Larry Ferlazzo’s Websites of the Day…

…For Teaching ELL, ESL, & EFL

August 3, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
3 Comments

How Useful Is The LinkedIn Publishing Platform & LinkedIn Generally?

LinkedIn has now opened up its publishing platform to 15 million people. In other words, if you’re a LinkedIn member, you can now blog with it.

I have no idea how important or useful that is, and hope that readers will enlighten me.

In fact, though I’m a LinkedIn member and connect back to anyone who requests one — as long as they have some relationship to education — I’m still not clear what LinkedIn “does.”

The only thing that I have found useful on it is David Deubelbeiss’ ELT Professionals Around The World group, which seems to have some useful conversations (I’m just a lurker there).

Tell me what I’m missing, if anything. Should I share posts from this blog there? Should I write some original articles on their platform? Are the people on LinkedIn really different from those on Twitter, Google Plus, or Facebook?

Is the advice in this piece, LinkedIn’s Publishing Platform: Pros, Cons and Generating more Content, good or bad?

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August 3, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
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Image: Useful List Of Questions

I’m adding this tweet to The Best Posts & Articles About Asking Good Questions — Help Me Find More:

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August 3, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
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“How To Build A Better Teacher” — Praise & Minor Critique

A week after an excerpt from Elizabeth Green’s new book, Building A Better Teacher, appeared in The New York Times (Why Do Americans Stink at Math?), another excerpt was the cover story of Parade Magazine — How To Build A Better Teacher.

In it, she lists what she says education researchers have found to be five things “great teachers do differently.”

She makes some great points, along with a couple that I think don’t quite hit the mark:

1. They can right a wrong. — She nailed this one:

Mastering-a-subject-was

2. They never say “Shhh!”

I’m not as positive about Doug Lemov’s techniques as Ms. Green sounds likes like she is, and I’m not convinced that this is a key part of what makes a good teacher “great.” Perhaps, though, it might be more relevant to younger children than in high school, where I teach.

3. They encourage deeper thinking. — She nailed this one, too — we need to ask better questions (see The Best Posts & Articles About Asking Good Questions).

4. They “cold call”—with ­purpose

Yes, cold-calling can be very valuable, but Ms. Green doesn’t clearly highlight the accompanying element that’s necessary to make it effective — wait time.

5. They show more than they tell. — yes, “making your thinking visible” — Bulls-eye!

Her Parade piece is definitely worth reading. I’m looking forward to reading her book, plus, she’s agreed to answer a few questions for my Ed Week Teacher column. Look for it in the future.

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August 2, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
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The Best Resources For Teaching & Learning About The “Helper’s High”

I recently learned about research behind the “helper’s high” — strong feelings people experience from helping others — and am considering preparing a lesson about it.

I’ve gathered some resources here, and would love for people to make additional suggestions:

The Science of Good Deeds: The ‘helper’s high’ could help you live a longer, healthier life. is from Web MD.

The Helper’s High is from The Greater Good Science Center.

What We Get When We Give is from Psychology Today.

Helper’s High is from Allan Luks.

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August 2, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
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All My Ed Week Posts On Starting A New School Year Well — In One Place!

Q & A Collections: Best Ways To Begin & End The School Year brings together all my Ed Week posts on how to start a new school year well.

Here’s an excerpt from one of them:

Do-I-belong-is-one-of11

I’m adding the post to The Best Resources For Planning The First Days Of School.

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August 1, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
1 Comment

With Friends Like David Brooks, Social Emotional Learning Doesn’t Need Any Enemies

Promoting-Social

New York Times columnist David Brooks is at it again, demonstrating the rapidly growing public face of Social Emotional Learning as a “Let Them Eat Character” strategy (which I wrote about in The Washington Post — The manipulation of Social Emotional Learning).

His column today, The Character Factory, quickly dismisses the effectiveness of programs that provide economic assistance to low-income people because “they have produced disappointing results.” Of course, he provides no evidence or details for that critique. Perhaps he should actually talk to a low-income person now-and-then who has benefited from food stamps, rental and home-buyer assistance, the Earned Income Tax Credit, Medicaid, etc. And he doesn’t consider the possibility that those programs might be even more beneficial if they were better funded. This is the kind of critique that comes from someone who has never needed that kind of assistance.

