Larry Ferlazzo’s Websites of the Day…

…For Teaching ELL, ESL, & EFL

June 19, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
0 comments

All Of My “Best Of 2014 – So Far″ Lists In One Place!

June 19, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
1 Comment

The Best Science Sites Of 2014 – So Far

196093647927745_a-1c80ff72_5F-jUw_pm

Well, this should be the last of my mid-year lists….

It’s a fairly small list this year, though there are certainly tons of good resources from previous ones.

You might also be interested in:

The “All-Time” Best Science Sites

The Best Science Sites Of 2013 – Part Two

The Best Science Sites Of 2013 – So Far

The Best Science Sites Of 2012 — Part Two

The Best Science Sites Of 2012 — Part One

The Best Science Sites Of 2011

The Best Science Sites Of 2011 — So Far

The Best Science Websites — 2010

The Best Science & Math Sites — 2009

The Best Science & Math Websites — 2008

The Best Science Websites For Students & Teachers — 2007

Here are my choices for The Best Science Sites Of 2014— So Far (not in any order of preference):

The Best Resources For Learning About The Blood Moon

How to put a human on Mars is from the BBC.

Here’s the premiere episode of Neil deGrasse Tyson’s remake of Carl Sagan’s “Cosmos”:

You might also want to check out the show’s website, as well as a New York Times article about it.

A Beginning List Of The Best Resources On California’s Drought

The Best Sites For Learning About The International Space Station

Print Friendly

June 19, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
0 comments

The Best Websites For English Language Learner Students In 2014 – So Far

271453040722826_a-409579c0_gragUw_pm

This list focuses on sites that ELL students would use directly. Of course, many other sites on my other lists can also be used effectively with ELL’s.

You might also be interested in:

The Best Websites For English Language Learner Students In 2013 – Part Two

The Best Websites For English Language Learner Students In 2013 – So Far

The Best Websites For English Language Learner Students In 2012 — Part Two

The Best Websites For English Language Learner Students In 2012 — Part One

The Best Websites For English Language Learner Students In 2011

The Best Websites For English Language Learner Students — 2010

The Best Websites For English Language Learner Students — 2009

The Best Internet Sites For English Language Learners — 2008

The Best Internet Sites For English Language Learners — 2007

The Best Web 2.0 Applications for ESL/EFL Learners — 2007

Here are my choices for The Best Websites For English Language Learner Students In 2014 – So Far:

Thanks to Richard Byrne, I recently learned about Quill.

It provides well-done interactive exercises to reinforce grammar exercises and the real advantage is that you can create virtual classrooms to track student progress.

And, it’s free.

I’m adding it to The Best Sites For Grammar Practice and to The Best Sites That Students Can Use Independently And Let Teachers Check On Progress.

The San Francisco Symphony has just unveiled a newly redesigned website that’s pretty extraordinary.

There’s so much there, and it’s so accessible — music, instruments, and you can even compose your own, play it, and share your creation with the world.

The text is probably at a high-Intermediate English level. About the only way they could have made it better is if they had provided a feature to have audio-narration of the text — that would make a big difference for English Language Learners.

Because of that shortcoming, I don’t feel like I can add it to The Best Music Websites For Learning English. However, ELLs can certainly compose their own music and explain what they want it to communicate. That’s always a nice language-learning activity.

I’ve been effusive in my praise for the mobile language-learning app Duolingo — my English Language Learner students love to use it both in class and outside of it.

It just got a whole lot better…

As TechCrunch reports:

The new version features courses to learn English for Chinese and Japanese speakers….As part of this update, the service now also features English courses for Hindi speakers…While the addition of these new languages is one of the highlights of this launch, the other is the launch of a number of new game-inspired learning modes, including a multi-player feature that allows people to compete with each other in real time (or you could always play against a bot, too).

They’ve added more features, too, and you can read about them at TechCrunch.  It’s important to note that it appears that TechCrunch made an error — the Chinese version doesn’t seem quite ready yet.

They are going be very popular and helpful to my students!

I’ll add this update to The Best Mobile Apps For English Language Learners.

Citizen Sort creates free online video games where players sort and identify items as part of a serious science investigation. One of their series of games is called “Happy Match” where you have to describe various images.  It appears to me that it could be useful for English Language Learners to learn some vocabulary, plus learn a little science, too. They have some other games on the site, and say they’re coming out with another one that looks particularly interesting called “Mark With Friends” that might also have ELL potential.

“Connect With English” was produced by Annenberg a number of years ago, and is a great video series for English Language Learners. The series has been free to watch via the web, but you’ve had to purchase student exercise books. I’ve previously  posted our own “worksheet” that we developed for students to use.

Though the videos are just beginning to show their age a bit, they’re still wonderful resources.

What’s even better, though, is that Annenberg has just unveiled a new free Connect With English site with tons of interactive exercises for students to use.

Print Friendly

June 18, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
0 comments

The Best Articles (And Blog Posts) Offering Practical Advice & Resources To Teachers In 2014 – So Far

990869727125116_a-409579c0_RregUw_pm

I continue my mid-year “The Best…” lists…

The title of this “The Best…” list is pretty self-explanatory. What you’ll find here are blog posts and articles this year (some written by me, some by others) that were, in my opinion, the ones that offered the best practical advice and resources to teachers this year — suggestions that can help teachers become more effective in the classroom today or tomorrow. Some, however, might not appear on the surface to fit that criteria, but those, I think, might offer insights that could (should?) inform our teaching practice everyday.

For some, the headlines provide enough of an idea of the topic and I haven’t included any further description.

You might also be interested in:

The Best Articles (And Blog Posts) Offering Practical Advice & Resources To Teachers In 2013 – Part Two

The Best Articles (And Blog Posts) Offering Practical Advice & Resources To Teachers In 2013 – So Far


The Best Articles (And Blog Posts) Offering Practical Advice & Resources To Teachers In 2012 — Part Two

The Best Articles (And Blog Posts) Offering Practical Advice To Teachers In 2012 — Part One

The Best Articles (And Blog Posts) Offering Practical Advice To Teachers In 2011

The Best Articles (And Blog Posts) Offering Practical Advice To Teachers — 2010

The Best Articles (And Blog Posts) Offering Practical Advice To Teachers — 2009

In addition, you might find these useful:

The Best Reflective Posts I’ve Written About My Teaching Practice In 2011

The Best Reflective Posts I’ve Written About My Teaching Practice — 2010

The Best Reflective Posts I’ve Written About My Teaching Practice — 2009

Here are my choices for The Best Articles (And Blog Posts) Offering Practical Advice & Resources To Teachers In 2014- So Far:

What Does A Good Common Core Lesson Look Like? is from NPR. I’m adding it to The Most Useful Resources For Implementing Common Core.

24 Assessments that don’t suck… is from Paul Bogush. I’m adding it to The Best Resources For Learning About Effective Student & Teacher Assessments.

How My Students Evaluated Me This Year

I apologize if I’m blowing my own horn, but I’ve got say that my Education Week Teacher advice column is a treasure trove of practical advice offered by scores of educators on countless classroom issues.

I think the same can be said about my BAM! Radio Show, where I interview guests who have contributed written responses to the column.

What Are Education Tests For, Anyway? is from NPR, and gives excellent short and sweet definitions of terms related to assessments. I’m going to add it to A Collection Of “The Best” Lists On Assessment.

The Best Posts & Articles Highlighting Why We Need To Be Very Careful Around Ed Tech

Just Completely Revised & Updated My Bloom’s Taxonomy “Best” List

Here Are The Eleven Sites I’m Using For My Summer School “Virtual Classroom”

How I Incorporate Reflection Into Semester Summative Assessments

#IRA14 — Useful Tweets From The International Reading Association Convention

Using Instagram, Bloom’s Taxonomy & Student Interest As A Fun Part Of A Semester Final

Five Teaching Tips for Helping Students Become ‘Wild Readers’ is by Donalyn Miller, and appeared in Ed Week.

