Larry Ferlazzo’s Websites of the Day…

…For Teaching ELL, ESL, & EFL

February 13, 2015
by Larry Ferlazzo
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Excellent Review Of Writing Instruction Research

An Education Week post by Walt Gardner today led me to an excellent Hechinger Report article from late last year that I missed, Three lessons from the science of how to teach writing.

It’s a report on a study that I think is the best review of writing research I’ve seen since a report was published a year ago summarizing studies on teaching writing and critiquing Common Core (see New Study Says That Half Of “Evidence-Based Practices” In Writing Instruction Not “Signaled” By Common Core).

Here are three recommended practices:

1. Spend more time writing

2. Write on a computer

3. Grammar instruction doesn’t work

Read The Hechinger Report article and read the study itself.

I’m adding this post to The Best Posts On Writing Instruction.

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February 9, 2015
by Larry Ferlazzo
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Great Article On “Being The Best At Anything” & How I’m Using It In Class

7 Secrets Top Athletes Can Teach You About Being The Best At Anything is an interview with David Epstein at Barking Up The Wrong Tree.

It’s a great article and very accessible to students, though it will need some obvious editing.

Here’s the writing prompt I plant to use with it. Feel free to make suggestions on how I can improve it…

The author says these “seven secrets” can help anyone get better at anything, including sports and academics. Pick at least two of them and explain what they are and if you agree or disagree that applying those practices can help you improve at anything. To support your opinion, you may use examples from your own experiences, your observations of others, and any of your reading (including this article).

I’m adding this post to The Best Posts On Writing Instruction.

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January 31, 2015
by Larry Ferlazzo
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Here’s The Writing Prompt I’m Using With “Smartphones Don’t Make Us Dumb”

You may have seen Dan Willingham’s excellent Op-Ed in The New York Times last week headlined Smartphones Don’t Make Us Dumb.

It’s a very thoughtful well-balanced piece, and worth reading by everyone.

I think it’s also accessible to high school students, along with being a high-interest topic for them (and for us teachers).

Here’s the writing prompt I’ll be using with it in class:

In the article “Smartphones Don’t Make Us Dumb,” what is Daniel Willingham saying about the impact technology is having on our ability and willingness to pay attention to things? To what extent do you agree with what he is saying? To support your opinion, be sure to include specific examples drawn from your own experience, your observations of others, or any of your readings, including “Smartphones Don’t Make Us Dumb.”

I’m adding this post to The Best Posts On Writing Instruction, where I collect my prompts and prompts from others, as well as other useful writing resources.

I’m also adding it to The Best Posts & Articles Highlighting Why We Need To Be Very Careful Around Ed Tech.

Feel free to make suggestions on how I can improve this prompt and others!

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January 17, 2015
by Larry Ferlazzo
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With The Appropriate Background Knowledge, This Could Be A Good MLK Writing Prompt

 

Vox has just published a short and useful critique of this week’s New Yorker cover suggesting that it communicates that Martin Luther King, Jr.’s main message was reconciliation when, in fact, it was confrontation to achieve justice.

If students had sufficient background knowledge (which, if truth be told, we should all have talked about in our classes already) — Ferguson, Eric Garner, the shooting of the two New York City police officers, Trayvon Martin (you can also find good related teaching materials at A Collection Of Useful Posts, Articles & Videos On Race & Racism) — they could read Vox’s short post, view the New Yorker cover, and respond to a writing prompt like this:

The author writes that Martin Luther King’s main message was that confrontational protest was necessary to achieve justice. To what extent do you agree that often it takes conflict to overcome unfairness and inequality? To support your opinion, be sure to include specific examples drawn from your own experience, your observations of others, or any of your readings (including this article).

I have also previously shared two writing prompts on similar topics:

John Lewis: “You Must Find A Way To Get In Trouble”

Quote Of The Day: “We Must Always Take Sides”

I’m adding this post to The Best Posts On Writing Instruction (where I collect all my writing prompts) and to The Best Websites For Learning About Martin Luther King.

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January 9, 2015
by Larry Ferlazzo
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Decent Collection Of Introductory Videos To Various Writing Genres

Citelighter, an online writing tool for teachers and students that I’ve never quite figured out, has created a series of short well-produced introductory videos to various writing genres.

I think they could serve as useful introductions at the beginning of a lesson.

Here’s the video on persuasive writing:

Argumentative Writing from Citelighter on Vimeo.

Here are links to all of them:

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January 8, 2015
by Larry Ferlazzo
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Simple Writing Prompt On California Gold Rush

As regular readers know, I continually add new writing prompts I use in my classes to The Best Posts On Writing Instruction. I think it’s quite a good collection.

The one I’m using tomorrow in my U.S. History class of English Language Learners is not one of the top-notch ones I’ve shared, but it’s decent and usable (and I’m always open to ideas on how to the prompts better).

Here it is (and here it is as a student handout):

What was the California Gold Rush and what impact did it have on California? Why do you think so many people came to look for gold? If you were alive then, do you think you would have come? Why or why not? Please use examples from the books, from other sources we’ve used in our study of the time, and from your own observations and experiences as a risk-taker.

You also might, or might not, be interested in our class blog post with additional resources on The Gold Rush.

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December 6, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
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Two New Good Writing Prompts For My Students

I’ve collected various writing prompts (and links to the texts that go with them) at The Best Posts On Writing Instruction. Here are a couple of more I’m adding that are based on recent New York Times columns.

One is a piece by Roger Cohen headlined Mere Human Behavior. In it, he talks about examples of courage needed to speak up and act in the face of injustice instead of just “avert[ing} one’s gaze.”

Here’s the prompt I plan to use with Cohen’s column:

In his column, what is Mr. Cohen saying about how people should respond when they see an injustice? To what extent do you agree with what his position? To support your opinion, be sure to include specific examples drawn from your own experience, your observations of others, or anything you have read, including this column.

This next column is an interesting “take” on the value of saving endangered languages. “In Why Save a Language?” John McWhorter questions the typical reasons used to support endangered languages and offers different ones.

Here’s the prompt I plan on using with this piece. It’s perfect for IB Theory of Knowledge classes:

What reasons does Mr. McWhorter say he formerly used to try and convince people about the value of saving an endangered language and what does he say now? To what extent do you agree with what his position? To support your opinion, be sure to include specific examples drawn from your own experience, your observations of others, or anything you have read, including this column.

I’m also adding this prompt The Best Resources For International Mother Language Day.

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November 26, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
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Create Virtual Classes & Have Students Write Book Reviews At “Bookopolis”

bookopolis

Bookopolis lets teachers create virtual classrooms — for free — where students can identify the book they’re reading (they just have to type in the title and the site automatically “finds” it) and write a review. There are a number of other features, too. It seems like a very useful site, though I’m less-than-thrilled with the extrinsic points and badges students can earn.

I’m adding it to The Best Sites That Students Can Use Independently And Let Teachers Check On Progress and to The Best Places Where Students Can Post Book Reviews For Authentic Audiences.

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