Larry Ferlazzo’s Websites of the Day…

…For Teaching ELL, ESL, & EFL

November 18, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
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Quote Of The Day: No, We Teachers Don’t Have To “Channel Springsteen”

Channeling Springsteen: Teachers As Performers is an NPR piece that includes suggestions about why we teachers need to be performers.

Fortunately, Bruce Lenthall from the Center for Teaching and Learning at the University of Pennsylvania provides some wisdom:

Lenthall-and-others-say

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November 11, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
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Quote Of The Day: “When Will I Ever Use This?” (& How I’ll Use It In Class)

When Will I Ever Use This? An Essay for Students Who Have Ever Asked This Question in Math Class is an extraordinary essay by Douglas Corey from Brigham Young University. Though portions are specifically devoted to math, most of it is applicable to any subject.

It was shared on Twitter by Steven Strogatz.

Here’s how it ends:

When-will-you-use-what

It’s too long (nine pages) to use “as is” in most of my classes, but I plan on editing it down and asking students to respond to this writing prompt:

What does Professor Corey say is the reason we should learn new things even though we may not see how it can be used? To what extent do you agree (or disagree) with what he is saying? To support your opinion, be sure to include specific examples drawn from your own experience, your observations of others, or any of your readings, including from his essay.

Let me know if you have suggestions to improve the prompt…

I’m adding this post to The Best Posts On Writing Instruction, where you’ll find other prompts.

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October 31, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
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Quote Of The Day: “Traditional grammar instruction isn’t effective. Period.”

Three lessons from the science of how to teach writing is a very useful post from The Hechinger Report.

Here’s an excerpt:

Traditional-grammar

This reinforces my own experience and what I’ve regular written in this blog and in my books. Instead of traditional approaches, I’ve found the use of concept attainment to be exceptionally effective and engaging.

You can read about that strategy here.

For additional reinforcing activities, of course, there is always The Best Sites For Grammar Practice.

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October 29, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
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Quote Of The Day: On Metacognition

Too-often-we-teach

I’m a big believer in helping students develop metacognitive skills, and have included related lesson plans in my books and have an extensive The Best Posts On Metacognition list.

The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) has just published a free book, along with a short blog post, on the topic. It’s specifically geared toward using metacognition in math class, but the advice is pretty universal.

It’s worth checking out…..

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October 25, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
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Quote Of The Day: “The American Dream Is Leaving America”

The American Dream Is Leaving America is the title of Nicholas Kristof’s new column in The New York Times.

Though I don’t agree with him 100% on the role of education in upward mobility (see The Best Resources On Why Improving Education Is Not THE Answer To Poverty & Inequality), he does make some good points.

Here’s an excerpt:

kristof

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September 7, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
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Quote Of The Day: “The Book That Got Teaching Right”

shopping

Samuel G. Freedman has written a great column in The New Yorker about the book Up the Down Staircase whose author, Bel Kaufman, died this past summer. His column is headlined The Book That Got Teaching Right.

Here’s an excerpt:

I-grabbed-a-copy-of-Up

I certainly had heard of the book and movie before, but only as a faint memory. I’ve ordered both now and looking forward to reading and watching!

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July 21, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
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Quote Of The Day: “Do Students Learn More When Their Teachers Work Together?”

Do Students Learn More When Their Teachers Work Together? is an excellent post by Esther Quintero at The Shanker Blog.

I’m adding it to The Best Posts & Articles About The Importance Of Teacher (& Student) Working Conditions.

Here’s an excerpt:

The-big-message-is-that

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July 5, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
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Quote Of The Day: “The Secret of Effective Motivation”

The Secret of Effective Motivation is a column in today’s New York Times that’s written by Amy Wrzesniewski and Barry Schwartz.

They focus on recent research they’ve done on the difference between “internal” and “instrumental” motives. In a lot of ways, I think it’s similar to the idea of learning and performance goals, about which I’ve written a lot.

Here’s the part of the column that caught by attention:

There is a temptation among educators and instructors to use whatever motivational tools are available to recruit participants or improve performance. If the desire for military excellence and service to country fails to attract all the recruits that the Army needs, then perhaps appeals to “money for college,” “career training” or “seeing the world” will do the job. While this strategy may lure more recruits, it may also yield worse soldiers. Similarly, for students uninterested in learning, financial incentives for good attendance or pizza parties for high performance may prompt them to participate, but it may result in less well-educated students.

