As regular readers know, I teach an International Baccalaureate “Theory of Knowledge” class. Our school structures our IB program a bit differently from many others by having a whole lot of students take individual IB classes and we have relatively few who are taking all IB classes in order to get the IB diploma. I really like this set-up, and it opens up my TOK class to a lot more students.
As I’ve said before, I can’t think of a high school class that would be more fun to teach or more fun to take…
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Here are my choices for The Best Theory Of Knowledge Resources In 2012 — So Far:
The TOK Oral Presentation is a key part of all Theory Of Knowledge classes, and Jeff Taylor, who I assume is a TOK teacher, has created an amazingly helpful Prezi slideshow on TOK Presentation Tips. I’ve embedded it over at our Theory of Knowledge class blog.
‘What Money Can’t Buy’ and What it Shouldn’t Buy is a terrific interview of Harvard professor Michael Sandel about his new book, “What Money Can’t Buy.” It appeared on the PBS News Hour tonight (Part Two will be online tomorrow and I’ll post it here). I’ve embedded the video below, though I don’t know if it will show up in an RSS feed. If you go to the previous link you can also read the transcript. I’ve previously written about Professor Sandel’s new book and what he has to say about schools. I also use his work when we study ethics in our IB Theory Of knowledge class.
VERY Useful Analysis Of Bill Nye’s Video On Creationism
“Teenage Philosopher Defends Missing Her Curfew” is a must-read, very funny piece from McSweeney’s Magazine. It is perfect for an IB Theory of Knowledge class! I’m going to have students read it, and then work in pairs to find the meaning of each philosophical allusion in the article. It will be a fun activity near the end of the school year, and I’ll probably even make it a contest (I’m obviously not a fan of extrinsic rewards, but, in this case, I’ll make a very silly one).
I titled the post where I published this comic “There Are Dangers To Always Doing What You’re Told To Do….”:
August 20, 2012
by Larry Ferlazzo
As I’ve mentioned previously, I’m doing mid-year lists to make it easier for me to do my end-of-year final lists.
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And you might also want to see The Best Funny Videos Showing The Importance Of Being Bilingual — Part One ; The Best Videos Illustrating Qualities Of A Successful Language Learner and The Best Fun Videos About Books & Reading.
Here are my choices for The Best Videos For Educators In 2012 — So Far:
Here’s a short video demonstrating Bloom’s Taxonomy through scenes from the movie, “Finding Nemo.” It only has still scenes for each level with a description, but it would be easy enough to show the scenes from a DVD or via Netflix and use this video as a guide:
And here’s Bloom’s Taxonomy (Revised) According to Homer Simpson. I’ve embedded the video below, though if it doesn’t show up on an RSS Readers you might have to click through to see it. I’m adding it to The Best Resources For Helping Teachers Use Bloom’s Taxonomy In The Classroom, where it joins similar videos using clips from Star Wars, Seinfield and Pirates of the Caribbean to provide a similar light-hearted, but educational, perspective.
I’ve written a lot about the work of Harvard Professor Michael Sandel. Here’s short video where he’s considering the question “Should we pay children to read?” He gets to the crux of the matter in the final couple of minutes:
I titled this video “Sometimes You Just Have To Take The Risk, Jump In, & Grab An Opportunity Because It May Not Be There For Long…”:
First, congratulations to LeBron James on his first NBA Championship.
Second, thanks to LeBron for spending so much reading and making it so public.
Here’s a video on why and what he’s reading, and an ESPN article about it — LeBron James, open book.
Justin Reich posted Don’t Use Khan Academy without Watching this First, and it’s a very important post where he shared this video two teachers (and an important commentary about it), Dave Coffey and John Golden, created:
Bill Ferriter found this video and wrote a must-read commentary about it — Learning about Grading from the Baljeatles.
Let’s not turn our students into this, please. This video make a great case for why we need to help our students develop intrinsic motivation.
