Larry Ferlazzo’s Websites of the Day…

…For Teaching ELL, ESL, & EFL

June 14, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
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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.

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June 13, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
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“The Best Posts On The Migration Policy Institute Report On Engaging Immigrant Parents”

June 13, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
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The Best Tweets Of 2014 — So Far

June 13, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
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My Best Posts On New Research Studies In 2014 – So Far

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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”

 

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June 9, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
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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.

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June 9, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
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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

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June 7, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
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The Best Videos For Educators In 2014 – So Far

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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.

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June 6, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
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The Best Social Studies Sites Of 2014 — So Far

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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

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June 6, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
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The Best Articles & Posts On Education Policy In 2014 – So Far

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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.

 

 

 

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June 5, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
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The Best Web 2.0 Applications For Education In 2014 – So Far

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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.

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May 28, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
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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.

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May 28, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
0 comments

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

'hackNY 2011 Spring Student Hackathon' photo (c) 2011, hackNY.org - license: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/

Most readers know that I’m a big proponent of using technology to help students in their learning process.

In fact, you can see a collection of applicable articles and related “Best” lists at The Best Advice On Using Education Technology.

Most readers also know I’ve got a lot of misgivings about how tech is being used in education, particularly in ways that seem to prioritize profit over learning (though that’s certainly not the only reason it’s being misused).

I thought I’d bring together a number of those kinds of “Best” lists, along with specific articles, and encourage readers to also contribute their own.

Here they are:

The Best Posts About The Khan Academy

The Best Posts & Articles On MOOC’s — Help Me Find More

The Best Posts On Computer-Graded Essays

A Very Beginning List Of The Best Articles On The iPad Debacle In Los Angeles Schools

Audrey Watters has written too many excellent posts to count on this topic at her blog, Hack Education.

Marketing Technologies in U.S. Public Schools is by Larry Cuban.

Framing the School Technology Dream is also by Larry Cuban.

Adaptive Learning Is An Infinite iPod That Only Plays Neil Diamond is by Dan Meyer.

Mind the Quicksand: A Word of Warning to EdTech Investors is from The Education Scientist.

Quotes: When Vendors Calls Themselves “Partners” is from This Week In Education.

I’ve written a fair amount about Internet Essentials in The Best Resources For Learning About Schools Providing Home Computers & Internet Access To Students. It’s Concast’s program to provide online access to low-income students. I have mentioned some skepticism about the program, but I was amazed about how much more skeptical we all should be of it. Read about it at The Washington Post, Why Comcast’s $10 a month Internet isn’t all it’s cracked up to be and at Quartz, Comcast promised poor Americans cheap internet, but most of them didn’t get it.

The History of “Personalization” and Teaching Machines is by Audrey Watters.

OPINION: A Distemperate Response to Silicon Valley’s ‘Edtech Revolution’ is from Ed Surge.

Bill Gates Is an Autodidact. You’re Probably Not. is from Slate.

What am I missing?

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May 21, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
3 Comments

The Best Resources Discussing The Importance Of Art In Education — Help Me Find More

'Coloured pencils' photo (c) 2007, Alan Cleaver - license: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

Check out my Ed Week post, The Role Of Arts Education In Schools

Michelle Obama highlighted the importance of art education yesterday, I’m working with one of our art teachers on a joint ESL/art activity this week, and I have an upcoming column on the topic over at Education Week.

All these events combined to make me think it was time for a “Best” list. However, I’m not that sure what to include.

So, I’m starting off with a few links and hope that readers will contribute more:

Michelle Obama promotes arts education is from CBS News.

First Lady Michelle Obama promotes arts education program with White House talent show is from The PBS News Hour.

The Importance of Art Education is from ArtChoo!

Top 10 skills children learn from the arts appeared in The Washington Post.

Why Arts Education Is Crucial, and Who’s Doing It Best is from Edutopia.

Ten Reasons Art Education Matters

Videos: Using Art As A Language-Learning Activity

“What Are We Losing By Eliminating Arts From the Curriculum?” Is Topic Of My Latest BAM! Radio Program


Videos: Using Art As A Language-Learning Activity

Again, I know this is just the tip of the iceberg. What are your recommendations?

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May 19, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
0 comments

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

'Supreme Court decision' photo (c) 2006, Beatrice Murch - license: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

Boy oh boy, have there been a lot of commentaries published about the recent 60th anniversary of Brown vs. Board of Education.

I’ve been less than impressed by most.

Here are the ones I thought were particularly useful (note that I linked to some of them in a recent “round-up” of ed policy posts):

Five myths about Brown v. Board of Education is from The Washington Post.

Sixty Years After Brown V. Board, Black Teachers Are Disappearing—Again is by Melinda Anderson.

60 Years After Brown v. BOE, Mostly White Reformers Try To Fix ‘The Civil Rights Issue Of Our Generation’ is from The Huffington Post.

Sixty Years After Brown, Latino Students Are Most Segregated, Report Says is from Ed Week.

Sylvia Mendez and California’s School Desegregation Story is from Ed Week.

