Larry Ferlazzo’s Websites of the Day…

…For Teaching ELL, ESL, & EFL

June 13, 2015
by Larry Ferlazzo
0 comments

The Best Theory Of Knowledge Resources In 2015 – So Far

867173616327117_a-5a724af4_2758VQ_pm

As regular readers know, I teach an International Baccalaureate “Theory of Knowledge” class (in fact, this year I teach two of them!). Our school structures our IB program a bit differently from many others by having a whole lot of students take individual IB classes; 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 2014 – Part Two

All Of My Theory Of Knowledge “Best” Lists In One Place!

The Best Theory Of Knowledge Resources In 2014 – So Far

The Best Theory Of Knowledge Resources In 2013 – Part Two

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 2015 – So Far:

How Can We Help Students Feel That Theory Of Knowledge Class Is More Relevant To Their Lives

Teaching Knowledge Questions In IB Theory Of Knowledge

I’ve written in my New York Times column about how I use optical illusions with English Language Learners, and I certainly use them when teaching perception in my Theory of Knowledge class. You can many that I’ve previously posted here. The BBC has now published what is probably the “be all and end all” of resources on optical illusions over the years. It’s titled How your eyes trick your mind and will certainly come in handy.

The Best Videos About The Famous “Trolley Problem”

Here’s a video and article about turning a Van Gogh painting to 3D. I think it would be useful in a Theory of Knowledge discussion of perception and art…

I have  added a number of new resources and also redesigned my IB Theory of Knowledge class blog. It’s filled with years of very, very practical classroom resources, including many lessons I use and lots of examples of student work (including oral presentations, TOK essays, etc.).

I’ve previously shared the essay planning form I developed last year for my IB Theory of Knowledge students and, in case you missed it,you can download it here. Even better, though, is a great student model I’ve been given permission to share here. You can download it here.

This Is The Easiest Way I’ve Found To Upload Multiple TOK (Or Any Student) Presentation Videos

Here’s The Evaluation Form I Created For TOK Oral Presentations

Reading With Imagination is the title of an intriguing column in The New York Times. It’s written by Lily Tuck. I thought it made some points of particular interest to IB Theory of Knowledge teachers related to… imagination.

Here’s an excerpt:

In-his-book-The-Act-of

As International Baccalaureate Theory of Knowledge teachers know, emotion and imagination are two “Ways Of Knowing” (for people unfamiliar with TOK, the curriculum defines a number of qualities as ways we acquire knowledge, and then divides that knowledge into “Areas Of Knowing” like history, math, etc.). Here’s the video trailer for the new Pixar movie titled “Inside Out.” Not only does it look great for anyone, it looks like it will also be perfect for TOK classes.

Science Daily reported on research that provides more evidence of why we might be resistant to new ideas (sort of, but I don’t think exactly, like confirmation bias). Here’s an excerpt from the article titled Why good solutions make us oblivious to better ones:

We-believe-that-we

TED Talks uploaded a fascinating one — Can we create new senses for humans? with David Eagleman.Here’s how they describe it:

As humans, we can perceive less than a ten-trillionth of all light waves. “Our experience of reality,” says neuroscientist David Eagleman, “is constrained by our biology.” He wants to change that. His research into our brain processes has led him to create new interfaces to take in previously unseen information about the world around us. You can read the transcript here. It’s perfect for International Baccalaureate classes studying Perception.

Learning about Plato’s Allegory of the Cave is a key lesson in most IB Theory of Knowledge courses, and I’ve also been able to integrate it into my English Language Learner classes, too. You can see many of the resources I use in the classroom, including student-made videos of modern parable versions, at our class blog. TED-Ed released a lesson and accompanying video that will be a nice addition.

Quote Of The Day: “Teaching Doubt” (& How I’m Going To Use It In Class)

Nearly 2,000 Categorized Resources For IB Theory Of Knowledge Classes

Quote Of The Day: How Language Affects Our Perception Of The World

The Value Of Students Creating Their Own Evidence

The Best Resources On “The Dress”

Student Examples From Theory Of Knowledge Project

“What If?” Projects From My Theory Of Knowledge Class

This video would be great to use in IB Theory of Knowledge classes when we discuss language:

The question, “Was Mathematics invented or discovered?” is discussed in almost every IB Theory of Knowledge class.

I’ve previously posted about a a TED-Ed video on this topic that I didn’t think was a very good one.

