Larry Ferlazzo’s Websites of the Day…

…For Teaching ELL, ESL, & EFL

April 1, 2016
by Larry Ferlazzo

The Best Resources For Teaching Shakespeare To English Language Learners


First off, I’ve got to say that I’ve never tried teaching Shakespeare to English Language Learners and, to tell the truth, I’m not sure I’m every going to try.

However, today The British Council released a series of six great videos and accompanying interactives to do just that, and I’m certainly going to invite my ELLs to check them out.  This month is the 400th anniversary of his death.

And, while I’m at it, I thought I’d collect some other resources I’ve posted about in the past that might also fit on a “Best” Shakespeare list. Feel free to share, one, your thoughts about teaching Shakespeare to ELLs and, two, other resources you think should be on this list:

As I mentioned, the British Council released their videos. Here’s what they wrote about them:

We have six special videos adapted for children, which tell the stories of some of Shakespeare’s most famous plays, including Romeo and Juliet, Hamlet, Macbeth, Twelfth Night, Much Ado About Nothing and A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Each video comes with games and a downloadable worksheet.

On TeachingEnglish, teachers will find lesson plans for each video aimed at primary-aged children. 

Find out more about how the British Council is celebrating Shakespeare with the Shakespeare Lives project. 

How to make Shakespeare easy for English language learners is another British Council post.

Do you write like Shakespeare? is a fun interactive.

“This is Your Brain on Shakespeare”

Understanding Shakespeare with visualization is from Flowing Data.

Book Reviews – & Shakespeare – In Three Panels

March 23, 2016
by Larry Ferlazzo

The Best Resources For Learning About The Ins & Outs Of Reclassifying ELLs


The new Every Student Succeed Act is going to bring changes to our schools, and to our English Language Learner policies (see The Best Resources For Learning How The Every Student Succeeds Act Affects English Language Learners).

One of those changes relates to “reclassification” – when are ELLs no longer considered ELLs?

I have a lot of concerns about how ESSA might put pressure on quick reclassification and schools gaming the system, though I know not everyone shares them.

I thought it would be useful to bring together a few resources on this specific topic and invite readers to contribute their thoughts:

The Effects of Changing Test-Based Policies for Reclassifying English Learners is an important research paper on the dangers of reclassifying ELLs (in other words, not providing extra support any longer to them).

Coincidentally, The Council of Chief State School Officers (the organization behind the creation of the Common Core Standards) has released recommendations on how states and school districts should reclassify English-language learners. You can read all about it at Ed Week.

Reclassifying English Language Learners: What’s the effect on Wisconsin high schoolers? is from The Brookings Institution.

This report is getting a fair amount of attention, but I’m unclear why people seem so surprised by its conclusion: Language literacy in kindergarten important for success in learning English . Read more about it at Ed Week, Pre-K Literacy Key to English-Language Learner Reclassification, Study Finds.

Districts’ stringent criteria can delay reclassifying English learners is from Ed Source.

Researchers Identify ‘Goldilocks Effect’ of Reclassification on High School ELLs is from Ed Week.

A Strategy for Predicting How Long It Takes for ELL Students to Reclassify is from Education Northwest.

March 21, 2016
by Larry Ferlazzo

The Best World Poetry Day Resources – Help Me Find More


UNESCO has declared March 21st to be World Poetry Day, and I thought I’d bring together a few related resources — some which I’ve already posted about in the past and others that are new:

Wow! “Split This Rock” Looks Like A Great Resource For Social Justice Poetry

“Teach This Poem” Provides A Weekly Poem & Learning Activities To Teachers – For Free

The Best Resources About Maya Angelou

TEFL Geek writes about an interesting idea in Using Haiku for Summary Tasks. In some ways, it’s similar to using “found poems”for the same reason.

Mashup Turns Messages Of Hate Into Poetry Preaching Love, NPR

World Poetry Day: 28 of poetry’s most powerful lines ever written is from The Independent.

World Poetry Day: 16 quotes from poets to make you fall in love with poetry again is from Metro.

Read Write Think has some activities for the day.

Pay with a poem: coffee for poetry deal spreads around the globe is from The Guardian.

Here’s a TED-Ed lesson and video:

Here are a few more related TED-Ed videos:

POETRY IN THE CLASSROOM: 10 FUN ACTIVITIES is from Svetlana Kandybovich.

Kids and Poetry is from Teaching English.

Ways to Celebrate National Poetry Month With The New York Times is from The NY Times Learning Network.

Our Seventh Annual Found Poem Student Contest is also from the Learning Network.

