Larry Ferlazzo’s Websites of the Day…

…For Teaching ELL, ESL, & EFL

January 19, 2016
by Larry Ferlazzo
1 Comment

Very Interesting Interview With Motivation Researcher

The Dan Foundation published a very interesting interview with motivation researcher R. Alison Adcock. It’s titled A Study of Motivation.

Here’s an excerpt:


The interview, though relatively short, has quite a few intriguing “tidbits.” I was particularly intrigued by her experiments, apparently successful, in providing feedback on self-motivation strategies to participants. I’ve contacted her asking if she would be open to sharing more details on what she did, and will share what, if anything, I learn.

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

January 17, 2016
by Larry Ferlazzo

Interesting Study On Teaching Vocabulary


Thanks to Nicole Howard, I learned about a pretty ambitious review of vocabulary-teaching studies titled Vocabulary Instruction in Fifth Grade and Beyond.

In one way, I’m not sure exactly how helpful it will be to teachers, since the studies it reviews don’t appear to narrow down effective teaching strategies very much. On the other hand, though, its conclusion that doing lots of different kinds seems to be best could also be used by many of us to support what we’re already doing.

It does come down firmly on the side of teaching context clues, and specifically mentions using clozes (which is one of my favorite instructional strategies (see The Best Tools For Creating Clozes (Gap-Fills) ). It also supports explicit instruction of words that students will encounter in a specific text, though it doesn’t seem to specify if it’s better to pre-teach them or teach them as they come-up (I do both).

I also noted that it highlighted the effectiveness of teaching up to twelve new academic words each week to English Language Learners, which is what I do but which is in conflict with Robert Marzano’s recommendation of a substantially smaller number.

I’d say it’s worth a look. I also was impressed with its ample bibliography, which includes easy-to-access links.

I’m adding this post to The Best Websites For Developing Academic English Skills & Vocabulary.

January 13, 2016
by Larry Ferlazzo

New Study Finds Big Results From Ethnic Studies Classes

I’ve shared a fair amount about the work at our school and across the country on ethnic studies classes (I’ll share links in a moment).

Yesterday, a new study was released on its benefits to students.

Here’s an excerpt:


Here are some links to additional resources on ethnic studies:

Ethnic studies gaining traction in Sacramento-area public schools
is from the Sacramento Bee.

How One Law Banning Ethnic Studies Led to Its Rise is from The Atlantic. It demonstrates the old organizing adage that your opponent does your best organizing for you…

Student-Created Ethnic Studies Project

This is a disappointment from Governor Jerry Brown: Governor vetoes ethnic studies bill.

January 10, 2016
by Larry Ferlazzo

Another Study Points To The Importance Of Students Writing For An Authentic Audience


I’ve written a lot about the importance of students writing for an “authentic audience” – in other words, someone else in addition to the teacher.

You can see those posts collected at The Best Places Where Students Can Write For An “Authentic Audience”  and at Do You Know Of Research Showing That Writing For An “Authentic Audience” Helps Students Feel Motivated?

Thanks to the International Literacy Association, I learned about another study that demonstrated the importance of this practice. In it, young students were asked to write to family members and receive ones in return.

Here’s an excerpt:


I’ve written about similar “pen pal” projects though, in the ones we’ve done, students in my classes have corresponded with students in other classes at our same school.

January 10, 2016
by Larry Ferlazzo

Studies Find No Surprise: Kindness Matters


Every effective teacher (and many non-teachers) know how important it is to be kind to others. To Motivate Employees, Do 3 Things Well is a new Harvard Business Review article which highlights research pointing out some of the specific benefits of that practice (besides being able to sleep well at night and look at yourself in the mirror).

Here’s an excerpt:


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

January 9, 2016
by Larry Ferlazzo

Study: The Value Of “Noticing Good Things”

I’ve previously posted about how I have students regularly write down the positive events that have occurred in their lives during the week (see The “Three Good Things Exercise”).

I talk about related research in that previous post, but apparently not many studies have been done on doing the exercise in a workplace.

The Powerful Effect of Noticing Good Things at Work is the title of a new Harvard Business Review article talking about a new study that did just that. Here’s an excerpt:


Its results are not surprising, but it never helps to have more research to back up a strategy one is applying in the classroom.

I’m adding this post to My Best Posts On Why It’s Important To Be Positive In Class.

January 9, 2016
by Larry Ferlazzo

The Best Resources For Learning About The Importance Of Prior Knowledge (& How To Activate It)


All teachers have a least heard about the importance of helping students connect their prior, or background, knowledge to new information and concepts — it’s a very effective learning/teaching strategy.

Here is a collection of new and prior articles and posts that can help teachers (and students) understand why it’s important and consider various instructional strategies to do it effectively in the classroom:

What you already know is the key to learning new things is a new article in the Guardian, and the piece that prompted this “Best” list.

Does Background Knowledge Matter to Reading Comprehension? by Russ Walsh.

We all know that students learn more effectively if they can connect new information to prior knowledge. How the brain builds on prior knowledge is a report on a new study that saw how different parts of the brain actually do it.

You Don’t Say! Researchers Find That It’s Easier To Learn Something New If You Can Connect It To Something Familiar

More Evidence Reinforcing The Importance Of Connecting To Student Prior Knowledge

Stop The Presses! Study Finds Student Prior Knowledge Is Important & Best Explored Through “Flipped Flipped Classroom” (not a typo)

Background Knowledge: A Key to Close Reading with ELLs is from Colorin Colorado

January 8, 2016
by Larry Ferlazzo

The Importance Of Having Many Tools: “If Your Only Tool Is A Hammer, Then Everything Looks Like A Nail”

As I’ve written about previously, I don’t think dogmatism of any stripe really works in the classroom.

Match Your Motivational Tactic to the Situation is a good new (and short) article at the Harvard Business Review that discusses the importance of context in any situation, and is easily applicable to the classroom.

Here’s an excerpt:


The authors do a good job discussing feedback, goal-setting and motivation, and the different strategies that each can be applied depending upon the context of the situation.

As I read it, the old adage, “If your only tool is a hammer, then everything looks like a nail,” came to mind.

We’ve got to have lots of tools in our backpocket….

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