12 Ways to Learn Vocabulary With The New York Times is a nice collection. I’m adding it to The Best Sites Where ELL’s Can Learn Vocabulary.

White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanics has created the ¡Gradúate! Financial Aid Guide to Success (Guide). You can read more about it here, and download it in English and Spanish.

The Smithsonian has a series of one-minute “Ask Smithsonian” videos that answer questions on a variety of topics. They’re short, sweet and interesting to watch. But I plan on using them for something else, too… Next year, I’ll be teaching a number of Social Studies classes to English Language Learners — Geography, World History, U.S. History. I could definitely see showing these videos and, as we study different themes, develop a simple template for them to use in creating similar short videos answering a question of their choice. You might also be interested in The Best Online “Explainer” Tools For Current Events.

Here’s The Writing Prompt I’m Using As Part Of My Final For Ninth-Grade English

New Writing Prompt For My U.S. History Class

Here’s The Writing Prompt I’m Using For My Geography Class

Class Activity: Setting A Goal For The Last Six Weeks Of School

Book Reviews – & Shakespeare – In Three Panels

Updated Personalization vs. Differentiation vs. Individualization Chart Version 3 is from Personalize Learning.

Grit, Failure & Stuff Like That

Simple “History Of Anything” Project

Another Good Writing Prompt: Reconciliation

“Tools for flipping your class”

The Best Resources On Professional Development For Teachers — Help Me Find More

The Best (Or, At Least, The Most Interesting) Posts On Teacher Attire

Excellent (& I Mean EXCELLENT!) Post On Asking Questions

Here’s One More Small Thing I’m Doing To Help Students See The Importance Of Social Emotional Learning

The “All-Time” Best Places To Find The Most Popular (& Useful) Resources For Educators

The Best Video Clips & Full-Length Movies For Helping To Teach Persuasive Techniques (Help Me Find More)

Teach UNICEF is an excellent resource for lesson plans and materials on social topics. I haven’t quite figured out the exact way to navigate it — it has an organized collection here, and then they have “Global Citizen Brief” like this one on Syria that appear to be elsewhere on the site.

The lesson materials are top-notch and provide versions based on grade-levels. Some of the student questions in the lesson plans themselves seem a little too UNICEF oriented, so I suspect most teachers will modify them.

Excellent Post: “This Brilliant Math Teacher Has a Formula to Save Kids’ Lives”

Great Chart: “the differences between teaching writing and teaching writers”

Tweets From My “Integrating Social Emotional & Brain-Based Learning Into Instructional Strategies” Workshop

If You Weren’t Able To Attend Our Workshop On “Developing A Self-Motivated Student Culture,” These Tweets Have It Covered

How To Turn A Negative Consequence Into A Positive Classroom Management Strategy

Free Resources From All My Books

I’m adding this to The Best Resources On Helping Our Students Develop A “Growth Mindset”:

Print Friendly

June 17, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
0 comments

The Best Resources, Articles & Blog Posts For Teachers Of ELLs In 2014 – So Far

486918837174942_a-409579c0_EragUw_pm

Another day, another  “The Best…” list…..

You might also be interested in:

The “All-Time” Best Resources, Articles & Blog Posts For Teachers Of English Language Learners

The Best Resources, Articles & Blog Posts For Teachers Of ELLs In 2013 – Part Two

The Best Resources, Articles & Blog Posts For Teachers Of ELLs In 2013 – So Far

The Best Resources, Articles & Blog Posts For Teachers Of ELL’s In 2012 — Part Two

The Best Resources, Articles & Blog Posts For Teachers Of ELL’s In 2012 — Part One

The Best Resources, Articles & Blog Posts For Teachers Of ELL’s In 2011 — Part Two

The Best Resources, Articles & Blog Posts For Teachers Of ELL’s In 2011 — Part One

The Best Resources, Articles & Blog Posts For Teachers Of ELL’s — 2010

The Best Sites For Teachers Of English Language Learners — 2009

Here are my choices for The Best Resources, Articles & Blog Posts For Teachers Of ELL’s In 2014 – So Far:

Helping language learners visualise their linguistic development: growing learning is by Lizzie Pinard. I’m adding it to The Best Posts On Metacognition. She wrote another great post on metacognition and language-learning, and you can find that link within that post. She also shared My top ten learner autonomy and metacognition resources..

I’ve often written about the Picture Word Inductive Model, my favorite teaching strategy for Beginning English Language Learners. I’ve published a post at The British Council with a more detailed explanation on how to use it in the classroom. You might be interested in all my previous posts there, which you can find here.

I’ve written over forty posts for The New York Times
that each include a student interactive and teaching ideas for English Language Learners.

Flashcards in the Classroom: Ten Lesson Ideas is from ELT Experiences. I’m adding it to The Best Tools To Make Online Flashcards.

Videos: Using Art As A Language-Learning Activity

Here Are The Eleven Sites I’m Using For My Summer School “Virtual Classroom”

Geography Instagram Videos By English Language Learners

Stanford University has released a treasure trove of resources about teaching ELLs.

The Image Bank is from The British Council. I’m adding it to The Best Ways To Use Photos In Lessons.

Six ways teachers can stay energized is another one of my monthly posts at Teaching English at the British Council.

Here’s an excerpt:

The-remembering-self-is

Last year, I wrote about a fun game for English Language Learners that I learned from late-night talk show host Jimmy Fallon (see Jimmy Fallon Comes Up With A Great Game For English Language Learners).

Today, I learned another one…

He calls it Word Sneak, and it’s a simple one — two people are given five words that they have to fit into a conversation.

Obviously, it’s very funny the way he uses it in this video clip, but it can also be used a nice interactive exercise for students.

I’m assuming that some other teacher has used this kind of game before so, if you have, and have some good additional suggestions, please leave them in the comments….

I’m adding this idea to The Best Sites To Practice Speaking English, where I’ve also been listing classroom speaking activities.

Good language teachers, as seen through the eyes of teachers and learners is by Adam Simpson. There’s a lot of substance there, and I would label it as a “must-read.”

Drawing Dictations is by Sandy Millin. I’ve started adding all dictation resources to The Best Resources For Learning How To Use The Dictogloss Strategy With English Language Learners.

Teaching mixed ability – some tips is from TEFL Reflections. I’m adding it to The Best Resources On Teaching Multilevel ESL/EFL Classes.

Experimenting with English (Part 2) – Activities for learners to do outside the classroom [26 and counting!] is another excellent post by Lizzie Pinard. I’m adding it to The Best Resources For Learning About Homework Issues.

McGraw Hill has a ton of online videos showing ELL teachers in action. I’m adding it to The Best Online Videos Showing ESL/EFL Teachers In The Classroom. Thanks to Judie Haynes for the tip.

navigator

ESL/EFL teachers who have been around awhile know of Jason Renshaw, who at one point had what I thought (and continue to think) was the best resource on the Web for ESL teachers — English Raven. Unfortunately, he took it off-line a few years ago, and now describes himself as a “former Tesol teacher, textbook author and web resources developer, now learning designer and elearning developer in higher ed (Open Universities Australia).”

Jason has continued his blog — with a somewhat different focus — and he has fortunately kept his huge archive there on TESOL available. His Open Source English resources, accompanied with his screencasts on how to use them, are a treasure trove.

One of my favorite inventions of his is called a “Sentence Navigator.” A screenshot of one small example is at the top of this post. It’s sort of a complex multiple choice exercise — I use some of the ones Jason produced, I create originals, and also have students make them for their classmates.

Jason explained them in an older article as:

a sentence navigation grid: five slots each containing three words. It will be up to the student to “navigate” this grid in order to build an appropriate answer to the question. The student will do this by circling the correct word in each slot and then referring to the teacher for feedback. Once all of the correct words have been circled, the student will be permitted to write the full answer in the space beneath.

