Larry Ferlazzo’s Websites of the Day…

…For Teaching ELL, ESL, & EFL

April 8, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
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Webby Nominees Announced — Here Are A Couple That Look Good

webby

Nominees for this year’s Webby Awards (highlighting the “best of the web) have just been announced.

You can see them all here.

Here are a couple of particularly good sites I haven’t posted about previously:

How to put a human on Mars is from the BBC. I’m adding it to The Best Sites For Learning About Planets & Space.

Ready, Set, Grad is an exceptional site from Washington state, but it’s usable by students, parents and teachers in other areas.

You can read my posts about previous year’s Webby Awards, and which awardees I thought were particularly good, here.

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April 8, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
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The Best Posts & Videos About Sugata Mitra & His Education Ideas

'Sugata Mitra' photo (c) 2012, Campus  Party Brasil - license: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/

Professor Sugata Mitra and is famous for his “holes in the wall” experiments where he placed computers in impoverished Indian communities and students “self-organized” their instruction. Professor Mitra was awarded the TED Prize last year, and expanded his work with that support.

I’ve previously published some fairly popular posts about Professor Sugata Mitra.

The first post was one where I shared a number of concerns I had about his work (see Questions About Sugata Mitra & His “Holes In The Wall”) and then a guest post in response from Rory Gallagher. Both attracted many comments — particularly Rory’s — and Sugata Mitra also participated in the comment thread. You can find his TED video on the first one.

The third one was I’m Not Sure How Effective It Will Be, But Sugata Mitra’s New Online Tool Definitely Looks Interesting. It’s about his recently unveiled efforts to extend his ideas further.

A few days ago, he spoke at the International IATEFL Conference to ESL/ELT/EFL teachers. Here’s the video of his speech (I tried embedding it, but the embed code isn’t working).

Here’s a follow-up interview he gave to conference organizers.

He received a decidedly mixed response, which you can read about in How Sugata Mitra Annoyed English Teachers (& why I care) at 16 Kinds.

Sugata Mitra: The Ignorant School Teacher?
is by David Deubelbeiss.

IATEFL Harrogate Online: Sugata Mitra (part 2)
is from Blog EFL.

Marisa Constantinides has collected a number of posts about Sugata Mitra’s recent address to ESL teachers.

I’d be interested in making additions to this list, so please contribute them in the comments section.

You might be interested in my other 1,300 The Best lists, too…

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April 7, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
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National Awards For Education Reporting Announced

ewa

The Education Writers Association just announced the winners of the 2013 National Awards for Education Reporting.

It’s an extensive and impressive list, and includes many links.

Unfortunately, you have to make a lot of “clicks” to get down to the names of the winners and links to their articles. It’s worth it, but I do hope they figure out a more user-friendly lay-out by next year…

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April 7, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
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My New British Council Post: “Creating The Conditions For Self-Motivated Students”

I-dont-believe-I-have

Creating The Conditions For Self-Motivated Students is my new post at the British Council Teaching English website.

It includes specific suggestions for teaching English Language Learners, but most of what I write there is applicable to all students.

I’m adding it to The Best Posts & Articles On “Motivating” Students.

You can see all my previous British Council posts here.

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April 6, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
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“FiveThirtyEight” & “Vox.com” Are Two New Free Online News Sites — Here’s What I Think Of Them

'reviews' photo (c) 2011, Margaret Ornsby - license: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

FiveThirtyEight, the Nate Silver site that moved to ESPN, opened-up a couple of weeks ago, and Ezra Klein (and colleagues) moved from The Washington Post to create Vox.com, which was unveiled tonight.

Here’s a quick review of them both…

FiveThirtyEight clearly has more financial resources behind it, though a substantial portion of that will be devoted to sports (I’m a sports fan, but I’m not convinced sports journalism really needs any more players). It covers many other topics, though, and I like that the articles tend to be on the short-side and include easily accessible data visualizations. However, I have to also admit that I really haven’t found any of their articles very interesting so far, and none that have been helpful in the classroom. The site has been getting a lot of criticism, and Nate Silver has been publicly very open to hearing it, so I suspect there will be substantial improvement.

