Larry Ferlazzo’s Websites of the Day…

…For Teaching ELL, ESL, & EFL

July 20, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo

July’s Infographics & Interactives Galore – Part Three

There are just so many good infographics and interactives out there that I’ve begun a new semi-regular feature called “Infographics & Interactives Galore.”

You can see others at A Collection Of “The Best…” Lists On Infographics and by searching “infographics” on this blog.

I’ll still be publishing separate posts to individually highlight especially useful infographics and interactives, but you’ll find others in this regular feature.

Here goes:

Every Second Counts: an interactive story by Sophie McKenzie is a “choose your own adventure” story from The Guardian. I’m adding it to The Best Places To Read & Write “Choose Your Own Adventure” Stories.

Best in class: 25 inspiring school improvement ideas – interactive is also from The Guardian.

Average weekly wages in majority of U.S. counties were below national average in 2013
is the headline of an interactive map from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. It shows wages from every county in the United States.

Here’s a useful infographic on Alzheimer’s:

July 20, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo

Around The Web In ESL/EFL/ELL

I’ve started a somewhat regular feature where I share a few posts and resources from around the Web related to ESL/EFL or to language in general that have caught my attention:

You Can Learn a New Language While You Sleep, Study Finds is an article from PsyBlog. Learn Dutch In Your Sleep is another report on the same study.

Inventive, Cheaper Tools for Learning a Language is from The New York Times.

What makes a language attractive – its sound, national identity or familiarity?
is from The Guardian.

Adam Simpson – Homework: Should we give it or not? is a useful post at the British Council. I’m adding it to The Best Resources For Learning About Homework Issues.

Mathematics in English is an interactive from Engames. I’m adding it to The Best Sites For Learning Strategies To Teach ELL’s In Content Classes.

allatc offers an ELL lesson plan for the Wonderful World song. I’m adding it to The Best Music Videos Of “What A Wonderful World.”

Adapting materials for mixed ability classes is from The British Council. I’m adding it to The Best Resources On Teaching Multilevel ESL/EFL Classes.

July 20, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo

All My Ed Week Posts On Parent Engagement In One Place!

Q & A Collections: Parent Engagement In Schools is my latest post at Education Week Teacher.

It brings together all my Ed Week posts related to parent engagement from the past three years.

Here’s an excerpt:


I’m adding it to My Best Posts, Articles & Interviews On Parent Engagement.

July 19, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo

Big New Study On Deliberate Practice

As you may have heard by now, a new study was recently released raising questions about the importance of deliberate practice to success. Here are some articles about the study. I’m adding this post to The Best Resources For Learning About The 10,000 Hour Rule & Deliberate Practice.

There’s little question that Talent vs. Practice: Why Are We Still Debating This? by Scott Barry Kaufman is the best piece on the study. It appeared in Scientific American.

How Do You Get to Carnegie Hall? Talent is from The New York Times.

Does practice really make perfect? is from Science Daily.

July 19, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo

The Washington Post’s “Five Myths” Feature Is A Very Useful One


The Washington Post regularly publishes a feature called “Five Myths.”

They’ll typically pick a topic that’s been in the news and list five myths with a short explanation about each one. It’s pretty useful to teachers and students alike.

I’m adding it to The Best Online “Explainer” Tools For Current Events.

July 19, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo

Ed Week Reduces Price For The Next Seven Days On My Classroom Management Book


Education Week just announced that the price for my latest e-book has been reduced for this week only.

You can read excerpts, reviews and other free resources here.

Here’s the Ed Week announcement:

Classroom Management Q & As: Effective Strategies for Teaching by Larry Ferlazzo

Get ready for the new school year and save!

In this e-book, award-winning teacher and Education Week Teacher blogger Larry Ferlazzo turns to leading educators for advice on the most common classroom-management issues. Ferlazzo and his contributors respond Q & A-style to a variety of questions, such as:

–How can I help my students develop self-control?
–What does real student engagement look like?
–How can I stop disruptive behavior?

This e-book brings together the best contributions from Ferlazzo’s blog Classroom Q & A With Larry Ferlazzo, including updates and new material. It captures his unique perspective on managing a classroom and engaging students, while tapping the collective wisdom of educators to provide solutions to some of the thorniest problems in teaching.

Buy on Amazon and save, only $6.99. Hurry, offer limited until July 25th.

