Larry Ferlazzo’s Websites of the Day…

…For Teaching ELL, ESL, & EFL

May 10, 2018
by Larry Ferlazzo

Here Are The Two End-Of-Year Projects Students Do In My TOK Classes


Here are the two final projects by IB Theory of Knowledge classes due at the end of the school year:


Instagram Videos

Students must create three short (45-to-one minute each) videos (or one longer one) communicating the meaning of three important TOK concepts.

You can see examples here.

I think Instagram is the easiest tool to use, especially since they have now extended the length of videos to one-minute. However, they are welcome to use other tools.

Students can work alone or with one other classmate.


Explain Like I’m Five

Students – on their own or with one other classmate – prepare and teach a four-to-five minute lesson on one or more TOK concepts.

The key, though, is that they have to pretend that they are teaching to five-year-olds.

“If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough” is often attributed incorrectly to Albert Einstein, though he did say something similar.

That notion has a lot in common with The Feynman Technique.

First, students read, annotate and discuss a chapter from one of my books (Here’s My Chapter On Elements Of A Successful Lesson, Along With Student Hand-Outs THEY Use To Teach).

Then, we watch Explain Like I’m Five videos.

Then students use the planning form that accompanies my chapter on elements of a successful lesson to plan the lesson (that form is actually used by them for longer lessons during the year, but they adapt it for this one).

Then, they teach it to the class.

If we’re pressed for time, they teach it a few times in small groups.  If we have a little more time available, like we might this year, they teach it to the entire class.


Let me know if you have any suggestions on how I can make these projects any better!

I’m adding this info to The Best Posts On Helping Students Teach Their Classmates — Help Me Find More.

April 8, 2018
by Larry Ferlazzo

Revised Extensive Outline, Including Student Exemplars, For TOK Essay Unit

My IB Theory of Knowledge classes are beginning to present their Oral Presentations this week. I’ve previously shared my dramatically revised schedule and outline for that TOK project at Oral Presentation Schedule. It includes the step-by-step process we use, including multiple student examples.

We’ll begin working on the Theory of Knowledge essay immediately after all the Oral Presentations are completed. These are actually “practice” ones, since IB – in its bureaucratic wisdom – won’t release next year’s prompts until late August. Since our students take TOK as juniors, they work on their senior TOK essays as an “extra” assignment during their senior year.

I’ve just revised our TOK Essay Schedule which, like the Presentation schedule, includes a step-by-step process (as well as multiple student examples).

Let me know if you have an suggestions on how I can make either of these units better!

April 6, 2018
by Larry Ferlazzo

Make Your Own “American Chopper” Meme

The American Chopper Meme has been all around the Internet (see ‘American Chopper’ Angry Meme Resurfaces and Takes Internet by Storm).

You can easily make your own at American Chopper Argument Meme Generator.

I’m planning on have my IB Theory of Knowledge students use it to illustrate a TOK concept we’ve studied.

Here are a couple of examples I like:

I’m adding it to The Best Tools For Making Internet ” Memes”

March 24, 2018
by Larry Ferlazzo

Milgram Experiment Replicated With Same Results


The Most Controversial Psych Study Is Repeated — Same Weird Result is from Psy Blog, and shares important information that I’ll be including in Theory of Knowledge classes when we learn about the Milgram Experiment.

I’m adding this info to our TOK class blog post that shares lots of info about the original experiment.

March 22, 2018
by Larry Ferlazzo

“Explanimator” Channel From The New Scientist Shares Accessible Explainer Videos About Philosophical Topics

The New Scientist publishes a series of short animated videos simply explaining philosophical and scientific ideas.

It’s called The Explanimator Channel and I think they’re ideal for IB Theory of Knowledge classes.

Here are a couple of samples:


You might also be interested in The Best Online “Explainer” Tools For Current Events.

March 22, 2018
by Larry Ferlazzo

Best Article Ever To Have Students Read About Cellphones!

Last year, I shared a summary of a recent study documenting the negative cognitive impact a cellphone has just by leaving it on your desk (see New Study On Cellphones Helpful To Teachers Everywhere).

It’s been very helpful in the classroom – now it’s just not me “nagging” students about it because of a school rule!

Today, The Harvard Business Review published a short article written by the study’s authors themselves discussing their research, and I’ll definitely be having my Theory of Knowledge students read it as part of our unit on the Human Sciences.

Here’s an excerpt from Having Your Smartphone Nearby Takes a Toll on Your Thinking:


I’m adding this info to The Best Posts On Student Cellphone Use In Class — Please Contribute More.

March 16, 2018
by Larry Ferlazzo

How Could I Not Have Known That Milgram Did The Original Six Degrees Of Separation Research? It’s Perfect For TOK!

In my IB Theory of Knowledge class, we examine a number of human science experiments, including ones on grit and growth mindset, The Marshmallow Experiment, The Stanford Prison Experiment and The Milgram Experiment. We explore their conclusions and critiques made by others. Then students create and implement their own experiments, putting what they’ve learned to good use.

I, of course, have heard about the idea of six degrees of separation, particularly through the Kevin Bacon angle, but it wasn’t until I read this new and fascinating article in New York Magazine, The Classic Study That Showed the World Is Smaller Than You Think, that I learned Stanley Milgram was also behind that initial experiment.

Boy, TOK students will love learning about it, as well its follow-ups and critiques.

I might be one of the few people around who was unaware of its history but that’s okay because I know it now and, soon, so will my students!

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