Larry Ferlazzo’s Websites of the Day…

…For Teaching ELL, ESL, & EFL

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.

March 6, 2016
by Larry Ferlazzo

The Best Resources On Student Agency & How To Encourage It


How to Cultivate Student Agency in English Language Learners is the headline of the latest excerpt from our new book.

This is a reprint of a post I wrote last November under the headline, Student Agency & How To Encourage It. KQED Mindshift will soon be publishing an excerpt on student agency that will appear in my next book, and I thought readers might find it more useful if I republished it as one of my “Best” lists. I’ll, of course, be adding to it as new resources become available.

I believe helping students develop “agency,” which is often defined as the ability to be pro-active in responding to your circumstances, is an important part of classroom – and life – success. Unfortunately, few include an important second part of the definition – recognizing that there could be outside limitations on a student’s pro-activity, and that omission can lead to what I call the “Let Them Eat Character!” element of Social Emotional Learning (see my Washington Post piece, The manipulation of Social Emotional Learning).

Nevertheless, there are a number of actions we can take in the classroom to help students deal with both parts of that definition.

Unfortunately, I’m not convinced that a big new report on “student agency” is going to be that much of a help to teachers and students who want to implement those kinds of actions. It comes from something call The Achievement Gap Initiative at Harvard, and it’s called The Influence of Teaching Beyond Standardized Test Scores: Engagement, Mindsets, and Agency. You can read more about it at Education Week and at the Boston Globe.

It’s based on 300,000 electronic student surveys and, though I’m a big advocate of teachers using personalized student surveys to inform instruction, I’m less convinced of their value on a broad scale. As we say in community organizing, a survey is only useful as a tool to initiate a personal conversation. Outside of an individual classroom context, I would be very hesitant to use them to generate conclusions about anything, no matter what the writers of this report or the people behind the flawed Gates MET Project say (see A Beginning List Of The Best Posts On Gates’ Final MET “Effective Teaching” Report). The report justifies the use of the student surveys by citing their use by Gates.

I’m very open to hearing that I’m unfairly criticizing the report, but it also doesn’t seem to me to provide any useful recommendations to teachers beyond vague ideas.

My next book (out in March) will have a section on student agency and how teachers can encourage its development. I suspect that this particular section will appears somewhere as an excerpt. However, to get started now, here are a few links to more practical strategies that teachers can apply in the classroom to help students gain agency:

Positive Self-Talk (“Control Your Destiny”: Positive Self-Talk, Students & Stephen Curry)

Goal-Setting (My Best Posts On Students Setting Goals)

Metacognition (My Best Posts On Metacognition)

Teaching Students About Their Brains (The Best Resources For Showing Students That They Make Their Brain Stronger By Learning)

Student Reflection (The Best Resources On Student & Teacher Reflection)

Students Teaching Others (The Best Posts On Helping Students Teach Their Classmates — Help Me Find More)

Encouraging Student Action on Justice Issues (The Best Teacher Resource Sites For Social Justice Issues)

Student Choice (The Best Posts & Articles About Providing Students With Choices)

Giving Appropriate Feedback (The Best Resources For Learning How To Best Give Feedback To Students)

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