Here’s my latest end-of-year “The Best…” list.
You can see all the others at All My 2015 “Best” Lists In One Place.
You might also be interested in:
I’ve used Storify to “curate” them:
November 9, 2015
by Larry Ferlazzo
Here’s my latest end-of-year “The Best…” list.
You can see all the others at All My 2015 “Best” Lists In One Place.
You might also be interested in:
I’ve used Storify to “curate” them:
November 8, 2015
by Larry Ferlazzo
Late last month, I began publishing my end-of-year “Best” lists.
I thought readers would find it useful if I began this “compilation” post, and continued to add lists as I publish them.
You might also be interested in All My 2015 Mid-Year “Best” Lists In One Place!
Here’s what I have so far (there should be twenty-or-so when I’m done):
November 8, 2015
by Larry Ferlazzo
As regular readers know, I’ve begun posting my mid-year “The Best….” lists. There are nearly 1,500 regularly updated lists now. You can see them all here.
As usual, in order to make this list, a site has to be:
* accessible to English Language Learners and non-tech savvy users.
* appropriate for classroom use.
* completely browser-based with no download required (however, I’ve begun to make exceptions for special mobile apps).
Some sites I’m including this year are primarily geared towards teachers creating content for classroom use, but could also easily be used by students.
It’s possible that a few of these sites began earlier than this year, but, if so, I’m including them in this list because they were “new to me” in 2015.
You might want to visit previous editions, as well as The “All-Time” Best Web 2.0 Applications For Education; The “All-Time” Best Ways To Create Online Content Easily & Quickly and The “All-Time” Best 2.0 Tools For Beginning English Language Learners.
The Best Tools For Creating “Word Frequency Charts” For Books, Articles & Movies and The Best Online Tools That Can Help Students Write An Essay are also new Web 2.0-related “Best” lists I published this year:
Feel free to let me know if you think I’m leaving any tools out.
Instead of ranking each of the forty-eight tools on this list in order, I have them organized into three general groups: Useful, Good, and Excellent. The “Excellent” tools are added to the “All-Time” list mentioned previously.
Here are my ranked choices for The Best Web 2.0 Applications For Education In 2015:
I’ve written about Russel Tarr’s site ClassTools many times, including featuring it in a post titled This Is The Best Web 2.0 Site For ELLs & May Be The Best One For All Students. He recently released another tool to join the many he has already. It’s called the Breaking News Generator!. Students can create a screenshot of a newscast with a news crawler at the bottom. Like his other tools, it’s free and simple to use.
Deekit is a new tool for collaboratively creating online whiteboards.It’s similar to other whiteboard tools on The Best Online Tools For Real-Time Collaboration list, though it does appear to have more bells and whistles. It’s free — at least, for now — and you can read more about it atTechCrunch.
Classmint is like a super Flashcard site.
Five Thirty Eight wrote an extensive article about a new free Google Chrome Extension called Draftback. It allows you to see the entire writing process unfold for any Google Doc. In other words, every mistake, correction, revision, etc. — either in the “realtime” it took or in a “speeded-up” time. You can then easily embed the created “Draftback.” I’m not sure if it’s just a cool toy that people will use once to try it out, or a tool that could be very effective in teaching writing to students.
Firefox has unveiled “Hello,” a video-calling system that is built into its browser. No registration is necessary. All you have to do is easily “create a conversation,” name it, and send the url link to the person with whom you want to talk. You can also create a contact list. They can use other browsers, like Chrome, and still use the link to the video call. Unfortunately, it appears to me that you can’t have group video chatrooms — in other words, it appears that you can just have two computers using the url address.
Trello is another free tool that teachers and students can use to create online corkboards/bulletin boards (like Padlet and other sites on The Best Online Virtual “Corkboards” (or “Bulletin Boards”) list).
Prezi, the incredibly popular (though, to me, still rather discomforting to look at) presentation tool, has unveiled an iPhone app called Nutshell.
Presentate is a new tool for creating online presentations. It looks nice, but you have to register for its beta. I received my invitation fairly quickly. I’m not convinced the world needs yet another online presentation site, but I’ll still add it to The Best Ways To Create Online Slideshows.
Thematic is another tool for creating slideshows. I like it a little better than Presentate, and it’s now open to the public. You can learn more about it at Richard Byrne’s blog. I’m adding it to that same “Best” list.
