Larry Ferlazzo’s Websites of the Day…

…For Teaching ELL, ESL, & EFL

November 4, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
0 comments

The Best Resources On The Idea Of “Wait Time”

There is more to “Wait time,” typically described as the idea of giving students time to think prior to answering a teacher-asked question, than one might usually think.

I’ve previously posted about it, and this month’s ASCD Educational Leadership has two very good articles commenting on the topic.

I thought I’d bring those resources together in one “Best” list, and invite readers to contribute additional ones.

Here is what I have at this time:

My post is titled An Extremely Important “Take” On “Wait Time” — One That I Hadn’t Thought About Before….


Research Says / Get All Students to Speak Up
is by Bryan Goodwin at ASCD Educational Leadership.

All the Time They Need is by Ellin Oliver Keene at ASCD Educational Leadership.

You might also be interested in all 1,400 “The Best…” lists.

October 17, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
0 comments

Classroom Instruction Resources Of The Week

Each week, I publish a post containing three or four particularly useful resources on classroom instruction, and you can see them all here.

Here are this week’s picks:
Road Tested / Lesson Closure: Stick the Landing is from ASCD and offers several good idea about ending lessons. I’m adding it to The Best Resources On Student & Teacher Reflection.

How to use film creatively in class: teaching tips and ideas is a chat (you can read the transcript at the bottom) at The Guardian. I’m adding it to – just because I don’t have another place for it — The Best Popular Movies/TV Shows For ESL/EFL (& How To Use Them).

There’s No Time to Differentiate: Myth-Busting DI, Part 2 is from Edutopia. I’m adding it to The Best Resources On Differentiating Instruction.

Edutopia offers some good resources for Socratic Seminars. I’m adding it to The Best Resources Sharing The Best Practices For Fruitful Classroom Discussions.

October 13, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
0 comments

Classroom Instruction Resources Of The Week

Each week, I publish a post containing three or four particularly useful resources on classroom instruction, and you can see them all here.

Here are this week’s picks:

A veteran teacher turned coach shadows 2 students for 2 days – a sobering lesson learned appeared in Grant Wiggins’ blog.

Evaluating and Vetting Common Core “Aligned” Close Reading Materials is by Jan Burkins & Kim Yaris.

Five Tips for Getting Started With Differentiation in a Secondary Classroom is from ASCD. I’m adding it to
The Best Resources On Differentiating Instruction.

September 21, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
0 comments

The Best Resources Sharing The Best Practices For Fruitful Classroom Discussions

Facilitating fruitful classroom discussions can be a challenge for the best of teachers, and I thought I’d begin a related “Best” list and invite readers to contribute additional resources.

Here’s a start:

 

Teach Thought has published a nice “26 Sentence Stems For Higher-Level Conversation In The Classroom.” I write about how I used them at Wondering How To Handle A Controversial Topic In Class? What We Did This Week Worked Out Very Well.

Socratic Seminars in the Middle is from Middleweb.

small things: increasing participation in classroom discussions is from educating grace.

How NOT to Start A Conversation With A Student….

There have been several recent posts about Socratic Circles and English Language Learners: Socratic Circles and the Common Core: A Close Reading of the Text (Part II) and Socratic Circles and the Common Core: Activity Ideas for ELLs (Part III) are from Colorin Colorado.

Adam Simpson has also written an excellent three-part series on the same topic.

Edutopia offers some good resources for Socratic Seminars.

NPR Starts “50 Great Teachers” Series – Has Potential, But I Hope The Rest Are Better Than The First

Talking to Learn is by Elizabeth A. City.

Speaking Volumes is by Douglas Fisher and Nancy Frey.

I’m looking forward to getting lots of new suggestions to add to this list!

You might also be interested in the other 1,400 “Best” lists I’ve compiled.

August 18, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
0 comments

“Thinking Like A Scientist Can Help Overcome Allure Of Appearances”

As regular readers of this blog and my books know, I’m a big believer in inductive learning (see More Info On Why Inductive Learning Is So Effective and Is This The Most Important Research Study Of The Year? Maybe).

One effective way to use inductive learning is through the use of data sets. You can see examples of these in my ASCD article, Get Organized Around Assets and in a couple of pieces I’ve written for The New York Times.

A key element of inductive learning is having students put the items or passages into categories — that’s a given.

However, a step that many teacher miss is having students provide evidence to support their decision to put something into a particular category. It can be as simple as highlighting a word or phrase, or just writing a sentence explaining a student’s reasoning.

NPR just published a piece this morning on some research that reinforces the importance of this step. The study itself is a bit convoluted so, instead of describing it here, I’m just going to suggest you go over to their site and read Thinking Like A Scientist Can Help Overcome Allure Of Appearances.

Here’s an excerpt:

The-act-of-explaining

July 6, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
0 comments

July’s Infographics & Interactives Galore – Part One

There are just so many good infographics and interactives out there that I’ve begun a new semi-regular feature called “Infographics & Interactives Galore.”

You can see others at A Collection Of “The Best…” Lists On Infographics and by searching “infographics” on this blog.

I’ll still be publishing separate posts to individually highlight especially useful infographics and interactives, but you’ll find others in this regular feature.

Here goes:

Global Land Temperatures tracks temperatures around the work since 1900, but is not your typical climate change interactive. Check it out and you’ll see what I mean.

ASCD’s Whole Child Snapshots are quite impressive. It gives you one infographic for each state identify child-related statistics.

A Disappearing Planet is a great interactive from Propublica. I’m adding it to The Best Resources For World Biodiversity Day (& Endangered Species Day).

