Larry Ferlazzo’s Websites of the Day…

…For Teaching ELL, ESL, & EFL

April 10, 2015
by Larry Ferlazzo

Video: Wow, It Looks Like Pixar’s ‘Inside Out’ Movie Will Be Perfect For IB TOK Classes!

As International Baccalaureate Theory of Knowledge teachers know, emotion and imagination are two “Ways Of Knowing” (for people unfamiliar with TOK, the curriculum defines a number of qualities as ways we acquire knowledge, and then divides that knowledge into “Areas Of Knowing” like history, math, etc.).

Reader Vladi Stanojevic shared with me this video trailer for an upcoming Pixar movie titled “Inside Out.” Not only does it look great for anyone, it looks like it will also be perfect for TOK classes.

I’m adding this post to The Best Movies For IB Theory Of Knowledge Classes – What Are Your Suggestions?

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April 7, 2015
by Larry Ferlazzo

Here’s The Evaluation Form I Created For TOK Oral Presentations

All International Baccalaureate Theory of Knowledge teachers know that IB has made a number of changes related to the course, essay and oral presentation this year.

One of the changes for the oral presentations is using a much less complicated rubric for the oral presentations. I think that makes things easier for us teachers, though I’m not convinced that having less written guidance makes it easier for students.

In addition to the involved planning outline I’ve created that student use to develop their presentation, I’ve also just come-up with a simple form that I’ve given to students to serve as a final check-list and as an anonymous sheet they’ll complete while they watch each presentation. Then, at the end, each group will receive them, as well as my evaluation using the official rubric. Presenters will first complete it for themselves as a self-evaluation that they will give to me to consider as I complete my official form.  I’m telling presenters that if they disagree with my grade, they can also use the feedback they receive from other students as evidence to support their argument.

You can download it here.

Look it over and let me know if you have ideas on how I can make it better.

I’ve also reproduced it below:

TOK Oral Presentation Checklist


NAME OF GROUP ___________________________________


Rank each element of the presentation from 1-10, with 1 being the lowest and 10 being the highest.


  • Were presenters dressed professionally?


  • Main knowledge question was well-formulated?


  • Real-life situation well-connected to main knowledge question?


  • Was it clear how secondary knowledge questions/linking questions connected to help answer main knowledge question?


  • Secondary knowledge/Linking questions share more than one perspective each?


  • Did a story/example follow every point made in the presentation? Did non-personal stories outnumber personal ones?


  • Did slides help amplify points being made, and not just repeat them?


  • Were multiple connections to the TOK book/TOK class made?


  • Were good connections made to real-life situation by each secondary knowledge/linking question?


  • How well did people speak – did they read off their notecards all the time and look at the PowerPoint slides, or did they look at the audience and demonstrate that they had practiced a number of times?


  • Was the conclusion well-thought-out, or was it more like a “throw-away” section? Also, how did they do on the time requirements?


  • Write two positive and specific comments about this presentation:


  • What is the final grade you would give this presentation?


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March 28, 2015
by Larry Ferlazzo

Quote Of The Day: Now This Something Our Students Need To Know & We Need To Remember

Science Daily has just reported on research that provides more evidence of why we might be resistant to new ideas (sort of, but I don’t think exactly, like confirmation bias).

Here’s an excerpt from the article titled Why good solutions make us oblivious to better ones:


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March 18, 2015
by Larry Ferlazzo

Brand-New TED Talk Is Perfect For TOK Classes: “Can we create new senses for humans?”

TED Talks just uploaded a fascinating one — Can we create new senses for humans? with David Eagleman.

Here’s how they describe it:

As humans, we can perceive less than a ten-trillionth of all light waves. “Our experience of reality,” says neuroscientist David Eagleman, “is constrained by our biology.” He wants to change that. His research into our brain processes has led him to create new interfaces to take in previously unseen information about the world around us.

You can read the transcript here.

It’s perfect for International Baccalaureate classes studying Perception.

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March 17, 2015
by Larry Ferlazzo

Yes! TED-Ed Produces A Video On Plato’s Allegory Of The Cave

Learning about Plato’s Allegory of the Cave is a key lesson in most IB Theory of Knowledge courses, and I’ve also been able to integrate it into my English Language Learner classes, too.

You can see many of the resources I use in the classroom, including student-made videos of modern parable versions, at our class blog.

Today, TED-Ed released a lesson and accompanying video that will be a nice addition.

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March 15, 2015
by Larry Ferlazzo

Quote Of The Day: “Teaching Doubt” (& How I’m Going To Use It In Class)

Teaching Doubt is a great column in The New Yorker. It’s perfect for IB Theory of Knowledge classes, and just about every other one, too.

I’m going to be using this simple writing prompt with the article:

What is Lawrence M. Krauss saying about doubt? Do you agree with him? To support your opinion you may use examples from your own experiences, your observations of others, and any of your reading, including his article.

Here’s an excerpt:


I’m adding this post to The Best Posts On Writing Instruction.

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