Larry Ferlazzo’s Websites of the Day…

…For Teaching ELL, ESL, & EFL

July 26, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
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It Doesn’t Matter If It’s “Effective” If Students Won’t Do It

An article in District Administration Magazine raises issues about the effectiveness of Booktrack, a website and app that provides a “soundtrack” of music, street sounds, etc. to a book (students can also create their own sounds). Some question research (funded by Booktrack) that suggests it improves comprehension.

I’ve previously posted about Booktrack, and think highly of it. I’ve seen some of my least interested readers regularly get very engaged in a book they can read on their phone using Booktrack.

And that’s the key — engagement. I’m not sure if students using Booktrack would score better than a control group not using it on a comprehension test.

But I also don’t care.

What I do know is that students who wouldn’t read are going to score a lot less on a comprehension test than those who did (not that test scores are the be all and end all of assessments).

It gets to an issue of previously written about a few times.

Research might be able to identify the best ways to get things done, but it doesn’t really matter if people won’t do those things.

Research can’t exist in a vacuum, especially where our students are concerned.

You can read these past posts (and don’t miss the comments section with them) for further discussion on this issue:

How Reading Strategies Can Increase Student Engagement

The “Best Learning Techniques” Are Useless If Students Won’t Do Them — A Critical Take On A Well Done Study

July 25, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
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July’s Best Tweets — Part Four

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

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

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

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

You might also be interested in The Best Tweets Of 2014 — So Far.

I use Storify to “curate” my best tweets:

July 25, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
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Almost Done With My Third Book On Helping Students Develop Intrinsic Motivation!

787219060214658_a-052f1ee4_9qVRUg_pm-15q3rps

I’m about two-thirds down with the third book in my series on helping students develop intrinsic motivation, and I think it’s looking pretty good. I might be biased, though :)

Its tentative title is Building a Community of Self-Motivated Learners: Strategies for Teaching Resilience, Respect, and Responsibility , and Routledge should have it published by next Spring.

In the meantime, though, feel free to check out my six books that have been published already. You can find free resources related to each of them here.

After I get the completed manuscript done next month for this motivation book, my colleague Katie Hull Sypnieski and I have to begin work on a sequel to our surprisingly popular book, The ESL/ELL Teacher’s Survival Guide, published by Jossey-Bass. The manuscript for that one is due next summer.

After that, who knows? I’m running out of space in this motivation book, so I might even end up doing a fourth title in that series….

July 25, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
0 comments

“Race To The Top Was A ‘Wasted Opportunity’”

Race To The Top Was A ‘Wasted Opportunity’ is my latest Education Week Teacher post, and comes on the fifth anniversary of the unveiling of that program.

Today, educators John Kuhn and Gary Rubinstein provide response to this question. On Monday, I’ll be publishing guest responses from several more educators, as well as comments from readers.

Here are some excerpts:

Years-from-now-I-hope-we

Race-to-the-Top

July 25, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
0 comments

Videos: “Forward Thinking Transfer Of Learning” With James Bond

I promise – this will be my last Transfer of Learning post for the day!

Two kinds of transfers of learning are called “backward-reaching” and “forward-thinking.” In “backward-reaching,” you’re applying what you have previously learned to a new situation — that’s what was demonstrated in the Karate Kid and MacGyver videos I posted earlier today.

In a TEDx talk by Marc Chun about transfer, he talked about James Bond being a good example of “forward-thinking transfer.” In other words, when the scientist Q would give him his deadline gadgets prior to a mission, he would need to think about what situations he might use them in.

Here are some clips of Bond getting those gadgets from Q. The first one is probably the best one. The last two are compilations that include getting the gadgets prior to a mission and using gadgets. Unfortunately, they’re out of order so you might see a clip of him getting one followed by a clip of his using another. Too bad they’re not coordinated.

I’m adding these clips to The Best Movie Scenes, Stories, & Quotations About “Transfer Of Learning” – Help Me Find More!

July 24, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
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Videos: MacGyver & Transfer Of Learning

Here are some great MacGyver videos where he demonstrates transfer of learning — he has to remember what he learned in the past and apply that knowledge to entirely new situations in order to save his life. I’m adding these videos to The Best Movie Scenes, Stories, & Quotations About “Transfer Of Learning”:

July 24, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
0 comments

Videos: The Karate Kid & Transfer Of Learning

Karate_kid

As regular readers know, I’ve been trying to find movie scenes demonstrating transfer of learning (see The Best Movie Scenes, Stories, & Quotations About “Transfer Of Learning” – Help Me Find More!).

I happened upon a comment in a paper about transfer saying the Karate Kid was a good example, and they sure were right.

Pat Morita having the kid do a variety of tasks like waxing a car and painting a fence helps him develop skills that he is then able to apply in a totally different situation. If you don’t remember the movie, here is the progression of scenes:

I’m still looking for more suggestions of movie scenes demonstrating transfer, so feel free to make them in the comments.

