Larry Ferlazzo’s Websites of the Day…

…For Teaching ELL, ESL, & EFL

April 19, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
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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
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“Sentence Navigator” Is Jason Renshaw’s Gift To ESL/EFL/ELL Teachers Everywhere!

navigator

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
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Around The Web In ESL/EFL/ELL

'find someone who:' photo (c) 2006, Rex Pe - license: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

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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April 19, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
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Some Final Easter Resources For This Year

April 19, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
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The Best Posts On IB Theory Of Knowledge Oral Presentations

'spring 2012 hackNY student hackathon presentations' photo (c) 2012, hackNY.org - license: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/

Along with teaching English Language Learners at all levels and mainstream English classes, I also get to teach the International Baccalaureate Theory Of Knowledge course. In fact, it looks like I’ll get to teach two of them next year!

I regularly blog about TOK, and you can see all my annual lists of the the best TOK resources here.

I’ve also been inviting guest commentaries on all the changes that IB has begun instituting in TOK classes this year, and you can see those at:

The Best Commentaries On The New IB Theory Of Knowledge Teaching Guide

The Best Posts On Teaching TOK “Knowledge Questions”

Changes have come to the TOK Oral Presentation, too, and here are all my posts on that topic:

“The Times They Are a-Changin’”…For IB Theory Of Knowledge Oral Presentations

Here Is The Simple Outline I’m Having My TOK Students Use For Their Oral Presentation

Guest Post: More On Theory Of Knowledge Oral Presentations

Guest Post: Commentary On Theory Of Knowledge Oral Presentations

Feel free to contribute your thoughts in the comments section.

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April 19, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
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Special Edition Of This Week’s “Round-Up” Of Useful Posts On Education Policy

'Fair Contract Now' photo (c) 2012, Brad Perkins - license: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/

Usually, I only publish a once-weekly “round-up” of good posts and articles on education policy issues. However, I’m a bit behind, so I’m catching-up with this “special edition”:

Kill tenure, cure schools? was published in the Los Angeles Times. I’m adding it to The Best Resources On California Court Case Attacking Teacher’s Rights.

Competing Views of Teacher Tenure Are on Display in California Case is from The New York Times. I’m adding it to the same list.

Teachers asked to ‘inspect’ Ofsted is from TES Connect.

More Research Needed on Proper Use of Common-Core Tests, Report Says is from Education Week. I’m adding it to The Best Resources For Learning About The “Next Generation” Of State Testing.

Kamenetz & Gallup Nail the Key to School Improvement by John Thompson is a good commentary on a recent Gallup Poll and on a Hechinger Report post analyzing the poll. I’m adding both to The Best Posts & Articles About The Importance Of Teacher (& Student) Working Conditions.

Pay-for-Performance for CEOs and Teachers is by Larry Cuban. I’m adding it to The Best Resources For Learning Why Teacher Merit Pay Is A Bad Idea.

Fresno teachers union opposes extension of No Child Left Behind waiver is from The Fresno Bee. I’m adding it to The Best Posts & Articles On The NCLB Waiver Given To Eight California School Districts (Including Ours).

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April 19, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
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Four Excellent Resources For Learning About Cultures Around The World

'A Globe' photo (c) 2008, Ralf Peter Reimann - license: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/

Here are four new additions to The Best Sites For Learning About The World’s Different Cultures:

Meals and Meal Times in English-Speaking Countries is by Tanja Batista.

How Democratic and Republican morals compare to the rest of the world is from The Washington Post.

25 Fascinating Charts Of Negotiation Styles Around The World is from Business Insider.

I learned about this “28 Birthday Traditions From Around the World” video from Michelle Henry:

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April 18, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
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“The Best Commentaries On The ‘Broken Compass’ Parent Involvement Book”

'Compass Study' photo (c) 2010, Calsidyrose - license: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

You might, or might not, be aware of the recent controversy around a new book titled The Broken Compass:Parental Involvement With Children’s Education. Its authors recently had an op-ed in The NY Times reviewing their contention that, basically, all previous research on the value of parent engagement with schools is wrong.

Well, I’ve brought together “The Best Commentaries On The ‘Broken Compass’ Parent Involvement Book” over at my other blog, Engaging Parents In Schools.

