Larry Ferlazzo’s Websites of the Day…

…For Teaching ELL, ESL, & EFL

June 16, 2015
by Larry Ferlazzo
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Video Trailer: “The Stanford Prison Experiment”

The Stanford Prison Experiment is a staple of IB Theory of Knowledge classes around the world, and it was news to me that a major theatrical film was being released about it. Here’s the video trailer, and you can read more about, including recent debate about the experiment itself, at Slate.

I’m adding this info to The Best Movies For IB Theory Of Knowledge Classes – What Are Your Suggestions?

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June 14, 2015
by Larry Ferlazzo
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Three Resources For “What If?” Projects

I have both my IB Theory of Knowledge students and my ELL history classes do “What If?” projects, and they’re pretty popular. You can read all about them, and see student examples, at The Best Resources For Teaching “What If?” History Lessons.

Here are three new resources that students could review to get ideas for their own projects:

What If the Allies Had Lost World War I? is from The Atlantic.

Why We’d Be Better Off if Napoleon Never Lost at Waterloo is from The Smithsonian.

If you could undo one historical event, which would it be? is from Ideas.

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June 13, 2015
by Larry Ferlazzo
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The Best Theory Of Knowledge Resources In 2015 – So Far

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As regular readers know, I teach an International Baccalaureate “Theory of Knowledge” class (in fact, this year I teach two of them!). Our school structures our IB program a bit differently from many others by having a whole lot of students take individual IB classes; we have relatively few who are taking all IB classes in order to get the IB diploma. I really like this set-up, and it opens up my TOK class to a lot more students.

As I’ve said before, I can’t think of a high school class that would be more fun to teach or more fun to take…

You might also be interested in:

The Best Theory Of Knowledge Resources In 2014 – Part Two

All Of My Theory Of Knowledge “Best” Lists In One Place!

The Best Theory Of Knowledge Resources In 2014 – So Far

The Best Theory Of Knowledge Resources In 2013 – Part Two

The Best Theory Of Knowledge Resources In 2013 – So Far

The Best Theory Of Knowledge Resources In 2012 — Part Two

The Best Theory Of Knowledge Resources In 2012 — Part One

The Best Theory Of Knowledge Resources In 2011

The Best Theory Of Knowledge Resources — 2010

Here are my choices for The Best Theory Of Knowledge Resources In 2015 – So Far:

How Can We Help Students Feel That Theory Of Knowledge Class Is More Relevant To Their Lives

Teaching Knowledge Questions In IB Theory Of Knowledge

I’ve written in my New York Times column about how I use optical illusions with English Language Learners, and I certainly use them when teaching perception in my Theory of Knowledge class. You can many that I’ve previously posted here. The BBC has now published what is probably the “be all and end all” of resources on optical illusions over the years. It’s titled How your eyes trick your mind and will certainly come in handy.

The Best Videos About The Famous “Trolley Problem”

Here’s a video and article about turning a Van Gogh painting to 3D. I think it would be useful in a Theory of Knowledge discussion of perception and art…

I have  added a number of new resources and also redesigned my IB Theory of Knowledge class blog. It’s filled with years of very, very practical classroom resources, including many lessons I use and lots of examples of student work (including oral presentations, TOK essays, etc.).

I’ve previously shared the essay planning form I developed last year for my IB Theory of Knowledge students and, in case you missed it,you can download it here. Even better, though, is a great student model I’ve been given permission to share here. You can download it here.

This Is The Easiest Way I’ve Found To Upload Multiple TOK (Or Any Student) Presentation Videos

Here’s The Evaluation Form I Created For TOK Oral Presentations

Reading With Imagination is the title of an intriguing column in The New York Times. It’s written by Lily Tuck. I thought it made some points of particular interest to IB Theory of Knowledge teachers related to… imagination.

Here’s an excerpt:

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As International Baccalaureate Theory of Knowledge teachers know, emotion and imagination are two “Ways Of Knowing” (for people unfamiliar with TOK, the curriculum defines a number of qualities as ways we acquire knowledge, and then divides that knowledge into “Areas Of Knowing” like history, math, etc.). Here’s the video trailer for the new Pixar movie titled “Inside Out.” Not only does it look great for anyone, it looks like it will also be perfect for TOK classes.

Science Daily reported on research that provides more evidence of why we might be resistant to new ideas (sort of, but I don’t think exactly, like confirmation bias). Here’s an excerpt from the article titled Why good solutions make us oblivious to better ones:

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TED Talks uploaded a fascinating one — Can we create new senses for humans? with David Eagleman.Here’s how they describe it:

As humans, we can perceive less than a ten-trillionth of all light waves. “Our experience of reality,” says neuroscientist David Eagleman, “is constrained by our biology.” He wants to change that. His research into our brain processes has led him to create new interfaces to take in previously unseen information about the world around us. You can read the transcript here. It’s perfect for International Baccalaureate classes studying Perception.

