Larry Ferlazzo’s Websites of the Day…

…For Teaching ELL, ESL, & EFL

August 14, 2017
by Larry Ferlazzo

Guest Post: Can an eighty-year old bull be a modern social justice warrior?


Editor’s Note: Thanks to Megan M. Allen for facilitating this guest post by Brett Bigham. I’m adding it to The Best Teacher Resource Sites For Social Justice Issues.

Brett Bigham is the 2014 Oregon State Teacher of the Year and a recipient of the NEA National Award for Excellence in Education. In 2015 he was given the Teacher Role Model of the Year Award by the NEA LGBT Caucus and is an NEA Global Fellow for both 2015 and 2018. He creates “Ability Guidebooks” to assist people with autism to get out into the world. Follow him @2014ORToy.

How can a children’s picture book from 1936 be included in one of the most socially progressive booklists of modern times?

Easily. Let me explain.

I’m talking about The Story of Ferdinand (and the fact you know who he is shows why this book deserves it’s spot on the NNSTOYSocial Justice Booklist).

Ferdinand was a creature of peace who shied away from bullrings for his quiet meadow life.  And yet, despite his quiet attitude, he was truly the bull who roared. In 1938, two years after its publication, it outsold Gone With the Wind as the top-selling book. Ferdinand has remained popular ever since and has become a shared cultural experience for generation after generation of Americans.

That’s why I say he is the bull who roared. Everyone has heard his message.

Ferdinand has also become a staple for educators teaching social justice. He speaks up through the decades to that common thread running through most social justice books. We all are different. We have the right to be unique. Teachers spend great time and effort to make sure students learn these valuable lessons.

This week the National Network of State Teachers of the Year (NNSTOY) stepped up with a roar of its own, with the support of the University of Phoenix. The NNSTOY Social Justice Booklist, edited by NNSTOY President and CEO Katherine Basset, NNSTOY Director of Communication Laurie Calvert, and myself, has brought together State Teachers of the Year and State Teacher of the Year Finalists from all over the country who are sharing their tried and true go-to texts for opening up student conversations about social justice. This list was created by some of our country’s most award-winning teachers to share their best practice with other teachers, parents, and anyone who cares about social justice.

There are books new and old. You will recognize many of the titles on the list, having flashbacks to your own school experiences. You will also be slightly surprised to realize that so many of these titles hold cherished and important moments in your childhood. How many of us learned the cruelty of man from Anne Frank? How many generations have grown from Hamlet’s tragedies?

The Booklist brings together those classics with some of modern literature’s most captivating and forward-thinking role models. These are books that our modern students will relate to as peers and learn from as cultural icons. Dr. Martin Luther King is still giving his “I Have A Dream Speech” and Ruby Bridges is still climbing those stairs for the first time in their biographies. But

Malala Yousafzai is a peer of your students and her journey is playing out live. This Booklist brings together the past and present of real people along with the vast imaginings of amazing authors and illustrators.

It is my hope that every teacher in the country keeps a copy of this list in their classroom. And NNSTOY and the University of Phoenix have made this possible, offering it free online.

Check it out now. It’s time to help our students find their own roar as they learn more about social justice.

August 14, 2017
by Larry Ferlazzo

The Best Resources For Planning “Learning Stations” – Please Add More

Learning stations, also called interactive stations, usually involve small groups of students rotating through several “stations” in different parts of the classroom and completing various activities at each one.

Here are some useful related resources (please suggest more):

Using Stations to Engage Secondary Students: 3 Ways to Incorporate Movement Into Learning is from Literary Maven.

Create Small Learning Communities with the Station Rotation Model is from Catlin Tucker.

Using centers to differentiate for English learners is from Multi-Briefs.

Student-Led Learning Centers in Secondary Classrooms is from ASCD.

Literacy Centers for Multilingual Students is from the Teaching Channel:

Literary Analysis Through Interactive Stations is from The Teaching Channel:

August 14, 2017
by Larry Ferlazzo

Taking A Break….

I’ll be taking a “blog break” for the next ten days or so.

However, that doesn’t mean that there won’t be posts appearing here. Most of them will be highlighting the “best” posts from the past six months, and there will probably be a few others. But those will be scheduled automatically, and I won’t be moderating and approving any comments during that time, either.

I’ll be somewhat active on Twitter during that time, but no where near my usual level. But don’t expect any rapid email responses.

