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."

Friday, June 19, 2015

Money magazine's online article “Free SAT Prep Now Has the Official Stamp of Approval” by Kaitlin Mulhere unveils a once unimaginable idea — SAT free test prep.

“Two non-profit organizations have teamed up to create a free online SAT practice program. Can it compete with powerhouse for-profit test prep companies? The Official SAT Practice, an interactive online platform, is the result of a partnership between online education company Khan Academy and the College Board, which manages the SAT.”