The same goes for motivating teachers themselves. We wring our hands when they “teach to the test” because we fear that it detracts from actual educating. It is possible that teachers do this because of an overreliance on accountability that transforms the instrumental consequences of good teaching (things like salary bonuses) into instrumental motives. Accountability is important, but structured crudely, it can create the very behavior (such as poor teaching) that it is designed to prevent.

Accountability-is

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February 22, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
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Quote Of The Day: Have You Ever Wondered How Many Decisions We Teachers Need To Make Each Day?

In an excellent post awhile back, Larry Cuban summarized research related to how many decisions a teacher has to make each day:

*Researchers Hilda Borko and Richard Shavelson summarized studies that reported .7 decisions per minute during interactive teaching.

*Researcher Philip Jackson (p. 149) said that elementary teachers have 200 to 300 exchanges with students every hour (between 1200-1500 a day), most of which are unplanned and unpredictable calling for teacher decisions, if not judgments.

Now, a new study (thanks to Dan Willingham for the tip) has identified the number of research-based options we have to choose from when we make these decisions:

Carnegie-Mellon

There’s certainly no reason why someone with just a few weeks training shouldn’t be able to handle teaching a class, wouldn’t you say?

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February 4, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
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Quote Of The Day – Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg on stumbles: ‘There’s always a next move’

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg on stumbles: ‘There’s always a next move’ is the title of an article — and video — from The Today Show.

Here’s an excerpt:

But-one-of-the-big

I’m adding this to The Best Posts, Articles & Videos About Learning From Mistakes & Failures.

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February 2, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
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Quote Of The Day: “The Dangers of Certainty”

The Dangers of Certainty: A Lesson From Auschwitz is an excellent (though somewhat meandering) column in today’s New York Times, written by Simon Critchley.

I think it relates a lot to what I’ve written about teaching and “school reform” in a Washington Post piece titled The importance of being unprincipled. I’ll also be using in my IB Theory of Knowledge class — I always begin the course by sharing quotations questioning the value of absolute certainty.

Here’s an excerpt, followed by a video accompanying the column:

For-Dr-Bronowski-the

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February 1, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
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Quote Of The Day: “We Must Always Take Sides”

Tobey Steeves tweeted quote from Elie Wiesel, which I discovered came from his Nobel Prize acceptance speech.

We-must-always-take

We’re just beginning a unit on Nelson Mandela in our ninth-grade English classes, and I’m thinking of using the quote with a short writing prompt:

What is Elie Weisel saying about what we should do when we see injustice? What do you think of his view? To develop your position, be sure to include specific examples. These examples can come from his short quote and what you know of Weisel, anything else you’ve read, and/or your own observations and experiences.

I’d also include short bio of Weisel:

Elie Weisel is a writer, teacher and activist who survived being in Hitler’s concentration camps. He was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1986 for organizing against violence and racism.

I’m adding post to My Best Posts On Writing Instruction because that’s where I’ve also been collecting writing prompts.

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January 22, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
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Quote Of The Day: “Does it take more strength to restrain yourself or does it take more strength to fight back?”

Public Radio International just aired an interview with the first Hmong-American judge in U.S. history.

They titled it First Days: The first Hmong American judge didn’t always acknowledge his roots.

Here’s an excerpt when he’s talking about being ridiculed by classmates:
My-junior-high-teacher

This is a particularly useful article and quote for our school, since our student population is about one-third Hmong.

I’m adding it to The Best Posts About Helping Students Develop Their Capacity For Self-Control and also to The Best Websites To Learn About The Hmong.

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January 1, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
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Quote Of The Day: “2014 Resolution: Stop Watching Feel-Good Teacher Movies”

2014 Resolution: Stop Watching Feel-Good Teacher Movies is an excellent article in The Atlantic.

I have several other similar indictments of how teachers are often portrayed in film that can be found at The Best Places To Learn About (And View Video Clips Of) Teachers In The Movies, but Joshua John Mackin really does do an exceptional job in this article (including making ed policy connections).

Here’s an excerpt:

It-would-be-a-huge-step

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December 31, 2013
by Larry Ferlazzo
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Quote Of The Day: “the fertile soil in which the seeds must grow”

Diana Laufenberg sent out a tweet of this great quote from the scientist Rachel Carson of Silent Spring fame.

She found it in a Brain Picking post about an earlier book by Carson.

I was particularly struck by it echoes a comment by Sir Ken Robinson in his discussion of the importance of helping students develop intrinsic motivation.

First, I’ll share the Carson quote, followed by Robinson’s comment:

If-facts-are-the-seeds

farmers-and-gardeners-know-you-cannot-make-a-plant-growthe

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