Larry Ferlazzo’s Websites of the Day…

…For Teaching ELL, ESL, & EFL

July 19, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
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Is Summer Learning The Silver Bullet For Narrowing The Achievement Gap?

This summer, I’ve been in the process of writing my seventh book — the third volume in my series on student motivation (I’m over halfway there — Yay!).

As part of that writing, I’ve been going over a number of articles I’ve saved over the past year, and, tonight, I began reviewing resources on The Best Resources On The “Summer Slide” list.

As I reviewed them, I was reminded of an extremely important fact that I must have forgotten, and is best expressed in a piece published by Education Week a couple of months ago:

The-research-shows-us

These findings are backed-up by extensive research, much of which you can find on my “Best” list, and it reinforces why I set-up online virtual summer school classrooms for my students.

We used to have over a thousand students attending summer school classes — not because they had to be there, but because they wanted to come. But those days are long-gone, and this year we had four classes, primarily for students who had failed a class and needed to make it up.

So, if all the research says most of the achievement gap is due to summer learning loss, it boggles my mind even more that we are spending huge amounts of resources on countless school reform boondoggles like Race To The Top, Value Added Measurements (VAM), the “next generation” of standardized testing, etc…

The research shows that summer learning programs are very inexpensive since they can be effective at stemming learning loss by even lasting for only six weeks. Shouldn’t those wasted monies be spent there?

Oh, I forgot — the U.S. Department of Education prefers spending money on programs that have no research backing up their effectiveness….

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July 18, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
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Amazon Launches “Kindle Unlimited” For Adults; They Have Version For Young Kids – I Wonder If They’ll Create One For Teens?

In the unlikely event you haven’t already heard, today Amazon launched “Kindle Unlimited,” which is an all-you-can-read service for $9.99 per month using its Kindle or a Kindle app on other devices.

You can read all about it at TIME, TechCrunch, and a zillion other places.

As I was checking it out, I discovered that Amazon also has something called “Kindle Free Time Unlimited,” and it’s geared to kids 3 to 8.

As far as I can tell, they don’t have one for teens, but I wonder if that’s in the cards?

I also wonder if Amazon does or might in the future offer discounts to schools or, at least, ones in lower-income communities?

If a school was in a 1:1 device environment, and Amazon offered discounts, it might be worth a look….

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July 18, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
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Nice BBC Video: “Why Reading Matters”

Why Reading Matters is an hour-long BBC program did a couple of years ago on how reading — and writing — impact the brain.

I wouldn’t show the entire show to students, but there are several very good segments.

The entire show is available on Vimeo, which I’ve embedded below, and it’s also available on YouTube, though it’s in six separate ten minute segments. I’ve also embedded the first segment below.

I’m adding the videos to The Best Resources For Showing Students That They Make Their Brain Stronger By Learning.

[BBC documentary] Why Reading Matters from International Dimensions of Tech on Vimeo.

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July 17, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
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The Washington Post Joins The Party Of Data-Journalism With “Storyline”

I’ve previously posted about three new “data-journalism” sites that have opened-up shop this summer — Vox, Five-Thirty-Eight, and The New York Times “Upshot.”

Today, The Washington Post announced that they,too, are joining the party with a site called Storyline. It doesn’t actually have a web address yet (it’s officially launching next week), but it can be found on Twitter and Facebook.

The Post did release this preview video, which doesn’t really tell you much about Storyline is actually going to do, but it does give the impression it might be a little more narrative-driven then Five-Thirty-Eight and The Upshot. Vox’s emphasis on narrative is what is clearly making it the stand-out among this crowd, so it will be interesting to see what Storyline does….

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July 17, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
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I Know Of Places Students Can Post Book Reviews, But What About Places To Post Video Book Trailers?

I know of plenty of places where students can post book reviews for “authentic audiences” and have listed them at The Best Places Where Students Can Post Book Reviews For Authentic Audiences.

I also have students create simple video “book trailers” (see Creating Instagram Video “Book Trailers” With English Language Learners and My Best Posts On Books: Why They’re Important & How To Help Students Select, Read, Write & Discuss Them.

My students post their creations on our class blog and show them to the entire class, but I’m wondering if there is some quasi-central place on the Web where lots of classes post their video trailers.

Does anyone know?

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July 17, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
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Videos: More Fun & Corny Grammar Videos

Chana at GCFLearnFree shared their fun and corny videos that are probably more categorized as easily confused words than grammar-related, but I’m still adding the series to The Best Funny Videos To Help Teach Grammar – Help Me Find More.

You can see them all here.

Here’s one of them, and I have the video set as a playlist so you can automatically see them all, too…

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July 17, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
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This Week’s “Round-Up” Of Useful Posts & Articles On Education Policy

Here are some recent useful posts and articles on educational policy issues:

Did Obama and Duncan really hear what four teachers told them? is the third in a series of posts at Valerie Strauss’ Washington Post blog about a recent meeting at the White House attended by four teachers and President Obama and Secretary Duncan. This post also contains links to the previous two.

