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February 11, 2009
by Larry Ferlazzo
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Stimulus Compromise Looks Good

Based on what CNN is reporting, the stimulus package looks pretty darn good for education.

Assuming CNN’s report is accurate, Senate and House of Representative negotiators put the state aid back in the bill, and added back some money back in for school construction (though now they’re calling it school “modernization”). That, combined with the Title 1, Special Education, and edtech monies I’ve written about, certainly provides some needed resources for schools.

February 9, 2009
by Larry Ferlazzo
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The Latest On The Stimulus And Schools

The “This Week In Education” blog has the latest update on schools and the stimulus package.

It’s similar to my latest posts. New information includes that all Special Education funding remains the same and the $1 billion for educational technology stays in. The “This Week In Education” post gives more information on the changes in funds for school construction and state aid, but, I’m sorry to say, I don’t understand their effects “on the ground.” Maybe someone reading this does and can clarify it in the comments section.

February 7, 2009
by Larry Ferlazzo
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Stimulus Again

I guess I spoke too soon.

CNN reports that $600 million was cut from Title 1 schools in the stimulus compromise.

The other education-related cut their report mentions (that I didn’t say in my previous post) is that higher-education construction was cut by $3.5 billion.

February 7, 2009
by Larry Ferlazzo
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Stimulus Update

There are different media reports on the how the Senate compromise will affect education.

According to The New York Times, the proposed economic stimulus compromise in the U.S. Senate cuts $20 billion from the originally proposed amount for school construction and $1 billion from Head Start.

In addition, the Times says it cuts $40 billion from aid meant to help states deal with their budget deficits. Of course, that cut will have a big effect on schools since states will end-up cutting at least some of their education budgets to meet those gaps.

The Wall Street Journal, though, says that only $3.5 billion was cut from school construction, along with $98 million for school nutrition.

Politico seems to have the most complete list of reductions and, based on my previous experience with their site, I tend to think their numbers are the most accurate. They agree with the reduction in state aid totals, as well as the Head Start cut. They say, though, that the school construction reduction is $16 billion. Their numbers came from a Republican legislative aide.

The best news in all of this, it seems to me, is that none of the three say there will be reductions in the original total set for Title 1 schools.

Of course, now it goes to a conference committee of the House and the Senate, and who knows what’s going to happen there…

February 6, 2009
by Larry Ferlazzo
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Reductions In Stimulus Money For Education

The excellent This Week In Education blog just got a hold of the cuts in the stimulus package that a group of “moderate” Senators have agreed to.

You can access a list of all the cuts on that blog. I had some difficulty, though, opening-up the document, so took the liberty of copying just the portion related to education.  I eventually was able to access it, so you might want to go there if this image isn’t very clear.

It looks like 50% cuts.  Of course, just because it’s on this list doesn’t meant it’s going to happen, but I wouldn’t bet against it.

You might find my previous posts on education and stimulus package useful, including the listing of specific amounts school districts were projected to receive in the original plan.  It looks like you might have to cut some of those totals in half.

February 3, 2009
by Larry Ferlazzo
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Stimulus & Schools Update

I written several recent posts about school resources included in the proposed economic stimulus package being considered by Congress, including sharing an analysis of what each school district in the U.S. would receive.

Of course, there’s a whole lot of debate now on whether this money will really serve to stimulate the economy.

Public School Insights provides a helpful summary, with links, about the on-going debate, and is worth a look. The post is titled “Stimulus Circus.”

January 22, 2009
by Larry Ferlazzo
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Want To Know How Much Your School District Would Receive From The Stimulus Package? Here It Is…

The Swift and Able blog had an insightful analysis and commentary about the funds earmarked for education in the stimulus package being considered by Congress right now.

Within that post was a gem — a link to a document prepared by the Congressional Research Service which estimates the amount of education funding that each school district would receive from the bill.

Thanks to This Week In Education for the initial tip.

January 20, 2009
by Larry Ferlazzo
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Stimulus Package Has $142 Billion For Schools

The $825 billion stimulus package Congress is considering includes $142 billion for schools, according to USA Today. The article says that’s more than just about for any other area.

USA Today just shares a few specific items that are included, and I (as I’m sure, everybody else) will be interested in seeing a more detailed analysis.

