Larry Ferlazzo’s Websites of the Day…

…For Teaching ELL, ESL, & EFL

December 1, 2016
by Larry Ferlazzo
0 comments

The Best Scaffolded Writing Frames For Students

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I’ve written a lot about the value of scaffolded writing frames for students – English Language Learners and those who are proficient in English – to use when they are responding to prompts. As my colleague Lara Hoekstra says, “As long as we’re clear that these are some ways to write, not THE ways to write, they can be helpful.”

Some of the teachers at our school met today, and shared the different writing frames we use. They’ve given me permission to share them here, and I’m also including links to previous posts where I’ve shared different related ideas (you can lot of other resources at The Best Posts On Writing Instruction). Please share your own in the comments section:

“Point, Quote, Connect”

Helping Students Respond To Writing Prompts

“They Say, I Say” Is A Great Writing Resource

Exploratree

Here Are Some Examples Of Using “Concept Attainment” In Writing Instruction

“RACE” Looks Like A Useful Writing Strategy

The Text-Evidence Strategy That Changed My Classroom is from Scholastic and is also about RACE.

I’ve previously shared an example of how I scaffolded an ABC writing prompt (Answer the question, Back it up with a quotation, make a Comment & Connection). Based on the conversation we had today, I made some minor, but important changes. I have a picture of the revised version here, and you can download both the old and new versions here (the new version is the second one in the file).

mexico-revised

This next one is from my talented colleague Nichole Scrivner – the well-known PEE frame is simple and effective:

scrivner

Here’s a short excerpt from “They Say, I Say” (see a link earlier in this post) that Lara Hoekstra gives to students so they can use it as the “Back it Up With A Quotation” part of the ABC writing frame (or as the “Q” in the “PQC” – Make a Point, use a Quotation to back it up, and make a Comment):

usayi

Nicole Simsonsen shared a strategy called T-BEAR:

T- Topic Sentence

B- Brief Explanation/Bridge to Examples

E- Examples\Evidence

A- Analysis

R- Recall/Reflect/Relate

You can find lots of examples and graphic organizers illustrating T-BEAR online. Here’s an image of one she uses:

tbear

You can download the next three examples here.

Jen Adkins shared her own version of an ABC response:

ice

Jen also adapted an excellent strategy from our colleague Chris Coey to help students develop an “analytical paragraph.” Also note the strategic way they have students highlight different parts of their paragraph to help them self-analyze if they are placing a higher priority on the “commentary and context”:

analyze

Mary Osteen shared a sheet her students use to provide peer feedback. However, she gives it to them as they are writing, so it functions as a writing frame scaffold, too:

peerfeedback

As you can see, I’m pretty luck to be able to work with such talented and generous educators!

November 22, 2016
by Larry Ferlazzo
2 Comments

I Can’t Decide If “Write & Improve” Is The Best Or Worst Site To Help ELLs Improve Their Writing

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I’ve written a lot about my ongoing search for a helpful an online site that would help all students, and particularly English Language Learners, develop their writing – one that would have model essays, graphic organizers, accessible explanations of errors, etc. Though none have met my hopes, I have collected some that try at The Best Online Tools That Can Help Students Write An Essay.

In my ideal site, teachers would also have access to student first drafts. If we don’t, then we likely wouldn’t see many common errors in our students writing – it might be possible that students correct errors pointed out by the program without any real understanding of why the error was made and the rule behind its correction. That’s just one of many issues I have with computer grading of essays (see The Best Posts On Computer-Graded Essays).

This all brings me to the new – and free – Cambridge English Write & Improve site.

It’s very easy to use – student just copy and paste what they’ve written and, within seconds, the site will give you feedback on writing mechanics. I was very impressed with the quality of the feedback – it caught many essays and, even more surprisingly, offered accurate alternatives. The quality of the feedback the site gives is tons better than the feedback a writer would get from, let’s say, Microsoft Word.

