Larry Ferlazzo’s Websites of the Day…

…For Teaching ELL, ESL, & EFL

September 30, 2016
by Larry Ferlazzo

The Best Resources On Helping To Build Empathy In The Classroom – Help Me Find More


Lately, because of some classroom incidents, I’ve been thinking about ways to help students build empathy. I’ve begun reading, and collecting, related resources, and invite readers to contribute more.

I’ll add this list to The Best Social Emotional Learning (SEL) Resources.

You might also be interested in The Best Sites For Walking In Someone Else’s Shoes ; The Best Resources On “Becoming What We Read” and A Very, Very Beginning List Of The Best Resources On Bullying — Please Suggest More.

Here’s what I have so far:

Animated videos help teachers build sense of empathy in students is from Ed Source. I’m not a big fan of Class Dojo (see Best Posts On “Motivating” Students), but the videos might be useful

Building Empathy in Classrooms and Schools is from Ed Week Teacher and is by By Brianna Crowley & Barry Saide.

The Seven Best Short Films to Promote Empathy in ELT is from Kieran Donaghy.

Barack Obama and the ’empathy deficit’ is from The Guardian.

Understanding How Children Develop Empathy is from The New York Times.

Empathy vs. sympathy is from The Grammarist.

A Look Back: “Mr. Ferlazzo, I Need My Post-It, Too”

The Business Case for Reading Novels is from The Harvard Business Review. It reviews research on the role of reading fiction in helping people develop empathy.

Developing Empathy is from Teaching Tolerance.

How Images Trigger Empathy is from The Atlantic.
This Is Real: Building Empathy in Times of Trauma is by Christina Torres at Ed Week.

The Power of Empathy from Gobblynne on Vimeo.

And here are some related useful links:

Study Finds That Empathetic Teachers Enhance Student Motivation – Is Anyone Surprised?

Here’s how to raise a child to be sympathetic is from The Conversation.

Can an Increase in Empathy Lead to a Drop in Suspensions? is from Ed Week.

Empathy is key to political persuasion, shows new research is from Science Daily.

September 27, 2016
by Larry Ferlazzo

Resource Links For ELL Professional Development

Today, Katie Hull and I are leading a professional development session for teachers of English Language Learners, particularly around three areas: Social Emotional Learning, reading and writing.

We’ll have short times for teachers to explore related tech tools, and figured putting links to them in one blog post would be useful to them and, perhaps, interesting to general readers.

My lists and resources on this blog can sometimes be a bit overwhelming to new readers.  If you’re an ELL teachers, you might want to start at these four lists:

The Best Beginner, Intermediate & Advanced English Language Learner Sites

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

The “All-Time” Best Resources On English Language Learners & The Common Core

“All-Time” Best Web Tools For English Language Learners



You can download – for free – all student hand-outs from both our books at these links:

Navigating The Common Core With ELLs

The ESL/ELL Teachers Survival Guide

You can access free resources from Larry’s other books here.



“Best of” Series



Beginner & Intermediate ELD

Class Blog: U.S. History

Class Blog — World History



The Best Resources For Learning How The Every Student Succeeds Act Affects English Language Learners

The Best Resources For Learning About The Ins & Outs Of Reclassifying ELLs

The Best Resources For Learning About The Multilingual Education Act Ballot Initiative In California



We Did A Great ‘Growth Mindset’ Lesson With Our ELLs This Week – Here’s The Lesson Plan

The Best Social Emotional Learning (SEL) Resources

The Best TV/Movie Scenes Demonstrating A “Growth Mindset” – Help Me Find More

The Best Video Clips Demonstrating “Grit” – Help Me Find More



The Implications Of Deeper Learning For Adolescent Immigrants and English Language Learner

Getting Organized Around Assets

Here’s a collection of good additional resources on the theme of “assets”: The Best Posts On Looking At Our Students Through The Lens Of Assets & Not Deficits

The Best Places To Get The “Same” Text Written For Different “Levels”

The Best Websites To Help Beginning Readers

The Best Websites For Beginning Older Readers

The Best Websites For Intermediate Readers



Best Posts On Writing Instruction


September 26, 2016
by Larry Ferlazzo

Fabulous Free Online Learning Opportunity For ELL Teachers


I regularly sing the praises of the British Council and their Facebook page (which has almost four million “likes”).  It’s one of the The Best Three Sites On The Web For ESL/EFL/ELL/ELT Teachers.

They are organizing what looks like a great free online learning opportunity for teachers of English Language Learners from October 5th through October 9th. You can see the entire schedule here and also register at the same place.

The timing might be challenging for teachers in parts of the United States (the sessions start at 12:00 PM in the UK, which means 4:00 AM here  on the Pacific Coast).  But, no matter – the conference will also be recorded and viewable at any time (I assume you have to register to both view it live and to watch the recordings).

I’m certainly hoping to participate in some live portions, and will view some of the recordings for sure…


September 25, 2016
by Larry Ferlazzo

Two Important Articles About What Effective Teachers Do


Here are two important additions to one of the lists I find most useful to my teaching practice, The “Best” Lists Of Recommendations About What “Effective” Teachers Do:

Dylan Wiliam: The nine things every teacher should know is from TES.