I learned about this article through the The Opening Bell, an excellent daily email of new articles about current educational issues. It’s from the National Education Association, and is free. You can only receive it, though, if you are an NEA member.

The Opening Bell is on The Best Ways To Keep-Up With Current Education Issues list.

February 10, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
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The #EnglishEffect Videos Are Great, & Perfect For A Class Project

The British Council ran a contest last year called #EnglishEffect.

Here is how they describe it:

Last year the British Council ran a global video competition where people from all over the world sent in videos telling us what English meant to them. The winning video and the others are great for stimulating classroom discussion, and for ideas for making your own.

They are absolutely right about the videos being a good stimulus for class discussion. In many ways, it’s a great companion idea to having students do a “one-sentence project” (see The Best Resources For Doing A “One-Sentence Project”). There, students write a sentence about what they want people to say about them thirty/forty years in the future, and we videotape them.

With the #EnglishEffect, I’m planning on showing some of these videos to my students, and then have them create posters and a video explaining what they hope to gain by learning English. It will work particularly well following a lesson I do on health and financial benefits to being bilingual or multilingual.

Here’s the British Council’s winning entry, followed by an introductory video kicking-off a playlist of others from their contest. You can also see them all on YouTube here.

June 3, 2011
by Larry Ferlazzo
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Here’s A Video On Self-Control I’m Showing My Students First Thing Next Week

There are five full days, and five half-days, left of school, and some of our students are beginning to “lose it” a bit — some fights, suspensions, and reverting to throwing wads of paper.

As I was driving home today, I was thinking it was time for a refresher on our self-control lessons (see My Best Posts About Helping Students Develop Their Capacity For Self-Control). You can find the complete lesson plans in my new book. I was trying to figure out, though, what might be something new we could do on the topic.

I was also listening to the PBS News Hour on NPR, and right at that moment they began running a segment on…..self control and young people.

It uses financial literacy as an initial hook, but it’s mainly about the famous marshmallow test and a recent updated study. None of it is new information to regular readers of this blog — you can see my posts on the previously mentions “The Best…” list. However, for teenagers, a short video like this will make for the perfect refresher.

I’ve embedded it below:

Watch the full episode. See more PBS NewsHour.

Speaking of self-control, a recent Jonah Lehrer column also shares a refresher on the marshmallow experiment (where young children were shown one marshmallow, but told if they could wait they would receive two — learn more about it on my “The Best…” list). He very succinctly summarizes its findings:

Mischel’s conclusion, based on hundreds of hours of observation, was that the crucial skill was the “strategic allocation of attention.” Instead of getting obsessed with the marshmallow—the “hot stimulus”—the patient children distracted themselves by covering their eyes, pretending to play hide-and-seek underneath the desk, or singing songs from “Sesame Street.” Their desire wasn’t defeated—it was merely forgotten. “If you’re thinking about the marshmallow and how delicious it is, then you’re going to eat it,” Mischel says. “The key is to avoid thinking about it in the first place.”

What Mischel’s data demonstrates is that attention isn’t just about information. Instead, it’s also what allows us to blunt the urges of our errant emotions, allowing us to look past the desire to stuff that yummy marshmallow into our mouth. While we can’t always control what we feel – many of our urges are ancient drives, embedded deep in the brain – we can control the amount of attention we pay to our feelings. When faced with a tempting treat, we can look away.

December 24, 2010
by Larry Ferlazzo
3 Comments

The Best (& Worst) Education News In 2010

I’ve been reading some year-in-review posts about education developments over the past year, and thought I’d come-up with my own list.

Please feel free to share your own ideas in the comments section.

First, though, before I list my choices, here are the other reviews I know about (let me know if I’ve missed any):

Poll: Best and Worst Developments for K-12 Education from Education Next

Top 10 Education Stories of 2010: Learning in Review from Take Part

The most popular ed-tech stories of 2010 from eSchool News

Top 10 Edu News events of 2010 by Dave Cormier

Year in Review 2010: California Set the Trends in Education from GOOD

Did We Learning Anything in 2010? comes from NPR

Ravitch takes stock of education in 2010 comes from The Washington Post

The 7 Fascinating Education Ideas of the Year is by Emily Alpert at Voice Of San Diego

Major Education Stories In 2010 by Sherman Dorn

Best and Worst in Education of 2010 comes from The Century Foundation

The best and worst of 2010 comes from Leonie Haimson.

