Larry Ferlazzo’s Websites of the Day…

…For Teaching ELL, ESL, & EFL

November 26, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
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Giving Thanks: Eleven Key People Who Changed My Professional Career(s) — For The Better!

Yesterday, one of my favorite bloggers – Alexander Russo — wrote an excellent post titled Giving Thanks: 6 Key Moments That Changed My Post-Grad School Career .

It’s inspired me to do something similar:

1. Johnny Baranski, who invited me to join the Portland (Oregon) Catholic Worker and which led to my spending seven years in the Catholic Worker Movement, including starting a soup kitchen/emergency shelter in Santa Rosa, California.

2. Mary Ochs, who took a chance and hired me for my first job as a community organizer and led to a nineteen-year organizing career.

3. Larry McNeil, who was my first supervisor when I began organizing for the Industrial Areas Foundation and from whom I learned so much.

4. Jay Schenirer, then Sacramento School Board member, who encouraged me to apply for my first (and, so far, only) teaching job — at Luther Burbank High School in Sacramento.

5. Ted Appel, Burbank principal, who hired me and who continues to provide incredible leadership at our school.

6. Kelly Young, who provides literacy consulting to our school and to others, and from whom I’ve learned more about teaching than from anyone else.

7. Katie Hull Sypnieski, Lara Hoekstra and Dana Dusbiber, close teaching colleagues, friends, and co-authors for the past eleven years.

8. John Norton from Middleweb, who provided very early encouragement to me to begin blogging and writing books.

9. Mary Ann Zehr, who suggested to Education Week that they approach me about writing a column there.

Feel free to share your “thank you’s” to people in the comments, or leave links to blog posts where you do the same….

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November 26, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
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“Books That Grow” Is A Nice New Tool Offering Many Of The “Same” Texts At Different “Levels”

grow

I’ve been a bit surprised at how popular The Best Places To Get The “Same” Text Written For Different “Levels” has been, though I probably shouldn’t be — these kinds of leveled texts can be very useful in the classroom.

Today, I’m making another nice addition to that list…

Books That Grow has a library of texts that have each been edited to be made accessible to different reading levels. And it has some other unique features — teachers can create virtual classrooms to assign and/or monitor what students what are reading and students can click on words that are new to them to see definitions and hear how they are pronounced. They are also planning on adding comprehension questions. The texts can be read on any device.

Everything is free for now, though they plan on starting to charge for some “premium” features in the 2015/16 school year.

You can register now on their sign-up page, and then they’ll contact you by email in a few hours or the next day with registration information. They won’t have a super-easy system in place until January for registering students in virtual classes, but they’ll do it for you manually prior to that time.

In addition to adding it to the previously-mentioned list, I’m going to put it on The Best Sites That Students Can Use Independently And Let Teachers Check On Progress one, too.

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November 26, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
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Create Virtual Classes & Have Students Write Book Reviews At “Bookopolis”

bookopolis

Bookopolis lets teachers create virtual classrooms — for free — where students can identify the book they’re reading (they just have to type in the title and the site automatically “finds” it) and write a review. There are a number of other features, too. It seems like a very useful site, though I’m less-than-thrilled with the extrinsic points and badges students can earn.

I’m adding it to The Best Sites That Students Can Use Independently And Let Teachers Check On Progress and to The Best Places Where Students Can Post Book Reviews For Authentic Audiences.

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November 25, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
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Teaching Ideas For #Ferguson #MichaelBrown

I published this list in August and thought readers would find it helpful if I shared it again tonight. I’ll add new resources as I find them or they are suggested:

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November 24, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
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Are You Having Success Teaching The Next Generation Science Standards To English Language Learners?

I published The Best Resources For Teaching The Next Generation Science Standards To English Language Learners last week, and I’d be very interested in talking with teachers who have had success teaching them to English Language Learners.

If you’d be open to talking with me, please leave your contact info in the comments section — all comments are moderated, and I won’t make it public.

Thanks!

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November 24, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
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New & Important Resources On Race & Racism

November 24, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
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Three Useful Anti-Bullying Resources

Here are three new additions to A Very, Very Beginning List Of The Best Resources On Bullying:

How to teach … anti-bullying is from The Guardian.

How do other countries tackle bullying? is also from The Guardian.

Am I A Bully? is from The BBC.

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November 24, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
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“Write About” May Be The Education Site Of The Year

writeabout

Write About is a new site co-founded by educator John Spencer (his name may be familiar with readers since I’ve previously shared his work many times here). His co-founder is Brad Wilson.

And they’ve created what might be the Education Site of 2014.

Write About provides many (and I mean many) images with writing prompts. Students can write their response and do an audio recording of it. Teachers can create virtual classrooms and provide individual written feedback to student writing. Student creations can be shared publicly or just with their classmates. Teachers can change prompts or upload their own photos.

There’s a lot more, too.

