Larry Ferlazzo’s Websites of the Day…

…For Teaching ELL, ESL, & EFL

March 27, 2016
by Larry Ferlazzo
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Video: “Richard Feynman on What It Means”

I’ve written and shared a lot about the late Nobel Prize winning physicist, Richard Feynman (you can see all my previous posts about him here).

I’ve also shared many videos from PBS in the “Blank on Blank” series, where they take excerpts of older interviews with key players in history and turn them into animated shorts.

Well, today, Blank on Blank unveiled one they did with Feynman, and it’s definitely worth watching:

January 16, 2018
by Larry Ferlazzo
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This Week’s “Round-Up” Of Useful Posts & Articles On Ed Policy Issues

 

Here are some recent useful posts and articles on educational policy issues (You might also be interested in The Best Articles, Videos & Posts On Education Policy In 2017 – Part Two):

I Have Zero Tolerance for Advocates of Zero Tolerance Discipline is by Justin Cohen. I’m adding it to We Should Be Obsessed With Racial Equity.

Fact-check: Weighing 7 claims from Betsy DeVos’s latest speech, from Common Core to PISA scores is by Matt Barnum.

Department Of Education Finds Texas Violated Special Education Law is from NPR.

BPS plan would eliminate middle schools is from The Boston Globe.

Gov. Brown proposes ambitious education agenda in his final state budget is from Ed Source.

I’m adding this tweet to The Best Resources For Understanding How To Interpret Education Research:

December 23, 2017
by Larry Ferlazzo
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The Best Theory Of Knowledge Resources In 2017 – Part Two

 

I’ve created a public Twitter list of IB Theory of Knowledge teachers. Send a tweet to me letting me know you’re an IB teacher, or leave a comment on this post, and I’ll add you to the list!

It’s time for another “Best” list to add to All 2017 “Best” Lists In One Place.

I’ll also be adding this post to All Of My Theory Of Knowledge “Best” Lists In One Place!

Here are my previous TOK-related “Best” lists:

The Best Theory Of Knowledge Resources — 2010

The Best Theory Of Knowledge Resources In 2011 — So Far

The Best Theory Of Knowledge Resources In 2011

The Best Theory Of Knowledge Resources In 2012 — So Far

The Best Theory Of Knowledge Resources In 2012 — Part Two

The Best Theory Of Knowledge Resources In 2013 – So Far

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

The Best Theory Of Knowledge Resources In 2013 – Part Two

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

The Best Posts On IB Theory Of Knowledge Oral Presentations

The Best Theory Of Knowledge Resources In 2014 – So Far

The Best Theory Of Knowledge Resources In 2014 – Part Two

The Best Posts On Teaching TOK “Knowledge Questions”

The Best Theory Of Knowledge Resources In 2015 – So Far

The Best Theory Of Knowledge Resources In 2015 – Part Two

The Best Theory Of Knowledge Resources In 2016 – So Far

The Best Theory Of Knowledge Resources In 2016 – Part Two

The Best Theory Of Knowledge Resources In 2017 – So Far

Here are my picks from the past six months:

Example Of Our Final “Ways Of Knowing Project”

The television series “The Good Place” recently featured an episode titled “The Trolley Problem.”

Yes, it was about that Trolley Problem.

Here’s a clip from the beginning of the show, followed by the entire episode. I’m adding it to The Best Videos About The Famous “Trolley Problem”.

I’ll be showing parts of it to my TOK class when we learn about ethics after the first of the year.

Project Implicit, a series of quizzes, is from Harvard, and may the most well-known online resource for discovering hidden bias. I have my IB Theory of Knowledge students use the site when we are studying Perception.

YourMorals.org seems to be a similar site (it appears to be from MIT), though focused entirely on moral issues. You can see a sample of their “tests” in the screenshot at the top of this post. I think they would be useful in TOK when we are studying ethics, and would go along with other “tests” I have students take (see What Are Your Moral Principles?).

I learned about the site through Flowing Data, which posted about a feature connected to “Your Morals” called Collective Debate.

