Larry Ferlazzo’s Websites of the Day…

…For Teaching ELL, ESL, & EFL

August 24, 2017
by Larry Ferlazzo
0 comments

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
0 comments

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..

Save

August 19, 2017
by Larry Ferlazzo
0 comments

A Look Back: “Here’s My Entire ELL Beginners Seven-Week Unit On Writing A Story (Including Hand-outs & Links)”

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

My previous post, Here Are The Ten Downloadable Graphic Organizers I Use With ELL Beginners To Write A Story, was very popular, so I thought readers would find it useful if I shared my entire seven-week unit on writing a story. I hope you can suggest ways I can make it better.

After a simple “Word Splash” (words that I pre-teach like “setting,” “theme,” “protagonist,” and “antagonist”), I use very modified versions of the WRITE Institute’s story unit as we read two books together: The Story Of Ferdinand and Teacher From The Black Lagoon. You can purchase a supplementary copy of that unit from the WRITE Institute for $20 here. We have copies of their full unit, but I only use a three of their graphic organizers (a protagonist/antagonist sheet, a sheet for listing words related to the five senses and a story map) – I’m sure you could create or find other versions (lots of story maps are here, a five senses sheet here, and protagonist/antagonist graphic organizers are here).

So, the first week we do the word splash, then I read The Story of Ferdinand from the doc cam while students have their own copies. As you may remember, Ferdinand has his “favorite spot” in the story. At that point, I provide students with this sentence starter: “My favorite spot is ____________________________ because _________________________.” They create posters and share with the class. Every six pages or so we stop, students are paired-off, given small whiteboards and markers, and they take turns reading the story to each other while the other writes the words down on the board (if necessary, students can “cheat” by looking at the book). The “reader” checks the accuracy of the “writer.”

Afterwards, we complete a story map. The most difficult part of that process is helping students understand “theme” and, to a lesser extent, protagonist/antagonist. So, after the story map is done, students create a poster identifying three of their favorite movies or stories and identify the theme and the protagonists and antagonists.

Next, we read Teacher From The Black Lagoon using a similar process, without the “favorite spot” activity. Then we create a Story Map, without following-up with the theme poster.

Next, students write their own stories, and that’s where my previously posted ten graphic organizers come in.

After they complete handwriting their story, I have a short individual conference to provides simple suggestions (read about my thoughts on error correction at my British Council post, ESL/ELL error correction – Yes, No or Maybe?), and then students type it in Word – the red indicator of errors is obviously very helpful. We conference again, and then students copy and paste it into our class blog. You can see them all here.

Then, students record their stories using Speakpipe’s Voice Recorder. It says they only keep the recording online for a few months, but it’s the only stand-alone voice recorder that gets through our district’s content filters. Students record, past them onto our blog, and then I manually copy and paste them that night so it’s on the same comment as their story.

Students then read each other’s stories and leave a comment. I fell down on the job here and didn’t originally do as much pre-teaching on commenting as I should have, and it shows. I followed-up the next day with more explicit support, which resulted in a better comment like this.

Unfortunately, because of student absences, time constraints and the fact that I was out of class for a couple of days with district meetings, we couldn’t continue with the improved comments (they’ll have another chance later).

Instead, at that point I provided students with this guide for their writing a second and longer story. I gave them the option of either revising their first story or starting from scratch.

Students worked on their revisions/new stories, but we couldn’t get enough time in the computer lab for them to post all their creations on the blog – yet, at least.

Now, we’re moving onto a series of fable lessons. These appeared in my latest book, Navigating The Common Core With ELLs. Fortunately, the publisher has made the lesson plan and all the hand-outs available for free download – no registration required!

Just go to the book’s website, scroll to “Downloads” and click on “Fables Lesson Plan.” It teaches fables inductively and leads to students writing their own. I’m in the middle of doing these lessons now. The only change to the book’s lesson plan is that I have three more advanced beginners who, after having done part of the lessons, are now creating a collection of fables from their home countries that we’ll also study.

Student-created fables will be posted on the class blog and we’ll try commenting again. Here’s the graphic organizer I’m having students use to create their own fables.

So, that’s what we’re doing. Let me know how you think it can be improved!

I’m adding this post to The Best Sites For Learning To Write A Story.

Addendum: See Video: Trailer For New Animated Move Based On “The Story Of Ferdinand”

August 18, 2017
by Larry Ferlazzo
0 comments

A Look Back: “What ‘Scarcity’ Does To The Mind & Why Social Emotional Learning Isn’t Enough”

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’m a big advocate of Social Emotional Learning (see The Best Social Emotional Learning (SEL) Resources), but I’m also concerned about it being “over-sold” and used to short-circuit needed policy changes.

I’ve written about those concerns in my Washington Post piece, The manipulation of Social Emotional Learning.

I’ve also shared many pieces on those concerns at The Best Resources Showing Social Emotional Learning Isn’t Enough.

Among those articles are several talking about some specific research finding that poverty causes a lack of self-control and perseverance and it’s not the other way around. In other words, we have just a certain amount of “cognitive bandwidth” which can be overwhelmed by worry and concern related to “scarcity.”

Recently, NPR did an interview with one of the authors of that study, and you can read and listen to it at How The ‘Scarcity Mindset’ Can Make Problems Worse.

Here’s an excerpt:

Another quote from the piece – this one from the NPR host – says:

To be clear, it’s not that poor people focus on immediate needs because that’s all they want to think about. It’s all they can think about. Scarcity captures the mind. In fact, the tunnel vision produced by scarcity can actually lower how you perform on an IQ test.

As I’ve said before, SEL has its place, but it also has to be kept in its place. Yes, we should help our students develop self-regulation skills. But we should also organize for better public policies that can Outside Of School Factors That Impact  Student Achievement.

And, of course, want to help equip students with the skills so that they can also effectively advocate for themselves.

August 17, 2017
by Larry Ferlazzo
0 comments

A Look Back: “Google’s ‘AutoDraw’ Is Likely To Become A Favorite Place For Those Of Us Who Are Artistically-Challenged”

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

Google has unveiled AutoDraw, a free site that uses artificial intelligence that provides a series of guesses about what you are drawing. You can choose the right “guess” to pretty-up your artistic creation, write up some description, and then download it or share the link. The image above is an example.

This is perfect for English Language Learners – instead of spending tons of time getting their drawing “just right,” they can, instead, have fun drawing quickly and spend more time on the language part of the exercise.

And it’s great for ESL teachers, too – no more working hard trying to draw images of scenes for vocabulary items to support language acquisition. Now just draw a few lines, project it onto the screen, and you’ll be able to show a masterpiece.

I’m adding this info to The Best Art Websites For Learning English.

You can read more about AutoDraw at Technology Review article, Google’s AI Turns Your Crappy Doodles Into Proper Pictures.

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