The World Science Festival has just published a much better video responding to this question, and which I’ll definitely be using in class:

The Problem With History Classes is a thought-provoking article in The Atlantic. It’s perfect for IB Theory of Knowledge teachers, as well as history educators.

Here’s an excerpt:

history-is-anything-but

June 8, 2015
by Larry Ferlazzo
0 comments

How Can We Help Students Feel That Theory Of Knowledge Class Is More Relevant To Their Lives

Along with students in my other classes, my TOK class evaluated the course and me (you can see the forms I used here).

As usual, both the course and my teaching was evaluated generally quite highly.

And, as usual, though the vast majority of students didn’t share many suggestions on how to make it better (the most common statement was along the lines of “keep it exactly the way it is”), one critique was explicitly mentioned several times, and another typical shortcoming was clearly apparent to me.

A few students said I let some take advantage of me by being too flexible. As I mentioned, this always come up in my TOK evaluations. I’m sure there is some truth to these comments, and there are clearly areas where I can “tighten-up.” However, I also attribute at least some of this critique to the fact that I heavily recruit students who are not taking any other IB classes, and I think a few others might not have that much experience being in a class with so many others without the same academic background and habits.

The other shortcoming I always notice is that when I ask students how they can apply what they have learned in TOK to their lives, the responses — apart from just about everybody saying the presentation and writing skills they learned were useful — are generally pretty shallow. I have tried a number of different strategies to make this kind of “transfer” more effective, but nothing has seemed to work over the years.

Next year, I’ve decided that, when we are studying each Way of Knowing and Area of Knowledge, I’m going to be very explicit about connecting them to current events and encouraging students to do the same. One great resources is the free monthly newsletter from Theory of Knowledge.net, which shares current news articles, Knowledge Questions connected to them, and lesson ideas. You can see their archive here, and you can subscribe there also.

I can’t imagine why a TOK teacher would not want to receive it!

In addition, for a fee, you can subscribe to their premium newsletter.

I’d also love to hear other ideas about how teachers have been successful helping students apply TOK concepts to their outside-of-school lives….

June 7, 2015
by Larry Ferlazzo
0 comments

Teaching Knowledge Questions In IB Theory Of Knowledge

“Knowledge Questions” are a key element of International Baccalaureate Theory of Knowledge classes. And they can be tricky, both for teachers and students, who have to develop ones throughout the course and particularly for their Oral Presentation.

I’ve previously posted about this challenge at The Best Posts On Teaching TOK “Knowledge Questions.”

This past year, I tried to refine and simplify how I taught students to develop them, and here’s my simple explanation:

Knowledge questions combine a Way of Knowing with an Area of Knowledge, are open-ended, and use Theory of Knowledge vocabulary. They should also refer to justification in some way (evidence, beliefs) either implicitly or explicitly.

Then, students reviewed these materials:

Knowledge claims and knowledge questions

Knowledge Questions in International Baccalaureate Subjects

It seemed to work well. How can I make it better?

May 14, 2015
by Larry Ferlazzo
0 comments

Just Added New Resources & Revamped My Theory of Knowledge Class Blog

TOK

I have just added a number of new resources and also redesigned my IB Theory of Knowledge class blog.

It’s filled with years of very, very practical classroom resources, including many lessons I use and lots of examples of student work (including oral presentations, TOK essays, etc.).

Fill free to use them in your classes and, I hope, send me suggestions of additional resources I can add there…

April 16, 2015
by Larry Ferlazzo
0 comments

All Of My Theory Of Knowledge “Best” Lists In One Place!

691301801924200_a-898092aa_43UwVQ_pm

As regular readers know, I teach a very wide variety of classes, and they include the International Baccalaureate Theory Of Knowledge course.

I know that quite a few TOK teachers read this blog, and thought it would be helpful to them if I put all of TOK-related “Best” lists together in one place.

These don’t include some excellent resources I have recently posted (though, those will be included in my next mid-year “Best” list, which will be added to this collection). You can also check out the TOK category on my site for those latest posts.

In addition to these “Best” lists, you probably want to check out my Nearly 2,000 Categorized Resources For IB Theory Of Knowledge Classes.

Now, here goes:

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

March 14, 2015
by Larry Ferlazzo
0 comments

Nearly 2,000 Categorized Resources For IB Theory Of Knowledge Classes

As regular readers know, in addition to teaching various classes to English Language Learners and to mainstream ninth-graders, I teach the International Baccalaureate Theory of Knowledge course. I also regularly share TOK resources here on the blog, and I think it’s pretty popular among TOK teachers around the world.