Jason was kind enough to let me upload up two full units of Sentence Navigators to this blog so that any teachers can download them to use in class:

Sentence Navigator One

Sentence Navigator 2

Plus, he sent over a Screencast he had made explaining how to use them:

If you’re not using these already in your classroom, I hope you can start and see how useful they can be…

Thanks, Jason!

Play It Again And Again, Sam is from NPR and, I think, may help explain why jazz chants are effective in language instruction.

MusiXmatch is a free Chrome extension that will provide karaoke-style lyrics to most YouTube music videos. It can be used very easily on desktop and mobile devices.

Using songs, and using lyrics karaoke-style, is a longstanding and effective language-learning strategy, and you can read about many of them at The Best Music Websites For Learning English.

You can read more about it at TechCrunch.

The Best Posts & Videos About Sugata Mitra & His Education Ideas

The What Works Clearinghouse at the U.S. Department of Education has released an updated Guide for Teaching Academic Content and Literacy to English Learners in Elementary and Middle School.

The recommendations are good ones, and it’s always nice to be able to tell one’s administrator that you’re following the recommendations of the U.S. Department of Education .

Even though they say it’s for elementary and middle school, I think it’s safe to say the ideas make sense in high school, too.

I’m adding it to The Best Websites For Developing Academic English Skills & Vocabulary.

Creating The Conditions For Self-Motivated Students is another of my posts at the British Council Teaching English website. It includes specific suggestions for teaching English Language Learners, but most of what I write there is applicable to all students.

Here’s an interview with Ann Foreman and Paul Braddock, the key people behind the extraordinarily popular and helpful Learning English British Council Facebook page for teachers.

“The Image Story” Is A Nice Site & Provides An Even Better Classroom Idea

My colleague Katie Hull-Sypnieski and I wrote wrote a lengthy and, if I say so myself , excellent article that has been published by ASCD Educational Leadership.

It’s titled Teaching Argument Writing to ELLs, and it discusses very practical ways to teach writing to Beginning, Intermediate and Advanced English Language Learners — especially in light of the new Common Core Standards. But I think it offers helpful advice even if you’re teaching in a country not using CCSS.

I’m adding it to The Best Online Resources For Helping Students Learn To Write Persuasive Essays and to My Best Posts On Writing Instruction.

Origami & The Language Experience Approach

English Language Learners Design Their Own “Ideal” Neighborhoods

Our Latest Response From A Sister Class — This Time From South Africa!

We’re In The Middle Of My Favorite Unit Of The Year — Comparing Neighborhoods

Getting to grips with project based learning and I’m interested in project based learning but I don’t know where to begin! are two good posts by Adam Simpson discussing PBL and English Language Learners. I’m adding them to The Best Sites For Cooperative Learning Ideas.

Four questions to ask before using an Ed Tech tool is yet another one of my posts over at Teaching English-British Council.

Borrowed Words is a net interactive that shows from which languages English has borrowed the most words from during which periods of time.

Activate – Games for Learning American English is from the American English site of the U.S. Department of State. It’s a useful and free downloadable book. I’m adding it to The Best Ideas For Using Games In The ESL/EFL/ELL Classroom. Thanks to Barbara Sakamoto for the tip.

My colleague and co-author, Katie Hull Sypnieski, and I published a post over at Edutopia titled English-Language Learners and Academic Language.

Using “Dvolver Moviemaker” With English Language Learners

How My ELL Students Evaluated Me At The End Of First Semester

“Thinglink” Announces Free Virtual Classrooms

Creating Instagram Video “Book Trailers” With English Language Learners

Assessing English language learners is yet another of my posts at The British Council’s TeachingEnglish site.

Hot Spot Interview — Report From Venezuela

The Best Mobile Apps For English Language Learners

 

 

 

Print Friendly

June 17, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
2 Comments

The Best Theory Of Knowledge Resources In 2014 – So Far

674839733249917_a-1f599fcb_aYCgUw_pm

As regular readers know, I teach an International Baccalaureate “Theory of Knowledge” class (and, next year, I’ll 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 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 2014 – So Far:

Here Are Some Instagram Videos My Theory Of Knowledge Students Created

Here’s The Outline My Theory Of Knowledge Students Will Be Using For Their Essay

TED Talks has unveiled a new site called “Ideas.Ted.com”.

Here’s how they describe it:

ideas.TED.com is built to celebrate this: to track ideas that began decades ago and are now forging our current reality. And to follow new ideas that are still little more than crazy thoughts in their inventors’ heads.

Our goal is to provide useful context, relevant backstories and fresh, thought-provoking ways of looking at ongoing challenges. We’ll provide a smart, friendly space for discussion of the issues worth discussing.

I think it might be useful for TOK

The Internet was awash in discoveries made by Tyler Vigen, who wrote a computer program that discovers strange correlations and publishes them on his blog. I’m definitely adding this info to The Best Online Resources For Teaching The Difference Between Correlation & Causation, which is an important lesson to teach, especially in IB Theory of Knowledge classes.

The old Abbott and Costello “Who’s On First?” routine is used by Theory of Knowledge teachers around the world to illustrate how language can be used to discourage understanding. Jimmy Fallon also did a remake with famous comedians. You can see them both here.

The New York Times recently shared a sad, but funny, video, What Is A Photocopier?, that can be used for the same purpose:

It reminded me of the famous Bill Clinton deposition during the Monica Lewinsky scandal about the meaning of “is.”

You can read about it here and see the famous few seconds in the first video below. I’ve embedded a second video that provides a little more context, though the video itself is of poor quality:

The Onion humor magazine has published a wonderful piece titled Top Theoretical Physicists, R&B Singers Meet To Debate Meaning Of Forever. It’s perfect for IB Theory of Knowledge classes. In fact, it would be a fun model to use and then challenge students to come up with their own parody on TOK topics.  You might also be interested in The Best Education Articles From “The Onion.”

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

The Best Posts On IB Theory Of Knowledge Oral Presentations

The online bookmarking tool Delicious no longer provides the number of links that are bookmarked in a particular category, but I guesstimate that I must be up to 1,700 or so categorized ones related to the International Baccalaureate Theory of Knowledge class.

You can see them all here.

Those are just the ones I’ve bookmarked. If you want to contribute to an even bigger, more “universal” collection, you, too, can use Delicious and add the tag “#TOK” to helpful sites and articles.

Here Is The Simple Outline I’m Having My TOK Students Use For Their Oral Presentation

“Unknown Unknowns” & The Potential Of An Exceptional Theory Of Knowledge Lesson

“The Certainty of Donald Rumsfeld (Part 2)” Is As Good As Part One!

Recent Student Projects From My Theory Of Knowledge Class

TED Talks has unveiled a new animation titled “The Long Reach Of Reason.”

Here’s how Chris Anderson at TED describes it:

Two years ago the psychologist Steven Pinker and the philosopher Rebecca Newberger Goldstein, who are married, came to TED to take part in a form of Socratic dialog. Steven Pinker and Rebecca Newberger Goldstein: The long reach of reasonSteven Pinker and Rebecca Newberger Goldstein: The long reach of reasonShe sought to argue that Reason was a much more powerful force in history than it’s normally given credit for. He initially defended the modern consensus among psychologists and neurologists, that most human behavior is best explained through other means: unconscious instincts of various kinds. But over the course of the dialog, he is persuaded by her, and together they look back through history and see how reasoned arguments ended up having massive impacts, even if those impacts sometimes took centuries to unfold.

They turned it into a “talk in animated dialogue form.” I’ve embedded it below, and you can read more about it here.

Here’s a great video created by an organization in Norway to raise awareness of the plight of Syrian refugee children. TOK students studying ethics can discuss what they would do….

You can see videotaped examples of Oral Presentations from my students here.