I’m adding this next infographic to The Best Resources For Learning About Our World’s Population Of 7 Billion:

Here’s a slideshow from KQED that I’m adding to The Best Resources On Why Raising The Minimum Wage Is Important:

July 3, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
5 Comments

Can You Help? Looking For Stories Of People Learning Self-Control Or Grit From Challenging Circumstances

Regular readers know I’m a big believer in teaching Social Emotional Learning (see The Best Social Emotional Learning (SEL) Resources) and that I also have a healthy skepticism of how it’s sometimes used (see The manipulation of Social Emotional Learning).

Readers also know that I have a particular interest in focusing on the assets students bring to the table rather than their deficits (see Get Organized Around Assets and A Lesson Highlighting Community Assets — Not Deficits).

I’m preparing a new lesson that I’m going to try-out in the fall, and student assets are going to be a key part of it. Of course, I’ll be writing more about it…

I’m looking for stories of students/adults sharing particular instances when growing-up in challenging circumstances helped them develop grit (perseverance) and/or self-control.

These could be passages from books, articles,movies, videos, stories your own students have written, etc.

Any ideas?

July 2, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
1 Comment

Excellent (& I Mean EXCELLENT) Differentiation Infographic

carol

Carol Tomlinson participated in an @ASCD chat on Twitter yesterday, and shared a great infographic.

Here are a couple of tweets with it, followed by a few tweets I was invited to send about differentiation and ELLs.

I’m adding this info to The Best Resources On Differentiating Instruction.

June 23, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
0 comments

My Favorite Posts In 2014 — So Far

'faves' photo (c) 2005, sheldonschwartz - license: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/

Every year I identify my personal favorite posts, and it’s time for my mid-year selection.

You can see my choices for each of the past seven years here.

Here are My Favorite Posts In 2014 — So Far:

Here are some of my favorite “The Best…” lists from this year (by the way, the total lists I’ve published reached 1,300 this year):

The Best Posts & Articles Highlighting Why We Need To Be Very Careful Around Ed Tech

The Best Research Demonstrating That Lectures Are Not The Best Instructional Strategy

The “All-Time” Best Resources, Articles & Blog Posts For Teachers Of English Language Learners (I did a number of these “all-time” lists — you can see links to all of them within that post).

I’ve published weekly posts at The New York Times — each one including a student interactive and teaching ideas for English Language Learners.

And I’ve published two-to-three posts each week at my Education Week Teacher advice column – over this summer I’ll be putting together my annual posts bringing together links to those that share a common theme, as well as sharing a list of the most popular ones. My suspicion is that Response: ‘The Grading System We Need to Have’ and Response: Ways to Cultivate ‘Whole-Class Engagement’ will top that list.

I also began publishing a monthly post over at the British Council about teaching English Language Learners.

And I’ve had a lot of fun doing a weekly ten minute radio shown for BAM!, where I’ve been interviewing guests who have contributed responses to my Ed Week column.

I’ve written several articles for other publications over the past few months. My favorites are probably The manipulation of Social Emotional Learning, which was published at The Washington Post (my title for it was “Let Them Eat Character”) and Teaching Argument Writing to ELLs at ASCD Educational Leadership.

Here are some favorite blog posts divided by category:

Education Policy

This Is One Of The Best Pieces I’ve Read On Teacher Evaluation: “The Problem with Outcome-Oriented Evaluations”

I Am Tired Of “School Reformers” Using The Civil Rights Movement Legacy To Support Their Agenda

The Problem With Including Standardized Test Results As Part Of “Multiple Measures” For Teacher Evaluation

“The Education Department’s strange new report on teaching”

Classroom Instruction

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

More TOK & ELL Student Instagram Videos

“Sentence Navigator” Is Jason Renshaw’s Gift To ESL/EFL/ELL Teachers Everywhere!

Excellent (& I Mean EXCELLENT!) Post On Asking Questions

More “What If?” History Projects — Plus, What Students Thought Of Them….

Classroom Management

Study: Gratitude Increases Self-Control

How To Turn A Negative Consequence Into A Positive Classroom Management Strategy

June 21, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
0 comments

The Best Articles I’ve Written In 2014 — So Far

'Miss A Writes a Song' photo (c) 2012, Denise Krebs - license: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

In addition to the thousands of posts I’ve written in this blog (and in my parent engagement blog) over the past seven years,  my six books, my weekly posts for Education Week Teacher and The New York Times, and my monthly posts for the British Council, I’ve also written well over one hundred articles for different publications.

You can access all of them here.

You can also see what I think are The Fourteen Best Articles I’ve Written About Education.

Here are The Best Articles I’ve Written In 2014 — So Far:

June 17, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
0 comments

The Best Resources, Articles & Blog Posts For Teachers Of ELLs In 2014 – So Far

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Another day, another  “The Best…” list…..

You might also be interested in:

The “All-Time” Best Resources, Articles & Blog Posts For Teachers Of English Language Learners

The Best Resources, Articles & Blog Posts For Teachers Of ELLs In 2013 – Part Two

The Best Resources, Articles & Blog Posts For Teachers Of ELLs In 2013 – So Far

The Best Resources, Articles & Blog Posts For Teachers Of ELL’s In 2012 — Part Two

The Best Resources, Articles & Blog Posts For Teachers Of ELL’s In 2012 — Part One

The Best Resources, Articles & Blog Posts For Teachers Of ELL’s In 2011 — Part Two

The Best Resources, Articles & Blog Posts For Teachers Of ELL’s In 2011 — Part One

The Best Resources, Articles & Blog Posts For Teachers Of ELL’s — 2010

The Best Sites For Teachers Of English Language Learners — 2009

Here are my choices for The Best Resources, Articles & Blog Posts For Teachers Of ELL’s In 2014 – So Far:

Helping language learners visualise their linguistic development: growing learning is by Lizzie Pinard. I’m adding it to The Best Posts On Metacognition. She wrote another great post on metacognition and language-learning, and you can find that link within that post. She also shared My top ten learner autonomy and metacognition resources..

