notes for yourself. When finished, there are stickers and emojis to add to their video. My HS students often record at home, and I like seeing how relaxed they are at home.

There are many ways to use Flipgrid in your classroom, even if it’s not an ENL classroom. I’ve had students record book commercials, letters to the author, respond to an essay question, talk about their cultures, introduce themselves to the classroom, watch instructions on a book critique and then record one….there are many possibilities (check out this blog from flipgrid about you can even use it outside the classroom). I used Fligrid to keep in touch with a student who was homebound for several weeks near the end of the semester – and her classmates sent videos back as well. I’ve also found it useful for professional development opportunities so teachers can share their voice and experience it as students do.

If you try Flipgrid and you’re interested in additional features associated with Flipgrid Classroom, you can enjoy longer videos, students can record response videos to student videos, customizable rubrics, scheduling topic launch and freezing, and unlimited topics and girds. Flipgrid has great resources to help teachers get started and a very supportive online community.

I’m looking forward to some new options this semester as my students are familiar with the platform including being flipgrid pals with a younger grade, practicing for our socratic seminars,how to participate in academic conversations, recording written responses as fluency practice, and sharing ideas about changes they’d like to see in our communities. I enjoy being able to search their blog and find new suggestions through Twitter.

January 22, 2018
by Larry Ferlazzo

Five Most Popular Posts Of The Week

Here’s the latest edition of this regular feature . These are the posts appearing this blog that received the most “hits” in the preceding seven days (though they may have originally been published on an earlier date).

You might also be interested in The Twenty Most Popular Posts From This Blog In 2017 ; Tenth Anniversary Of This Blog — What Have Been My Most Popular Posts? (Part One) and Part Two: Tenth Anniversary Of This Blog — What Have Been My Most Popular Posts?

Here are this week’s top posts:

1.Suggestions For Assisting Students To Develop Intrinsic Motivation To Learn

2. The Best Websites For Creating Online Learning Games

3. The Best Videos For Learning Why It’s Important To Study History

4. The Best Videos For Learning Why It’s Important To Study Geography

5. The Best Places To Get The “Same” Text Written For Different “Levels”

January 22, 2018
by Larry Ferlazzo

Research Studies Of The Week

'magnifying glass' photo (c) 2005, Tall Chris - license:

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 2017 – Part Two.

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

The Real (and Imaginary) Benefits of Multitasking is from The University of Pennsylvania. I’m adding it to The Best Resources On The Dangers Of Multitasking.

Meta-Analysis of Inquiry-Based Learning is a somewhat useful study. It highlights the effectiveness of inquiry-based learning, and also explores the importance of providing guidance to it. I’m not really show, however, what responsible educator wouldn’t do just that.  I’m adding it to The Best Posts Questioning If Direct Instruction Is “Clearly Superior”

The Value of Soft Skills in the Labor Market is by David Deming. I’m adding it to The Best Info On Skills Employers Are Looking For In Job-Seekers.

I’m adding this tweet to The Best Resources Documenting The Effectiveness of Free Voluntary Reading:

January 21, 2018
by Larry Ferlazzo

Do You Want To Use This Survey With Your Intermediate & Advanced ELLs?


I’ll be leading a training for my colleagues next month on teaching English Language Learners, and it will including having a student panel.

To help them prepare for the event, I created a relatively simple survey that they’ll complete prior to our planning the discussion.

After I made, the thought occurred to me that it could be a useful tool to share more widely – to ELLs in all my classes, to ELLs throughout our school, and even to ELLs throughout the country.

You can download it here. It lists these three questions:

1. What do teacher do that helps you understand what they are teaching, even though you may not know English that well? For example, do they show pictures that help you understand the content?

Please try to write about specific lessons and experiences.

2. What are specific actions teachers have taken to help you become motivated to learn different subjects and the English language? Please try to write about specific lessons and experiences.

3. What have teachers done to help you not feel bad about making mistakes and, instead, learn from them? In other words, what are the best actions teachers have taken to correct English errors you have made in writing or in speaking?


It would be easiest to have Intermediates and Advanced ELLs take it, but Beginners could obviously do it with a lot of assistance or if they answered in their home language.

If you decide to share it with your students, I would love to hear the results.

And if you have suggestions on how to make it better, I would love to hear your thoughts, too!

January 21, 2018
by Larry Ferlazzo

“What Unites Us” Is Impressive Wash. Post Interactive – Could Be Used As A Model For Student Project


What Unites Us is a new and impressive Washington Post interactive.

It includes people from each of the fifty states sharing their perspective of what unites our country. It’s also divided into thematic categories.

I’m thinking that they could be used as models for students to share their own perspectives. They could also write/say their critiques of what different people said.

Other ideas?

January 21, 2018
by Larry Ferlazzo

SEL Weekly Update


I’ve recently begun this weekly post where I’ll be sharing resources I’m adding to The Best Social Emotional Learning (SEL) Resources or other related “Best” lists.

You might also be interested in The Best Social Emotional Learning Resources Of 2017.

Here are this week’s picks:

Harnessing the Power of Prosocial Emotions for Our Future Selves is from Behavioral Scientist. I’m adding it to My Best Posts About Helping Students Develop Their Capacity For Self-Control.

Better Than Willpower is from The Atlantic. I’m adding it to the same list.

Why willpower is overrated is from Vox. Yes, it’s going on the same list.

Learning to Self Manage is from Usable Knowledge. Yup, the same list.

‘When Are We Going to Use This?’ Strategies to Help Students Find Relevance in School Work appeared in Ed Week. I’m adding it to The Best Ideas For Helping Students Connect Lessons To Their Interests & The World.

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