Exit Exams Need Overhaul, Report Says is from Education Week. I’m adding it to The Best Posts & Articles About Why High School Exit Exams Might Not Be A Good Idea.

Jeb Bush’s reading rule loses ground is from Politico. I’m adding it to The Best Resources For Learning About Grade Retention, Social Promotion & Alternatives To Both.

A Mantra for K-12 Philanthropy: First, Do No Harm is by Rick Hess and appeared in Education Week. It’s a little odd, and a bit internally inconsistent, but I’m still adding it to The Best Resources For Learning About The Role Of Private Foundations In Education Policy.

Koch Heads: How The Koch Brothers Are Buying Their Way Into The Minds Of Public School Students is from The Huffington Post. I’m adding it to the same list.

On Teacher Evaluation is an interesting piece by Robert Slavin. I’m adding it to The Best Resources For Learning About Effective Student & Teacher Assessments.

Here’s Why We Don’t Need Standardized Tests is from Ed Week. I’m adding it to The Best Articles Describing Alternatives To High-Stakes Testing.

AFT: Obama Must Force Arne Duncan to ‘Improve’ or to Resign is from Ed Week.

Tougher High School Exit Criteria May Not Boost College Prospects, Study Says is from Education Week.

The Language Of Teacher Effectiveness is from The Shanker Blog.

I’m adding these next two links to The Best Sites For Getting Some Perspective On International Test Comparison Demagoguery:

Compelling Evidence is from Stephen Krashen.

Why it’s hard for the US to learn from other countries on education is from Vox.

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July 17, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
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July’s 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.

I use Storify to “curate” my best tweets:

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July 16, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
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Very Useful Post: “Our 3 Favorite Free Online Image Editors For Education”

The Edublogger has just published a very useful post: Our 3 Favorite Free Online Image Editors For Education.

And, if you need even more options, check out one of my most popular “The Best” lists, The Best Sites For Online Photo-Editing & Photo Effects.

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July 16, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
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Latest Resources On Child Refugees In The Southwest

July 15, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
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The Best Funny Videos To Help Teach Grammar – Help Me Find More

Earlier today, I posted Weird Al Weird Al Yankovic’s new funny video teaching grammar (I’ve also posted it below). Then, Heather Wolpert-Gawron showed me another funny one, that’s also posted below. I figured there have got to be more out there, so I invite readers to contribute the ones you know about — I’ll post them here and, of course, give you full credit. These can certainly be useful in the classroom!

Chana at GCFLearnFree shared their fun and corny videos that are probably more categorized as easily confused words than grammar-related, but I’m still adding the series to this list.

You can see them all here.

Here’s one of them, and I have the video set as a playlist so you can automatically see them all, too…

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July 15, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
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Two New & Intriguing Efforts To Provide Home Internet Access To Students

I’ve written a lot about our school’s efforts and the efforts of others to provide home internet access to low-income students and their families (see The Best Resources For Learning About Schools Providing Home Computers & Internet Access To Students).

Two new and intriguing efforts have just begun — one by Facebook and the other by the New York City Public Library.

Facebook has started a pilot program to provide Internet access to students in a town where one of their data centers is located. It’s unclear if it will be expanded, but it would be nice if it was….

According to The New York Times, here’s with the library there is doing:

The library decided to try lending people a small box that plugs into a wall and provides wireless Internet service for up to five users at a time. To pay for the boxes, and a $10 monthly subscription, the library got a $500,000 grant last month from the Knight News Challenge, enough to equip 2,000 people. “We’re looking for another $1.5 million in private donations to get to 10,000 households in all five boroughs, and libraries in Kansas and Maine,” Mr. Marx said.

Interesting stuff…

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July 15, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
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Video: Shelly Terrell & I Talk About My Books

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Shelly Terrell and I spent about fifteen minutes talking about some of my books (you can see free resources related to all of them here) last week, and you can see the interview below:

Our conversation was part of a day-long series of interviews Shelly did with education authors (I don’t know how she was able to sustain her energy!). The above video is set to start at the beginning of our conversation, but you can see the entire list of authors and all their interviews here. Shelly has it set so all you’ve got to do is click on the author’s name and the video will show that portion.

Thanks, Shelly!

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July 15, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
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New Study Reinforces Previous Ones Showing SEL Lessons Need To Be Short & Simple

As regular readers of this blog and my books know, I’m an advocate of teaching Social Emotional Learning skills — and that I think they need to be simple so that individual teachers can integrate them easily with their regular classroom instruction.

Previous research has also found that using that strategy is the best way to go (see Social Skills Training Report Is Even More Interesting Than I Thought…).

Now, another study has been released finding the same results — that the programs that were most simple got the most positive results. You can read about it at NPR, Teaching 4-Year-Olds To Feel Better.

It gives me just a little more incentive to complete the third book in my student motivation series, which will include even more short and sweet SEL lessons. The manuscript should be done by September 1st, and Routledge should have it published by next spring.

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

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