Larry Ferlazzo’s Websites of the Day…

…For Teaching ELL, ESL, & EFL

March 23, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo

Video: The Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire Happened 103 Years Ago This Week

'Int Sol USA Tringle 25 03 11' photo (c) 2011, Derek Blackadder - license:

The terrible Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire happened on March 25, 1911.

I’m adding this video to The Best Resources For Learning About The Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire, which movingly makes the connection to what’s happening in Bangladesh sweatshops and in the United States today (be aware it contains graphic images). It definitely conveys a strong point-of-view and, to be safe, some teachers might want to offer a counterpoint to it from some of the clothes manufacturer’s perspective:

You can read a transcript to the video here.

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March 22, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo

English Language Learners Design Their Own “Ideal” Neighborhoods

I’ve written a lot about my annual favorite lesson of the year for English Language Learners — students first identify what neighborhood qualities are most important to them; they then analyze their neighborhood and the wealthiest one in Sacramento (including through field trips and statistical analyses); next they decide which one they think is the best; and then they write a persuasive essay sharing their reasons. Every year, and this one has been no exception, at least ninety-percent choose our school’s neighborhood over the “Fabulous Forties.”

You can read their essays here and you can see a complete description of the unit plan at A Lesson Highlighting Community Assets — Not Deficits.

But their essay is not the culminating task for this three-week unit.

Lastly, they have to design their own ideal neighborhood; write about what they have put in it and why, as well as who lives in it. Then, they use Fotobabble to show their design and record a summary of what they wrote about it.

Here are some examples, and you can see the rest at our class blog.

This whole lesson is just another way to reinforce that, just as our ELLs bring far more assets than deficits to the table, so do our neighborhoods….

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March 18, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo

New Cesar Chavez Film To Have Screening At White House Tonight


The new Cesar Chavez film is being screened at the White House tonight. It stars Michael Peña, who did such a great job in the HBO movie “Walkout,” as the union leader.

The trailer, which I’ve embedded below, looks great!

You can read more about the film here.

As regular readers may remember, I began my lengthy community organizing career working on the UFW grape boycott. And every December I provide a “holiday gift” to readers of a pdf book by Fred Ross, Sr., who was Chavez’ mentor.

I’m adding this info to The Best Sites For Learning About Cesar Chavez.

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March 17, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo

“The Long Reach Of Reason” – It’s A Safe Bet That This New TED Talk Animation Will Be Shown In Every TOK Class

'Logic Lane' photo (c) 2003, Anders Sandberg - license:

TED Talks has just unveiled a new animation titled “The Long Reach Of Reason.”

Here’s how Chris Anderson at TED describes it:

Two years ago the psychologist Steven Pinker and the philosopher Rebecca Newberger Goldstein, who are married, came to TED to take part in a form of Socratic dialog. Steven Pinker and Rebecca Newberger Goldstein: The long reach of reasonSteven Pinker and Rebecca Newberger Goldstein: The long reach of reasonShe sought to argue that Reason was a much more powerful force in history than it’s normally given credit for. He initially defended the modern consensus among psychologists and neurologists, that most human behavior is best explained through other means: unconscious instincts of various kinds. But over the course of the dialog, he is persuaded by her, and together they look back through history and see how reasoned arguments ended up having massive impacts, even if those impacts sometimes took centuries to unfold.

They turned it into a “talk in animated dialogue form.” I’ve embedded it below, and you can read more about it here.

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March 16, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo

Videos Of The Week

'Video Clutter' photo (c) 2006, John Pannell - license:

In yet another effort to get at my backlog of resources to share, I recently began this feature to share useful videos. I’ll still periodically highlight certain ones on their own, but the rest will be found on this regular post:

Here’s an interesting video with Neil Degrasse Tyson that might, or might not, be viewable on an RSS Reader:

I’m adding this next from The Wall Street Journal to The Best Resources On The Missing Malaysia Airlines Plane:

And here’s an interesting one, “Education For Death – Disney WWII Propaganda Cartoon”:

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March 13, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo

The Best Video Clips & Full-Length Movies For Helping To Teach Persuasive Techniques (Help Me Find More)

'Asian Persuasion Food Track' photo (c) 2012, Mike Avila - license:

I have a ton of resources related to teaching persuasive writing (see The Best Online Resources For Helping Students Learn To Write Persuasive Essays), especially to English Language Learners.

I decided it would be helpful to find video clips to supplement teaching this unit, which I’m doing right now.

I was surprised to find that several other sites have developed great collections of video clips that would be very helpful, which I’ll list in this post.

I’d love to hear more suggestions. I’m especially interested in hearing ideas for full-length movies that would be useful. I use Luis Rodriguez’s book It Doesn’t Have to Be This Way/No tiene que ser asi: A Barrio Story/Una historia del barrio as an example (talking about persuasion related to joining — and not joining — a gang), and it would be great to find a full-length movie that I could use similarly — gang-related or not.

Here are the collections of useful video clips I’ve found:

Best Persuasive Speeches in film history? is from Reddit.

