Larry Ferlazzo’s Websites of the Day…

…For Teaching ELL, ESL, & EFL

January 18, 2017
by Larry Ferlazzo
0 comments

A Look Back: “Zootopia Movies Highlights Importance Of Grit, But Also Its Limitations”

In February, this blog will be celebrating its ten-year anniversary! Leading up to it, I’m re-starting a series I tried to do in the past called “A Look Back.” Each week, I’ll be re-posting a few of my favorite posts from the past ten years.

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

This post was originally published in 2016:

I just came back from taking my grandkids to see the new Disney movie “Zootopia.”

Though I agree with other reviewers who say the movie’s message on race and prejudice is a bit muddled, I also have to say that I think it provides an excellent perspective on “grit.”

At the beginning, he movie’s star, Judy the rabbit,  exemplifies the sterotypical belief in grit – she will try, try, try and succeed, and won’t let anything stop her. As the film goes on, however, she finds that her individual grit isn’t enough — she has to deal with additional challenges she faces from the attitudes and prejudices of society at large, and needs advice and assistance from others to ultimately succeed.

This story reflects what I wrote in my Education Week Teacher column titled ‘It’s Time to Change the Conversation About Grit’:

researchers David Yeager, Gregory Walton and Geoffrey L. Cohen have defined [it] as “the fuller formula for success: effort + strategies + help from others.”

The movie’s message is particularly timely in light of very recent cautions from Carol Dweck (Carol Dweck Makes Strongest Statement Yet On Growth Mindset Misuse) and Angela Duckworth (NY Times Reports On Social Emotional Learning Run Amok) about the dangers of viewing Social Emotional Learning as panaceas.

Even with those concerns, I have to admit I also did like the Shakira theme song for the movie, “Try Everything,” and see how that could be used as part of an SEL lesson.

Here are the lyrics to the song, along with four videos:

* The official music video to the movie

* A “lyrics video” of the song

* Two official trailers to the movie

You might also be interested in:

Video: “Better Call Saul” Scene Illustrates The Limitations Of Grit

The Best Video Clips Demonstrating “Grit” – Help Me Find More

January 17, 2017
by Larry Ferlazzo
0 comments

A Look Back: “Study Reviews 25 Years Of Research Into What Helps Students Graduate – Here’s What They Found”

In February, this blog will be celebrating its ten-year anniversary! Leading up to it, I’m re-starting a series I tried to do in the past called “A Look Back.” Each week, I’ll be re-posting a few of my favorite posts from the past ten years.

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

This post was originally published in 2016:

16631261989

Paul Bruno tweeted out a link to an important new study (that is, unfortunately, behind a paywall) titled Factors that Promote High School Graduation: a Review of the Literature, by Jonathan F. Zaff, Alice Donlan, Aaron Gunning, Sara E. Anderson, Elana McDermott, Michelle Sedaca.

I read it, and here’s my summary:

First off, I’d strongly recommend this study be read side-by-side with last year’s report by American’s Promise Alliance, which examined why students drop-out (see New Survey On High School Drop-Outs Is Depressing, If Accurate). I think both studies complement each other – with this new one focused on what helps students stay, while the earlier one targets why they drop-out. They’re similar in many ways and different in a few others.

This new report reviewed:

research from the past 25 years on high school graduation, focusing on longitudinal, US-based studies of malleable factors that predict graduation. Through this systematic search, we identified 12 assets in individual, family, school, peer, and community contexts, which predict high school graduation…

I don’t think anyone is going to be too surprised by what they found.  I’m listing them in the order they are discussed in the study.  However, I don’t believe the researchers list them in order of importance.  I might be wrong on that, but I can’t find anything in the article that suggests there was a strategic plan for what was discussed at the beginning, middle and end:

1. Student motivation, particularly intrinsic motivation: No big surprise to me, especially since I’ve written three books on the topic. Also, see  Best Posts On “Motivating” Students.

2. Student engagement: They identify it as “behavioral (e.g., attending class, completing assignments), emotional (e.g., identification with school, liking school), and/or cognitive (e.g., taking a strategic approach to learning, intellectual curiosity).” See The Best Posts & Articles On Student Engagement.

3. Youth expectations for “attainment”: In other words, do they expect that they are going to college. See The Best Resources For Showing Students Why They Should Continue Their Academic Career.

