Larry Ferlazzo’s Websites of the Day…

…For Teaching ELL, ESL, & EFL

August 4, 2015
by Larry Ferlazzo

SAS Curriculum Pathways, Just About The Best Online Ed Site, Has Gotten Even Better…


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….

One, today 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.

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August 4, 2015
by Larry Ferlazzo

Anne Frank & Her Family Were Arrested On This Day In 1944 – Here Are Related Resources

Anne Frank and her family were arrested on this day in 1944.

You might be interested in The Best Sites To Learn About Anne Frank.

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August 3, 2015
by Larry Ferlazzo

Is Exploration Good?

In my ELL World History class, I have students consider the idea of exploration and how it pertains to their lives.

Today, the online magazine Aeon published a meandering essay that sort of takes an unusual position on the idea of exploration – a somewhat negative one.

I wouldn’t ask students to read the whole thing because of language challenges and because, as I mentioned, it’s quite meandering, but I am going to have them read this excerpt:

Take the example of an imaginary tribe of people, faced with choosing a spot in a varied landscape to settle. There are likely to be some places where the group will certainly die, some where they will thrive, and a large number of places that are in-between. Having some people in the group who want to explore is useful because, while most of them will not make it, some will return with fresh information about the best places to live.

The key, though, is that there must also be people who don’t want to ramble, who turn their talents and energies to exploiting, to the best of their abilities, the place where they have settled. If there are too many explorers, the group is likely to starve. ‘There’s a tension between those two,’ Shaw says, between explore and exploit. The right mixture of both will make the group more likely to find a better-than-average place to settle and make the best use of it. The explore-exploit dilemma is from game theory, not anthropology. It doesn’t describe what has necessarily happened: it’s just the most efficient route to the best outcome for a group. But it is the kind of thing that might have been generated under evolutionary pressure, and it helps to put a frame around the urge for going.

‘It’s key to realise that the most functional systems are the ones that have a variation,’ Shaw remarks. ‘A good society would be better at letting people know that there is a variation.’

I’d be interested in hearing how other teachers approach the idea of “exploration.”

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August 2, 2015
by Larry Ferlazzo
1 Comment

“The World IF” Is A Very Interesting Feature From The Economist

world if

The World IF
is a special feature at The Economist this week. It looks at a number of possible actions that could take place in the near future and what the consequences for the world might be if each one took place.

It could be an interesting version of a What If? history project – in reverse.

Check out The Best Resources For Teaching “What If?” History Lessons for more information.

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August 1, 2015
by Larry Ferlazzo

Links To The Joint Projects My ELL Geography Class Did With Classes Around The World – Want To Join Us This Year?

The before last, my English Language Learner Geography class did a series of joint projects with classes from around the world composed of students who were also learning English.

It was a great experience and, though I wasn’t able replicate it last year (the influx of Central American refugees created too much extra work for me), I do hope to do it again in the future, and possibly this coming year.

So, if you are in a country other than the United States, your class is composed of twelve-to-eighteen year old’s who are learning English, and you are interested in doing a very short joint project (mainly, we ask questions of your students and they ask questions of us – either in writing or by video), please let me know!

Here are a few of the projects we did (there are others, but some teachers weren’t able to get parental permission to share videos or student writing publicly):

Terrific New Videos: Using English “Sister Classes” From Throughout The World In Our ELL Geography Class (from Brazil)

Great Video Response From English Class In Italy To Our Questions

More Video Responses From Sister Classes — This Time From Latvia!

The Latest Videos From Our Sister Class Geography Project — This Time, From Spain!

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

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July 31, 2015
by Larry Ferlazzo

Video: “What if America Was Never Colonized?”

Having both my English Language Learners and my IB Theory of Knowledge students create “What If?” history projects are some of my, and their, favorite lessons of the year (see The Best Resources For Teaching “What If?” History Lessons).

Today, I discovered a popular YouTube channel called Alternate History Hub that has tons of short videos exploring various “What If?” scenarios.

Even better, they provide evidence that supports their conjectures (though it would be nice if they gave a little more of it), so the videos are just the meanderings of a creative mind. That “evidence” idea is what makes school What If? projects the great learning experience that they can be….

Here’s an example of one of their videos:

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