A big problem, however, is that, though the feedback appears to very accurate, it give no explanation of why the word choice might be incorrect. So a student would write an essay with many errors corrected, but I wouldn’t know what those errors were and wouldn’t know if the student understood the reasons why they were errors.

Of course, one huge advantage to students using this tool would be that teachers could concentrate on the “big picture” of student writing and not have to pay as much attention to spelling, grammar and punctuation basics. That might make it more suitable to higher-intermediate, advanced and English-proficient students who, with luck, will have made it past many of those kinds of mistakes.

Some of my concerns would be alleviated if the error explanations were more clear or, at the very least, included a link where a student could learn more about the concepts.

I’m also confused by the “notebook” set-up of the site. You can create “notebooks” with assignments for others in a closed group, but it’s unclear to me how the “owner” of the notebook can access members’ writing, or if that’s even possible. If it is doable, that would make it more attractive to teachers.

What do you think? Do you have suggestions for ways to deal with my concerns?

Thanks to CASLS & EFL Classroom 2.0 for the tip.

ADDENDUM: See a comment left by the site’s creator in response to this post.

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November 18, 2016
by Larry Ferlazzo
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The Mannequin Challenge, ELLs & A Frozen Tableau

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Yesterday, I saw this tweet from Mary Ann Zehr (look for her upcoming contribution to my Education Week Teacher column):

Readers might be familiar with the use of a Frozen Tableau, where students design and “act-out” a frozen scene from a text. You can read more about it here.

And if you’re not familiar with the frozen tableau, you might very well know about the Mannequin Challenge, which has been a viral sensation of groups remaining motionless for a short video scene, accompanied by music. You can see the best known examples here.

After I saw Mary Ann’s tweet, Mary Stokke, one of my two talented student teachers, and I had a conversation about adapting the combo idea to the unit on Problem/Solution essays we’re doing with Intermediate English Language Learners.

Here’s her guest post description of what she then did, followed by one student example:

1. After reading and annotating Problem/Solution essays, my class began to prepare skits about new Problem/Solution prompts that had to include a problem, a solution and a resolution.

2. Some students were engaged while others were more shy or bored with skits, so Mr. Ferlazzo suggested using something to do with the viral “Mannequin Challenge.”

Here’s what we did:

*Small groups of students completed a 4-frame storyboard that had to include 4 aspects of their prompt, as well as a caption for each frame.

*Students took photos of themselves in tableau for 3 of the scenes. Some students were actors, some were photographers.

*I plugged those photos into a frame using the free version of the “Pic Stitch” app.

*For a fourth scene, students picked a song, posed as mannequins, and then I shot a 20 second video of them using an iPhone on a selfie stick.

*For now, I took a picture of some text to fill one of the Pic Stitch frames, but it would be great to do something similar where you can embed a video in one of the frames.

Here is the result:

img_4748

Of course, I’m sure The Mannequin Challenge will be “jumping the shark” at some point but, for now, I think it can be a nice addition to an instructional repertoire…

November 2, 2016
by Larry Ferlazzo
0 comments

Two New Useful Resources On Teaching Writing – And An Old One

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This week, two new useful resources on teaching writing became available, and I learned about one that had been around before – but I just didn’t know it…

The first new piece is an excellent article titled This Is How To Improve Your Writing: 7 Easy Expert Secrets from Barking Up The Wrong Tree. It’s very accessible, and I think would be great to have students read and respond to it – either all at once or in sections over a series of days.

The old piece is Teaching Elementary School Students to Be Effective Writers from the Institute of Education Sciences What Works Clearinghouse. It’s a “practice guide” based on multiple research studies that have passed muster by the What Works staff.

The new piece is brand new – as in yesterday – an accompanying guide for secondary students: Teaching Secondary Students to Write Effectively.

I did a quick review it and, though I don’t think many teachers are going to find anything particularly new in it, it’s always good to find research support for the practices that many effective writing teachers use, and I count myself in that category.

