Larry Ferlazzo’s Websites of the Day…

…For Teaching ELL, ESL, & EFL

October 19, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
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Three Useful Posts About Ed Tech

Here are three recent useful posts on ed tech:

Why I Now Friend Students On Social Media is by Vicki Davis. I’m adding it to The Best Resources On Teacher/Student Use Of Social Media.

15 Effective Ways to Use Google Docs in Class is from Ed Tech and Mobile Learning.

The Downside of Being a Connected Educator is from Edutopia. I’m adding it to The Best Resources For Connected Educators Month.

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October 17, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
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Civics, Citizenship & Academic Writing Is Topic Of My NY Times Post For ELLs

elections

I’ve begun this school year’s series of posts for English Language Learners at The New York Times. Today’s piece highlights ways to use civics and citizenship as opportunities for academic writing.

I’m adding it to The Best Websites For Learning About Civic Participation & Citizenship.

You can see all my previous NY Times posts for ELLs here. In a few days I’ll be posting an index of all of them.

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October 15, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
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What A Gold Mine! The NY Times Learning Network Lists Their Most Popular Posts

popular

The New York Times Learning Network, one of my long-time favorites for teaching resources (it was the first site listed on The Best Places To Find Free (And Good) Lesson Plans On The Internet — long before I started writing about teaching ELLs for them) has published a list of their most popular posts.

It’s a gold mine — not to be missed!

By the way, this year I’ve gone back to writing a monthly post for them on teaching ELLs — a much more sane schedule than last year’s weekly one. The first one of this school year should appear this week or next….

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October 14, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
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New Report: “The State of Educational Blogging 2014″

edublog

Sue Waters and Edublogs have just published their annual, and always interesting, State of Educational Blogging.

As usual, it’s chock-full of interesting facts and resources.

I’m adding it to The Best Sources Of Advice For Teachers (And Others!) On How To Be Better Bloggers.

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October 13, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
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Great Explanation Of The Difference Between Inductive & Deductive Teaching & Learning

I’ve written A LOT about the advantages of inductive over deductive learning, and how I also use both in my classroom (You can see many posts here).

The British Council just shared a short post that Paul Kaye wrote six years ago that does a great job explaining the difference between inductive and deductive, and he provides a number of practical examples from the language-learning classroom.

Check out his article, Presenting New Language.

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October 9, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
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“Straight Ace Learning” Lets You Create Free English & Math Virtual Classes

straight

Straight Ace Learning lets you easily create virtual English and Math classrooms for elementary and middle-school students, and provides curriculum that they say is Common Core-aligned. The content isn’t very flashy, but I could easily see myself offering it to students for reinforcing online work at home.

It’s easy to sign-up, and then they send you registration information a day-or-two later.

They’re working with Quipper School, which has similar multilingual programs in several Asian nations.

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

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October 9, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
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Warm-Ups, Bell-Ringers, Exit Tickets and…Vitamins?

All teachers are familiar with the idea of “warm-ups” (some call them “bellringers”) — activities that students know they are to begin as soon as they enter the classroom. For example, my English students know they need to be seated and reading a book of their choice (or looking for one in the classroom library) two minutes prior to the bell ringing; my Geography, U.S. History and World History students read books of their choice related to those subject areas (I have class libraries for each subject); and my International Baccalaureate Theory of Knowledge classes typically need to do some quick reading or writing activity that’s on the board and/or on their desks when they enter the classroom.

I call them all “Warm-Ups” and they work well.

On the other end of things, I have tried off-and-on over the years to have regular end-of-class reflection activities (some call a version of them “exit tickets”). One tool I’ve developed is what I call a Daily Reflection Activity sheet.

It has a list of twelve different reflective activities that students can do, and sometimes I’ll let students choose which one they’d like to complete and other times I select one for them.

Those activities have not always gone so well, and I’ve had a hard time making them a regular part of our class routine. I’m a big believer in the power of reflection, and have students do a reflective activity at the end of each week and at the end of units and semesters (see The Best Resources On Student & Teacher Reflection). Those have been successful.

