Larry Ferlazzo’s Websites of the Day…

…For Teaching ELL, ESL, & EFL

September 21, 2016
by Larry Ferlazzo

The Best Resources On The Smithsonian’s African-American Museum


(Earlier this week, I posted about the new Smithsonian African-American Museum. Lot of new resources have come online since that day, so am expanding it into a “Best” list.)

The Smithsonian National Museum of African American History & Culture has its official opening later this week.

Here are some related resources, including highlights from their website:

How a Museum Captures African American History is from The Atlantic.

The New York Times has an interactive on the museum.

Review: The Smithsonian African American Museum Is Here at Last. And It Uplifts and Upsets. is from The NY Times.

Obama to Ring In Opening of African American Museum is from The NY Times.

The Guardian has a decidedly different “take” on the museum: The Smithsonian’s African American museum – a monument to respectability politics, as does a writer in The Washington Post: The African American Museum tells powerful stories — but not as powerfully as it could.

The website itself is a treasure trove of primary resources – you can examine each object with a little of its background, there’s a section of “stories” about certain objects with much more information about them, and a particularly impressive collection of video interviews with people about their experience in the Civil Rights Movement, along with written transcripts of those conversations.

However, it was disappointing to see no suggestions, tools, or guides for using these treasures with students, so you might want to explore The Best Resources For Using Primary Sources.

The top 36 must-see items at the African American museum is from The Washington Post.

Timeline: It took over 100 years for the African American Museum to become a reality is from The Washington Post.

Tour through the National Museum of African American History and Culture is a Washington Post interactive.

Video: President Obama At The Opening Of The Smithsonian’s African-American Museum (Plus Teaching Ideas)

You might also be interested in All My “Best” Lists On Race, Racism & The Civil Rights Movement – In One Place.

September 17, 2016
by Larry Ferlazzo

The Best Research On How Many Decisions A Teacher Makes Each Day


Awhile back, someone on Twitter (sorry, I don’t remember who) raised a question about how many decisions a teacher has to make each day.

I, and others, have previously written posts on this topic, and thought it would be useful to bring together what I have – feel free to suggest more:

Quote Of The Day: Have You Ever Wondered How Many Decisions We Teachers Need To Make Each Day?

Improve learning by taming instructional complexity is from Science Daily.

Jazz, Basketball, and Teacher Decision-making is by Larry Cuban.

A Teacher Makes 1500 Educational Decisions A Day is from Teach Thought.

The Qualities of Great Teachers is from ASCD.

September 16, 2016
by Larry Ferlazzo

The Best Articles For Learning About Laurene Powell Jobs’ Project To Redesign High Schools


“XQ: The Super School Project,” the project announced last year by Laurene Powell Jobs to redesign American high schools, announced their ten winners this week.

Here is what I wrote about the effort when it was first announced:

All education needs is another rich person who wants to reform education – and we’ve got it. Laurene Powell Jobs announced a $50 million prize to reinvent high schools, which you can read about in The Washington Post and at NPR’s Marketplace. I have little faith that anything good is going to come from it, especially since the project is being led by one of the key people behind the Vergara lawsuit attacking teachers.

I’ve since learned that Travis Bristol, an educator for whom I have a great deal of respect, now has a role in it, so perhaps something good might come out of the project, after all. But I’ll believe it when I see it….

Here are articles about it:

Billionaires, Schools & “less than stellar results”

You’ll want to read Jack Schneider’s piece about it in The Boston Globe, High schools don’t need a redesign.

$100 Million Awarded in Contest to Rethink U.S. High Schools is from The New York Times.

10 High School Redesign Projects Win $100 Million in ‘XQ Super School’ Contest is from Ed Week.

My Mixed Feelings on XQ’s ‘Super Schools’ is by Rick Hess.

September 14, 2016
by Larry Ferlazzo

The Best Posts On Looking At Our Students Through The Lens Of Assets & Not Deficits


Looking at our students thought the lens of their assets, not their deficits, has been an underlying them of my teaching career, and I thought I’d bring together many of the posts I’ve written on the topic.

You might also be interested in:

The Best Examples Of Turning Problems Into Opportunities — Help Me Find More

The Best Reasons Why Parents Should Be Looked At As Allies & Not Targets Of Blame

The Best Resources On Students Having A “Purpose For Learning”

Here posts specifically on looking at the assets of our students:

Video: New TED-Talks PBS Education Show Exceeds My Expectations & Ten Minutes Is A “Must-Watch”

Important New Study Looks At Assets, Not Deficits, Of Teen “Defiance”

Getting Organized Around Assets

A Lesson Highlighting Community Assets — Not Deficits

Very Important New Report On Looking At ELLs Through A Lens Of Assets & Not Deficits

Study Finds Another Reason To Look At ELLs Through Lens Of “Assets”: They Are Likely To Be More Creative

Students Seeing Assets, Not Deficits, In Their Neighborhoods

Response: ‘Respecting Assets That ELLs Bring To A School Community’

Looking For Assets, Not Deficits

Focusing On Neighborhood Assets — One Of My Favorite Lessons!