60 years later, desegregation of schools not done is from the Associated Press, as is Segregation gains ground 60 years after Brown.

How to help students of color, 60 years after historic Brown v. Board ruling appeared in The Washington Post.

Brown v. Board at 60: Why Have We Been So Disappointed? What Have We Learned? is by Richard Rothstein.

Six Decades After Brown v. Board is from Ed Week.

60 Years After Brown, Educators Demand More Focus on Public School Support is from U.S. News.

Brown at 60 (part 2) is by Renee Moore.

You might also be interested in two other previous posts:

A Collection Of Useful Posts, Articles & Videos On Race & Racism

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

Let me know if I’m missing any articles on Brown that you liked…

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May 15, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
0 comments

The Best Commencement Speeches

'Occidental Commencement 2010' photo (c) 2010, Jason Bache - license: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

I’ve published a number of posts about notable commencement addresses, and thought I’d bring them altogether here.

I was prompted to do so by Vox’s great post today sharing their picks for The 21 greatest graduation speeches of the last 50 years.

Here are my posts (let me know what Vox and I are missing):

Animated Video: George Saunders’ Commencement Speech On “The Importance of Kindness”

Video: “George Saunders Commencement Speech 2013″

Video: Bill Clinton’s Commencement Speech Is Quite Good

Excellent Commencement Address On Failure By Atul Gawande

Quote Of The Day: “It’s Harder To Be Kind Than Clever”

Quote Of The Day: “The Satisfaction Of Teaching…”

Michelle Obama On “Grit”

President Obama On Perseverance

“Be ashamed to die until you have won some victory for humanity”

“You’re Never Going To Keep Me Down”

How I’ll Use Part Of The President’s Kalamazoo Speech

And here’s a piece from The Washington Post: The funniest commencement speeches.

Charlie Day’s Commencement Speech Is the Only One You Need to Hear is from Slate.

What We Learned From The Best Commencement Speeches Ever is from NPR and includes a data base of 300 of them.

The Greatest Commencement Speech Ever is from The Washington Post.

Commencement Mashup: The Speech In Eight Easy Steps
is from NPR.

Anatomy Of A Great Commencement Speech is from NPR.

Commencement 2014 | Things to Read, Watch, Debate, Teach and Learn is from The New York Times Learning Network.

John Lewis: “You Must Find A Way To Get In Trouble”

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May 9, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
0 comments

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

'#BRING BACK OUR GIRLS ~ Michelle OBAMA.NOT MY IMAGE but read below and learn more about what's happening!!' photo (c) 2014, Nina Matthews - license: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

The tragedy in Nigeria is heartbreaking. Here are a few useful resources:

Boko Haram’s four-year reign of terror – infographic is from Channel 4 in the UK.

Here’s another infographic from ABC News.

#BringBackOurGirls focuses world’s eyes on Nigeria’s mass kidnapping is from The Guardian, and the same page has lots of multimedia resources and other articles.

The BBC has some excellent resources, particularly a piece titled Five Questions.

Al Jazeera also has some excellent features. In fact, it might be the best of them all.

CNN also has some decent multimedia.

Save My Nigerian Sisters is by Malala Yousafzai and appeared in TIME.

Everything you need to know about Nigeria’s kidnapped girls is from Vox.

What’s So Scary About Smart Girls? is by Nicholas Kristof.

World helps Nigeria look for kidnapped girls is a lesson for ELLs from Breaking News English.

Skills and Strategies | Engaging in Causes Via ‘Hashtag Activism’ is a lesson plan from The New York Times Learning Network.

The crisis in Nigeria, in 11 maps and charts is from Vox.

Boko Haram Says Video Shows Missing Nigerian Girls is from NPR.

9 questions about Nigeria you were too embarrassed to ask is from Vox.

Nigerian teachers protest over kidnapped schoolgirls is from The BBC.

U.S. Sends Troops to Chad to Aid Hunt for Nigerian Schoolgirls is from The New York Times and includes a good video.

Boko Haram Attacks, Kidnapped Girls Prompt Nigeria’s Teachers To Walk Out is from Reuters.

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May 5, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
0 comments

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

'POVERTY' photo (c) 2005, Paul Downey - license: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

Paul Bruno has described one of my common frustrations:

When charged with “ignoring poverty”, many education reformers will respond that in fact improving education is the best way to fight poverty.

Arne Duncan once went so far as to say that “the only way to end poverty is through education.”

Here are some articles questioning that perspective, and I hope readers will contribute more.

In addition, you might also be interested in:

The Best Visualizations Of Poverty In The U.S. & Around The World

The Best Resources About Wealth & Income Inequality

Now, here are my choices for The Best Articles Showing Why Education Reform Is NOT The Best Way To Fight Poverty:

The three must-read pieces on this topic are from Paul Bruno:

Bruno: Who Told Us The Education Fights Poverty, Anyway? appeared in This Week In Education.

Reformers and International Comparisons was published in Paul’s own blog.