I’m sure most IB Theory of Knowledge teachers use this famous and terrible scene from Sophie’s Choice when discussing ethics and moral dilemmas. However, I realized I never posted it on this blog, and thought it might be useful to others (and to me) to have it here:

I thought IB Theory of Knowledge teachers might be find this Bill Nye clip useful — I use it as part of teaching about pseudo-science:

Emotions Of Sound is a neat interactive that plays different sounds, along with images. You’re then show several different “emotional” words and have to pick the one that the sound and image elicits from you. After each answer, results are shown for how many people have chosen each word. At the end of the all the questions, the site tells you, overall, how alike or different your responses were from others visiting the site.

It’s a great site for English Language Learners to use for learning feelings-related vocabulary, and would be a fun interactive for IB Theory of Knowledge students to use when studying perception.

I’m adding it to The Best Sites To Learn “Feelings” Words.

The Dangers of Certainty: A Lesson From Auschwitz is an excellent (though somewhat meandering) column in today’s New York Times, written by Simon Critchley.

I think it relates a lot to what I’ve written about teaching and “school reform” in a Washington Post piece titled The importance of being unprincipled. I’ll also be using it in my IB Theory of Knowledge class — I always begin the course by sharing quotations questioning the value of absolute certainty.

Here’s an excerpt, followed by a video accompanying the column:

For-Dr-Bronowski-the

 

More “What If?” History Projects — Plus, What Students Thought Of Them….

Here’s What My IB Theory Of Knowledge Students Are Doing For Their Semester “Final”

Here’s A Cartoon: “Try To See Things From The Other Person’s Perspective”:

i_hereby_declare_that_all_cute_bunnies_be_classified_as_nonhuman_persons

created by Abstruse Goose

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

I’m adding this to The Best Sites For Walking In Someone Else’s Shoes.

This Year’s “What If?” History Presentations

 

Print Friendly

June 16, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
1 Comment

The Best Fun Videos For English Language Learners In 2014 – Part One

728304595063682_a-c68f0a35_yv-eUw_pm

I use short, funny video clips a lot when I’m teaching ELLs, and you can read in detail about how I use them in The Best Popular Movies/TV Shows For ESL/EFL (& How To Use Them). In short, there are many ways to use them that promote speaking, listening, writing and reading.

I’ve posted quite a few of them during the first six months of this year, and I thought it would be useful to readers — and to me — if I brought them together in one post.

I’ve also published quite a few during the previous seven years of this blog. You can find those in these lists:

The Best Videos For Educators In 2014 – So Far

The Best Fun Videos For English Language Learners In 2013 – Part Two

The Best Fun Videos For English Language Learners In 2013 — So Far

The “All-Time” Best Videos For Educators

The Best “Fun” Sites You Can Use For Learning, Too — 2012 (Part Two)

The Best “Fun” Sites You Can Use For Learning, Too — 2012 (Part One)

The Best “Fun” Sites You Can Use For Learning, Too — 2011

The Best “Fun” Sites You Can Use For Learning, Too — 2010

Part Two Of The Best “Fun” Sites You Can Use For Learning, Too — 2009

The Best “Fun” Sites You Can Use For Learning, Too — 2009

The Best “Fun” Sites You Can Use For Learning, Too — 2008

The Best Movie Scenes To Use For English-Language Development

The Best Funny Videos Showing The Importance Of Being Bilingual Or Multilingual — Part One

The Best Pink Panther Fight Scenes For English Language Learners

The Best Videos Illustrating Qualities Of A Successful Language Learner

The Best Sports Videos To Use With English Language Learners

The Best Video Clips Of Sneaky Critters

The Best Videos Showing “Thinking Outside The Box” — Help Me Find More

Okay, now here are my choices for The Best Fun Videos For English Language Learners In 2014 — Part One:

Thanks to Edutopia and Amy Erin Borovoy, who published Five-Minute Film Festival: The Best Cat Videos for Educators, I found this great video that English Language Learners could watch and then describe verbally & in writing:

This is a great video for English Language Learners — there’s no dialogue, but it’s engaging and funny. ELLs can watch it and then describe in writing and verbally what happened in it:

This is a great video of a voice actor making 30 animal sounds. Even better, the name of the animal is displayed after each sound.

One way I reinforce new vocabulary is by playing sound effects games where I play sounds representing words we have recently learned (water dripping from a faucet, door opening, etc) and have students use small whiteboards to get points (that are just for fun) for the correct word. I use it when we learn animals, too. It’s easy to find these sound effects online, but playing a video like this and stopping it prior to the name showing up on the screen could be a lot more fun.

Having English Language Learners put words in the mouth (or thoughts in the mind) of puppets, animals, or photographs of people is a common activity in the classroom. It can be fun and less-threatening when it’s something/someone else who’s talking (or, at least, it can feel that way to the student).

You can learn specific strategies to use at:

The Best Resources For Using Puppets In Class

The Best Sites For Online Photo-Editing & Photo Effects, which includes a number of sites where you can choose photos and add “speech bubbles” to them.

The Best Sites To Practice Speaking English, which includes sites you can use online to actually provide audio to images or animations.

Another engaging strategy is show short animal videos and have students develop a dialogue or a series of sentences the animals might be thinking.

There are lots of suitable videos online, and you can start at The Best Video Clips Of Sneaky Critters. Students can simply act them out when showing videos on a screen with the sound turned-off, or you can be more sophisticated and dub the videos themselves.

Here’s an example that an environmental campaign created (several others will play through if you want):

I’ve previously posted about The Action Movie Kid and how they are great clips to show English Language Learners and have them describe what they see.

Their creator has just put all of them into one video. Here it is:

Here are several more fun short videos that English Language Learners could watch and then describe what they saw verbally and in writing:

Show English Language Learners this video and have them describe what they see — but be sure to warn them to try this at home!

Print Friendly

June 15, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
0 comments

The Best Resources For Learning About Freedom Summer

'Foner (Thomas) Freedom Summer papers.' photo (c) 2012, Mississippi Department of Archives and History - license: https://www.flickr.com/commons/usage/

It’s the fiftieth anniversary of Freedom Summer:

Freedom Summer was a 1964 voter registration project in Mississippi, part of a larger effort by civil rights groups such as the Congress on Racial Equality (CORE) and the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) to expand black voting in the South. The Mississippi project was run by the local Council of Federated Organizations (COFO), an association of civil rights groups in which sncc was the most active member. About a hundred white college students had helped cofo register voters in November 1963, and several hundred more students were invited in 1964 for Freedom Summer, a much-expanded voter registration project.

On June 15, 1964, the first three hundred arrived. The next day, two of the white students, Michael Schwerner and Andrew Goodman, both from New York, and a local Afro-American, James Chaney, disappeared. Although their badly beaten bodies were not discovered for six weeks, certainty that they had been murdered swept the country and helped precipitate the passage of a long-pending civil rights bill in Congress

You might also be interested in:

The Best Websites For Learning About Martin Luther King

The Best Resources To Remember Dr. Martin Luther King’s Death (& Life)

The Best Sites For Learning About The Martin Luther King Memorial

The Best Sites To Teach About African-American History

The Best Sites To Learn About The Greensboro Sit-Ins (It’s The Fiftieth Anniversary)

The Best Places To Learn About President Obama’s Life

The Best Resources For Learning About The “Freedom Riders”

The Best Resources About The March On Washington

A Collection Of Useful Posts, Articles & Videos On Race & Racism – Help Me Find More

The Best Resources For Learning About The Birmingham Church Bombing

The Best Posts, Articles & Lesson Plans On The Jordan Davis Tragedy & Verdict: Our “Classrooms Are Full Of Him”

The Best Resources For Lessons On Trayvon Martin

The Best Commentaries On The 60th Anniversary Of Brown vs. Board Of Education

I Am Tired Of “School Reformers” Using The Civil Rights Movement Legacy To Support Their Agenda

Here are my choices for The Best Resources For Learning About Freedom Summer (and I’m sure I’ll be adding more during the next couple of months):

Freedom Summer is from the History Channel.