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April 18, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
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Guest Post: Commentary On Theory Of Knowledge Oral Presentations

'spring 2012 hackNY student hackathon presentations' photo (c) 2012, hackNY.org - license: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/

I’ve been publishing guest commentaries on all the changes this year in International Baccalaureate Theory of Knowledge classes, and you can see them all here.

And here’s another one!

Today’s piece is from Brad Ovenell-Carter. Brad is the director of educational technology and TOK department head at Mulgrave School, an independent, coed K12 IB World School in Vancouver, Canada. Like Mark Twain, he thinks the ancients stole all out good ideas. And he wants them back:

I really like the general move towards more holistic learning and assessment in TOK. The old, analytic approach lead to monolithic interpretations of the areas of knowledge and to so-called “naked ways of knowing.” The essay, in particular, is much improved by the new global impression marking.

The oral presentation guide never had quite the same flaw as its assessment tool was always more global. Still, it too is made better in the new guide and I especially appreciate the renewed emphasis on finding practical applications of TOK.

Nevertheless, I am quite bothered by a thought experiment:

Suppose after working with her teacher and following the new TOK oral presentation guide, a student submits a perfect planning document for her TOK oral presentation. Then suppose at the last minute she ditches her original idea and documentation and on the day of her presentation delivers an inspired and brilliant session on something completely different–without any supporting documents.

Now, would she write her planning document retroactively? Even if that were permissible, why would I ask her to do that? When I hear a great lecture I don’t ask to see the planning document, I just listen. I have Hans Rosling’s planning notes for a lecture he gave to 1600 people and they are literally only a thin sketch of his characteristically compelling presentation. Would I have to fail her on the grounds that she didn’t tell me what she was going to say? That makes no sense for the same reason. Can a TOK presentation be made without a planning document? The guide says no.

I am not at all suggesting there should be no planning. I do question whether the heightened importance of the planning document in the new guide effectively asks us to assess how well the the presentation matched the planning document, not the presentation itself.

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April 18, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
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April’s Best Tweets — Part Three

'Twitter' photo (c) 2010, West McGowan - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

Every month I make a few short lists highlighting my choices of the best resources I through (and learned from) Twitter, but didn’t necessarily include them in posts here on my blog.

I’ve already shared in earlier posts several new resources I found on Twitter — and where I gave credit to those from whom I learned about them. Those are not included again in post.

If you don’t use Twitter, you can also check-out all of my “tweets” on Twitter profile page.

You might also be interested in The Best Tweets Of 2013.

I use Storify to “curate” my best tweets:

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April 17, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
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British Pathé Makes 85,000 Historical Clips Available On YouTube

pathe

I’m just going to begin with a quote from Open Culture:

British Pathé was one of the leading producers of newsreels and documentaries during the 20th Century. This week, the company, now an archive, is turning over its entire collection — over 85,000 historical films – to YouTube.

The archive — which spans from 1896 to 1976 – is a goldmine of footage, containing movies of some of the most important moments of the last 100 years.

It’s an amazing collection that will be gold mine to U.S. and World History teachers everywhere. And, in a bonus to teachers of English Language Learners, many appear to be close-captioned (not using YouTube’s error-plagued automatic system).

I’m adding this info to both The Best Websites For Teaching & Learning About World History and to The Best Websites For Teaching & Learning About U.S. History.

Here’s a sampling:

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April 17, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
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Updated Holocaust Resources

'0578 Holocaust Memorial Baltimore Maryland' photo (c) 2009, Bill McChesney - license: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

From The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum:

Congress established the Days of Remembrance as the nation’s annual commemoration of the Holocaust and created the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum as a permanent living memorial to the victims. Holocaust remembrance week is April 27–May 4, 2014.

I have multiple Holocaust-related “Best” lists, and you can find them all at The Best Sites For Learning About The Holocaust.

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April 17, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
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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:

The-remembering-self-is

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”?

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April 17, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
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Study: Gratitude Increases Self-Control

'PATIENCE' photo (c) 2009, Gemma Bardsley - license: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

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:

Those-whod-described

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”

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April 16, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
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Book Reviews – & Shakespeare – In Three Panels

shakespeare

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.

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April 16, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
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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: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

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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