July 19, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
1 Comment

Rap Genius Expands Service, Changes Name, Adds Education Features – I’d Still Be Surprised If Teachers Use It


I have previously posted about Rap Genius, an easy-to-use tool that lets you annotate pretty much any text. It’s initial focus was on rap lyrics, but you could also upload others — this use of it for the Gettysburg Address is a perfect example of how great it could be for education purposes.

As I said in my original post, however, I doubted the site would get past many School District content filters because of the classroom inappropriate language present in so many rap lyrics.

They just changed their name to Genius and are now encouraging people to document all sorts of documents. They’ve also created a special Education section that has lots of neat features.

The problem, though, as far as schools are concerned, it still appears that students can freely access all parts of the website even though they might start with the Education section. I personally don’t think that would be a problem for most teachers — we can certainly have conversations with our students about appropriate use of the site and supervise student work. However, it seems to me that the site just wouldn’t pass muster in many District offices, though I’d be happy to be wrong. I’m looking forward to checking next month if students can access it at our school.

There are other sites, though, that provide annotation ability and are unlikely to be blocked. Check out:

Best Applications For Annotating Websites

The Best Online Tools For Using Photos In Lessons has tools to annotate photos.

A Potpourri Of The Best & Most Useful Video Sites
contains tools to let you annotate videos.

Let me know if you think my pessimism about school access to Genius is overblown or not….

July 19, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo

Is Summer Learning The Silver Bullet For Narrowing The Achievement Gap?

This summer, I’ve been in the process of writing my seventh book — the third volume in my series on student motivation (I’m over halfway there — Yay!).

As part of that writing, I’ve been going over a number of articles I’ve saved over the past year, and, tonight, I began reviewing resources on The Best Resources On The “Summer Slide” list.

As I reviewed them, I was reminded of an extremely important fact that I must have forgotten, and is best expressed in a piece published by Education Week a couple of months ago:


These findings are backed-up by extensive research, much of which you can find on my “Best” list, and it reinforces why I set-up online virtual summer school classrooms for my students.

We used to have over a thousand students attending summer school classes — not because they had to be there, but because they wanted to come. But those days are long-gone, and this year we had four classes, primarily for students who had failed a class and needed to make it up.

So, if all the research says most of the achievement gap is due to summer learning loss, it boggles my mind even more that we are spending huge amounts of resources on countless school reform boondoggles like Race To The Top, Value Added Measurements (VAM), the “next generation” of standardized testing, etc…

The research shows that summer learning programs are very inexpensive since they can be effective at stemming learning loss by even lasting for only six weeks. Shouldn’t those wasted monies be spent there?

Oh, I forgot — the U.S. Department of Education prefers spending money on programs that have no research backing up their effectiveness….

July 18, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo

Amazon Launches “Kindle Unlimited” For Adults; They Have Version For Young Kids – I Wonder If They’ll Create One For Teens?

In the unlikely event you haven’t already heard, today Amazon launched “Kindle Unlimited,” which is an all-you-can-read service for $9.99 per month using its Kindle or a Kindle app on other devices.

You can read all about it at TIME, TechCrunch, and a zillion other places.

As I was checking it out, I discovered that Amazon also has something called “Kindle Free Time Unlimited,” and it’s geared to kids 3 to 8.

As far as I can tell, they don’t have one for teens, but I wonder if that’s in the cards?

I also wonder if Amazon does or might in the future offer discounts to schools or, at least, ones in lower-income communities?

If a school was in a 1:1 device environment, and Amazon offered discounts, it might be worth a look….

July 18, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo

Nice BBC Video: “Why Reading Matters”

Why Reading Matters is an hour-long BBC program did a couple of years ago on how reading — and writing — impact the brain.

I wouldn’t show the entire show to students, but there are several very good segments.

The entire show is available on Vimeo, which I’ve embedded below, and it’s also available on YouTube, though it’s in six separate ten minute segments. I’ve also embedded the first segment below.

I’m adding the videos to The Best Resources For Showing Students That They Make Their Brain Stronger By Learning.

[BBC documentary] Why Reading Matters from International Dimensions of Tech on Vimeo.

July 17, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo

The Washington Post Joins The Party Of Data-Journalism With “Storyline”

I’ve previously posted about three new “data-journalism” sites that have opened-up shop this summer — Vox, Five-Thirty-Eight, and The New York Times “Upshot.”

