Larry Ferlazzo’s Websites of the Day…

…For Teaching ELL, ESL, & EFL

May 7, 2018
by Larry Ferlazzo

Good Advice On How To Increase Your Influence – Anywhere

How to Increase Your Influence at Work is a good Harvard Business Review article that offers good advice on how to increase your influence anywhere.

You’ll want to read the whole article (registration is free), but here’s how they summarize it:

Principles to Remember


* Cultivate personal connections with colleagues so they assume positive intent when you attempt to influence them.
* Make it clear to your colleagues that you value their opinions.
* Take steps to develop expertise by attending conferences or taking on a leadership role in a professional organization.


*Worry that your attempts to gain sway are manipulative. You’re being strategic.
* Slouch as you talk. Standing up straight with your shoulders back helps you come across as confident and commanding.
* Use “I” too much. In your quest for influence, talk about how your ideas will benefit the entire organization and how “we” will see value.


I’m adding this info to The Best Posts & Articles On Building Influence & Creating Change.

May 6, 2018
by Larry Ferlazzo

Being Vulnerable With Students

I suffered a basketball injury a few weeks ago that turned into sciatica and, perhaps, something slightly more serious.

Last week, I began most of my classes with a short talk, saying that they had probably noticed that had been limping for awhile (many students had been expressing concern), and that I was injured playing basketball.

A nerve was damaged, I went on to explain, and that doctors are figuring out how to fix it. I told them that it hurts a bit, and that if they had experienced pain, they probably know that sometimes you don’t have as much patience as you do when you are feeling good.

So I asked them in the remaining few weeks of school to help me out and if I asked them to do something to please do it, and if I asked them not to do something, to not do it. And before they did something in class, try to think about if it would help the class and Mr. Ferlazzo move forward.

Since that time, students have been exceptionally supportive. There have been a couple of times that a student was beginning to not act appropriately, and I heard other students quietly tell them something like, “Remember, Mr. Ferlazzo isn’t feeling good,” and students immediately stopped. I have to admit my eyes got a little watery when those incidents occurred.

One student who can sometimes be particularly challenging wasn’t in class when I had given my short speech. When he returned, I shared it with him privately. His response: “That’s all I need to know, Mr. Ferlazzo! I promise I’ll be good.” 🙂 And he has handled himself great since that moment.

Perhaps there is something to this recent New York Times article, Are Today’s Teenagers Smarter and Better Than We Think?

I’ll recover and get back to normal relatively soon.

But I’ll remember that showing a little vulnerability sometimes in the classroom can’t hurt….

May 4, 2018
by Larry Ferlazzo

A Teacher From Our School Has Been Nominated For The NEA 2018 Social Justice Activist Award

All the nominees for the National Education Association’s Social Justice Activist Award look amazing!

And that includes an extraordinary educator from our school!

Liz Villanueva, a longtime teacher at Luther Burbank High School, is one of the nominees, and I can say – for sure – that she does amazing work with our students.

You can vote for her (or another nominee) by May 25th here.

May 4, 2018
by Larry Ferlazzo

Update On The Pilot Class Providing Support To Long-Term ELLs I’ll Be Teaching Next Year

Supporting Long-Term English Language Learners is a challenge facing teachers across the country (see The Best Resources On Supporting Long-Term English Language Learners).

I’ve previously share that our school has decided to do a pilot support class for Long-Term ELLs next year, and that I’ll be designing and teaching it (see Here’s My Tentative Plan For A Support Class For Long-Term English Language Learners – Tell Me How I Can Make It Better)

Here’s an update:

My support class will consist of about twenty-five Long-Term ELLs who are entering our school as ninth-graders.  They will also move as a cohort to the same English, Math, Geography and Biology classes during the day (I’ve taught the regular English and Geography classes before, so am familiar with the curriculum).  The teachers of those content classes are enthusiastically participating in this experiment.

*Every Friday, each of those four teachers will Send me a very short and simple email telling me the key area or areas they plan on teaching the following week and four-to-six key pieces of background knowledge that students need to know to adequately understand the lessons. I am talking about a very short email. Here’s one as an example that could be used for Geography class:

Main Topic: Brazil

Background knowledge to know: understanding concept of demographics
South America as a continent
What is the Amazon?

For math, the support I will be giving will be related to the English language needed to access math concepts, not the concepts themselves.

* In addition, I’ll be meeting individually with each of the four teachers for ten minutes each week (during lunch, prep time, before or after school) to touch base about particular students.

*Both the cohort in the pilot class and the control group will be assessed three times during the year (September, January and May) in the following areas:

An online English test
A special writing assessment
ELPAC ( the state English test that’s given once each year)

*I plan on spending one-day each week specifically supporting each content class.  I’ll be developing a flexible “template” that I’ll be able to use each of those days and “plug-in” the needed background knowledge.  It might look roughly something like this:

1.Pre-teach academic vocabulary
2. Read Aloud
3. Video
4. Short writing assignment

Of course, I’ll be mixing it up, making it very interactive, and including speaking activities, too.  I plan on making it as culturally responsive as possible (see How teachers of all races can better support students of color).

*The day I’m not supporting the content classes will be spent on Social Emotional Learning skills.

* We’ve arranged to have individual student access to Brainpop, so I’m expecting to have students use it for homework.


Okay, now I’m all ears – How can I make it better?


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