Friday, June 17, 2016

Lessons in Grandparenting

Even though the title of Lesley Stahl's book is Becoming Grandma, grandpas will learn a lot from the wisdom, experience, interviews, and research presented by this charming, smart journalist . . . and grandma. Also, the parents of the grand children will learn lessons, especially the in-laws—mother-, father-, daughter-, and son-.

Here are a few excerpts from among many, many lessons presented:

"In fact, it appears that we humans are at our unhappiest in our late thirties and forties. We bottom out in our early fifties, then keep getting happier through our sixties and seventies and even beyond, until disability kicks in."

"Relationships with grandfathers usually grow stronger as children age. Kids tend to prefer Gramma at first, but then things even out."

"It reminds me me of something Tom Brokaw said: 'For parents, bribery is a white-collar crime; for grandparents, it's a business plan!' "

"I used to think life had four necessities: food, oxygen, love and friendship. Now I know there's a fifth: purpose."


Here is the book trailer:






Friday, June 10, 2016

Independent Teacher - Latest Edition

Click over to the latest edition of NAIS's Independent Teacher online magazine — for teachers and by teachers.


From the Editor, Stan Izen


"We sometimes forget about the importance of allowing students to be themselves, that one of our primary jobs as teachers is to promote the development of individual personalities, to make space for idiosyncrasies. . ."

Friday, June 3, 2016

Great Grit Resources


Angela Duckworth has made a name for herself with one word: Grit. After reading her first book and seeing her TED Talk, I am convinced that she has been on to something for a long time. Here are two quotes from her book:

"Together, the research reveals the psychological assets that mature paragons of grit have in common. There are four. . . and they tend to develop over the years, in a particular order.
  • Interest
  • Practice
  • Purpose
  • Hope" (pg. 91)
"If you want to bring forth grit in your child, first ask how much passion and perseverance you have for your own life goals. Then ask yourself how likely it is that your approach to parenting encourages your child to emulate you. If the answer to the first question is 'a great deal,' and your answer to the second is 'very likely,' you're already parenting for grit." (pg. 216)

I highly recommend her book, and you may want to check out these recent gritty articles.

"Is Grit Overrated?" by Jerry Useem [The Atlantic]

"Is 'grit' overrated in explaining student success? Harvard researchers have a new theory." by Jeffrey J. Selingo [The Washington Post]







Friday, May 27, 2016

Consulteering — Kerry Hanon interviews Me for NYTimes


It all began when I was a member of the New York State Association of Independent Schools (NYSAIS) planning committee for the June 29, 2015 workshop "What's Next" Retirement and Beyond For Educators. That's when I met our keynote speaker author Kerry Hannon. I presented a session at the workshop, "Transition II: Consulting and Volunteering" Kerry attended the session and asked if I might be interested in being interviewed for a future New York Times article. I could not say "Yes" fast enough. Well, here is the article Kerry wrote — "Work a Little, Play a Little: A New Retirement Strategy."

Click over to Kerry's website to see and hear the good work she is doing. Here are a few of her most recent books:
• What's Next? Updated: Finding Your Passion and Your Dream Job in Your Forties, Fifties, and Beyond
Love Your Job: The New Rules for Job Happiness
Getting the Job You Want After 50 For Dummies




Friday, May 20, 2016

Avery's Transition From Home Schooling to School


Avery's transition from male to female began when she was four. Listen to this beautiful NPR story as told through her mother Debbie Jackson.

Friday, May 13, 2016

How to Make Stress Your Friend

Whether you are a teacher, student, or parent who has experienced stress at some point in your life, you will want to watch and hear Kelly McGonigal talk about how to make stress your friend.


Friday, May 6, 2016

Guiding Students Toward What They Might Like to Read


Found in this week's . . . 


“ 'Over my 40-year teaching career, I can vividly recollect three books that challenged my colleagues and me — Mark Twain’s Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Mark Mathabane’s Kaffir Boy, and Cecily von Ziegesar’s Gossip Girl series — in three different schools, each 10 years apart.'

Former Head of School Dane Peters writes from experience about one of every educator’s greatest challenges: making book recommendations when you have to balance what students like, what’s popular, and what parents think is appropriate. Also featured in the current issue of the online Independent Teacher magazine is thoughtful coverage on everything from teaching world religions to using the Socratic method.”


The NAIS Bulletin delivers timely news and links to resources about major issues affecting the independent school community. If your colleagues would like to receive the Bulletin, please have them email schoolupdate@nais.org.

Friday, April 29, 2016

The Value of Education

Found on the Internet recently . . .




A father told his 3 sons when he sent them to the university: "I feel it's my duty to provide you with the best possible education and you do not owe me anything for that. However, I do want you to appreciate it. As a token, please each put $1,000 into my coffin when I die."


