Larry Ferlazzo’s Websites of the Day…

…For Teaching ELL, ESL, & EFL

June 12, 2017
by Larry Ferlazzo

I Suspect That Many ELL Teachers Will Want To Use These Personal Stories As Models For Their Students

Last month, I published Guest Post: What ELLs Taught Our School In A Week-Long Empathy Project written by my talented colleague, Pam Buric.

Pam shared about a project we did at our school where our Intermediate English Language Learner students wrote about their personal experiences and then other classes came to learn from them over a week’s time.

Those Intermediate ELLs then helped my Beginning ELL students to write their own stories.

Now, Pam and her Intermediate class have pulled together all of those stories into a downloadable PDF book, which I have permission to share here. The description of the process and all the downloadable materials in Pam’s original post, along with the Beginner and Intermediate models, should make it a lot easier for others who might want to do similar projects (‘ll also add this link to Pam’s original post).

Thanks to Pam and her students!

June 10, 2017
by Larry Ferlazzo

New TED Talk From Anne Lamott With Great Excerpt On Writing – Here’s How I’m Using It In Class

12 truths I learned from life and writing is the title of a new TED Talk from Anne Lamott.

I’ve embedded it at the end of this post, but I think this is the “money” quote from the talk which would be most useful for teachers. I’m going to share it with students and have them respond to the prompt right below it:

What does Anne Lamott say are the keys to being a good writer? Do you agree with what Lamott is saying? To support your opinion you may use examples from your own experiences, your observations of others, and anything you have read.

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

Here’s the video of her talk:

June 6, 2017
by Larry Ferlazzo

Now THIS Is An Example Of Writing For An Authentic Audience: Writing For History

Elyse Eidman-Aadahl sharing a fascinating article today from the Chronicle of Higher Education titled Why Historians Want You to Journal in the Age of Trump.

In it, an archivist at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum recommends that people begin to journal about current events to create a resource for future historians. She mainly is targeting present historians, but the advice can easily be applied to non- professional historians, also – like our students!

I could easily see this idea as being a “hook” to have students begin to blog about current events.

The article shares several pieces of advice. Here’s one:

Doing something like this semi-regularly on a class blog would be easy to do and easy to archive.

I’m adding this info to The Best Places Where Students Can Write For An “Authentic Audience”

May 28, 2017
by Larry Ferlazzo

Here’s What I’m Doing As A Final With Beginning ELLs

I’ve previously shared what I’ve done for final exams in my Intermediate English Language Learner class (see My Revised Final Exams (And An Important Lesson).

This year, I was successful in implementing a bit more rigor in my Beginning ELL class, so I’m modifying the Intermediate Final and using it there (for most, though not all, of the students – students who arrived late in the year will do a far more simple assignment).

First, I’ll ask students to define a few terms: hook, thesis statement, topic sentence, conclusion, quotation marks. Here’s the sheet you can download.

Next, students will review all the essays they’ve written this year and choose two of them – one, preferably from earlier in the year and the other, preferably, a later one. They’ll they analyze each essay using an “improvement rubric.” This kind of rubric, unlike most, does not utilize deficit language and emphasizes what students have done instead of what they have not done. You can read more about improvement rubrics at “Instead of seeing students as Far Below Basic or Advanced, we see them as learners.” You can download the rubric my students will be using here, and here’s a partial screenshot of what it looks like:Final for beginners vocabulary words-1kg0j3j

Final for beginners improvement rubric-2e4415q


Then, students will complete a short series of reflection questions, which you can download here.  The questions are:

1) Look at the scores you gave yourself on both essays. Overall, which essay was your strongest? Why?

2) Look at the scores on your strongest essay. What did you do well?

3) Look at the scores on your strongest essay. What are 3 things you need to get better at next year?

4) In what areas of your writing would you like Mr. Ferlazzo or Ms Buric to help you with next year?

Lastly, students will then choose one of those two essays to revise and rewrite.

I’m always open to hearing suggestions on how I can make it better!

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

May 25, 2017
by Larry Ferlazzo

Two New & Very Useful Writing Frames For Teachers & Students

One of my popular – and most useful – “Best” lists is The Best Scaffolded Writing Frames For Students.  It’s certainly one that I consult regularly.

I’m adding two new writing frames to that list.

Mary Osteen, one of my many talented colleagues, shared this one today at an English Department meeting.  She calls it “AREE!” with an explanation point so she can sound like a pirate 🙂

It stands for Assertion, Reason, Evidence, Explanation:


I think it’s a helpful frame.

However, what I believe really makes it stand out from some of the other frames on that “Best” list is this sheet that she’s developed to teach the frame:


She has students fill in the blank squares as a way to scaffold learning the writing frame progression.  For International Baccalaureate Theory of Knowledge teachers, this kind of form will look familiar because that’s how IB encourages us to teach the concept of Knowledge Questions.

You can download both of the documents pictured in this post here (Mary has given me permission to share). By the way, I’ve recently given up the use of my regular document scanner and instead use an amazing iPhone app called Genius Scan, which works great!

The second writing frame I’d like to share I learned about in the form of a tweet:

April 4, 2017
by Larry Ferlazzo

New Resources For National Poetry Month

April is National Poetry Month.

Here are new additions to The Best World Poetry Day Resources – Help Me Find More:

Here are several tools that let you create poetry online.

Erasures lets you create a version of “Blackout Poetry” online. You can learn more about Blackout Poetry here.

22 Ways to Teach and Learn About Poetry With The New York Times is from The New York Times Learning Network.

20+ Ideas and Resources for Learning with Poetry is from Shelly S. Terrell.

March 26, 2017
by Larry Ferlazzo

“Sideways Dictionary” Explains Tech Through Analogies & Lets You Contribute Your Own

Sideways Dictionary explains lots of technology concepts through analogies and invites readers to contribute their own.

It’s a great site for a number of reasons.  One, it can help anyone more easily understand tech terms.  Second, it’s a nice tool to teach about analogies, which are exceptional tools for promoting knowledge transfer (see The Best Resources For Learning About The Concept Of “Transfer” — Help Me Find More and The real stuff of schooling: How to teach students to apply knowledge).

Finally, it’s a another place where students can write for an authentic audience (see The Best Places Where Students Can Write For An “Authentic Audience”).

It would be wonderful if there was a similar site that was not just limited to analogies for tech concepts but, instead, had a broader list of fields (political ideologies, scientific and math concepts, etc.).  I couldn’t find any doing a quick search.  Anyone else know of one?

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