Larry Ferlazzo’s Websites of the Day…

…For Teaching ELL, ESL, & EFL

July 9, 2013
by Larry Ferlazzo

Two New Videos From RSA — Carol Dweck & Ken Robinson

RSA from The United Kingdom is particularly knows for their “graphic recording” of talks that take place there (the one they did of Dan Pink talking about “Drive” is my favorite).

They just released a short one of those animated videos, this one a short snippet of a talk by Ken Robinson. I’ve embedded it below — it’s nice, but to tell you the truth, I’m not sure there’s much “there there,” unlike in his other talks. Of course, it just two-and-a-half minutes long :)

Of more interest, though, is the non-animated video (also embedded below) that they put on the web of Carol Dweck’s talk there that took place….yesterday (they sure don’t waste time). It’s an hour-long, and it’s nice that they have close-ups of all her slides. I’ve just started watching it. So far, it sounds like a basic review of her work. Even if that is just the case, it’s still interesting!

I’m adding that video to The Best Resources On Helping Our Students Develop A “Growth Mindset.”

June 20, 2013
by Larry Ferlazzo

Interesting New Study By Carol Dweck


Readers of this blog are no strangers to the work of Carol Dweck, and you can find a collection of resources related to her work at The Best Resources On Helping Our Students Develop A “Growth Mindset.”

Professor Dweck and her colleagues have just published a new study that builds on her previous work and specifically relates it to reducing aggressive behavior by teenagers. Happily, the paper is not behind a paywall. It’s title is a long one — An Implicit Theories of Personality Intervention Reduces Adolescent Aggression in Response to Victimization and Exclusion.

You can also read a short summary of it by Art Markman.

Here is my brief summary (which I am very open to being critiqued and corrected) and my key “take-aways”:

Professor Dweck is known for, among other findings, developing the concepts of incremental mindset — that people’s traits can change over time — and an entity mindset — where traits are fixed. Many educators, including me, have used her research in the classroom in changing the kind of feedback we give students and in helping them see the physical changes caused in the brain by learning new things (my previously mentioned “The Best…” list give far more details).

In this new study (which focused on dealing with the effects of bullying), Professor Dweck and her colleagues taught six brief sessions to students elaborating on the incremental mindset, and found that they were less likely to react aggressively to bullying and, in general, behaved more appropriately in the classroom. They appeared to believe that neither the supposed reason behind their being targeted and the beliefs of the bullies themselves would be permanent, and tended to be less depressed. Here are some key excerpts:

…our results suggest that an incremental theory may predispose students to behave resiliently when situations of exclusion or victimization arise….

Our findings can inform theories of how social cognitive development can influence adolescent aggression. Past research has suggested that adolescents show an increased belief in the fixed nature of transgressors’ traits and behaviors (e.g., Killen et al., 2010). Relatedly, the early years of high school are a time of heighted social comparison, where one’s social label (especially if it is seen as a fixed label) can be a source of pride or shame, and therefore a powerful influence on how one copes with peer conflict (e.g., Brown, Mory, & Kinney, 1994; Crosnoe, 2011; Eccles & Barber, 1999). Overall, adolescence was predicted to be a special period during which beliefs about the potential for people to change their personal characteristics could play a particularly important role in aggressive retaliation….

Peer victimization or exclusion, as we have noted, can also lead to depression and other internalizing symptoms, and previous correlational research has suggested that this is especially likely when children hold more of an entity theory (Rudolph, 2010). Our experimental study showed that an incremental theory intervention could buffer adolescents from the effects of peer victimization. When adolescents who reported higher levels of victimization were taught to see themselves and others as capable of change, they reported fewer depressive symptoms compared with adolescents who received no treatment.

