Saturday, October 19, 2019

Guiding Our Children to Read

"No, Your Kid Shouldn't Get a Gold Star For Reading" by Pamela Paul (NYTimes Sept. 1, 2019) is right on when it comes to guiding our children to read.

“Reading is not only fundamental to academic achievement, it’s also crucial to developing other measurable skills like executive function and social behavior. We are all agreed that reading makes you more knowledgeable and a better learner. What’s becoming more and more clear is that it also makes you a better-adjusted, better human being. Who wouldn’t prefer to see their kid immersed in a novel than scrolling dolefully through photos of a missed party on Instagram?”

Friday, October 4, 2019

Video Conferencing Tips

The more I work with schools and nonprofits, I see bylaws that contain information about electronic communication be it emails, texting, phone conferencing, or video conferencing. Here is a link to a helpful set of short videos you will find helpful and funny.

And, take a minute to share the below video at your next board meeting. It's hilarious and so informative.

Friday, September 20, 2019

How to Raise a Reader

This a must-read book for all parents and teachers. The authors are so sensitive about timing, especially for young readers—and their parents—that begin the process a bit later in life.

One quote in their book jumped out at me because I remember reading the same reference in the book Freakonomics

"According to studies that measure the likelihood of a child growing up to be a reader, the most important factor is . . . the statistic most highly correlated to literacy is the number of books present in the home." (p. 26) And, here is a link to an editorial opinion about this point that was made in USA TODAY.

Give some thought to using How to Raise a Reader as a school-wide read where faculty, parents, and boards read the book together, and then discuss. What better way to build a school community.

Here is a short, neat video by the authors on their book and three myths about reading to children.

Friday, September 13, 2019

It's a Palindrome Week

In case you are not familiar with palindromes — a number, word, phrase, or sentence that is the same forward and backward — check out this other blog post: "Is That Really a Palindrome." And, this video . . .

Saturday, August 31, 2019

Humor in Our Work as Educators and Leaders

Humor used in the right way is essential in our schools. Be it in the classroom, at a faculty/board/parent meeting, humor can make all the difference in the world in building trust, friendship, and getting a message across.

A must read: “Leadership Lessons: Why Laughing Matters in Leadership” Independent School, Spring 2019 by Olaf Jorgenson and Duncan Lyon. There are so many great quotes and points made throughout the article. Without getting soaking wet, here are a few to whet your curiosity. : )

“The writer Russell Baker notes, ‘When hoping to bag a piece of humor with your net, nothing seems funny. The thing works the other way around. Humor is funny when it sneaks up on you and takes you by surprise.’ ” 

"Further, “if you are able to land a joke in a professional setting, your colleagues are more likely to view you as competent and attribute higher status to you,” according to “Humor is Serious Business,” a July 2017 Stanford Business Journal article by Joel Stein.”

“Research suggests that after age 23, Americans tend to laugh much less and begin to perceive themselves as less funny. To some extent, we all struggle with our 'humor IQ.' How can school leaders move the needle on their humor skill set?”  (Click to the article to read more.)


Here is the most viewed TED Talk ever. If you have not viewed it, it is a must to see; if you have viewed it, watch it again. It is inspiring, wise, and Sir Ken Robinson uses humor in so many great ways to get his points across.

Friday, August 16, 2019

First Grader Blues

My granddaughter introduced me to a short video where talk-show host Conan O'Brien works with a group of Chicago first graders on learning about the blues. Just sit back and enjoy this wonderful kid-friendly video . . .

Saturday, August 3, 2019

The Most Important People - Update

From NYTimes 6/29/19
"The Most Important People" is an Independent School magazine article I wrote back in 2001 when I was a teacher.

Twelve years later, I followed up with an article "Still the Most Important People."

I bring these two articles to your attention because of the recent powerful piece I read by law professor Lara Bazelon in the Opinion Section of the NYTimes: "I Picked My Job Over My Kids" feeling that having you read it and my previous articles might lend some perspective and help with you your kids.

Friday, July 19, 2019

In Search of Air: Growing Up Dyslexic

A week ago, I volunteered at the Seacoast Repertory Theatre to usher for an unknown—to me—visiting speaker, and I was blown away by her message and performance. Below is an excerpt from that message and performance.

"Dyslexic Lida Winfield is an innovative and accomplished dancer, choreographer, spoken word artist and educator. Her artistic practice is inextricably linked to her role as an educator. Lida is dedicated to using the performing arts to move herself and others forward intellectually, developmentally" . . . [more at TEDx website]