Fairly often, however, my announcement of a reflection sheet at the end of a class lesson is met with groans. Plenty of research emphasizes the importance of ending experiences positively, so those negative reactions make me reluctant to have those class-closing activities.

I’ve been ruminating on a recent post by Daniel Coyle, the author of “The Talent Code” (see my interview with him here). His piece is titled Stop Doing Drills; Start Using Challenges. In it, he discusses the idea of discarding the word “drills” and replacing it with “challenges” — and also talks about a San Antonio Spur practice they call “Vitamins” (hence the use of that word in the title of this post). He, and many people who left comments on his post, talk about the importance of the language we use to describe regular practice (and regular warm-ups, bell-ringers, and exit slips).

I don’t believe language is at the root of the issue my students are having with end-of-class reflection activities, but it might make a small contribution.

What has your experience been with end-of-class reflective activities — what has worked, what hasn’t?

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October 5, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
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It’s World Teachers’ Day — Here Are Even More Related Resources

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It’s World Teachers’ Day today, and here are some new additions to The Best Resources To Learn About World Teachers Day:


World Teachers’ Day
is from UNESCO.

Teachers around the world share their stories – interactive is from The Guardian.

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October 5, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
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Teaching Plato’s Allegory of The Cave

I, and just about every other International Baccalaureate teacher in the world, teaches Plato’s Allegory of the Cave to our Theory of Knowledge classes.

I spend quite a bit of time on it, beginning with students first reading the actual allegory to each other other and then having them read a more accessible one with simplified language. We then watch the various animations of it on line (you can see all my links and related resources at our class blog post). Then we connect it to clips from the Matrix (also found on that blog post) and watch “The Truman Show.”

Finally, students create their own modern versions of the Allegory on video. Here’s one example, and you can see quite a few more on our class blog:

Students really enjoy it all, and easily figure out why we’re spending so much time on it. They “get” the idea of our being in our own “caves” and how we need to look outside it. The Allegory is a perfect lesson near the beginning of a school year with a TOK class and, I think, with other classes, as well.

Do you teach the Allegory in your classes? If so, how do you do it?

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October 4, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
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The Best Posts & Articles On How To Teach “Controversial” Topics – Suggest More!

There is no shortage of topics that need to be discussed in the classroom that many consider “controversial” (see A Collection Of Useful Posts, Articles & Videos On Race & Racism – Help Me Find More) and there is no shortage of people who don’t want many of these issues brought up in schools (see The Best Posts & Articles On The Teacher & Student Protests In Colorado).

Here are a few resources with additional suggestions on how teachers might effectively engage students on these kinds of important topics, and I hope readers will suggest more:

Wondering How To Handle A Controversial Topic In Class? What We Did This Week Worked Out Very Well is a post I wrote last month.

How to Teach Beyond Ferguson is by Jose Vilson and appeared in Edutopia.

Engaging With Class & Race In The Classroom is one of my Ed Week posts.

Teachers take on controversial subjects: Ferguson, same-sex marriage, immigration is from The Washington Post. It makes a number of good points, but one teacher who is interviewed is not one who I would suggest people emulate. Melinda Anderson points out why:

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October 4, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
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Many More Resources On Connected Educators Month!

October 3, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
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Videos: Here’s The Simple Theory of Knowledge Lesson On Perception I Did Today

As regular readers know, in addition to teaching classes for English Language Learners, I also teach International Baccalaureate Theory of Knowledge courses.

One of the “Ways Of Knowing” in the class is Perception. Today, I did one of my regular lessons, and thought I’d bring all the videos together in one post for readers who might be interested (though the truth is that I wanted to put them all in one post so it will be easier for me to teach again).

I begin by having students number a sheet of paper one-to-six, with several lines for each number. I explain that we’re going to watch six short videos. After the first five videos students will be given a couple of minutes to answer this question:

What does this video have to do with perception, and what does it say about how perception can help or hinder our search for knowledge?