Plus, you can’t beat the cost (or non-cost):

Teachers can sign up and participate in the Write About community for free. Up to 40 free student accounts can be created with up to 3 posts each. Unlimited posts can be added with a Classroom account for $4.95/month. Teachers with multiple classes can add up to 250 students with unlimited posts for $7.95/month.

I asked John why he created Write About and here’s his response:

“Brad and I met and had a similar vision for what we wanted. I wanted something that would allow my students to share their work more easily with layers of groups and have hundreds of writing ideas. I’ve been doing visual prompts for a long time and Brad had been using visual prompts in his app in order to promote student choice in writing. In short, I wanted to make something that my students would want to use.”

I think Write About is going to be an exceptional site, in particular for English Language Learners. It combines visual imagery, writing, speaking and listening – not to mention an authentic audience.

I’m adding it to The Best Sites That Students Can Use Independently And Let Teachers Check On Progress and to The Best Places Where Students Can Write Online.

Here’s a video introduction to the site:

I should point out that I had some trouble using the recording function on my home computer with a Windows 7 Operating System. I alerted John to the issue, and I’m sure it will fixed very quickly. It’s a minor issue for a brand-new site. It should work fine with other systems.

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November 23, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
3 Comments

Two Important Posts On ClassDojo

You may be aware of The New York Times article earlier this week about the classroom management tool ClassDojo — I wrote about it in my post, One Of The More Depressing Passages You’ll Read This Week.

You can also find other posts about the app at The Best Posts & Articles On “Motivating” Students.

Two posts have been written this week about the app that I think are important for educators to read:

6 reasons to reject ClassDojo is by Joe Bower, who lays-out the critiques of ClassDojo clearly and articulately.

Bill Ferriter, a teacher who I respect very much, has written a very thoughtful post about he uses ClassDojo. It sounds like he applies it in a very careful and effective way, and not just as a blunt extrinsic motivation weapon. Based on how I read other teachers are using it, however, it sounds like Bill is more the exception than the rule. I think the creators of an app need to take responsibility for how people use the products of their work in destructive ways, just as education researchers need to do the same for their studies,

What do you think?

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November 23, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
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What Is “Personalized Learning”?

Here are two new additions to The Best Resources For Understanding “Personalized Learning”:

What do you mean by Personalization? is by Elliot Washor (thanks to Barbara Bray for the tip). Here’s an excerpt:

Much-more-than-a

5 Things You Should Know About Personalized Learning is from The Gates Foundation.

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November 22, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
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The Best Resources For Teaching The Next Generation Science Standards To English Language Learners

I’ve just posted The Best Resources For Teaching Common Core Math To English Language Learners, and thought I’d publish this companion post, too.

Just as I’m interested in interviewing teachers who have had success teaching Common Core Math to ELLs, I’d like to talk with teachers who are effectively teaching the Next Generation Science Standards to them. Please leave a comment if you’re open to talking with me.

You might also be interested in The “All-Time” Best Science Sites . Of course, I also have a ton of other science-related “Best” lists, too.

Here are my choices for The Best Resources For Teaching The Next Generation Science Standards To English Language Learners (please suggest more):

Next Generation Science Standards and English-Learners is from Ed Week.

Teaching Science to English Language Learners: What do the NGSS Tell Us? is from Diane Staehr Fenner.

Language Demands and Opportunities in Relation to Next Generation Science Standards for English Language Learners: What Teachers Need to Know is from Understanding Language.

English Language Learners and the Next Generation Science Standards is from Next Generation Science.

Next Generation Science Standards and English Language Learners is from Project CORE.

Framework for English Language Proficiency Development Standards corresponding to the Common Core State Standards and the Next Generation Science Standards is from CCSSO.

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November 22, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
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Two Useful Resources On Educator Professional Development

November 22, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
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Are You A Teacher With Experience Teaching Common Core Math To ELLs?

If you are teaching math to English Language Learners and are successfully integrating the Common Core Standards, I’d love to interview you.

Please leave a comment on this post with your contact information — all comments are moderated, and I won’t make it public.

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November 20, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
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Here’s The Simple & Powerful Gratitude Lesson I’m Doing On Friday Before Thanksgiving Break

I’ve previously posted this simple lesson that my colleague Katie Hull and I have done before Thanksgiving and, instead of just posting the link, I figured it would be easier for readers if I just reprinted this post here:

'gratitude' photo (c) 2009, hurricanemaine - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

I’ve written in my books and here on my blog how I use the concept of “gratitude” in class (see The Best Resources On “Gratitude”).

Today, my colleague Katie Hull did a simple and powerful lesson using one of the resources on that “Best” list and I thought I’d share it here.

It’s based on an experiment and video that “Soul Pancake’ did (the video is on that list, but I’ve also embedded again in this post).

Katie gave her students this writing prompt (which is very similar to the question used in the video):

Close your eyes and think of somebody who is really influential in your life and/or who matters to you. Why is this person so important?

She also shared what she had written about her father as a model. After students wrote it, and shared in partners, she showed the video. Then, she encouraged people to to share what they wrote with the person they wrote about — in fact, some students felt they wanted to share it right then by calling.