September 23, 2016
by Larry Ferlazzo

Here’s How We Modified The Picture Word Inductive Model Today

As regular readers know, the Picture Word Inductive Model is one of my favorite instructional strategies for Beginning English Language Learners.

I’ve written a lot about it at The Best Ways To Use Photos In Lessons.

Good as it is, however, it is possible to have too much of a good thing.

In other words, applying the step-by-step process all the time can grow tiresome for teachers and students alike.

That’s why I’ve posted The Best Ways To Modify The Picture Word Inductive Model For ELLs.

Today, Mary Stokke, an exceptionally talented student teacher who is working with me this year, used a strategy that I realized I hadn’t included on that “Best” list. It’s a modification of some strategies, however, that you will find on The Best Resources On Close Reading Paintings, Photos & Videos.

Mary projected a photo from our U.S. History book of Christopher Columbus that she had used in the typical PWIM process and then drew “quadrants” where students worked in pairs to expand the image to what they might imagine would be there if the picture was bigger.  Student then applied the usual PWIM process to those new additions by identifying words and writing sentences about them.

Here’s the image (in retrospect, it probably would have been better to tape white paper on the text surrounding the picture so that students drawings were more clear.  But, as Mary said, it was, nevertheless, “crazy and fun.”



September 22, 2016
by Larry Ferlazzo

Today Is “Character Day” – Here Are Thoughts, Concerns & Resources


Apparently, today is “Character Day” – this post is a reprint of one I published on the first event two years ago:

I believe (though may be wrong) that the film-maker behind the eight-minute video I’ve embedded below, came up with the idea of “Character Day” and unveiled her film today. It’s called “The Science Of Character” and seems like a nice enough video — I could see presenting it as an introduction to a Social Emotional Learning lesson (see The Best Social Emotional Learning (SEL) Resources). The film’s home site offers a number of related teaching resources.

Personally, though, I’m much more enthusiastic about the resources and ideas put together by Facing History at 8 Multimedia Resources to Study the Science of Character on #CharacterDay.

As regular readers know, however, I’m becoming increasingly concerned about how the idea of teaching “character” is being “vanilla-ized” and/or manipulated towards inappropriate ends. You can see more of my thoughts in my Washington Post piece, The manipulation of Social Emotional Learning and in a recent blog post here titled This Has Me Concerned: “Study Links Teacher ‘Grit’ with Effectiveness, Retention.”

Nevertheless, I think it is possible to teach character in effective and appropriate ways. In fact, I’ve published two multi-part series on the topic at my Education Week Teacher column — last year and this year.

September 22, 2016
by Larry Ferlazzo

MacArthur Genius Awards Announced – Here’s An ELL Connection


I’ve been critical of the MacArthur Genius Awards for their recent tendency to “play it safe” with their choices (and to sometimes clearly picking the wrong people).

They just announced this year’s winners and they all appear to be worthy winners, though it does seem they avoided those working in grass-roots political change arena. Just contrast their winners with those who the Goldman Prize chooses to recognize for environmental work.

One particularly intriguing pick for teachers of English Language Learners, though, is Anne Basting. She’s the founder of TimeSlips, which is designed to assist the elderly but which clearly has an application to the ELL classroom.

I’m just going to reprint here my 2013 post about the organization, which I headlined Looking For Assets, Not Deficits:

I’ve tried to apply the idea of looking for assets instead of deficits throughout my community organizing and teaching careers, and have written a lot about it in my books and in articles. One key strategy to make this work is by eliciting stories.

Of course, this strategy is not limited to community organizing or to the classroom.

Science Daily has just published a fascinating report on the use of this kind of strategy by medical students with dementia patients. Their purpose was to building on the creative assets of patients through having them tell stories based on thought-provoking photographs.

Their strategy, called TimeSlips, seems in many ways similar to TPR Storytelling in second-language classes (at least to my untrained — in both TimeSlips and in TPRS — eye).

I’ve embedded two videos of TimeSlips in action at the end of this post. However, before I end with them I want to point out that I’m blogging about it for more reasons than just the fact it has an interesting connection to teaching a second language (though the fact that dementia is beginning to make itself known in my family also makes it particularly interesting to me).

The TimeSlips website is also perfect for English Language Learners. It has many great images and encourages people to write their own stories about them. In fact, they also provide multiple scaffolded prompts for each image.

I’m adding the post, and their site, to various “The Best…” lists, including:

The Best Ways To Use Photos In Lessons

The Best Online Tools For Using Photos In Lessons

The Best Places Where Students Can Write For An “Authentic Audience”

Here are two videos about TimeSlips:

September 20, 2016
by Larry Ferlazzo

Here Are Downloadable Scaffolded Instructions For Students To Create A “3/2/1” Poster


I’ve written several previous posts about how I use variations of a 3/2/1 strategy that I first learned about from educator Ekuwah Moses (see The Best Ways To Use “3-2-1” As An Instructional Strategy).

I mainly use it in my English Language Learner history classes, but it’s adaptable to just about any course.

I have students write what they think are the most important concepts or facts they learned about in a chapter and why they think they are important; two phrases and why they think they are important; a sentence and why they think it is important; and draw an image. Then, of course, they share their poster with the class in various ways.

Here is the scaffolded instruction sheet students use. Let me know how I can make it better!

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