Larry Ferlazzo’s Websites of the Day…

…For Teaching ELL, ESL, & EFL

January 11, 2016
by Larry Ferlazzo

Video: Excellent Michael Sandel Interview On Ethics


I’ve previously posted a lot about the work of Harvard professor Michael Sandel.

Here’s an older video clip
of an interview he did on NBC. I use it in my IB Theory of Knowledge class when we’re studying Ethics.

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

January 10, 2016
by Larry Ferlazzo

Killing Baby Hitler & Student “What If?” Projects


I often write and share about student “What If?” history projects (see The Best Resources For Teaching “What If?” History Lessons).

Each year, I have my IB Theory of Knowledge students create these kinds of presentations and then, afterwards, I make arrangements with other teachers for them to come and help my English Language Learner U.S. and World History students to make their own versions.

My TOK students just completed theirs and next week they begin working with my ELL students. I’ll post examples later this month (you can see a bunch at my previously-mentioned “Best” list).

As usual, in addition to asking my students what they liked about the project and how it could be improved, I ask them to share what they learned about history through doing it. Here are a couple of responses from my TOK students:

We learned how different life would be. It also forced us to deeply think and analyze events in history and see how much it would impact us today. The world has many possibilities and we should consider all of them.

We learned the importance and background of certain events and what impact they had on us. And how, if it things happened differently, the future would have changed as well.

One new wrinkle to the project this year was that I briefly explained The New York Times asking the question last fall, Could You Kill A Baby Hitler?, and the subsequent widespread interest in the question. I asked students to write a quick but thoughtful response, share it with a partner, and then several spoke to the entire class. There were some very impressive comments. I was surprised to find that in both of my classes only a small handful would, indeed, kill Baby Hitler if they had the chance.

We’re studying Ethics next week, so I told students I would save their responses and ask them the same question after we completed that next unit. I often tell students that our “opinion” is what we develop on our own; our “judgment” is what we conclude after talking with others. I’ll have them write a lengthier piece at that time, using what we’ve learned in our Ethics unit to justify their position.

In addition to the usual materials I use in our Ethics unit, I’m going to ask students to look through these specific “Baby Hitler” articles from last fall:

The Ethics of Killing Baby Hitler is from The Atlantic.

The philosophical problem of killing baby Hitler, explained is from Vox.

Would You Kill Baby Hitler? is from The Big Think.

A journalistic service: Here is which Republican candidates would murder baby Hitler is from The Washington Post.

What a world without Baby Hitler might look like is from The Washington Post.

Why It’s Unethical To Go Back In Time And Kill Baby Hitler is from Forbes.

I’ll let you know it goes…

January 9, 2016
by Larry Ferlazzo

The Best Resources For Teaching & Learning About Plato’s Allegory Of The Cave


Many educators, including those of us who teach IB Theory of Knowledge courses, spend time on Plato’s Allegory of the Cave.

I’ve often shared on this blog how I teach about it, and included student-created videos of modern versions.

The School of Life today came out with a new video on the Allegory and, even though I don’t think it’s as good as other ones I’ve posted about, it did give me the idea that it’s time for a short related “Best” list.

I’ll begin with a link to my Theory of Knowledge class blog post, which has tons of materials, including those student-created videos I mentioned earlier…

Here are two posts where I describe my lessons:

Teaching Plato’s Allegory of The Cave

Two Useful TOK Class Resources: Jigsaw Instructions & Allegory Of The Cave Videos/Evaluation Forms

Finally, here’s the video that was published today that I think is not as good as other videos on my class blog (but it’s still decent):

Feel free to suggest additional resources….

January 7, 2016
by Larry Ferlazzo

Useful TED-Ed Lesson On “The Danger of a Single Story”


Many readers are probably familiar with Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s TED Talk, “The Danger Of A Single Story.” If not, I’ve embedded it below.

I’ve also previously written a post about it at “the danger of not having your own stories.”

I just discovered that TED-Ed has a fairly good lesson using her Talk. It’s definitely worth exploring…

And here’s her talk:

January 7, 2016
by Larry Ferlazzo

Quote Of The Day: “beliefs are hypotheses to be tested…”

I’ve previously written about the great work of Professor Philip Tetlock, and you can find my past posts about him at The Best Resources On The Importance Of Knowing What You Don’t Know.

The Washington Post has just published an article about his recent work – check out The secrets the world’s top experts use to make really good predictions.

As far as I’m concerned, here’s the “money quote” from that piece, and it’s perfect for IB Theory of Knowledge classes:


I’ll certainly be adding this post to the “Best” list I mentioned earlier…

January 1, 2016
by Larry Ferlazzo

NEW “Fillable” PDF Forms For IB Theory Of Knowledge Presentations


My 2014 post, New “Fillable” PDF Forms For IB Theory Of Knowledge Presentations & Essays, has been very popular, with TOK teachers from around the world not wanting to brave the IB website just to download some simple forms. Instead, they’ve just gone to that post, and I haven’t heard any objections from IB about my making them available.

Recently, though, I heard from TOK teacher Vladi Stanojevic that, in their infinite wisdom, IB recently decided to make some changes to the Presentations form (the Essay form appears to be the same).

Here’s the new “fillable” PDF Presentations form.

It’s very similar to the old one, except it doesn’t have space for the candidates names since they will be the ones uploading it under their own registration. It does seem odd that they have entirely removed any space for student names, but I’ve given up trying to figure out IB decisions….