Speaking of online slideshow tool, here are two more:
One is Bunkr. Last May they unveiled a “new” Bunkr, which was a big improvement. Recently, they supposedly unveiled a new Bunkr which has been completely redesigned. You can read a wayover-the-top review of it at TechCrunch. It is worth a look, though.
Sway is Microsoft’s new online slideshow tool.
Hstry is a nice new online too for creating timelines. Richard Byrne wrote a post about it, and I’d suggest just you visit his blog to learn more. As he points out, one of the particularly nice features of this free tool is that teachers can create virtual classrooms for their students.
MoocNote is a new site that lets teachers create video playlists, along with notes and questions for students to answer. You can read more about it at Richard Byrne’s blog. I’m adding it to A Potpourri Of The Best & Most Useful Video Sites.
I learned about Biteable from Ed Tech & Mobile Learning. It seemed a bit clunky, but it’s also new, and it’s free. It would be an easy tool for students to use — it’s sort of a somewhat less sophisticated Animoto. You can’t embed the video, but it provides an easy option to upload it to YouTube.
Write Lab looks like a very interesting, and unique, online writing tool (it doesn’t quite fit into a Web 2.0 category, but I’m putting it here, anyway). Once students upload their essay, its software provides a lot of critical feedback. In my experiment, the feedback seemed pretty accurate. The problem was there was way too much of it, and that will be a problem for students — to be able separate the really important stuff from the little stuff. I’m adding it to The Best Online Tools That Can Help Students Write An Essay.
Polarr is yet another online tool for photo-editing, and it looks like a good one. I’m adding it to The Best Sites For Online Photo-Editing & Photo Effects.
Vibby lets you share segments of YouTube videos with inserted questions. You can read more about it at these two Richard Byrne posts. I’m adding it to The Best Tools For Cutting-Out & Saving Portions Of Online Videos (Or Annotating Them).
Playbuzz lets you create a variety of online games and quizzes very easily – for free. You can embed them, too.
Plotagon is a free app that lets you create simple animations with a text-to-speech ability. A very nice feature it has – which sets it apart from a lot of animation tools — is that it provides a lot of prompts for users. That could be a big help to English Language Learners.
I am amazingly ignorant about math, but a zillion math teachers tell me that Desmos is the best math app out there, which I shared in recent ASCD Educational Leadership article, Apps, Apps Everywhere: Are Any Good, You Think? Dan Meyer has just shared the Desmos unveiled a new feature – the ability for teachers to create their own activities on the site. I don’t understand any of this, but I’m assuming this makes Desmos even better!
Sketchlot lets teachers create virtual classrooms for their students, who can then create drawings or other products on an online whiteboard that can be monitored by their teachers. I’m adding it to The Best Art Websites For Learning English and to The Best Sites That Students Can Use Independently And Let Teachers Check On Progress. Thanks to – who else? – Richard Byrne for the tip.
Animaps is a new tool for created an sequential series of points on a map — in another words, an animated video of a trip, a series of events & where they took place from literature or history, etc. It seems very easy to use. You can read more about it at Richard Byrne’s blog. I’m adding it to The Best Map-Making Sites On The Web.
Chisel is a simple way to create visually attractive quotations to share online.
eQuiz Show lets you easily create online Jeopardy-like games without requiring registration. There are already a number of similar tools on the list, but you can never have too many because who knows what School District content filters will block and what they will let through.
Thanks to Alison Rostetter, I learned about Teachers-Direct. They have two styles of games you can create without registering. One is called Quiz-Busters. The other is sort of interesting. I’m not a big fan of Word Searches, and view them as basically busy work. At this site, you can create a Word Search – with a twist. Instead of listing the words students have to find, you list sentences with a blank and the students have to come up with the word and find it. I wouldn’t spend any teacher time on creating one, but I could see having students use it to create ones for classmates to play now-and-then.
Inspirok is a web tool that lets you develop itineraries for a trip. I’m adding it to The Best Sites Where Students Can Plan Virtual Trips.
EdShelf looks like yet another place where educators can curate and discover useful online tools and sites.
Riddle looks like an exceptional site that you can use for creating a survey or a quiz.
Hypothes.is is a neat-looking online tool to annotate webpages.
