Larry Ferlazzo’s Websites of the Day…

…For Teaching ELL, ESL, & EFL

August 2, 2015
by Larry Ferlazzo

“The World IF” Is A Very Interesting Feature From The Economist

world if

The World IF
is a special feature at The Economist this week. It looks at a number of possible actions that could take place in the near future and what the consequences for the world might be if each one took place.

It could be an interesting version of a What If? history project – in reverse.

Check out The Best Resources For Teaching “What If?” History Lessons for more information.

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August 1, 2015
by Larry Ferlazzo

Links To The Joint Projects My ELL Geography Class Did With Classes Around The World – Want To Join Us This Year?

The before last, my English Language Learner Geography class did a series of joint projects with classes from around the world composed of students who were also learning English.

It was a great experience and, though I wasn’t able replicate it last year (the influx of Central American refugees created too much extra work for me), I do hope to do it again in the future, and possibly this coming year.

So, if you are in a country other than the United States, your class is composed of twelve-to-eighteen year old’s who are learning English, and you are interested in doing a very short joint project (mainly, we ask questions of your students and they ask questions of us – either in writing or by video), please let me know!

Here are a few of the projects we did (there are others, but some teachers weren’t able to get parental permission to share videos or student writing publicly):

Terrific New Videos: Using English “Sister Classes” From Throughout The World In Our ELL Geography Class (from Brazil)

Great Video Response From English Class In Italy To Our Questions

More Video Responses From Sister Classes — This Time From Latvia!

The Latest Videos From Our Sister Class Geography Project — This Time, From Spain!

Our Latest Response From A Sister Class — This Time From South Africa!

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July 31, 2015
by Larry Ferlazzo

Video: “What if America Was Never Colonized?”

Having both my English Language Learners and my IB Theory of Knowledge students create “What If?” history projects are some of my, and their, favorite lessons of the year (see The Best Resources For Teaching “What If?” History Lessons).

Today, I discovered a popular YouTube channel called Alternate History Hub that has tons of short videos exploring various “What If?” scenarios.

Even better, they provide evidence that supports their conjectures (though it would be nice if they gave a little more of it), so the videos are just the meanderings of a creative mind. That “evidence” idea is what makes school What If? projects the great learning experience that they can be….

Here’s an example of one of their videos:

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July 30, 2015
by Larry Ferlazzo

New Resources On Race & Racism

BLM Banner 2 Justin Norman via Compfight

Here are new additions to A Collection Of Useful Posts, Articles & Videos On Race & Racism – Help Me Find More:

Are Americans More Pessimistic About Race—or More Realistic? is from The Atlantic.

White People 101 is also from The Atlantic.

Half of Black, Latina Scientists Mistaken For Janitors, Assistants is from NBC News.

White Educators: Do You Recognize State Trooper Encinia? is from The Synapse.

Why “All Lives Matter” instead of “Black Lives Matter” is such a stupid thing to say is from Boing Boing.

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July 29, 2015
by Larry Ferlazzo

Irony Alert! College Board Caves On Same Day Petitions Delivered To Recall School Board That Wanted Changes In AP History Class

You might remember the big protests protests in Colorado in the Jefferson County School District last year becaused The School Board wanted to change the Advanced Placement history curriculum to make it more “patriotic” (see The Best Posts & Articles On The Teacher & Student Protests In Colorado).

Today, leaders of those protests were successful in submitting petitions to force a recall vote on the three board members behind that effort (see the Washington Post story, In a county that tried to amend U.S. history course, a lesson in politics and the AP article, Colorado board’s history class review leads to recall effort).

In an unbelievable ironic coincidence, at about the same time the petitions were being delivered to recall those who, against the best interests of teachers, students and their families, wanted to change the curriculum, the College Board announced changes to that very same AP History curriculum, including ones that appear to mirror some of the changes those very same Board members wanted to make:

mentions of the word slavery have been reduced, and a new section on the concept of “American exceptionalism” has been added. Some names that were omitted from last year’s framework, such as Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, Alexander Hamilton and John Adams, have been added—a key sticking point for critics of the prior document, who objected to Founding Fathers being omitted and negative aspects in American history being more emphasized, they claimed, than positive periods.

That is an excerpt from the Newsweek article, Revised AP U.S. History Standards Will Emphasize American Exceptionalism.

And here’s an updated Washington Post story on the change.

What do you think is the lesson to our students here?

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July 27, 2015
by Larry Ferlazzo

“Zoom In!” Looks Like A Good Site For History Teachers


Zoom In! is a new(er) free site that provides some very good U.S. History lessons that use historical documents and are standards-based. Along with in-class instruction, students use the online resources to do close-reading and scaffolded written responses.

Teachers create online virtual classrooms where they can monitor student progress.

Two of their features standout to me:

First, they clearly have been very intentional about choosing primary source documents that are likely to be more accessible to students and then have made them even more accessible with their lay-out and easy ability to look-up word definitions. I haven’t really seen any other site that has been able to do this anywhere near as well as Zoom In!

Secondly, I really like the way they scaffold the writing of written responses/essays. Again, more sites could learn from them.

I’m adding this post to:

The Best Online Tools That Can Help Students Write An Essay

The Best Sites That Students Can Use Independently And Let Teachers Check On Progress

Here’s their promotional video:

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