Larry Ferlazzo’s Websites of the Day…

…For Teaching ELL, ESL, & EFL

April 2, 2017
by Larry Ferlazzo

Classroom Instruction Resources Of The Week

Each week, I publish a post or two containing three or four particularly useful resources on classroom instruction, and you can see them all here.

You might also be interested in The Best Articles (& Blog Posts) Offering Practical Advice & Resources To Teachers In 2016 – Part Two and The Best Resources On Class Instruction In 2016 – Part Two.

Here are this week’s picks:

I might be the last person in the world to learn about the “Google Explore” feature that was integrated into Google Docs last fall. You can read all about it here. There’s a little button on the bottom right of a Google Doc. Click on it and, as you write, related search items appear in a column. My Theory of Knowledge students are working on their Oral Presentation outlines now, and will soon be working on their essays. I’m going to ask them to try out “Explore” tomorrow – it seems like it could be very useful.

I taught my 5th-graders how to spot fake news. Now they won’t stop fact-checking me. is from Vox. I’m adding it to The Best Tools & Lessons For Teaching Information Literacy – Help Me Find More.

Sharing the Depth of Knowledge Wheel With Students is from Edutopia. I’m adding it to The Best Resources For Helping Teachers Use Bloom’s Taxonomy In The Classroom.

I’m adding this tweet to the same list:

Teaching the Vietnam War With Primary Sources From The New York Times is from The New York Times Learning Network. I’m adding it to The Best Resources To Learn About The Vietnam War and to The Best Resources For Using Primary Sources.

Classroom layout – what does the research say? is from Teacher. I’m adding it to The Best Resources On Classroom Seating Strategies.

I’m adding this next tweet to The Best Resources On Grading Practices:

I’m adding this video to A Collection Of “The Best” Lists On Assessment:

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 17, 2017
by Larry Ferlazzo

The Simple “New Paradigm Project” We Did In Theory Of Knowledge Class (& Which Could Be Done In Other Classes, Too)

We recently finished studying Physical Science in our Theory of Knowledge classes and, as part of it, we learned about Galileo and Kepler challenging the established way of thinking.

After we learned about them and others who questioned existing paradigms, I tried out a new lesson I called the “New Paradigm Project.”

You can download my instructions here.

Here’s what is says:


We’d been discussing the idea of challenging existing paradigms.  In other words, challenging/questioning  what is referred to as the “conventional wisdom” – what is commonly believed.

With a partner, you must prepare a four-minute presentation (a video can also be included) where you question something that is ordinarily not questioned by our society.

You want to think “outside-of-the-box.”

You could question whether schools should be organized they way they are now with the same class periods each day, or a particular football strategy that is used often on the field, or the way teachers commonly teach students, or a current scientific belief.  Those are just a few ideas.  You could explore other topics in entertainment, business, education, etc.

Your presentation should include:

* What paradigm you are challenging, why you think it’s commonly believed now, and why you think it has not been challenged or why previous challenges have failed.

* Why you are challenging it

* Evidence supporting your position that is should be challenged.  It should be as “overwhelming” as possible.

* What should be its replacement


Please demonstrate creativity in your presentation.


It went well and I think students had a lot of fun, too.  The range of topics was quite broad – ranging from the use of homework in schools to people placing value on celebrity endorsements.

I’d love to hear suggestions on how I can improve it – anytime I put this request out there I get great new ideas!

March 17, 2017
by Larry Ferlazzo

Four New Resources On Indigenous Peoples

Indigenous Knowledge Systems is an Area of Knowledge we study in IB Theory of Knowledge classes, and I’ve collected many related resources at The Best Sites For International Day Of The World’s Indigenous People.

Here are three new resources I’m adding to that list:

This New Zealand river now has the same legal rights as a human being is from The Washington Post.

I had the privilege of visiting the Tarahumara a few years ago:

March 15, 2017
by Larry Ferlazzo

New Study: The Milgram Experiment Is Replicated

This week, my IB Theory of Knowledge classes will be learning about The Milgram and Stanford Prison Experiments.

You can find a ton of related resources at our class blog.

Coincidentally, yesterday researchers announced they had done a modern version that replicated the original findings:

Perfect timing! After we learn about the original Milgram, I’ll ask students if they think that people would act the same way today. It will be interesting to hear their responses. Afterwards, I’ll share this study.

March 10, 2017
by Larry Ferlazzo

The Best Videos For Learning About The Scientific Method

We learn about the scientific method in IB Theory of Knowledge classes, and especially talk about its application in all areas of life – not just science. I’ve previously posted about this topic, and thought readers might find it useful to see some of the videos I use, depending on the time available. Feel free to suggest more!

Here’s another version:

February 28, 2017
by Larry Ferlazzo
1 Comment

Here’s My Absolutism/Relativism Project For TOK – Help Me Make It Better

Like very other IB Theory of Knowledge teacher in the world, I cover absolutism and relativism when we’re studying Ethics, which we are doing this week.

I thought I’d try something a little different this year, and it went relatively well. I wanted to share it and get feedback about how I could make it better.

After giving a very quick intro to the the two concepts, I had students read a slightly modified version of this article, Absolutism and Relativism.

I then had students do this project (you can download the same instructions here):

Absolutism versus Relativism Project

1) Read two-page Absolutism vs. Relativism article with a partner

2) Each of you write down a one sentence summary of absolutism and write a one sentence summary of relativism.  Think of some examples to show the different – DO NOT use examples from the article.   You can each write the same things down if you work together.

3) Share what your wrote with another group when Mr. Ferlazzo makes the announcement to do so.

4) With your partner and the other group that you shared with, create a series of skits showing:

* a situation where absolutism could be beneficial to society and the search for knowledge

* a situation where absolutism could be could be hurtful to society and the search for knowledge

* a situation where relativism could be beneficial to society and the search for knowledge

* a situation where relativism could be hurtful to society and the search for knowledge.

The skits cannot take more than four minutes to perform all together.  Introducing each one does not count against the time.

These examples must NOT come from the article.


It seemed to go fairly well.  The one minute time limits were unrealistic, and not everybody got it right (I should have done some model skits first).  But, in general, I think students were pretty creative in their examples, and it was much more engaging than the usual brief review I do on the concepts.

How do you think I could improve it?

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