Larry Ferlazzo’s Websites of the Day…

…For Teaching ELL, ESL, & EFL

July 20, 2016
by Larry Ferlazzo

Learning About Emotion Through “Inside Out”


As I continue to revise my IB Theory of Knowledge course, here’s a new small piece I’m adding to my unit on Emotion.

The unit’s culminating project is having students develop a presentation sharing the different ways emotion helps and hinders our search for knowledge.

I’m going to do a short lesson on the movie “Inside Out” immediately prior to giving students instructions on the final project. It will be after we have already spent a few days on the topic.

First, student will read this NY Times article, The Science of ‘Inside Out.’ Here’s a key quote from it:

emotions organize — rather than disrupt — rational thinking. Traditionally, in the history of Western thought, the prevailing view has been that emotions are enemies of rationality and disruptive of cooperative social relations.

I’ll ask students to identify the key points the article makes about the role of emotion in our lives.

After a short discussion, I’ll show the first scene in this collection of clips from the film, which clearly demonstrate how emotions do indeed organizing our thinking:

And then, just for a quick wrap-out, I’ll show the first four minutes of this clip giving a scientific overview of the science behind how the movie viewed emotions:

Any other ideas?

July 19, 2016
by Larry Ferlazzo

Examples Of Emotion In The Arts


As part of one of my newly-revised Theory of Knowledge lessons — this one on the Arts – we’ll be exploring the role of emotion in the arts.

Prior to answering some questions, I’m going to show students some examples from these resources and ask them what emotions they trigger in the listener/viewer, and how do they do it? I’ll also ask students to share classroom appropriate music that they believe elicits emotions, too.

Here are the ones I have so far – feel free to suggest more, particularly in mediums I’m not listing now:

Art and Emotion from Artsology.

25 Of The Most Creative Sculptures And Statues From Around The World

Top 10 Paintings Which Define Human Emotion

These Human Sculptures Actually Convery Their Emotions

Famous Artworks Inspired by Their Creators’ Nervous Breakdowns

July 19, 2016
by Larry Ferlazzo

These Three Resources On How Presidential Candidates Speak Are Fascinating – Help Me Figure Out How to Use Them In A Lesson

Many Social Studies and IB Theory of Knowledge classes use a presidential election year as an excellent opportunity to analyze political ads. There are many resources related to those kinds of lessons at The Best Sites To Learn About The 2016 U.S. Presidential Elections.

I’ve been revising my TOK lessons, and I’m exploring ideas for different lessons I can try. I saw the video embedded below analyzing how Donald Trump talks, as well as these two pieces analyzing the grade level of the candidates’ speeches, and have been trying to think of a way to use them as part of a lesson.

I’m coming up blank, however.

Do you have any ideas? Even if you don’t, though, I think the articles and video are pretty interesting.

July 18, 2016
by Larry Ferlazzo

Here’s The “Homework” I’m Planning For My Theory Of Knowledge Class – Help Me Make It Better


As regular readers know, I’m in the process of completely revising how I teach the International Baccalaureate Theory of Knowledge course – for the first time in four years! It’s pretty easy to get into the rut of teaching the same thing year after year…

One of the tasks I’ve had students do is to read a chapter in our text book each week corresponding to the unit we’re studying (Knowledge, Language, History, etc.). Then, they’ve had to write what they think were the three most important concepts and why, and then choose a question at the end of the chapter to write an “ABC” paragraph responding to it (Answer the question; Back it up with evidence from the chapter; make a Connection or Comment elaborating on the point). Then, once a week, students in small groups would meet, share, and prepare short presentations to the class.

Though the presentations were always a high point of the class, I’ve never felt satisfied that the homework was that beneficial (nor of high quality), and the level of higher-order thinking exhibited in the presentations was generally a bit uneven.

I definitely want students to read the chapters, but I’ve modified the homework assignment. As important, I’ve prepared exemplars for the quality of thinking I’d like students to demonstrate. I’m punching myself for not doing that earlier. Students would still meet, share and use them as the basis for their class presentations — picking answers from different people in the group.

You can download the homework sheet with the questions and exemplar responses here. Please review it and let me know how you think I can make it better. I think it might be useful for others subjects, too.

Here are the questions minus the exemplar answers (I don’t have an exemplar for the last question):

  1. What do you think are the three most important concepts in the chapter and why you think they are important? Include examples that DO NOT come out of the textbook.
  1. Pick an important sentence that had an impact on you and explain why it stood out. Connect it to an example that DOES NOT come out of the textbook.
  1. Choose something new you learned from the textbook that you can apply in another class or out-of-school. Give an example of how you would use it. This can be a concept you already shared in the two previous questions as long as your example of how you would apply it in other class or out-of-school is new.
  1. Draw something that represents something you think is an important concept from the chapter (it can be something you already mentioned in answers to previous questions). Describe your drawing, what it represents and how it represents the concept.

July 16, 2016
by Larry Ferlazzo

The Difference Between Information & Knowledge

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As regular readers know, I’m in the process of completely revising how I teach the IB Theory of Knowledge curriculum.

I used to have a good sheet distinguishing “information” from “knowledge,” but misplaced it.

In searching online, I found two good alternatives.

One is this short blog post, How to explain the difference between knowledge and information

The other is this short slideshow:

Let me know if you have found or developed anything better, please!

July 15, 2016
by Larry Ferlazzo

Update On My New Theory Of Knowledge Curriculum


In June, I shared that one of my main projects this summer was going to be completely revamping my International Baccalaureate Theory of Knowledge curriculum and sharing the final result on this blog.

It’s taken be a little longer than I expected to get started (I had to do some prep work for my next two books – one on ELLs and the other on student motivation – and I did a little traveling), but I have been able to spend this week getting around to organizing my present curriculum.

Now that I have that done, or almost done, I plan on revising one or two “units” (a Way of Knowing or Area of Knowledge) each week. I’ll share each section here as its done and invite feedback.

In the meantime, you might want to check out All Of My Theory Of Knowledge “Best” Lists In One Place!

July 8, 2016
by Larry Ferlazzo

2,600 Categorized Resources For IB Theory Of Knowledge Classes

As regular readers know, in addition to teaching various classes to English Language Learners and to mainstream ninth-graders, I teach the International Baccalaureate Theory of Knowledge course. I also regularly share TOK resources here on the blog, and I think it’s pretty popular among TOK teachers around the world.

This post is my regular “quarterly reminder” that, in addition, I accumulate links to articles and resources on the Delicious bookmarking site, and now have 2,600 categorized into the all the TOK “Ways of Knowing” and “Areas of Knowledge.” I typically add about twenty or so new ones each month.

However, they don’t necessarily include all the resources I share in my regular Best Theory Of Knowledge Resources posts.

You can find most of them here.

However, for some weird reason, not quite all of the “tags” are visible at that link. Here are direct links to the WOK and AOK resources not listed in the above link:


Logic and Reason (They’re separate, but all related. I think I first started using the logic tag and later switched to reason)

Indigenous Knowledge Systems


Intuition (though most are still in the Emotion category)

Human Sciences


July 1, 2016
by Larry Ferlazzo

Two Videos: Illusion Of The Year AND One Showing How It’s Done

I’ve posted many illusions, along with explanations of how I use them with English Language Learners and in my IB Theory of Knowledge classes.

Today, the “Illusion of The Year” was announced and, as I do every year, it’s posted below – prepare to have your mind blown.

But there’s additional treat – someone made a simple video explaining how it was done. That one is also embedded below…

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