This really is an extraordinary video, and is tailor-made to use in an ESL class — it’s extremely engaging and has lots of different activities that students can describe and discuss. In fact, it’s engaging for anyone…. Unfortunately, it’s also a commercial for Coke, but the advertising part is very small at the end:
PBS released this wonderful remix of Mister Rogers:
Thanks to an excellent post by Jennifer Brokofsky, I learned about this short video of Sir Ken Robinson. He makes an excellent point about the importance of helping students motivate themselves (and I’m adding it to The Best Posts & Articles On “Motivating” Students):
“Farmers and gardeners know you cannot make a plant grow….The plant grows itself. What you do is provide the conditions for growth. And great farmers know what the conditions are and bad ones don’t. Great teachers know what the conditions for growth are and bad ones don’t.”
In this video, some ducklings were able to get over the curb on their own. However, several found that it was just too high. Look at how someone provides assistance to those having trouble, and how he doesn’t tell them what to do. Instead, he offers it as an option, as a choice they can make. It’s an example of an old community organizing axiom, “If you don’t give people the opportunity to say no, you don’t give them the opportunity to say yes, either.”
Diane Ravitch calls this video clip the “greatest single commentary on flaws of data-driven school reform today.” It is pretty darn good, I have to agree:
Perpetual Ocean is a NASA video showing ocean currents over a two year period. I’m adding it to The Best Sites For Learning About The World’s Oceans.
Check-out the just-released Symphony of Science video about dinosaurs. I’m adding it to The Best Sites For Learning About Dinosaurs:
This is a very good short video on how our brain learns. It also reinforces the importance of deliberative practice. I’m adding it to The Best Resources For Showing Students That They Make Their Brain Stronger By Learning:
This is a hilarious video using the often-used Hitler video clip to comment on school testing. I’m adding it to A Collection Of The Best “Laugh While You Cry” Videos. Thanks to Bill Ferriter for finding it.
We Are All Connected is a great one minute film from The World Wildlife Fund.
You could have English Language Learners say/write what is happening in the film, compare the two screens, and explain how they are similar.
Donalyn Miller, The Book Whisperer, shared this video from Kathy Collins of Choice Literacy:
Feedback is welcome.
June 29, 2012
by Larry Ferlazzo
I’ve written a lot about the work of Harvard Professor Michael Sandel.
Here’s short video where he’s considering the question “Should we pay children to read?” He gets to the crux of the matter in the final couple of minutes:
I’m adding it to The Best Posts & Articles On “Motivating” Students.
It’s particularly timely because of this past week’s release of a study on paying students to work harder on tests, which I’ve written about at:
June 11, 2012
by Larry Ferlazzo
‘What Money Can’t Buy’ and What it Shouldn’t Buy is a terrific interview of Harvard professor Michael Sandel about his new book, “What Money Can’t Buy.”
It appeared on the PBS News Hour tonight (Part Two will be online tomorrow and I’ll post it here). I’ve embedded the video below, though I don’t know if it will show up in an RSS feed. If you go to the previous link you can also read the transcript.
I’ve previously written about Professor Sandel’s new book and what he has to say about schools. I also use his work when we study ethics in our IB Theory Of knowledge class.
May 23, 2012
by Larry Ferlazzo
Regular readers of this blog are well aware of my concerns about using extrinsic rewards.
Here’s another great example of why they can be so damaging…
Michael Sandel has recently written a book about the values of the market invading all aspects of our lives (see “What Isn’t for Sale?”). I have it on my nightstand, but haven’t gotten to it yet.