Today, The Washington Post announced that they,too, are joining the party with a site called Storyline. It doesn’t actually have a web address yet (it’s officially launching next week), but it can be found on Twitter and Facebook.

The Post did release this preview video, which doesn’t really tell you much about Storyline is actually going to do, but it does give the impression it might be a little more narrative-driven then Five-Thirty-Eight and The Upshot. Vox’s emphasis on narrative is what is clearly making it the stand-out among this crowd, so it will be interesting to see what Storyline does….

July 17, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo

I Know Of Places Students Can Post Book Reviews, But What About Places To Post Video Book Trailers?

I know of plenty of places where students can post book reviews for “authentic audiences” and have listed them at The Best Places Where Students Can Post Book Reviews For Authentic Audiences.

I also have students create simple video “book trailers” (see Creating Instagram Video “Book Trailers” With English Language Learners and My Best Posts On Books: Why They’re Important & How To Help Students Select, Read, Write & Discuss Them.

My students post their creations on our class blog and show them to the entire class, but I’m wondering if there is some quasi-central place on the Web where lots of classes post their video trailers.

Does anyone know?

July 17, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo

Videos: More Fun & Corny Grammar Videos

Chana at GCFLearnFree shared their fun and corny videos that are probably more categorized as easily confused words than grammar-related, but I’m still adding the series to The Best Funny Videos To Help Teach Grammar – Help Me Find More.

You can see them all here.

Here’s one of them, and I have the video set as a playlist so you can automatically see them all, too…

July 17, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo

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

Here are some recent useful posts and articles on educational policy issues:

Did Obama and Duncan really hear what four teachers told them? is the third in a series of posts at Valerie Strauss’ Washington Post blog about a recent meeting at the White House attended by four teachers and President Obama and Secretary Duncan. This post also contains links to the previous two.

Exit Exams Need Overhaul, Report Says is from Education Week. I’m adding it to The Best Posts & Articles About Why High School Exit Exams Might Not Be A Good Idea.

Jeb Bush’s reading rule loses ground is from Politico. I’m adding it to The Best Resources For Learning About Grade Retention, Social Promotion & Alternatives To Both.

A Mantra for K-12 Philanthropy: First, Do No Harm is by Rick Hess and appeared in Education Week. It’s a little odd, and a bit internally inconsistent, but I’m still adding it to The Best Resources For Learning About The Role Of Private Foundations In Education Policy.

Koch Heads: How The Koch Brothers Are Buying Their Way Into The Minds Of Public School Students is from The Huffington Post. I’m adding it to the same list.

On Teacher Evaluation is an interesting piece by Robert Slavin. I’m adding it to The Best Resources For Learning About Effective Student & Teacher Assessments.

Here’s Why We Don’t Need Standardized Tests is from Ed Week. I’m adding it to The Best Articles Describing Alternatives To High-Stakes Testing.

AFT: Obama Must Force Arne Duncan to ‘Improve’ or to Resign is from Ed Week.

Tougher High School Exit Criteria May Not Boost College Prospects, Study Says is from Education Week.

The Language Of Teacher Effectiveness is from The Shanker Blog.

I’m adding these next two links to The Best Sites For Getting Some Perspective On International Test Comparison Demagoguery:

Compelling Evidence is from Stephen Krashen.

Why it’s hard for the US to learn from other countries on education is from Vox.

July 17, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo

July’s Best Tweets — Part Three

'Twitter' photo (c) 2010, West McGowan - license:

Every month I make a few short lists highlighting my choices of the best resources I through (and learned from) Twitter, but didn’t necessarily include them in posts here on my blog.

I’ve already shared in earlier posts several new resources I found on Twitter — and where I gave credit to those from whom I learned about them. Those are not included again in post.

If you don’t use Twitter, you can also check-out all of my “tweets” on Twitter profile page.

You might also be interested in The Best Tweets Of 2014 — So Far.

I use Storify to “curate” my best tweets:

July 16, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo

Very Useful Post: “Our 3 Favorite Free Online Image Editors For Education”

The Edublogger has just published a very useful post: Our 3 Favorite Free Online Image Editors For Education.

And, if you need even more options, check out one of my most popular “The Best” lists, The Best Sites For Online Photo-Editing & Photo Effects.

July 16, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo

Latest Resources On Child Refugees In The Southwest