Here’s how Flowing Data describes that activity:

[it] gauges your moral compass with a survey and then tries to “debate” with you about gender bias using counterpoints from the opposite side of the spectrum. The goal isn’t to be right. Instead, it’s to try to understand the other side. At the end, you see how you compare to others.

A Very Beginning List Of “Best” Videos Using Emotion To Manipulate – Please Suggest More

In my IB Theory of Knowledge classes, we study how language can help – and hinder – our search for knowledge.

Here are a few examples students came up with this year when we were exploring the role of punctuation, using “Let’s eat Grandma” as an example (you can see what students came up with last year at The Best Theory Of Knowledge Resources In 2016 – Part Two):

This new animated video would be good for IB Theory of Knowledge classes, as well as others.

It echos the famous Richard Feynman quote about ““The Difference Between Knowing The Name Of Something & Knowing Something.” I’ve embedded that video at the bottom of this post.

Scientific American published the perfect article for TOK students. It’s headlined Why Do Smart People Do Foolish Things?

It’s chock full of links to research about the importance of developing critical thinking skills, and highlights the concepts that we happen to teach in TOK.

I’m going to have my students read it and respond to this prompt:

What does the author say about the importance of critical thinking? Do you agree with her? To support your opinion you may use examples from your own experiences, your observations of others, and anything you have read. Please try especially to include anything you have learned in our Theory of Knowledge class so far this year.

I’m adding it to The Best Resources On Teaching & Learning Critical Thinking In The Classroom.

You might also be interested in My Teaching English – British Council post on integrating critical thinking skills into English Language Learner instruction.

I’ve been looking forward to tackling the controversy about Confederate monuments in this year’s Theory of Knowledge classes, and have been accumulating resources (see The Best Resources For Teaching About Confederate Monuments).

In TOK, we talk about how winners end up writing histories.

The New York Times has just published an interesting “take” on the issue that has this headline: When History’s Losers Write the Story. I hadn’t thought about the issue in the way as the author has framed it:

Great Lesson Idea – What Would You Put On Voyager’s “Golden Record”?

These next three tweets will be great when study History in Theory of Knowledge! The first one is an excellent image, the second shares the link to it so you can download and print, and the third is a similar version from another teacher:

My wife and I took our granddaughter to visit the Crocker Art Museum in Sacramento.

While there, I spotted a neat way to interact with art. Now, I’m not an art museum aficionado, but I’ve been to quite a few over the years, and I had never seen this particular strategy.

Next to a painting was a counter fill with small pieces of paper (a different question was on each paper) and pencils. Viewers could respond to one of the questions (one of the sheets invited viewers to create and answer their own) and place their completed sheet on a board with others.

I thought it would be a neat strategy to use with student art shows at schools (recognizing there might be a few less-than-helpful responses in the bunch). I’m thinking of using it with the art project I do with my IB Theory of Knowledge students and have them create questions about their piece of art (see Play-Doh & IB Theory Of Knowledge: Student Hand-Out & Videos).

Is this a common strategy in museums and I’m just living under a rock?

Here’s what it looked like – the painting, the counter, and the completed sheets:

 

We Transfer is a super-easy tool for sending large files to someone. My Theory of Knowledge students love it – when they have to create videos for an assignment, they can use the website or smartphone apps to easily send them to me. They find it easier to use than uploading a video to Google Drive.

December 22, 2017
by Larry Ferlazzo
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SEL Weekly Update

 

I’ve recently begun this weekly post where I’ll be sharing resources I’m adding to The Best Social Emotional Learning (SEL) Resources or other related “Best” lists.

You might also be interested in The Best Social Emotional Learning Resources Of 2017:

Highly motivated kids have a greater advantage in life than kids with a high IQ is from Quartz. I’m adding it to Best Posts On “Motivating” Students.

On Motivation is by Robert Slavin. I’m adding it to the same list.

How ‘Sesame Street’ will help refugee children and their families in the Middle East is from The Washington Post.

I’m adding these next four tweets to The Best Posts, Articles & Videos About Learning From Mistakes & Failures:

I’m adding this next tweet to The Best Resources For Learning About The 10,000 Hour Rule & Deliberate Practice:

October 26, 2017
by Larry Ferlazzo
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New Animated Video: “Knowledge vs Thinking – Neil deGrasse Tyson”

This new animated video would be good for IB Theory of Knowledge classes, as well as others.