The Boston Globe published a short excerpt today — it’s worth reading the whole post. Here’s the excerpt:
For years, Switzerland had been trying to find a place to store its radioactive waste…. One location designated as a potential site was the small mountain village of Wolfenschiessen (population 2,100). In 1993, shortly before a referendum on the issue, economists surveyed the residents of the village, asking whether they would vote to accept a nuclear waste repository in their community if the Swiss parliament decided to build it there. Although the facility was widely viewed as an undesirable addition to the neighborhood, a slim majority (51 percent) of residents said they would accept it. Apparently their sense of civic duty outweighed their concern about the risks. Then the economists added a sweetener: suppose parliament proposed building the nuclear waste facility in your community and offered to compensate each resident with an annual monetary payment. Then would you favor it?
The result: support dropped to 25 percent. What’s more, upping the ante didn’t help. When the economists increased the monetary offer, the result was unchanged. The residents stood firm even when offered yearly cash payments as high as $8,700 per person, well in excess of the median monthly income.
March 21, 2012
by Larry Ferlazzo
What Isn’t for Sale? is an article by Professor Michael Sandel that appeared in The Atlantic over the weekend. It’s an excellent companion piece to my Washington Post column today, Bribing students: Another ‘magical solution’ that doesn’t work. In fact, he refers to the same Dallas study that I cite about paying students to read books.
I would strongly recommend reading his article (it’s not that long). Here are a few excerpts:
The most fateful change that unfolded during the past three decades was not an increase in greed. It was the reach of markets, and of market values, into spheres of life traditionally governed by nonmarket norms. To contend with this condition, we need to do more than inveigh against greed; we need to have a public debate about where markets belong—and where they don’t…..
….we should hesitate to put everything up for sale is more difficult to describe. It is not about inequality and fairness but about the corrosive tendency of markets. Putting a price on the good things in life can corrupt them. That’s because markets don’t only allocate goods; they express and promote certain attitudes toward the goods being exchanged. Paying kids to read books might get them to read more, but might also teach them to regard reading as a chore rather than a source of intrinsic satisfaction.
…. some of the good things in life are degraded if turned into commodities. So to decide where the market belongs, and where it should be kept at a distance, we have to decide how to value the goods in question—health, education, family life, nature, art, civic duties, and so on. These are moral and political questions, not merely economic ones.
…without quite realizing it—without ever deciding to do so—we drifted from having a market economy to being a market society….The difference is this: A market economy is a tool—a valuable and effective tool—for organizing productive activity. A market society is a way of life in which market values seep into every aspect of human endeavor. It’s a place where social relations are made over in the image of the market.
The great missing debate in contemporary politics is about the role and reach of markets. Do we want a market economy, or a market society? What role should markets play in public life and personal relations? How can we decide which goods should be bought and sold, and which should be governed by nonmarket values? Where should money’s writ not run?
And, since I began this post talking about my article in today’s Washington Post, I refer to the use of “magical solutions” that end up making things worse as a hallmark of many school reform efforts, and use Disney’s animated classic “Fantasia” as a metaphor (allegory?). Here’s the scene from the movie I write about:
May 17, 2010
by Larry Ferlazzo
(NOTE: You might also be interested in my book, Helping Students Motivate Themselves: Practical Answers To Classroom Challenges.)
And check out its sequel, Self-Driven Learning.
Q & A Collections: Student Motivation brings all my Ed Week posts on student motivation together in one place.
I’ve put the word “motivating” in quotation marks for this post because I hate the word. Here’s how I put it in a previous post:
Anytime I hear or read about “motivating students,” I cringe a bit.
An organizing truism (one that I learned during my twenty-year community organizing career) is that you might be able to bribe, cajole, badger, or threaten somebody to do something over the short-term (I’ve certainly done my of that, and I’ve written about the negative results). But I don’t think you can really “motivate” anybody to do anything beyond a very, very, very short timeline, after which the initial enthusiasm quickly dissipates.
However, you can help another person find what will motivate themselves.
The posts in this “The Best…” list more of my thinking around this perspective.
You might also want to check-out articles I’ve written on this topic for other publications (some have similar titles, but different content):
The Washington Post: Bribing students: Another ‘magical solution’ that doesn’t work.