The Year In Research On Market-Based Education Reform is a post by Matthew Di Carlo at the Shanker Blog (he’s putting out some impressive work there).

And, now, for my choices. I’ll list the ones I think are the best first, followed by the worst. However, it’s too hard to rank them within those categories, so I’m not listing them in any order:

THE BEST EDUCATION NEWS IN 2010

* The great success of Diane Ravitch’s book, The Death and Life of the Great American School System: How Testing and Choice Are Undermining Education, and her  barnstorming the country in support of a positive vision for schools, adminstrators, teachers and students.

* The $10 billion stimulus passed by Congress and signed by President Obama this fall that saved tens of thousands of teacher’s jobs.

* The realization by the San Diego School District “that trust is a component that triggers academic success” as they roll back many changes that a previous superintendent had steamrolled over teachers and parents. One can only hope that other school districts learn from their experience.

* The defeat of Washington, D.C. Mayor Adrian Fenty,  largely due to voter dissatisfaction with the policies of Michelle Rhee. Ms. Rhee’s subsequent departure, however, appears to not have caused much self-reflection and only increased her arrogance level.

* The strong reaction from teachers, university professors, and others reacting with strong organization and strong research to respond to attacks on teachers (see The Best “The Best…” Lists On School Reform Issues — 2010 and also The Best Sites For Getting Some Perspective On International Test Comparison Demagoguery).

* In the Obama Administration’s Blueprint For Reform, they are proposing doubling the amount spent on parent engagement/involvement programs. There are some problems with that plan, but it’s a piece of good news, nevertheless.

* The Obama Administration is funding the development of a “new generation” of state assessments that are supposed to be more “performance-based.” Assuming that they are going to genuinely provide teachers a seat at the table in their development (and I know that’s a big assumption), this is definitely good news.

* A California Teachers Association led effort to get billions of dollars into schools located in low-income communities has resulted in increased student academic success. Perhaps teachers might know what they’re talking about….

* Washington Post journalist Valerie Strauss has developed a visible and articulate voice at her The Answer Sheet blog to provide critique and perspective on education issues.

* The millions of students who had great learning experiences in their schools this year.

THE WORST EDUCATION NEWS IN 2010

* The publishing of teacher rankings based on test scores by the Los Angeles Times. There are too many reasons to list here why it was such a destructive act, but you can read them all at The Best Posts About The LA Times Article On “Value-Added” Teacher Ratings.

* The Obama Administration’s Race To The Top, its false assumptions, and the race by states to fall over themselves to quickly enact changes they thought would make them more likely to receive funds — without thinking through their long-term implications.

* California’s “parent trigger” law (and its imitators in other states) which is resulting in charter school operators parachuting into low-income communities to expand their share of the education “market” – and not resulting in genuine parent engagement.

* The film “Waiting For Superman” and its peddling of a false picture of the challenges facing schools and their causes and solutions (see The Best Posts & Articles About The Teacher-Bashing “Waiting For Superman” Movie & Associated Events).

* The efforts by the Gates Foundation to minimize and misuse videotaping of teachers and student surveys as tools to legitimize evaluating teachers based on their student’s test scores.

* The continuing effort to place people with no experience in the education field in charge of school districts (see The Best Blog Posts & Articles About Joel Klein’s Departure & The Question Of Who Should Be Leading Our Schools).

* Michelle Rhee’s creation of a new organization ironically called StudentsFirst (ironic because she announced it in a Newsweek article that included 100 “me” “my” and “I’s” ) and attacked teachers unions and schools boards. Her new group will be the one true organization to “defend and promote the interests of children.”

* The dramatic reductions in school funding taking place across the United States (see The Attack on American Education by Robert Reich).

* The millions of students who are not getting the education they deserve.

* NEW ADDITIONS: When I originally made this list, how could I have not included the voting down of the DREAM Act, which would have provided young undocumented students a path to citizenship?

What are your choices for the best and worst education news of the year?