That’s what the study says about victims. I found what it says about the bullies themselves even more interesting:

One extension of this research is to test whether implicit theories might also be a cause of bullying itself. It may be the case that some students bully others to validate themselves and their status, a motivation that may well be fostered by an entity view of the self. Indeed, adolescents who believe that there are fixed “winners” and “losers” may well wish to place themselves among the “winners” and use bullying as a tool for doing so. Thus, it may be interesting in future investigations to determine whether the present study’s incremental theory intervention would reduce bullying.

One nice “bonus” is that the paper provides a fairly detailed description of the curriculum used to teach the incremental mindset.

For my work in the classroom, the bottom line of the study is that it reinforces the importance of teaching the lessons found on The Best Resources On Helping Our Students Develop A “Growth Mindset” list, and exploring how I can expand them a bit by reflecting on the ideas in this paper.

I’m eager to hear the reactions of others….

November 9, 2012
by Larry Ferlazzo

New Study Finds That Specific Praise Improves Performance — Have They Ever Heard Of Carol Dweck?

A new study has been receiving some media attention for showing that praising someone’s athletic performance results in….their improving their performance. Interestingly, even though it’s clear in the study that the praise is very specific about what was being done, the researchers don’t seem to even highlight that point — they just say that praising someone is successful.

Of course, any research that reinforces what we teachers know is good practice is welcome, but, really, haven’t these folks ever heard of Carol Dweck?

It’s good to know about this new research, but I don’t think it’s even worth putting on The Best Resources For Learning How To Best Give Feedback To Students.

November 27, 2011
by Larry Ferlazzo
1 Comment

Thoughts On Today’s NY Times Column By Carol Dweck

I’m a fan of much of Professor Carol Dweck’s work, and have often written in this blog (and in my book) about how I’ve applied her research in the classroom, especially around praising effort instead of intelligence.

A few months ago, though, I heard about one of her recent research projects that bothered me a bit, and, then, today, I saw a column she co-wrote about it in The New York Times. It’s titled “Willpower: It’s in Your Head.”

In it, she challenges the research findings of Professor Roy F. Baumeister, another researcher whose work has influenced my teaching practice. Professor Baumeister has written a great deal about self-control, and I wrote a piece in Education Week about how I apply his findings in the classroom — he also contributed a guest commentary.

Basically, Professor Baumeister (and many others) have concluded that self-control is a resource that can be depleted, and needs to be periodically replenished. Professor Dweck claims that it only is depleted if you believe it needs to be replenished.

That’s a very simplified summary, and I’d encourage you to read both her piece and Professor Baumeister’s commentary to get a more amplified view, as well as learning more how I interpret it for classroom use.

I’m all for having a “growth mindset,” which is another concept that Professor Dweck is known for and which I use with my students. However, especially with adolescents, it seems to me that we need to recognize that our students are not Supermen or Superwomen, and it’s unlikely that many — if any — have an unlimited level of self-control. My students and I have found Professor Baumeister’s research very useful and I have often seen it work effectively.  The key, of course, is that we need to help our students develop effective strategies to replenish their capacity for self-control.

Earlier this morning, I contacted Professor Baumeister to get his reactions to the critique. Here is his response (and he granted permission for me to share it here):

[Many] things can make a difference right at the beginning of depletion, when you’re only slightly depleted. we have replicated her finding that getting people to believe in unlimited willpower makes them do better when they are slightly depleted. but that same manipulation actually makes them do worse when they are severely depleted.

What do you think?

June 16, 2016
by Larry Ferlazzo

The Best Videos For Educators In 2016 – So Far


Another day, another mid-year annual “Best” list (you can find all 1,600 Best lists here).

You might also be interested in:
The Best Videos For Educators In 2015 – Part Two

The Best Videos For Educators In 2015 – So Far

The Best Videos For Educators In 2014 – Part Two

The Best Videos For Educators In 2014 – So Far

The “All-Time” Best Videos For Educators

The Best Videos For Educators In 2013 – Part Two

The Best Videos For Educators In 2012 — Part Two

The Best Videos For Educators In 2012 — Part One

The Best Videos For Educators In 2011

Part Two Of The Best Videos For Educators — 2010

The Ten Best Videos For Educators — 2010

And you might also want to see The Best Funny Videos Showing The Importance Of Being Bilingual — Part OneThe Best Videos Illustrating Qualities Of A Successful Language LearnerThe Best Video Clips Demonstrating “Grit”; and The Best Fun Videos About Books & Reading.