It echos the famous Richard Feynman quote about ““The Difference Between Knowing The Name Of Something & Knowing Something.” I’ve embedded that video at the bottom of this post.

December 19, 2013
by Larry Ferlazzo
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The Best Theory Of Knowledge Resources In 2013 – Part Two

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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…

You might also be interested in:

The Best Theory Of Knowledge Resources In 2013 – So Far

The Best Theory Of Knowledge Resources In 2012 — Part Two

The Best Theory Of Knowledge Resources In 2012 — Part One

The Best Theory Of Knowledge Resources In 2011

The Best Theory Of Knowledge Resources — 2010

Here are my choices for The Best Theory Of Knowledge Resources In 2013 – Part Two:

The Best Posts On Teaching TOK “Knowledge Questions”

Unspeak is described as:

an interactive documentary investigating the manipulative power of language.

The site looks pretty wild and, if you can figure it out, engaging. I think it would be useful for IB Theory Of Knowledge classes when studying language.

Here’s an introductory video to it:

One of the major projects I had students do this year was a presentation on the Ways of Knowing, and how each one can help and hinder a search for knowledge. There has been a fair amount of discussion about if, in light of the new TOK Course Guide, if the WOK should be taught separately (see The Best Commentaries On The New IB Theory Of Knowledge Teaching Guide). I’ve decided to continue to do so, and it seems to be working out well.

You can read the instructions for this project at our class blog, as well as seeing the PowerPoints different small groups prepared for their presentation.

My original intention was to have most, if not all, also create an audio narrated version of their slides using Screencast-o-Matic after they gave their presentations to the class. However, we ended up being pressed for time as we neared Thanksgiving break. One group was able to do so, and I’ve embedded it below.

I think the whole project went well. Creating the presentation, giving it, and then listening to them, all provided opportunities for formative assessment, review, and practice for the TOK presentations they have to do in the spring.

Let me know what you think, and please share your ideas on how we could have done it better…

“The Challenger Disaster” was shown on the Discovery Channel and The Science Channel, and it was an impressive movie. Even though I’ve blogged a lot about Nobel Prize-winning physicist Richard Feynman, I was not aware of his critical role in determining the cause of that space shuttle disaster.

You can see clips from the movie here and read about it this New York Times article.

It could certainly be used in IB Theory of Knowledge classes as part of a discussion about why some people don’t want knowledge to be found, and to also help teach the scientific method.

Here’s a video of Feynman’s climatic moment at the actual hearings:

Here’s a good image useful for teaching Perception in IB Theory of Knowledge classes:

 

For teachers of the International Baccalaureate Theory of Knowledge course, I thought I’d how I introduce the concept of “intuition” (as I’m sure you’ll know if you’re a TOK teacher, intuition used to be taught as part of the “emotion” Way of Knowing, but has now “graduated” to being its own WOK).

An episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation is our entry point….

First, I show a clip introducing the characters Data and Geordi, usually using this scene (it still boggles my mind that so few students have ever seen the show). You can also show the actual scene here:

Secondly, I pass out the section of the script for the “The Defector” episode where Geordi explains to Data what it means to have a “gut” feeling (it’s scene 44) and students act it out in pairs among themselves (I push them to have fun with it).

Thirdly, I ask them to come up with a one sentence summary of how Geordi explained what a gut feeling (intuition) means and ask if they agree or disagree with it and why. We come back as a class and /discuss.

Finally, if I’m feeling ambitious and we have time for it, I have a few volunteers come to the front to act it out and videotape their performance, which I’ll then post on our class blog. Here’s one example, and you can see more here.

How do you introduce the concept of intuition, and do you have any interesting lessons you’d like to share?

Wendi Pillars (you can read her blog here and follow her on Twitter here) sent me this great series of videos.

Here’s what she wrote:

They’re rich for material!
Perception, bias, expectations, “acting one’s age”, advertisement as persuasion…etc….

I agree. They’d be particularly good for a Theory of Knowledge class when discussing perception, and, as Wendi mentions, great for any class studying advertising.