Tears were shed.

One girl insisted on calling her mother in class, and then the class pushed Katie to call her father right then and there and read what she wrote.

A powerful lesson to kick-off Thanksgiving break….

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November 20, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
2 Comments

Here’s The Form I Have Students Complete When They’re Listening To Their Classmate’s Presentations

There are many benefits to having small groups of students make presentations to their classmates, including the fact that the presenters have an “authentic audience” beyond the teacher.

But how can we maximize its benefit to both speakers and listeners?

One strategy I use, particularly in my International Baccalaureate Theory of Knowledge classes, is have listeners complete this form anonymously sharing what they liked about the presentation and suggestions for improvement.

Listeners complete the form and I collect them for each group until all the presentations are complete. If the presenters are given them prior to that time they are obviously tempted to read them instead of listen to the other presenters.

I’ve used different versions of this form in other classes and it’s generally been pretty successful, though in ninth-grade classes some students don’t take it as seriously as I would like.

In addition to that form, students also have to write down the name of each group and one thoughtful question they would like to ask. Then, the group chooses one student to ask their question and then the group responds to it. I collect the list, and it functions as an effective form of accountability.

What are your suggestions for how I can improve the form and this process?

I’m adding this post to The Best Ideas To Help Students Become Better Listeners.

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November 19, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
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One Of The More Depressing Passages You’ll Read This Week

This excerpt is from ClassDojo: A Tale of Two Classsrooms, an article in The New York Times about a popular classroom management system:

Or-as-one-of-Mr

You might be interested in The Best Posts & Articles On “Motivating” Students, which also includes some other articles about ClassDojo.

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November 19, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
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Dan Pink’s New TV Series Airs Next Monday!

crowdcontrol11

As I mentioned earlier this month, Dan Pink’s new television show, Crowd Control, airs next Monday on the National Geographic Channel (Monday, November 24th at 9PM ET).

Dan is best known among educators for his book, Drive, which delved into the key issue of developing intrinsic motivation. I’ve written a lot about his work.

Here’s how the National Geographic Channel describes it:

In the new series, Best-selling author and expert Daniel Pink will use behavioral science to lead a series of experiments that show how we can apply the power of persuasion in our daily lives to reduce stress, minimize annoyances, improve health and increase happiness. Using hidden cameras to record his results, Pink will tackle the seemingly impossible task of righting everyday wrongs — from convincing partygoers to clean up their streets to stopping the senseless rush at an airport baggage claim.

You can read more in-depth discussions of his new show at these two links:

Adam Grant, another one of my favorite authors, interviews Dan about the new show.

This New TV Show Experiments With Design to Deter Speeding, Jaywalking is the headline of a Slate article about it.

It really looks like a great show. You can see lots of short, advance clips on its website.

Not only am I sure that I’ll learn a lot from it, but I also plan on showing clips to my IB Theory of Knowledge class when we study human sciences. After seeing them, I plan on challenging students to use what they’ve learned in class and from the clips to create their own — appropriate, of course — human behavior experiments. I’ll share how it goes….

I was able to preview the first show, and was impressed. It’s fast moving, and Dan applies recognized behavioral science findings to real-life problems, including using cash rewards to reduce speeding; fear and game-playing to reduce jaywalking and an unusual effort to try and reduce bicycle thefts. And, if you’re wondering, his cash rewards experiment doesn’t disprove the idea that rewards discourage intrinsic motivation. In fact, it reinforces the research that extrinsic motivation can work to change mechanical habits that require little creativity or higher-order thinking. Remember, though, that extrinsic motivation doesn’t encourage — and, in fact, dampens — those higher order skills.

By the way, in my original post about the show, I mentioned that one of the episodes featured a musical staircase designed to encourage people to use it more. I commented on its similarity to a “Fun Theory” video I’ve also shared. Dan later emailed me to let me know that earlier in that particular episode he discusses that original experiment and builds on it to create a staircase that encourages people to collaborate to create music when climbing instead of the mismatched chords individuals had created on their own. A creative modification, indeed!

Fortunately, we get the National Geographic Channel, and I’m looking forward to watching the entire series!

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November 18, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
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Two Great Resources On Language

Two great (and fun) resources on language came online today:

23 maps and charts on language is from Vox, and is a “must-read.” I’m adding it to The Best “Language Maps.”

Why do pigs oink in English, boo boo in Japanese, and nöff-nöff in Swedish? is from The Guardian. I’m adding it to The Best Sites For Learning About The World’s Different Cultures.

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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 17, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
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Two Good Links On Social Emotional Learning

Here are two new additions to The Best Social Emotional Learning (SEL) Resources:

Sacramento city schools focus on emotional learning is a Sacramento Bee story about our district’s SEL program, directed by the extraordinary Mai Xi Lee.

Q&A with Daniel Goleman: How the Research Supports Social-Emotional Learning is from Edutopia.

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