Larry Ferlazzo’s Websites of the Day…

…For Teaching ELL, ESL, & EFL

September 23, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
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“How Diversity Makes Us Smarter”

When we do group work in my classes, I often select who goes in which group to make sure there’s a good ethnic, gender and ability balance.

At other times, though, I will let students choose their own groups. I always preface that self-selection process, though, at the beginning of the year with a discussion of research that shows the benefits of diversity in groups. I then ask that they keep that in mind, especially around ethnicity and gender, when they create their groups — not always, but most of the time. Generally, students are pretty good about respecting that request, and I think their hearing the reasons behind my request have a lot to do with it.

Scientific American has now published what I think is the perfect article (or, at least, excerpts from it) on this issue. It’s titled “How Diversity Makes Us Smarter.”

Here’s an excerpt:

The-groups-with-racial

I’m adding this info to My Best Posts On The Basics Of Small Groups In The Classroom.

You might also be interested in The Best Sites For Cooperative Learning Ideas.

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September 23, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
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The Best Resources For Banned Books Week

 

It’s Banned Books Week. This week:

is an annual awareness campaign that celebrates the freedom to read, draws attention to banned and challenged books, and highlights persecuted individuals. The United States campaign “stresses the importance of ensuring the availability of those unorthodox or unpopular viewpoints to all who wish to read them” and the requirement to keep material publicly available so that people can develop their own conclusions and opinions. The international campaign notes individuals “persecuted because of the writings that they produce, circulate or read.”

You might also be interested in  The Best Sites To Teach ELL’s About Libraries.

Here are my choices for The Best Resources For Banned Books Week (feel free to suggest more):

Here’s a great interactive infographic.

It’s Banned Books Week: Here are 5 Classic Books to Celebrate With is from TIME.

Here’s an infographic from the ACLU.

Here’s the official website of Banned Books Week.

The American Library Association has a list of frequently challenged books.

Too Graphic? 2014 Banned Books Week Celebrates Challenged Comics is from NPR.

19 Banned Books If They Were Made Appropriate is from BuzzFeed.

Banned Books That Shaped America

Banned Books By The Numbers (INFOGRAPHICS) is from The Huffington Post.

Censorship of books in US prisons and schools ‘widespread’ – report to UN is from The Guardian.

33 Must-Read Books To Celebrate Banned Books Week is from BuzzFeed.

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September 23, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
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You Can Now Pre-Order My Upcoming Book On Student Engagement

Building a Community of Self-Motivated Learners1

My upcoming book, Building A Community Of Self-Motivated Learners: Strategies To Help Students Thrive In School and Beyond, is now available for pre-order at Routledge and on Amazon. I will be published in early March, 2015.

It’s the third volume in my student motivation “trilogy.” You can read excerpts from the previous two volumes, Helping Students Motivate Themselves: Practical Answers To Classroom Problems and Self-Driven Learning: Teaching Strategies for Student Motivation, at those links.

In addition, you can download — for free — all student hand-outs from those two books here.

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September 23, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
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It’s A Bit Early, But Here Are A Zillion Halloween Resources

It’s obviously early, but I’ve begun to see Halloween posts on the web and thought I’d remind readers of my massive list, The Best Websites For Learning About Halloween.

It’s one of my most popular “Best” lists. Let me know if you have suggestions for resources I should add to it.

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September 22, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
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“CK-12″ Has Free Resources In All Subjects & Individual Student Progress Can Be Easily Tracked

ck

CK-12 is a non-profit with an impressive list of educational partners. It has resources in a ton of subjects, and just unveiled a bunch of neat physics interactives.

But what’s particularly impressive to me is the ability for teachers to set-up virtual classes, create assignments, and track individual student progress on the work. It has lot of other bells-and-whistles that I’ve just begun to explore, including the ability to leave virtual post-it notes on many of their resources.

I’m adding it to The Best Sites That Students Can Use Independently And Let Teachers Check On Progress.

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September 22, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
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New $15 Million XPRIZE For Learning Software To “Disrupt” Education — Call Me A Cynic

xprize

The XPRIZE organization has offered many big prizes for technological solutions to problem. Now, they’ve set their sights on education and want to “disrupt” it.

The prize is:

challenging teams around the world to develop tablet-based software solutions that can bring children who have little or no access to quality education to a higher level of performance in reading, writing and arithmetic in eighteen months. The winning team will create an independent learning environment for each child, empowering them to take control of their own learning and, ultimately, their future.

And they’re doing this because:

The traditional model of education is no longer scalable or sustainable. We simply can’t build enough schools or train enough teachers to meet the need.

For all I know, some decent learning software might come out of this effort. Unfortunately, though, they’ve drunk the “kool-aid” of all the high-tech folks who know little about education and want to create a technological magical solution.

Granted, there certainly are substantial challenges to education in developing countries. But having good, plentiful schools with quality teachers is “scalable” and “sustainable” with a broad-based political push to make it happen.

Some nice software will not…

As legendary organizer Fred Ross, Sr. once said:

Short-cuts usually end in detours, which lead to dead ends.

Here’s a video on the new Prize (this is where I got the quotations):

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September 22, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
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“Book Recommendations For Teachers — Part One”

Book Recommendations For Teachers — Part One is my latest post at Education Week Teacher.

In Part One of this three-part series, education writer and parent Melinda D. Anderson shares her book recommendations for teachers, as do educator/authors Kelly Gallagher, Cathy Vatterott and Vicki Davis.