July 24, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
1 Comment

Three Good Resources On Metacognition

Here are three new additions to The Best Posts On Metacognition:

Metacognition is from The Center For Teaching.

Promoting Student Metacognition is a very nice chart of questions students can ask themselves.

50 Questions To Help Students Think About What They Think is from Teach Thought.

July 24, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
0 comments

Now Yelp Creates THEIR Own Version Of Google’s Ngram Viewer

Wow, the same day The New York Times announces their own version of Google’s Ngram Viewer (see NY Times Creates Their Own Version Of Google’s Ngram Viewer), the online review site Yelp unveils their own.

It’s called Yelp Trends and you can compare how often different words are used in reviews at cities around the world. It’s very easy to use and no registration is required.

You can see two examples below that I created – comparing soccer, basketball and jogging in Sacramento and in London. Obviously, soccer isn’t going to be mentioned much in London since they call it football there. I wonder if I shared these with students how many would figure that out?

Have students create their own and then challenge their classmates to explain the reason for the differences (after they figure it out themselves) could just be one fun way to use it in class — that is, if Yelp isn’t blocked by school district content filters.

You can read more about Yelp Trends at Slate.

I’m adding this info to The Best Resources For Creating Infographics.

sacto

london

July 24, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
0 comments

More Online Learning Simulations

Thanks to a tweet from Amanda Ballard, I realized that I had forgotten to include a number of economics-related links on The Best Online Learning Simulation Games & Interactives list yesterday.

So here are some that I’ve previously posted on other “Best” lists that I’m now adding to that one:

It All Adds Up has some useful economics interactives.

Financial Fitness For Life

Gen i Revolution is a series of financial games.

The Best Sites For Students To Create Budgets has quite a few activities that would probably qualify as simulations.

And there might other financial-related ones I missed at The Best Sites For Learning Economics & Practical Money Skills.

Here are links to several stock market simulations:

National Stock Market Simulation

Can You Be The Next Market Guru?

The Stock Market Game

The California Stock Market Simulation

So You Want To Be In Charge of Monetary Policy? is not a stock market simulation, but it is related to it.

And many science-connected simulations can be found at PhET Interactive Simulations and at Houghton Mifflin Discover Simulations.

I hope readers will contribute more!

July 24, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
0 comments

NY Times Creates Their Own Version Of Google’s Ngram Viewer

chronicle

Thanks to the extraordinary Katherine Schulten, today I learned that the New York Times has created the Chronicle.

It’s their version of the Google Books Ngram Viewer, which charts word use over the years in the books they’ve indexed (see The Best Posts To Help Understand Google’s New “Books Ngram Viewer”). The Times, though, indexes word usage in its own history. The image at the top of this post shows the results of my charting “love” and “hate.” It looks like love is winning!

The Chronicle is very easy to use and no registration is required. It, and the Ngram Viewer, can be used with English Language Learners and other students in a number of ways, ranging from just being a fun and simple way for them to play with words to being a tool to correlate certain word usage with political attitudes (as I did in a recent column at Education Week Teacher).

July 24, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
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This Week’s “Round-Up” Of Useful Posts & Articles On Education Policy

July 24, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
0 comments

NBC’s “30 Seconds To Know” Seems Like A Good “Explainer” Series

nbc

NBC News produces an ongoing series of 30 Seconds To Know videos about current events and issues.

They’re videos that last…thirty seconds, with an expert who explains a topic. However, it’s not just a talking head — it includes action shots and graphics, and the narrator doesn’t speak too fast.

I’m going to add it to The Best Online “Explainer” Tools For Current Events.

Here’s an example of one:

July 23, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
0 comments

The Best Online Learning Simulation Games & Interactives — Help Me Find More

As I mentioned earlier this week, I’m doing some research and writing on the idea of “transfer of learning.”

As part of that research, I’ve been exploring online simulations that could “transfer” learning to different situations students might realistically encounter in classes or outside of school. I’ve posted about quite a few of them over the year, and you can find them on various “The Best” lists, but I don’t have one dedicated list to them.

I thought it was time to create one.

I did a quick and dirty search of my Best lists (particularly The Best Places To Read & Write “Choose Your Own Adventure” Stories) to identify a number of them, and have them listed below. It’s by no means exhaustive (I know there are a lot of science-oriented ones out there, as well as others that connect math to concrete “real-world” situations), though, and I’m hoping readers will contribute more.

Here goes:

A company called Zap Dramatic creates many excellent “online negotiation games” and “interactive dramas” that use the “choose your own adventure” technique.  The games are generally designed to teach negotiation skills. Their games, though, are probably only appropriate for high school students and above. They include:

Move or Die

Ambition 1
Ambition 2
Ambition 3
Ambition 4
Ambition 5
Ambition 6
Ambition 7
Ambition 8
Ambition 10

Gangs, Guns & Knives Awareness has a British bent, and focuses on how young people can stay safe.

Connect With Haji Kamal is an intriguing game developed for the U.S. Army to help soldiers develop better skills at communicating across cultures.