A Prime Example Of English Language Learner Assets

English-Learners Are Assets, John B. King Jr. Tells Educators in Bilingual Address is from Education Week.

The Positive Impact Of English Language Learners At An Urban School

A Strength-Based Approach to Teaching ESL is from Cult of Pedagogy.



September 11, 2016
by Larry Ferlazzo

A Beginning List Of The Best Resources For Learning About Google Classroom


Our district is taking baby steps towards using Google Classroom, and I thought it would be a good time to begin a related “Best” list.

You might also be interested in:

The Best Resources For Using Chromebooks In The Classroom – Help Me Find More

The Best Resources For Learning How To Use Google Docs/Google Drive

The Best Posts To Help Understand Google’s New “Books Ngram Viewer”

The Best Resources For Google Earth Beginners Like Me

The Best Sites For Learning About Google Translate

Here are my choices for Google Classroom resources:

You have to start with Alice Keeler, and these two links are good places to begin.

Of course, Vicki Davis’ 100+ Great Google Classroom Resources for Educators is the other key treasure trove.

You probably don’t need to look any further than the sites of those two great educators but, if you’re interested, here are a couple more:

Learn Google Classroom is from Ed Tech Teacher.

Everything You Need To Know In Google Classroom Part One and Part Two.

September 10, 2016
by Larry Ferlazzo

The Best Resources On Different Types Of Map Projections


I’m teaching Geography again to English Language Learners, and though I’d pull together some accessible resources on the different kinds of map projections.

You might also be interested in The Best Online Tools For Comparing The Physical Sizes Of Different Countries.

Here are my picks – contribute your own in the comments section:

Your World Map is Hiding Something is a very useful interactive from Metrocosm which allows you – with a click of a button – to compare different kids of popular (and not-so-popular) world map projections.

Here’s a lesson plan from National Geographic.

This is a great video for Geography classes, BUT I wish the narrator didn’t talk so fast!

September 10, 2016
by Larry Ferlazzo

The Best Resources For “Do Now” Activities To Begin A Class


“Do Now,” “Walk-In Procedures,” or “Warm-Ups” – they are names for activities that students begin to do right at the beginning of class or, as we try to do in our school, three minutes prior to the bell ringing.

There are lots of options for them. In my English and Social Science classes, students have a book they’re reading and they read silently for five-to-ten minutes. In my IB Theory of Knowledge class, there is generally a “Warm-Up” activity on the board requiring them to write a short response. Afterwards, we divide into six groups to share.

Here are ideas from others for these kinds of openings (please share your own in the comments section):

KQED has a great series of Do Now activities, along with instructions on how to use them.
The Do Now: A Primer is from Doug Lemov.

Doug shares some great Science Do Nows here.

The “Do Now” or “Do Never”? is by David Ginsburg.
Here’s a clip from the Teaching Channel:

September 10, 2016
by Larry Ferlazzo
1 Comment

The Best Resources For Learning About Total Physical Response (TPR)


Total Physical Response (TPR) is a key feature in many second-language classrooms, especially with Beginners, and my room is no different.

I thought readers might find it useful if I pulled together a few useful related resources.

To begin with, here are three previous related “Best” lists:

The Best Resources On Students Using Gestures & Physical Movement To Help With Learning

A Quasi “The Best” List On TPRS (TPR Storytelling) For Teaching ESL

The Best “When I Say Jump” Online Sites For Practicing English (this site has a few tools where students can take control by commanding online characters to do what they want them to do. Most of the original sites on that list are off-line now, but there still are a few – let me know if you are aware of others).

One of the best sites on the Web for learning English is Henny Jellema’s Online TPR Exercises — You’ve got to see this site to believe it. I can’t imagine the amount of work that went into creating the exercises. However, as he cautions, it’s critical to combine using his online activities with physical TPR lessons.

Now, here are a few resources for just plain good-old TPR that I think offer particularly useful materials and ideas:

Here’s a simple introduction to the method from The British Council.

How to Use Total Physical Response in ESL Instruction

Elementary Example of Total Physical Response

502 Words that Can Be Learned with Total Physical Response (TPR), By Domain

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