Russel Tarr unveiled yet another new feature at his ClassTools site that lets users create a “3D Gallery” with captions.
I have a lengthy list of free tools at The Best Tools For Creating Visually Attractive Quotations For Online Sharing. Here’s a new addition to that list: Live Luv Create .You can use many of their stock images or use your own, and then add text. The two negatives to the site are, one, even though it’s free, you do have to register with it. Most of the other tools on my list let you create quotes without requiring registration. The other problem is that though it provides an embed code when you first create your image, unless you grab it then there doesn’t appear to be any way to find it again.
Russel Tarr has yet another new online game called Dustbin. Students can very easily create a game — without registering — that requires players to categorize words. Categorization is a higher-ordering thinking skill, and I’m always on the look-out for interactives that have that requirement.
Here’s another new online game from Russel Tarr’s ClassTools site: It’s called Connect Fours and is based on a BBC game show that I’ve posted about previously in “Only Connect” Is A Great Game For The Classroom. As I wrote then, the concept of the game was great was for English Language Learners, but the online BBC game itself was too advanced for them. I had suggested, though, that it would be easy for students and teachers to create their own versions with paper and pencil, and I’ve done that numerous times in my classes. Thankfully, though, Russel has now created a super-easy version that teachers and students can use to make their own online without having to register. In the game, there are sixteen squares with words on each one. The player needs to use the words to create four categories of four words each. It’s a great game that helps develop the higher-order thinking skill of categorization.
I’ve previously posted several times about how much I love the Shadow Puppet app — there isn’t anything out there that’s an easier tool for creating a quick audio-narrated slideshow. It’s perfect for English Language Learners. The company behind Shadow Puppet has released another new and free educational app that looks like it could be very useful. It’s called Seesaw, and basically lets students easily create digital portfolios that can be shared with teachers and parents. It’s free for teachers and students, and has a free and paid version for parents.
Jukedeck lets you specify the kind of music you want and the length of track you need, and then it creates the music for you, which you can download for free. The entire process takes a minute or two. You still have to request early access to be able to use the service, but I received mine pretty quickly.I’m adding it to The Best Places To Get Royalty-Free Music & Sound Effects.
In June, I wrote about the welcome web version of Skype, which means you don’t have to download software in order to use it. It makes it a lot easier to use in schools where downloading software to school computers is often limited to a select few. A few months later, Skype announced another big improvement — now, when you start a Skype conversation, all you have to do is share a link to it and anyone can join even if they are not a registered Skype user. Click on the link, type in your name, and you’re in!
Zing! has thousands of free Ebooks that students can read, and it also lets them easily annotate them — without requiring any downloads. Most of the books don’t seem to have an audio option, but it still has a nice collection of those that do. Of course, books with audio narration are ideal for English Language Learners. Teachers can create virtual classrooms though the process is a little time-intensive. It would be nice if they didn’t require as much information on each students as they do in order for a teacher to add a student to their classroom. Even better, it would be great if they allowed students to just use a code given to them by their teacher so they can sign-up for themselves (other similar sites have that feature). But they are new, so I assume they’ll be making those kinds of changes over time. Their selection of books really stands-out right now, and their annotation process is easy-as-pie, so it’s really worth looking into it despite my minor complaints. I’m adding this site to The Best Sites That Students Can Use Independently And Let Teachers Check On Progress.
Richard Byrne wrote about a new tool called Actively Learn, and it really looks like a winner. Richard provides a pretty thorough explanation of the site, and I’d encourage you to go to his post to read about it. A quick summary is that it teachers can create virtual classrooms, students can read and annotate tons of materials the site already has (and teachers can upload their own, too – including webpages), and teachers can embed questions they want students to answer. And it’s free (you can pay for a premium service, but what it offers for free works for me). One other great feature of the site is that it has tons of videos clearly explaining how to use each of its features.I’m adding it to The Best Sites That Students Can Use Independently And Let Teachers Check On Progress and to Best Applications For Annotating Websites.
I was searching online to find simple tools for making online matching games (the ones that, for example, have questions on the left and mixed-up answers on the right) and was pleasantly surprised to find the SuperTeacherTools site. Not only does it let teacher and students create these kinds of matching games without having to register and very easily, it also has other game-making features. Here’s a quick one I did on a growth mindset. There were a few others, including Eduplay, but SuperTeacherTools was by far the best one.