I’ve often written about the Picture Word Inductive Model, my favorite teaching strategy for Beginning English Language Learners. I’ve published a post at The British Council with a more detailed explanation on how to use it in the classroom. You might be interested in all my previous posts there, which you can find here.

I’ve written over forty posts for The New York Times
that each include a student interactive and teaching ideas for English Language Learners.

Flashcards in the Classroom: Ten Lesson Ideas is from ELT Experiences. I’m adding it to The Best Tools To Make Online Flashcards.

Videos: Using Art As A Language-Learning Activity

Here Are The Eleven Sites I’m Using For My Summer School “Virtual Classroom”

Geography Instagram Videos By English Language Learners

Stanford University has released a treasure trove of resources about teaching ELLs.

The Image Bank is from The British Council. I’m adding it to The Best Ways To Use Photos In Lessons.

Six ways teachers can stay energized is another one of my monthly posts at Teaching English at the British Council.

Here’s an excerpt:

The-remembering-self-is

Last year, I wrote about a fun game for English Language Learners that I learned from late-night talk show host Jimmy Fallon (see Jimmy Fallon Comes Up With A Great Game For English Language Learners).

Today, I learned another one…

He calls it Word Sneak, and it’s a simple one — two people are given five words that they have to fit into a conversation.

Obviously, it’s very funny the way he uses it in this video clip, but it can also be used a nice interactive exercise for students.

I’m assuming that some other teacher has used this kind of game before so, if you have, and have some good additional suggestions, please leave them in the comments….

I’m adding this idea to The Best Sites To Practice Speaking English, where I’ve also been listing classroom speaking activities.

Good language teachers, as seen through the eyes of teachers and learners is by Adam Simpson. There’s a lot of substance there, and I would label it as a “must-read.”

Drawing Dictations is by Sandy Millin. I’ve started adding all dictation resources to The Best Resources For Learning How To Use The Dictogloss Strategy With English Language Learners.

Teaching mixed ability – some tips is from TEFL Reflections. I’m adding it to The Best Resources On Teaching Multilevel ESL/EFL Classes.

Experimenting with English (Part 2) – Activities for learners to do outside the classroom [26 and counting!] is another excellent post by Lizzie Pinard. I’m adding it to The Best Resources For Learning About Homework Issues.

McGraw Hill has a ton of online videos showing ELL teachers in action. I’m adding it to The Best Online Videos Showing ESL/EFL Teachers In The Classroom. Thanks to Judie Haynes for the tip.

navigator

ESL/EFL teachers who have been around awhile know of Jason Renshaw, who at one point had what I thought (and continue to think) was the best resource on the Web for ESL teachers — English Raven. Unfortunately, he took it off-line a few years ago, and now describes himself as a “former Tesol teacher, textbook author and web resources developer, now learning designer and elearning developer in higher ed (Open Universities Australia).”

Jason has continued his blog — with a somewhat different focus — and he has fortunately kept his huge archive there on TESOL available. His Open Source English resources, accompanied with his screencasts on how to use them, are a treasure trove.

One of my favorite inventions of his is called a “Sentence Navigator.” A screenshot of one small example is at the top of this post. It’s sort of a complex multiple choice exercise — I use some of the ones Jason produced, I create originals, and also have students make them for their classmates.

Jason explained them in an older article as:

a sentence navigation grid: five slots each containing three words. It will be up to the student to “navigate” this grid in order to build an appropriate answer to the question. The student will do this by circling the correct word in each slot and then referring to the teacher for feedback. Once all of the correct words have been circled, the student will be permitted to write the full answer in the space beneath.

Jason was kind enough to let me upload up two full units of Sentence Navigators to this blog so that any teachers can download them to use in class:

Sentence Navigator One

Sentence Navigator 2

Plus, he sent over a Screencast he had made explaining how to use them:

If you’re not using these already in your classroom, I hope you can start and see how useful they can be…

Thanks, Jason!

Play It Again And Again, Sam is from NPR and, I think, may help explain why jazz chants are effective in language instruction.

MusiXmatch is a free Chrome extension that will provide karaoke-style lyrics to most YouTube music videos. It can be used very easily on desktop and mobile devices.

Using songs, and using lyrics karaoke-style, is a longstanding and effective language-learning strategy, and you can read about many of them at The Best Music Websites For Learning English.

You can read more about it at TechCrunch.

The Best Posts & Videos About Sugata Mitra & His Education Ideas

The What Works Clearinghouse at the U.S. Department of Education has released an updated Guide for Teaching Academic Content and Literacy to English Learners in Elementary and Middle School.

The recommendations are good ones, and it’s always nice to be able to tell one’s administrator that you’re following the recommendations of the U.S. Department of Education .

Even though they say it’s for elementary and middle school, I think it’s safe to say the ideas make sense in high school, too.

I’m adding it to The Best Websites For Developing Academic English Skills & Vocabulary.

Creating The Conditions For Self-Motivated Students is another of my posts at the British Council Teaching English website. It includes specific suggestions for teaching English Language Learners, but most of what I write there is applicable to all students.

Here’s an interview with Ann Foreman and Paul Braddock, the key people behind the extraordinarily popular and helpful Learning English British Council Facebook page for teachers.