50 Years Ago, Freedom Summer Began By Training For Battle is from NPR.

50 years ago, ‘Freedom Summer’ changed South, US is from the Associated Press.

PBS will be showing a movie titled “Freedom Summer” later this month. The movie’s site has lots of resources.

Here are related teacher resources from the Smithsonian.

Here’s the Freedom Summer segment from “Eyes on the Prize.”

Still Learning From The ‘Pearl Harbor’ Of The Civil Rights Movement is from NPR.

In anniversary ceremony, historic church is center for Freedom Summer lessons is from The Hechinger Report.

People came together 50 summers ago to transform education’s trajectory – let’s finish the job is also from The Hechinger Report.

The Tragic Success of Freedom Summer is from Politico.

You might be interested in my 1,300 other Best lists….

Print Friendly

June 14, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
0 comments

The Best Research Demonstrating That Lectures Are Not The Best Instructional Strategy

'Lectures' photo (c) 2013, AJ Cann - license: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/

There has been a fair amount of recent research documenting the ineffectiveness of lectures as an instructional strategy. I thought I’d bring articles about the research together in one place.

You might also be interested in The Best Posts Questioning If Direct Instruction Is “Clearly Superior.”

Let me know what I’m missing here:

A study was just announced a couple of years ago claiming — surprise, surprise — that integrating pair work and small groups in teaching is more effective than straight lectures. Science Daily reported it in an article titled Interactive Teaching Methods Double Learning in Undergraduate Physics Class. The study’s author’s also seem to make a big deal of using “clickers” for student response, but when I actually read the study they said they only used them an average of 1.5 times each class, so it’s difficult for me to imagine they had that big of an impact. Based on my reading, though, the big difference seemed to be pair and small group work. You can access the study here, but it does cost fifteen dollars. Surprisingly — at least to me — the study was immediately attacked by a many other scientists, including Daniel Willingham, in a New York Times article. I don’t really understand what the big deal is — tons of other studies have shown similar results over the years.

Thanks to a post at The Engineer’s Pulse, I learned about Harvard Professor Eric Mazur. He’s done a lot of work — perhaps it could be called teacher action research — on the advantages of peer work over lecturing as an effective instructional tool. You can read more about his work at a Harvard Magazine article titled Twilight of the Lecture. I’ve also embedded below a talk by him about his work.

Improve grades, reduce failure: Undergrads should tell profs ‘don’t lecture me’ is from Science Daily.

Stop Lecturing Me (In College Science)! is from Scientific American.

Lectures Aren’t Just Boring, They’re Ineffective, Too, Study Finds is from Science Magazine.

University lectures are ineffective for learning, analysis finds is from The PBS News Hour.

Are Lectures On The Way Out? Harvard Professor Proposes A Better Way To Teach is from Boston’s NPR station.

You can see all 1,300 “The Best” lists here.

Print Friendly

June 13, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
0 comments

“The Best Posts On The Migration Policy Institute Report On Engaging Immigrant Parents”

June 13, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
0 comments

The Best Tweets Of 2014 — So Far

June 13, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
0 comments

My Best Posts On New Research Studies In 2014 – So Far

152610450315819_a-1cdd0cdc_2TqbUw_pm

I write many posts about recent research studies and how they can relate practically to the classroom. In fact, I post a regular feature called Research Studies of the Week. In addition, I write individual posts about studies I feel are particularly relevant to my work as a teacher.

I’m continuing with my mid-year “Best” lists, and it makes sense now to publish one on recent studies. You can see all my 1,300 “Best” lists here.

You might also be interested in:

My Best Posts On New Research Studies In 2013 – Part Two

My Best Posts On New Research Studies In 2013 — So Far

My Best Posts On New Research Studies In 2012 — So Far

My Best Posts On New Research Studies In 2011

Hare are My Best Posts On New Research Studies In 2014 – So Far:

The Best Posts On The Study Suggesting That Bare Classroom Walls Are Best For Learning

Another Big Surprise: Reflection Helps Learning

Another Shocker – NOT! Students Respond Better To Support Than Threats

Study: Gratitude Increases Self-Control

The Best Research On Listening To Music When Studying

How Adam Grant Just Made Teaching More Complicated

“Knowledge Motivates Preschoolers More Than Stickers, Study Says”

The Best Resources On The Dangers Of Multitasking

This Has Me Concerned: “Study Links Teacher ‘Grit’ with Effectiveness, Retention”

Another Study Demonstrates The Ineffectiveness Of Extrinsic Motivation, But Also Something More….

Quote Of The Day: Have You Ever Wondered How Many Decisions We Teachers Need To Make Each Day?

Some Very Interesting Info On Self-Control Research

New US Dept. of Ed Finds That “Less Effective Teaching” Responsible For 2-4 Percent Of Achievement Gap

Must-Read Article About A Must-Read Study: “Can Upward Mobility Cost You Your Health?”

Study: “How Stories Get Into Your Brain”

Quote Of The Day: “Fighting in Teenagers Lowers Their IQ”

The Best Posts On Study Finding That Standardized Tests Don’t Measure Cognitive Ability

Surprising Study — NOT: People Learn A Second Language Better By Physically Simulating Words

Another Study Shows That Self-Affirmation Activities Help People Think More Clearly

Study: Standardized Tests Don’t Measure “Fluid Intelligence”

 

Print Friendly

June 9, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
0 comments

The Best Music Videos Of “What A Wonderful World”

'What A Wonderful World' photo (c) 2006, Sharat Ganapati - license: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

“What A Wonderful World” by Louie Armstrong is a super-popular song, and well-used by teachers of English Language Learners throughout the world.

This evening, Wendi Pillars shared a spoken version by David Attenborough that I hadn’t seen before, and I thought I’d take the opportunity to share the versions I’ve used with my students. I hope readers will share ones they like, too.

Here’s the version I use with my students:

Here’s the one Wendi shared:

Here’s a very unusual one I’ve share on my blog previously. It’s called “An Abridged History of Western Music in 16 Genres”:

Here’s Armstrong himself:

And here are a few others I’ve seen:

allatc offers an ELL lesson plan for the Wonderful World song.

Print Friendly

June 9, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
1 Comment

The Best Posts On The Study Suggesting That Bare Classroom Walls Are Best For Learning

'busy walls of our second grade classroom' photo (c) 2010, woodleywonderworks - license: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

The media has been full of stories about a new study suggesting that bare classroom walls are a better learning environment for children than decorated ones.

In many ways, this research is a great example of some of the problems with much education research, much of which you can read about in The Best Resources For Understanding How To Interpret Education Research.

There are two excellent posts that elaborate on these issues — one by Alfie Kohn and the other by Dan Willingham. There’s some irony in this since Kohn criticizes a prior article by Dan in an effort to make his points:

The education question we should be asking is by Alfie Kohn.

Bare Walls and Poor Learning? The Trouble with the Latest Headlines is by Daniel Willingham.

Here are three other articles on the study worth reading, too:

Rethinking the Colorful Kindergarten Classroom is from The New York Times.

Study Shows Classroom Decor Can Distract From Learning is from an NPR station.

Heavily decorated classrooms disrupt attention and learning in young children is from Eureka Alert.

I’m going to end this post with an excerpt from Kohn’s piece:

While-were-at-it-maybe

Print Friendly

June 7, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
0 comments

The Best Videos For Educators In 2014 – So Far

246787656851315_a-8808c96c_G52TUw_pm

Another day, another mid-year “Best” list (you can find all 1,300 Best lists here).