September 20, 2010
by Larry Ferlazzo
7 Comments

The (Ironic) Power Of Touch

How’s this for irony — on the same day a North Carolina newspaper quotes an attorney from that state’s Department of Education recommending that teachers never touch a student, NPR runs a story that says:

“A soft touch on the arm makes the orbital frontal cortex light up, just like those other rewarding stimuli,” Hertenstein says. “So, touch is a very powerful rewarding stimulus — just like your chocolate that you find in your cupboard at home.”

The surging of oxytocin makes you feel more trusting and connected. And the cascade of electrical impulses slows your heart and lowers your blood pressure, making you feel less stressed and more soothed. Remarkably, this complex surge of events in the brain and body are all initiated by a simple, supportive touch.

I personally am a fan of a light supportive touch on a student’s shoulder, and have previously written about studies supporting it (see The Power of “Touch” In The Classroom and “Sense of Touch Colors Our View of the World”).

I’ve received some “push-back,” though, in the past from readers of this blog. What are your thoughts on the issue?

October 22, 2009
by Larry Ferlazzo
10 Comments

“I Like This Lesson Because It Make Me Have a Longer Temper” (Part One)

About a month ago, after a successful series of lessons on how learning physically makes the brain grow stronger, I wrote some preliminary thoughts on preparing a similar lesson on student “self-regulation” and self-control.

I got sidetracked by a variety of things, but then two things happened to move it up on my priority list:

First, I began thinking more about it earlier this week when Alice Mercer and I spoke, and she talked about a similar lesson she was putting together. She did the lesson, and just posted about it today. It’s a must-read, and I think it’s a great way to go, especially if you are teaching younger learners (though she’s got some great stuff there for teachers at any grade-level). It’s just another reason why educators should definitely be subscribing to her blog.  It’s definitely one of my favorites.

Secondly, yesterday I had a few relatively minor behavioral issues in my mainstream ninth-grade English class. It wasn’t a big deal, but it hadn’t happened before. It was also, I think, a result of an error I made — it was the first time this year I had students do group work in greater than a pair (we tried groups of three), and it was earliest I had ever tried that in a school year. Even for as good a class as this one is, I should have known it’s just too early in the year to do have a bigger group with ninth-graders. And since I’m not going to be in class tomorrow (I’m leading a workshop on developing parent engagement), it’ll be the first time they’ve had a sub. That combination made me decide early this morning that today would be a very good time to have a lesson on developing self-control. It’s another one of several I’m trying out that might encourage students to see how learning can more directly benefit them beyond the schoolhouse door.

The lesson went quite well. In fact, it went so well I decided to modify it and immediately do with my Intermediate English class, too.   Over the weekend I’ll write a “Part Two” to this post sharing a complete description of how things went in that class (quite well, in fact) and include examples of student work).  The title of this post comes from what a student in that class wrote about what he learned today.

NINTH-GRADE ENGLISH

Part One: Lesson Introduction (took about ten minutes):

I began by asking students to take a minute and write down what they thought “self-control” meant. After a minute, students shared their definitions with a partner, and I asked some to share what they wrote with the whole class. Here are a few examples:

“Self control is when you can control yourself, like behave when you are in a tough situation.”

“Control yourself and control your actions.”

“Control yourself from doing bad things.”

“The ability to control strong emotions.”

“Self-control means to hold yourself from doing bad things.”

I theatrically modeled self-control while sitting at a school desk stopping myself from throwing a pencil at a student (it was obvious that I was pretending to be a particular student in class and everybody was cracking-up — including that student. I also gave other examples in my own life (not eating a Reese’s Peanut Buttercup, etc.).

Next, students thought of a time when they did not have self control and wrote about it for a minute. They then shared those stories with a partner, and a few shared with the entire class. Here are a few examples:

“I lost control when I had a bad attitude with my mom and yelled at her.”

“Yesterday in school because somebody stole my iPod from the locker. I ended up socking the wall and door in the locker room.”

“When I took $5 from my Mom’s purse.”

Then, students thought of a time when they showed self-control, shared it with a partner, and then a few with the class. Here are some examples:

“Everyday when I come to school.”

“When I didn’t hit my friend.”

“When we had a sub in my other class and I was doing my work instead of talking.”

Part Two: Reading (about thirty minutes)

Students were divided into pairs. For the first time this year (and perhaps the only time) I decided to let them choose their partners, and that worked out fine.