Broken Co-Worker is an interesting “Choose Your Own Adventure” game where players are in the role of a bullied worker. It appears to be classroom appropriate, but I did not explore all the alternatives available.

Breakaway is an online game where players are virtual members of a previously-all boys soccer team react to a girl joining it. The United Nations Population Fund helped create it. Here’s how it’s described:

Breakaway is a free online game intending to reduce violence against women across the globe. Players join a youth football (soccer) team and learn about being a team player on and off the field. They must build their relationships with their teammates between practices and matches, navigating the conflicts that arise when a girl finds a place on the team.

Depression Quest is an interactive text fiction game (or choose your own adventure) where the player plays the part of someone who is suffering from depression.

Lifesaver is an online video game designed to help you learn CPR through the “choose your own adventure” game genre.

Start the Talk: A Parent Learning Tool is designed as a role-playing exercise for parents so they can practice speaking with their children about under-age drinking. Surprisingly — at least to me — it seems to offer some very good advice, and I can see it being useful to both parents and children.

Here are a few job interview simulation interactives:

My Interview Simulator

Interview Simulation

It All Adds Up has some useful economics interactives.

Financial Fitness For Life

Gen i Revolution is a series of financial games.

The Best Sites For Students To Create Budgets has quite a few activities that would probably qualify as simulations.

And there might other financial-related ones I missed at The Best Sites For Learning Economics & Practical Money Skills.

Here are links to several stock market simulations:

National Stock Market Simulation

Can You Be The Next Market Guru?

The Stock Market Game

The California Stock Market Simulation

So You Want To Be In Charge of Monetary Policy? is not a stock market simulation, but it is related to it.

And many science-connected simulations can be found at PhET Interactive Simulations and at Houghton Mifflin Discover Simulations.

Okay, now, let me know what I’m missing!

Monster has an interactive virtual Virtual Job Interview.

July 23, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
0 comments

Excellent English-Learning App Duolingo Now Takes On TOEFL & IELTS

duo

Duolingo, which is on a bunch of my “Best” lists as a language-learning app (my students love it!) have not made it official — they’ve just unveiled an English test they want to rival the TOEFL and IELTS, tests that international students need to pass prior to attending a university in most English-speaking countries.

You can read more about it at this TechCrunch post, and here’s a video:

I wouldn’t bet against Duolingo…

July 23, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
0 comments

“Teaching Without Connecting is ‘Futile’: An Interview With Annette Breaux & Todd Whitaker”

Teaching Without Connecting is ‘Futile’: An Interview With Annette Breaux & Todd Whitaker is my new Education Week Teacher post.

In it, Annette Breaux and Todd Whitaker agreed to answer a few questions about the new second edition of their popular book, Seven Simple Secrets: What the BEST Teachers Know and Do!

Here are some excerpts:

To-attempt-to-teach

Teaching-is-an

July 23, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
1 Comment

Two Excellent World War One Resources From The Guardian

world war

The British newspaper The Guardian has recently produced two excellent resources about World Ward One that I’m adding to The Best Resources For Learning About World War I:

A global guide to the first world war – interactive documentary is an impressive multilingual…interactive documentary.

How to teach… the first world war is also from The Guardian.

July 22, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
2 Comments

“FluencyTutor” Could Be A Useful Tool For Students To See Their Reading Progress

fluency

Richard Byrne posted yesterday about an intriguing new site that would be useful for emerging readers and English Language Learners called FluencyTutor For Google.

It’s a web app only usable with a Chrome browser that provides a large selection of leveled reading passages that students can read, record, and store on Google Drive. Teachers can then listen at their convenience and correct and note students’ reading fluency. The reading passages provide quite a few supportive features that make them particularly accessible to English Language Learners.

Most of the features are free, but teachers have to pay $99 per year for some “dashboard” services like tracking student progress.

If I was teaching an online class of motivated adult English Language Learners, I could see FluencyTutor’s whole package as an excellent tool.

However, I definitely wouldn’t recommend a classroom teacher using it as a way to track a readers’ progress. I have the same concerns about using it for that as I have about Literably, a web tool in the same vein — having students read to us is as much about building the relationship (if not more so) than getting the data.

On the other hand, though, a site like FluencyTutor could be a super tool for students to practice on their own and compare their reading progress during a school year. It’s less about them tracking exactly how many words they read each minute and more about them seeing how their reading prosody — expressiveness, smoothness — improves. Just having the free features should be enough for accomplishing that goal.

Here’s a video explaining how it works — keep in the mind that some of the features it talks about the end are the ones you have to pay for:

July 22, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
0 comments

12 MORE New Yorker Articles On Ed To Read While The Archives Are Free

Yesterday, I posted “12 New Yorker education articles to read while the archives are free,” a link to a a great collection of links that Vox identified.

Now, today, Alexander Russo published links to his own choices at 12 New Yorker Ed Articles Vox Missed/Got Wrong.

All twenty-four are worth reading this summer….