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  1. How My ESL Intermediate/Beginner Students Evaluated Our Class & Me This Semester
  2. Speakpipe Is Super-Easy Way To Receive Audio Blog Comments
  3. The Best Resources On Japanese Internment In World War II
  4. I’ll Be Presenting At The CCIRA Conference In Denver This Week
  5. Free Email Newsletter Sent-Out This Week
  6. January’s Best Posts
  7. Research Studies Of The Week
  8. More Recent Articles
  9. Search Larry Ferlazzo's Websites of the Day...
  10. Prior Mailing Archive

How My ESL Intermediate/Beginner Students Evaluated Our Class & Me This Semester

This is the second in a series of recapping student evaluations of my classes this past semester. You can find all these reviews and more at My Best Posts On Students Evaluating Classes (And Teachers).

This post covers my double-period English class of Intermediate and Beginner ELL’s. Here’s a copy of the anonymous evaluation form I used.

Most of the activities we did, and my own qualities as a teacher, received high marks — most, though not all. This is just going to be a short post, and I’m going to highlight some items that stood out:

* Though “writing essays” was rated as one of the activities Intermediate students liked the least, they — impressively, I think — ranked it very high as one of the activities they learned the most from doing.

* Beginner students ranked our use of the Picture Word Inductive Model as both one of the activities they liked the most and one from which they learned the most. I was glad to see that…

* All student ranked using computers high in both categories.

* Students ranked me high in most teaching qualities. However, I was surprised to see that the qualities where I received the lowest (though still relatively high) marks were in “patience” and “is organized and prepared.” Since I think those are two of my strongest areas, I’m not sure what to make of it. There is such a wide range of English proficiency in the class, and this is the first year we’ve tried to do a combined Intermediate/Beginner class, things can be a little hectic trying to balance it all. I wonder if that contributes to my appearing to have less patience and being less prepared? Or, on the other hand, maybe I am just less patient and less prepared than I think I am? I’ve got to think about this a little more.

* Though four-fifths of the class ranked me at the top of the scale as a teacher they would like to have again, one-fifth gave a middle or low-ranking response to that question. Though that’s a low percentage, it’s still the biggest non-positive response I’ve every gotten for the question from a class. It would certainly be helpful to know if there is a pattern to those responders — if they are in the Intermediates or Beginners, or if it crosses both but, of course, that’s not possible to know in an anonymous survey. Everyone said that the pace of the class is “just right,” as opposed to being too slow or too fast, so I tend not to think that a lack of differentiation is the problem.

I’d love to hear other people’s analyses of these responses. At this point, my primary take-away is that I should continue to do what I’m doing, and be a little more conscious of patience and preparation.


Speakpipe Is Super-Easy Way To Receive Audio Blog Comments

SpeakPipe provides you with a widget to install on your blog or website that lets readers send you an audio message of up to five minutes in length. The message goes to your Speakpipe inbox, and you receive an email notification that you’ve received one. More importantly, at least for teachers of English Language Learners, you also get a url address for the message that you can post so that students can use it to hear themselves.

Ronnie Burt at Edublogs told me that it would work with Edublogs, and that set-up was easy, though I didn’t initially believe him. However, the site has clear instructions on how to install it into various blogging platforms. It took me less than a minute to install it on my ESL class blog (you’ll find it on the right side saying “Send Voicemail”) so, if I can do it, you know it’s easy :)

Unfortunately, the only way others can hear the audio comments that are left is if you manually post them, so it’s not ideal. But it’s a nice tool that free — at least, for now.


The Best Resources On Japanese Internment In World War II

Every January 30th is officially Fred Korematsu Day in California. Here’s some background on it from YES Magazine:

In 1942, 23 year-old shipyard welder Fred Korematsu refused to join over 120,000 West Coast Japanese Americans who were rounded up and taken to incarceration camps under President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s Executive Order No. 9066. While Korematsu’s family was at the Topaz incarceration camp in the Utah desert, Korematsu was appealing his conviction. In 1944, the Supreme Court voted in a 6-3 decision against Korematsu, claiming the incarceration was justified for military reasons. It wasn’t until Nov. 10, 1983 that his conviction was overturned.