I gave them part of The New Yorker article titled DON’T: The Secret of Self Control. The article is about the famous experiment where children were tested to see if they could wait fifteen minutes without eating a marshmallow in front of them. If they could, they’d receive a second marshmallow. With a few minor removals, I just used the first two-and-a-half pages that print-out. They took turns reading each paragraph to each other. After each one, they highlighted what they thought was the most important part of the paragraph — up to six words. After they completed the reading (they handled it pretty well — the only phrase I reviewed with them was “delayed gratification” — each pair got a sheet of paper and made a mini-poster writing what they thought were the three most important parts of the article. Then I “paired-up the pairs” and each group shared their poster, and a few shared them up-front. Some examples included:

We can’t control the world, but we can control how we think about it.” (that’s a quote from the article.

“Kids that can’t wait have behavior problems.”

“Kids that can wait have a better mind.”

Part Three: Video (ten minutes)

I then showed the engaging six minute TED Talks video showing a replication of the experiment . Students loved it.

In-Class Experiment, Read Aloud & Modeling (ten minutes):

I put a lollipop on the desk of each student (I got that idea from Alice Mercer), and told them if it was still there thirty minutes later, I’d give them a second one. Students loved it.

I then gave copies of a later excerpt from The New Yorker article that talked about how young people can develop self-control, and read it aloud as students read along. It was particularly timely because this part mentions metacognition, and we had been discussing that word and its meaning in the context of learning reading strategies:

At the time, psychologists assumed that children’s ability to wait depended on how badly they wanted the marshmallow. But it soon became obvious that every child craved the extra treat. What, then, determined self-control? Mischel’s conclusion, based on hundreds of hours of observation, was that the crucial skill was the “strategic allocation of attention.” Instead of getting obsessed with the marshmallow—the “hot stimulus”—the patient children distracted themselves by covering their eyes, pretending to play hide-and-seek underneath the desk, or singing songs from “Sesame Street.” Their desire wasn’t defeated—it was merely forgotten. “If you’re thinking about the marshmallow and how delicious it is, then you’re going to eat it,” Mischel says. “The key is to avoid thinking about it in the first place.”

In adults, this skill is often referred to as metacognition, or thinking about thinking, and it’s what allows people to outsmart their shortcomings “What’s interesting about four-year-olds is that they’re just figuring out the rules of thinking,” Mischel says. “The kids who couldn’t delay would often have the rules backwards. They would think that the best way to resist the marshmallow is to stare right at it, to keep a close eye on the goal. But that’s a terrible idea. If you do that, you’re going to ring the bell before I leave the room.”

According to Mischel, this view of will power also helps explain why the marshmallow task is such a powerfully predictive test. “If you can deal with hot emotions, then you can study for the S.A.T. instead of watching television,” Mischel says. “And you can save more money for retirement. It’s not just about marshmallows.”

When he and his colleagues taught children a simple set of mental tricks—such as pretending that the candy is only a picture, surrounded by an imaginary frame—he dramatically improved their self-control. The kids who hadn’t been able to wait sixty seconds could now wait fifteen minutes. “All I’ve done is given them some tips from their mental user manual,” Mischel says. “Once you realize that will power is just a matter of learning how to control your attention and thoughts, you can really begin to increase it.”

I then did some theatrical role-modeling again, holding myself back from throwing a pencil and saying to myself, “I need to focus on reading so I can make my brain grow” and “I don’t want to throw the pencil because I want to do well in this class.” I talked about other things I could say to myself when the TV is yelling “Watch me now!” when I know I should be doing work instead, and gave a few other examples.

Poster & Final Reflection (45 minutes or so):

I showed students a poster I had made. One side was titled “When I Want To Do This:” and the other side was titled “Instead I’ll Do This:” The first side showed a drawing of me throwing a pencil at someone. The second side showed me sitting at a desk reading and thinking “I want to do well in this class.”

I told students I wanted them to think of a time when they didn’t have self-control — they could use the example they had written about or think of another time. They would draw that on the first side. On the second side I wanted them to draw what they wanted to do instead, and write in a “thought-bubble” how they could divert themselves from losing control.

Students didn’t have time to finish the poster today, and will finish them tomorrow. I’ll create an online slideshow of them as I did for the “growing the brain” culminating project and share them here.  They looked pretty interesting.

In the final few minutes I asked students to write if they found the lesson useful or interesting, and to include why or why not.