Quizalize is a relatively new addition to The Best Ways To Create Online Tests. It’s very similar to Kahoot. My big critique of both Quizalize and Kahoot has been that neither have allowed students to see how they are faring against their classmates in answering the questions, which is an important component (used appropriately) in using them as games. That’s why I’ve featured an alternative called Quizizz on my The Best Websites For Creating Online Learning Games list over the first two. Quizizz lets students see their standing in the competition. Even though I don’t think it’s been a problem in my classes for low-scoring students to see their low-standings because of the super-strong culture we develop around student challenges being around learning the English language and not about intelligence, I can see that problem potentially being an issue in many content classes.
Quizalize recently announced a new feature that I think deals with that problem — now students are automatically grouped in teams and the teams compete against each other, plus students see how their teams are doing. This is how I typically organizing learning games in the classroom, and I think it’s simple, yet ingenious, that Quizalize figured out how to do it automatically online. I’m now adding both Quizizz and Quizalize to The “All-Time” Best Online Learning Games.
Edueto has got to be one of the best Web 2.0 sites of the year, and perhaps the most useful one for teachers and students. And it’s free. Teachers can create exercises in any of the forms listed in the above screenshot and assign them to a virtual class they create. Students can do the activity and teachers can track their progress. You can also access a library of exercises created by other teachers that you can assign “as is” to students or edit. The exercises are very easy to create, and each has a short instructional video (I have to say that I wish the videos didn’t move quite so fast, though). One of the particularly important features it has, unlike some quasi-similar automatic activity creators out there is that, for example, teachers can strategically place the blanks to be filled in the “gap-fill” exercise, instead of just having an algorithm choose them. I’ve added Edueto to my All-Time Best list.
Anyone who’s every listened to NPR is probably familiar with StoryCorps, and I’ve published several posts sharing their resources. They recently unveiled a new free mobile app at the TED Conference that allows anyone to record an interview with anyone and upload it their new site, StoryCorps.me. They have both iPhone and Android versions, and they’re great! The app provides multiple suggestions for questions, depending on who you are interviewing (you can also add your own). It’s a perfect tool for having students interview their parents, grandparents or other older family members (which also makes it easy to ensure students have parental consent — by the way, their policy states users must be over 13). It’s super-simple to use. Of course, classmates could also interview others, as long as teachers had parental permission. I’ve added this app to my All-Time Best list. Also, StoryCorps is inviting high school teachers and students to participate in the Great Listen this Thanksgiving.
Let me know what you think!
November 5, 2015
by Larry Ferlazzo
Thanks to Teaching Tolerance, I just learned that December 4th will be the 60th anniversary of the Montgomery Bus Boycott.
I’m sure there will be lot of new resources becoming available in the next few weeks, and I’m also sure that there are plenty that I’m not including in the first edition of this post. Please let me know what I’m missing.
You might also be interested some of the many previous “Best” lists I’ve published on the Civil Rights Movement & race and racism, including:
The Best Resources About The March On Washington
Here is a beginning list on Rosa Parks and The Montgomery Bus Boycott:
I’ve got to start with Teaching Tolerance’s great new resource, Beyond the Bus: Teaching the Unseen Story of Rosa Parks and the Montgomery Bus Boycott.
10 Things You May Not Know About Rosa Parks is from The History Channel.
The Montgomery Bus Boycott looks like a pretty impressive site from the local Montgomery newspaper.
How Change Happens: The Real Story of Mrs. Rosa Parks & The Montgomery Bus Boycott is from The Huffington Post.
Rosa Parks: How I Fought for Civil Rights is from Scholastic.
Remembering Rosa Parks is from TIME for Kids.
November 2, 2015
by Larry Ferlazzo
I have lots of Common Core-related resources and lists, including many specifically about English Language Learners.
You can see them at A Collection Of My “Best” Lists On The Common Core.
Also, as regular readers know, my next book is on ELLs and the Common Core, and will be out in March.
In the meantime, though, I’m teaching a weekly class to teacher credential candidates at California State University, Sacramento, and wanted to identify a few of the very best ELL resources for English, Social Studies, Math and Science teachers, so they didn’t have to go hunting through all my “Best” lists.
