Larry Ferlazzo’s Websites of the Day…

…For Teaching ELL, ESL, & EFL

September 18, 2016
by Larry Ferlazzo

Two Useful Questions For Theory Of Knowledge Classes


In the past few days, I’ve seen two headlines comprised of good questions to raise in Theory of Knowledge classes. One of them is interesting, and one of them is important.

The interesting one is What Concept Most Needs a Word in the English Language? It appeared in The Atlantic, and has a number of examples. Posing the question and sharing some of them could be a fun exercise when studying language in TOK.

Would You Hide a Jew From the Nazis? is the important one. It’s a Nicholas Kristof column in The New York Times, and is related to the Ken Burns’ film, Defying The Nazis, that will air later this week (see New Ken Burns Film, “Defying The Nazis,” Looks Good & Has Tons Of Free Teaching Resources). Obviously, this could apply to TOK units in history and ethics.

September 13, 2016
by Larry Ferlazzo

Here Are Presentation Instructions I’m Giving To My TOK Students


As regular readers know, one of my projects over the summer was completely revamping my curriculum for the three periods of International Baccalaureate Theory of Knowledge classes I teach each day. It’s almost fifty percent new, though I’ve only gotten around to posting about four months of it online. You can check things out at my posts tagged TOK.

One of the changes I made was the homework I expected students to do after they read each chapter in our TOK textbook. I’ve previously posted those homework instructions, but here they are again.

In the past, I’ve always had small groups meet and make short presentations about the homework each week. However, they were decidedly uneven in quality, though students gained a lot from them.

I’ve decided to revamp those instructions, too – both for presenters and audience members. You can download the student hand-out here.

Take a look and please give me feedback. I’m always looking for ways to improve!

September 1, 2016
by Larry Ferlazzo

New Theory Of Knowledge Essay Prompts Are Out!


The May 2017 Theory of Knowledge Essay prompts have just been released by IB.
I’ve posted them at our class blog, where you can also download the outline our students use, the official essay planning document, feedback we’ve received from IB Examiners on our previously submitted essays, and links to all the other resources my TOK students use to prepare their essays.

I hope you find them helpful, and feel free to suggest additional resources you find helpful!

August 31, 2016
by Larry Ferlazzo

Two Humorous Takes On “The Trolley Problem”


Just about every Theory of Knowledge class will be dealing with the famous Trolley Problem (see The Best Videos About The Famous “Trolley Problem”).

Here are a couple of lighthearted additions to that list:

August 25, 2016
by Larry Ferlazzo

Study Reinforces That Prior Knowledge Is Important – As Well As Critical Thinking Skills

As all teachers understand, it’s critical for students to have – and be able to access – prior knowledge in order to learn something new (see The Best Resources For Learning About The Importance Of Prior Knowledge (& How To Activate It) ).

We’re all also supposed to know how important it is for our students to develop critical thinking skills (see The Best Resources On Teaching & Learning Critical Thinking In The Classroom).

A new study has been released today that I suspect most IB Theory of Knowledge classes around the world will be incorporating in their discussions of memory’s role in acquiring knowledge.  It found that, as the headline of an article about the study says, The more we know, the easier we are to deceive.

Here’s an excerpt:


This is one reason we spend a fair amount of time on the concept of false memories in TOK classes. It sounds like it might be worth discussing in other classes, too.

August 20, 2016
by Larry Ferlazzo

Important NY Times Column On Separating “Art & Artist” – Here’s The Writing Prompt I’m Using With It


Roxane Gay has written a powerful essay in today’s New York Times headlined Nate Parker and the Limits of Empathy.

It’s about the recent media attention paid to past rape charges against the actor and director, whose movie, “The Birth Of A Nation,” is coming out soon.

It raises important points related to ethics and the arts.

I’m going to have my IB Theory of Knowledge students read it when we are in our Arts unit and have them respond to this prompt:

What does Roxane Gay say about separating “the art and the artist”? To what extent do you agree with what she is saying? 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 info to The Best Posts On Writing Instruction, where I keep links to multiple prompts.

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