Larry Ferlazzo’s Websites of the Day…

…For Teaching ELL, ESL, & EFL

April 23, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo

Getty Museum Adds 77,000 Images To Public Domain


Last August, I published a post titled Getty Museum Makes Nearly 5,000 Public Domain Images Available Online — Will Increase In Future.

Well, they did just that this week, adding 77,000 more images to the public domain. They can be used for any purpose by anyone, as long as they give proper attribution.

You can read more about it at Open Culture and at The Getty.

I’m adding this info to The Best Online Sources For Images.

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April 23, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo

Apparently, Today Is Both “World Book Night” & “UN English Language Day” – Here Are The Best Resources For Both


It’s a little confusing to me, but UNESCO says today is apparently both “World Book Night” and “UN English Language Day.”

I use the word “confusing” because UNESCO has also declared March 6th as World Book Day (see The Best Resources For World Book Day). My sense is that UNESCO’s strategy is March 6th is for celebration reading in general, and today, April 23rd, emphasizes book-giving.

I’d be happy, though, to be told by someone that there’s a more clear difference between the two.

And, as far as being UN English Language Day. Here’s an explanation from My English Club:

English, along with French, is one of the two working languages of the United Nations, and one of the Organization’s six official languages.

Because it is so widely spoken, English is often referred to as a “world language”, or the lingua franca of the modern era.

English Language Day at the UN is celebrated on 23 April, the date traditionally observed as the birthday of William Shakespeare. The Day is the result of a 2010 initiative by the Department of Public Information, establishing language days for each of the Organization’s six official languages. The purpose of the UN’s language days is to celebrate multilingualism and cultural diversity as well as to promote equal use of all six official languages throughout the Organization.

Under the initiative, UN duty stations around the world celebrate six separate days, each dedicated to one of the Organization’s six official languages.

The days are as follows:

Arabic (18 December)
Chinese (20 April)
French (20 March)
Russian (6 June)
Spanish (12 October)

Here are some resources on both of these days:

World Book Night: Leading authors line up for ‘sacred’ celebration is from The Guardian, which also has a whole collection of resources.

Southern Californians ready for latest chapter of World Book Night is from The LA Times.

What Is World Book Night?

World Book Night – United States

UN English Language Day

Here’s the UN’s official announcement of language days.

Additional suggestions are welcome.

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April 23, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo

Another Big Surprise: Reflection Helps Learning


Hot on the heels of Another Shocker – NOT! Students Respond Better To Support Than Threats, yet another study has been released finding something that has been obvious to teachers for years — reflecting on a learning experience enhances it.

Here’s how the Harvard Business Journal summarized the results:

Research participants who did an arithmetic brain-teaser and then reflected on their strategies for solving it went on to do 18% better in a second round than their peers who hadn’t set aside time to reflect, according to Giada Di Stefano of HEC Paris, Francesca Gino and Gary Pisano of Harvard Business School, and Bradley Staats of the University of North Carolina. The unconscious learning that happens when you tackle a challenging task can become more effective if you deliberately couple it with controlled, conscious attempts to learn by thinking, the research suggests.

A huge added benefit to this research is that the study itself is available for free download. And, not only that, but it’s actually written in a way relatively accessible to laypeople (without lots of academic gobbledy-guk) and contains a great summary of previous research on learning and reflection.

I’m adding this info to The Best Resources On Student & Teacher Reflection.

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April 23, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo

Google Street View Adds “Go Back In Time” Feature Today


There are a number of sites out there that let you click on a location in Google Street View and then show you historical images of that same site going back many, many years.

And you can access the best of them at The Best Historical Photo + Video Map-Based Sites.

Today, Google has announced their own somewhat similar (though far more limited) “Go Back In Time” feature – they’ve put photos from when they began taking them back in 2007 online so, at least in many places:

If you see a clock icon in the upper left-hand portion of a Street View image, click on it and move the slider through time and select a thumbnail to see that same place in previous years or seasons.

However, when I access Street View now, I don’t see any clock icons, even at the examples cited by Google in their blog post about it.  So, I’m assuming they’re doing a gradual roll-out of the feature.

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April 22, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo

NY Times Creates New Data Journalism Site — “Upshot”


I’ve previously written a review of two new “data-journalism” sites — see “FiveThirtyEight” & “” Are Two New Free Online News Sites — Here’s What I Think Of Them.