The New York Times: Helping Students Motivate Themselves
Education Week: Helping Students Motivate Themselves
Education Week: Several Ways To ‘Motivate’ the Unmotivated To Learn
Washington Post: Helping students motivate themselves
You might also be interested in The Best Resources For Showing Students Why They Should Continue Their Academic Career and My Best Posts On Students Setting Goals.
In addition, check-out The Best Resources For Showing Students That They Make Their Brain Stronger By Learning.
Here are My Best Posts On “Motivating” Students:
Now This Is The Way To Make Academic Talks Accessible — Great Examples Of Graphic Note-Taking (this post contains a link to a graphic representation of Daniel Pink’s book, “Drive.”)
Does being reminded of money make you an uncooperative jerk or an independent thinker? is a blog post by Daniel Pink on some a new study. Even though it’s not my post, I’m adding it here because it’s probably the best place for it.
CEOs and the Candle Problem is a new article describing an old experiment about motivation and the ineffectiveness of incentives.
Classroom Leadership: Rewards Are Like Crack is by John T. Spencer.
Starting the Conversation on Rethinking Awards Ceremonies is by Chris Wejr.
I’ve previously posted about The Progress Principle, a book by Professor Teresa Amabile. Here’s a short video interview with her:
Dan Pink was interviewed on CBS, and it really gets at some key elements of motivation and goal-setting. There’s nothing new there for people familiar with his work, but it’s a great piece to show to colleagues and to students. I’ve embedded it below, though am not sure if it will show-up in an RSS Reader:
How Did I Not Know About This National Academy Of Sciences Report On Student Motivation?
Need More Evidence About The Dangers Of Extrinsic Rewards? Here It Is From The Harvard Business Review
Infographic: “How to Motivate Employees” (& Maybe It Says Something About The Classroom, Too)
This video demonstrates both the disadvantages of extrinsic motivation and the importance of helping our students develop creativity:
The Unengageables is a must-read post by Dan Meyer. It’s specifically talking about math, but much of what he says (and links to) related to motivation issues across all classes.
How Incentives Demoralize Us is by Barry Schwartz.
Nine Things Successful People Do Differently is by Heidi Grant Halvorson and appeared in the Harvard Business Review. What makes it particularly useful in class is an online assessment people can take on it — The 9 Things Diagnostic.
Student Motivations and Attitudes: The Role of the Affective Domain in Geoscience Learning is the very long title of a very useful page on motivation research.
14 Videos for Starting Dialogue on Rethinking Rewards, Awards is a must-see post from Chri Wejr.
Sandy Millin has a good post titled Motivation Stations (including student hand-outs) that is specifically geared to motivation for learning a second language.
When 3+1 is more than 4 is Harvard report on a new study that reinforces previous research findings that rewards only “work” if they are unexpected gifts.
Finding Drive is an article in Language Magazine about motivation in learning a second (or third) language.
Feedback is welcome.
If you found this post useful, you might want to consider subscribing to this blog for free.
You might also want to explore the 450 other “The Best…” lists I’ve compiled.
December 23, 2009
by Larry Ferlazzo
Today, TED Talks announced a great new feature called Best of The Web.
Here’s an excerpt from their announcement:
“…these talks don’t come from TED or any of our partner conferences. These talks come from all over the Web. We’ll draw from any source — from lectures at little-known forums to famous speeches that made history — so long as the video is available for free, and so long as the talk meets our most important benchmark: that it’s an Idea Worth Spreading. Over the next weeks and months, you’ll see the Best of the Web collection grow to include a large variety of great talks on technology, entertainment, design and all the other topics you can find on TED.com.”
The first talks in this feature include ones from Michael Sandel and Steve Jobs.
This looks like it will, indeed, be a great feature. They could make it even greater, though, if they were able to show them without the YouTube “imprint.” Even though they’ll be hosted on TED Talks, it appears that they will still be blocked by school content filters since — at the least the first few — are taken directly from YouTube.