Learning about Plato’s Allegory of the Cave is a key lesson in most IB Theory of Knowledge courses, and I’ve also been able to integrate it into my English Language Learner classes, too. You can see many of the resources I use in the classroom, including student-made videos of modern parable versions, at our class blog. TED-Ed released a lesson and accompanying video that will be a nice addition.

Quote Of The Day: “Teaching Doubt” (& How I’m Going To Use It In Class)

Nearly 2,000 Categorized Resources For IB Theory Of Knowledge Classes

Quote Of The Day: How Language Affects Our Perception Of The World

The Value Of Students Creating Their Own Evidence

The Best Resources On “The Dress”

Student Examples From Theory Of Knowledge Project

“What If?” Projects From My Theory Of Knowledge Class

This video would be great to use in IB Theory of Knowledge classes when we discuss language:

The question, “Was Mathematics invented or discovered?” is discussed in almost every IB Theory of Knowledge class.

I’ve previously posted about a a TED-Ed video on this topic that I didn’t think was a very good one.

The World Science Festival has just published a much better video responding to this question, and which I’ll definitely be using in class:

The Problem With History Classes is a thought-provoking article in The Atlantic. It’s perfect for IB Theory of Knowledge teachers, as well as history educators.

Here’s an excerpt:

history-is-anything-but

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June 8, 2015
by Larry Ferlazzo
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How Can We Help Students Feel That Theory Of Knowledge Class Is More Relevant To Their Lives

Along with students in my other classes, my TOK class evaluated the course and me (you can see the forms I used here).

As usual, both the course and my teaching was evaluated generally quite highly.

And, as usual, though the vast majority of students didn’t share many suggestions on how to make it better (the most common statement was along the lines of “keep it exactly the way it is”), one critique was explicitly mentioned several times, and another typical shortcoming was clearly apparent to me.

A few students said I let some take advantage of me by being too flexible. As I mentioned, this always come up in my TOK evaluations. I’m sure there is some truth to these comments, and there are clearly areas where I can “tighten-up.” However, I also attribute at least some of this critique to the fact that I heavily recruit students who are not taking any other IB classes, and I think a few others might not have that much experience being in a class with so many others without the same academic background and habits.

The other shortcoming I always notice is that when I ask students how they can apply what they have learned in TOK to their lives, the responses — apart from just about everybody saying the presentation and writing skills they learned were useful — are generally pretty shallow. I have tried a number of different strategies to make this kind of “transfer” more effective, but nothing has seemed to work over the years.

Next year, I’ve decided that, when we are studying each Way of Knowing and Area of Knowledge, I’m going to be very explicit about connecting them to current events and encouraging students to do the same. One great resources is the free monthly newsletter from Theory of Knowledge.net, which shares current news articles, Knowledge Questions connected to them, and lesson ideas. You can see their archive here, and you can subscribe there also.

I can’t imagine why a TOK teacher would not want to receive it!

In addition, for a fee, you can subscribe to their premium newsletter.

I’d also love to hear other ideas about how teachers have been successful helping students apply TOK concepts to their outside-of-school lives….

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June 7, 2015
by Larry Ferlazzo
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Teaching Knowledge Questions In IB Theory Of Knowledge

“Knowledge Questions” are a key element of International Baccalaureate Theory of Knowledge classes. And they can be tricky, both for teachers and students, who have to develop ones throughout the course and particularly for their Oral Presentation.

I’ve previously posted about this challenge at The Best Posts On Teaching TOK “Knowledge Questions.”

This past year, I tried to refine and simplify how I taught students to develop them, and here’s my simple explanation:

Knowledge questions combine a Way of Knowing with an Area of Knowledge, are open-ended, and use Theory of Knowledge vocabulary. They should also refer to justification in some way (evidence, beliefs) either implicitly or explicitly.

Then, students reviewed these materials:

Knowledge claims and knowledge questions

Knowledge Questions in International Baccalaureate Subjects

It seemed to work well. How can I make it better?

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May 25, 2015
by Larry Ferlazzo
0 comments

BBC Publishes Great Interactive on Optical Illusions

I’ve written in my New York Times column about how I use optical illusions with English Language Learners, and I certainly use them when teaching perception in my Theory of Knowledge class. You can many that I’ve previously posted here.

The BBC has now published what is probably the “be all and end all” of resources on optical illusions over the years. It’s titled How your eyes trick your mind and will certainly come in handy.

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May 16, 2015
by Larry Ferlazzo
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The Best Videos About The Famous “Trolley Problem”

The famous trolley problem is one that I suspect all IB Theory of Knowledge classes consider during the year.

Here are a variety of useful videos that address it. I particularly like the first one, which is really the first in a series of four from the PBS (they all automatically start when one ends), and the second from the BBC:

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