4. Do students feel that they are in control of their own destiny: “Youth who believe they control their academic outcomes (i.e., internal locus of control) tend to do better in school and persist when they encounter difficulties.” This reminded me of Maria Konnikova’s recent article in The New Yorker where see writes that resilient people see themselves as “the orchestrators of their own fates.” It may also speak to the importance of maximizing the use of choice – see The Best Posts & Articles About Providing Students With Choices.

5. “Parental Academic Involvement”: This includes both parents helping with homework or talking with their kids about school at home, as well as participating in activities at the school itself. See my fifty “Best” lists related to parent engagement here.

6. “Parent-Child Connection”: Do the parents and their children communicate well and regularly with each other?

7. “Positive Peer Norms”: Are students hanging-out with friends who are more likely to graduate or drop-out?

8. “Positive Student-Teacher Relationships”: See The Best Resources On The Importance Of Building Positive Relationships With Students.

9. “Small Schools”: I think big schools can apply this idea through developing Small Learning Communities, as we have done in our school. See The Best Resources For Learning About Small Learning Communities.

10. Participation in School-Based Extracurricular Activities

11. Career and Technical Education opportunities

12: Access To Community-Based “out-of-school” activities like Outward Bound

Obviously, some of those factors are outside of the teacher and school’s control, but we can impact quite a few of them.

What do you think?

January 16, 2017
by Larry Ferlazzo
0 comments

A Look Back: “I Did A Presentation Today On The Concept Attainment Instructional Strategy – Here Are My Materials”

In February, this blog will be celebrating its ten-year anniversary! Leading up to it, I’m re-starting a series I tried to do in the past called “A Look Back.” Each week, I’ll be re-posting a few of my favorite posts from the past ten years.

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

This post was originally published in 2016:

concept

I’m a big fan of using Concept Attainment in teaching grammar and writing, and have shared many examples in blog posts and in my books. You can see previous posts at The Best Resources About Inductive Learning & Teaching.

I gave a short presentation about it to some of my school colleagues this afternoon. I thought readers might find it useful to see the materials I prepared.

First off, though, here’s a quick description of the strategy that comes from our forthcoming book, Navigating The Common Core With English Language Learners:

Another form of inductive learning we use with ELLs to improve their writing is the use of examples and non-examples, known as Concept Attainment. This strategy, originally developed by Jerome Bruner and his colleagues, involves the teacher identifying both “good” or “Yes” and “bad” or “No” examples of the intended learning objective. As the teacher shares the “Yes” and “No” examples with students, they are encouraged to develop the reasoning which supports why an example is a “Yes” or a “No.” This inductive learning strategy is a great way to teach multiple elements of writing including sentence structure, grammar, development, and organization.

This first example, which includes all examples of student writing (that’s one of the keys to success of this strategy) is focused on teaching when to use “is” and when to use “are.” The paper is put on the overhead, with all sentences except for the first one under “yes” covered. The teacher then uncovers the first “no” example, asks students to think for a minute, talk to a partner, and see if students can figure out why one is under “Yes” and the other under “No.” We can continue this process until students have come to a conclusion. They then re-write the “no” examples correctly and formulate a “rule.”

is and are

The next sheet I shared was the one at the top of this post and is designed to teach when to use “have” and when to use “has.” The same process is used.

Those first two are model for how to use concept attainment to teach simple grammatical concepts.

The next example I used shows how to use it to teach more sophistical grammar and writing strategies, and I previously published those examples in an insanely popular post titled Teachers Might Find My “Concept Attainment – Plus” Instructional Strategy Useful.

That post describes in detail the process I developed and which I call “Concept Attainment – Plus.” Here are sheets I used in the three-step process that is designed to teach the even more sophisticated “I Say, They Say” essay framework, as well as verb tense agreement.

verbtenseone

verbtensetwo

verbtensethree

Lastly, I shared even more sophisticated examples of using Concept Attainment to teach the “PQC” – Point, Quote, Comment and “ABC”- Answer the Question, Back it up, make a Connection. You can find those examples at my post, Here Are Some Examples Of Using “Concept Attainment” In Writing Instruction. My talented colleague, Lara Hoekstra, prepared those examples.

I remain convinced that there are no more effective and engaging instructional strategies to teach grammar, and few others that are equally successful in developing successful writers.

Let me know experiences you’ve had using this strategy in your classroom in the past or in the future….