And so it happened. His sons became a doctor, a lawyer and a financial planner, each very successful financially. When their father’s time had come and they saw their father in the coffin, they remembered his wish. First, it was the doctor who put ten $100 bills onto the chest of the deceased. Then, came the financial planner who also put $1,000 there.  Finally, it was the heartbroken lawyer's turn.   He dipped into his pocket, took out his checkbook, wrote a check for $3,000, put it into his father's coffin and took the $2,000 cash. He later went on to become a member of Congress…

Friday, April 22, 2016

Being Black


In Between the World and Me, the author Ta-Nehisi Coates uses the book to write a letter to his son. Here is a poignant excerpt that will give you a flavor of his passionate letter:

"It does not matter that the "intentions" of individual educators were noble. Forget about intentions. What any institution, or its agents, "intend" for you is secondary. Our world is physical. Learn to play defense—ignore the head and keep your eyes on the body. Very few Americans will directly proclaim that they are in favor of black people being left to the streets. But a very large number of Americans will do all they can to preserve the Dream." (page 33)

As soon as I reached page 30 of the book, my mind wandered to another book, Black Like Me (1961) by John Howard Griffen, which I read in college. It gave me a similar insight, albeit that was the late 60s and Coates wrote his book in 2015. Between the World and Me was a perfect follow-up book to Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson (See my April 9th post).



Friday, April 15, 2016

How Do You Make a Teacher Great?

In this powerful TED Talk, among other topics, Bill Gates answers the question How do you make a teacher great? (second half of talk).


Saturday, April 9, 2016

Bryan Stevenson and EJI


I first met Bryan Stevenson when I saw his moving TED Talk—"We need to talk about an injustice," a Talk that has the longest standing ovation in TED history. That was back in 2012. I then saw him on 60 Minutes and again was moved. Most recently, I sat in the front row at the annual American Montessori Society conference when he spoke to 4,000 educators. Like his TED Talk audience, he received the longest standing ovation I have ever witnessed for a keynote speaker at this conference. You could see that he himself was visibly moved by those who demonstrated their appreciation for his profound message.

But, for me, it was reading his NYTimes bestselling book Just Mercy that helped me understand his message best. It is a powerful book. There were times when I did not want to finish the book because of the anguish, frustration, and overwhelming abuse he (and the people he represents) experience in his work over the past 30 years. Ultimately, he founded the organization, Equal Justice Initiative (EJI). Clicking to the website will give you an insight into his important work and message.

Coincidentally, this morning, one of the lead stories for NPR's Weekend Edition Saturday is "Chicago Murder Rate Spikes." which helps to explain the significance of Stevenson's work.


Friday, April 1, 2016

Parents Who Bully the School

From NAIS Independent School - Spring 2016

"Parents Who Bully the School" by Michael Thompson and Robert Evans is a lead article in the spring issue of Independent School magazine. When you look at their combined experience in consulting to over 2,000 schools, you know the authors have a perspective on schools and parents that is well worth reading. Here is an opening excerpt from the article . . .

“But every school we visit — every single one — reports more frequent and more severe problems with parents. In this article, we offer some thoughts about the roots and context of the general trend, but our focus is on coping with the small minority of the most difficult: those who bully the school. These parents are habitually rude or demanding or disrespectful, engaging in personal attacks on teachers and administrators, demeaning and threatening them. They repeatedly violate the school’s policies, values, and norms of conduct.”

For educators and parents to learn more, click on the article link.





Friday, March 25, 2016

9 Secrets to Public Speaking

If you enjoy watching the spread of ideas via TED Talks, do yourself a favor and read Talk Like TED, especially if you do presentations. Author Carmine Gallo draws upon many TED Talks to illustrate his 9 secrets to public speaking.

  1. Passion
  2. Stories
  3. Practice
  4. Teach the audience something new
  5. Creating jaw-dropping moments
  6. Humor
  7. It's all about the numbers
  8. Engage all the senses
  9. Stay in your lane (do what you do best)



Friday, March 18, 2016

Debate With Respect

As we roll through the political debate/banter quagmire, teachers and parents are perplexed by how to answer their children's questions about the behavior of our candidates.

"Debate With Respect" by head of school Susan Kambrich gives excellent perspective and advice on how we can do this with our children.

Friday, March 11, 2016

Resilience

I first became intimately acquainted with the word resilience when I listened to Angela Duckworth's TED Talk.

If you have a similar interest, especially if you have or work with children, you will want to read Maria Konnikova's New Yorker article "How People Learn to Become Resilient." Here is how she begins the piece:


"Norman Garmezy, a developmental psychologist and clinician at the University of Minnesota, met thousands of children in his four decades of research. But one boy in particular stuck with him. He was nine years old, with an alcoholic mother and an absent father. Each day, he would arrive at school with the exact same sandwich: two slices of bread with nothing in between. At home, there was no other food available, and no one to make any. Even so, Garmezy would later recall, the boy wanted to make sure that “no one would feel pity for him and no one would know the ineptitude of his mother.” Each day, without fail, he would walk in with a smile on his face and a “bread sandwich” tucked into his bag."

Friday, March 4, 2016

5 Myths and Truths About Kids' Internet Safety

I came across "5 Myths and Truths About Kids' Internet Safety" by Caroline Knorr. I think you will find it helpful and enlightening. For example, here are the first and second myths and truths:

"Myth: Social media turns kids into cyberbullies.
Truth: There are many reasons why a kid might cyberbully, and social media is just a convenient way to do the dirty work.
The reality is that kids who engage in this behavior typically have something else going on that compels them to act out. They might be in crisis -- at home, at school, or otherwise socially. They may also be bullying in person, or they may have an underdeveloped sense of empathy. Awareness of a cyberbully's circumstances -- though not excusing the behavior -- can help parents and educators recognize the warning signs and potentially intervene before it goes too far.


Myth: Teaching kids not to talk to strangers is the best way to keep them safe online.
Truth: Teaching kids to recognize predatory behavior will help them avoid unwelcome advances."


Click on the article above, read the other three, and see if you agree.