Friday, February 5, 2016

The New Preschool Is Crushing Kids

The New Preschool Is Crushing Kids” by Erika Christakis found in the The Atlantic Jan/Feb 2016 issue says so much about the education we are giving our preschoolers. Here are several quotes from the article, but if you value early childhood education — either as a parent or an educator — you should read the entire piece:
  • “But now that kindergarten serves as a gatekeeper, not a welcome mat, to elementary school, concerns about school preparedness kick in earlier and earlier.”
  • “The same educational policies that are pushing academic goals down to ever earlier levels seem to be contributing to—while at the same time obscuring—the fact that young children are gaining fewer skills, not more.”
  • “Starting in the early 2000s, though, a confluence of forces began pushing preferences ever further in the direction of preparation: the increasing numbers of dual-career families scrambling to arrange child care; a new scientific focus on the cognitive potential of the early years; and concerns about growing ability gaps between well-off and disadvantaged children, which in turn fueled the trend of standards-based testing in public schools.”
  • “Nearly three-quarters of American 4-year-olds are now in some kind of non-family care.”
  • “Having rejected many of the pseudo-academic benchmarks that can, and do, fit on a scorecard, preschool teachers in Finland are free to focus on what’s really essential: their relationship with the growing child.”
  • “Here’s what the Finns, who don’t begin formal reading instruction until around age 7, have to say about preparing preschoolers to read: ‘The basis for the beginnings of literacy is that children have heard and listened … They have spoken and been spoken to, people have discussed [things] with them … They have asked questions and received answers.’ "

Friday, January 29, 2016

The X, Y, Zs of Email

Isn't it interesting to see how email has evolved from Baby Boomers, to Generation X, and to Millennials (Generation Y). This Boomer remembers when he first began to really use email at Teachers College in 1994 when he was in a month-long program at the Klingenstein Center and was introduced to an email program called Pine. Then, he thought, "Hmmm, clever way to communicate with people."

By 2005, I wrote an article "A Head of Eeeeeshmail."  I believe it describes precisely what was going on with email at the time.

I hope that our newest generation — the Zs — will take control of this and help bring it all under control.

For now, check out this video and see if you can relate to what it is saying about email.

Friday, January 22, 2016

The Humble Leader Paradox

How does a humble leader lead without being a doormat? Read this excellent post, "The Humble Leader Paradox," from Rapid Start You will revisit Jim Collins' Good to Great gem, The Level 5 Leader.

"Leadership is not a popularity contest; it's about leaving your ego at the door. The name of the game is to lead without a title." - Robin S. Sharma

Friday, January 15, 2016

Trump's Children's Book?

Whether you are Republican, or Independent, or Democrat, or teacher, or parent, this is sure to give you a chuckle.

Friday, January 8, 2016

What Would You Choose for Your Children / Students?

A) success in test-taking   or   B) success in being curious, creative, and confident? 

You can only choose   A)  or   B)! 

Here is a movie that might help you make your choice.

Yesterday, I viewed the movie "Most Likely to Succeed."  View the trailer below that opens with appearances by Sir Ken Robinson and Salman Khan. See what you think.

Saturday, January 2, 2016

More on The Adolescent Brain

Here are two more resources on understanding the adolescent brain —

(1) the "Secrets of the teenage brain: A psychologist's guide for teachers" by Bradley Busch from The Guardian website. . . and

(2) Sarah-Jayne Blakemore's TED Talk "The Mysterious Workings of the Adolescent Brain."
I love Blakemore's closing remark. It really captures how we should understand adolescent development — here is what she says,

“So what's sometimes seen as the problem with adolescents — heightened risk-taking, poor impulse control, self-consciousness — shouldn't be stigmatized. It actually reflects changes in the brain that provide an excellent opportunity for education and social development.”

Friday, December 25, 2015

Exploring The Adolescent Brain

Brainstorm: The Power and Purpose of the Teenage Brain by Daniel Siegel, M.D. is one of the most hopeful books on adolescence. Siegel explores life between the ages of 12 and 24 and offers "Mindset Tools" along the way. I love the way he explains the essence of the adolescent brain —

"ES: Emotional Spark
SE: Social Engagement
N: Novelty
CE: Creative Exploration

This is the essence of living well during adolescence and during the adult years. . . Adol-ESSENCE. Or: Adolescence is Adult-ESSENCE."

