Larry Ferlazzo’s Websites of the Day…

…For Teaching ELL, ESL, & EFL

September 26, 2015
by Larry Ferlazzo

New TED-Ed Video & Lesson: “How memories form and how we lose them”

TED-Ed has released a new video and lesson titled “How memories form and how we lose them.”

The video is a bit dry, but it could be useful when Theory of Knowledge classes are learning about memory. I’ve added it to my large list of memory resources, which you can find here.

September 25, 2015
by Larry Ferlazzo

Calling All Theory Of Knowledge Teachers: How Did You Feel About How IB Examiners Scored Essays This Year?

As regular readers know, in addition to teaching several classes to English Language Learners, I also teach IB Theory of Knowledge.

I’ve shared a lot about it on this blog (see The Best Theory Of Knowledge Resources In 2015 – So Far).

This was the first time IB graded our TOK essays since the new curriculum guide, which included a new rubric, was implemented. And we were very surprised at the marks. Usually, the examiners generally agreed with the marks we gave them — typically one or two A’s, two or three B’s, and most of the rest C’s. This year, however, the marks were very different from the ones we had given — some A’s were downgraded to C’s; some D’s were upgraded to B’s.

We just received the examiner’s notes from our student essays and, though the Examiner’s comments were pretty minimal (and, in some cases, non-existent), it did seem like our students were “dinged” for using some “hypothetical examples” (which seems like a reasonable critique and, truth be told, I had never raised with students) and for not explicitly connecting examples to answering the question (which I push a lot and, truth be told, I think our students did pretty well).

I’m wondering if our experience – years of basic agreement with Examiner marks and then this year’s dramatic change – reflects other TOK teachers experiences or if it just might be a situation particular to us.

Let me know….

September 24, 2015
by Larry Ferlazzo

Two Useful TOK Class Resources: Jigsaw Instructions & Allegory Of The Cave Videos/Evaluation Forms

Here are some useful resources I use in my IB Theory of Knowledge classes, and they are also applicable to other classes:

First, many teachers are familiar with the Jigsaw cooperative learning activity. You can learn more about it at The Best Sites For Cooperative Learning Ideas. It’s a regular activity I use in my IB Theory of Knowledge classes (and my ESL courses, too). With my TOK classes, I’ll often print out articles related to the Way Of Knowing or Area of Knowledge topic we’re studying (you can access my Over 2,000 Categorized Resources For IB Theory Of Knowledge Classes here). Then, I distribute these instructions, which pretty much explain how the Jigsaw activity is organized.

Secondly, we spend a few days studying Plato’s Allegory of the Cave. You can see many of those resources at our TOK class blog, along with examples of student videos – they have to create modern versions of it. This year’s students will be showing their own creations on Monday, and I’ll be adding some of them to that class blog post. Students viewing the videos will be using this anonymous evaluation form, which will be completed after each video is viewed, collected, and given to the video’s creators.

Any suggestions on how I can improve both activities is welcome!

September 18, 2015
by Larry Ferlazzo

“8-Bit Philosophy” Is A Useful Series of Videos

8bit philosophy

8-Bit Philosophy is a useful series of videos from Wisecrack.

You’ve got to pick-and-choose, but a number of their videos can be engaging and informative for students, and presented in an exceptionally unique form.

I’ve previously posted about their video on Plato’s Allegory of the Cave, which I happened to use in my IB Theory of Knowledge class this afternoon (I’ve embedded it at the end of this post). I’ve also embedded a few of their other particularly useful ones…

September 8, 2015
by Larry Ferlazzo

Nice Video For Showing How To Manipulate Answers To Polls

In IB Theory of Knowledge classes we examine in both math and human sciences how people taking polls/surveys can manipulate the answers.

Sherman Dorn shared this video on Twitter today that would be a nice introduction to the topic (after first explaining to U.S. students the definition of “National Service”):