So here are my choices:
Seven Steps to Using Next Generation Science Standards with ELLs is from Common Core and ELLs.
November 1, 2015
by Larry Ferlazzo
Another day, another annual “Best” list (you can find all 1,500 Best lists here).
You might also be interested in:
And you might also want to see The Best Funny Videos Showing The Importance Of Being Bilingual — Part One ; The Best Videos Illustrating Qualities Of A Successful Language Learner ; The 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 ; The Best Video Clips On Goal-Setting — Help Me Find More ; The Best Movie Scenes, Stories, & Quotations About “Transfer Of Learning” – Help Me Find More! ; The Best Funny Videos To Help Teach Grammar – Help Me Find More ; The Best Videos About The Famous “Trolley Problem” and The Best Videos For Teaching & Learning About Figurative Language.
Here are my choices for The Best Videos For Educators In 2015 – Part Two (some may have been produced prior to this year, but are just new to me):
TED-Ed has published an interesting lesson and video on “How computers translate human language.” I’m adding it to The Best Sites For Learning About Google Translate & Other Forms Of Machine Translation.
Gloria Ladson Billings recently did this video for Brainwaves, the great – and growing – collection of video interviews with educators. You might also want to read her contribution to my Education Week Teacher column last year, The Teachers of Color ‘Disappearance Crisis.’
I’ve written a fair amount about how and where to find accurate quotations, as well as sharing examples when “quotations” have been used inaccurately (see The Best Places To Find Quotations On The Web). John Oliver did a great segment on his show about these kind of “made-up” quotes and, surprisingly, it’s even classroom appropriate! See the video here. (it’s not embeddable).
Here are two intriguing videos about language today and tomorrow:
8-Bit Philosophy is a useful series of videos from Wisecrack. You’ve got to pick-and-choose, but a number of their videos can be engaging and informative for students, and presented in an exceptionally unique form. Here’s an example:
Here’s how this maker of this video describes it:
A geopolitical history of all empires, nations, kingdoms, armies and republics. More than 500 world maps spanning all historical events up to today.
The Atlantic has begun to publish a thirteen-part series of videos on race. These first two have been animations, and I assume the rest will be the same.
I’m adding these to A Collection Of Useful Posts, Articles & Videos On Race & Racism – Help Me Find More:
I plan on showing this video, then sharing the writing prompt below, and then show the video again… I’m adding this post to both The Best Videos Showing The Importance Of Asking Good Questions — Help Me Find More and to The Best Posts On Writing Instruction.
What do you think the video is saying asking questions? Do you agree with what it says? To support your opinion, be sure to include specific examples drawn from your own experience, your observations of others, or any of your readings.
I’m adding this video to The Best Resources For Learning The Advantages To Being Bilingual Or Multilingual:
Christina Torres shared this amazing video from a District staff meeting in Iowa. The first minute is the typical boring stuff, but keep watching….
This video is from PBS, and is a great one for IB Theory of Knowledge teachers when exploring the arts. Even more interesting – to me, at least – is how it can applied to an understanding of “close reading.” I suspect David Coleman, the primary author of the Common Core Standards, would not necessarily agree with what the video says about the critical importance of context… I’m adding this to The Best Resources On Close Reading Paintings, Photos & Videos.
I’m adding this very useful video to two lists:
I think the most useful part of this next video begins at about the two-minute mark. It’s definitely something I’d show to students when we start talking about the importance of revising one’s work. I’m adding this post to The Best Resources On Getting Student Writers To “Buy-Into” Revision – Help Me Find More.
Here’s a very young Morgan Freeman demonstrating a fun classroom game. I’m adding it to The Best Places To Learn About (And View Video Clips Of) Teachers In The Movies.
This is a great short video from Google about Google Translate.
The most translated words are:
“How are you?”
“I love you.”
It’s also a little scary to know they receive all that data from the app.
I’m adding this post to The Best Sites For Learning About Google Translate & Other Forms Of Machine Translation.
Here’s a great video that Jim Bentley shared on Twitter. It’s from the 1940’s and is titled “Progressive Education” and is from the 1940’s:
Thanks to Emily Butler Smith for sharing this video on Twitter.
You might also be interested in The Best Fun Videos About Books & Reading.
I’ve seen haka done by Pacific Islander students at our school, and on video from New Zealand rugby games, but never one like this. It was shared by @jybuell on Twitter, and you can read more about it here on CNN.
