Larry Ferlazzo’s Websites of the Day…

…For Teaching ELL, ESL, & EFL

June 17, 2017
by Larry Ferlazzo

Harvard Business Review Lays-Out A Good Three-Step Process To Introduce A Lesson

A new article in the Harvard Business Review, The Science Of Pep Talks talks about…pep talks, but the three-step process it suggests can also apply to a teacher introducing a lesson to a class.

Here’s an excerpt that illustrates the process using some commentary from former Army General Stanley McChrystal:

It seems to me that those three elements (direction giving, expressions of empathy, and meaning making) make a lot of sense in the classroom.

Later in the article, the author makes another important point with relevance to teachers while talking about what a corporate boss does after giving her “pep talk”:

It’s important to note, however, that Alioto’s instruction, empathy, and meaning making don’t stop when the salespeople file back to their desks. After her speech, she walks the sales floor, talking individually with more than a hundred reps and continuing to employ the different elements from motivating language theory. In one conversation, she talks to a rep about how to more forcefully close an ambivalent prospect. With a salesperson about to call an automobile mechanic, she talks about the specifics of that category. In other conversations, she tries to boost reps’ confidence or emphasize the team’s goals.

Obviously, that’s the kind of follow-up work we teachers need to be doing all the time.

I’m adding this info to:

Best Posts On “Motivating” Students

The Best Resources For “Do Now” Activities To Begin A Class

June 17, 2017
by Larry Ferlazzo

Video(s): My #VirtuEL17 Session On SEL & ELLs (Plus Supporting Links) & Everyone Else’s Session, Too!

The #VirtuEL17 online conference for teachers of English Language Learners took place this morning.

My session was a Q & A one related to my previously posted video on Social Emotional Learning.

Here’s the link to the video of the Q & A session (embedding is not available).

I spoke about many instructional strategies during that brief session. Here are some links to find additional related resources:

How I apply Freire’s ideas in the classroom. Here are additional Freire-connected resources.

Guest Post: What ELLs Taught Our School In A Week-Long Empathy Project

I talked a lot about inductive learning – see The Best Resources About Inductive Learning & Teaching.

I also spoke about helping students develop agency – see The Best Resources On Student Agency & How To Encourage It.

Here’s a link to an article our former principal and I wrote about how schools benefit from having ELL students: The Positive Impact Of English Language Learners At An Urban School.

The Best Posts On Looking At Our Students Through The Lens Of Assets & Not Deficits

Here’s a link to the videos from all the sessions at the conference:

June 17, 2017
by Larry Ferlazzo

This Is A Must-Watch Video For Any Volunteer Or Peer Tutor Working With ELLs

This video by Carol Salva is on The Best Resources, Articles & Blog Posts For Teachers Of ELLs In 2016 – Part Two list.

It’s the perfect resource for any volunteer who is going to work with English Language Learners for the first time.

Six advanced ELLs have volunteered to work with fifteen Beginning ELLs who are taking a summer school class taught by one of my talented student teachers, and they will benefit greatly by viewing it.

I figured if any other teachers are having volunteers helping with summer school, they too might benefit from me re-posting it:

June 16, 2017
by Larry Ferlazzo

President Trump Decides To Not Deport “Dreamers”

In a victory for many of our students, President Trump has announced he will not end the DACA program that allows many of our students to stay in the United States.

Here’s an excerpt from the NT Times article, Trump Will Allow ‘Dreamers’ to Stay in U.S., Reversing Campaign Promise:

I’m adding this info to The Best Resources On The Obama Administration’s Plan To Partially Implement The DREAM Act and to .

June 15, 2017
by Larry Ferlazzo
1 Comment

Here’s What I Will Do Differently (& The Same) Next School Year – Share Your Own “Resolutions”

Today was the last day of our school year.

And here’s a photo with just a few of the many wonderful students I taught this year:

I thought the last day of school would be a good time for me to take some time and reflect on what I want to do the same – and differently – to make next year an even better one!

Here is what I’ve come up with – please share your own reflections in the comments section:


* One thing I did differently this year was spend a shorter amount of time (a few months instead of most of the school year) using the Picture Word Induction Model (see The Best Resources About Inductive Learning & Teaching) before I moved students into more formal academic writing.   That change seemed to work quite well, and was facilitated by having a bilingual aide work more intensively with newcomers while I was working with the larger numbers of High Beginners/Low Intermediates.

*One effective task our aide did with the newcomers was explicit phonics instruction done inductively (see The Best Articles & Sites For Teachers & Students To Learn About Phonics).  I plan on starting that sooner than I did this year.