You might also want to check out The Best Video Collections For Educators ; The Best Video Clips On Goal-Setting — Help Me Find More ; The Best Movie Scenes, Stories, & Quotations About “Transfer Of Learning” – Help Me Find More! ;  The Best Funny Videos To Help Teach Grammar – Help Me Find More ; The Best Videos About The Famous “Trolley Problem” and The Best Videos For Teaching & Learning About Figurative Language.

The Best TV/Movie Scenes Showing Good & Bad Classroom Discussions

The Best TV/Movie Scenes Demonstrating A “Growth Mindset” – Help Me Find More

The Best Movie/TV Scenes Demonstrating Metacognition – Help Me Find More

The Best Videos About The Importance Of Practice – Help Me Find More

The Best Videos Explaining Gravitational Waves (In An Accessible Way)

I’ve also written a guest post for Edutopia titled 5-Minute Film Festival: 8 Videos for ELL Classrooms. You might find it useful.

Here are my choices for The Best Videos For Educators In 2016 – So Far (some may have been produced prior to this year, but are just new to me):

“Pro Tips: How to Study” does not allow embedding, but it’s a good one.  I’m adding it to The Best Resources For Helping Students Learn How Best To Study.

I think this video is a great one to show to students — it’s short and sweet, and could really help with student presentations. I’m adding it to The Best Sources Of Advice For Making Good Presentations:

I’ve previously posted about Jo Boaler’s work (see Great New Video: “When People Make Mistakes Their Brains Grow, More Than When They Got Work Right”). Her TEDx Talk was recently posted. It’s titled “How you can be good at math, and other surprising facts about learning” and it’s definitely not just applicable to math. I’m adding it to The Best Resources For Showing Students That They Make Their Brain Stronger By Learning:

And here’s her earlier animated video:

I’m adding this video to The Best Sites For Learning About Protests In History:

Mai Xi Lee has done a tremendous job working with schools in our district to implement Social Emotional Learning. In this video, you’ll hear what it looks like (and, you’ll see a few clips of me and my classroom :) ):

I’m adding it to The Best Social Emotional Learning (SEL) Resources.

Police Body Cameras: What Do You See? is a new very impressive interactive at The New York Times. After first soliciting the reader’s general feelings about the police, the interactive shows several staged police encounters from different cameras and angles – asking you to judge what you think you saw. Then, those judgments are compared to other what others said and their feelings about the police. It’s extraordinarily useful to just about any class, and will be a superior addition to my Theory of Knowledge lesson on perception, Videos: Here’s The Simple Theory of Knowledge Lesson On Perception I Did Today. That post shares several other videos showing the same event from different angles.

I’m adding this video to The Best Sites That Show Statistics By Reducing The World & The U.S. To 100 People, which I’ve just updated and revised. The video is from GOOD:

Human appears to be a full-length movie and a YouTube channel with short personal stories from around the world. Here is how they describe it:

Filmmaker and artist Yann Arthus-Bertrand spent 3 years collecting real-life stories from more than 2,000 women and men in 60 countries. Working with a dedicated team of translators, journalists and cameramen, he captures deeply personal and emotional accounts of topics that unite us all; struggles with poverty, war, homophobia, and the future of our planet mixed with moments of love and happiness.

Here’s one amazing example (that was made into a TED-ED lesson):

I’m adding Human to The Best Sites For Learning About The World’s Different Cultures.

Fig. 1 by University of California is a YouTube Channel offering short, accessible science animations with closed-captioning.

Here are some samples:

I’ve previously posted about an intriguing study on curiosity (see “Curiosity improves memory by tapping into the brain’s reward system”). Now, this video has just come online that provides a short explanation of the same study.