As I mentioned earlier, the title of this post is what one of my Intermediate English students wrote in response to this question. Here are a few responses from my mainstream ninth-graders:

“It was interesting because I need to learn self-control.”

“It was interesting because the project is really cool that it could tell about the kids that are successful and are not.”

“This was interesting cus it was showing us how to control our self from doing something bad.”

“It was interesting because I wanted to see if any one in our class ate the lollipop.”

In fact, no one did, so everyone got a second one. Right before the bell rang, I asked the class what it meant that they all got the second candy. Just about everybody yelled, “We’ll be successful!”

I know, that ending sounds a bit simplistic.  But I certainly can’t complain about all my students leaving class feeling like they’re going to be successful.

February 13, 2009
by Larry Ferlazzo
0 comments

More Resources For Learning About The Recession

Since I posted The Best Sites To Learn About The Recession yesterday, I’ve learned about several new good resources and am adding them to the list.

The new sites include:

The American Economy: Down and Out is a slideshow from TIME Magazine.

Tough Times In Cleveland is another TIME slideshow.

Stimulus Watch is a site that doesn’t really fit into any of the categories on that list, but it’s intriguing. It supposedly lists all the projects different governmental projects have proposed to do with stimulus money, and then people can vote which ones they think are best. They’re categorized by community, so they’re very accessible. The only drawback to it is since it’s a wiki, even though all the projects are listed, many don’t have detailed information yet on what the project entails. Nevertheless, its interactivity could offer some good possibilities for student engagement.

February 12, 2009
by Larry Ferlazzo
2 Comments

The Best Sites To Learn About The Recession

This “The Best…” list is a companion to The Best Sites To Learn About The U.S. Financial Crisis.  Those sites tried to explain how we got into this mess.  The resources on this list share what is happening to us as a result.  These sites try to give a picture of the recession’s effects throughout the world.

These sites, all relatively accessible to English Language Learners, are divided into three sections. The first are some narrative reports on what is occurring. The second are interactive charts or graphs that show “the numbers.” The third are multimedia presentations giving a human face to the recession (of course, most of my students are experiencing that human face directly in their own lives).

Here are my picks for The Best Sites To Learn About The Recession:

NARRATIVES:

Voice of America’s Special English has a report (with audio support for the text) titled Trying To Live With A Recession In The World’s Largest Economy.

Breaking New English has a lesson (again, with audio support for the text) called Huge U.S. Job Losses Spark Recession Fears.

ESL Podcast Blog has an engaging report on ways a recession affects society

CBBC has a good report on the recession in the United Kingdom.

CHARTS & GRAPHS:

Where Does Your State Rank? is a map from CNN showing the recession’s effect across the United States.

Layoffs Pile-Up is a graph from the Wall Street Journal showing what economic sectors are experiencing the worst job loss.

USA Today has a very complete analysis on jobs loss and growth in the United States.

The National Conference of State Legislatures also has an interactive map on the effects of the recession in all fifty states.

The Sacramento Bee has information on which jobs are growing and which are shrinking in our region.

These would require some teacher explanation, but are intriguing nevertheless. They’re are two infographics showing how the proposed economic stimulus would be used — one from the Washington Post and the other from Credit Loan. CNN has a new interactive on the compromise that the Senate and House just agreed to.

The Obamameter is a regularly updated visual representation of different aspects of the U.S. economy. It would be accessible to Intermediate English Language Learners with some explanation.

FinViz shows the stock market in a vivid color-code.

The Economy Tracker from CNN shows the latest economic data on a map, and combines that with personal stories of those affected.

The Geography Of A Recession comes from The New York Times and shows, in detail, unemployment rates throughout the United States.

Maplibs has a color-coded world map that shows international financial centers. The key is the color — if it’s shown in red then it’s down, if it’s shown in green then it’s up.

The Sacramento Bee has a scary map of unemployment in  California.

Economic Reality Check is from CNN and provide short facts about different aspects of the recession.

Here’s a map that shows the unemployment rate in major countries around the world.

The Sacramento Bee has just published an Income Gap Interactive Graphic. It’s based on Sacramento data, but I suspect the information is similar across the United States.  It vividly, and in a way that’s accessible to English Language Learners, shows how long it takes for different people (by occupation, ethnicity, and educational background) to earn $100,000.