“The Image Story” Is A Nice Site & Provides An Even Better Classroom Idea

My colleague Katie Hull-Sypnieski and I wrote wrote a lengthy and, if I say so myself , excellent article that has been published by ASCD Educational Leadership.

It’s titled Teaching Argument Writing to ELLs, and it discusses very practical ways to teach writing to Beginning, Intermediate and Advanced English Language Learners — especially in light of the new Common Core Standards. But I think it offers helpful advice even if you’re teaching in a country not using CCSS.

I’m adding it to The Best Online Resources For Helping Students Learn To Write Persuasive Essays and to My Best Posts On Writing Instruction.

Origami & The Language Experience Approach

English Language Learners Design Their Own “Ideal” Neighborhoods

Our Latest Response From A Sister Class — This Time From South Africa!

We’re In The Middle Of My Favorite Unit Of The Year — Comparing Neighborhoods

Getting to grips with project based learning and I’m interested in project based learning but I don’t know where to begin! are two good posts by Adam Simpson discussing PBL and English Language Learners. I’m adding them to The Best Sites For Cooperative Learning Ideas.

Four questions to ask before using an Ed Tech tool is yet another one of my posts over at Teaching English-British Council.

Borrowed Words is a net interactive that shows from which languages English has borrowed the most words from during which periods of time.

Activate – Games for Learning American English is from the American English site of the U.S. Department of State. It’s a useful and free downloadable book. I’m adding it to The Best Ideas For Using Games In The ESL/EFL/ELL Classroom. Thanks to Barbara Sakamoto for the tip.

My colleague and co-author, Katie Hull Sypnieski, and I published a post over at Edutopia titled English-Language Learners and Academic Language.

Using “Dvolver Moviemaker” With English Language Learners

How My ELL Students Evaluated Me At The End Of First Semester

“Thinglink” Announces Free Virtual Classrooms

Creating Instagram Video “Book Trailers” With English Language Learners

Assessing English language learners is yet another of my posts at The British Council’s TeachingEnglish site.

Hot Spot Interview — Report From Venezuela

The Best Mobile Apps For English Language Learners

 

 

 

June 15, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
0 comments

Three Useful Classroom Instruction Resources

May 25, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
0 comments

May’s Best Posts From This Blog

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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).

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):

Dr. Walter Mischel, Creator Of Famous Marshmallow Test, Is Writing A Book

Geography Instagram Videos By English Language Learners

“Ways To Develop A Teacher – School Counselor Partnership”

This Is One Of The Best Pieces I’ve Read On Teacher Evaluation: “The Problem with Outcome-Oriented Evaluations”

Resources On Ending The Year Strong

How We Can Develop a Culture of Success in Schools Is Topic Of My New BAM! Radio Program

Around The Web In ESL/EFL/ELL — Gold Mine Included!

Learn About Synonyms & The World Cup In My Latest NY Times Post For ELLs

‘Help Students Be Organized By Being Organized Yourself’

“Quill” Could Be A Very Useful Tool For Reinforcing Grammar Concepts

My New BAM! Radio Show Is On Making History Curriculum More Engaging

Important New Report Questions VAM

#IRA14 — Useful Tweets From The International Reading Association Convention

“School Leaders Must Focus On ‘Authentic Learning,’ Not ‘Test Prep’”

My Latest NY Times Post For ELLs is on Mexico, Travel & “Articles”

Using Instagram, Bloom’s Taxonomy & Student Interest As A Fun Part Of A Semester Final

Great GIF: “European Colonial Empires from 1492-2008″

Another Reason Why We Need More Organizing, Not More Dialogue, In Education Policy Fights

Administrators Must Make ‘Alliances With Students, Teachers & Parents’

How Much Do We Teachers Spend On Our Classrooms?

I Learn Another Great Game For English Language Learners From Jimmy Fallon

Wow! 800 Pound Gorilla Google Unveils “Google Classroom” That May Make Many Present Tools Irrelevant

“Six ways teachers can stay energized” Is My New Post At Teaching English

Learn About Mother’s Day & Conjunctions In My Latest NY Times Post For ELLs

“TUZZit” Looks Like An Intriguing Site For Online Graphic Organizers & More

New RSA Animated Video Of Daniel Pink Talk

Here’s The Writing Prompt I’m Using As Part Of My Final For Ninth-Grade English

This Month’s ASCD “Ed Leadership” Is Out — Here Are 3 Articles I Recommend

‘The Grading System We Need to Have’

New Writing Prompt For My U.S. History Class

Here’s The Writing Prompt I’m Using For My Geography Class

San Francisco Symphony Unveils Must-See Redesigned Website

Discovery Channel Cancels “Bad Teacher” Immediately In Response To Complaints

Class Activity: Setting A Goal For The Last Six Weeks Of School

Using Dance To Teach English Is Topic Of My Latest NY Times Post

An Interesting Exchange With Sugata Mitra

Sacramento Makes Correct Decision In Withdrawing From CORE NCLB Waiver

Cool NY Times Interactive Lets You Create “Blackout” Poetry With Their Articles

Yes, It’s Authentic: School Cancels Kindergarten Play Because It Doesn’t Prepare Kids “For College & Career”

“Many Ways To Help Our Students Grieve” Is My New Ed Week Post — & Here’s A Bonus

April 6, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
0 comments

Around The Web In ESL/EFL/ELL

'IMG_2170' photo (c) 2008, adrigu - license: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

I’ve started a somewhat regular feature where I share a few posts and resources from around the Web related to ESL/EFL or to language in general that have caught my attention:

100 most common words in English is an online game that Digital Play describes, and it could be useful in class.