Here are some of the practices in the guide that stood out to me, along with links to posts, articles and resources I’ve shared on this blog related to each one and how I apply it in my classroom (you can find many more links at The Best Posts On Writing Instruction):

* Using K-W-L Charts as a pre-planning practice for writing (see The Best Resources For Learning About The Importance Of Prior Knowledge (& How To Activate It) )

* Other graphic organizers (specifically Venn Diagrams) – see Not “The Best,” But “A List” Of Mindmapping, Flow Chart Tools, & Graphic Organizers and you might be particularly interested in my New York Times post on a lesson where students Study the 9/11 terrorist attacks through a K-W-L chart and Venn Diagrams that lead to writing a compare and contrast essay.

* Strategies to dissect writing prompts (see Helping Students Respond To Writing Prompts).

* Peer editing (see the excerpt from our book Edutopia titled Peer Review, Common Core, and ELLs).

* Helping students understand “rising action/climax/falling action” (I primarily teach that when writing stories – see The Best Sites For Learning To Write A Story).

* Writing blog comments (see The Best Sources For Advice On Student Blogging).

* Mimic Writing (see The Value Of “Mimic Writing”).

* The guide also discussed the importance of mentor texts/exemplars, along with the strategy of having students color-code different parts of an essay, both which I use.

* It talks a lot of various cute writing mnemonics.  I use a lot of them (see Here’s An Example Of How I Scaffold A Short Writing Prompt “They Say, I Say” Is A Great Writing Resource and Exploratree).  However – and this is not very clear to me – I think they might consider those more writing “formulas” and they might, instead, be talking about using them for more metacognitive planning (like what I write about in A Pretty Darn Good Lesson — If I Say So Myself and Another Lesson Combining Metacognition, Writing, Speaking, & Listening) .  I’ll send that question off to them to see what they have to say about it.

* It talks a lot about using rubrics, which I have mixed feelings about (see The Best Rubric Sites (And A Beginning Discussion About Their Use) ).

*And, to my surprise and disappointment, I think it gives short shrift to the importance of formative assessment (see The Best Resources For Learning About Formative Assessment).

* It is nice that they give a shout-out to the National Writing Project!

There’s a whole lot more there – check out the guide and feel free to leave comments here about it and/or my comments.

 

October 31, 2016
by Larry Ferlazzo
0 comments

“Young Writers Program” Looks Like An Excellent Online Site To Assist Student Writing

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The longer I teach, the more I realized I don’t know…

I just learned that November is National Novel Writing Month, and that there is a fabulous new website called Young Writers Program to help teachers encourage students to write.

You can learn more details at an excellent Ed Week write-up headlined Resource Watch: National Novel Writing Month Has a New Website for Educators.

The site includes the ability to create virtual classrooms to monitor student progress and student forums to discuss writing, as well as lesson plans.

I’m adding this info to:

The Best Sites That Students Can Use Independently And Let Teachers Check On Progress

The Best Online Tools That Can Help Students Write An Essay

October 16, 2016
by Larry Ferlazzo
1 Comment

The Best Resources For Writing In Social Studies Classes

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As I mentioned two days ago, in addition to teaching high school during the day, I also teach an ESL Methods class to teacher credential candidates at California State University, Sacramento.

Next semester, I have also insanely agreed to teach a content literacy class to credential candidates at the University of California, Davis.

I’ve got a good handle on writing in Social Studies and English classes and, in preparation for the course, am reading up on writing in math and science classes. Two days ago, I published The Best Resources For Writing In Math Class. Yesterday, I posted The Best Resources For Writing In Science Class.

Even though, as I mentioned, I feel I’m pretty experienced in writing and Social Studies (since I teach both English and Social Studies classes), I thought it couldn’t hurt my credential students or me if I created a similar list for that subject.

You might also be interested in My Best Posts On Writing Instruction.

Here’s the beginning of a list on writing in social studies (I’ve also including some reading resources). Feel free to share your own suggestions:

Common Core: Teach Literacy in Every Subject is from Ed Week.

