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  1. The Best Nature Photographs Of The Year
  2. The 28th Edition Of The ESL/EFL/ELL Blog Carnival Is Up!
  3. The Best Posts Questioning If Direct Instruction Is “Clearly Superior”
  4. Nice & Easy Audio Recording Tool
  5. The Best Tools For Creating Clozes (Gap-Fills)
  6. “Bilingualism Fine-Tunes Hearing, Enhances Attention”
  7. Asian Pacific American Heritage Month
  8. “what does this guy really want?”
  9. Search Larry Ferlazzo's Websites of the Day...
  10. Prior Mailing Archive

The Best Nature Photographs Of The Year

The Society of German Nature Photographers (GDT) has an annual Nature Photographer of the Year award, and it was just announced for this year.

I’ll add this post to The Best Photos — In The World?

Here are The Best Nature Photographs Of The Year:

GDT Nature Photographer of the Year 2012 – in pictures is a photo gallery from The Guardian.

2011 Fritz Pölking nature photography award – in pictures is from The Guardian.

Photos: Best European Wildlife Pictures Announced 2010 is from National Geographic.

You can also visit the main site of the contest.

If you found this post useful, you might want to look at the 860 other “The Best…” lists and consider subscribing to this blog for free.




The 28th Edition Of The ESL/EFL/ELL Blog Carnival Is Up!

Dani Lyra has just published an excellent Blog Carnival highlighting contributions on these two themes:

Critical Thinking and EFL/ESL

Using Technology to Raise Cultural Awareness

Sharon Turner will be the host for the July 1st edition.  Until she posts a Carnival announcement, you can send submissions to me here.

Let me know if you might be interested in hosting future editions.

You can see all the previous editions of the ESL/EFL/ELL Blog Carnival here.



The Best Posts Questioning If Direct Instruction Is “Clearly Superior”

Over the past couple of years (and I assume for a much longer time, too), a number of people, particularly “school reformers,” have been saying that direct instruction is clearly superior to guided inquiry.

Listen, I certainly do my fair share of direct instruction. However, it’s only to “set-up” guided inquiry, which is the primary instructional strategy that I use in all my classes.

Today, Anthony Cody posted a great guest piece on this topic at his Education Week blog. I thought it would be good timing, then, to highlight that post and other posts I’ve written on the topic.

Here are my choices for The Best Posts Questioning If Direct Instruction Is “Clearly Superior”:

I’ve got to start with the post at Anthony’s blog, Karl Wheatley: Has Direct Instruction Banished Exploration? Not So Fast!

Is This The Most Important Research Study Of The Year? Maybe is about a must-read study reported on by Robert Marzano.

I wrote a post titled “If Students Believe That A Teacher Has Taught Them Everything, They Will Be Less Motivated To Explore.” It was about a study suggesting that direct instruction was less effective than some kind of guided discovery. Since that time, I’ve learned that both Slate (Why Preschool Shouldn’t Be Like School) and The Economist (When should you teach children, and when should you let them explore? ) also wrote about that study and a second similar one.

Some Hubris About Instructional Strategies & Some Good Plain Talk On School Reform about a bizarre op-ed piece a Harvard professor wrote in The New York Times.

Feel free to make additional suggestions.

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  900 other “The Best…” lists I’ve compiled.




Nice & Easy Audio Recording Tool

Record MP3 lets you, without having to register, create an audio recording that you can save on your computer and/or save on their site (a link is provided). It’s very simple to use, though I’m not sure what the maximum audio recording length is nor how long they keep it on their server.

My recording uploaded quickly using Internet Explorer. However, it would never upload when in Firefox.

Nevertheless, I’m adding it to The Best Sites To Practice Speaking English.

Thanks to Educational Technology and Mobile Learning for the tip.



The Best Tools For Creating Clozes (Gap-Fills)

Clozes, also know as “gap-fills,” are good tools for assessing vocabulary and comprehension and for helping students learn about context clues.

Most clozes you find on the web, I think, are fairly useless because they create the clozes using some kind of formula instead of omitting words strategically. Having students create clozes, and then having their classmates complete them, maximize their learning benefit. I’ve written a longer explanation of how I use them at Use “LearnClick” For An Excellent Metacognitive Lesson.

Here are my choices for The Best Tools For Creating Clozes (Gap-Fills):

I like LearnClick a lot. You can read more here how I use it.

Smile and Clear are free web tools that are both from Michigan State University, and allow teachers (and students) to easily create clozes, drag-and-drop exercises, and sequencing activities. They also allow you to use audio and video with the activities, and will host them as well.

The British Council has recently unveiled a “gap fill generator”. As the CASLS blog writes: “The program will automatically select difficult and topical words according to your specifications and generate a cloze activity that you can print out.” Unfortunately, though, it doesn’t appear that you can easily identify exactly where you want the blanks to appear, unlike in the two previous tools I’ve mentioned.

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 900 other “The Best…” lists I’ve compiled.




“Bilingualism Fine-Tunes Hearing, Enhances Attention”

Yet another study has found big benefits to being bilingual. Here’s an excerpt from its report, Bilingualism Fine-Tunes Hearing, Enhances Attention:

A new Northwestern University study provides the first biological evidence that bilinguals’ rich experience with language “fine-tunes” their auditory nervous system and helps them juggle linguistic input in ways that enhance attention and working memory.

I’m adding it to The Best Resources For Learning The Advantages To Being Bilingual.



Asian Pacific American Heritage Month

May is Asian Pacific American Heritage Month in the United States.

You might find The Best Sites For Asian Pacific American Heritage Month useful.



“what does this guy really want?”

Lyndon Johnson obviously made many mistakes. Nevertheless, he was often brilliant in organizing and using power to get what he wanted. Robert Caro’s multi-volume biography of Johnson is a must-read for anyone serious about wanting to make social change.

Caro was interviewed this morning on NPR. Here’s an excerpt:

“Everyone says that Johnson talks all the time. But when he wants to, he’s listening. I’m thinking of one call — I think it’s the night after the assassination. He calls George Smathers, who’s a very pragmatic senator, and Johnson has always used him to find out what’s really going on. … Smathers is talking, and every few minutes Johnson says ‘Uh huh,’ you know, just to keep him talking, until he gets from Smathers the information that he wants. And time and again, you hear him listening for the words — what does this guy really want? I mean, it’s almost palpable. You can hear what he’s doing. And, of course, when Johnson finds out what a guy really wants, he will work to give it to him. Or he can be very, very tough.”

Listening to identify a person’s self-interest is critical to successful organizing.

We’ve got to lead with our ears….

I’m adding this post to The Best Posts & Articles On Building Influence & Creating Change.




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