Then, he launches into a paean to the need for poor people to have character — that’s the ticket! They just need a little grit, self-control, models (he calls for a “Boomercorps” of volunteers to provide them), good habits (to his credit, he does throw a bread crumb at “opportunity” by mentioning that it would be important for college to be affordable).

No wonder there is a growing backlash against Social Emotional Learning by those who see it being co opted as a low-cost way by many conservatives to avoid providing adequate economic support to schools and as an excuse to avoid discussion of income and wealth inequity.

I’m a big supporter of teaching Social Emotional Learning skills. In fact, I’m just completing my third book on the subject. But in my teaching and in my writing (even more so in this third book), I recognize that my students have many challenges ahead of them, and that SEL is one small (though important) piece of the puzzle.

Promoting them as the solution to all that ails our students, their families, and our communities is at best naive and at worst horribly manipulative. At it’s very worst, it could also be called neocolonialist or educational colonialism.

As far as I can tell, David Brooks has never written a coherent column on anything related to education.

Oh, well. At least The Times has Paul Krguman…..

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July 31, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
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Three Good Slides On “Flow”

I’ve been doing some research and writing on the concept of “flow” (and continue to interested in hearing suggestions of movie/TV scenes where the characters are exhibiting it).

In re-looking at Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi’s TED Talk (which I’ve embedded at the bottom of this post), three of his slides stood out to me, so I took screenshots to share here and at The Best Resources For Learning About “Flow.”

Here they are:

flow

flow chart

flow1

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July 30, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
2 Comments

Do You Have Suggestions Of Movie/TV Scenes Showing People In “Flow”?

I’ve recently been spending some time thinking about developing a lesson to help my students understand the idea of entering into a “state of flow” — completely absorbed in a learning task.

You can read more about the concept at The Best Resources For Learning About “Flow.”

Do you have any suggestions of movie or TV scenes showing people in a “state of flow”?

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July 29, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
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Two More Important Commentaries On Recent Deliberate Practice Study

I’ve previously posted about the big new study that raised questions about the role of deliberate practice in becoming an “expert” at something (see Big New Study On Deliberate Practice).

Here are two more important commentaries on that study that I’m adding to The Best Resources For Learning About The 10,000 Hour Rule & Deliberate Practice:

We’ve Been Thinking About Talent The Wrong Way All Along is by Daniel Coyle.

Actually, practice doesn’t always make perfect — new study is by Alfie Kohn.

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July 28, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
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Students Seeing Assets, Not Deficits, In Their Neighborhoods

My favorite lesson each year is when my students compare their neighborhood with the wealthiest neighborhood in Sacramento, and then write a persuasive essay about which one they think is better.

At least ninety percent of them choose their neighborhood.

You can read — at length — about that lesson at A Lesson Highlighting Community Assets — Not Deficits.

Here’s a powerful tweet about Chicago students look at the assets in their neighborhood, too:

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July 28, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
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Two Good Resources For Virtual Field Trips

Here are two new additions to The Best Resources For Finding And Creating Virtual Field Trips:

6 virtual field trips to give lesson plans a boost is from Education Dive.

Here’s a map of virtual field trips and webcams that I learned about from Richard Byrne. You can see a bigger version here.


View Virtual Tours & Webcams in a larger map

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July 27, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
1 Comment

Still Looking For Student Project Ideas That Include Family Engagement

Earlier this year, I published The Best Student Projects That Need Family Engagement — Contribute Your Lessons! over at my parent engagement blog.

I heard from a number of teachers sharing projects they have their students do that include some kind of specific family involvement, ranging from interviews to collecting bugs. You can read about them over at that list.

I thought I’d put out another call to readers who might have missed it then, or who are new readers of this blog.

So if you do any kind of student project with a family component, please leave a comment on this post and I’ll add it to that list!

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July 26, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
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Two Good Resources On Asking Good Questions

July 26, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
0 comments

Even More MacGyver Clips Showing “Transfer Of Learning”

I just discovered a MacGyver wiki that has a List of problems solved by MacGyver. It lists all the episodes, along with the problems he solved in each one and how he solved them. In addition, today I discovered that CBS has put all the MacGyver episodes on YouTube.