In addition, I accumulate links to articles and resources on the Delicious bookmarking site, and now have nearly 2,000 categorized into the all the TOK “Ways of Knowing” and “Areas of Knowledge.”

You can find most of them here.

However, for some weird reason, not quite all of the “tags” are visible at that link. Here are direct links to the WOK and AOK resources not listed in the above link:

Logic and Reason (They’re separate, but all related. I think I first started using the logic tag and later switched to reason)

Indigenous Knowledge Systems

Imagination

Intuition (though most are still in the Emotion category)

Human Sciences

February 18, 2015
by Larry Ferlazzo
0 comments

Student Examples From Theory Of Knowledge Project

Regular readers of this blog know that, in addition to teaching several classes of Beginning and Intermediate English Language Learners, I also teach two International Baccalaureate Theory of Knowledge classes.

TOK teachers know that IB has made a number of changes recently (see The Best Commentaries On The New IB Theory Of Knowledge Teaching Guide) that has, among other things, increased the number of “Ways Of Knowing” (how we learn knowledge) and “Areas of Knowledge” (categories we use for that knowledge). Though it’s not required that we teach them all, it’s still important that we at least touch on them.

In fact, it’s impossible to adequately teach all of them — there just isn’t enough time in the school year. One way I have “touched” on two of the additional Areas of Knowledge is provide this assignment for Indigenous Knowledge Systems and Religious Knowledge Systems (clicking on those links will lead to the simple instructions and links, and you’ll find student presentations in the comments — most of my students will be uploading them to the blog on Friday but there are a few there now).

Basically, students are given three days to prepare short presentations covering these points:

What is this Area of Knowledge about?

What practical problems can be solved by applying this knowledge?

What makes this Area of Knowledge important?

Show the connections at least three Ways of Knowing have to this Area of Knowledge.

There are usually (I did a version of this last year) ten-to-fourteen groups (I use this as an opportunity for students to “try-out” if they want to do their major TOK oral presentation with their partners). I get the laptop cart, form and inner and outer circle with groups facing each other, and then groups have about five minutes each to present to each other, ask and answer questions, and then the outer circle groups move clockwise. We do this during a class period, evaluated the next day, and then begin to immediately start working on the formal TOK Oral Presentation.

It’s worked out well last year and this year — we cover to Areas of Knowledge, it’s a warm-up for the formal Oral Presentation, and people are fairly intrigued and engaged.

I’ve embedded a couple of examples below. I’m all ears for how I can make this assignment better….

Indigenous

More presentations from PAK

Religion

More presentations from PAK

January 25, 2015
by Larry Ferlazzo
0 comments

“What If?” Projects From My Theory Of Knowledge Class

I-learned-that-every

I’ve written a lot about annual “What If?” history projects I have my IB Theory of Knowledge students create (see The Best Resources For Teaching “What If?” History Lessons).

We only spend three days on it, and then students share their presentations with the class. Afterwards, I make arrangements for my TOK students to help my Intermediate English Language Learner history students to create their own. You can see lots of examples from both types of classes at my Best list.

I’m also sharing one from my TOK class at the bottom of this post. First, though, I thought readers might be interested in seeing what my TOK students wrote in their evaluation of the activity. They had to answer three questions:

1. What did you like about the project and why?

2. How could the activity be improved?

3. What did you learn about the idea/concept of history by doing this project?

Here are some of their responses. Obviously, the most important question is the third one.

1. What did you like about the project and why?

The responses here emphasized liking to be able to pick partners and events.

2. How could the activity be improved?

The responses here all focused on wanting more time. Also, some suggested they’d rather make a video than a slide deck.

3. What did you learn about the idea/concept of history by doing this project?

I learned that small events throughout history had a major impact and affected how things are today.

I learned that sometimes historians tend to believe something in history and have to go back and look for evdience in order to confirm if it is true or not.

From this project I learned that while many things are incorporated into history just one change could have made a dramatic impact on our lives today.

I learned that every event was caused by another event which was caused by another event. Therefore, history is a never-ending cycle, and that everything happens for a reason. By changing the course of history we better understand the course that history actually took.

I learned that history is very boring but has a huge impact on our present and future.

History wouldn’t be as harsh if we made better choices back then.

I learned that maybe things were meant to go the way they went because most of the alternate histories were bad.

The world could be completely different because a simple event did or did not happen. Those simple events can actually change the world.