And, speaking of online activities for building vocabulary, the Food Porn Index could be a helpful site for…food words.

Taco Spillet is another online game suitable for learning food-related vocabulary.

The Rolling Question Game is from The EFL Smart Blog. I’m adding it to The Best Ideas For Using Games In The ESL/EFL/ELL Classroom.

Here are helpful ideas from The British Council on class activities to do that require Zero Materials.

Four Sure-Fire Math Strategies for ELLs is from ASCD.

Here’s an interview with Ann Foreman and Paul Braddock, the key people behind the extraordinarily popular and helpful Learning English British Council Facebook page for teachers.

March 30, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
0 comments

Around The Web In ESL/EFL/ELL

'Kat (UK)' photo (c) 2011, SEE TEFL - license: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/

I’ve started a somewhat regular feature where I share a few posts and resources from around the Web related to ESL/EFL or to language in general that have caught my attention:

What kind of teacher are you? is a fun little Facebook quiz that the British Council has developed for ESL/EFL Teachers.

TEFL Reflections has a nice post listing different ways teachers can check for student understanding.

Action Movie Kid: DreamWorks dad Daniel Hashimoto turns toddler son into lightsaber-wielding CGI superhero is from The Independent, and shares several very short videos that would be good to show English Language Learners and then have them describe what they saw. Here’s an example:

I’m adding it to The Best Movie Scenes To Use For English-Language Development.

Gaming Glossary: Game-based Learning v. Gamification is from ELT Sandbox. I’m adding it to The Best Posts On “Gamification” In Education.

Reach ELLs: Nine Best Practices That Really Work is from ASCD.

Jaq’s ESL Lessons, Jobs & Travels looks like a new source of good classroom lessons.

Here’s a great new infographic I’m adding to The Best Infographics About Teaching & Learning English As A Second (or Third!) Language:



Head in English teaching storm says pupils will be taught differently is from The Guardian: “With 300 pupils speaking 50 languages at City of Leeds school, Georgiana Sale says teaching English as a foreign language is simply a pragmatic solution.”

Are ‘grammar Nazis’ ruining the English language? is from The Telegraph.

Using Google Hangouts on Air for Teaching English is from Teaching ESL Online. I’m adding it to The Best Resources For Learning What Google+ Is All About.

Supporting ELLs Through Project-Based Learning is a video from The Teaching Channel:

I’m adding it to The Best Sites For Cooperative Learning Ideas.

I’m still trying to figure out exactly what English Profile is because it looks potentially useful. Here’s how it describes itself:

English Profile is a collaborative programme endorsed by the Council of Europe, designed to create a ‘profile’ or set of Reference Level Descriptions for English. These will provide detailed information about what learners ‘can do’ in English at each of the six levels of the Common European Framework of Reference (CEFR), offering a clear benchmark for progress for English language learners.

Teaching a language is teaching someone how to fish! is a lesson on proverbs from Lawrence Hilton.

March 27, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
5 Comments

The Best Resources On Professional Development For Teachers — Help Me Find More

'Girl spleeping on desk' photo (c) 2008, reynermedia - license: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

Even though we’ve been very lucky at our school to have great professional development, there have been times that I’ve had to attend absolutely terrible District-sponsored sessions. Unfortunately, terrible sessions are a common experience that many teachers share.

I thought I’d bring together a few potentially useful resources on the topic (including links to a number of related resources I’ve previously published) and invite readers to contribute more in the comments section (you might also be interested in The Best Places For ESL/EFL/ELL Teachers To Get Online Professional Development).  You might also be interested in: The Best Ways ESL/EFL/ELL Teachers Can Develop Personal Learning Networks and The Best Places For ESL/EFL/ELL Teachers To Get Online Professional Development:

I’ve got to start off with the recent infamous video clip from a Chicago Schools professional development session that I titled “Though It Seems Like A Parody, It’s A Real Professional Development Event.” I’ll reprint the entire post:

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

 

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….

Why most professional development for teachers is useless is an excellent piece by Valerie Strauss at The Washington Post.  She picked-up on my original post about the video, and followed-up with this one.

What Professional Development Should Be is by Nancy Flanagan.

Your Best Training Session Ever is by Daniel Coyle.

Lesson Study is an excellent post at Class Teaching about that well-known form of professional development in Japan.

Here are some of my previous posts related to professional development:

The Best Places For ESL/EFL/ELL Teachers To Get Online Professional Development

The Best Resources On “Instructional Coaching”

Great Story About Professional Development

“Professional Development in Action: Improving Teaching for English Learners”

Gates Foundation Makes Its Move In California — And It Looks Like Somebody Is Giving Them Good Advice

‘If only American teachers were smarter…’ is from The Washington Post.

What Would Better Professional Development Look Like? is a conversation between Michelle Rhee and Jack Schneider in Ed Week.

Rethinking Classroom Observation by Emily Dolci Grimm, Trent Kaufman and Dave Doty is excellent.

Research Says / Keep Professional Learning Groups Small, But Connected is by Bryan Goodwin (who always writes great stuff).

10 Tips for Delivering Awesome Professional Development is by Elena Aguilar at Edutopia.

Déjà vu in American education: The woeful state of professional development is by Barnett Berry.

How to Read Professional Development Books: 7 Tactics You Might Not Be Using is from Teaching The Core.

Again, please feel free to contribute additional resources in the comments section!

March 25, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
0 comments

The Best Posts, Articles & Videos On “Teacher Leadership” — Contribute More!