* After a fair amount of trial-and-error, I was able to identify some decent resources to support our newcomers who were not literate in their home language (see The Best Online Resources For Teachers of Pre-Literate ELL’s & Those Not Literate In Their Home Language). I’m hoping to spend more time reading Carol Salva’s new book on teaching students with interrupted formal education (see New Book Excerpt: Supporting ELL Students With Interrupted Formal Education) to get some more ideas.   Thirteen years ago, I had a lot of experience teaching pre-literate Hmong refugee students, but it’s a different world today, including different cultures.

* Next year, we’re going to make sure our Beginners take a full period each day just focused on verbal skills taught by a talented colleague (see Here’s A Plan For An Oral Skills Class Next Year – Please Help Make It Better!) and I think that it will make a world of difference.

* I’m happy that I did not repeat my biggest teaching mistake (see I Talk About My Biggest Teaching Mistake In This Radio Interview) and took back a period of my Beginning ELL class from a student teacher when it became very large and diverse (she then took over from me teaching our ELL World History class).

* This summer, Katie Hull and I are writing our third book on teaching ELLs.  We both experimented with a number of new instructional strategies this year, and our writing over the next two months will give us a chance to reflect on them.  As we all know, writing helps us think better, and I’m hoping that this process will help me implement many of these strategies more effectively and systematically next year!


* I made a lot of changes in my IB Theory of Knowlege classes (you can read about many of them, including accessing tons of lesson plans and materials, at The Best Theory Of Knowledge Resources In 2016 – Part Two and  The Best Theory Of Knowledge Resources In 2017 – So Far). I’m happy to say that most, if not all, worked well.

* I have students regularly provide anonymous evaluations of my classes and me (see The Best Posts On Students Evaluating Classes (And Teachers) ). Evaluations are generally very positive, but were even more positive this year. I attribute that result to many of the changes I made to the class.

* In that evaluation, several students did comment on the clutter in my room. That was a well-founded critique, and this week moved many materials into a storage closet across from my room. I can access materials from there when needed instead of keeping them all in my room.

* When I introduce class evaluations, I always request that students take it very seriously and help me become a better teacher. This year, though, I made an addition. I said that they should feel free to make a funny comment if they wanted, but that it had to be accompanied by a serious one. Not only did that admonition, I believe, result in more substantial evaluations, but it also meant I received more and funnier comments than I have received in the past. I hope to compile them in the next week or two. Several were along with lines of “He is a good teacher considering he is an old man.” After reading them, I assured my classes that I would somehow identify who wrote those lines and hunt them down 🙂


* I like the curriculum I’ve developed for my ELL World History, U.S. History and Geography classes (you can see much of it at our class blogs). I pretty much supervised student teachers in all of them. I think I got very lucky this year with some very talented teacher candidates, and know that I can’t count on that happening every year. Future ones (like some others I’ve had in the past) might require far great supervision than I gave this year, and I have to spend some time this summer figuring out how to make that happen.

* One regret I have is not encouraging the student teacher in my Geography class to implement sister class projects (see Links To The Joint Projects My ELL Geography Class Did With Classes Around The World – Want To Join Us This Year?).   I don’t want to make that same mistake next year.


As you can see, I still have a lot to think about.

But it’s a start.

What about you?

June 12, 2017
by Larry Ferlazzo

I Suspect That Many ELL Teachers Will Want To Use These Personal Stories As Models For Their Students

Last month, I published Guest Post: What ELLs Taught Our School In A Week-Long Empathy Project written by my talented colleague, Pam Buric.

Pam shared about a project we did at our school where our Intermediate English Language Learner students wrote about their personal experiences and then other classes came to learn from them over a week’s time.

Those Intermediate ELLs then helped my Beginning ELL students to write their own stories.

Now, Pam and her Intermediate class have pulled together all of those stories into a downloadable PDF book, which I have permission to share here. The description of the process and all the downloadable materials in Pam’s original post, along with the Beginner and Intermediate models, should make it a lot easier for others who might want to do similar projects (‘ll also add this link to Pam’s original post).

Thanks to Pam and her students!

June 10, 2017
by Larry Ferlazzo

New TED Talk From Anne Lamott With Great Excerpt On Writing – Here’s How I’m Using It In Class

12 truths I learned from life and writing is the title of a new TED Talk from Anne Lamott.

I’ve embedded it at the end of this post, but I think this is the “money” quote from the talk which would be most useful for teachers. I’m going to share it with students and have them respond to the prompt right below it:

What does Anne Lamott say are the keys to being a good writer? Do you agree with what Lamott is saying? To support your opinion you may use examples from your own experiences, your observations of others, and anything you have read.

I’m adding this post to Best Posts On Writing Instruction.

Here’s the video of her talk:

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