Larry Ferlazzo’s Websites of the Day…

…For Teaching ELL, ESL, & EFL

March 19, 2017
by Larry Ferlazzo

Good Piece For Reflection On Homework

At a meeting of teachers at our school last week, my colleague Jen Adkins shared an article by Jennifer Orr headlined “Equitable, Purposeful Homework” (originally published at ASCD).

After reading it, she had has jot down responses to these three simple questions:

What is your homework policy?

What is your late work policy?

What parts of the article do you agree with? What parts of the article do you disagree with?

A good discussion followed…

I’m adding this info to The Best Resources For Learning About Homework Issues.

March 19, 2017
by Larry Ferlazzo

Canadian Teacher Wins Global Teacher Prize

Canadian teacher Maggie MacDonnell was awarded the annual $1 million Global Teacher Prize today.

You can read more about it at the BBC and at the Associated Press.

Here’s a video about her work:

You might be interested in these posts about previous winners:

Nancie Atwell Wins $1 Million Global Teacher Prize & Donates It To Her School

Three Videos On This Year’s “World’s Best Teacher: A Palestinian”

NY Times Video & Article On Palestinian Winner Of Global Teacher Prize

March 19, 2017
by Larry Ferlazzo

The Benefits Of Students Acknowledging Help They Receive From Classmates

Last week, the most popular post at this blog was Here’s A Great Motivating Question For Students To Consider…. In it, I shared a recent Harvard Business Review article suggesting that people ask themselves the question:

Who else (apart from myself) is going to benefit from what I am doing?

Since that post, I’ve had a few good individual conversations with students about this question, but haven’t done anything class-wide with it.

Then, today, I saw another HBR article.  This one is headlined To Motivate Employees, Show Them How They’re Helping Customers. Like many HBR articles, it’s easy to switch out the word “employer” and replace it with “teacher” and do the same with “customer” and “student.”

In it, the researcher talks about the importance of helping employers see how their work directly benefits their customers:

Obviously, students in class can see those connections directly, whether it’s acting as a model or in other ways (see The Best Posts On Helping Students Teach Their Classmates — Help Me Find More).

However, it did get thinking about how to take it a step further: Perhaps I should do a quick classwide discussion of that “Great Motivating Question,” get students to brainstorm ways what they do could benefit their classmates and, then, a week later, have everyone try to think of at least one way each student has helped them in some way (even if it was not directly and more as a model or inspiration).  A danger, of course, is that some students could get overlooked.  However, I figure I can handle that by asking one or two class “stars” to make sure they come up with something for everyone.

I’m sure other teachers had done this kind of acknowledgment “circle” before.  If you have, I’d love to hear how you did it.

March 19, 2017
by Larry Ferlazzo

Here’s My Entire ELL Beginners Seven-Week Unit On Writing A Story (Including Hand-outs & Links)

My previous post, Here Are The Ten Downloadable Graphic Organizers I Use With ELL Beginners To Write A Story, was very popular, so I thought readers would find it useful if I shared my entire seven-week unit on writing a story. I hope you can suggest ways I can make it better.

After a simple “Word Splash” (words that I pre-teach like “setting,” “theme,” “protagonist,” and “antagonist”), I use very modified versions of the WRITE Institute’s story unit as we read two books together: The Story Of Ferdinand and Teacher From The Black Lagoon. You can purchase a supplementary copy of that unit from the WRITE Institute for $20 here. We have copies of their full unit, but I only use a three of their graphic organizers (a protagonist/antagonist sheet, a sheet for listing words related to the five senses and a story map) – I’m sure you could create or find other versions (lots of story maps are here, a five senses sheet here, and protagonist/antagonist graphic organizers are here).

So, the first week we do the word splash, then I read The Story of Ferdinand from the doc cam while students have their own copies. As you may remember, Ferdinand has his “favorite spot” in the story. At that point, I provide students with this sentence starter: “My favorite spot is ____________________________ because _________________________.” They create posters and share with the class. Every six pages or so we stop, students are paired-off, given small whiteboards and markers, and they take turns reading the story to each other while the other writes the words down on the board (if necessary, students can “cheat” by looking at the book). The “reader” checks the accuracy of the “writer.”

Afterwards, we complete a story map. The most difficult part of that process is helping students understand “theme” and, to a lesser extent, protagonist/antagonist. So, after the story map is done, students create a poster identifying three of their favorite movies or stories and identify the theme and the protagonists and antagonists.

Next, we read Teacher From The Black Lagoon using a similar process, without the “favorite spot” activity. Then we create a Story Map, without following-up with the theme poster.

Next, students write their own stories, and that’s where my previously posted ten graphic organizers come in.

After they complete handwriting their story, I have a short individual conference to provides simple suggestions (read about my thoughts on error correction at my British Council post, ESL/ELL error correction – Yes, No or Maybe?), and then students type it in Word – the red indicator of errors is obviously very helpful. We conference again, and then students copy and paste it into our class blog. You can see them all here.