January 15, 2017
by Larry Ferlazzo
0 comments

A Look Back: “I Did My Best Job Teaching A “Growth Mindset” Today – Here’s The Lesson Plan”

In February, this blog will be celebrating its ten-year anniversary! Leading up to it, I’m re-starting a series I tried to do in the past called “A Look Back.” Each week, I’ll be re-posting a few of my favorite posts from the past ten years.

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

This post was originally published in 2016:

As regular readers know, I’m a big believer in teaching and implementing strategies to promote a growth mindset (see The Best Resources On Helping Our Students Develop A “Growth Mindset”). Plus, you can find additional related lesson plans in my books.

Today, I tried a new version with my IB Theory of Knowledge classes that went very well. In fact, I think it’s the best one I’ve ever done, and it’s very simple.

Here’s what I did:

Students came in to the class finding the phrase “Growth Mindset” on the overhead. I asked people to raise their hand if they had every heard of it before today. A fair number had, since we have a big focus on Social Emotional Learning at our school. I explained that the class today would be a refresher for them and an introduction to those who didn’t know much about it.

I explained that I was going to show three videos (happily, none were blocked by The Best Ways To Deal With YouTube’s Awful Safety Mode).  Each video, I said, would illustrate elements of having a growth mindset.  I told them I wanted to write down on a sheet of paper what elements they saw exhibited in the video and how they were demonstrated.

Here were the videos I showed (I gave students a minute to write after each video, every other row of students would move up one seat after each clip to share with a partner, and I would then ask a few students to say what they wrote to the entire class). These videos and more can be found at The Best TV/Movie Scenes Demonstrating A “Growth Mindset” – Help Me Find More:

Here’s the combined list of Growth Mindset qualities both of my classes developed:

growth

Then, after I gave students a very quick introduction to Carol Dweck and shared a story about my meeting a person who worked with Gandhi who told me that the key to Gandhi’s success was “that he looked at every problem as an opportunity, not as a pain in the butt,” I gave students copies of this NPR report, Students’ View of Intelligence Can Help Grades.  I had them rotate again, alternate reading paragraphs out loud with their partner, and then write a paragraph responding to this prompt:

According to Carol Dweck, what is a “growth mindset” and why is it important? Do you agree with what Dweck is saying? To support your opinion you may use examples from your own experiences, your observations of others, and any of your readings (including this article).

After they wrote their paragraphs, they rotated again and read them to their partner. I called up one student to share it on the overhead and had them read their piece to the class (I’ll actually be publishing a sample of them on this blog over the weekend).

Then, I showed the well-known “Two Mindsets” diagram on the overhead, quickly reviewed it, and told an example from my life for three on the list — challenges (changing careers to become a teacher); obstacles (explaining how I lost the game for my basketball team this week but I didn’t quit the team and, instead, plan on practicing my shooting this weekend) and criticism (how I learned a lot from the anonymous class evaluations students did of my last week). After writing a few words about each one on the growth mindset side of the diagram, I explained that I was going to give students copies and wanted them to think and briefly about when they had exhibited those growth mindset qualities in their own lives. We were running short of time by then, so I only gave them a few minutes, explaining that they didn’t have to write something about every one of the qualities.

We rotated again, students shared with a partner, followed by my calling on a few students to share what they wrote.

Then, with only a few minutes left in the period, I told students that at the top of the growth mindset side of the diagram, I wanted them to write as many adjectives as they could think of that would describe how they felt during and after the moments they acted with a growth mindset. My example was that I felt “confident” in myself after successfully changing careers.

I finished-up by calling on some students (though, in my second class, I had enough time to have everyone share), and got a ton of great words, including inspired, strong, delighted, successful, etc.

It went very, very well. I’ll still do my other growth mindset lesson plans (those are designed for English Language Learners and for ninth-grade students facing challenges), but this one is a big winner, too!

Feedback is welcome!

January 14, 2017
by Larry Ferlazzo
3 Comments

A Look Back: “Here’s How My Students Taught Their Classmates A Social Studies Unit – Handouts Included”

teach

In February, this blog will be celebrating its ten-year anniversary! Leading up to it, I’m re-starting a series I tried to do in the past called “A Look Back.” Each week, I’ll be re-posting a few of my favorite posts from the past ten years.

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

This post was originally published in 2016:

As regular readers know, I’m a big fan of students teaching their classmates, and tons of research backs-up the value of that practice (see The Best Posts On Helping Students Teach Their Classmates — Help Me Find More).

This past week was the most recent time I applied this idea in my classes.