Writing Across the Curriculum – Social Studies

Strategies for Writing to Learn in Social Studies

Writing In The Social Studies Classroom

R.A.F.T. Prompts for History & Social Studies Class

Writing in Social Studies Classrooms

Creative Writing In Social Studies

Common Core Connection: Narrative Writing in the Social Studies Classroom

Teaching Reading In Social Studies

Integrating Social Studies into Literacy Routines is by Angela Watson

Reading Strategies for the Social Studies Class

October 15, 2016
by Larry Ferlazzo
0 comments

The Best Resources For Writing In Science Class

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As I mentioned yesterday, in addition to teaching high school during the day, I also teach an ESL Methods class to teacher credential candidates at California State University, Sacramento.

Next semester, I have also insanely agreed to teach a content literacy class to credential candidates at the University of California, Davis.

I’ve got a good handle on writing in Social Studies (though will be posting a separate list for that subject) and English classes and, in preparation for the course, am reading up on writing in math and science classes. Yesterday, I published The Best Resources For Writing In Math Class.

You might also be interested in My Best Posts On Writing Instruction.

Here’s the beginning of a list on writing in science (I’ve also included some reading resources). Feel free to share your own suggestions:

Common Core: Teach Literacy in Every Subject is from Ed Week.

Engaging Students Through Writing: The Case of a Science Class is from The College of Staten Island (where I grew up!).

Creative Writing in Science Class is from Education Week.

Writing In Science

Writing Across the Curriculum – Science

Science The Write Way

Science Writing: A Tool for Learning Science and Developing Language is from The Exploratorium.

Writing in Science Classrooms

Descriptive Writing: Just Right for Science Class is from Middleweb.

Literacy In Science

Writing In Science

Writing In Science is a video from Annenberg.

Lots of free downloadables at Writing in Science in Action.

Writing in the Science Class: Lab Conclusions

Integrating the Common Core Literacy Skills in Science Classes

Encouraging active reading in the science classroom

Reading Techniques Help Students Master Science is from Scientific American.

Strategies for Teaching Science Content Reading

Integrating Literacy Strategies into Science Instruction

Teaching Reading in Science

October 15, 2016
by Larry Ferlazzo
0 comments

The Best Resources For Writing In Math Class

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Regular readers know that, in addition to teaching high school during the day, I also teach an ESL Methods class to teacher credential candidates at California State University, Sacramento.

Next semester, I have also insanely agreed to teach a content literacy class to credential candidates at the University of California, Davis.

I’ve got a good handle on writing in Social Studies and English classes and, in preparation for the course, am reading up on writing in math and science classes.

You might also be interested in My Best Posts On Writing Instruction.

Here’s the beginning of a list on writing in math (I’ve also including some resources on reading), and one on writing in science is not far behind. Feel free to share your own suggestions:

Common Core: Teach Literacy in Every Subject is from Ed Week.

Should We Do More Writing in Math Class? appeared in Middleweb.

Students in My Math Classes Next Year Will Do a Lot of Writing. Here’s Why is from Ed Week.

4 Tips for Writing in the Math Classroom is by Heather Wolpert-Gawron.

Writing In Math Class?

Writing in Math Class by Mr. Honner

WRITING IN MATH CLASS is by Doug Lemov.

Writing Across the Curriculum – Mathematics

Writing in Math is by Marilyn Burns.

Using Writing In Mathematics To Deepen Student Learning

Using Writing In Mathematics

Harness the Power of Writing in Math is from The Teaching Channel.

Using Writing to Improve Math Learning is from AMLE.

JOURNAL WRITING IN THE MATHEMATICS CLASSROOM: A BEGINNER’S APPROACH

Integrating Writing and Mathematics

A Guide to Writing in Mathematics Classes

Math Prompts from Read Write Think

Reading in the Mathematics Classroom

Utilizing Reading Strategies in the Math Classroom

Teaching Reading in Mathematics and Science

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