I explain that students will then share their response with the student next to them; I’ll then call on a couple of people to share; and then alternate rows will rotate so that students switch partners after each sharing.

Here are the videos I show:

Here’s more information on the Selective Attention Test video.

I end with this next video by asking students to “write down what happened in the picture” (which was the original prompt by researchers). After students watch the video, I ask how many told a story and then share parts of this analysis.

The lesson always goes well, though, as usual, I’m interested in hearing suggestions from readers on how to make it better….

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October 1, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
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A Simple Lesson On Climate Change For English Language Learners

My colleague and co-author Katie Hull Sypnieski (with whom I’m writing a sequel to our surprisingly popular book, The ESL/ELL Teacher’s Survival Guide) are teaching a lesson on climate change to our Intermediate and Advanced English Language Learners on Friday. I’ll be combining my Intermediate class with her Advanced one.

I thought readers might be interested in hearing what we will be doing…

First, we’ll show students two short videos on climate change after providing a short introduction to it. There are surprisingly few accessible videos out there, and I think these are the two best ones — Brainpop’s animation on Global Warming (happily, they make this video available free) and this one from the Australian government:

Next, we’ll explain that the United Nations had a special meeting last week on climate change, and that a Marshallese poet recited a poem that brought many delegates to tears (see Marshallese Poet Brings UN To Tears With Climate Change Poem & Provides Extraordinary Opportunity To ESL Teachers). We’ll give everyone a world map, and our Marshallese students will explain where the Marshall Islands are located.

We’ll then give students a copy of the poem, read it to them, and then show one of the videos that accompanies the poem that is embedded in my post about it. Then we’ll have students work in pairs to write in their own words what they think the different stanzas of the poem mean, and discuss it in class.

Next, we’ll show a video of the poet reciting the poem at the United Nations.

Then, depending on how much time we have left, we’ll bring students to the library to do research so they can write an “ABC” paragraph in response to this question: Answer the question, Back it up with evidence like a quotation, make a Comment or Connection. You can read more about this strategy here.

How do you think climate change will affect you?

They’ll research resources at The Best Sites To Learn About Climate Change. They’ll also be able to use information they learned from the two videos.

Their homework will be to write the paragraph, and then they’ll share it verbally with classmates on Monday.

Let me know if you have suggestions on how we can make the lesson an even better one!

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September 30, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
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Excellent ASCD Article On Memory & Learning

As usual, Bryan Goodwin has written an excellent piece in this month’s issue of ASCD Educational Leadership. It’s titled Research Says / Which Strategy Works Best?

It’s a concise description of the differences between short-term memory, working memory and long-term memory, with teaching hints for all three.

I’ve written a lot about memory and learning, and you can see a bunch of those posts here.

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September 30, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
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World Teachers Day Is October 5th — Here Are Related Resources

World Teachers’ Day, held annually on October 5th since 1994 – when it was created by UNESCO – celebrates teachers worldwide (in the United States, National Teacher Day is Tuesday in the first full week of May).

You’ll find many related resources at The Best Resources To Learn About World Teachers Day.

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September 29, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
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Resources For Connected Educators Month

October is Connected Educators Month. Here’s a description of the event:

Millions of educators and others around the world have participated in hundreds of professional development opportunities as part of Connected Educator Month (CEM) the past two years. Originally developed by the U.S. Department of Education and its partners as part of the Connected Educators initiative, CEM offers highly distributed, diverse, and engaging activities to educators at all levels. Based on its success in 2012 and 2013, the initiative is poised to reach even more educators in 2014, through expanded partnerships and enhanced programming.

The goals of CEM include:

Getting more educators proficient with social media to improve their practice
Deepening and sustaining learning among those already enjoying connection’s benefits
Helping schools credential/integrate connected learning into their formal professional development efforts
Stimulating and supporting innovation in the field

Here are new additions to The Best Resources For Connected Educators Month:

12 things to do before Connected Educator Month 2014 launches

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