Larry Ferlazzo’s Websites of the Day…

…For Teaching ELL, ESL, & EFL

March 7, 2017
by Larry Ferlazzo

“Spiral” Looks Like A Great Site Where Teachers Can Set-Up Free Virtual Classrooms

Spiral lets teachers create free virtual classrooms where students can create collaborative presentations, view and respond to presentations, and/or watch YouTube videos with easily-created teacher questions. It has other features as well.

It seems super simple and, as I mentioned, it’s free.

I’m adding it to The Best Sites Where Students Can Work Independently & Let Teachers Check On Progress.

Thanks to TopMarks for the tip.

March 7, 2017
by Larry Ferlazzo

The Best Resources For Learning About Teacher Action Research – Help Me Find More

Teacher Action Research an be a useful tool for educators and our students.

You might also be interested in The Best Resources For Understanding How To Interpret Education Research.

Here are a few resources to get started – please suggest more in the comments section:

Putting Teacher Action Research Into Action is the headline of my new post over at the British Council. In it, I describe three times when I applied teacher action research in my English Language Learner classes.

Guest Post: Teacher Action Research is a post written by my colleague Phillip Taylor.

Action Research – as easy as 1, 2, 3 is by David Petrie at the British Council.

What Is Action Research? is from ASCD.

What Teachers Need to Know About Action Research is by Wendi Pillars at Ed Week.

The What, Why and How of Classroom Action Research is a useful guide from a university in Indiana.

March 6, 2017
by Larry Ferlazzo

The Best Resources On The Latest Travel Ban By The Trump Administration

It’s getting hard to keep up with the Trump Administrations repeated efforts to challenge and restrict immigrants, but it’s not hard to see the increased stress our students are feeling because of those actions.

Today, President Trump signed a new travel ban targeting Muslims from several countries.

Here are my previous related “Best” lists:

The Best Resources On The Trump Administrations New Immigration Enforcement Policies focuses on actions targeting Mexican and Central American immigrants.

Best Resources For Learning About President Trump’s Executive Orders On Immigration & Refugees shares info about the original travel ban rejected by courts, along with some initial info about the targeting of undocumented residents.

The Best Practical Resources For Helping Teachers, Students & Families Respond To Immigration Challenges shares resources we can use to assist our students.

Here is some preliminary info on today’s revised travel ban:

What Trump changed in the new travel ban is a Washington Post interactive.

Trump’s New Immigration Ban: Who Is Barred and Who Is Not is a NY Times interactive.

The Trump Administration’s Dramatic Narrowing of Its Travel Ban is from The Atlantic.

Trump’s travel ban slammed by rights groups, Democrats is from Al Jazeera.

Trump’s New Travel Ban Might Be Better Politically Than Legally is from Five Thirty Eight.

Trump Critics Dismiss New Immigration Order as Repackaged ‘Muslim Ban’ is from NBC News.

President Trump’s new travel ban is much narrower — and possibly courtproofed is from Vox.

Trump signs new anti-terror travel ban _without new fanfare is from the AP.

Where Refugees Come From is a very good interactive from The New York Times tracing where the origin of refugees coming to the United States over the past several years.

It’s also depressing because the trigger for its creation was:

a new executive order on Monday to ban all refugees from entering the United States for 120 days. The order also cuts the refugee program in half, capping it at 50,000 people for the 2017 fiscal year, down from the 110,000 ceiling put in place under President Obama.

March 6, 2017
by Larry Ferlazzo

Resources From All My Blogs

(I publish this post every six months so new readers are aware of the resources)

In addition to this blog, I regularly post at several other sites:

Engaging Parents In School:

Larry Ferlazzo's Engaging Parents in School Site

Weekly Posts At Classroom Q & A With Larry Ferlazzo:

Periodic Posts At The New York Times Learning Network on Teaching English Language Learners:

New York Times Learning Network

Periodic Posts at Edutopia:


Monthly Posts At The British Council – Teaching English

MY CLASS BLOGS (the World History, U.S. History and Beginner & Intermediate ones are very current)

March 4, 2017
by Larry Ferlazzo

Guest Post: Teacher Action Research

Phil Taylor is a teaching colleague who is an exceptional educator and researcher. At my invitation, he has contributed this guest post on teacher action research. Coincidentally, last month I wrote a piece for the British Council on the same topic focused on English Language Learners: Putting Teacher Action Research Into Action.

