Larry Ferlazzo’s Websites of the Day…

…For Teaching ELL, ESL, & EFL

November 22, 2017
by Larry Ferlazzo
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A Look Back: “Giving Thanks: Eleven Key People Who Changed My Professional Career(s) — For The Better!”

(Editor’s Note: I originally shared this piece in 2014, and thought it would be appropriate to re-post it today)

One of my favorite bloggers – Alexander Russo — wrote an excellent post titled Giving Thanks: 6 Key Moments That Changed My Post-Grad School Career .

It’s inspired me to do something similar:

1. Johnny Baranski, who invited me to join the Portland (Oregon) Catholic Worker and which led to my spending seven years in the Catholic Worker Movement, including starting a soup kitchen/emergency shelter in Santa Rosa, California.

2. Mary Ochs, who took a chance and hired me for my first job as a community organizer and led to a nineteen-year organizing career.

3. Larry McNeil, who was my first supervisor when I began organizing for the Industrial Areas Foundation and from whom I learned so much.

4. Jay Schenirer, then Sacramento School Board member, who encouraged me to apply for my first (and, so far, only) teaching job — at Luther Burbank High School in Sacramento.

5. Ted Appel, Burbank principal, who hired me and who continues to provide incredible leadership at our school.

6. Kelly Young, who provides literacy consulting to our school and to others, and from whom I’ve learned more about teaching than from anyone else.

7. Katie Hull Sypnieski, Lara Hoekstra and Dana Dusbiber, close teaching colleagues, friends, and co-authors for the past eleven years.

8. John Norton from Middleweb, who provided very early encouragement to me to begin blogging and writing books.

9. Mary Ann Zehr, who suggested to Education Week that they approach me about writing a column there.

Feel free to share your “thank you’s” to people in the comments, or leave links to blog posts where you do the same….

November 21, 2017
by Larry Ferlazzo
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A Look Back: “My ELL Gratitude Lesson – With Student Handout”

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(Editor’s Note: I originally published this post in 2015)

I’ve previously posted about A Simple & Effective Classroom Lesson On Gratitude, one that I’ve done with my mainstream and Advanced ELL classes.

I’m modifying it this year for my Low Intermediate English Language Learner students.

I’ll first explain the Thanksgiving holiday, and the word “gratitude.”

Then, as in the “original,” I’ll be showing the Soul Pancake video that’s embedded below. The subtitles appear to be ones the video’s creators made and not the automatic ones YouTube generates, so that means they actually reflect what people are saying and not gibberish.

Next, I’ll go over this student hand-out. Here’s what it says:

Gratitude

 

Thanksgiving is a holiday in the United States.   Many use this time to think about what gratitude. Gratitude is feeling thankful about something or someone.

Close your eyes and think about someone who is important to you. You can think about more than one person, too.

Why is this person important to you?

 

I am grateful to have _______________________________________________________ in my life

because ___________________________________________________________________. He/she

makes me feel ______________________________________________________________. I would feel

________________________________________________________________ if he/she was not in my

life.

 

I am grateful to have _______________________________________________________ in my life

because ___________________________________________________________________. He/she

makes me feel ______________________________________________________________. I would feel

________________________________________________________________ if he/she was not in my

life.

I’ll model completing the form.

Next, I’ll call my wife, put her on speakerphone, and say what I wrote about her. I’ll invite students to do the same. As in previous years, I suspect a fair amount of tears will be shed.

We’ll end the lesson with students turning what they’ve written into cards to give the people they’ve written about, or posters we can use with a Shadow Puppet app narration that could also be sent to those in other countries.

Here’s the video I’ll be using:

Feel free to offer suggestions on how I can make this a better lesson.

I’m adding this post to The Best Resources On “Gratitude.”

November 14, 2017
by Larry Ferlazzo
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A Look Back: A Simple & Effective Classroom Lesson On Gratitude

'gratitude' photo (c) 2009, hurricanemaine - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

This post originally appeared in 2013, and it’s a timely one with Thanksgiving approaching.  I teach this lesson every year…

I’ve written in my books and here on my blog how I use the concept of “gratitude” in class (see The Best Resources On “Gratitude”).