'Lead' photo (c) 2012, Ray Larabie - license: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

“Teacher Leadership” is a phrase that’s used a lot, and to not always mean the same thing. It’s particularly important, I think, to talk about it now since Education Secretary Arne Duncan is kicking-off an initiative using the term (you’ll find commentaries on that effort later in this post).

I thought it might be useful to share a few of what I think are the best ones (or, at least, the ones that I think best convey what I think teacher leadership should mean).

To start off, here are two essential “Best” lists:

The Best Resources For Learning Why Teachers Unions Are Important

The Best Resources On Being A Teacherpreneur

Here are my other choices for The Best Posts & Articles On “Teacher Leadership”:

Will Arne Duncan leave a legacy of teacher leadership? is by Barnett Berry.

Does Duncan Believe in ‘Teach to Lead?’ is by Justin Minkel at Education Week.

Rick & Maddie on Sec. Duncan’s Earnest Call for Teacher ‘Leadership’ is from Rick Hess at Education Week. I think Rick Hess is right-on about Arne Duncan’s recent call for “teacher leadership.”

Check out Mary Tedrow’s blog post on the same topic.

Developing Teacher Leadership for the Long Haul is an article I wrote for Education Week Teacher.

Here’s a video presentation I gave as a Keynote at the K-12 Online Conference on the topic, “Developing Leadership in Classrooms, Schools and Communities”:

Leveraging Teacher Leadership is the theme of a recent ASCD Educational Leadership issue.

A Brilliant Management Insight Helps Chipotle Retain Its Best Employees is an interesting article from Business Insider that I think has applications for the development of teacher leadership.

The New York City teachers union reached what appears to be a landmark contract that also includes a career ladder. Especially because of that last feature, I’m going to include these three pieces about the contract in this list:

Pact With New Mayor Would Give N.Y.C. Teachers Raises, Career Ladder is from Ed Week.

A Triumphant Return to Professionalism in New York City is by Diane Ravtich.

Teachers Question Pay-for-Performance Element in Proposed Contract is from The New York Times.

I’ve published a compilation of all my Ed Week posts on teacher and administrator leadership.


USDE Unveils “Teach To Lead”: Do We Really Need Another Online Community To Promote Teacher Leadership?

Career Advancement in the Classroom is by Walt Gardner at Ed Week.

I hope readers will contribute more resources!

March 15, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
2 Comments

The “All-Time” Best Resources, Articles & Blog Posts For Teachers Of English Language Learners

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I’ve been posting annual lists of The Best Resources, Articles & Blog Posts For Teachers of ELLs for a number of years. In addition, I’ve also been publishing separate lists of The Best Websites For English Language Learner Students, which mainly focuses on self-access student sties.

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 for teachers. I’ll be following-up with one for students, soon. Later today, I’ll also be publishing the first post in a series on teaching ELLs over at my Education Week Teacher column, and wanted to share this resource there.

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 ; The “All-Time” Best Web 2.0 Applications For Education second;  The “All-Time” Best Videos For Educators third;  The “All-Time” Best Online Learning Games was the fourth one; The “All-Time” Best Social Studies Sides was fifth; The “All-Time” Best Science Sites was sixth; and The “All-Time” Best Places To Find The Most Popular (& Useful) Resources For Educators was number seven.

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

There are nearly 1,300 Best lists now that are categorized and updated regularly.  You can see them all here.

I’ve included several of my “The Best” lists on this list.  Those lists mainly link to resources developed by other teachers.  For those topics, there are just so many excellent resources I just couldn’t pick one or two to highlight here.

Here are my choices for  The “All-Time” Best Resources, Articles & Blog Posts For Teachers Of English Language Learners (These are not listed in any order of preference). Be sure to let me know what I’m missing:

I have to start by sharing what I think are the Best Three Sites On The Web For ESL/EFL/ELL/ELT Teachers. These three sites provide large quantities of high quality resources for teachers and students, and they’re free. They’re my “go to” sites that I check check daily, and typically more often, to see what’s new.

The Teaching English – British Council Facebook page. This site is probably the most popular — and deservedly so — site for ESL/EFL/ELL teachers in the world.  Ann Foreman does an extraordinary job inviting and sharing resources from teachers throughout the world.

EFL Classroom 2.0. I’ve posted countless times already about this site, and the great work by its founder, David Deubelbeiss.

Ressources Pour Le College En Anglais is another site I’ve mentioned often. Michelle Henry does an incredible job of curating resources for students and teachers.

I’m obviously biased, but I think the weekly posts I write for the New York Times Learning Network on teaching ELLs are one of the best resources on the Web for both students and teachers.

ELT Chat and ELLchat on Twitter are excellent ways to learn from and connect with other English teachers.

Readers of our book, The ESL/ELL Teacher’s Survival Guide, know that there’s a lesson plan in it helping students learn the qualities of a successful language learner and that they do a self-assessment as part of it. Part of that lesson includes use of The Best Videos Illustrating Qualities Of A Successful Language Learner. Marisa Constantinides has created a quiz called Are You A Good Language Learner (completely separate from our lesson), which would be great to give to students. And the EFL Smart Blog has turned Marisa’s quiz into an interactive one that could be taken online. It’s an excellent activity to use on its own or as part of our lesson plan.

Kate Kinsella has a collection of hand-outs to assist in academic language instruction. I’m adding it to The Best Websites For Developing Academic English Skills & Vocabulary.

English Agenda is a site from the British Council which offers a wealth of language-teaching research and online professional development.

Teaching English at the British Council features a “blog post of the month” from English teachers throughout the world. It’s a great collection.  The entire Teaching English site has a wealth of useful resources.

