Friday, October 2, 2015

The Shorter Runway

As a follow up to my last post, here is an excellent TED Talk with model Cameron Russell. "Looks aren't everything. Believe me, I'm a model."

With over 11M views, you will find this very touching, honest, and powerful.

Friday, September 25, 2015

The Longest Runway

“Models have 45 seconds to present the latest fashions to people sitting on either side of the 60-foot runway they walk. With spotlights illuminating every inch of the way, each model’s gait, poses, and gestures help entice retailers to buy. There is another much longer runway—a runway that parents use to model for their children. Instead of displaying fashions, parents present habits, opinions, actions, and life skills for children’s viewing.”

So begins my article, "The Longest Runway," recently published in Montessori Life. Give it a read and share with teachers, parents, and anyone who is close to children.

Friday, September 18, 2015

A Challenge in Syllabification

How much do you think about breaking words down into their syllables? Unless you teach elementary children, probably not much. Well, check out this video to see a word that has 58 syllables.

Friday, September 11, 2015

Brené Brown on Vulnerability, Worthiness, Courage & Shame

I was fortunate to see and hear Brené Brown yesterday evening at a nearby lecture series. I first heard Dr. Brown speak in San Francisco at an American Montessori Society Conference. Once I heard her, I posted her TED Talk on March 18, 2012 so more people might hear her great message.

If you do not get a chance to read one of her bestselling books, Daring Greatly or  The Gifts of Imperfectiondo at least, watch her TED Talk. Her newest book Rising Strong was released August 25, 2015.

Friday, September 4, 2015

Happiness — a la Shawn Achor

I first heard Shawn Achor speak in November 2008. At that time he was a big hit. He has gotten even bigger talking about his favorite subject, happiness. His book The Happiness Advantage: The Seven Principles of Positive Psychology That Fuel Success and Performance at Work is a bestseller. If you have not already done so, be sure to watch his TED Talk "The happy secret to better work" that — of this writing — has been viewed by over 11M people. I am in the middle of his latest book Before Happiness: The 5 Hidden Keys to Achieving Success, Spreading Happiness, and Sustaining Positive Change and am happy reading it.

Visit him at GoodThink— a fabulous resource where you will be greeted with . . .

Welcome to GoodThink!

The goal of GoodThink is to make you happier. We do that by bridging the gap between academic research and the real world, so that our message is not only instructive and inspirational, but evidence-based. We’ve gathered a team of world renowned researchers, speakers, and trainers to deliver this information to organizations around the globe. But talent, degrees, and reputation alone do not ensure integrity. Our team believes that research should be lived, so as a company we strive to embody what we teach.

Saturday, August 29, 2015


This past Sunday I read an article in the NYTimes ("Dinner and Deception" by Edward Frame) about waiting on tables that included a mnemonic waiters use, "raise on the right and lower on the left"; it is used when they are clearing and serving tables. That got me to think about how helpful mnemonics can be for children and adults. Here are a few of my favorites:
  • I before E except after C or when sounded A as in "neighbor" and "weigh" (helpful when spelling words when letters I and E come together)
  • Red, right, return (where the red buoy should be upon returning to port)
  • Roy G. Biv (colors of the spectrum — red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, violet)
  • Please excuse my dear aunt Sally. (order of mathematical operations — parenthesis, exponents, multiplication, division, addition, subtraction)
  • Red sky in the morn, sailors take warn. Red sky at night, sailors delight (when referring to weather forecasting)

Friday, August 21, 2015

Leadership: The Power of Telling Stories

One of my favorite books is Robert Coles's The Call of Stories: Teaching and the Moral Imagination, a book I discovered during my work with the Klingenstein Center at Teachers College. Well, here is an excellent article by Julie Winkle Giuliani, "What's Your Story? Leadership and Storytelling" that I discovered in BoardSource's SmartBlog on Leadership.

I love the closing quote in the article by Howard Gardner — "Stories are the single most powerful tool in a leader's toolkit."

Friday, August 14, 2015

What's Worse . . . Failure or Success?

". . . we, as teachers, go out of our way to say we need students to take risks in the classroom, and yet we don't practice what we preach because we are concerned about failing in front of our colleagues. If we feel this way...why do we expect students to feel differently? Isn't it hypocritical to expect differently from them?"