My colleague Katie Hull did a simple and powerful lesson using one of the resources on that “Best” list and I thought I’d share it here.

It’s based on an experiment and video that “Soul Pancake’ did (the video is on that list, but I’ve also embedded again in this post).

Katie gave her students this writing prompt (which is very similar to the question used in the video):

Close your eyes and think of somebody who is really influential in your life and/or who matters to you. Why is this person so important?

She also shared what she had written about her father as a model. After students wrote it, and shared in partners, she showed the video. Then, she encouraged people to to share what they wrote with the person they wrote about — in fact, some students felt they wanted to share it right then by calling.

Tears were shed.

One girl insisted on calling her mother in class, and then the class pushed Katie to call her father right then and there and read what she wrote.

A powerful lesson to kick-off Thanksgiving break….

August 24, 2017
by Larry Ferlazzo
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A Look Back: “Play-Doh & IB Theory Of Knowledge -Student Hand-Out & Videos”

This summer, I will be taking a break now-and-then from blogging to both take some R & R and to also finish-up our next book on teaching English Language Learners.

During those short breaks, I’ll be re-posting some of my favorite posts of 2017 so far.

You might also be interested in:

 A Look Back: Best Posts From 2007 To 2009 

 A Look Back: 2010’s Best Posts From This Blog

A Look Back: 2011’s Best Posts From This Blog

A Look Back: 2012’s Best Posts From This Blog

A Look Back: 2013’s Best Posts From This Blog

A Look Back: 2014’s Best Posts From This Blog

A Look Back: 2015’s Best Posts From This Blog

A Look Back: 2016’s Best Posts From This Blog

We just finished studying Art in my IB Theory of Knowledge classes and, as always, the last day was spent on a “Play-Doh Project.”

Here are the students instructions (you can download them here), followed videos of their creations. Please give me ideas on how to make it better:

Play Doh Project

1) Get a blank sheet paper to put on your desk.  Please only use the Play Doh on the paper so it doesn’t get on the desk.

2) Open your can of Play Doh.

3) You have fifteen minutes to create a piece of art that is classroom appropriate.

4) At the end of fifteen minutes,  look through your notes on the Arts unit and answer the following questions:

* Why is your creation art?  Review your notes and materials and write an ABC paragraph responding to this question (Answer the question; Back it up with a quote as evidence; make a further Comment or Connection to elaborate on your position.

* How were Ways of Knowing involved in creating your art and how will they be involved when others view it?

5) You will share your piece of art with others through the “speed-dating” process.   First, you will ask your partner to tell you what they think it is and why.  Then you will tell them what you intended it to be and share your answers to the previous two questions.

Tok sixth period

Tok real fifth period

Tok fifth period- PlayDoh art

August 23, 2017
by Larry Ferlazzo
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A Look Back: My Best “Best” Lists Of 2017 – So Far

This summer, I will be taking a break now-and-then from blogging to both take some R & R and to also finish-up our next book on teaching English Language Learners.

During those short breaks, I’ll be re-posting some of my favorite posts of 2017 so far.

You might also be interested in:

 A Look Back: Best Posts From 2007 To 2009 

 A Look Back: 2010’s Best Posts From This Blog

A Look Back: 2011’s Best Posts From This Blog

A Look Back: 2012’s Best Posts From This Blog

A Look Back: 2013’s Best Posts From This Blog

A Look Back: 2014’s Best Posts From This Blog

A Look Back: 2015’s Best Posts From This Blog

A Look Back: 2016’s Best Posts From This Blog

Here my choices for the Best “Best” lists I posted during the first six months of 2017:

The Best Articles, Posts & Videos On John Hattie’s Research

The Best Resources Explaining Why We Need To Support The Home Language Of ELLs

The Thirty-Seven “All-Time” Best Lists

The Best Practical Resources For Helping Teachers, Students & Families Respond To Immigration Challenges

A Beginning List Of The Best Resources For Fighting Islamophobia In Schools

The Best Resources On Providing Scaffolds To Students

August 22, 2017
by Larry Ferlazzo
0 comments

A Look Back: Our School Is Not ‘Flush With Cash’ & Our Students Are Not ‘Deprived Of All Knowledge’

This summer, I will be taking a break now-and-then from blogging to both take some R & R and to also finish-up our next book on teaching English Language Learners.