Maximising Learning in Large Classes and Teaching Large Classes are both from The British Council. I’m adding them to The Best Resources On Teaching Multilevel ESL/EFL Classes.

The Best Ideas For Using Games In The ESL/EFL/ELL Classroom

Alex Case has put together a list of his most popular blog posts/shared resources from the TEFLtastic blog.

The Best Ways To Use Photos In Lessons

Sean Banville has an “empire” of nine excellent free websites that have to be bookmarked by an teacher of English Language Learners. Check them all out here.

Get Organized Around Assets is the title of an article I wrote for  ASCD’s Educational Leadership. I think it’s the best piece I’ve written on teaching ELLs. It’s subtitled:

The steps community organizers use to help change people’s lives can help teachers improve English language learners’ reading.

The Best Resources For Adapting Your Textbook So It Doesn’t Bore Students To Death

The Best Sites For Free ESL/EFL Hand-Outs & Worksheets

The Best Popular Movies/TV Shows For ESL/EFL

The Best Music Websites For Learning English

February 24, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
4 Comments

The “All-Time” Best Web 2.0 Applications For Education

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I’ve been posting annual lists of the Best Web 2.0 Applications For Education for seven 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 one. Some of the sites there could easily be on this list, too. However, I’ve put all sites that don’t require registration over there.

Look for quite a few more “All-Time” Best lists over the next couple of months.  I think readers might find these lists helpful, but I’m primarily creating them for my students to experiment and help me decide if all these tools should stay on this list or not.

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

In order to make this “All-Time” list and, in fact, to make any of my annual Web 2.0 lists, a site has to be:

* accessible to English Language Learners and non-tech savvy users.

* free-of-charge.

* appropriate for classroom use.

* completely browser-based with no download required.

These sites are not listed any any order of preference.  These are also ones for students to use — I’m not necessarily including ones I that I use regularly — those are for another list.

Let me know if you think I’m missing some…I know I am. Even though I’ve reviewed many of my previous lists, I didn’t do an exhaustive search, so I’ll be adding more tools to this list in the coming weeks (and years!).

Here are my choices for The “All-Time” Best Web 2.0 Applications For Education:

I use Pinterest daily. However, in the vast majority of schools, it is never going to make it past Internet content filters for students. eduClipper is basically a Pinterest for schools. It has the potential of sort of being an “all in one” tool for the classroom, serving the same purposes as sites on The Best Social Bookmarking Applications For English Language Learners & Other Students list and on The Best Online Virtual “Corkboards” (or “Bulletin Boards”) list, as well as serving other functions.

Haiku Deck, an iPad app which now has a Web version, may very well be the best tool for creating online slideshows that are out there. It’s  on The Best Ways To Create Online Slideshows list.  Richard Byrne has made a tutorial explaining how to use the web version.

I’m a big proponent of the Picture Word Inductive Model as a strategy for English Language Learners to develop reading and writing skills (I describe it in detail  in my article in ASCD Educational Leadership, Get Organized Around Assets). It begins with the teacher labeling items in thematic photos with the help of students. The webtool Thinglink could be a great deal to help ELL’s maximize the advantages of this instructional strategy. Thinglink lets you upload or grab an image or video off the web and annotate items with the image or video super-easily. It basically looks like a photo in the Picture Word Inductive Model, just online.  Thinglink recently unveiled the ability for teachers to create virtual classrooms.

MarQueed is like a Thinglink  on steroids and allows collaborative annotation.  You can read more about it here.

Meograph is a cool web tool that lets you create an audio-narrated digital story with an integrated map.  You can also grab images off the web.

Easel.ly  is hands-down the easiest tool I’ve seen on the Web to create infographics. You just “drag-and-drop” a variety of themes, type in your data, and you’ve got a great infographic.

Lesson Paths (formerly MentorMob) lets you very easily create a slideshow. Webpages, videos and photos can be grabbed from the web and added, along with notes. It’s easy to use, very intuitively designed so just about anyone can figure it out, and attractive.

The free web tool Inklewriter is, without a doubt, the easiest way to write a choose your own adventure story. I’m tentatively putting it on this “All-Time” list, thought I’m not sure if I’m going to keep it here.  I’m going to have my students experiment with it a little more this year.

Magisto is an Animoto-like service that lets you upload several short videos and it then somehow “recognizes” the most important parts and turns it into a magically-produced one minute video.

Popplet is an app that is like Wallwisher on steroids. You can make an online “bulletin-board” with virtual “post-its” (called “popplets), just like in Wallwisher. And, except for the fact you have to register to use it, Popplet is just as easy and, in some ways, easier to use with a lot more functionality. With Popplet, you search for images and videos on the Web directly within the “popplet” instead of copying and pasting the url address (as you need to do in Wallwisher). You can draw within the “popplet” and it doesn’t appear to have an limit on the number of characters you can use. You can connect the “popplets.” You can also embed the whole thing.

educaplay is a great free tool where you can easily create a ton of different kinds of educational interactives that you can link to or embed in your site. These include Riddles, Crosswords, Wordsearch Puzzle, Fill in the texts, Dialogues, Dictations, Jumbled Word, Jumbled Sentence, Matching, Quizzes, and Maps. For at least some of the them, including dictation, it provides the ability to record audio.

Scoop.it lets you “scoop it” into your own personalized newspaper (that’s what I’m calling it, not them) which you can then share. It’s an ongoing process.

Fotobabble, is a neat application where people can post photos along with an audio description.

