Larry Ferlazzo’s Websites of the Day…

…For Teaching ELL, ESL, & EFL

July 21, 2016
by Larry Ferlazzo

No Big Surprise: Study Finds Rundown School Buildings Hurt Academic Achievement

Here’s why run-down schools trigger low test scores is the headline of a Eureka Alert report on a new study.

Here’s an excerpt:


It certainly makes sense to me.

However, this next finding seems a little over-the-top:

Maxwell found that poor building conditions, and the resulting negative perception of the school’s social climate, accounted for 70 percent of the poor academic performance.

Plenty of other research has found lots of socio-economic issues more impactful – see The Best Places To Learn What Impact A Teacher (& Outside Factors) Have On Student Achievement.

I just hope people don’t get the impression that nice buildings are all teachers, and our students and their families, need.

But they sure can’t hurt!

July 21, 2016
by Larry Ferlazzo

Mini-Lesson On “Cognitive Ease”


Veritasium published a new video today titled “The Illusion Of Truth.”

It’s about the concept of “cognitive ease,” written about by Nobel-Prize winner Daniel Kahneman. It describes our tendency to make fast and easy decisions.

Here’s how I plan on using it for a short lesson as part of my Theory of Knowledge unit on Human Sciences:

First, I’ll show the video:

Next, I’ll shared edited parts of these three online articles:

Cognitive Ease: The Secret to Great Interviewing

Is Your Thinking Lazy? Or Is It Just a Bad Case Of Cognitive Ease?

Cognitive Ease: The Secret to Great Interviewing Part Two

Then students would answer these questions and then share.

  1. With these definitions as a background, can you think of any times when it might be beneficial for you to experience “cognitive ease”? Why?
  2. Can you think of any times when it might be beneficial for you to experience “cognitive strain”? Why?
  3. Can you think of any times when it might be beneficial for you (and for others) if you created the conditions for them to experience “cognitive ease”? Why?
  4. Can you think of any times when it might be beneficial for you (and for others) if you created the conditions for them to experience “cognitive strain”? Why?
  5. Can you think of any times when you could be experiencing “cognitive ease” – both on your own and when others are manipulating the situation so you are having that experience – and it would not be beneficial to you? Why?

Feel free to help me make it a better lesson!

July 21, 2016
by Larry Ferlazzo

Five Most Popular Posts Of The Week

Here’s the latest edition of this every-weekend feature . These are the posts appearing this blog that received the most “hits” in the preceding seven days (though they may have originally been published on an earlier date).

You might also be interested in The Twenty Most Popular Posts In 2016 – So Far and Ninth Anniversary Of This Blog — What Have Been My Most Popular Posts?

1. The Best Resources For Helping Teachers Use Bloom’s Taxonomy In The Classroom

2. Animatron Is A New Site Where Students Can Create Online Animations – With Voiceovers!

3. Video & Transcript: President Obama At Dallas Memorial Service

4. SEL Weekly Update

5. The Best Websites For Creating Online Learning Games

July 21, 2016
by Larry Ferlazzo

Around The Web In ESL/EFL/ELL

Two years ago I began this regular feature where I share a few posts and resources from around the Web related to ESL/EFL or to language in general that have caught my attention.

You might also be interested in The Best Resources, Articles & Blog Posts For Teachers Of ELLs In 2016 – So Far.

Here are this week’s choices:

Sink or Swim: The American Attitude Toward English Learners is a very interesting summary of a recent report (the link to the actual report is in the article, too). I’m adding it to The Best Resources For Learning About The Ins & Outs Of Reclassifying ELLs.

PopLingual is a constantly updating site of resources, including blogs and articles, related to English Language Learners.

Refugees in Pa. District Denied Access to Adequate Education, Lawsuit Argues is from Ed Week.

The Seven Best Short Animated Films for the Language Classroom is from Kieran Donaghy. I’m adding it to The Best Popular Movies/TV Shows For ESL/EFL.

Vagalume is a Brazilian site that uses music videos to help users learn English. Thanks to CASLS for the tip.

July 21, 2016
by Larry Ferlazzo

More Latinos Accessing Internet Through Phone, But No Change For Broadband

The Pew Center just came out with a report on U.S. Latino online access (see Digital Divide Is Narrowing for Latinos: Report).

Access is way up through mobile devices, but there hasn’t been a change in access to broadband over the past five years:


I’ve certainly seen this in my classroom, and it presents a big challenge to students. There’s a whole lot you can do on a computer that you can’t do easily on a iphone, including writing an essay. Not to mention recent research showing that lack of experience with laptops and computers impacts student performance on state assessments (see Study: Do Tests On Computers Assess Academic or Technological Abilities?).

I’m adding this info to The Best Resources For Learning About Schools Providing Home Computers & Internet Access To Students.

July 20, 2016
by Larry Ferlazzo

Republican Convention World Cloud


NBC News has released this video showing a word cloud of the most common words being spoken at the wild Republican Convention so far. The video also includes their commentators’ analyses of it.

This is the only Word Cloud I’ve found for the convention so far. It would be interesting to compare it with one from the upcoming Democratic convention.

I’m adding it to The Best Sites To Learn About The 2016 U.S. Presidential Elections.

Addendum: Here’s a Washington Post version they just published.

July 20, 2016
by Larry Ferlazzo

Learning About Emotion Through “Inside Out”


As I continue to revise my IB Theory of Knowledge course, here’s a new small piece I’m adding to my unit on Emotion.

The unit’s culminating project is having students develop a presentation sharing the different ways emotion helps and hinders our search for knowledge.

I’m going to do a short lesson on the movie “Inside Out” immediately prior to giving students instructions on the final project. It will be after we have already spent a few days on the topic.

First, student will read this NY Times article, The Science of ‘Inside Out.’ Here’s a key quote from it:

emotions organize — rather than disrupt — rational thinking. Traditionally, in the history of Western thought, the prevailing view has been that emotions are enemies of rationality and disruptive of cooperative social relations.

I’ll ask students to identify the key points the article makes about the role of emotion in our lives.

After a short discussion, I’ll show the first scene in this collection of clips from the film, which clearly demonstrate how emotions do indeed organizing our thinking:

And then, just for a quick wrap-out, I’ll show the first four minutes of this clip giving a scientific overview of the science behind how the movie viewed emotions:

Any other ideas?

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