Doug Lemov wrote a post critical of Paul’s posts — his piece is worth reading, but the comments are what I think are particularly useful.

And then Paul wrote a response titled Why Education Reform is Probably Not The Best Way to Fight Poverty.

Education is Not the Answer is from Jacobin.

Dialogue with the Gates Foundation: Can Schools Defeat Poverty by Ignoring It?
is by Anthony Cody at Ed Week.

America’s dangerous education myth: Why it isn’t the best anti-poverty program is from Salon.

As I mentioned earlier, I hope readers will contribute more…

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May 5, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
1 Comment

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

'Stop Racism' photo (c) 2012, zeevveez - license: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

Issues of race and racism are critical for us to discuss and act on in our classrooms, among the teaching profession, and in society.

I’ve posted a number of useful related resources over the years, and I thought this would be a good time to bring them all together and to also invite readers to contribute more.

Here are my choices, so far, for inclusion in A Collection Of Useful Posts, Articles & Videos On Race & Racism:

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

Ta-Nehisi Coates On “Elegant Racism”

Quote Of The Day: “Why Are Teachers Of Color Missing In Teacher Of The Year Selection?”

“Looting” In Haiti?

I’ve used these two videos in class:

3 Pitfalls To Avoid When Talking About Race is from NPR.

Why students need more Black and Latino teachers is by José Luis Vilson.

US teachers nowhere as diverse as their students is from The Associated Press.

America’s real racism problem doesn’t look like Donald Sterling is from Vox.

Text to Text | ‘Huckleberry Finn’ and ‘In Defense of a Loaded Word’ is from The New York Times Learning Network.

Race Still Matters: Why class-based affirmative action won’t heal our racial disparities is from Slate.

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar: How To Tell If You’re a Racist Like Donald Sterling is from TIME.

Paul Thomas has posted some good Toni Morrison videos on her blog.

Racism 101: Let’s Talk About Diversity and Prejudice in America’s Public Schools
is from The Pacific Standard.

The 9 Most Influential Works of Scientific Racism, Ranked is from io9.

The Ultimate, Crystal-Clear Guide to What Racism Is is from GoKicker.

What-Im-talking-about-is

You may have already heard about, or read, Ta-Nehisi Coates’ article in The Atlantic titled “The Case for Reparations.”

It’s an amazing article, and Bill Moyers just aired an interview with him about it, which I’ve embedded below:

In addition, Moyers posted These Eight Charts Show Why Racial Equality Is a Myth in America on his site.

You might also find The New Republic’s piece, Get Ready for a National Debate About Slavery Reparations, useful.

Also, this: How To Tell Who Hasn’t Read The New ‘Atlantic’ Cover Story, from NPR.

Slavery reparations are workable and affordable is from Vox.

Eric Holder wants to talk about ‘subtle’ discrimination. This is what he means. is from The Washington Post.

Does It Matter if Schools Are Racially Integrated? is from NPR.

You can be a beneficiary of racism even if you’re not a racist is from Vox.

Six times victims have received reparations — including four in the US is from Vox.

Why white folks shouldn’t fear reparations is from The Week.

For Black Kids in America, a Degree Is No Guarantee is from The Atlantic.

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.

White People Think One Black Person’s Success Proves Racism Is Over is from The Huffington Post.

What Is Your Race? For Millions Of Americans, A Shifting Answer is from NPR.

Are Reparations Due to African-Americans? is from The New York Times.

Q&A: Ta-Nehisi Coates on Reparations, Ignorant Journalism, and Whether He Talks to President Obama appeared in The New Republic.

If Affirmative Action Is Doomed, What’s Next? is from The New York Times.

Here’s a commentary on that piece:

In Landmark Decision, U.S. Patent Office Cancels Trademark For Redskins Football Team is from Think Progress.

Here’s a related video:

Advocacy in the Age of Colorblindness is by Stephanie Rivera.

How Race-Studies Scholars Can Respond to Their Haters


How Racism Invented Race in America
is from The Atlantic.

Dress Codes For Success is from Latino USA.

The segregation of kindergartners — by the numbers is from The Washington Post.

Why we still need affirmative action for African Americans in college admissions is from The Washington Post.

The Major Disadvantage Facing Black Students, Even In Kindergarten is from The Huffington Post.

Everyone does drugs, but only minorities are punished for it is from Vox.

Most Americans Think Racial Discrimination Doesn’t Matter Much Anymore is from Mother Jones.

Here’s some good advice for those of us who are not members of an ethnic minority:

A basic flaw in the argument against affirmative action is from The Washington Post.

The Rise of Respectability Politics is from Dissent.

Why I don’t hyphenate Chinese American is from TIME.

The Black and Smart blog is a must-read.

Student: My school district hires too many white teachers is from The Washington Post.

Pulitzer-prize winning author Junot Díaz on the power of culture.

The Return of School Segregation in Eight Charts is from PBS.

15 Charts That Prove We’re Far From Post-Racial is from The Huffington Post.

This initial list is just the tip of the iceberg. Please contribute your ideas for additions to this list….

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