What I’m really looking forward to, though, are their future plans for education coverage. Silver has made it pretty clear he’s planning to get more involved in ed-related issues, and it seems like he’s coming from a good place on them.

Vox.com appears smaller than FiveThirtyEight, but also isn’t covering any sports. I can only base what I think on what I see after one day, and I’m sure there will be many changes in the future. Their articles seem longer (a little too long, if you ask me), but I’ve got to say they all look pretty interesting. They have a unique lay-out that lets them highlight certain words which, if you click on them, will lead to “explainer cards.” It’s a nice feature, though, like their articles, it would be nice if their explainer cards were shorter, too. The videos they have on the site look good. Like FiveThirtyEight, Vox.com is planning to cover education issues. However, when Klein’s team was at The Washington Post, their ed coverage was pretty disappointing and surprisingly shallow. There’s nothing on the site about education right now.

Vox.com’s big lead story is titled How Politics Makes Us Stupid. It’s interesting (and useful for an IB Theory of Knowledge class), but a bit disappointing. It basically says that people aren’t persuaded by facts — instead, they are moved more by their ideology. Klein interviews a researcher who says what is needed is better communication skills, and then Klein counters with, no, what is really needed are “better structures,” though he doesn’t seem to say what those “structures” might be. Actually, I’d suggest that what is needed is more and better community organizers (among other things — see The Best Posts & Articles On Building Influence & Creating Change).

I’d say keep an eye on them both and see how they develop…

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April 6, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
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Check Out 1,700 Categorized Theory Of Knowledge Links

'Links by Clips' photo (c) 2010, Keith Ramsey - license: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/

The online bookmarking tool Delicious no longer provides the number of links that are bookmarked in a particular category, but I guesstimate that I must be up to 1,700 or so categorized ones related to the International Baccalaureate Theory of Knowledge class.

You can see them all here.

Those are just the ones I’ve bookmarked. If you want to contribute to an even bigger, more “universal” collection, you, too, can use Delicious and add the tag “#TOK” to helpful sites and articles.

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April 6, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
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“Scarlet Letter” Comes To The UK: Get Good Test Results & You Can Wear Your Own Clothes, While Bad Results Means You Wear School Uniform

'Dunce' photo (c) 2009, ~Pawsitive~Candie_N - license: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

Readers might remember the controversy around the southern California high school that issued color-coded student ID’s based on student standardized test scores. They also made students wait in different lunch lines, among other things. See The Best Resources To Learn About High School ID’s & The Scarlet Letter for more information.

Well, a school in the United Kingdom is applying their own version of the idea by letting students who score well in reading tests wear their own clothes while making those who didn’t wear school uniforms. See The Telegraph article, School’s mufti day ban for underachieving pupils ‘equivalent of dunce’s hat.’

I’m sure this strategy is going to be very effective in developing intrinsic motivation and a love for reading — NOT!

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April 6, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
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A Bunch Of Student Motivation Resources

'Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us by Daniel Pink' photo (c) 2010, cdorobek - license: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

As regular readers know, I have a particular interest in the topic of student motivation, and my third book on the topic will be out next year.

I’ve been accumulating some related resources, and am putting them all together in this post:

Studies Offer Practical Ways to Bring ‘Growth Mindset’ Research to Schools is an Ed Week post about some recent studies. One of them featured having students read about the struggles experienced by famous scientists, as opposed by focusing solely on their achievements, and resulted in higher student motivation and academic achievement. Here’s an earlier study done by the same researchers with Taiwanese students (the most recent research was with classes in New York) that reached similar conclusions and has a lot of interesting background information. I’m adding this info to The Best Resources On Helping Our Students Develop A “Growth Mindset.”

Teachers told: use ‘not yet’ in place of ‘fail’ when marking is from The Telegraph. It’s about a new guide for UK teachers on how to help students develop a growth mindset. I’m adding it to the same list.