I simultaneously teach World History and U.S. History English Language Learner classes (fortunately, this year I have the help of a student teacher – it gets a bit hectic when one is not around). World History students learned about World War I a couple of weeks prior to the U.S. History class getting there. So the World History students divided into pairs to prepare a short unit made-up of a cloze (also known as a “gap-fill” or “fill-in-the-blank” – see The Best Tools For Creating Clozes (Gap-Fills)); a data set, which is a series of short texts that students categorize and supplement with more information they find (see The Best Resources About Inductive Learning & Teaching); and a “Make-and-Break,” a term coined by my friend and mentor Kelly Young to describe a simple sequencing activity.

Here is the entire prep and planning packet used by my World History students, which also included a requirement to prepare teaching “moves” and a lesson plan. The process is easily adaptable to just about any topic or subject area. It’s somewhat similar to a lesson you’ll find in one of my student motivation books.

I gave students four days to prepare the unit, including making a master packet and multiple copies of student hand-outs for when they taught. Here is an example of one of the master packets prepared by a group of students.

Fortunately, we were able to use the library for our three days of teaching. U.S. History students were divided into seven groups, as were the World History students. Each group was assigned to a table, and each day the World History group taught one of the three lessons. At the end of each day, the U.S. History students would do some reading in their textbook for a few minutes while I met with the World History class to review the lesson for the following day.

It all went very well. The U.S. History students are eager now to “turn-the-tables,” and both classes will be using the same process on a historical topic of their choice for part of their final “exam” – a “Genius Hour” version (see The Best Resources For Applying “Fed Ex Days” (Also Known As “Genius Hours”) To Schools).

Here are a few reflective comments by my World History students:

When I teach, I liked to tell what I learn and know about the lesson.

When I teach, I learned be a teacher was not easy so we have to be nice to our teacher.

I learned about to be more patient and pay attention to others.

I like about taught other people what I know. I like the way they focus and hard-working what I’m teaching.

What I liked about this project is that I could help my “students” understand what we were doing.

What I learned about teaching is that it could be hard work if the student does not focus.

Teaching is a responsible profession that you need to carry with you because the future of your students depends on you.

I learned how to explain something to the students.

January 12, 2017
by Larry Ferlazzo
0 comments

A Look Back: “Ideas for ‘Close Reading’ with ELL Students”

In February, this blog will be celebrating its ten-year anniversary! Leading up to it, I’m re-starting a series I tried to do in the past called “A Look Back.” Each week, I’ll be re-posting a few of my favorite posts from the past ten years.

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

Our book, Navigating The Common Core With English Language Learners, was published in 2016, and quite a few excerpts were published in various places.

MiddleWeb published a section on close reading, along with a bonus piece on reading for pleasure.  They headlined it Ideas for “Close Reading” with ELL Students.

Here’s an excerpt:

January 11, 2017
by Larry Ferlazzo
0 comments

A Look Back: “Download All Lesson Plans & Student Hand-Outs From Our ELLs & Common Core Book – For Free!”

ellcommoncore-1cw29sdggggg

In February, this blog will be celebrating its ten-year anniversary! Leading up to it, I’m re-starting a series I tried to do in the past called “A Look Back.” Each week, I’ll be re-posting a few of my favorite posts from the past ten years.

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

Our book, Navigating The Common Core With English Language Learners, was published in 2016, and I shared this post then, too:

Jossey-Bass is making all the lesson plans and student hand-outs from our Navigating The Common Core With ELLs book available for free online – you don’t even have to register to get them!

Just go to our page on the publisher’s site and download away!

January 10, 2017
by Larry Ferlazzo
0 comments

A Look Back: “Ofrecer autonomía es clave para desarrollar la motivación”

tiching

In February, this blog will be celebrating its ten-year anniversary! Leading up to it, I’m re-starting a series I tried to do in the past called “A Look Back.” Each week, I’ll be re-posting a few of my favorite posts from the past ten years.

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

I published this post in 2016:

tiching, an organization of teachers in Spanish-speaking countries, recently did an interview with me on student motivation.

You can read it – in Spanish – at Larry Ferlazzo: “Ofrecer autonomía es clave para desarrollar la motivación.”

Fortunately, even though I did most of the interview in Spanish, they made me sound far more fluent than I actually am 🙂

I’m adding this post to The Best Posts & Articles On “Motivating” Students.

Skip to toolbar