Even if you don’t have any interest in those topics, though, they are a must-watch for anyone who’s a basketball fan!

The Best Videos Of Tom Lehrer’s Songs

A Halloween scare can sharpen the brain is an excellent article on emotion for IB Theory Of Knowledge classes. It’s from The Los Angeles Times.

Here’s how it begins:

Halloween is the time to indulge those seemingly pathological cravings to get scared out of your skull. Who in their right mind would subject themselves to blood-splattery horror movies or haunted houses blaring high-pitched screams while serving bowls of grapes dressed as slimy, edible eyeballs? Lots of us, and experts say good can actually come from these predilections.

Fear protects us

“People think being afraid is a bad thing, but the reason we evolved to be afraid is that the world is pretty dangerous and we’ve evolved very powerful systems that automatically force us to do our natural defensive and protective behaviors,” says Michael Fanselow, a UCLA behavioral neuroscientist.

Some fears are learned; others are encoded in our DNA: Rotting flesh (we’re looking at you, zombies), snakes, blood, heights — even our tiny-brained ancestors understood these were unsafe. And the fear prompted immediate responses, Fanselow says.

I have a “The Best” list called The Best Video Clips Of Sneaky Critters that includes great clips to show to English Language Learners and then have them describe what they see. I also use them in my IB Theory of Knowledge class in a discussion about if animals have ethics. Here’s a new addition:


Here’s a project we do when studying language: students have to build free-standing towers with two sheets of paper, a 10 inch piece of tape, ten paper clips, and a scissors — without talking, and complete it in twenty minutes. We were studying what ideas could — and couldn’t — be communicated with gestures.

Afterword, students discuss what ideas were easy or hard to communicate, and if complex ideas required using words.

Here’s a photo of the winning group this year and their leaning tower:

image

You can see all their creations at our TOK class blog.

I’ve previously posted about Bridge 8’s great critical thinking animations, which I’ve used in IB Theory of Knowledge classes. Now they’ve come out with another series of animations, this time on “This Thing Called Science.”:

The Best Online Resources For Teaching The Difference Between Correlation & Causation

An Illustrated Book Of Bad Arguments is a freely available online book that has wonderful illustrations of logical fallacies.

It’s perfect for IB Theory of Knowledge classes, and I’m adding it to The Best Multimedia Resources For Learning About Fallacies.

Here are some examples from it:

Slippery Slope:

Illustrated-Fallacies-Slippery-Slope

Straw Man:

strawman

Appeal To Bandwagon:

appeal_to_bandwagon

Guest Post: “IB TOK: Making Claims and Seeking Truth Lesson”

Floating In My Mind is a short animated video about making memories and losing them.

I think it could be an interesting movie to show to my English Language Learners to see how they would describe what they saw — I wonder if all would describe it literally or if some, unprompted, would see the deeper story it’s trying to tell.

And I also think it would be a good video to show Theory of Knowledge students when studying memory, one of the new Ways Of Knowing.

First Draft: My Theory Of Knowledge Lesson About Syria Next Monday — Help Me Make It Better

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

This is not only a very funny video, but it’s also one that can be used in classroom lessons. I’m thinking specifically of IB Theory of Knowledge when we learn about perception.

Thanks to Judie Haynes for the tip.

Here’s a great illustration on the shelf-life of knowledge that’s perfect for IB Theory Of Knowledge classes. I can see using this as a model, and then having students develop their own (along with their justifications).

of_course_all_of_my_comic_books_are_in_the_forever_section

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 United States License. By Abstruse Goose

Place Pulse is a site from MIT that shows you two Google Street View images from around the world, and then asks you to “vote” on which one looks “livelier”; “safer” or any number of other comparative adjectives (you can switch them by clicking on the question mark).

It’s an intriguing way to teach comparative adjectives to English Language Learners, as well as having IB Theory of Knowledge students explore perception.

If You’re Ever Teaching About Racial Profiling, You Definitely Want To Show This Video:

How My IB Theory Of Knowledge Students Evaluated Me This Year

You might also be interested in my other over 1,200 “The Best…” lists and, particularly, this year’s end-of-year favorites.

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