Larry Ferlazzo’s Websites of the Day…

…For Teaching ELL, ESL, & EFL

April 28, 2015
by Larry Ferlazzo

R.I.P. Community Organizer Extraordinaire Ed Chambers


Ed Chambers, Saul Alinsky’s successor as Executive Director of the Industrial Areas Foundation from 1972-2009, died yesterday.

I, and thousands of others, learned much from Ed over the years. I was an IAF community organizer for the last twelve years of my nineteen-year organizing career and am the kind of teacher that I am largely because of that experience.

IAF has always had a strong culture of critique among both organizers and volunteer leaders, and Ed had what I’m sure was a well-earned reputation of very gruff and candid. I, however, will always remember him being very gentle and supportive of me when he was my mentor during the time I was a trainer at the ten-day IAF National Training, considered by many as the best place to receive community organizing training.

You can purchase Ed’s book, Roots for Radicals: Organizing for Power, Action, and Justice, and learn more about him here.

You can learn more about the IAF at The Best Sites To Learn About Saul Alinsky.

Here’s a short video clip of Ed:

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April 26, 2015
by Larry Ferlazzo

Quote Of The Day: “Real-world learning is messy”

Preaching About Teaching Obstacles to Applying Psychological Science to Classroom Instruction appeared at the Association for Psychological Science site.

Here’s an excerpt:


I’m adding it to The Best Resources For Understanding How To Interpret Education Research.

I’m also adding these resources to the same list:

How do we develop teaching? A journey from summative to formative feedback is from Evidence Into Practice.

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April 26, 2015
by Larry Ferlazzo

The Question-Asking Exercises I Did With My Students Last Week (Hand-Outs Included)

I’ve written (on this blog and in my books) and shared a lot of ideas about how I and others try to strengthen our students’ question-asking skills (see The Best Posts & Articles About Asking Good Questions — Help Me Find More).

Here are three activities I did last week with my ELL World and U.S. History class which, though are not extraordinary, worked well:

* I had students review the last three chapters we had studied, review the questions they had written about them as part of their use of reading strategies, and choose the three higher-level questions they were most interested in learning about (we have spent a lot of time learning about interpretative versus literal questions). They then completed this form. Here’s part of what it looks like if you don’t want to download it:




The next day, students researched their questions online and completed the form.

* On the following day, I met with a few students at the beginning of class while others were doing their silent reading, and reviewed these instructions for small group work to review the questions and answers students had developed. Two students then joined me in the front to role-play good behavior in the small group and then bad behavior (which was a lot of fun).

The small group discussions went very well, and the leaders took their responsibilities very seriously.

* Then, the next day, to reinforce what we’ve been learning about asking questions, I did an activity that I’ve been reading a lot about online lately — the idea of giving students the answers and having them come up with questions.

I made sure to include simple literal answers like “imperialism” and “John D. Rockefeller” as well as “anger,” “filled with hope” and “frustration.” Here are my two tests.

After a little confusion, students got the idea and did quite well. It was a particularly good exercise for English Language Learners to refine their writing skills.

What kinds of variations on this theme of question-asking have you tried in your classroom, and what are your ideas on how I can make these activities better?

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April 25, 2015
by Larry Ferlazzo

Excellent & Practical List Of Question-Asking Strategies

Grant Wiggins shared on Twitter an exceptional older post by UK educator/blogger Alex Quigley. It’s titled Questioning – Top Ten Strategies and, as you’ll see, it has to be one of the best and most practical list of recommendations out there. I suspect that many educators, including me, are going to be referring to it often.

Interestingly enough, I had just started following that blog, called Hunting English, a couple of weeks ago. However, since that particular post was written in 2012, it’s unlikely I would have found it if Grant hadn’t sent his tweet.

I think it speaks to the fact that there are so many gems out there that have been written in the past by educator/bloggers, but that many of us may never see them.

Off and on, I have tried to re-post links to past pieces I think are exceptionally useful in a series called A Look Back. But I haven’t done it often.

I am now going to try to be a little more consistent about highlighting those past posts, and I think that we would all benefit if more education bloggers did the same.

I’m adding Alex’s post to The Best Posts & Articles About Asking Good Questions — Help Me Find More.

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April 23, 2015
by Larry Ferlazzo

It’s News To Me, But The UN Has Declared Today To Be “English Language Day”

english language day

I learned from Michelle Henry that the United Nations has declared today to be English Language Day.

You can learn more about it at the United Nations and at Learning English Voice of America.

Ordinarily, I’d share related resources for special days and anniversaries, but just about this whole blog is related to an English Language Day :)

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