Then, students record their stories using Speakpipe’s Voice Recorder. It says they only keep the recording online for a few months, but it’s the only stand-alone voice recorder that gets through our district’s content filters. Students record, past them onto our blog, and then I manually copy and paste them that night so it’s on the same comment as their story.

Students then read each other’s stories and leave a comment. I fell down on the job here and didn’t originally do as much pre-teaching on commenting as I should have, and it shows. I followed-up the next day with more explicit support, which resulted in a better comment like this.

Unfortunately, because of student absences, time constraints and the fact that I was out of class for a couple of days with district meetings, we couldn’t continue with the improved comments (they’ll have another chance later).

Instead, at that point I provided students with this guide for their writing a second and longer story. I gave them the option of either revising their first story or starting from scratch.

Students worked on their revisions/new stories, but we couldn’t get enough time in the computer lab for them to post all their creations on the blog – yet, at least.

Now, we’re moving onto a series of fable lessons. These appeared in my latest book, Navigating The Common Core With ELLs. Fortunately, the publisher has made the lesson plan and all the hand-outs available for free download – no registration required!

Just go to the book’s website, scroll to “Downloads” and click on “Fables Lesson Plan.” It teaches fables inductively and leads to students writing their own. I’m in the middle of doing these lessons now. The only change to the book’s lesson plan is that I have three more advanced beginners who, after having done part of the lessons, are now creating a collection of fables from their home countries that we’ll also study.

Student-created fables will be posted on the class blog and we’ll try commenting again.

So, that’s what we’re doing. Let me know how you think it can be improved!

I’m adding this post to The Best Sites For Learning To Write A Story.

March 16, 2017
by Larry Ferlazzo

Help Me Create A Series Of Lessons On “Reading As An Act Of Rebellion” (Or Let Me Know If You Have One Already)

Today’s New York Times has a column headlined Books Can Take You Places Donald Trump Doesn’t Want You to Go.

I don’t think it’s particularly good – it’s more of an example of how to use a lot of words to sound fancy without having much substance. But it did remind me of a study that showed students were more likely to eat healthy foods if they viewed it as an act of rebellion against the food industry (see Study: Teens are more likely to eat healthy if they think it’s rebellious).

So I began to wonder if it couldn’t hurt to do a series of lessons on reading as an act of rebellion…

Obviously, excerpts from Fahrenheit 451 could be used. There are lots of online resources about real-life book burning (here’s a timeline a series of photos and a history of book burning).

I found this article in The Guardian: Reading the revolution: the book club that terrified the Angolan regime.

Of course, The Best Resources For Banned Books Week could be used, too.

I figure someone must have already created this kind of lesson, and I’m hoping you’ll read this post and share it in the comments.

I’m not thinking that it would have some kind of dramatic impact on a non-reader, but I also don’t think anything bad could come out of it.

It seems to me that Anne Frank (The Best Sites To Learn About Anne Frank) provides a ready template for a similar series on writing, but I’d also like to hear ideas on that, too…

March 15, 2017
by Larry Ferlazzo

Important Collection Of Lessons & Short Films On Race & Racism From NY Times Learning Network

25 Mini-Films for Exploring Race, Bias and Identity With Students is an important collection of videos and accompanying lesson plans from The New York Times Learning Network.

It’s not to be missed…

I’m adding it to A Collection Of Useful Posts, Articles & Videos On Race & Racism – Help Me Find More.

March 13, 2017
by Larry Ferlazzo

Here Are Good Discussion Questions For Our Book On ELLS & The Common Core

Alison Bruner and Dawn Lam at the Tustin Unified School District have organized a book discussion group with their teachers about our book, Navigating The Common Core With English Language Learners.

They’re in the middle of it, but they were kind enough to grant me permission to reprint this infographic which includes questions they are using, along with responses from some of their educators. I’ll be publishing their “Part Two” with questions for the other chapters, too.

I thought others might find it useful if the idea of a book discussion group appeals to you and your teachers, too.

By the way, Katie and I are hard at work on the third book in our ELL series – look for it next Spring!

March 11, 2017
by Larry Ferlazzo

Justice Sonia Sotomayor’s Stanford Speech Is Filled With Useful Quotes For Students

Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotmayor spoke at Stanford Friday night. Based on media accounts of her talk, it was a blockbuster filled with quotes that I plan on using with my students in lessons. I heard about it on Twitter via Washington Post reporter Emma Brown.

Supreme Court’s Sotomayor, at Stanford, talks of success, failure and resiliency is an article from The San Jose Mercury News that provides great excerpts. I’m hoping that a transcript or video will show up, but I haven’t been able to find either one yet.

Here’s one:

The article also has nice excerpts on the importance of reading and how to recover from mistakes.

Here’s a TV news report on her speech:

I’m adding this info to The Best Sites To Learn About The U.S. Supreme Court.

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