Friday, December 18, 2015

Friday, December 11, 2015

No Matter How Busy We Get, Remember The Importance of Family

During this holiday time . . . here is a video to watch. With over 40M views, I think you will appreciate its message.

Friday, December 4, 2015

Kids, Job, Personal Life, . . .

Does this sound familiar to you?

“Children are much more likely than not to grow up in a household in which their parents work, and in nearly half of all two-parent families today, both parents work full time, a sharp increase from previous decades.

What hasn’t changed: the difficulty of balancing it all. Working parents say they feel stressed, tired, rushed and short on quality time with their children, friends, partners or hobbies, according to a new Pew Research Center survey.”

And — if you have the time : ) — read Jenifer Senior’s good book All Joy and No Fun.

Friday, November 27, 2015

Good Advice on Bullying

Recently, I had the opportunity to sit with Aija Mayrock for an interview about her personal experiences with bullying and how she came to write her book, The Survival Guide to Bullying, that is a big global hit.  Here is her website and below is the 15-minute interview we did together.

Watch to hear the advice she gives on
•  how a school can build an environment where there is no bullying
•  a list of good resources — books and videos
•  cyberbullying
•  recommendations she gives to
          ->  teachers
          ->  parents
          ->  a child who is being bullied
          ->  a child who is bullying

Also, you will hear her inspirational roem — rap poem.

Friday, November 20, 2015

Hey, New Teacher, Don't Quit. It Will Get Better

For both beginning and veteran teachers, this is a must-listen-to report from npr.

"Hey, New Teachers, Don't Quit. It Will Get Better."

Having served as a Director of the New England New Teachers Seminar and as a Director of the New York State Association of Independent Schools (NYSAIS) Beginning Teachers Institute for many years, I know how important it is for veteran teachers to step up and support our newest colleagues. So much of our work as educators is working with our newest teachers and supporting their enthusiasm until they find their stride.

Friday, November 13, 2015

"Students Selecting Their Reading . . .

. . . with Guidance, Confidence, and Independence" is an article I wrote and was just published in the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS) Independent Teacher magazine.

Read the article to learn "What is appropriate reading for our students? When is the right age and time to introduce sensitive books to them? How do we guide with a goal of letting students choose for themselves?"

Friday, November 6, 2015

Bad Boys

In a true The Simpsons style, i.e. animated shows and children's literature written on both child and adult levels, the book Bad Boys by Margie Palatini and Henry Cole is great fun to read. I'll let the brief video below serve as an "appetizer" to the book.

Friday, October 30, 2015

What's a Great Boss?

“7 Things That Make Great Bosses Unforgettable” by Travis Bradberry (author of Emotional Intelligence 2.0) in Forbes / Leadership online magazine is a must read.

From the article . . .

"Any of us can study the unique qualities of unforgettable bosses to learn valuable skills.
  1. Great bosses are passionate.
  2. They stand in front of the bus.
  3. They play chess not checkers.
  4. They are who they are, all the time.
  5. They are a port in a storm.
  6. They are human.
  7. They are humble."

Friday, October 23, 2015

More on Marshmallow Test

Having read the The Marshmallow Test by Walter Mischel and having seen the marshmallow test video, I bumped into this interesting article that takes the four-decade-old study a step further.  Read the update from the Washington Post article "Recent 'Marshmallow Test' shows impulse control, other traits not fixed" by Michael Alison Chandler.

Friday, October 16, 2015

Emotional Intelligence 2.0

A must read book, Emotional Intelligence 2.0 by Travis Bradbury & Jean Greaves will help you and your interaction with others. Easy to read and full of excellent examples.

Here are some quotes from the book that I think you will appreciate:

•   "Emotional intelligence is your ability to recognize and understand emotions in yourself and others, and your ability to use this awareness to manage your behavior and relationships."

•   "Listening and observing are the most important elements of social awareness."

•   "Working on a relationship takes time, effort, and know-how. The know-how is emotional intelligence."

•   "Social awareness is centered on your ability to recognize and understand the emotions of others."

Friday, October 9, 2015


To understand what mindfulness is and how it can have a direct impact on our children, read this excellent article from the August 31, 2015 issue of The Atlantic. "When Mindfulness Meets the Classroom" by Lauren Cassani Davis will direct you to the Center for Mindfulness at UMass website where you dive deeper into this growing educational resource, and at the site, you will be able to view a 60 Minutes piece with Anderson Cooper.

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.