Today, a similar new online publication jumped into the fray — Upshot, created by The New York Times. It’s their successor to the “Five Thirty-Eight” blog that Nate Silver took with him when he left The Times last year.

One day does not a news site make, but “Upshot” looks pretty good so far (of course, who knows if it showed its best stuff on opening day and it will be all downhill from here?). It’s focused on government and economics, and its articles seem slightly shorter than Vox’s, and have accompanying data visualizations (which seem more sophisticated than the ones you’d find at Vox). It also seems a bit more serious than Vox and doesn’t try to add any funny/fluffy features, which Vox tries to do a bit.

For now, I’d put it roughly on the same level as Vox as a site worth reading, and I expect to do so everyday.

I was less enthusiastic about Five-Thirty-Eight in my initial review, and I continue to have the same feelings. The articles aren’t as interesting as the ones at either Vox or Upshot, the narrative appears to be more of an “add-on” to the data visualizations, as opposed to an equal partner, and some of the topics are just plain weird (beards?).

You can also read The Atlantic’s take on the three sites here.

What do you think?

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April 21, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
1 Comment

Another Shocker – NOT! Students Respond Better To Support Than Threats


Yet another study has found that threats of punishment is not a very effective motivating tactic.

You can read a summary of this new study at Science Daily, Teachers’ scare tactics may lead to lower exam scores.

And if you want to read about a zillion other studies that show the same thing, you can start at:

Surprise, Surprise — Study Finds Shouting At Children “creates further discipline problems”

Emphasizing Pride, Not Shame, In Classroom Management

The Best Posts & Articles On “Motivating” Students

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April 20, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo

This Week’s “Links I Should Have Posted About, But Didn’t”

'forged link chain (5)' photo (c) 2009, Kirsten Skiles - license:

I have a huge backlog of resources that I’ve been planning to post about in blog but, just because of time constraints, have not gotten around to doing. Instead of letting that backlog grow bigger, I regularly grab a few and list them here with a minimal description. It forces me to look through these older links, and help me organize them for my own use. I hope others will find them helpful, too. These are resources that I didn’t include in my “Best Tweets” feature because I had planned to post about them, or because I didn’t even get around to sending a tweet about them.

Here are This Week’s “Links I Should Have Posted About, But Didn’t”:

10 Reasons You Will Read This Medium Post is from…Medium. I’m adding it to The Best Posts & Articles About Why We Like Lists.

The Power of Performance Assessments is from Edutopia. I’m adding it to The Best Resources For Learning About Performance Assessment.

What is a foreign language worth? is from The Economist. I’m adding it to The Best Resources For Learning The Advantages To Being Bilingual.

Syria crisis: Uplifting letters of hope is from The BBC. I’m adding it to The Best Sites For Learning About World Refugee Day.

18 Maps From When the World Thought California Was an Island is from Wired. I’m adding it to The Best Sites For Learning About Historic Maps.

The What If’s of History is an interesting Storify. I’m adding it to The Best Resources For Teaching “What If?” History Lessons.

Welcome To Question Day 2014 has a lot of useful resources. I’m adding it to The Best Posts & Articles About Asking Good Questions.

Thinking Critically is from The University of British Columbia. I’m adding it to The Best Resources On Teaching & Learning Critical Thinking In The Classroom.

I’m adding these next two links to The Best Sites For Learning About Cesar Chavez:

What the New Cesar Chavez Film Gets Wrong About the Labor Activist is from Smithsonian Magazine.

The New Yorker has another critical take

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April 20, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo

More Resources On Everest

'Kathmandu , Nepal,Himalayas,Everest' photo (c) 2008, ilkerender - license:

Mt. Everest has been in the news recently with the news of the tragic avalanche. Here are some new additions to The Best Sites For Learning About Mount Everest (we do a unit on it to finish up the year in our mainstream ninth-grade English classes):

Survivor recalls how ice tumbled down in Mount Everest avalanche is from CNN.

Death Is Part of the Business for Everest Sherpa Guides is from NBC News.

Deadliest Day: Sherpas Bear Everest’s Risks is from The New York Times.

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April 20, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo

The Best Movies For IB Theory Of Knowledge Classes – What Are Your Suggestions?

