Larry Ferlazzo’s Websites of the Day…

…For Teaching ELL, ESL, & EFL

December 3, 2016
by Larry Ferlazzo

This New Video From “Sandy Hook Promise” Is Useful On Many Levels

This article – Can You Figure Out the Mystery Inside This Remarkable Ad About High School Love? – and video on Ad Week has been all over social media today.

It sends an amazingly effective in sending a message on gun violence and schools.

I’ll be showing it Monday to my IB Theory of Knowledge class to initiate a discussion on that topic and on what we can learn from the video about Perception as a Way Of Knowing:

December 3, 2016
by Larry Ferlazzo

Why Did My History Lesson Go So Well Yesterday?


Though I certainly have my share of “lemons,” most of my lessons generally go well. I try to incorporate lots of engaging strategies (you might be interested in the free chapter from one of my books that’s titled What Are the Best Things You Can Do to Maximize the Chances of a Lesson Being Successful?

Yesterday in World History, though, my students were super-engaged, and I’m reflecting about what things might have made the difference . I figure that if I can identify those elements, I’ll want to see how I can replicate them in the future.

It was a fairly simple lesson: Students were finishing researching The Five Pillars of Islam on the computers in the library, putting them in their own words, creating a “Foldable” (see The Best Teacher Resources For “Foldables”), printing out pictures for their creation, and preparing to present what they learned.

So, what do I think were the obvious and not-so-obvious factors that had every student focused and energized from the moment the opening bell rang to the end?

Here are some thoughts:

* Our three Muslim students were very excited about the project. They were the experts helping other students, and I think their enthusiasm was infectious. I wonder if the “universal” point is that finding some sort of “hook” that creates big time investment from even just a small number of students can be infectious?  If so, I wonder what might be a class’ “tipping point”?

* One of the things the Muslim students got really excited about was finding an error on one of the resources at our World History Class blog.  I’m not sure how to regularly incorporate this factor in other lessons.  However, their interest does make we wonder if that high-level of interest in seeking out mistakes could be used in lessons I might do on “fake news” (see The Best Tools & Lessons For Teaching Information Literacy – Help Me Find More).

* It also seems to me that, even though our school has had no incidents of Islamophobia and, in fact, Muslim students always look at my incredulously when I tell them they should let me know if anything like that happens, they are not immune from what they have seen in the media about incidents in other areas. Having their religion be the focus of a major class project might have been particularly impactful to them. The “universal” point might be we regularly need to lift-up the cultures of all of our most vulnerable students.

* I haven’t often used “Foldables” (see The Best Teacher Resources For “Foldables”), but I had students use them to create their Five Pillars project. I’ve sometimes been concerned that students spend too much time on making it look “pretty” and less on the important content. However, I was pleasantly surprised to see that they only spent a few minutes on creating it with construction paper and some students who were not ordinarily “leaders” were helping others figure out how to make them. The “universal” point here is that letting students be creative in their presentation methods enhances autonomy and motivation. Also, perhaps they only get focused on “prettifying” their foldable if the content isn’t interesting?

* Knowing that they were going to present to their classmates might also have increased student seriousness. Plenty of research shows that we take things more seriously if we know we are going to teach others (see The Best Posts On Helping Students Teach Their Classmates — Help Me Find More).

Obviously, you weren’t there, but I invite other thoughts about what I might have missed…

I’m adding this post to The Best Posts & Articles On Student Engagement.

December 3, 2016
by Larry Ferlazzo

Around The Web In ESL/EFL/ELL

Two years ago I began this 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.

You might also be interested in The Best Resources, Articles & Blog Posts For Teachers Of ELLs In 2016 – So Far.

Here are this week’s choices:

Learning English Voice Of America has seemed to up its video game recently. For years, their videos seemed to be designed by people who seemed to be competing to see who could make the process of learning English seem the most boring. However, they now have much more professionally produced videos.

Let’s Learn English, I think, is the most intriguing feature in their new collection. It’s an online video course with a story line and interactive quizzes for ELLs. It reminds me of Annenberg’s Connect With English, and I am adding it to The Best Popular Movies/TV Shows For ESL/EFL (& How To Use Them).

Speaking Of VOA, they also have a special feature for ELLs on The Making Of The Constitution.  I’m adding it to The Best Sites For Learning About The Constitution Of The United States.

American English at The U.S. Department of State has an annual competition where people can contribute board game templates to help learn English. You can see and download the winners here.  I’m adding it to The Best Sites To Download Free ESL Board Game Templates, which I’ve just revised and updated.

These illustrations show that there are two kinds of people in the world is a very interesting and useful resource if you’re teaching ELLs how to write compare and contrast essays. I’m adding it to The Best Resources For Teaching/Learning About How To Write Compare/Contrast Essays.

‘Makerspaces’ for science instruction also proving helpful for English learners is from Ed Source. I’m adding it to The Best Resources For Teaching The Next Generation Science Standards To English Language Learners.

At a School of Immigrants, Challenges Reach Far Beyond the Classroom is from The New York Times.

College Board to Offer More Accommodations for Students With Disabilities, ELLs is from Ed Week.

I’m not really sure why this study is news or a surprise to anybody: ELLs Who Master English Early More Likely to Graduate On Time, Study Finds is from Ed Week.

Conn. District Set Up Enrollment Barriers for Families With Limited English is from Ed Week.

Almost all students here are refugees — and they speak 16 uncommon languages. How this school makes it work. is from The Washington Post.

I’m adding these two tweets (my first one is commenting on the second one) to The Best Posts On Looking At Our Students Through The Lens Of Assets & Not Deficits:

December 2, 2016
by Larry Ferlazzo

Three More Ways To Support An ELL Newcomer In A Mainstream Classroom


Last week, I published Ways A Mainstream Teacher Can Support An ELL Newcomer In Class, which turned out to be a very popular post.

Since then, I realized I forgot to include a few other strategies:

Though I discussed Google Translate, I forgot to mention its relatively new ability to “read” text, including print textbooks and PowerPoint slides, by using its camera function (see Video: “How Google Translate Makes Signs Instantly Readable”).

In fact, Google just published this video two days ago that highlights that feature and the features I mentioned in the earlier post:

In addition, I neglected to mention the obvious strategy of showing English subtitled with any videos you show.

Finally, this was an idea suggested by one of the credential candidates at my California State University, Sacramento, course: if you are teaching whole novels in your class, why not get a version of it in your ELL’s home language, if available?

I’m always on the look-out for more ideas, so feel free to leave them in the comments section….

December 2, 2016
by Larry Ferlazzo

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.

You might also be interested in The Best Articles (And Blog Posts) Offering Practical Advice & Resources To Teachers In 2015 – So Far and The Best Resources On Class Instruction In 2016 – Part Two.

Here are this week’s picks:

Making Sense: More Than Making Meaning is by Rick Wormeli.

Working to Build a Multicultural Classroom is from Middleweb. I’m adding it to The Best Resources About “Culturally Responsive Teaching” & “Culturally Sustaining Pedagogy” – Please Share More!

Responding to Defiance in the Moment is from Responsive Classroom. I’m adding it to Best Posts On Classroom Management. Thanks to Chris Wejr for the tip.

5 Ways To Respond To Wrong Answers is from Smart Classroom Management. I’m adding it to The Best Resources On The Idea Of “Wait Time.”

I’m adding this tweet to Best Posts On Classroom Management:

I’m adding this tweet to The Best Posts On Writing Instruction:

Skip to toolbar