MSNBC has developed what they call an Adversity Index. It’s an animated map that “measures the economic health of 381 metro areas and all 50 states.”  It’s pretty intriguing, though would probably require some initial explanation before English Language Learners could fully decipher it.  Right below the Adversity Map, you can also find a “Map:Recession-resistant areas” that highlights communities in the U.S. that have escaped the recession’s effects.

The San Francisco Chronicle published a simple and very accessible chart today titled Unemployment Characteristics.  It “breaks down” unemployment data by race, gender, and education background.

Great Depression Comparison is an excellent interactive comparing the Depression to our present Recession.

Here’s a very accessible infographic that shows the change in unemployment in major US cities over the past year.

The Associated Press has an Economic Stress Index which shows, in an interactive graphic form, what is happening to every county in the United States economically. It measures bankruptcies, home foreclosures, and unemployment, and then interprets it into what they call a “stress index.”

The New York Times has published an interactive graphic titled Broad Unemployment Across the U.S. It shows both the official unemployment rate, and what the rate would be if it included “ipart-time workers who want to work full time, as well some people who want to work but have not looked for a job in the last four weeks.”

Visualizing Economics has developed a good infographic comparing unemployment in the Great Depression with unemployment during our present recession.

Moody’s has put together an impressive and accessible Global Recession Map showing how all the economies in the world are going.

“Food Assistance” is a very simple and visual infographic from GOOD Magazine tracking the rise of food stamps over the past year.

Times Of Crisis is an extraordinary interactive timeline showing the critical events of the economic recession over the past 365 days.

The Geography of Jobs is an excellent animated map demonstrating the loss of jobs in different parts of the United States during the recession.

Flowing Data has some maps that very visually show where unemployment has increased over the past few years.

The Unemployed States of America, a nice infographic (in terms of accessibility, not because it shares good news)

How the Great Recession Reshaped the U.S. Job Market, an informative (and a bit “busy” looking) interactive from The Wall Street Journal.

“America’s 35 Hardest-Hit Cities” is a very accessible infographic showing the communities around the U.S. with the highest unemployment rates. Quite a few of them are located right here in California’s Central Valley.

Comparing This Recession to Previous Ones: Job Changes is a New York Times graphic that very clearly shows we’re not doing so great right now.

“How The Great Recession Has Changed Life In America” is an interactive from The Pew Center.

Who’s Hurting? is a Wall Street Journal interactive showing which economic sector is losing/gaining jobs

How Do Americans Feel About The Recession? is an infographic from MINT.It has some interesting information, and a teacher could ask similar questions of their students.

“Decline and fall of the California job market” is a very good interactive from The Sacramento Bee showing the chronological progress of the monthly unemployment rate for each county in the state over the past three years.

Visual Economics has published two good infographics in one place: “Cities That Have Missed The Recovery” and “Cities That Are Having A Great Recovery.”

“How The Recession Has Changed Us” is what I think is a pretty amazing infographic from The Atlantic.

Where Are The Jobs? is a very good interactive infographic from The Washington Post showing which economic sectors are increasing jobs and which are not doing so well.

GOOD has just published a very good series of infographics explaining the economy.
It’s called All About The Benjamins.

VIDEOS & SLIDESHOWS:

Boomtown To Bust is a New York Times slideshow on the recession’s effect in Florida.

The Sacramento Bee has a series of photos Chronicling The Economic Downturn.

Long Lines Of Job Seekers Continue is a slideshow from The Washington Post.

Downturn Leaves More Families Homeless is another slideshow from The Washington Post.

The Wall Street Journal has excerpts from recent songs that have been written about the recession.

Following A Closing, The Struggle To Find Work is another slideshow from The New York Times.

A Community Facing Hunger is a video from The New York Times.

Out Of Work In China is a video showing the effects of the recession in that country.

A Painful Return is a slideshow discussing the recession’s effects in China.

Tough Times For Summitville Tiles is a Wall Street Journal slideshow about the closing of a factory.

Black Thursday In France is a Wall Street Journal slideshow about protests in that country demanding that the government do more to stop the recession.

Ohio Town Faces Economic Collapse is a slideshow from Pixcetra.

The American Economy: Down and Out is a slideshow from TIME Magazine.