During those short breaks, I’ll be re-posting some of my favorite posts of 2017 so far.

You might also be interested in:

 A Look Back: Best Posts From 2007 To 2009 

 A Look Back: 2010’s Best Posts From This Blog

A Look Back: 2011’s Best Posts From This Blog

A Look Back: 2012’s Best Posts From This Blog

A Look Back: 2013’s Best Posts From This Blog

A Look Back: 2014’s Best Posts From This Blog

A Look Back: 2015’s Best Posts From This Blog

A Look Back: 2016’s Best Posts From This Blog

President Trump didn’t say much about schools in his Inauguration Speech, but the little he did say was inaccurate, bombastic, and pretty insulting to a lot of us. That particular section is highlighted at the top of this post.

Libby Nelson at Vox has a useful, though not perfect, analysis of it (see Trump’s vision of education begins and ends with schools being bad), so I’m not going to say much more (You can also read this Ed Week piece).

But you might be interested in these related “Best” lists:

The Best Articles Pointing Out That Our Schools Are Not Failing — Please Suggest More

The Best Sites For Learning That Money Does Matter For Schools

The Best Data On How Much Money Teachers Pay Out Of Their Own Pocket – What Do You Spend?

The Best Sites For Getting Some Perspective On International Test Comparison Demagoguery 

ADDENDUM:

Trump defenders have begun sharing this chart, which education researchers have been dismissing for a long time as one of the worst and most inaccurate they have seen. You can read more about it at my previous post, Education Research & “The Graph That Will Never Die.”

August 21, 2017
by Larry Ferlazzo
0 comments

A Look Back: “My NY Times Post For ELLs On Teaching About ‘Fake News'”

This summer, I will be taking a break now-and-then from blogging to both take some R & R and to also finish-up our next book on teaching English Language Learners.

During those short breaks, I’ll be re-posting some of my favorite posts of 2017 so far.

You might also be interested in:

 A Look Back: Best Posts From 2007 To 2009 

 A Look Back: 2010’s Best Posts From This Blog

A Look Back: 2011’s Best Posts From This Blog

A Look Back: 2012’s Best Posts From This Blog

A Look Back: 2013’s Best Posts From This Blog

A Look Back: 2014’s Best Posts From This Blog

A Look Back: 2015’s Best Posts From This Blog

A Look Back: 2016’s Best Posts From This Blog

Ideas for E.L.L.s: Finding Reliable Sources in a World of ‘Fake News’ is the headline of my latest, and fairly lengthy, post at The New York Times Learning Network.

As I describe it there:

The ideas in this lesson are specifically for English-language learners and their teachers since, though sorting “fake news” from real news is increasingly difficult for all of us, for E.L.L.’s, the language barrier adds an additional layer of complexity. The strategies and tools below, therefore, do not depend so much on understanding the nuances of the English language as they do on common sense and critical thinking.

I’m adding it to:

All My NY Times Posts For English Language Learners – Linked With Descriptions

The Best Tools & Lessons For Teaching Information Literacy – Help Me Find More

August 20, 2017
by Larry Ferlazzo
0 comments

A Look Back: “We Should Be Obsessed With Racial Equity”

This summer, I will be taking a break now-and-then from blogging to both take some R & R and to also finish-up our next book on teaching English Language Learners.

During those short breaks, I’ll be re-posting some of my favorite posts of 2017 so far.

You might also be interested in:

 A Look Back: Best Posts From 2007 To 2009 

 A Look Back: 2010’s Best Posts From This Blog

A Look Back: 2011’s Best Posts From This Blog

A Look Back: 2012’s Best Posts From This Blog

A Look Back: 2013’s Best Posts From This Blog

A Look Back: 2014’s Best Posts From This Blog

A Look Back: 2015’s Best Posts From This Blog

A Look Back: 2016’s Best Posts From This Blog

I have often shared links to Education Week posts by Walt Gardner in this blog.  His pieces are short, to-the-point, and often, in my opinion, right on target.

