Larry Ferlazzo’s Websites of the Day…

…For Teaching ELL, ESL, & EFL

November 20, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
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Here’s The Form I Have Students Complete When They’re Listening To Their Classmate’s Presentations

There are many benefits to having small groups of students make presentations to their classmates, including the fact that the presenters have an “authentic audience” beyond the teacher.

But how can we maximize its benefit to both speakers and listeners?

One strategy I use, particularly in my International Baccalaureate Theory of Knowledge classes, is have listeners complete this form anonymously sharing what they liked about the presentation and suggestions for improvement.

Listeners complete the form and I collect them for each group until all the presentations are complete. If the presenters are given them prior to that time they are obviously tempted to read them instead of listen to the other presenters.

I’ve used different versions of this form in other classes and it’s generally been pretty successful, though in ninth-grade classes some students don’t take it as seriously as I would like.

In addition to that form, students also have to write down the name of each group and one thoughtful question they would like to ask. Then, the group chooses one student to ask their question and then the group responds to it. I collect the list, and it functions as an effective form of accountability.

What are your suggestions for how I can improve the form and this process?

I’m adding this post to The Best Ideas To Help Students Become Better Listeners.

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November 18, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
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Two Great Resources On Language

Two great (and fun) resources on language came online today:

23 maps and charts on language is from Vox, and is a “must-read.” I’m adding it to The Best “Language Maps.”

Why do pigs oink in English, boo boo in Japanese, and nöff-nöff in Swedish? is from The Guardian. I’m adding it to The Best Sites For Learning About The World’s Different Cultures.

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November 3, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
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This Week’s “Links I Should Have Posted About, But Didn’t”

'forged link chain (5)' photo (c) 2009, Kirsten Skiles - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/2.0/

I have a huge backlog of resources that I’ve been planning to post about in blog but, just because of time constraints, have not gotten around to doing. Instead of letting that backlog grow bigger, I regularly grab a few and list them here with a minimal description. It forces me to look through these older links, and help me organize them for my own use. I hope others will find them helpful, too. These are resources that I didn’t include in my “Best Tweets” feature because I had planned to post about them, or because I didn’t even get around to sending a tweet about them.

Here are This Week’s “Links I Should Have Posted About, But Didn’t”:

The Importance of Project Based Teaching is from The Buck Institute, and provides a unique historical perspective on Project-Based Learning. I’m adding it to The Best Sites For Cooperative Learning Ideas.

Wake Your Class Up with Simulations! is from Ingenious Teaching. I’m adding it to The Best Online Learning Simulation Games & Interactives — Help Me Find More.

The Berlin Wall in the cold war and now – interactive is from The Guardian. I’m adding it to The Best Sites To Learn About Walls That Separate Us.

10 Tips for Delivering Awesome Professional Development is by Elena Aguilar at Edutopia. I’m adding it to The Best Resources On Professional Development For Teachers.

Ask For Evidence is a very interesting new site based in the United Kingdom. Here is how it describes itself:

Ask for Evidence is a public campaign that helps people request for themselves the evidence behind news stories, marketing claims and policies.

We hear daily claims about what is good for our health, bad for the environment, how to improve education, cut crime, treat disease or improve agriculture. Some are based on reliable evidence and scientific rigour. Many are not.

How can we make companies, politicians, commentators and official bodies accountable for the claims they make? If they want us to vote for them, believe them or buy their products, then we should Ask for Evidence.

People come here to share their experiences of asking for evidence and to use the hub of resources and expertise to making sense of the evidence they receive.

It has potential to be an authentic audience for student projects, particularly for IB Theory of Knowledge classes.

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October 19, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
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“Pearls Before Swine” Shares Its Own Version Of “Who’s On First?”

The old Abbott and Costello “Who’s On First?” routine is used by Theory of Knowledge teachers around the world to illustrate how language can be used to discourage understanding.

The comic Pearls Before Swine shared its own version (I’ve pinned it below). In addition, I’ve also embedded a Jimmy Fallon version, as well as the original Abbot and Costello one.

I’ve embedded both the remake and the original below:

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October 5, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
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Teaching Plato’s Allegory of The Cave

I, and just about every other International Baccalaureate teacher in the world, teaches Plato’s Allegory of the Cave to our Theory of Knowledge classes.

I spend quite a bit of time on it, beginning with students first reading the actual allegory to each other other and then having them read a more accessible one with simplified language. We then watch the various animations of it on line (you can see all my links and related resources at our class blog post). Then we connect it to clips from the Matrix (also found on that blog post) and watch “The Truman Show.”

Finally, students create their own modern versions of the Allegory on video. Here’s one example, and you can see quite a few more on our class blog:

Students really enjoy it all, and easily figure out why we’re spending so much time on it. They “get” the idea of our being in our own “caves” and how we need to look outside it. The Allegory is a perfect lesson near the beginning of a school year with a TOK class and, I think, with other classes, as well.

Do you teach the Allegory in your classes? If so, how do you do it?

BONUS: Text to Text: Plato’s Allegory of the Cave and ‘In the Cave: Philosophy and Addiction’ is a lesson plan from The New York Times.

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October 3, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
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Videos: Here’s The Simple Theory of Knowledge Lesson On Perception I Did Today

As regular readers know, in addition to teaching classes for English Language Learners, I also teach International Baccalaureate Theory of Knowledge courses.

One of the “Ways Of Knowing” in the class is Perception. Today, I did one of my regular lessons, and thought I’d bring all the videos together in one post for readers who might be interested (though the truth is that I wanted to put them all in one post so it will be easier for me to teach again).

I begin by having students number a sheet of paper one-to-six, with several lines for each number. I explain that we’re going to watch six short videos. After the first five videos students will be given a couple of minutes to answer this question:

What does this video have to do with perception, and what does it say about how perception can help or hinder our search for knowledge?

I explain that students will then share their response with the student next to them; I’ll then call on a couple of people to share; and then alternate rows will rotate so that students switch partners after each sharing.

Here are the videos I show:

Here’s more information on the Selective Attention Test video.

I end with this next video by asking students to “write down what happened in the picture” (which was the original prompt by researchers). After students watch the video, I ask how many told a story and then share parts of this analysis.

The lesson always goes well, though, as usual, I’m interested in hearing suggestions from readers on how to make it better….

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