You might also be interested in:

The “All-Time” Best Videos For Educators

The Best Videos For Educators In 2013 – Part Two

The Best Videos For Educators In 2012 — Part Two

The Best Videos For Educators In 2012 — Part One

The Best Videos For Educators In 2011

Part Two Of The Best Videos For Educators — 2010

The Ten Best Videos For Educators — 2010

And you might also want to see The Best Funny Videos Showing The Importance Of Being Bilingual — Part OneThe Best Videos Illustrating Qualities Of A Successful Language LearnerThe Best Video Clips Demonstrating “Grit”; and The Best Fun Videos About Books & Reading.

You might also want to check out The Best Video Collections For Educators and The Best Video Clips On Goal-Setting — Help Me Find More.

Here are my choices for The Best Videos For Educators In 2014 – So Far:

Over at Vox, Ezra Klein interviews Ta-Nehisi Coates about his article, “The Case for Reparations.” I’ve embedded the video below, but Vox has a nice interactive table of contents that might make it more useful — especially if you don’t have an hour to watch the whole thing. I’m adding it to A Collection Of Useful Posts, Articles & Videos On Race & Racism.

Who’s not familiar with the famous Schoolhouse Rock video, I’m Just A Bill? Just in case, though, it’s the second video after this description. The first video is an updated version by Vox that is more cynical and more accurate (I’m not sure of that one will show-up in an RSS Reader).

I added this video to The Best Hans Rosling Videos:

I added this video to The Best Resources For Understanding How To Interpret Education Research:

I’ve previously posted the video and links to the full text of George Saunders’ well known commencement speech on “The Importance of Kindness.”

Now, this animation of part of it has been created….

I added this next video from Business Insider to The Best Sites For Learning About The World’s Different Cultures:

I added this amazing video to The Best Websites For Teaching & Learning About World History:

Watch as 1000 years of European borders change (timelapse map) from Nick Mironenko on Vimeo.

I added this video to The Best “Language Maps”:

TED Talks unveiled a new animation titled “The Long Reach Of Reason.”

Here’s how Chris Anderson at TED describes it:

Two years ago the psychologist Steven Pinker and the philosopher Rebecca Newberger Goldstein, who are married, came to TED to take part in a form of Socratic dialog. Steven Pinker and Rebecca Newberger Goldstein: The long reach of reasonSteven Pinker and Rebecca Newberger Goldstein: The long reach of reasonShe sought to argue that Reason was a much more powerful force in history than it’s normally given credit for. He initially defended the modern consensus among psychologists and neurologists, that most human behavior is best explained through other means: unconscious instincts of various kinds. But over the course of the dialog, he is persuaded by her, and together they look back through history and see how reasoned arguments ended up having massive impacts, even if those impacts sometimes took centuries to unfold.

They turned it into a “talk in animated dialogue form.” I’ve embedded it below, and you can read more about it here.

This next video is only a little over two minutes. Watch it til the very end…

Neil deGrasse Tyson shared this great video showing effective teaching in action. I’ve added it to The Best Places To Learn About (And View Video Clips Of) Teachers In The Movies:

Here are two good videos. Make a point of reading Joe Bower’s analyses of the South African reading commercial (the first video) and of the video of the young girl learning to ski. You won’t be disappointed.

John McCarthy shared this short video clip of U.S. Olympic bobsledder Lolo Jones. She begins by sharing her favorite quote (though doesn’t cite the source and I can’t find it online, either):

“A failure isn’t a failure if it prepares you for success tomorrow”

I showed the video to my students, along with writing that quotation on the board. Then, I asked them to respond to this writing prompt:

What is Lolo Jones saying about how we should view failure? What do you think of her view? To develop your position, be sure to include specific examples. These examples can come from the video, anything else you’ve read, and/or your own observations and experiences.

I added this to The Best Posts, Articles & Videos About Learning From Mistakes & Failures and to My Best Posts On Writing Instruction (where I collect all my writing prompts).

I’m Not Sure You’ll Find A Better Video Illustrating The Importance Of Libraries Than “El Bibliotecario”:

The Librarian / El Bibliotecario from Facebook Stories on Vimeo.

This is a very creative video from TED-Ed. You can see the whole lesson here.

Ann Foreman shared this Life of Brian video on Facebook. It’s a classic scene of how NOT to teach grammar:

TED Ed shared a nice lesson and video called “Who Invited Writing?” You can see the entire lesson here:

Do we teach like cats or dogs? This video was shared by Daniel Coyle on Twitter:

I’ve added this video to The Best Online Resources For Teaching & Learning About World War II (Part Two):

I don’t think I’d use this with students, but, as Greg Toppo said when he shared this on Twitter, it seems like a “spot-on take on bullying.”

Because of that, I’m adding it to A Very, Very Beginning List Of The Best Resources On Bullying.

Print Friendly

June 6, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
0 comments

The Best Social Studies Sites Of 2014 — So Far

165716806942837_a-035b7d28_A4aSUw_pm

Here’s one more in my series of mid-year “Best” lists (you can see all 1,300 of the lists here).

You might also be interested in these previous posts:

The “All-Time” Best Social Studies Sites

The Best Social Studies Sites Of 2013 – Part Two

The Best Social Studies Sites Of 2013 – So Far

All My 2013 “The Best…” Lists (So Far) Related To Social Studies In One Place

The Best Social Studies Sites Of 2012 — Part Two

The Best Social Studies Sites Of 2012 — Part One

The Best Social Studies Sites Of 2011

The Best “The Best…” Lists Related To Social Studies — 2010

The Best Social Studies Websites — 2010

The Best Social Studies Websites — 2009

The Best Social Studies Websites — 2008

The Best Social Studies Websites — 2007

Here are my choices for The Best Social Studies Sites Of 2014 — So Far:

The Best Places For Students To Learn About…Their Names one of my fairly popular lists — learning about one’s name is a high-interest topic for students. Some relatively new and cool interactive sites have recently come online…

One is Zato Novo Baby Names, which gives you a time lapse of the popularity of names in the United States over the years.

The Name Navigator seems to be a similar tool.

Watch European colonialism rise and fall in seconds in this GIF. Thanks to Vox for the tip, which has also written an accompanying text:

 

The Smithsonian has a series of one-minute “Ask Smithsonian” videos that answer questions on a variety of topics.

There are a number of sites out there that let you click on a location in Google Street View and then show you historical images of that same site going back many, many years. And you can access the best of them at The Best Historical Photo + Video Map-Based Sites. Google has announced their own somewhat similar (though far more limited) “Go Back In Time” feature – they’ve put photos from when they began taking them back in 2007 online so, at least in many places:

If you see a clock icon in the upper left-hand portion of a Street View image, click on it and move the slider through time and select a thumbnail to see that same place in previous years or seasons.

For this next one, I’m just going to begin with a quote from Open Culture:

British Pathé was one of the leading producers of newsreels and documentaries during the 20th Century. This week, the company, now an archive, is turning over its entire collection — over 85,000 historical films – to YouTube.

The archive — which spans from 1896 to 1976 – is a goldmine of footage, containing movies of some of the most important moments of the last 100 years.

It’s an amazing collection that will be gold mine to U.S. and World History teachers everywhere. And, in a bonus to teachers of English Language Learners, many appear to be close-captioned (not using YouTube’s error-plagued automatic system).

I’m adding this amazing video to The Best Websites For Teaching & Learning About World History:

Watch as 1000 years of European borders change (timelapse map) from Nick Mironenko on Vimeo.

Regular readers know I’m a big fan of using “What If?” history in the classroom — see The Best Resources For Teaching “What If?” History Lessons.

It looks like NPR has become a fan of the idea, too. They invited  readers to share their visions of what the world would have looked like if World War One hadn’t happened. See their article, A World Without World War I, Featuring Health-Nut Hitler.

Here’s a well-done interactive:


Produced By Online Accounting Degrees

Big Facts On Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security is an extremely impressive new interactive site on the effects of climate change. It shows its effect in a variety of ways on every region on the earth.