Persuasion in movies

WingClips Persuasion

Watch Know Learn:Persuasive

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February 27, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo

Video: Though It Seems Like A Parody, It’s A Real Professional Development Event

Karen Lewis, head of the Chicago Teachers Union, sent this out tonight:


Here is the video’s description:

This presenter was one of several consultants flown in from California and the United Kingdom for the Chicago Public Schools’ Office of Strategic School Support Services’ special network. This is a professional development for teachers of Saturday ISAT preparation classes.

Yes, you can make a lot of things look bad taken out of context, but I don’t think a case can be made that this is appropriate for any professional development, or classroom, context….

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February 25, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo

Impressive Video On Ukrainian Protests

Here’s how the New York Times describes this video:

[It mixes] footage of the demonstrators with inspirational speeches on the importance of overcoming fear first spoken by Will Smith, in “After Earth,” and Sylvester Stallone, in “Rocky Balboa.” It was shared at the height of last week’s violence by Pavel Durov, the founder of the most prominent Russian social network, VKontakte.

I’m adding it to The Best Resources On The Protests In Ukraine.

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February 24, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo

The “All-Time” Best Videos For Educators


I’ve been posting annual lists of the Best Videos For Educators for a number of years.

I thought it would be useful for readers, my students, and me to review them all and identify my choices for the “all-time” best ones.

I’ve begun creating a number of these “All-Time” Best list, with The “All-Time” Best Ways To Create Online Content Easily & Quickly being the first and The “All-Time” Best Web 2.0 Applications For Education second.

Look for quite a few more “All-Time” Best lists over the next couple of months.

There are over 1,200 Best lists now that are categorized and updated regularly.  You can see them all here.

Here are my choices for The “All-Time” Best Videos For Educators (let me know which ones I’m missing — I’ll also be adding to this list after I do a complete review of videos I’ve published on this blog):

Of course, the “graphic notetaking” video of Daniel Pink’s speech about his book, Drive, has got to be on this list:

Alfie Kohn has written several books, including “Punished By Rewards.”. Dwight Schrute is the well-known character in the television comedy, “The Office.” What might the connection be between the two of them? Watch this two minute video clip to find out:

Here’s Bloom’s Taxonomy According To The Pirates Of The Caribbean:

The PBS News Hour produced this segment on self control and young people. It uses financial literacy as an initial hook, but it’s mainly about the famous marshmallow test and a recent updated study:

Watch the full episode. See more PBS NewsHour.

This is a great video to get students to think more carefully about their writing:

Thanks to an excellent post by Jennifer Brokofsky, I learned about this short video of Sir Ken Robinson. He makes an excellent point about the importance of helping students motivate themselves (and I’m adding it to The Best Posts & Articles On “Motivating” Students):

“Farmers and gardeners know you cannot make a plant grow….The plant grows itself. What you do is provide the conditions for growth. And great farmers know what the conditions are and bad ones don’t. Great teachers know what the conditions for growth are and bad ones don’t.”

In this video, some ducklings were able to get over the curb on their own. However, several found that it was just too high. Look at how someone provides assistance to those having trouble, and how he doesn’t tell them what to do. Instead, he offers it as an option, as a choice they can make. It’s an example of an old community organizing axiom, “If you don’t give people the opportunity to say no, you don’t give them the opportunity to say yes, either.”

Jason Flom shared this great video on the importance of making mistakes. I’m adding it to The Best Posts, Articles & Videos About Learning From Mistakes & Failures.

This TED Talk video from the late Rita Pierson on “Every Kid Needs A Champion” is a great one:

Perseverance (grit) is one of the key qualities researchers have found to be essential in a successful language learner, as well as other learners.

Here’s a video demonstrating that quality that I’m adding to The Best Videos Illustrating Qualities Of A Successful Language Learner:

This is from Yahoo News and is a great illustration of “thinking outside the box”:

I’m adding this next video to The Best Resources On Helping Our Students Develop A “Growth Mindset”:

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February 22, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo

Two Excellent Analyses Of Learning Videos (Plus A Bonus!)

I’ve previously published the two videos I’m posting at the bottom of this post. However, both times I didn’t provide much commentary.

Joe Bower, on the other hand, has done an excellent job providing short, simple, and very insightful posts highlighting what we can learn from both of them.

Make a point of reading his analyses of the South African reading commercial (the first video) and of the video of the young girl learning to ski. You won’t be disappointed.

And, as a bonus, I’ve embedded one of my all-time favorite learning videos, along with my very short analysis of it, at the very bottom of this post.

Now, here’s my personal favorite:

When I first posted it, I gave it the title: Ducklings Video Demonstrates Great “Differentiated Instruction” and wrote this:

In this video, some ducklings were able to get over the curb on their own. However, several found that it was just too high. Look at how someone provides assistance to those having trouble, and how he doesn’t tell them what to do. Instead, he offers it as an option, as a choice they can make. It’s an example of an old community organizing axiom, “If you don’t give people the opportunity to say no, you don’t give them the opportunity to say yes, either.”

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