Carol Dweck and others have developed an online program focused on helping students develop a growth mindset around math. They are invited teachers to participate for free. You can find more information about it here.

Here are links to two articles that don’t really provide any new information on motivational issues (at least, they’re not new if you’ve been following this blog). However, they do provide good short summaries on the topic. I’m adding them to The Best Posts & Articles On “Motivating” Students:

Why Incentives Don’t Actually Motivate People To Do Better Work is from Business Insider.

How To Motivate People – 4 Steps Backed By Science is from Barking Up The Wrong Tree.

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April 6, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
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This Week In Web 2.0

'Web 2.0 paljastaa' photo (c) 2011, Janne Ansaharju - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/2.0/

In yet another attempt to get at the enormous backlog I have of sites worth , I’ve recently begin a regular feature called “The Week In Web 2.0.” (you might also be interested in The Best Web 2.0 Applications For Education In 2013). I also sometimes include tech tools that might not exactly fit the definition of Web 2.0:

LearnClick, and online cloze-maker (fill-in-the-gap), has re-introduced limited free services. It’s worth checking-out.

Google+ has added a feature of showing the number of times you’re posts have been “viewed.” Go to your profile page and you can see it. I wouldn’t put much stock in it — I think it’s just their feeble effort to prove it’s not a “Ghost Town.” As you can see from the screenshot below, it says my posts have received nearly 4 million views, which is an insane number that has no relation to reality:

googleplus

Yakit and Yakit Kids are iPhone and iPad apps that let’s “any photo talk.” I’m adding it to The Best Resources For Beginning iPad Users and to The Best Sites For Beginning iPhone Users Like Me.

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April 6, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
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Around The Web In ESL/EFL/ELL

'IMG_2170' photo (c) 2008, adrigu - license: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

I’ve started a somewhat regular feature where I share a few posts and resources from around the Web related to ESL/EFL or to language in general that have caught my attention:

100 most common words in English is an online game that Digital Play describes, and it could be useful in class.

And, speaking of online activities for building vocabulary, the Food Porn Index could be a helpful site for…food words.

Taco Spillet is another online game suitable for learning food-related vocabulary.

The Rolling Question Game is from The EFL Smart Blog. I’m adding it to The Best Ideas For Using Games In The ESL/EFL/ELL Classroom.

Here are helpful ideas from The British Council on class activities to do that require Zero Materials.

Four Sure-Fire Math Strategies for ELLs is from ASCD.

Here’s an interview with Ann Foreman and Paul Braddock, the key people behind the extraordinarily popular and helpful Learning English British Council Facebook page for teachers.

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April 5, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
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April’s Infographics & Interactives Galore – Part Two

There are just so many good infographics and interactives out there that I’ve begun a new semi-regular feature called “Infographics & Interactives Galore.”

You can see others at A Collection Of “The Best…” Lists On Infographics and by searching “infographics” on this blog.

I’ll still be publishing separate posts to individually highlight especially useful infographics and interactives, but you’ll find others in this regular feature.

Here goes:

Ypres in the first world war … and now – interactive is the first in a series of World War One features from The Guardian. I’m adding it to The Best Resources For Learning About World War I.

The GOOD 100 is sort of a cross between a listing of 100 people doing good work around the world with a quiz to determine your aptitude/interesting into doing something similar. I think it’s a little strange, but interesting.

150 Years Of Travel is another slightly strange, but interesting, interactive. I’m adding it to The Best Sites Showing The Most Popular Tourist Destinations In The World.

Borderland is an interactive from NPR about the Mexico/United States border. I’m adding it to The Best Sites For Learning About Mexico, Central & South America.

diversitydatakids.org lets you get lots and lots of demographic data. I’ll let this post explain it all.

This interactive on human migration looks pretty interesting:

Changing Dynamics of Human Migration During the Last 50 Years
Explore more visuals like this one on the web’s largest information design community – Visually.

I learned about Visage, a new tool for creating infographics, from The Why Axis. They won’t be unveiling their self-service site for a few months, it looks like it might have some potential. Here’s a video about it:

I’m tentatively adding it to The Best Resources For Creating Infographics.