However, I have to say that I was shocked and appalled by his latest post, The ‘Racial Equity’ Obsession.  In it, he begins by writing a misleading characterization of events at the St. Paul public schools based on an opinion article headlined, incredibly, “No Thug Left Behind” (see this NPR piece about the racial overtones of the word “thug”).  The article, and Gardner’s summary, paints a picture of school mayhem and “destroyed teacher morale” because of efforts to reduce racial disparity in discipline. He then uses that inaccurate description to condemn efforts in schools that are responding to racial disparities in school discipline that are often based in teacher bias.  His evidence is the “thug” article and the memory of his personal teaching experience, and cites no other evidence.  Of course, he omits the countless studies that have, indeed, connected a large percentage of racial discipline differences to teacher bias (links to that research can be found later in this post).

How do I know that Gardner’s description of the events in Minnesota are wildly inaccurate?  Well,  I actually asked teachers in Minnesota about what happened.

I learned that St. Paul teachers were, and continue to be, very concerned about racial equity in their schools.  I also learned that professional development on bias were incomplete, and that a past contract with administrators included a merit pay clause based on suspension reduction.  As Jim Peterson, the principal at our school, has told me, “If you want us to reduce suspensions, I can do that easily.  But that does nothing to get to the root causes behind suspensions.”

I asked Mary Cathryn Rucker, a teacher on leave from St. Paul public schools currently serving as Executive Vice President of the American Federation of Teacher, her perspective on Gardner’s post.  She replied, ” His characterization is incredibly inaccurate .  It does not recognize the complexity of the work teachers and students are trying to do. In his post, he is promoting the very racist tropes we are trying to destroy.”

The evidence that teacher bias exists is overwhelming.  We cannot wish it away with “alternative facts.”  I have been and, I’m sure, continue to be guilty of it.  Trust me, if you believe you are free of bias, just ask your students of color, as I have done.  They have not been afraid to answer my question with specific examples.

Change is hard.  Our high school has been working hard for two years moving towards restorative practices, and it has not been easy.  But claiming that we teachers should live in a “color-blind” world, as Gardner suggests,  is a picture not rooted in the reality of our world today (see “Colorblind Education Is The Wrong Response,” Ed Week).

Education Week, the publication that published his post, is an extraordinary publication, and one where I have published a weekly teacher advice column for many years.  I was surprised that such a admirable journal would allow the piece to be published.  In response to my concerns, editors pointed me to the disclaimer Mr. Gardner’s blog has (mine has a similar one):

The opinions expressed in Walt Gardner’s Reality Check are strictly those of the author(s) and do not reflect the opinions or endorsement of Editorial Projects in Education, or any of its publications.

Yes, I understand that we bloggers have our own opinions.  However, it seems to me that having an opinion based on facts would be a reasonable bar to have to reach in order to publish a piece. I don’t think Gardner’s piece reaches that bar.

Here are links to articles and studies (many of the articles contain direct links to the research) about the role of teacher bias:

Understanding Implicit Bias appeared in The American Educator.

Want To Address Teachers’ Biases? First, Talk About Race is from NPR (here’s a longer version).

How you can eliminate bias in your own classroom is from The Chronicle of Higher Education.

When Implicit Bias Shapes Teacher Expectations is from NEA Today.

Tackling Implicit Bias is from Teaching Tolerance.

Just How Racist Are Schoolteachers? is from Mother Jones.

5 Keys to Challenging Implicit Bias is by Shane Shafir and appeared in Edutopia.

Four Ways Teachers Can Reduce Implicit Bias appeared in The Huffington Post.

Biased Discipline at My School is by Kelly Wickham Hurst and appeared in Edutopia.

Teachers Undo Personal Biases To Help Students Of Color Engage is from Colorado Public Radio.

Very Useful NY Times Video Series On Implicit Bias

More related resources can be found at:

The Best Resources For Learning About Restorative Practices – Help Me Find More

A Collection Of Useful Posts, Articles & Videos On Race & Racism – Help Me Find More

Feel free to let me know what you think in the comments section..

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