Here’s how it describes itself:

Big Facts is a resource of the most up-to-date and robust facts relevant to the nexus of climate change, agriculture and food security. It is intended to provide a credible and reliable platform for fact checking amid the range of claims that appear in reports, advocacy materials and other sources. Full sources are supplied for all facts and figures and all content has gone through a process of peer review.

Big Facts is also an open-access resource. We encourage everyone to download, use and share the facts and graphic images. We believe that by sharing knowledge we can aid the type of interdisciplinary understanding and collaboration necessary for meeting the challenges posed to agriculture and food security in the face of climate change.

The Big Facts project is led by the CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS). CCAFS is a strategic partnership of CGIAR and Future Earth, led by the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT). CCAFS brings together the world’s best researchers in agricultural science, development research, climate science and Earth System science, to identify and address the most important interactions, synergies and tradeoffs between climate change, agriculture and food security.

There are quite a few online geography games out there, and you can see them at The Best Online Geography Games. Many of them are pretty hard, and can be frustrating to students.

Spacehopper is a new online game that isn’t easy but, after showing you a Google Street View image of a location, provides clues that make it less difficult. You’re shown a map with various dots on it, as well as the map outline of the country. After three guesses, you’re given the answer along with information on the location.

The Washington Post keeps on coming up with excellent collections of maps and charts.

Last year they published 40 maps that explain the world. It linked to another site called 40 Maps They Didn’t Teach You In School that also has a number of other good maps. However, that second site also includes a few maps with topics and language that wouldn’t be appropriate for the classroom.

Then, The Post published a sequel: 40 more maps that explain the world.

I added both to The Best Websites For Learning & Teaching Geography.

The Post hasn’t stopped there. They’ve also published 40 charts that explain the world, which I added to The Best Multimedia Resources For Introducing Students To The Advantages Of Charts, Graphs & Infographics.

They’ve recently published yet another exceptional collection titled 25 maps and charts that explain America today.

The BBC has launched an exhaustive interactive site on World  War One, which they call the first in a new way they say they plan to rebrand all their content. The new brand is called iWonder, and their World War One iWonder Guide has just about anything you want to know and is presented in an interactive and accessible format. It even appears that all the video can be seen by viewers in the U.S., which is a surprise since often BBC video is blocked here.

Dan Pink shared this cool translator map on Twitter. It uses Google Translate to translate English into any major European language and then shows the word on the geographical location where the language is primarily spoken. You can read more about it at Business Insider.

Median Income Across the US is a nice interactive map from WNYC that shows the income levels of all the census tracts in the United States.

Here’s another pretty amazing video:

Each year for the past two years I’ve posted about a new online “choose your own adventure” U.S. History game created by Mission US, which is funded by the Corporation For Public Broadcasting and the National Endowment For The Humanities.

First, there was one on the American Revolution, then on slavery.

They’ve unveiled a third one in the series, this one focusing on Native Americans, and it looks great.

You can play A Cheyenne Odyssey here, and all the games here. You can read more about the new game here.

Records of Rights is a new interactive site from the National Archives. It highlights First Amendment rights, Native American rights, workplace rights, equal rights, rights to privacy and sexuality, and more.

Here are the Social Studies related “Best” lists I’ve posted this year:

The Best Sites For Learning About South Africa

The Best Resources On The Protests In Ukraine

The Best Posts, Articles & Lesson Plans On The Jordan Davis Tragedy & Verdict: Our “Classrooms Are Full Of Him”

The Best Resources For Learning About Mudslides

The Best Sites For Learning About Japan

The Best Sites For Learning About India

The Best Sites For Learning About The 2014 World Cup In Brazil

The Best Resources On The Missing Malaysia Airlines Plane

The Best Commentaries On The 60th Anniversary Of Brown vs. Board Of Education

The Best Resources On The Kidnapped School Girls In Nigeria – Help Me Find More

Print Friendly

June 6, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
0 comments

The Best Articles & Posts On Education Policy In 2014 – So Far

767574201224216_a-70206605_F0SSUw_pm

It’s time for another of my mid-year “Best” lists (you can see all 1,300 “The Best…” lists here).

You might also be interested in:

The Best Articles, Videos & Posts On Education Policy In 2013 — Part Two

All My 2013 “The Best…” Lists (So Far) On Education Policy In One Place

All My 2012 “The Best…” Lists On Education Policy In One Place

The Best Articles, Videos & Posts On Education Policy In 2012 — Part Two

The Best Articles, Videos & Posts On Education Policy In 2012 — Part One

The Best Articles & Posts On Education Policy In 2011 — Part Two

The Best Articles & Posts On Education Polcy In 2011 — Part One

The Best Articles & Posts On Education Policy — 2010

The “Best” Articles (And Blog Posts) About Education Policy — 2009

The “Best” Articles About Education — 2008

The “Best” Articles About Education — 2007

Here are my choices for The Best Articles, Videos & Posts On Education Policy In 2014 – So Fa (not in order of preference):

Thanks to Jack Schneider, I learned about a post by Ben Spielberg titled The Problem with Outcome-Oriented Evaluations. It’s a great piece on teacher evaluation, and reflects important points that are seldom raised in discussions on the topic. He described the value of evaluating inputs, as opposed to outputs. In other words, most teacher evaluation discussion is focused on measuring student outcomes. But, as Ben points out, we often have far less control over those outcomes than is believed.

What If Teacher Evaluation Isn’t Actually Broken After All? by Paul Bruno is a really excellent post.

Paul wrote another great piece titled Why Education Reform is Probably Not The Best Way to Fight Poverty.

Schooled: Cory Booker, Chris Christie, and Mark Zuckerberg had a plan to reform Newark’s schools. They got an education. appeared in The New Yorker.

The American Statistical Association issued a report  containing many criticisms of how Value-Added Measurement is used in teacher evaluations today. It’s not that lengthy, but you can read a summary at Education Week.

Why most professional development for teachers is useless is an excellent piece by Valerie Strauss at The Washington Post.

The Washington Post has republished a post I wrote last month on SEL. Here on my blog, I had titled it Let Them Eat Character. Their title is “The manipulation of Social Emotional Learning.”

Marc Tucker wrote a series on assessments over at Education Week:

The Failure of Test-Based Accountability

Accountability and Motivation

The Story Behind the SAT Overhaul is a very interesting piece in this week’s New York Times Magazine.

The False Markets of Market Based Reforms is by Bruce Baker.

The Case Against Tenure Seems Weak is by Paul Bruno.

Valerie Strauss at The Washington Post has published a piece by Sarah Blaine that I’m sure went “viral” among educators. It’s titled You think you know what teachers do. Right? Wrong.

Why False Compromises Won’t Resolve The Education Debate is by Jeff Bryant. He doesn’t use these exact words, but does a good job distinguishing the difference between a “half a loaf” and “half a baby.” Those are the terms we use in community organizing when describing the differences between a genuine compromise and one which is harmful.

TV Shows: Thinking “West Wing” In A “House Of Cards” World is by Alexander Russo. The Melian Dialogue is a classic tool used by community organizers to illustrate the importance of living in the world “as it is” instead of “as we’d like it to be,” and Alexander effectively uses the contrast in the two TV shows to demonstrate the same lesson about making political change.

I’ve previously connected Pope Francis’ views to education issues. Ed Fuller has written a really interesting post about the Pope’s comments on the education going on in seminaries and making connections to what’s going on in our own classrooms.

This Time It’s Personal and Dangerous is by Barbara Bray.

There’s a great interview with Linda Darling-Hammond on NPR . It’s headlined School Testing Systems Should Be Examined In 2014.

How hard is teaching? is by Valerie Strauss at The Washington Post.

I’ve written a lot about the importance of trust in education. In fact, I have a list titled The Best Posts About Trust & Education. Nobel Prize winner Joseph Stiglitz puts that issue in a broader context in New York Times, while at the same time making the connection to education. In No One We Trust is a must-read.