'opening frames of the simpsons movie' photo (c) 2007, hillary h - license:

Generally, the only times students in my classes watch full movies are the few times I’m absent (though we’ll often watch short clips), and when I’m not there it usually relates to a school-related meeting.

All of the English teachers at our school spend four days each year — two near the beginning and two near the end — to review writing assessments all students in our school do twice a year (you can read all about that process at a previous post). Two of those days are coming-up and, since substitute teachers aren’t allowed to supervise computer use, I’m going to have my IB Theory of Knowledge class students watch a movie.

They’ll be watching “Inception” (you can download the hand-out they need to complete while watching it).

It also got me wondering about other movies that might be useful for TOK classes, too.

I have my students watch The Matrix as part of a lesson on Plato’s Allegory of The Cave, and you can see that lesson here.

I did a quick online search, and found three sites that offered other good suggestions:

Theory of Knowledge Filmography

The Student Room

IB Survival

What are your suggestions?

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April 19, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo

April’s Infographics & Interactives Galore – Part Five

There are just so many good infographics and interactives out there that I’ve begun a new semi-regular feature called “Infographics & Interactives Galore.”

You can see others at A Collection Of “The Best…” Lists On Infographics and by searching “infographics” on this blog.

I’ll still be publishing separate posts to individually highlight especially useful infographics and interactives, but you’ll find others in this regular feature.

Here goes:

The Next America is a fascinating interview projection of the future demographics in the United States. It’s from Pew Research.

National Priorities is a rich source of multiple interactives on taxes and spending.

Feeding Nine Billion is an interactive from National Geographic.

How Americans Die
by bloombergvisualdata.
Explore more visuals like this one on the web’s largest information design community – Visually.

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April 19, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo

“Sentence Navigator” Is Jason Renshaw’s Gift To ESL/EFL/ELL Teachers Everywhere!


ESL/EFL teachers who have been around awhile know of Jason Renshaw, who at one point had what I thought (and continue to think) was the best resource on the Web for ESL teachers — English Raven. Unfortunately, he took it off-line a few years ago, and now describes himself as a “former Tesol teacher, textbook author and web resources developer, now learning designer and elearning developer in higher ed (Open Universities Australia).”

Jason has continued his blog — with a somewhat different focus — and he has fortunately kept his huge archive there on TESOL available. His Open Source English resources, accompanied with his screencasts on how to use them, are a treasure trove.

One of my favorite inventions of his is called a “Sentence Navigator.” A screenshot of one small example is at the top of this post. It’s sort of a complex multiple choice exercise — I use some of the ones Jason produced, I create originals, and also have students make them for their classmates.

Jason explained them in an older article as:

a sentence navigation grid: five slots each containing three words. It will be up to the student to “navigate” this grid in order to build an appropriate answer to the question. The student will do this by circling the correct word in each slot and then referring to the teacher for feedback. Once all of the correct words have been circled, the student will be permitted to write the full answer in the space beneath.

Jason was kind enough to let me upload up two full units of Sentence Navigators to this blog so that any teachers can download them to use in class:

Sentence Navigator One

Sentence Navigator 2

Plus, he sent over a Screencast he had made explaining how to use them:

If you’re not using these already in your classroom, I hope you can start and see how useful they can be…

Thanks, Jason!

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April 19, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo

Around The Web In ESL/EFL/ELL

'find someone who:' photo (c) 2006, Rex Pe - license:

I’ve started a somewhat regular feature where I share a few posts and resources from around the Web related to ESL/EFL or to language in general that have caught my attention:

ELL Students Neglected in School Turnaround Efforts is from The Journal.

New School Standards Present Challenge for Refugee Students is from New America Media.

McGraw Hill has a ton of online videos showing ELL teachers in action. I’m adding it to The Best Online Videos Showing ESL/EFL Teachers In The Classroom. Thanks to Judie Haynes for the tip.

Essential Actions: 15 Research-based Practices to Increase EL Student Achievement is from Colorin Colorado.

Want to Teach Online? Here Are Four Platforms that You Can Use is from Teaching ESL Online.

#ELTchat summary on Sugata Mitra and 25 Questions He Needs To Answer is from The Teacher James. I’m adding it to The Best Posts & Videos About Sugata Mitra & His Education Ideas.

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