Sitehoover is an application that lets you create a personal homepage showing thumbnail images of your favorite websites. You can also organize them into separate “folders. It can be very useful to students doing research, or identifying their favorite language-learning site.

Tripline is a great map-making application. You just list the various places you want to go in a journey, or a famous trip that has happened in history or literature, or a class field trip itinerary, and a embeddable map is created showing the trip where you can add written descriptions and photos. You can use your own photos or just through Flickr. Plus, you can pick a soundtrack to go with it as it automatically plays through the travels.

Quizlet is  on The Best Tools To Make Online Flashcards list.  In addition to letting you create and study flashcards, it also lets you study the words in “game” forms.  Plus, it allows voice recording for some features.

Zunal is an easy way for teachers (and students) to create webquests. I know there are some specific parameters involved in using the term “webquest,” so you can also use Zunal to create much simpler “online scavenger hunts.” At their most basic, it can be a series of questions students have to answer, along with links to websites where the information can be found. Zunal also acts as the host for the webquest or scavenger hunt after its been created.

“The Digital Vaults”  is an entry into the vast resources of the National Archives, and allows you to use those resources to create your own movies, posters, and what it calls “Pathway Challenges” to… challenge others to find connections between a series of images, documents, and other resources you put together.

ESL Video is a super-easy to take pretty much any video off-the-net and create a quiz to it. It’s designed for ESL/EFL students, but it can also be used by and for mainstream students.

VoiceThread lets you upload pictures and create an audio narrative to go along with them. In addition, audio comments can be left by visitors.

Animoto lets you easily create musical slideshows.

Screencast-o-Matic lets you easily upload PowerPoints and provide audio narration.

Stay is a great tool for students to plan virtual trips. I use it a lot in my Geography classes.

Since Slideshare is blocked for students in my District, I favor Authorstream as the preferred tool that students use to upload and then post PowerPoints on our class blogs.

And, speaking of class blogs, of course, Edublogs needs to be on this list!

Scrawlar lets teachers create virtual classrooms, lets students write and use a “whiteboard,” doesn’t require student email registration (just a classroom password and a student-created sign-in code, and is free. It’s also usable on laptops, desktops, tablets and phones.

February 16, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
0 comments

Let Them Eat Character

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I am a big supporter of educators helping students develop many of the qualities highlighted in the concept of Social Emotional Learning (SEL) — perseverance (or “grit”); self-control; personal responsibility, etc.   I apply it regularly in my classroom, write in my blog about practical ideas on implementing SEL lessons in schools, and have even authored two books on the topic (and will have a third one published next year).

At the same time, I am concerned that many proponents of Social Emotional Learning might not be aware of the increasing danger to SEL of being “co-opted” by well-heeled and well-known groups and individuals, ranging from “school reformers” to columnists like The New York Times’ David Brooks,  and converted into a “Let Them Eat Character” political strategy.   I fear those “Blame The Victim” efforts may  be used to distract from the importance of supplying needed financial resources to schools, providing  increased support to families by dealing with growing income and wealth inequality, and developing a comprehensive anti-poverty strategy.

Already, “school reformers” in Los Angeles are using SEL terms (they even call their report, True Grit) to justify pushing performance pay for teachers and rewards for students, as well as advocating for an increased emphasis on being data-driven (instead of being data-informed) through the use of  ”dynamic data.”   KIPP schools have begun the destructive strategy of grading character traits.  And, in a column last month, David Brooks proclaimed that Social Emotional Learning and training “average” parents to become better ones  will take care of everything.

Recent research reveals the toll that poverty takes on one’s ability to execute SEL skills.  People aren’t poor because they don’t have self-control or grit — poverty itself helps create a lack of those qualities.  The cognitive “bandwidth” required to deal with financial problems,  stress  and constant “trade-offs” (a healthy food for the family tonight or new school clothes) makes it more difficult to maintain the mental reserve needed for those SEL skills.

None of these concerns, however, mean that we shouldn’t help our students develop these SEL skills in ways that are healthy for them, for their families, for us and for our schools.   For example, in addition to the many related lessons I teach now,  my colleagues and I are developing  lessons that would help students become aware of some of that research explaining why they might be experiencing some of their self-control and perseverance challenges.  All too often, students tell me that they want to make changes in how they behave, and don’t know why they do some of the unhelpful things they do.  Of course, some of that confusion can probably be attributed to common adolescent challenges.    But just-announced research findings for college students show that discussing these types of social and economic class issues resulted in dramatically increased academic achievement.   Even though that study did focus on college students, there’s no reason to believe an effort with younger students would not meet similar success.

What these concerns do mean, though, is that we should be vigilant about who is doing what and why they are doing it in the name of Social Emotional Learning.   In my teacher advice column at Education Week Teacher, I recently published a chart using Google’s Ngram Viewer.  It searched all indexed books to identify how often the phrase “teaching character” was used since 1840.  The two peak years that phrase was used most often were at the depths of the Great Depression and our more recent Great Recession.   It could go without saying that “teaching character” is a less monetarily expensive strategy to responding (or, to pretend to be responding) to economic crises than other potential solutions.

All this also reminds us, yet again, that, though we teachers can have an important impact on our students’ lives, as all the research shows, we can only impact between ten and thirty percent of the factors that influence their academic achievement.  In addition to everything we do in the classroom on SEL and non-SEL skills, parent engagement is another important strategy to pursue to potentially affect some of those other influencing factors (for those interested, the St. Paul Federation of Teachers  offers one exceptional model on how to do it).

We need to remember that Social Emotional Learning has an important place in teaching and in learning.

It’s also critical to remember that it has to be kept in its appropriate place.