Based on quick review, here are a few more clips I’m adding to The Best Movie Scenes, Stories, & Quotations About “Transfer Of Learning.” I’m sure there are more if you want to take the time to look through the wiki. On some of them, I have included quotes from the wiki. I was originally going to use TubeChop to just share the clips themselves, but it didn’t seem to be working well today. So, I’ve embedded some of the entire episodes with instructions of when to start them:

On this one, the Pilot Episode, “”MacGyver plugs a sulfuric acid leak with chocolate. He states that chocolate contains sucrose and glucose. The acid reacts with the sugars to form elemental carbon and a thick gummy residue (proved to be correct on Mythbusters).” Start at 35:40 and end at 38:20

On this next one, Fire and Ice, “MacGyver opens a vault and steals back some diamonds first dusting the buttons for fingerprints with graphite from a pencil. The vault has a three-digit combination with unique digits and six buttons. The dusting narrows down the 120 combinations to 6 and the vault is easily opened. He then neatly gets the diamonds in a small bag using a paper as a funnel. (31.30) “Math and science do prove useful.” Start at 32:30 and end at 34:15.

Here, “MacGyver created a diversion and a surprise attack using an inner tube, pressured air, chloride, a catalyst, two glass jars and a gas mask. The inflatable boat was put in a truck and filled with air until the glass broke creating a loud noise. Meanwhile MacGyver filled the two gas bombs filling one glass jar with chloride and the other with a catalyst. Then he threw them at the bad guys resulting in a reaction producing toxic chlorine gas when the two liquids mixed. (36.00) When I was a kid my grandpa gave me two things I’ll never forget; a subscription of popular mechanics and a chemistry set. And this place was one BIG chemistry set! – MacGyver” Start at 36:00 and ends at 44:00

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July 26, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
2 Comments

Do You Know Of Movie/TV Scenes Showing The Value Of Taking Risks & Making Mistakes?

I’ve got a ton of resources at The Best Posts, Articles & Videos About Learning From Mistakes & Failures, including the videos that everybody knows (Michael Jordan commercial, Famous Failures, etc.).

However, I don’t have any clips from movies or TV shows that illustrate the idea — in a funny or serious way.

Do you have any suggestions?

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July 26, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
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It Doesn’t Matter If It’s “Effective” If Students Won’t Do It

An article in District Administration Magazine raises issues about the effectiveness of Booktrack, a website and app that provides a “soundtrack” of music, street sounds, etc. to a book (students can also create their own sounds). Some question research (funded by Booktrack) that suggests it improves comprehension.

I’ve previously posted about Booktrack, and think highly of it. I’ve seen some of my least interested readers regularly get very engaged in a book they can read on their phone using Booktrack.

And that’s the key — engagement. I’m not sure if students using Booktrack would score better than a control group not using it on a comprehension test.

But I also don’t care.

What I do know is that students who wouldn’t read are going to score a lot less on a comprehension test than those who did (not that test scores are the be all and end all of assessments).

It gets to an issue of previously written about a few times.

Research might be able to identify the best ways to get things done, but it doesn’t really matter if people won’t do those things.

Research can’t exist in a vacuum, especially where our students are concerned.

You can read these past posts (and don’t miss the comments section with them) for further discussion on this issue:

How Reading Strategies Can Increase Student Engagement

The “Best Learning Techniques” Are Useless If Students Won’t Do Them — A Critical Take On A Well Done Study

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July 25, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
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Almost Done With My Third Book On Helping Students Develop Intrinsic Motivation!

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I’m about two-thirds down with the third book in my series on helping students develop intrinsic motivation, and I think it’s looking pretty good. I might be biased, though :)

Its tentative title is Building a Community of Self-Motivated Learners: Strategies for Teaching Resilience, Respect, and Responsibility , and Routledge should have it published by next Spring.

In the meantime, though, feel free to check out my six books that have been published already. You can find free resources related to each of them here.

After I get the completed manuscript done next month for this motivation book, my colleague Katie Hull Sypnieski and I have to begin work on a sequel to our surprisingly popular book, The ESL/ELL Teacher’s Survival Guide, published by Jossey-Bass. The manuscript for that one is due next summer.

After that, who knows? I’m running out of space in this motivation book, so I might even end up doing a fourth title in that series….

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July 24, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
1 Comment

Three Good Resources On Metacognition

Here are three new additions to The Best Posts On Metacognition:

Metacognition is from The Center For Teaching.

Promoting Student Metacognition is a very nice chart of questions students can ask themselves.

50 Questions To Help Students Think About What They Think is from Teach Thought.

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