I’m adding it to The Best Posts On Curiosity.

The Sacramento Bee asked me to give ninety-seconds of tips for new teachers. Here’s the video:

I’m adding it to The Best Advice For New Teachers.

I’ve previously posted a lot about the work of Harvard professor Michael Sandel.

Here’s an older video clip
of an interview he did on NBC. I use it in my IB Theory of Knowledge class when we’re studying Ethics.

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

I’m always trying to learn new classroom discussion strategies, particularly using the sequence of big-to-small-to-big (pose question,assignment and sequence to the entire class; have them break into small groups; then come back to the entire class to share and discuss). This kind of strategy works great for English Language Learners and, I think, for just about everybody else, too. So I was excited to see this short video on The Teaching Channel (embedded below and here’s the direct link to it at The Channel).

I hadn’t heard of the “Wingman” strategy before (call me “PC,” but I’d probably call it “Wingperson.” Basically, students go into small groups (for example, a group of three) and one person is designated as the “Wingman.” That person’s job is to listen to the discussion between the classmates in the group and use a sheet to evaluate the quality of the work (for example, if they are using certain sentence starters or if they are talking excessively) and then to write down their own thoughts and summarize what occurred. Then, that student can provide a report to the class. There are lots of variations, of course. If you register at the Teaching Channel (it’s free and easy), you then gain access to some nice materials, including a sample Wingman worksheet.

I like it a lot. I’m adding it to The Best Resources Sharing The Best Practices For Fruitful Classroom Discussions.

Here’s the video:

Brainwaves has issued another great video — this time a short interview of Jonathan Kozol. Actually, there are two. The first is five minutes, and the second is one minute of him talking about the great Fred Rogers. As a bonus, I’ve also included an NPR video of him from last year. Here’s an excerpt from the new video, followed by all the videos themselves:


I, and many others, always look forward to the infrequent release of an RSA Animated talk. They are visualizations of talks given by authors/writers/scientists on important topics. You can see all of them at their YouTube Channel. Their video of Dan Pink might be the one most familiar to educators. They recently released on of a talk by Carol Dweck, and it’s pretty impressive. It’s embedded below, and I’m also adding it to The Best Resources On Helping Our Students Develop A Growth Mindset.

I’ve previously posted some comments and videos of writer George Saunders (see Animated Video: George Saunders’ Commencement Speech On “The Importance of Kindness” and Video: “George Saunders Commencement Speech 2013″). The Atlantic has published a quasi-animated interview with him on “how to tell a good story.” I’m embedding it below. However, be aware that the Atlantic video platform can be a bit cantankerous. It’s really worth viewing. Because of some very slightly off-color language, I probably wouldn’t recommend using it below the high school level.

Because of some comments he makes in it, including the one highlighted below, I’m adding it to The Best Resources On Getting Student Writers To “Buy-Into” Revision – Help Me Find More.


As all of us teachers know, some students are reluctant to ask for help. I’ve collected resources on this challenge at The Best Research On Why Some Students Ask For More Or Less Help Than Others. One of the items on that list is a post I wrote about a recent study about how asking for help creates a good impression (see Quote Of The Day: “Asking Advice Makes a Good Impression” & Its Connection To The Classroom). I’ve used that study in a mini-lesson to help students see some benefits to asking for help that they might not have known. Now, New York Magazine has created a very short video illustrating the findings of that same study, which would make a great addition to the text. Here it is:

I’ve added this video to The Best Resources About “Culturally Responsive Teaching” & “Culturally Sustaining Pedagogy” – Please Share More!:

I’m adding this video to The Best Websites For Teaching & Learning About U.S. History (Thanks to Flowing Data for the tip):

Here are two important issues we all need to know more about:

Let me know what videos I’m missing….