Here are some excerpts:

Teachers-have-an

As-I-began-perusing-my

I-believe-teachers

Leaders-are-readers

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September 22, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
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Research Studies Of The Week

'magnifying glass' photo (c) 2005, Tall Chris - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

I often write about research studies from various fields and how they can be applied to the classroom. I write individual posts about ones that I think are especially significant, and will continue to do so. However, so many studies are published that it’s hard to keep up. So I’ve started writing a “round-up” of some of them each week or every other week as a regular feature.

By the way, you might also be interested in My Best Posts On New Research Studies In 2013 and My Best Posts On New Research Studies In 2014 – So Far.

Here are some new useful studies (and related resources):

Better Teachers Receive Worse Student Evaluations is the provocative headline of a Harvard Business Review report on a new study. Since I’m also a big advocate of using student evaluations of teachers and an equally strong believer in their not being used in the formal evaluation process, I was going to pay to get access to it, but then I read this more extensive analysis of the research as the Chronicle of Higher Education. It sounds like its focus is on a more esoteric mathematical critique of how the results are used in colleges instead of broader discussion of the bigger problems behind their use. Nevertheless, I’m still adding this info to The Best Posts On Students Evaluating Classes (And Teachers).

Why Girls Tend to Get Better Grades Than Boys Do is a report in the Atlantic about some new research, and actions taken in response to it. I don’t think it shares anything that most teachers don’t know already, but the actions are interesting — and it can’t hurt to have research to back up what you know if you want to do something about it. I’m adding it to The Best Resources On Grading Practices.

Enhancing and Practicing Executive Function Skills with Children from Infancy to Adolescence
is an impressive — and free — online guide from Harvard.

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September 21, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
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New Feature: Five Most Popular Posts Of The Week

Today, I’m unveiling what I think will be a new weekly feature sharing the top five most popular posts of the week. These are the posts appearing this blog that received the most “hits” in the preceding seven days (though they have originally been published on an earlier date).

Let me know if you find it useful….

Here they are:

1. An ESL Teacher’s Good Friend –”America’s Funniest Home Videos” — Turns 25

2. The Best Resources For Helping Teachers Use Bloom’s Taxonomy In The Classroom

3. The Best Popular Movies/TV Shows For ESL/EFL (& How To Use Them)

4. “Dreamreader” Looks Like An Excellent New Site For English Language Learners

5. The Best Sites For Learning About The Constitution Of The United States

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September 21, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
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More Resources On The World’s Different Cultures

September 21, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
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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….

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.

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September 21, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
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World-Wide Climate Change Demonstrations Today – Here Are Related Resources

Demonstrations are happening around the world today prior to the upcoming UN Climate Summit.

Here are some articles about what’s going on:

Thousands March for Climate Change is from NBC News.

Climate change summit: Thousands join global protests is from The BBC.

Thousands march in NYC, around globe over climate is from The Associated Press.

I’m adding them to a pretty massive The Best Sites To Learn About Climate Change. I haven’t had a chance to review it recently, so there may be a few dead links on it, but the vast majority will still be good. And, believe me, there are a lot of them!

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September 21, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
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“Can a Computer Replace Your Doctor?” Or Your Teacher?

Can a Computer Replace Your Doctor? is an article in today’s New York Times.

It’s another health-care related article that can easily be applied to education.

I’m adding it to The Best Articles Highlighting Parallel Critiques Of Increasing School & Health Care “Efficiency.”

Here’s an excerpt:

So-hurrah-for-technology

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September 21, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
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“‘The Marshmallow Test’: An Interview With Walter Mischel”

‘The Marshmallow Test’: An Interview With Walter Mischel is my latest post at Education Week Teacher.

I interview Walter Mischel, the creator of the famous Marshmallow Test to measure self-control and its long-term effects.

Here are some excerpts:

Even-young-students-can

Helping-students-to-see

I’m adding it to The Best Posts About Helping Students Develop Their Capacity For Self-Control.

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September 20, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
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September’s (2014) Best Tweets — Part Three

'Twitter' photo (c) 2010, West McGowan - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

Every month I make a few short lists highlighting my choices of the best resources I through (and learned from) Twitter, but didn’t necessarily include them in posts here on my blog.

I’ve already shared in earlier posts several new resources I found on Twitter — and where I gave credit to those from whom I learned about them. Those are not included again in post.

If you don’t use Twitter, you can also check-out all of my “tweets” on Twitter profile page.

You might also be interested in The Best Tweets Of 2014 — So Far.

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September 20, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
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Around The Web In ESL/EFL/ELL

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:

A Framework for Raising Expectations and Instructional Rigor for English Language Learners is from The Council of Great City Schools. Here’s an Ed Week article about it.

Stanford’s Understanding Language program is looking for model schools serving English Language Learners.

The Impact of Two Instructional Techniques on EFL Learners’ Vocabulary Knowledge: Flash Cards versus Word Lists is an interesting study.

Am I too old to learn a new language? is from The Guardian.

Russell Stannard has just redesigned the website of his essential ESL/ELT educator site, Teacher Training Videos.

19 Successful Online English Teachers Share Their Tips and Resources for Planning Online Lessons comes from Teaching ESL Online.

N.Y.C. Education Leaders Pledge Special Attention to English-Learners is from Education Week.

Six Strategies for Teaching ELLs Across the Content Areas is by Judie Haynes. I’m adding it to The Best Sites For Learning Strategies To Teach ELL’s In Content Classes.

I want to learn English because … is a simple and nice lesson from Film English

Here’s a podcast interview with one of the organizers of the British Council-sponsored MOOC for English Language Learners that I’ve previously written about here.

Here’s a useful post from Ana Cristina on flipping an ESL class. I’m adding it to The Best Posts On The “Flipped Classroom” Idea.

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