I was looking for short videos that give good introductions to Social Emotional Learning, and am adding these two to The Best Social Emotional Learning (SEL) Resources:
StoryCorps unveiled a new animated video earlier this year. Here’s how they describe it:
Alex Landau, an African American man, was raised by his adoptive white parents to believe that skin color didn’t matter. But when Alex was pulled over by Denver police officers one night in 2009, he lost his belief in a color-blind world—and nearly lost his life. Alex tells his mother, Patsy Hathaway, what happened that night and how it affects him to this day.
I think you’ll find this two-part interview Jon Stewart did with Ta-Nehisi Coates very interesting – I certainly did.
You might also be interested in the review of the book that recently appeared in my Ed Week Teacher column.
I’m adding these videos to A Collection Of Useful Posts, Articles & Videos On Race & Racism – Help Me Find More.
I’m adding this video from Business Insider to The Best Websites To Learn About Various Religions (& English):
I’ve written a lot about Luis Rodriguez, one our students’ favorite authors.
Here’s a new, and great, news segment on him (it may or may not show up in an RSS Reader):
Where did English come from? is the title of a neat lesson and video from TED-Ed.
I’m adding it to The Best Videos Documenting The History Of The English Language.
You’ll want to watch this new NPR animation accompanied by Jonathan Kozol reading from his classic education book, “Death At An Early Age”:
Video: “Watch President Obama deliver eulogy at Rev. Pinckney’s funeral” (this post includes the video and a lot of commentary)
I’m adding this video to The Best Fun Videos About Books & Reading:
I’ve previously shared a lesson, and a collection of videos, I use for a lesson on perception in my Theory of Knowledge class (see Videos: Here’s The Simple Theory of Knowledge Lesson On Perception I Did Today).
Today, I discovered a great series of short commercials with the theme “Don’t Judge Too Quickly” that would make a great addition to that lesson. Plus, they would good for English Language Learners to watch and describe what they see, along with learning the critical thinking lesson that it’s dangerous to make assumptions.
First off, here’s a group of them together. The second to the last one, however, is probably not appropriate to show in class:
Here’s another one:
There are others on YouTube, too, but, like the one I cautioned about in the first collection, they are a little “iffy” to show in class.
October 31, 2015
by Larry Ferlazzo
Here’s one more in my series of end-of-year “Best” lists (you can see all 1,500 of the lists here).
You might also be interested in these previous posts:
Here are my choices for The Best Social Studies Sites Of 2015 — Part Two:
Densho (a Japanese term meaning “to pass on to the next generation”) is an incredible website that offers an enormous amount of resources useful for teaching and learning about the internment of Japanese during World War II. It’s apparently been around for quite awhile, but I recently learned about it through an article in NBC News, Digital Project Aims to Preserve Stories of Incarcerated Japanese Americans. I’m adding it to The Best Resources On Japanese Internment In World War II.
Histography basically puts most history related articles in Wikipedia on an interactive chronological timeline that’s also divided into categories. It’s incredibly cool, but I suspect it’s going to be too overwhelming to use in my most classrooms, but let me know if you think I’m wrong.
37 maps that explain how America is a nation of immigrants is a great collection from Vox.
ReadWorks.org has a zillion free reading passages available for download and in many subjects. They come with comprehension questions, but I wouldn’t use them. The passages themselves, however, are rated by reading level, and could be very useful for English Language Learners – particularly in Social Studies. I could use them with students to help them develop knowledge preceding their beginning a more complex text on the same topic, or use them to supplement content in our ELL history books. It would also be easy to modify their reading passages into clozes or other reading exercises.
The Early Warning Project is a useful new site for the classroom – and an important site for the entire world. It’s a joint project of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum and Dartmouth College. It:
measures, tracks, and analyzes known risk factors that could lead to a future instance of mass atrocities. The data, along with real-time analysis from regional and genocide experts, generate a forecast.
It has an interactive map, along with accessible data visualizations and narratives providing in-depth analysis of current situations in high-risk countries. You can also read more about it in the Associated Press story, Holocaust museum tool aims to predict, prevent mass killings.
After The Storm is an impressive multimedia interactive from The Washington Post and PBS Independent Lens. It’s about the coming – and aftermath – of a tornado. I’m adding it to The Best Resources For Learning About Tornadoes.