March 25, 2016
by Larry Ferlazzo

March’s Top Posts From This Blog



I regularly highlight my picks for the most useful posts for each month — not including “The Best…” lists. I also use some of them in a more extensive monthly newsletter I send-out. You can see older Best Posts of the Month at Websites Of The Month (more recent lists can be found here).

You can also see my all-time favorites here.

Here are some of the posts I personally think are the best, and most helpful, ones I’ve written during this past month (not in any order of preference). There are a lot of them this month:

“Collaborative Writing, Common Core, and ELLs” Is Excerpt From Our New Book

Excellent “Listen & Read” Nonfiction From National Geographic

Another Flaw In Using Value-Added Measurement For Teacher Evaluation

At Second Look, Wizer Looks Like A Fabulous Way Create Virtual Classrooms & Track Student Progress

Harvard Business Review Publishes Best Arguments Against “Performance Pay” – Can Be Applied To Teachers & Students

“Ed Tech ‘has Over-Promised & Under-Delivered’”

Adam Grant On Failure & How I’m Using What He Says In Class

“‘For White Folks Who Teach In The Hood…’: An Interview With Chris Emdin”

My Latest NY Times Interactive For ELLs Is On Stephen Curry!

New Study Reviews 25 Years Of Research Into What Helps Students Graduate – Here’s What They Found

“‘Be Patient’ When Dealing With Ed Tech Problems

Neat Online Exhibit On “Discoveries That Changed The World”

“Unfiltered News” Visualizes Most Popular News Topics In Different Countries

First Excerpt From Our Book On ELLs & Common Core Appears In Edutopia

Great Idea From Adam Grant: Student Mini-Talks That Challenge “Conventional Wisdom”

“Census Names Explorer” Is A Cool Tool For Exploring Name Popularity Through Time & Place

“ReadTheory” Lets Teachers Create Virtual Classrooms For Students To Read & Answer Questions

My Latest NY Times Interactive For ELLs Is On Daylight Saving Time

Zootopia Movies Highlights Importance Of Grit, But Also Its Limitations

What Are Creative & Effective Ways You’ve Used Multiple Choice Exercises?

Guest Post: “Walk & Talks” Are Extremely Effective Way To Connect With Students – Here’s A “How-To” Guide

‘Teacher Leadership is the Lifeboat to a Better School’

Amazon Is Setting Up A Free Site For Educational Resources – Here’s Where You Register For Access

Carol Dweck Makes Strongest Statement Yet On Growth Mindset Misuse

New “Volley” App Looks Like A “PhotoMath” For…Everything

Do Your Students Slouch Back In Their Chairs? Here’s A Writing Prompt On It I’m Using In Class

“US News Map” Lets You Track Word Frequency In Historical American Newspapers

“Pindex” Is A New “Pinterest For Education” That Also Lets Teachers Create Quizzes & Monitor Student Progress

“Teaching English Language Learners With Special Needs”

Smithsonian’s “Our Story” Is A Valuable Resource For Teachers & Parents

How Many Repetitions Do You Need In Order To Learn A New Word?

My Latest NY Times Interactive For ELLs is On Citizenship

Quote Of The Day: Caution On Celebration Of Failure

Try Out This Dyslexia Simulation

“Ways to Support ELLs With Special Needs

“Radiooooo” Is A Cool Music Site That Crosses The World & The Decades

Part Two – Oral Presentation Suggestions For IB Theory of Knowledge Classes

California Voters Will Vote On Important “Multilingual Education Act” This Fall

“Perspecs” Gives You Three Different Perspectives On Same News Topic

Part Two: A Community Organizer’s Definition Of Leadership – How Can It Be Applied To Education?

NY Times Reports On Social Emotional Learning Run Amok

“The Life of a Refugee” Is Topic Of My Latest NY Times Interactive For ELLs

A Community Organizer’s Definition Of Leadership – How Can It Be Applied To Education? (Part One)

Study: Extrinsic Rewards Reduces Long-Term Learning Of New Languages & Other Knowledge

Oral Presentation Suggestions For IB Theory of Knowledge Classes





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