Larry Ferlazzo’s Websites of the Day…

…For Teaching ELL, ESL, & EFL

July 5, 2015
by Larry Ferlazzo
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“They Say, I Say” Is A Great Writing Resource

theysay

You may or may not be familiar with the book, They Say, I Say: The Moves That Matter in Academic Writing, but it’s a great resource for writing instruction. You can see its influence in a number of my posts at The Best Posts On Writing Instruction.

You can also read more about it at these two Voice Of America Learning English pieces:

Tips for Writing: ‘They Say, I Say’

Good Academic Writing Doesn’t Have to Be A Struggle

In addition, all you have to do is search “they say i say templates” online and you’ll get a ton of excellent student resources. I just hope they’re posted legally.

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June 29, 2015
by Larry Ferlazzo
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Am I Missing Something, Or Are There Very Few Online Tools That Can Help Students Write An Essay?

Girl in a classroom World Bank Photo Collection via Compfight

I’ve got a ton of tools on The Best Places Where Students Can Write Online. Many let you create picture books, create multimedia projects, and write a blog.

But hardly any provide any scaffolded support for a student to actually write a “standard” essay.

John Spencer’s Write About site, which I’ve previously written about in “Write About” May Be The Education Site Of The Year offers some of that.

A site I learned about today called Write Well has some potential, though its scaffolded instructions are pretty meager and there are no models.

What are tools that you use that I don’t know about?

Here’s a Twitter exchange with a good caution and that also shares what I think would be helpful:

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June 26, 2015
by Larry Ferlazzo
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Getting Student Writers To “Buy-Into” Revision

Many teachers, including me, have experienced the struggle of getting our students to buy into seriously revising their original drafts.

I’ve tried modeling my own writing process, and have met with limited success.

I’ve previously posted this sixth-grader interviewing President Obama. He cut the President off when he began talking about students needing to revise their writing, and that reflects many students’ feelings about it:

I was prompted to think about this by finally getting around to reading a late March New York Times column titled What’s More Important to You: the Initial Rush of Prose or the Self-Editing and Revision That Come After It?

I thought that this excerpt, in particular, would be a good one to share and have my mainstream students (I think it might be too difficult for my ELLs) respond to a prompt along the lines of:

According to Cheryl Strayed, what kind of relationship do original writing and the process of revising it have with each other? Do you agree with her? To support your opinion, be sure to include specific examples drawn from your own experience, your observations of others, or any of your readings.

My-dictionary-definessss

What strategies do you use to get students invested into revising their writing?

I’m adding this post to The Best Posts On Writing Instruction.

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June 26, 2015
by Larry Ferlazzo
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Video: “Watch President Obama deliver eulogy at Rev. Pinckney’s funeral”

Here is a video of President Obama’s moving eulogy at Reverend Clementa Pinckney’s funeral this afternoon. Here’s the transcript. I’ve also embedded some tweets sent during the service (Here’s a fascinating analysis of if by James Fallows):

I plan to highlight this next quotation in history class:

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June 2, 2015
by Larry Ferlazzo
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I Think The Amazing Card Trick Shown In This Video Could Be Modified Into A Fun ELL Writing Activity

I just saw this video (the first one embedded below) of an amazing card trick on YouTube. In it, a man in a pub uses a deck of cards to tell a story.

It got me thinking about adapting it into a fun writing activity for English Language Learners.

I wonder what would happen if I gave groups of two-or-three students ten cards, and asked them to use them to tell a story – they would have to use a card in each sentence (One day the old King went out for a walk. He saw six red birds…)?

This video might not be the best to show as an example, since the accent is thick and they are also obviously drinking in a bar. However, I did a quick online search and was surprised to learn that storytelling card tricks appear to be fairly common, though the idea is new to me. Unfortunately, most of the ones I saw were inappropriate for classroom use (sexism, among other reasons). But I did find another version of the first one that had clearer pronunciation. And, of course, a teacher could quickly create his/her own model. The last video I’ve embedded is a TED Talk version of this kind of card trick — starting at around the four minute mark.

I don’t think I’ll have time this year to try out this idea since we only have five days left of school, but I’ll definitely put it in my “back pocket” for the future.

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May 24, 2015
by Larry Ferlazzo
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This Is The Geography “Final” For My ELL Students

It’s finals time. Here is the final I’m giving to students in my English Language Learner Geography class (you can see other finals I’ve given in that class here and here).

I’ll be giving students a two section packet of short quotations from Geographers saying why learning geography is important, as well as this short piece, 9 Reasons to Study Geography, from Brainscape.

In addition, they will watch this short video from National Geographic:

I’ll ask them to use all that material to respond to this writing prompt:

According to the writers and/or the video, what are reasons why it is important to study geography (you only have to pick four of them)? Do you agree with what they are saying? To support your opinion you may use examples from your own experiences (including what has taken place in our class this year), your observations of others, and any of your reading.

As usual, please let me know your ideas on how to make this better!

I’m adding this post to The Best Posts On Writing Instruction, where you’ll find a long list of other prompts I use in my classes.

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May 11, 2015
by Larry Ferlazzo
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Here Are Some Examples Of Using “Concept Attainment” In Writing Instruction

I’ve written and shared on this blog and in my books about the inductive learning method called concept attainment. Basically, teachers placed examples, typically (though not always) from unnamed student work, under the categories of “Yes” and “No.” The class then constructs their own understanding of why the examples are in their categories. It’s a great tool for many lessons, and I like it especially for grammar and other writing. You can read more about it at The Best Resources About Inductive Learning & Teaching.

My exceptional colleague Lara Hoekstra has developed concept attainment charts she looks to model quick-writes for an immigration unit we teach. I’ve written before how we use ABC (Answer the question; Back it up with evidence; Make a comment or connection) and PQC (Make a Point, use a quotation, and make a comment or connection) that we use as a simple paragraph frame for students. These charts reinforce those frames.

Here’s Lara’s chart. There are three of them. Here are the questions each of them are answering:

1. How do you feel about creating a fence? Will it work? Is it worth the money? Can we fence off ALL of America?

2. What do you think is the most interesting or important point made in the passage. Why? Explain your point, use text to support your point.

3. Some feel immigrants are willing to work harder than Americans. Why is that? Do you agree?

I’m adding this post to The Best Posts On Writing Instruction.

Let me know if you have similar writing models that you’d like to share….

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