Larry Ferlazzo’s Websites of the Day…

…For Teaching ELL, ESL, & EFL

January 24, 2017
by Larry Ferlazzo

“Bloom’s Taxonomy According to The Big Bang Theory”

I have many video examples of “Bloom’s Taxonomy According to…” using different television shows and movies, and you can find them all at The Best Resources For Helping Teachers Use Bloom’s Taxonomy In The Classroom.

Here’s a new one using scenes from “The Big Bang Theory”:

January 23, 2017
by Larry Ferlazzo

“ESL Video” Improvements Turn Good Site Into Great One

ESL Video, the well-known free site which has let teachers create online quizzes for YouTube videos, has been on several of my “Best” lists for years.

However, I recently visited it and found they had added the wonderful feature that lets students easily send their scores to the teacher.

This “new” ability (I have no idea how long they’ve had it since I hadn’t visited the site for awhile) dramatically increases its usefulness. Students watch a video, take the quiz, and then just have to enter a teacher-created code. The name of the student and their score is then sent to a teacher “dashboard.” It’s super-simple.

In addition, though some of the videos are blocked by typical school content filters, most seem to get through. I was a little disappointed to see a fair number of religiously-oriented videos at the top of the Beginner tab, but the vast majority seem fine.

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

January 22, 2017
by Larry Ferlazzo
1 Comment

What Does “Direct Instruction” Really Mean?

If you search for the definition of “direct instruction” online, this is what pops-up first:

Direct instruction (DI) is a general term for the explicit teaching of a skill-set using lectures or demonstrations of the material to students.

That’s the definition I’ve always thought was accurate and, even though I certainly believe this type of direct instruction has its place in the classroom, I also believe it has to be kept in its place (see The Best Posts Questioning If Direct Instruction Is “Clearly Superior”).

This past week I published an interview in Ed Week that I did with co-authors of a new book applying John Hattie’s research to math instruction (Author Interview: ‘Visible Learning for Mathematics’). In it, they point out that Hattie uses a very different definition for direct instruction – one that includes seven specific steps.

Interestingly, I don’t think it’s much of a stretch to say that “assisted discovery” teaching (my preferred instructional strategy) could fit into those seven steps, too.

Is this seven-step description really accepted by most educators as the correct definition? Or, as I suspect, do the vast majority of educators consider it much more the “sage on the stage” model that includes a lot of lecturing (The Best Research Demonstrating That Lectures Are Not The Best Instructional Strategy)?

January 17, 2017
by Larry Ferlazzo

Free Resources From All My Books

Every few months, I reprint this post so that new subscribers learn about these resources.

I have many free resources, including excerpts and student hand-outs, available from all my books. Clicking on the covers will lead you to them (and look for two new forthcoming books – another one on ELLs that Katie Hull and I are writing, and a fourth in my student motivation series):




Helping Students Motivate Themselves: Practical Answers To Classroom Problems.


January 16, 2017
by Larry Ferlazzo

I Can’t Imagine Why Anybody Teaching Shakespeare Would NOT Use “Shakespeare’s World”

Shakespeare’s World is part of Zooniverse, a crowdsourced research platform (see “Zooniverse” Is One Of The Coolest Ed Sites On The Web – I Can’t Believe I’m Just Hearing About It!).

At the site, users can “Transcribe handwritten documents by Shakespeare’s contemporaries and help us understand his life and times. Along the way you’ll find words that have yet to be recorded in the authoritative Oxford English Dictionary, and which will eventually be added to this important resource.”

This project is really neat, as are all of the features at Zooniverse. You don’t have to transcribe sentences or pages – you can just identify words that seem obvious to you.

I can’t imagine a more engaging addition to a unit on Shakespeare then having students give it a go.

I heard about this new project today when reading an article in The New Yorker about it, Crowdsourcing For Shakespeare.

You might also be interested in The Best Resources For Teaching Shakespeare To English Language Learners.