Tough Times In Cleveland is another TIME slideshow.

An audio slideshow from The New York Times called In Economic Vise, Pontiac Struggles.

There Goes Retirement is an online video from The Wall Street Journal.

The progressive magazine The Nation has a useful slideshow called The Great Recession. It’s a bit ideological, but provides a different kind of analysis and response to the recession. It also includes links to articles that would not be accessible to ELL’s. However, the images, teacher modifications of the articles, and lesson ideas provided by them could offer some good opportunities for student discussion and higher order thinking.

The Faces Of The Unemployed is a slideshow from The New York Times.

Searching For A Job is a series of photos from the Sacramento Bee.

Looking For Work is an audio slideshow from Reuters.

Desperately Seeking A Salary is another audio slideshow from Reuters.

Job Seekers Flood Local Job Fair is a slideshow from The Sacramento Bee.

Recession Hits The Saddle is a slideshow from The New York Times.

Auto Town Struggles With Unemployment is a slideshow from The New York Times.

Dark Stores from TIME Magazine.

Scenes From The Recession comes from the Boston Globe’s Big Picture.

The New York Times has an audio slideshow about people looking for work in the state of Tennessee.

Inside California’s Tent Cities is the newest addition to this list.  It’s a New York Times slideshow on the growing number of homeless encampments around the United States, particularly here in Sacramento (which was recently featured on Oprah Winfrey’s show) and in Fresno.

The Death of the American Mall is a slideshow from The Wall Street Journal.

Stimulus Watch is a site that doesn’t really fit into any of the categories on this list, but it’s intriguing. It supposedly lists all the projects different governmental projects have proposed to do with stimulus money, and then people can vote which ones they think are best. They’re categorized by community, so they’re very accessible. The only drawback to it is since it’s a wiki, even though all the projects are listed, many don’t have detailed information yet on what the project entails. Nevertheless, its interactivity could offer some good possibilities for student engagement.

How Do You Feel About The Economy? is a great interactive graphic — especially for English Language Learners — from The New York Times.  You’re supposed to be able to enter a word that indicates how you’re filling, and you’re given many choices. It’s a good opportunity for vocabulary development.

Picturing The Recession is yet another exceptional interactive from The New York Times. It’s composed of photos contributed by readers, including captions, divided by topic or location.

Adapting To Job Loss is a slideshow from The Washington Post.

Survival Strategies is a new interactive feature from The New York Times.  People offer brief ideas on how they’re saving money now in the recession. Readers can vote on which ones they think are best. You have to register in order to vote, offer suggestions, or contribute your own.

Forced From Home is a slideshow from The Wall Street Journal.

Ghost Factories is a slideshow from The New York Times.

“The Long-Term Unemployed” is a multimedia interactive from The Wall Street Journal.

“America Out Of Work” is ongoing series of video interviews the Los Angeles Times is doing with the unemployed.

America at Work is slideshow from The Atlantic.

As always, feedback is welcome.

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February 4, 2009
by Larry Ferlazzo
4 Comments

“Technology Is Not The Panacea For Education”

Technology Is Not The Panacea For Education is the title of a column that appeared today in The San Francisco Chronicle. It’s by Todd Oppenheimer, the author of a book that I really like called The Flickering Mind: Saving Education From The False Promise of Technology. The column is critical of President Obama’s plan to spend monies to expand technology in schools.

As readers of this blog know, I, too, don’t believe that technology really has the power to transform education, and have written a lot about my concern in my In Practice posts.

I believe that technology does have its place (especially with English Language Learners), but also has to be kept in its place (to paraphrase an economist who was talking about the role of the “free market).

Unfortunately, though, I think Oppenheimer’s column goes a bit “over-the-top” in throwing out “the baby with the bathwater.”   His blanket condemnations seem to carry the same lack of openness to other viewpoints that I hear in the words of some edtech “true believers.”

Of the $142 billion earmarked for education in the proposed stimulus package, just one billion is for the expansion of technology in schools.  Half of that amount is specifically for Title 1 schools (the other half will used competitive grants), and 25% of monies received from school districts would have to be used for professional development. (You can learn more specifics here).

I think one billion out of $142 billion is quite a reasonable balance.

I don’t believe I have the numbers wrong, but let me know if I do.