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"Larry Ferlazzo's Websites of the Day..." - 7 new articles

  1. The Best Sites For Learning About The Protests In Egypt
  2. Maybe This Is Why Attacking Teachers Is So Popular…And Why It’s So Important To Speak Positively About Our Students
  3. “You Snooze, You Lose: More Weekend Sleep Cuts Kids’ Obesity Risk”
  4. “Speaking tips for teaching English with TED”
  5. FunnelBrain Adds Ability to Create Online Tests
  6. “Four Seasons In Yosemite”
  7. Boy, There Are So Many Problems With This Times’ Article, Or The Study It’s About, Or Both…
  8. More Recent Articles
  9. Search Larry Ferlazzo's Websites of the Day...
  10. Prior Mailing Archive

The Best Sites For Learning About The Protests In Egypt

I’m writing this list on Thursday night, a few hours before major new demonstrations demanding the ouster of President Mubarak are supposed to begin. There is no telling what might happen, and I thought I’d prepare a quick “The Best…” list with information on what has happened until now. I’ll add more tomorrow.

Here are my choices for The Best Sites For Learning About The Protests In Egypt:

Egyptians brace for Friday protests as internet, messaging disrupted is a CNN page that has many video news clips.

Interactive: Protests target Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak comes from the Associated Press, and is quite good.

Egypt protests: Flashpoints across the country is an interactive from The Guardian.

In pictures: Egypt protests comes from The BBC.

Protests Rage In Egypt is a Wall Street Journal slideshow.

MSNBC has several news videos.

Riots in Egyptian capital Cairo is a very accessible article from the CBBC Newsround.

Here’s some basic information on the country of Egypt:

Egypt Fast Facts from CBS News

Egypt from National Geographic

Egypt Information from the World Info Zone

My website for students has tons of resources on ancient Egypt

Additional suggestions are welcome.

If you found this post useful, you might want to consider subscribing to this blog for free.

You might also want to explore the over 600 other “The Best…” lists I’ve compiled.

 

Maybe This Is Why Attacking Teachers Is So Popular…And Why It’s So Important To Speak Positively About Our Students

Attacking and blaming teachers, unions, and the state of schools is a popular tactic by many “school reformers” (see Did You Know That THE Key To Saving American Education Is Firing Bad Teachers? and The Media’s War On Teachers).

It’s also been a very effective tactic.

Obviously, many of our schools are facing real challenges, but, if you consider all the schools in the United States, a relatively small percentage are the basket cases that reformers make a large number of them out to be. And research tends to back-up much more positive approaches to improving schools.

So why are they so effective?

This study might have a partial answer to that question. Researchers found “that negative instances tend to be more influential than comparably positive ones.” In other words, we all tend to have a bias towards believing negative things as opposed to positive news.

In addition to being aware of this in the political arena, this bias is probably important for us teachers to remember in the classroom, too. It wouldn’t surprise me if this bias holds true for our students when they hear us talk about them and to them, and to parents when we talk about their kids. It’s a reminder to try to always outweigh our negative messages with positive ones.

 

“You Snooze, You Lose: More Weekend Sleep Cuts Kids’ Obesity Risk”

“You Snooze, You Lose: More Weekend Sleep Cuts Kids’ Obesity Risk” is an article from TIME Magazine.

It analyzes a study that finds that “sleeping-in” during the weekends can mitigate some of the problems lack of sleep during the week can cause teenagers. However, it emphasizes that not getting enough sleep during the week still increases the risk of obesity — the increase just isn’t as large if they try to make it up on the weekend.

I’m adding the article to The Best Resources For Helping Teens Learn About The Importance Of Sleep.

 

“Speaking tips for teaching English with TED”

Speaking tips for teaching English with TED is a very useful post by Karenne Joy Sylvester.

I’m adding it to The Best Teacher Resources For “TED Talks” (& Similar Presentations).

 

FunnelBrain Adds Ability to Create Online Tests

FunnelBrain is primarily know as a site where you can create flashcards. It does an okay job at it, but I don’t think it warrants being on The Best Tools To Make Online Flashcards list.

However, they just added a tool that allows you to create online tests. It’s not flashy, and doesn’t have as many features as some other sites, but it’s ease of use made me decide to place it on The Best Ways To Create Online Tests list.

 

“Four Seasons In Yosemite”

Four Seasons In Yosemite is an incredible slideshow from the Los Angeles Times.

I’m adding it to The Best Sites For Learning About Yosemite & Other U.S. National Parks.

 

Boy, There Are So Many Problems With This Times’ Article, Or The Study It’s About, Or Both…

A few days ago, The New York Times published an article with this headline: To Really Learn, Quit Studying and Take a Test. It was about a new study which, the article claimed, showed that science students learned more when they took “tests” on what they were taught than when they repeatedly studied the information or when they turned the information into concept maps.

Let’s review what the study really did — the third group didn’t really study by taking “tests.” In fact, they just had them write a ten minute free-form essay summarizing what they had learned. Then, all three groups were given actual tests, and the ones who wrote the essay scored higher.

Having students write a short summary of what they learned that day is certainly not an activity that is alien to many classrooms, and I write about its importance in my book, English Language Learners: Teaching Strategies That Work. It’s also a good formative assessment tool.

So, that’s one problem I have with either the article or about how the study’s authors are describing it — it doesn’t prove that “testing” is a more effective way to help students learn.

The other big problem I have with the article and the study is that it’s being used by some to discredit the idea of concept-mapping (just look at some of the quotes in the article). I wonder how many, if any, of them have ever used a graphic organizer with students in the classroom. It’s not an either/or issue. Concept maps are not an end in themselves — they’re extremely effective to plan an essay. I use tons of graphic organizers in my mainstream and ELL classes, and the vast majority of time they’re used in preparation for writing. And students create much better essays because of them!

I just wish these academics — and reporters — would sometimes ask a K-12 teacher what they thought….


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