I’ve been sharing resources about the present refugee crisis and adding them to The Best Sites For Learning About World Refugee Day. Here are two new interactives that share images of refugees throughout the years:
Refugees in Europe – then and now is from The Guardian.
Great uprootings: Photographs of the world’s most massive migrations is from The Washington Post.
I’ve previously written a lot about how much I like SAS Curriculum Pathways, a free site with tons of interactive lessons that students can complete and then email to their teacher. It’s just gotten even better….They unveiled a big upgrade to the design of their site, and it looks great. Secondly, they have a nice new feature called Explore Primary Sources, which provides lots of creative lessons for students to access…primary sources.
The recent public attention to the Confederate flag has prompted some people, to the amazement of many of us, to claim the Civil War was not caused by slavery. This new video (which I learned about through Vox) features the head of the History Department at West Point and, for any reasonable person, will be the last word on this subject. You can access the written transcript here. Interestingly, Prager Univeristy, which puts out this video and others, appears to be an extraordinarily conservative ((based on their other videos) group. I’m adding the video to The Best Sites For Learning About The American Civil War.
Zoom In! is a new(er) free site that provides some very good U.S. History lessons that use historical documents and are standards-based. Along with in-class instruction, students use the online resources to do close-reading and scaffolded written responses. Teachers create online virtual classrooms where they can monitor student progress.
Two of their features standout to me:
First, they clearly have been very intentional about choosing primary source documents that are likely to be more accessible to students and then have made them even more accessible with their lay-out and easy ability to look-up word definitions. I haven’t really seen any other site that has been able to do this anywhere near as well as Zoom In!
Secondly, I really like the way they scaffold the writing of written responses/essays. Again, more sites could learn from them.
I’m adding Zoom In! to:
YouTube’s Historical Footage Expands, Both Serious and Silly is the headline of a New York Times story about the Associated Press and British Movietone uploading all their historical newsreels to YouTube this week:
The Associated Press and British Movietone, a newsreel archive, are uploading nearly 17,000 hours of historical footage to YouTube, making available a mix of monumental and offbeat news coverage dating to 1895.
The cache will include more than 550,000 videos, available on the channels for The A.P. and British Movietone. With an array of coverage that includes sports, culture, political milestones and natural disasters, the collection will be the largest upload of historical news content yet on YouTube, The A.P. said.
The article has a nice sample of them, too.
Out Of Eden Learn is is an amazingly creative project from Project Zero at Harvard. It’s done in association with a seven year walking trek by journalist Paul Salopek who is walking 21,000 miles to retrace the history of human migration from Africa. His journey is sponsored by National Geographic.
In the free Out of Eden Learn platform, teachers create virtual classrooms where they can monitor their students progress during a twelve week program (which can be followed, if desired, by another twelve week program — the project is developing ideas for future ways students can continue connecting). During those times, there are what seems to me to be pretty creative learning activities that students do, including interacting with other classes in other geographical locations.
I’ve got to say that whoever created this program has got to have an incredibly creative mind.
The Declaration Project is an interactive site that features a comprehensive collection of declarations of independence and kindred declarations crafted in the U.S. and the world over. While the ‘Declaration Collection’ component of this project is a centerpiece, there are two other key parts to this initiative: ‘My Declaration™‘ gives you the opportunity to compose and post your own declaration, and for others to respond to it. And the ‘Spirit of ’76 Cafe™’ features ongoing participatory explorations of the themes that resonate in our July 4, 1776 Declaration of Independence and others included here .
I’m not sure how useful the last two parts are really going to be to teachers or students, but the collection itself could be very helpful.
And here are Social Studies-related “Best” lists that I’ve published over the past few months:
October 31, 2015
by Larry Ferlazzo
I’ve converted this post in a “Best list on videos explaining The Theory of Relativity
This month is the one-hundredth anniversary of The Theory of Relativity.
Walter Isaacson has written a column about it in today’s New York Times.
Here’s an excerpt:
I’m not sure I entirely agree with Einstein, but it is a useful quotation to use when discussing Imagination with IB Theory of Knowledge students.
By the way, here are a couple of short and relatively accessible videos on the Theory of Relativity:
What Is General Relativity? is from The New York Times.