This infographic shows the effect war is having on children around the world:

Owly Images

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April 5, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
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This Week’s “Round-Up” Of Good Posts & Articles On Education Policy

'Thank a teacher' photo (c) 2011, Emily Mills - license: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/2.0/

Here are a few recent useful posts and articles on educational policy issues:

Charter School Refugees is an excellent New York Times column by Andrea Gabor. I’m adding it to The Best Posts & Articles Analyzing Charter Schools.

‘If only American teachers were smarter…’ is from The Washington Post. I’m adding it to The Best Resources On Professional Development For Teachers.

The No. 1 trait of Americans’ favorite teachers is from The Washington Post.

Moving Forward without a Backward Glance: MOOCs and Technological Innovations is by Larry Cuban. I’m adding it to The Best Posts & Articles On MOOC’s.

The Downside of “Grit” is by Alfie Kohn. I still think it’s an important concept to help students learn. However, this kind of backlash is understandable since some proponents have been communicating it as the answer to many educational problems. In fact, it’s just one of many skills our students need to develop in order to be successful. I’m adding it to The Best Resources For Learning About “Grit.”

Has Teach for America reached its Waterloo? is by Amy Dean. I’m adding it to The Best Posts & Articles Raising Concerns About Teach For America.

Ed-Data is a great place to get info on California’s K-12 schools. I’m adding it to The Best Places To Get Reliable, Valid, Accessible & Useful Education Data.

Keep the ‘public’ in public school boards appeared in The San Francisco Chronicle. It’s a commentary on the fact that many school reformers are now not content attacking teacher unions — they’re going after school boards, too. Michelle Rhee started this trend awhile back.

TestingTalk.org Launches National Discussion About Common Core Tests is by Anthony Cody. I have previously posted about this new site.

Word Attack: “Objective” is a really exceptional post appearing in Failing Schools.

Three Practical Questions About PARCC & SBAC Testing is by Rick Hess. I’m adding it to The Best Resources For Learning About The “Next Generation” Of State Testing.

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April 5, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
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Even More Resources On The Rwandan Genocide

rwanda

This weekend is the twentieth anniversary of the genocide in Rwanda.

Here are even more additions to The Best Sites To Learn About Genocide In Rwanda:

Portraits of Reconciliation is from The New York Times (you might also be interested in Another Good Writing Prompt: Reconciliation.

Following Orders in Rwanda is is also from The NY Times.

Rwandan Stories is an impressive site.

A Good Man In Rwanda is from The BBC.

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April 5, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
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“The Image Story” Is A Nice Site & Provides An Even Better Classroom Idea

image

The Image Story is a new site where photographers submit their pictures along with the “back story” about them — their inspiration, gear, etc.

It has some nice photos but, more importantly for me, it gave me an idea for a classroom activity that I hadn’t thought of before (though I suspect someone else has).

What not have students show their own photos and provide their own back story? I don’t think most of the questions The Image Story uses would work, but others would, like:

What made you want to take this picture (or, as The Image Story asks, what was your inspiration)?

Why do you like (or not like) the image?

Who would you want to show the image to and why?

Will this photo be important to you five, ten, or twenty years from now? Why or why not?

I’m sure there are plenty of other questions students could respond to — what your suggestions?

Also, I wonder if a version of this exercise could also be used with images students did not take? For example, showing famous (and not so famous) photos and asking students why they thought the photographer took them and how they think he/she was feeling at the time.

I’m adding this post to The Best Ways To Use Photos In Lessons.

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April 4, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo
1 Comment

The iTunes Link To My Interview With Carol Tomlinson Wasn’t Working Before, But It Is Now!

diff

I had previously posted a link to my ten minute BAM! podcast interview with Carol Tomlinson. You could here it on BAM!’s website, but, because of technical problems, couldn’t download it on iTunes.

It’s fixed now, and worth listening to the person who’s done more to support differentiation in the classroom than just about anybody else…

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