December 24, 2015
by Larry Ferlazzo

The Best Theory Of Knowledge Resources In 2015 – Part Two


It’s time for another “Best” list to add to All My 2015 “Best” Lists In One Place.

Here are my previous TOK-related “Best” lists:

The Best Theory Of Knowledge Resources — 2010

The Best Theory Of Knowledge Resources In 2011 — So Far

The Best Theory Of Knowledge Resources In 2011

The Best Theory Of Knowledge Resources In 2012 — So Far

The Best Theory Of Knowledge Resources In 2012 — Part Two

The Best Theory Of Knowledge Resources In 2013 – So Far

The Best Commentaries On The New IB Theory Of Knowledge Teaching Guide

The Best Theory Of Knowledge Resources In 2013 – Part Two

The Best Movies For IB Theory Of Knowledge Classes – What Are Your Suggestions?

The Best Posts On IB Theory Of Knowledge Oral Presentations

The Best Theory Of Knowledge Resources In 2014 – So Far

The Best Theory Of Knowledge Resources In 2014 – Part Two

The Best Posts On Teaching TOK “Knowledge Questions”

The Best Theory Of Knowledge Resources In 2015 – So Far

Here are my picks from the past six months:

The National Review tweeted out this incredibly misleading chart on climate change:

It’s perfect for when we study misleading statistics and graph. You can read more about this at The Washington Post’s Why this National Review’s global temperature graph is so misleading.

As regular readers know, I am continually adding to Over 2,000 Categorized Resources For IB Theory Of Knowledge Classes.

Neil deGrasse Tyson published a short piece in The Huffington Post titled What Science Is — and How and Why It Works. It’s a very safe bet that it will be used as required reading in many IB Theory of Knowledge classes when the definition of “knowledge” is discussed. And I’d bet dollars to donuts that many teachers will be using this accessible column in many other classes, too.

Here’s an excerpt:


The Virtue of Contradicting Ourselves is the headline of a column by Adam Grant in The New York Times. It’s a great piece to use when discussing “knowledge” in IB Theory of Knowledge classes, and I’m going to use in one of the upcoming lessons for English Language Learners that I write for The New York Times Learning Network. Plus, it offers wisdom that’s good for all of us to keep in mind.

Here’s an excerpt:


One assignment I learned about at my original IB Theory of Knowledge training was having groups of students invent a classroom appropriate product and have them create a short commercial four of the fallacies that we have studied. I have each group show their video, and then they call on people to identify the fallacies used in it.

Here’s an example of one from this year:

Fallacy Video – Tape

I’m adding it to The Best Multimedia Resources For Learning About Fallacies — Help Me Find More.

I have my IB Theory of Knowledge students work in groups to prepare weekly presentations on our textbook chapters that they read for homework. When we were discussing the role of emotion in the search for knowledge, one of the presentation groups was asked if emotion is sometimes like a voice in our heads that we have to control. I then showed this clip from the National Press Club, which is a perfect example of that in action.

Grammar, Morals & History

This post will be useful when studying history: The Best Posts & Articles On The Textbook That Calls Slaves “Workers”

NPR published A Discoverer Of The Buckyball Offers Tips On Winning A Nobel Prize. It’s a good piece, with a great quote that’s ideal for IB Theory of Knowledge classes:


TOK teachers might be interested in this post and the accompanying comments:  Calling All Theory Of Knowledge Teachers: How Did You Feel About How IB Examiners Scored Essays This Year?

Here are some useful resources I use in my IB Theory of Knowledge classes, and they are also applicable to other classes:

First, many teachers are familiar with the Jigsaw cooperative learning activity. You can learn more about it at The Best Sites For Cooperative Learning Ideas. It’s a regular activity I use in my IB Theory of Knowledge classes (and my ESL courses, too). With my TOK classes, I’ll often print out articles related to the Way Of Knowing or Area of Knowledge topic we’re studying (you can access my Over 2,000 Categorized Resources For IB Theory Of Knowledge Classes here). Then, I distribute these instructions, which pretty much explain how the Jigsaw activity is organized.

Secondly, we spend a few days studying Plato’s Allegory of the Cave. You can see many of those resources at our TOK class blog, along with examples of student videos – they have to create modern versions of it. This year’s students will be showing their own creations on Monday, and I’ll be adding some of them to that class blog post. Students viewing the videos will be using this anonymous evaluation form, which will be completed after each video is viewed, collected, and given to the video’s creators.

“8-Bit Philosophy” Is A Useful Series of Videos

TED-Ed released this excellent video and lesson — perfect for IB Theory of Knowledge classes when studying language:

This video would be a useful one to show when discussing indigenous knowledge systems in IB Theory of Knowledge classes:

In IB Theory of Knowledge classes we examine in both math and human sciences how people taking polls/surveys can manipulate the answers. Here’s a video that would be a nice introduction to the topic (after first explaining to U.S. students the definition of “National Service”):

This video is from PBS, and is a great one for IB Theory of Knowledge teachers when exploring the arts:

Here’s A Writing Prompt I’m Using With My TOK Students On The First Day Of Class

Here’s a good video on perception for teachers of IB Theory of Knowledge classes:

Tons Of Resources On Both The Milgram & Stanford Prison Experiments

“Don’t Judge Too Quickly” Is A Great Series Of Videos For TOK & ELL Students