Phillip Taylor is an educator of 18 years. He wrote the English portion of the IB application and developed the IB curriculum for the English A1 program at his school site. He currently facilitates ongoing action research projects to investigate ways to improve student performance on the school’s IB English examinations. He is currently investigating the efficacy of different feedback approaches as applied to groups of 100 – 150 students.

Often, teachers today feel like data is “something that happens to us.”  Teachers can often feel like the victims of research and of data that is gathered in their districts.  District leaders often consult state examination results or interpret data gathered by an outside consultant to try to get a read on what is happening in their schools.  Yet the “data” reported by these entities has no context.  Such entities can’t see or factor in what teachers are doing, why they are doing it, and can’t factor in the challenges teachers face in order to accomplishing the myriad goals imposed upon them.  This often leads to questionable interpretations and questionable curricular or pedagogical decisions. Teachers, however, can fix this!

Most research published in the field of education right now is what is called “action research” or “action learning.”  This type of research is appealing to practitioners in the field because it examines real world conditions, not lab conditions.  The great thing about action research, is that any teacher in the field can do it.  Teachers can learn to do quantitative and qualitative research, or a mix of these methods in order to investigate their own practice as well as use these methods to solve problems at their school-sites.  Getting published more broadly still requires certification by the International Review Board (IRB), but for the purposes of communicating results to fellow staff members, and to administrators and district leaders, learning to perform action research can begin to provide better ‘data’ than state examinations and outside consultants could ever generate because teacher’s experience and closeness to the actual situation being studied means they can ask the right questions and provide good context to interpret the data results accurately!

Such research practices can not only empower us to stay sharp in our practice, but by producing documents that report on the research we perform in our schools, we can generate more autonomy and have more say in the curricular developments in our districts.  ‘Data’ doesn’t have to be something that ‘happens to us.’  By leveraging action research techniques we can have a powerful say in what happens in our schools.

This isn’t an unusual idea for a professional practitioner.  Doctors are essentially practitioner researchers, and their day to day work often evolves and develops practices in the field.  As a result, doctors in the field participate in how their professional field evolves. I believe we need to step up our own practice in order to bring our important and often underrepresented perspective to the table.  We can do this through learning to perform action research.

March 2, 2017
by Larry Ferlazzo

Duolingo Launches Web Version Of New Feature “Tinycards”

I’ve written tons about Duolingo, which is probably the best and most popular tech language tool for learning English (and just about any other language, too),

Awhile back, they offered a flashcard feature called Tinycards on their iPhone app, and today they made it available on the Web for the first time. Tinycards is for leaning any subject – not just a new language – so it includes Social Studies, health and other topics, too.

TechCrunch says it wasn’t a very popular mobile feature and it shows that by having a fairly limited selection (limited, at least, if you compare it to other tools on The Best Tools To Make Online Flashcards best).

However, I’ve also got to say that its “create” function is one of the easiest I’ve seen of all the flashcard apps (including a super-easy image search ability).  This creates an exceptional opportunity for our English Language Learners to make useful resources for an authentic audience and that can help encourage motivation.

I’m adding it to The Best Places Where Students Can Create Online Learning/Teaching Objects For An “Authentic Audience.”

March 2, 2017
by Larry Ferlazzo

The Best Resources On Classroom Seating Strategies

Classroom seating offers plenty of opportunities and dangers in any classroom.

Primarily because of space limitations, mine are pretty traditional, but it’s always worth considering other options.

Here are some thoughtful reflections on seating strategies. Feel free to offer more:

The Science of Effective Learning Spaces is from Edutopia. It includes topics like seating.

Classroom Seating: A Clue to Teacher Beliefs about Learning is by Angela Watson.

Ideas for Classroom Seating Arrangements is also by Angela Watson.

The Optimal Seating Plan? Letting Your Students Choose is from Edutopia.

Flexible Seating and Student-Centered Classroom Redesign is also from Edutopia.

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