Teaching Poetry of the Immigrant Experience is from Edutopia.

Here are poetry resources for ELLs from Colorin Colorado.

March 19, 2016
by Larry Ferlazzo
1 Comment

The Best Sites For Learning About The Marshall Islands


We have quite a few students from The Marshall Islands at our school. I’ve shared related resources in various past posts, but I thought it would be useful for me to bring them all together.

I’ll be adding this list to The Best Geography Sites For Beginning & Intermediate English Language Learners:

The Secrets of the Wave Pilots is a big new story in The New York Times Magazine, and this is what has prompted to me to make this list.

Marshallese Poet Brings UN To Tears With Climate Change Poem & Provides Extraordinary Opportunity To ESL Teachers

Pacific Islander Poets Use Art, Stories to Urge Climate Action at UN Conference is from NBC News.

For The Marshall Islands, The Climate Goal Is ‘1.5 To Stay Alive’ is from NPR.

Arkansas a refuge from rising seas in Marshall Islands is a fascinating article from the Associated Press.

A Simple Lesson On Climate Change For English Language Learners

Climate Change Has Reached Our Shores is by the President Of The Marshall Islands, and appeared in the New York Times.

A ground zero forgotten: The Marshall Islands, once a U.S. nuclear test site, face oblivion again is from The Washington Post.


How Stuff Works has a brief overview of the islands.

Check-out panoramic images of the islands.

Here’s a slideshow of the islands.

CBS News has a “Fast Facts” sheet on the islands.

The Marshall Islands Journal is a local newspaper website.

Here’s a video report on weapons testing in the islands.

The BBC has a Marshall Islands country profile

Marshall Islands Facts comes from National Geographic.

Marshall Islands Stamps

Marshall Islands Stamps 1

Marshall Islands Stamps Part 2

Marshall Islands Stamps Part 3

Marshall Islands Picture Gallery

Marshall Islands Picture Gallery 1

Marshall Islands Picture Gallery 2

Marshall Islands Historical Images

Marshall Islands Historical Postcards

March 10, 2016
by Larry Ferlazzo

The Best Resources For Learning About “Deeper Learning”

Note that the original title of this post was “Deeper Learning” In The News Today. I have since turned it into a “Best” list.

Many in the ed world have heard the term “deeper learning,” but I’m not really sure how many educators really know what it means.

I’ve previously published a couple of useful posts on it:

Very Good Video: “Diving Into Deeper Learning”

“Deeper Learning” Report

Yesterday, one big report was released showing that deeper learning is effective in helping students learn and, today, a far more interesting report – written by Barnett Berry from the Center For Teaching Quality – was released focused on how to effectively actually implement in schools.

First off, you can read an article in Education Week that discusses the findings of a new study by the American Institutes for Research that found using deeper learning can increase graduation rates and more.

Teacher leadership & deeper learning for all students is the title of Barnett Berry’s report.

Here’s his definition of “deeper learning”:

What does this look like at the classroom level? Instruction designed around deeper learning involves student voice and choice, incorporates feedback and revision, and typically culminates with a publicly presented product or performance. For example, students aren’t expected merely to supply answers to row after row of math problems—but instead must explain how they are using and applying concepts relevant to algebra, geometry, and calculus. Similarly, deeper learning requires that American history courses go far beyond memorization of names and dates; rather, students … must use the tools of historians to analyze the U.S. Constitution and write about the federal role in immigration policy.

In other words, deeper learning emphasizes critical thinking, problem-solving, collaboration and knowledge transfer.

Barnett’s paper suggests that, in order to ensure that this kind of learning reaches all of our students, including those facing multiple challenges, then teacher leadership must be strengthened.  This point is strengthened by the report written about in Ed Week — even though researchers found that deeper learning benefited all students in the schools they studied, it appeared to help lower-income students less.

Barnett points to schools that have had exceptional success applying deeper learning for all students, and identifies that increased leadership roles of teachers as a critical part of that accomplishment.  He writes:


It’s a report well-worth reading…

Here are some more resources:

Equal Opportunity for Deeper Learning is from Jobs For The Future.

The Implications of Deeper Learning for Adolescent Immigrants and English Language Learners is also from Jobs For The Future.

How Deeper Learning Can Create a New Vision for Teaching

Deeper Learning Planning Guide

Deeper Learning From AIR

DEEPER LEARNING COMPETENCIES is from the Hewlett Foundation

Advancing Deeper Learning Under ESSA: Seven Priorities is from Stanford.

Deeper Learning: ‘Skills That Everyone Needs’ is from The Education Writers Association.

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