This quote is from the Education Week article by Peter DeWitt, "What's Worse . . . Failure or Success?" Give it a read and see what you think.

Friday, August 7, 2015

Appreciating Classical Music With a Chuckle

Whether you like classical music or not, please watch this TED Talk and share it with friends. Entertaining, instructional, and filled with much humor and thoughtful analysis, Zander is a master at getting people, including children, to appreciate classical music and "shining eyes."

Friday, July 31, 2015

Dr. Seuss's New Book

You might want to get a copy of What Pet Should I Get to add to your collection of Dr. Seuss books AND for sharing with little ones. Here is a review from a recent NYTimes Book Review.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Good Job

According to Alfie Kohn in this recent Washington Post article "Things We Say to Kids That Sound Positive But Can Be Detrimental" sheds new and interesting light on the value of saying "Good job" to children. Here is a quintessential Kohn quote from the article:

“How can we help children grow up to be happy? That’s an important question, but here’s another one: How can we help children grow up to be concerned about whether other people are happy? We don’t want our kids to end up as perpetually miserable social activists, but neither should we root for them to become so focused on their own well-being that they’re indifferent to other people’s suffering. Happiness isn’t a good thing if it’s purchased at the price of being unreflective, complacent, or self-absorbed.”

To my CMSM colleagues, be sure to read the entire article.

Friday, July 17, 2015

Humanize <- Jamie Notter -> When Millenials Take Over

I had the good fortune to hear Jamie Notter speak at the American Montessori Society Summer Symposium for School  Administrators held in Salt Lake City, Utah. Topics addressed were conflict resolution, millennials, and social media. Have him come to speak at your school/organization. Here are steps he offered in his talk on conflict resolution that can help and guide educators, parents, and trustees.
  • Know what you're fighting about.
  • Know yourself.
  • Humans are emotional.
  • Move toward the conflict.
  • Put learning first (questions).
  • Value stories over truth.
  • Feedback and requests.
  • Change you, not them.

Friday, July 10, 2015

For All Educators -> Leadership: The Power of Emotional Intelligence

Because all educators are models for their students, colleagues and parents, this is a must read.

Daniel Goleman's book is an easy and clarifying — yet not necessarily obvious to many leaders — read on leadership and the power of emotional intelligence. Here are several of many excerpts that I use in my talks on leadership:

"Moods, the Yale study found, influence how effectively people work; upbeat moods boost cooperation, fairness, and business performance."

"As the head of research at a global executive search firm put it, 'CEOs are hired for their intellect and business expertise – and fired for a lack of emotional intelligence.' ”

"The best bosses are people who are trustworthy, empathic and connected, who make us feel calm, appreciated, and inspired. The worst – distant, difficult, and arrogant – make us feel uneasy at best and resentful at worst."

"In this sense, leadership boils down to a series of social exchanges in which the leader can drive the other person’s emotions into a better or worse state. In high-quality exchanges, the subordinate feels the leader’s attention and empathy, support, and positivity. In low-quality interactions, he feels isolated and threatened."

Friday, July 3, 2015

When Jonathan Kozol Was Fired as a Teacher

Take three minutes to view this powerful video of Kozol reading from his book Death at an Early Age.

You may also want to hear npr's Claudio Sanchez's interview with Kozol, "Frozen in Time, Remembering the Students Who Changed a Teacher's Life." It begins with 78-year old Kozol telling of his dismissal as a teacher at the age of 28 because he was reading to fourth graders from Langston Hughes's poem "The Ballad of the Landlord."

Friday, June 26, 2015

Q & A With Sir Ken Robinson

I have always been a big fan of Sir Ken Robinson ever since I saw him speak in Radio City Music Hall at an NAIS Annual Conference and at an American Montessori Annual Conference and reading his books The Element and Out of Our Minds: Learning to be Creative.

Read this excellent Education Week article, "Q&A With Sir Ken Robinson." It opens with

"Robinson, who gave the most-watched TED Talk in history (with more than 33 million views), seeks to answer this question in his latest book, Creative Schools (Viking Penguin), in which he shares many examples of schools that break away from the current education model into a more personalized approach to learning."