Larry Ferlazzo’s Websites of the Day…

…For Teaching ELL, ESL, & EFL

April 11, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
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Three Good Resources For Learning About Different Cultures

'World map' photo (c) 2010, Martyn Wright - license: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

Here are three new – and good – additions to one of my most popular “Best” lists: The Best Sites For Learning About The World’s Different Cultures:

My remote classroom: online students share their photos is from The Guardian.

What Can We Learn From Pictures of People and Their Trash? is an article in Smithsonian Magazine about an interesting project of taking photographs of people with the trash they throw out in a week. You can see the photos here.

Toys Are Us is a photo gallery of children around the world with their toys.

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April 6, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
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“FiveThirtyEight” & “Vox.com” Are Two New Free Online News Sites — Here’s What I Think Of Them

'reviews' photo (c) 2011, Margaret Ornsby - license: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

FiveThirtyEight, the Nate Silver site that moved to ESPN, opened-up a couple of weeks ago, and Ezra Klein (and colleagues) moved from The Washington Post to create Vox.com, which was unveiled tonight.

Here’s a quick review of them both…

FiveThirtyEight clearly has more financial resources behind it, though a substantial portion of that will be devoted to sports (I’m a sports fan, but I’m not convinced sports journalism really needs any more players). It covers many other topics, though, and I like that the articles tend to be on the short-side and include easily accessible data visualizations. However, I have to also admit that I really haven’t found any of their articles very interesting so far, and none that have been helpful in the classroom. The site has been getting a lot of criticism, and Nate Silver has been publicly very open to hearing it, so I suspect there will be substantial improvement.

What I’m really looking forward to, though, are their future plans for education coverage. Silver has made it pretty clear he’s planning to get more involved in ed-related issues, and it seems like he’s coming from a good place on them.

Vox.com appears smaller than FiveThirtyEight, but also isn’t covering any sports. I can only base what I think on what I see after one day, and I’m sure there will be many changes in the future. Their articles seem longer (a little too long, if you ask me), but I’ve got to say they all look pretty interesting. They have a unique lay-out that lets them highlight certain words which, if you click on them, will lead to “explainer cards.” It’s a nice feature, though, like their articles, it would be nice if their explainer cards were shorter, too. The videos they have on the site look good. Like FiveThirtyEight, Vox.com is planning to cover education issues. However, when Klein’s team was at The Washington Post, their ed coverage was pretty disappointing and surprisingly shallow. There’s nothing on the site about education right now.

Vox.com’s big lead story is titled How Politics Makes Us Stupid. It’s interesting (and useful for an IB Theory of Knowledge class), but a bit disappointing. It basically says that people aren’t persuaded by facts — instead, they are moved more by their ideology. Klein interviews a researcher who says what is needed is better communication skills, and then Klein counters with, no, what is really needed are “better structures,” though he doesn’t seem to say what those “structures” might be. Actually, I’d suggest that what is needed is more and better community organizers (among other things — see The Best Posts & Articles On Building Influence & Creating Change).

I’d say keep an eye on them both and see how they develop…

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April 5, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
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Even More Resources On The Rwandan Genocide

rwanda

This weekend is the twentieth anniversary of the genocide in Rwanda.

Here are even more additions to The Best Sites To Learn About Genocide In Rwanda:

Portraits of Reconciliation is from The New York Times (you might also be interested in Another Good Writing Prompt: Reconciliation.

Following Orders in Rwanda is is also from The NY Times.

Rwandan Stories is an impressive site.

A Good Man In Rwanda is from The BBC.

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April 3, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
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Wow! The NY Times’ “Time Machine” Is One Wild “This Day In History” Site

timesmachine

The New York Times has unveiled a “Time Machine” feature that lets you read online what appears to be most (or, at least, many) pages of every edition they’ve published. Plus, you can print out PDF’s of the articles — at least, for the ones on the front page.

Unfortunately, it says you have to be a home or digital subscriber to The Times in order to access the feature. I wonder if they might ever make an exception for schools?

Even though you have to pay for it, I’m still adding it to The Best “Today In History” Sites.

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April 2, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
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Bus Boycott “Choose Your Own Adventure” Game

rights

The National Civil Rights Museum in Memphis is reopening this weekend after a $28 million renovation (see the NY Times article, From Slave Ship Shackles to the Mountaintop).

That’s great news for people who live nearby or who can travel there for a visit. Unfortunately, it doesn’t appear they spent any of that money on providing web resources for people unlikely to go there in person.

Their site does have a somewhat rudimentary, but still useful, “Choose Your Own Adventure” game called Before The Boycott that provides a glimpse into what it was like riding a bus in the South prior to segregation.

I’m adding it to The Best Places To Read & Write “Choose Your Own Adventure” Stories.

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March 29, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
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Great Interactive Video: “Sounds Of GREAT Britain”

'Great Britain' photo (c) 2010, Brian Suda - license: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

Sounds of GREAT Britain is a very cool series of interactive videos that allow viewers to take a customized audio and visual tour of…Great Britain. It’s very creative. I’ve embedded the first video below…

The creators of the video also have a very engaging site called LoveWall – Visit Britain which provides excellent categorized images from around the country.

I’m adding both to The Best Sites For Learning About The United Kingdom.

Thanks to Michelle Henry for the tip.

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