Larry Ferlazzo’s Websites of the Day…

…For Teaching ELL, ESL, & EFL

August 7, 2017
by Larry Ferlazzo

Important NY Times Column On How The Undocumented Are Depicted In The Media

Trafficking in Immigration Porn is an important New York Times column by Héctor Tobar.

In it, he compares how Dorothea Lange depicted migrant workers with the mass media’s photographs of the undocumented.

Here’s an excerpt:

It’s a column worth reading in full. It would definitely be useful for a discussion on close reading images, and I’m considering using it in my IB Theory of Knowledge classes when we discuss perception.

I’m adding this post to The Best Resources On Close Reading Paintings, Photos & Videos.

August 7, 2017
by Larry Ferlazzo

Resources For Spanish-Speakers Not Literate In Their Home Language

It’s important to support our English Language Learner students who are not literate in their home language to gain that literacy.

I have a number of related resources at The Best Online Resources For Teachers of Pre-Literate ELL’s & Those Not Literate In Their Home Language, and thought I’d make these new additions:

For about $100 per year, teachers can access lot of printable books in Spanish from Reading A-Z. They have some in other languages, too, but they’re not in any languages secondary students not literate in their home languages will be speaking.

I like this WordPie play list to learn Spanish, particularly because it’s musical. My students who need this support really enjoy listening to music, so I’m sure they’ll be more engaged by them. Here’s a sample:

I’m less sure about this Spanish Lessons Paco playlist. Here’s a sample:

Do you have other recommendations?

August 6, 2017
by Larry Ferlazzo

Eight Free Downloadable Children’s Books In Khmer – More On The Way (Maybe In Other Languages, Too)

The Asia Foundation’s Let’s Read Initiative has just released eight freely downloadable storybooks in the Khmer language (spoken by Cambodians). You can download them here – click on “Books.”

As ELL teachers know, there are many benefits to having students read in their home language, as well as in English (see The Best Resources Explaining Why We Need To Support The Home Language Of ELLs).

You can read more about the books project at the NBC News story, Volunteers Work to Give Kids in Cambodia Books in Their ‘Mother Tongue.’

Here’s an interesting video on the project, too. I’m hoping they replicate it in others Asian countries….

I’m adding this info to The Best Sources For Free & Accessible Printable Books.

August 6, 2017
by Larry Ferlazzo

The Best Parent Engagement Resources For Immigrant Families

Since one of the sections in our new book on teaching ELLs will be on working with families, I thought it would be useful to pull together all the related resources I have on the topic and put them in one “Best” list.

You can find all my parent engagement-related “Best” lists here, and also access my Engaging Parents In School blog.

Here are my picks:

The Best Places Where Students Can Tell Their – And/Or Their Families – Immigration Story

The Best Practical Resources For Helping Teachers, Students & Families Respond To Immigration Challenges

The Best Posts On The Migration Policy Institute Report On Engaging Immigrant Parents

My Best Posts, Articles & Interviews On Parent Engagement

The Best Student Projects That Need Family Engagement — Contribute Your Lessons!

The Best Multilingual Resources For Parents

Involving Latino Parents in Homework is a nice practical post from ASCD Express.

En Camino: Educational Toolkit For Families is a series of free online “modules,” available in both English and Spanish, designed to help answer parent and student questions about college. It’s from the National Center For Family Literacy.

Contours of the Field: Engaging Parents of English Learners is from New America.

“But What If I Don’t Know English?” is another great resource from Colorin Colorado. It ideas on how parents who don’t speak English can still help their children develop literacy skills.

ELL Parents Can Boost Their Children’s English Skills By Doing These Two Things is from Ed Week.

Study Suggests Early Learning in Native Language Can Help English Skills is from public radio.

4 Reasons Parents Should Speak Heritage Languages at Home is a very important article for teachers who have immigrant students.

How to Reach Out to Parents of ELLs is an article from Colorin Colorado that offers some useful advice.

Parent–Teacher Conference Tip Sheets (Hojas de Consejos Para Las Reuniones de Padres y Maestros) are two hand-outs — one in English and one in Spanish — that “are designed to support educators and families in conducting productive, successful parent-teacher conferences.” They’re from the Harvard Family Research Project.

Engaging English Language Learner Families

“Here Are Text Messages We’re Sending Home To ELL Students & Parents – Share Your Ideas”

Lesli Maxwell over at Education Week has written a good summary post, Immigrant Paradox Less Consistent in Young Children, Study Finds, about a study related to English Language Learners. The study itself is lengthy, but has an interesting section on immigrant parents and schools. I was going to copy and paste that section because it’s pretty short, but it unfortunately is “protected” and won’t allow that action. So, just go to the study link and you’ll find the family involvement section on page 10 and 11. It’s worth a visit.