Our Kids — Coddled or Confident? is an excellent post by John Kuhn, and appeared in Anthony Cody’s Education Week Teacher blog.

Let me know what posts and articles you think I’m missing.

You might also be interested in the ed policy “Best” lists I’ve published so far this year:

The Best Articles Showing Why Education Reform Is NOT The Best Way To Fight Poverty

I Am Tired Of “School Reformers” Using The Civil Rights Movement Legacy To Support Their Agenda

The Best Posts & Articles On The Florida Teacher Evaluation Fiasco

The Best Resources On Professional Development For Teachers — Help Me Find More

The Best Posts, Articles & Videos On “Teacher Leadership” — Contribute More!

“The Best Posts On The inBloom Data Fiasco”

The Best Resources On California Court Case Attacking Teacher’s Rights

The Best Posts On Study Finding That Standardized Tests Don’t Measure Cognitive Ability

The Best Posts & Articles On 2012 PISA Test Results

An important new report was published raising major questions about the usefulness of Value-Added Measurement as a teacher evaluation tool.

Read about it at The Washington Post’s article, Good teaching, poor test scores: Doubt cast on grading teachers by student performance, and at Education Week’s piece, Studies Highlight Complexities of Using Value-Added Measures.

 

 

 

Print Friendly

June 5, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
3 Comments

The Best Web 2.0 Applications For Education In 2014 – So Far

449286666247046_a-287a3a82_RT6RUw_pm

It’s that time of year again when I start posting mid-year “The Best….” lists. There are over 1,300 lists now.  You can see them all here.

As usual, in order to make this list, a site had to be:

* accessible to English Language Learners and non-tech savvy users.

* free-of-charge.

* appropriate for classroom use.

* completely browser-based with no download required.

It’s possible that a few of these sites began in 2013, but, if so, I’m including them in this list because they were “new to me” in 2014.

You might want to visit previous editions, as well as The “All-Time” Best Web 2.0 Applications For Education:

The Best Web 2.0 Applications For Education In 2013

The Best Web 2.0 Applications For Education In 2012

The Best Web 2.0 Applications For Education In 2011

The Best Web 2.0 Applications For Education — 2010

The Best Web 2.0 Applications For Education — 2009

The Best Web 2.0 Applications For Education — 2008

The Best Web 2.0 Applications For Education — 2007

(You might also find useful)

I don’t rank my mid-year lists, but do place them in order of preference in my end-of-year lists.

Feel free to let me know if you think I’m leaving any tools out.

Here are my twenty-two choices for The Best Web 2.0 Applications For Education In 2014 (so Far) — not ranked in any order:

slidebean is a new free tool for creating online slideshows. It provides multiple formats and the ability to search the Web, within the application, for images. I’ve added it to The Best Ways To Create Online Slideshows.

Zaption looks like a useful tool for creating interactive videos for students.

Reader Irina let me know about Pixteller, another tool that lets you easily create visually attractive quotations.

Google has unveiled Google Classroom, which looks like a one-stop shop for teachers and students. It’s free, with no ads, and describes itself as providing the ability to. It’s invite-only for now, but is supposed to be available to anyone by September.

TUZZit is a free online graphic organizer tool that provides lots of different options of organizers (you can also create your own); lets you paste online images videos, virtual post-it notes and more onto them; and then you can share your creation with online collaborators. In some ways it seems like an Exploratree on steriods (that site is on Not “The Best,” But “A List” Of Mindmapping, Flow Chart Tools, & Graphic Organizers list). In other ways, it reminds me of tools on The Best Online Virtual “Corkboards” (or “Bulletin Boards”) list.

Appear.in seems like a super-simple video conferencing site for up to eight people that doesn’t even require any registration.

Booktrack Classroom has books in the public domain online to which they’ve added “soundtracks” — music, street sounds, etc. In addition, students can create their own soundtracks to books that they write. Even better, teachers can create virtual classrooms with assigned readings and/or to share their own creations. And, best of all, it’s free.  You can read many of the books without having to register, but must do so in order to create them. It’s very, very easy to create your own books — the site has lots of sounds and music you can add to the text. Oddly, though, it doesn’t seem to provide the option of recording your own narration or sound effects. With those features, it would make it particularly useful to English Language Learners and also make it a more engaging creative activity for everyone.

Sketch Toy is a simple and useful online drawing tool.

Tapestry is both an online tool and an app that has multiple storymaking tools. You can read more about it at TechCrunch.

Scrawlar lets teachers create virtual classrooms, lets students write and use a “whiteboard,” doesn’t require student email registration (just a classroom password and a student-created sign-in code), and is free. It’s also usable on laptops, desktops, tablets and phones.

Flip Quiz is an easy site that lets you create an online Jeopardy-like game board that students can play.

ExamTime is sort of a flashcard site on steroids that provides a number of other tools, too.

Learning Pod looks like a nice place to create online quizzes.

Curriculet lets teachers assign what appears to be books in the public domain (though I might be wrong on that) and embed quizzes and questions into them.

Function Carnival is a new site that lets you set-up virtual classes, have students watch videos, and then have them create graphs based on what they see. I don’t really understand it, but it looks cool, Dan Meyer helped create it (which means it has to be good), and you can read more about it here.

ClassFlow is a new tool that was unveiled by Promethean in January.  It looks pretty interesting, though I’ve got to wonder what it’s cost structure is going to end up being. I suspect that Promethean isn’t going to make it entirely free forever, but maybe I’m just being cynical. It seems like a pretty easy tool for teachers to use to create multimedia presentations for the classroom and, apparently, provides a way for students to respond to teacher questions (I didn’t explore that feature). I also think it would a useful tool for students to use to create lessons that they would teach to their classmates.

Biteslide looks like a fairly easy tool to create slideshow-like presentations.

Gibbon lets you easily create what they call “flows,” which are basically lists of web resources with instructions written by the flow’s creator. I think Gibbon has ambitious plans but, for teachers, it’s an easy tool for teachers to create Internet scavenger hunts for students and for students to create them for their classmates.

Stupeflix, which is on Not The “Best,” But A List… Of Online Video Editors list, has launched a free iPhone app called Replay that — at least to me — looks very, very Animoto-like. It lets you easily turn your photos into music videos.  I’m assuming there are lots of differences between the two, but I could only find two in my admittedly quick try-out of Replay, and both came out in Replay’s favor: one, the process appeared a lot faster than in Animoto’s app and, two, Replay appears to provide a number of features that Animoto requires you to pay (admittedly, not a lot) for…

There are lots of sites out there that let you create virtual “corkboards” and you can see them at The Best Online Virtual “Corkboards” (or “Bulletin Boards”). Padlet (formerly known as Wallwisher) is probably the most well-known tool of this kind. Richard Byrne  shared about a new site that might end up being the best of the bunch. It’s called Stoodle.

Canva is a new tool for creating infographics.

PixiClip is a neat drawing tool. It lets you make a drawing and record either audio-only or a video to go along with it. It also lets you upload an image from the web and “mark it up,” but I think there are plenty of other web tools that let you do that easily enough — and let you grab images off the web with photo url addresses (PixiClip just lets you upload one from your computer) — so I don’t think that feature particularly stands out (you can see those other tools at The Best Online Tools For Using Photos In Lessons).

Feedback is welcome.

If you found this post useful, you might want to look at the 1,300 other “The Best…” lists and consider subscribing to this blog for free.

Print Friendly

May 28, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
0 comments

The Best Resources About Maya Angelou

'Maya Angelou visits YCP! 2/4/13' photo (c) 2013, York College ISLGP - license: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

I’m sure we are all saddened by Maya Angelou’s death today.

I thought I’d share some useful resources and tweets to help remember her, and that might also help our students develop a connection to her work, if they don’t have one already.

Feel free to suggestion your own favorites…

The PBS NewsHour has created two good resources.

Print Friendly