January 15, 2017
by Larry Ferlazzo

NBC News Visits Classroom Of My Friend & Co-Author To Learn About Letters Students Wrote To Trump

Katie Hull, my good friend and co-author, had her students write letters to President-Elect Trump late last year.

NBC News is doing a segment on what she did on Monday night, and shared this preview on Facebook today:

You might also be interested in the letters my students also wrote: ‘Dear President-elect Trump’: Immigrant students write letters asking for ‘the opportunity to demonstrate we are good people.’

January 12, 2017
by Larry Ferlazzo

Guest Post: New ELL Teacher Online Book Club

NOTE: I invited Katie Toppel to write a guest post about a neat idea I heard about on Twitter:

Katie Toppel, Ed.D (@Toppel_ELD) is a K-5 English Language Development Specialist in Oregon and an adjunct professor at Portland State University.

If there remains any doubt about the impact of educational technology, let’s take a look at the power of an educators’ book club when transformed via the world of social media. What started as my simple tweet featuring a photo of a book cover and the words “Starting a new book tonight,” has evolved into a virtual book club bringing together educators from around the world who are passionate about enhancing instruction for English learners and excitedly talking about co-teaching, collaboration, and technology!

At some point early this school year, I discovered what a powerful resource Twitter is for professional development and despite feeling like an uniformed newbie in certain respects, I dove right in and started accumulating connections with other educators who are passionate about teaching English language learners. I began to notice different education hash tags including the word “chat” and was excited to discover opportunities to become part of these real-time discussions. Despite the draw of these Twitter chats, I came to realize that as a busy working mom with two young children, it was hard to remember the specific hour of the day on the specific day of the week that the various chats were to take place. And, even when I happened to remember a chat was happening, it was often during a time of day when I needed to get dinner ready or when I really needed to be present with my children rather than tweeting on my phone.

Consequently, when I tweeted about the book I was going to start and my Twitter pal, Tan, in Laos, responded by saying “Let’s read it together and start our own EAL (English as Another Language) book club” the seeds were planted for this virtual book club that we now call ELL Chat Book Club (#EllChat_BkClub). In my opinion, the greatest appeal of this book club is that we decided to make it a slow chat, meaning participants can post at any time using the group hash tag and a wonderful conversation gradually ensues. Another terrific feature is that after choosing our first book, Collaboration and Co-teaching: Strategies for English Learners, which is co-authored by Andrea Honigsfeld, @AndreaHonigsfel, and Maria Dove, @MariaGDove, we were able to get Andrea to chat along with us as we discussed her book! We could directly ask her questions or get her opinions and she was very active in responding to our #EllChat_BkClub tweets.

We structured the book club by posting a suggested reading schedule and then questions to go along with the content. The flexibility inherent in this virtual format is terrific because participants can truly read at their own pace and interact with the hash tag however they find valuable. Participants post photos of highlighted text, share related tweets such as articles, images, and info graphics, and also post photos from our own classrooms to illustrate how the book/discussion has influenced our instruction.  Participants can easily access all of the book club tweets by searching #EllChat_BkClub and are welcome to join in or just read what has been posted.

Gradually, as we continued tweeting with our newly minted hash tag, more participants joined in and we now have quite a large group reading and tweeting about our second book, ELL Frontiers: Using Technology to Enhance Instruction for English Learners. It’s very valuable to interact with educators who teach in different instructional contexts as well as different districts, states, and even in different countries! I am constantly learning new ideas and broadening my perspective. Please consider checking out our #EllChat_BkClub tweets and joining in!

January 10, 2017
by Larry Ferlazzo

Video & Transcript Of President Obama’s Farewell Address

The President is giving his Farewell Address right now, and the White House has just released the transcript of his address (Here’s another link).

Barack Obama’s farewell speech in full: annotated is from The Guardian.

I think it’s pretty impressive, and lots of excerpts from it are going to be great Read Alouds and grist for writing prompts.

You can find several other writing prompts connected to the President’s past speeches at Best Posts On Writing Instruction.

I’m adding this post to The Best Places To Learn About President Barack Obama’s Life.

Here’s an embedded video of his speech:

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