To Help Language-Learners, Extend Aid to Their Families Too, New Study Argues is an important post from Ed Week’s Learning The Language blog.

Here’s how it begins:

A new report from the Center for American Progress makes the case that communities looking to improve education for school-aged English-language learners should also offer services to their parents.

The study, “The Case for a Two-Generation Approach for Educating English Language Learners,” finds that limited English skills for parents and students “can create a poverty trap for families” and argues that engaging them simultaneously improves the academic and educational well-being of both generations.

Tech: A language translator allows districts to reach out to ELLs is from District Administration.

Can You Translate That? New App Allows Parents, Teachers to Bridge Language Divide is from 74.

Multilingual Texting Platform Aims to Help Schools Engage All Families is from Education World.

The Race to Translate: Which Parent Communication Tool Will Reign Supreme? is from EdSurge.

Schools are under federal pressure to translate for immigrant parents is from The Hechinger Report.

Parent Guide for English Learners—English and Spanish versions is from Education Northwest.

The barriers keeping immigrant parents from getting involved in their kids’ education is from Vox.

Tips for Connecting With Non-English-Speaking Parents is from Ed Week.

Honoring Our Families’ Immigrant Narratives is from Edutopia.

Building Relationships With Families of ELLs is from my Ed Week column.

Home-School Connections Help ELLs and Their Parents is from Ed Week.

Growing Up with Undocumented Parents: The Challenges Children Face is from New America.

Latino Parents Value College More Than Anybody Else is Take Part.

August 4, 2017
by Larry Ferlazzo

“The Platinum Rule” Is A Key To Effective Differentiation

I’ve written and shared a lot about differentiated instruction (see The Best Resources On Differentiating Instruction)

I just read an interview with author Kim Scott where I think she hit on a key to successful differentiation (you can read the full interview at Lead by Caring and Challenging: An Interview with “Radical Candor” Author Kim Scott).

Here’s the “money” quote:

Whether it’s knowing how students will react to classroom management strategies, the different styles of error correction, or if they’re having a bad day and want to do their work alone in the library, the idea of a platinum rule is good point to keep in mind.

August 2, 2017
by Larry Ferlazzo

Do You Know Of A Starfall-Like Site For Spanish-Speaking Children Just Beginning To Read?

Starfall, as most teachers know, is a wonderful site for native-English children just learning to read and for Beginning English Language Learners.

I assume there are similar sites for Spanish-speaking kids, but I don’t know about them. I’m hoping readers might help me out.

Plenty of research documents the importance a student’s home language in learning English (The Best Resources Explaining Why We Need To Support The Home Language Of ELLs).

When we get students who are not literate in Spanish, we do get peer tutors to help them learn their language.  But it sure would be nice if they could receive some additional online support.


August 1, 2017
by Larry Ferlazzo
1 Comment

Guest Post: “Co-Teaching Dos and Don’ts”

I invited Carlota Holder to write this guest post on co-teaching. You might also be interested in The Best Resources On Co-Teaching With ELLs – Please Suggest More.

Carlota Holder is an EL Coordinator and master teacher for Enlace Academy on the west side of Indianapolis. She just began her second year in this role and her 10th year of experience with English language learners. Her grade level experience ranges from Kindergarten to 8th grade with English language and Spanish instruction. Her roles have ranged from EL assistant, EL teacher, SIOP co-teacher, EL coach, and Spanish teacher.

Co-Teaching Dos and Don’ts

Having finally graduated from my EL courses in grad school, I never knew that I’d be going into a field where most of my instruction would be taking place with a co-teacher. Who would have thought? I began teaching English language students as an instructional assistant pushing into classrooms and I was lucky enough to have mentors that let me assist and observe their EL leveled classes. You know, the EL classes where students come to you to receive English language instruction. But leave it to me to finally be on my own and be responsible for EL students in a completely different environment, a co-teaching one. No one taught me how to co-teach. Here’s what I learned.

Don’t assume that the teachers you’re supporting or co-teaching with have background knowledge on second language acquisition.

Do help them learn through trial and error. This will help them build their background knowledge and shows you trust them and their content.

