MSM 619: Lets’ Do An ELL AI Called “Larry”


Shawn and Troy talk about AI in education, Larry Ferlazzo, and more. Dave has part 2 of the Outstanding Science Trade Books for Middle School Students.


Belly dancers graduate from the Navel Academy.

How does a penguin build it’s house? Igloos it together.

What did the scientist say when he found two helium atoms?

  • HeHe

When do doctors get angry? 

  • When they run out of patients.

It is unacceptable that the only animal that moos is not called a moose

What do you call a gorilla wearing headphones? 

  • Anything you’d like, it can’t hear you.

Q: Why do mountain climbers rope themselves together?

A: To prevent the sensible ones from going home.

Did you know the first French fries weren’t actually cooked in France? 

  • They were cooked in Greece.

I want to hear 99 people sing Africa by Toto

  • It’s something that a hundred men or more could never do…

Middle School Science Minute  

by Dave Bydlowski (k12science or

Outstanding Science Trade Books for Middle School Students – Part 2 

I was recently reading the January/February 2024 issue of “Science Scope,” a publication of the National Science Teaching Association, for middle school science teachers.

In this issue, I read the section on the “Outstanding Science Trade Books for Students.”  The selections are a collaboration of the National Science Teaching Association and the Children’s Book Council.

In part 2 of this podcast series, I share seven more books that were selected for middle-school students.  The books are:

  • “A Star Explodes: The Story of Supernova 1054” by James Gladstone
  • “Old Enough to Make a Difference: Be Inspired by Real-Life Children Building a More Sustainable Future” by Rebecca Hul
  • “Becoming Bionic” by Heather Camlot
  • “Extra Life (Young Readers Adaptation) by Steven Johnson
  • “Hidden Systems” by Dan Nott
  • “Sisters in Science” by Linda Elovitz Marshall
  • “The Woman in the Moon” by Richard Maurer

Reports from the Front Lines

  • InnovatED
  • Teachers and Technology
  • Involunteering Napping
  • AI Use
    • Geography Bee
    • Badges
  • ADA
    • Headings

The Social Web

Susie Dent  @susie_dent

Tsundoku, from Japanese, is the act of buying yet another book that you fully intend to read, but never quite get round to.  

Etymology of the day is an important one. The root of ‘compassion’ is a Latin word meaning ‘suffer with’.

LRT English  @LRTenglish

More than 500 teachers and teaching assistants from Ukraine now work in Lithuania’s schools. With schools struggling to find staff, they welcome Ukrainian specialists who teach foreign languages and sciences to Lithuanian-speaking students 

Larry Ferlazzo  @Larryferlazzo

Free Resources From All “My” Books  

National Park Service  @NatlParkService

One does not simply become a master of karate. First, you must accidentally walk into a spider web.

 Martin Dougiamas  @moodler

Hume’s empathy emulation is a little exaggerated for the demo but try it out, it’s going to be awesome for many use cases. The question to decide is when we absolutely don’t want that in our AI.  


How About AI Lesson Plans?

Some Brooklyn schools are piloting an AI assistant that will create lesson plans for them. 

Superintendent Janice Ross explains it this way. “Teachers spend hours creating lesson plans. They should not be doing that anymore.”

We’re nowhere near the point where an AI can do your job, but we’re well past the point where your boss can be suckered into firing you and replacing you with a bot that fails at doing your job.

  • Cory Doctorow

Taking Small Steps to Build Research Skills

  • Keywords Are Essential
  • Synonym Scattergories
  • Library Databases
  • Making Google Work for Student Researchers
  • Balancing fun, clever tricks and practice


What Makes a Hero?


Make posters out of a single sheet.

Hello History

An AI powered app that lets you have life-like conversations with historical figures. -Credits indicate processing usage with AI models. In Chat GPT-3.5, one credit handles 750 words, while in the more advanced GPT-4.0, consuming 7 times more tokens than GPT-3.5, it processes 100 words.

AI in the Classroom: A Teacher’s Toolkit for Transformation

AI can significantly enhance teaching and learning by offering personalization, efficiency, and insightful data analysis. Below are some ways educators can leverage AI to create a more dynamic and effective learning environment.

  • Personalized Learning Pathways
  • Grading and Feedback Systems
  • Data-Enhanced Instruction
  • Accessibility and Inclusivity
  • Engaging and Interactive Learning Experiences

AXIS The Culture Translator

A Rising Tide

What it is: A new book by Jonathan Haidt compares giving kids a smartphone to sending them to Mars and urges parents to “end phone-based childhood—now.”

Continue the conversation: What would happen if your school became a phone-free zone?


Self hosted AI. Open source. Stays on your computer.

Web Spotlight: 

Solving Smartphone Problems our Teens are Reporting

When Whales Could Walk | Full Documentary | NOVA | PBS

In Egypt’s Sahara Desert, massive skeletons with strange skulls and gigantic teeth jut out from the sandy ground. This fossil graveyard, millions of years old, is known as the “Valley of the Whales.” Now, paleontologists have unearthed a whole new species of ancient whale dating to 43 million years ago, and this predator wasn’t just able to swim – it also had four legs and could walk. Follow scientists as they search for new clues to the winding evolutionary path of mammals that moved from the land into the sea to become the largest animals on Earth.

Random Thoughts . . .  

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