Fred Korematsu continued to speak up for civil rights throughout his life. He believed that “If you have the feeling that something is wrong, don’t be afraid to speak up.” That message remains alive in the mission and teachings of the Fred T. Korematsu Institute for Civil Rights and Education. In 2010, the state of California established January 30 as Fred Korematsu Day.

Here are my choices for The Best Resources On Japanese Internment In World War II:

The Fred Korematsu Institute has a full, and free, online curriculum.

World War II: Internment of Japanese Americans is a photo gallery from The Atlantic.

Here is a link to my Internment Of Japanese-Americans lesson on my older United States History class blog, which includes many resources.

U.S. official cites misconduct in Japanese American internment cases is a fascinating article in The Los Angeles Times discussing how the present United States Solicitor General is apologizing for the misconduct of one of his predecessors for his role in defending Japanese-American internment camps during World War II. During the war, he chose not to reveal a government study concluding that Japanese-Americans were not a risk to U.S. security.

Watch this video and do the three activities under “Explore.”

Look at these pictures from one of the camps.

Fairness Fighters is from PBS.

Life In A Japanese Internment Camp is from The Smithsonian.

A More Perfect Union is another resource from The Smithsonian.

These resources are from The University of California.

Digital History has a feature on the internment.

This video is from The History Channel:

Feedback, as always, is welcome.

If you found this post useful, you might want to look at the 850 other “The Best…” lists and consider subscribing to this blog for free.


I’ll Be Presenting At The CCIRA Conference In Denver This Week

My wife and I are headed to Denver later this week where I’ll be leading a couple of workshops at the Colorado Council International Reading Association Conference.

I’ve set up a simple wiki with resources for the workshops.

According to The Weather Channel, my worst fears about Denver in February don’t appear ready to materialize — Hooray!

I hope to meet readers, and non-readers, of my blog there!


Free Email Newsletter Sent-Out This Week

I sent out my free monthly email newsletter this week to about 2,000 subscribers.

If you’re interested, you can subscribe to it here.


January’s Best Posts

I regularly highlight my picks for the most useful posts for each month — not including “The Best…” lists. I also use some of them in a more extensive monthly newsletter I send-out. You can see my previous Best Posts of the Month at Websites Of The Month.

These posts are different from the ones I list under the monthly “Most Popular Blog Posts.” Those are the posts the largest numbers of readers “clicked-on” to read. I have to admit, I’ve been a bit lax about writing those posts, though.

Here are some of the posts I personally think are the best, and most helpful, ones I’ve written during this past month (not in any order of preference):







Research Studies Of The Week

I often write about research studies from various field and how they can be applied to the classroom. I write individual posts about ones that I think are especially significant, and will continue to do so. However, so many studies are published that it’s hard to keep up. So I’ve started writing a “round-up” of some of them each week or every other week as a regular feature:

Physicists Seek To Lose The Lecture As Teaching Tool is an NPR Report about the successes of a professor who has stopped lecturing and, and instead, has begun using small groups. American Radio Works has a more extensive feature on the results. I’m adding this to The Best Sites For Cooperative Learning Ideas.

Changing our Minds discusses a study and other ideas that suggest “fiction helps us understand ourselves and others.” I’m adding it to The Best Resources On “Becoming What We Read.”

Learning From Brilliant Mistakes and Finding Opportunity in Failures are both articles and videos related to Paul J.H. Schoemaker’s book, ‘Brilliant Mistakes.’ I’m adding them to The Best Posts, Articles & Videos About Learning From Mistakes & Failures.

V is for Visualization at Scott Thornbury’s blog is a discussion of research, and teacher’s experiences, of using visualization with language learners. I’m adding it to My Best Posts On Helping Students “Visualize Success.”


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