So many times I wanted to tell teachers how to teach their materials to our students, but I learned the hard way that content teachers dislike that, it’s a threat to them. They know they are experts at their material and even though you’re not threatening “their material” that’s how it comes off. Instead let teachers make mistakes. Jump in and say, “I like how you did …., maybe next time we could do ….” Then after that add some second language acquisition data to support your suggestion. A lot of times I would take what they had developed back to my classroom with me and “play” with it. I would remake it with the suggestions I gave them and attach it in a follow-up email. This shows your co-teacher that you’re also willing to put in the work.

Don’t refer to students as my students to your co-teachers.

Do refer to students as our students to your co-teachers.

How many times do we refer to our students as my students? It’s hard not to right? But when you’re in a co-teaching situation it’s important that you refer to your students as our students. In a co-teaching situation you are working towards the same goal, to improve the language and content knowledge of all students. The students belong to both of you and both of you are responsible for their education. This is the first acknowledgement that you’re working as a team.

Don’t avoid planning and collaboration, no matter what it takes.

Do take time inside or outside of your contract hours to plan and collaborate.

A lot of excuses I hear when it comes to co-teaching are “my school doesn’t give me time to plan and collaborate with my co-teachers” or “I don’t have time to plan and collaborate with my co-teachers”. It’s nothing new and in a supportive school they would give you time, but here’s how to tackle that issue. Eat lunch with your co-teacher and plan or collaborate. Stay an extra half hour after school to plan and collaborate. Offer to visit them on their prep, or just show up to plan and collaborate. You could even plan and collaborate off campus with some margaritas. (You’ll be surprised how much you can get done!) Here’s the thing, once you try these things out just a little bit, planning and collaboration can then begin to happen digitally. You’ll start sharing your plans, assignments, e-mailing each other for suggestions, etc. Google drive is the BEST collaborative resource to ever exist. If planning and collaboration can’t happen physically, be sure to use whatever you can digitally, but continue to be persistent and patient.

Don’t allow one teacher to take all the responsibilities for instruction.

Do share responsibilities for instruction.

Your co-teacher is an expert in their content area, you are an expert in language acquisition, together you make a phenomenal team. Share responsibilities with each other. Offer to do some grading. Offer to make assignments for certain groups of students. My favorite was offering to make visual supports for my teachers. I would tell them my ideas, and then ask for their advice on the content portion because I admittedly am not the content expert and I want my supports to be valuable, not only to our students, but to my co-teacher as well. This way we can build our resources and continue to use them year after year.

Don’t undermine the other teacher’s authority or question the teacher in front of students.

Do treat each other as equals in the classroom.

This is important as any power struggle in the classroom is. Students will lose value in your teaching and authority if you do not treat each other with respect. I had a co-teacher once who was very set in her ways. We had 100 minute ELA blocks (long I know!) and she refused to let any student go to the bathroom for any reason. It was her policy. Now I did not personally agree with that policy because to me using the restroom isn’t something I wanted to dictate. If a student needs to go, then a student needs to go. Well one day I decided to let one of my students use the bathroom. Upon her return I was reprimanded in front of the entire class, as if I were a student. The student thanked me for letting her go poop and we had a few laughs before I walked out of the classroom in an attempt to keep my professional composure. This co-teaching “relationship” thankfully only lasted a year. Some teachers aren’t meant to be co-teachers and that’s ok, but you have to find the ones that can to successfully meet the needs of your English language learners. My students only lost a year of instruction before we were blessed with a new teacher that embraced co-teaching and learning.

Don’t force it.

Do keep trying!

Here’s my last bit of advice, don’t force anyone into being a co-teacher, but find someone who is willing to learn and keep trying. Not everything you try with someone will work. It’s a fail and learn process. Thankfully there’s a book with 7 different co-teaching styles that you can try and a plethora of resources to develop on your own in Co-Teaching and Collaboration for English Language Learners by Andrea Honigsfeld and Maria G. Dove. There’s also a twitter PLN at #ellchat_bkclub that’s more than willing to collaborate with you. Together we can meet and exceed the high expectations we set for our English language learners.

August 1, 2017
by Larry Ferlazzo

The Best Resources For Teaching Students The Differences Between A Good & Bad Slide

We’ve all seen lots of student and adult-created very bad slides.

Here are some resources I’ve used to help teach students to improve their quality (You might also be interested in The Best Sources Of Advice For Making Good Presentations):

I’m going to start off with a slideshow that Katie Hull Sypnieski and I use with our classes use the Concept Attainment instructional strategy (see The Best Resources About Inductive Learning & Teaching).  We explain the lesson in detail in our upcoming book on teaching English Language Learners, which will be out next March:

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