See you in a week-and-a-half!

August 13, 2017
by Larry Ferlazzo

“Hyper” Gives You A Quick Survey Of The Web

Hyper is a new site that provides a daily listing of the top (though I’m not really sure how the determine which ones they include) stories from major online sites, including news sources. It’s also not clear to me how often they’re refreshed.

But I do like the fact that they appear relatively selective and list everything on one (very long) page.

In some ways, it’s a very trimmed-down version of the bloated AllTop site that tries to share everything from everybody.

I doubt that students would find Hyper interesting or useful, but teachers might want to periodically scan it to see if they find something useful….

August 9, 2017
by Larry Ferlazzo

Here’s What I’ll Be Doing This Coming School Year

The school year starts for us on August 31st, and I thought it would be helpful to me – and, perhaps, interesting to some readers – to hear what I’ll be doing over the next ten months both in and out of the classroom:

* In school, I’ll be teaching several different classes, including English to Beginning ELLs, ELL World History, ELL U.S. History and ELL Geography. I’ll also be teaching International Baccalaureate Theory of Knowledge classes.

* One night each week during the second half of each semester I’ll be teaching an ELL Methods class at California State University, Sacramento.

* Katie Hull and I are co-authoring our third book on teaching ELLs, and it should be published by Jossey-Bass sometime in March, 2018.

* I’ll be starting work on the fourth book in my student motivation series for Routledge.  That one probably won’t be out until sometime in 2019 or 2020.

* I’ll be starting my seventh year of writing a teacher advice column for Education Week Teacher. I’ve got 45 new questions set with over 200 educators contributing guest responses. The new columns should start in early-to-mid September.

* As always, each of those columns will be accompanied by a ten minute online radio show. You can listen to previous shows at All My BAM Radio Shows – Linked With Descriptions. They’ve become pretty popular, and have been getting 60,000 downloads each month.

* Though I won’t be doing the insane weekly schedule of posts I’ve done in some past years for the New York Times Learning Network, I should be writing several for them on teaching ELLs. You can see my previous posts at All My NY Times Posts For English Language Learners – Linked With Descriptions.

* I’ll also write a handful of posts for the British Council.  You can see my previous posts for them here.

* Of course, I’ll be continuing to post in this blog regularly.

* Combine all the above with family and basketball-playing time should make for a fruitful and busy next ten months!


August 9, 2017
by Larry Ferlazzo

The Best Examples Of ELL Student Writing

I thought teachers might find it useful to be able to see – and possibly use as models – examples of writing by English Language Learners.

Please feel free to leave links to other examples in the comments section.

Here they are:

Guest Post From One Of Our ELL Students: “Challenge”

Guest Post: Advanced ELLs Write About Their Summer School Experience Tutoring Newcomers

A Look Back: “What ELLs Taught Our School In A Week-Long Empathy Project”

Guest Post From An English Language Learner Student

ose Carlos Haro Preciado is a student in Bret Gosselin‘s high school class. Jose has created a nice resource on How To Write A Poem, and I’m adding it to The Best World Poetry Day Resources – Help Me Find More.  A little more about Jose: Jose Carlos Haro Preciado is currently a student at Coppell High School. He is from Mexico where he lived until moving to the United States two years ago as a sophomore. He is an ambitious student who uses his writing as a way to learn from the world around him. He believes that by hard work, he can learn to do anything well, including English. He plans to go to college to become an engineer and is a valued member of Coppell’s champion-winning varsity soccer team.

Here are many examples from our student blog:

Response to Literature essays

Problem/Solution essays

Essays on Gangs

Persuasive Essays about Neighborhoods

Persuasive Essays

Autobiographical Incident Essays


August 7, 2017
by Larry Ferlazzo
1 Comment

“Writing Sparks” Could Be A Useful Online Writing Tool

Writing Sparks is a new free online writing tool made by the creators of The Night Zookeeper, a paid-subscription online writing program.

Writing Sparks lets students select a writing genre and then provides a good outline for students to then write the essay. Then can save it to a PDF file which, unfortunately, is not editable. So, if students were going to use the site, they’d probably want to copy and paste their writing into a Google Doc.

The useful outline is what makes this site stand-out a bit from similar tools.

I’m adding it to The Best Online Tools That Can Help Students Write An Essay.

Here’s a short video about Writing Sparks:

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