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"Larry Ferlazzo's Websites of the Day..." - 5 new articles

  1. Ideas For Finishing The School Year Strong & Beginning The Summer Even Stronger
  2. “Dissecting Grades: What Do They Mean, What Are They Worth?” Is My New BAM! Radio Program
  3. Study: Gratitude Increases Self-Control
  4. Book Reviews – & Shakespeare – In Three Panels
  5. Who’s To Blame For The SAT’s Existence? Thanks A Lot, Tom Edison…
  6. More Recent Articles
  7. Search Larry Ferlazzo's Websites of the Day...
  8. Prior Mailing Archive

Ideas For Finishing The School Year Strong & Beginning The Summer Even Stronger

A very popular excerpt from one of my books was titled “Finishing The School Year Strong” was published both at Education Week Teacher and at Edutopia.

It’s very practical, and here’s an excerpt:


Okay, so that’s for dealing with these last several weeks of school.

Is there anything we can do to set-up our students for continuing their academic success in July and August? When there were funds for summer school, at least sixty percent of our 2,000 students would enroll for those classes — not because of having bad grades, but because they wanted to come.

Those days are long-gone — our District hasn’t had money for summer school for at least the last six years.

I’ve previously posted about how I set-up free virtual classrooms at a variety of sites for my Beginning and Intermediate English Language Learners to use during summers and, typically, at least half of them study fairly consistently. I do the same for my mainstream English students, and about a quarter of them tend to use the sites. I make arrangements with their following year’s teacher (who is often me :) ) to give them extra credit for their summer work, but that is clearly a very minor part of their motivation.

Here are those previous posts on my summer work:

How I’m Helping My Students Try To Avoid The “Summer Slide”

Part Two Of “How I’m Helping My Students Try To Avoid The “Summer Slide””

Since I published those posts, a ton of new additional sites have become available that let teachers set-up virtual classrooms for free. I’ll be adding several of these new tools to my list, but haven’t yet gotten around to determining which ones. You can see them all at The Best Sites That Students Can Use Independently And Let Teachers Check On Progress.

And you can see all sorts of research on the summer slide at The Best Resources On The “Summer Slide.”

What do you do to help your students try to avoid the “summer slide”?


“Dissecting Grades: What Do They Mean, What Are They Worth?” Is My New BAM! Radio Program


Dissecting Grades: What Do They Mean, What Are They Worth? is the title of my new ten-minute BAM! Radio program. My guest is Rick Wormeli.

I’m adding it to The Best Resources On Grading Practices.


Study: Gratitude Increases Self-Control

'PATIENCE' photo (c) 2009, Gemma Bardsley - license:

I’ve written in the past about my use of “Reflection Cards” in the classroom, including the research behind them (you can download a copy of the card and read the research at my post, Giving Students “Reflection Cards.”

Research shows that self-control can be replenished by both self-affirmation exercises and by remembering better times.

So, I created cards that I sometimes give to students when they are having behavior issues in the classroom to complete outside and come back in after they’re done. The cards just take a couple of minutes to complete and include these instructions:

1. Please write at least three sentences about a time (or times) you have felt successful and happy:

2. Please write at least three sentences about something that is important to you (friends, family, sports, etc.) and why it’s important:

They’ve worked pretty effectively.

Now, new research written about in the Harvard Business Reviews suggests that having people write what they are grateful for can also increase patience. You can read about their experiments in the short article, Gratitude Is the New Willpower.

Here’s an excerpt:


I guess it’s time to add another instruction to the card (this is what the researchers had participants do):

Briefly write about an event from your past that made you feel grateful:

I’m adding this post to to lists:

The Best Posts About Helping Students Develop Their Capacity For Self-Control

The Best Resources On “Gratitude”


Book Reviews – & Shakespeare – In Three Panels


I’ve previously posted about Lisa Brown’s “Three Panel Book Reviews” that formerly appeared in The San Francisco Chronicle. They’re great models for student projects.

I recently learned about how another artist uses this “three panel” idea, though Mya Gosling uses it to summarizes Shakespeare’s plays. You can see all of her work here, and they’re more great models for student work.

I’m adding this info to My Best Posts On Books: Why They’re Important & How To Help Students Select, Read, Write & Discuss Them.


Who’s To Blame For The SAT’s Existence? Thanks A Lot, Tom Edison…

'Thomas Edison, 1930s' photo (c) 2011, Playing Futures:  Applied Nomadology - license:

The SAT Test has been in the news a lot, lately.

The College Board is revamping it, and they just released new sample questions.

In addition to those links, here are a few other useful articles:

The New SAT: Less Vocabulary, More Linear Equations is from NPR.

What is the SAT good for? is from The Washington Post.

The key problem the SAT changes won’t fix is also from The Washington Post.

College President: SAT Is Part Hoax, Part Fraud is from TIME.

But the main reason for this post is to reprint one I published a six years ago.

Here it is:

Thanks, Thomas Edison, For The Light Bulb, Phonograph and…the SAT?

Did you know that a test created by Thomas Edison inspired the creation of the not particularly useful SAT?

I didn’t, until I saw a short piece in the Mind Hack blog today. That post led to a much more descriptive article that appeared in the New Scientist magazine titled 163 ways to lose your job.

Edison apparently developed his ‘Brainmeter” test to evaluated the intelligence of job-seekers at his lab, and the test’s administrator went on to help create the SAT.

Both the blog post and article were pretty intriguing, but neither provided a link to the actual test. I found it at the National Park Service Edison National Historic site website, and you can take the test there (scroll down a bit).

How can this information be useful in today’s classroom, you might ask? Well, I have to admit the primary reason I’m writing this post is because I just found it interesting. However, even though the test isn’t accessible to English Language Learners, it might be fascinating to see what students might come-up with if they were asked to develop questions that they think would be effective in evaluating a person’s intelligence, and what criteria that might use to write them.


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