Larry Ferlazzo’s Websites of the Day…

…For Teaching ELL, ESL, & EFL

March 24, 2017
by Larry Ferlazzo

Here Are Some Of The Knowledge Questions My TOK Students Are Using For Oral Presentations This Year

Last year I posted Review Topics and Primary Knowledge Questions from my IB Theory of Knowledge students who developed them for their Oral Presentations.  You can also find them, along with all the materials I use for Oral Presentations, at our class blog.

As most TOK teachers know, it can be difficult for us to develop (or even understand the concept of) Knowledge Questions, much less for students (see The Best Posts On Teaching TOK “Knowledge Questions”).

Here is a sample of this year’s Knowledge Questions (let me know what you think of them and if you think some are not “Knowledge Questions”):

How do we know the difference between a false stereotype and an accurate generalization?

To what extent does self-esteem benefit or hurt our society?

How does fashion influence the way we perceive others?

What is the role of inspiration?

In what ways do people experience “flow”?

Under what circumstances do people decide to be cruel or kind?

Under what circumstances should we control or co-exist with the environment?

What role does morality play in violence?

Under what circumstances do people take risks?

Under what circumstances might false memories be helpful or hurtful in our search for knowledge?

To what extent is punishment really “effective”? What is “effectiveness”?



March 24, 2017
by Larry Ferlazzo

NY Times Learning Network Announces Winners Of Annual 15-Second Vocabulary Video Contest

The New York Times Learning Network has announced this year’s winners of their annual 15-Second Vocabulary Video Contest. You can see them all here.

Here’s one example:

I’ve often used Instagram videos with English Language Learner students to create similar videos. In fact, The Learning Network used videos from my class as examples to introduce the first year of its contest.

You can see many other examples at The Best Resources For Learning To Use The Video Apps “Vine” & Instagram.

March 24, 2017
by Larry Ferlazzo

It’s National Nutrition Month – Here Are Related Resources

National Nutrition Month® is a nutrition education and information campaign created annually in March by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. The campaign focuses on the importance of making informed food choices and developing sound eating and physical activity habits.

You might be interested in The Best Sites For Learning About Nutrition & Food Safety.

March 23, 2017
by Larry Ferlazzo

What ‘Scarcity’ Does To The Mind & Why Social Emotional Learning Isn’t Enough

I’m a big advocate of Social Emotional Learning (see The Best Social Emotional Learning (SEL) Resources), but I’m also concerned about it being “over-sold” and used to short-circuit needed policy changes.

I’ve written about those concerns in my Washington Post piece, The manipulation of Social Emotional Learning.

I’ve also shared many pieces on those concerns at The Best Resources Showing Social Emotional Learning Isn’t Enough.

Among those articles are several talking about some specific research finding that poverty causes a lack of self-control and perseverance and it’s not the other way around. In other words, we have just a certain amount of “cognitive bandwidth” which can be overwhelmed by worry and concern related to “scarcity.”

Today, NPR did an interview with one of the authors of that study, and you can read and listen to it at How The ‘Scarcity Mindset’ Can Make Problems Worse.

Here’s an excerpt:

Another quote from the piece – this one from the NPR host – says:

To be clear, it’s not that poor people focus on immediate needs because that’s all they want to think about. It’s all they can think about. Scarcity captures the mind. In fact, the tunnel vision produced by scarcity can actually lower how you perform on an IQ test.

As I’ve said before, SEL has its place, but it also has to be kept in its place. Yes, we should help our students develop self-regulation skills. But we should also organize for better public policies that can Outside Of School Factors That Impact  Student Achievement.

And, of course, want to help equip students with the skills so that they can also effectively advocate for themselves.

March 23, 2017
by Larry Ferlazzo
1 Comment

“Everyone Is A Teacher” Is A New Engagement Strategy I’m Using & It Seems To Be Working

We’re going into the home-stretch of the new year, and I’m always trying to figure out new ways to finish strong (see The Best Ways To Finish The School Year Strong).

In fact, On Monday, April 17th, at 8:00 PM Eastern Time, I’ll be hosting an Education Week Facebook Live discussion on this topic, and will share more information as the date grows closer.

Last weekend, I had a brainstorm and tried out something new with my English Language Learner Beginners in order to help everyone get a “second wind.”

It began with me having individual conversations with some students about the question, “Who else (apart from myself) is going to benefit from what I am doing?”  (see Here’s A Great Motivating Question For Students To Consider…).

On Monday, I introduced this question to the entire class and, in the middle of discussion, I thought of the phrase, “Everyone is a teacher.”  I shared that English is hard to learn, they only had a few years of high school left, and that it was going to take more than one teacher to help everybody learn.  So we all had to be teachers. I shared some ideas to illustrate the concept (“I’m a teacher when I speak English because I’m an example”; “I’m a teacher when I come to school because I’m a model for others”) and then invited students to contribute other ideas.   They came fast and furious, and students made posters like the one at the top of this post.

Students have taken it seriously at different levels but there is clearly one huge benefit – It’s far more energizing to students and to me if I say to off-task student “Everyone is a teacher!” than saying “Angela, please get back to work.”

We’ll see for how long it’s effective, but it certainly can’t hurt….

I’m adding this post to

The Best Ways To Finish The School Year Strong

The Best Posts On Helping Students Teach Their Classmates — Help Me Find More

The Best Posts & Articles On Student Engagement

March 23, 2017
by Larry Ferlazzo

My Latest BAM! Radio Show Is On Handling Tough Teaching Moments

Tough teaching moments and how to handle them is the topic of my latest eight-minute BAM! Radio Show.

Cindi Rigsbee, Roxanna Elden, and Robert Ward join me in the discussion, and they’ve also all contributed written commentaries to one of my future Education Week Teacher columns.

I’m adding it to All My BAM Radio Shows – Linked With Descriptions.

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