Thursday, September 11, 2014

A Chance in the World

I first learned of Steve Pemberton from the recent NAIS Annual Conference venue where he was a keynote speaker. His life story intrigued me enough for me to buy his book and read it. While his story is a model of success, I was horrified to read about his early life as a foster child. Grounded in reality, Pemberton writes with sincerity and honesty, and a balanced sense of diversity.

John Chubb, President of NAIS, wrote eloquently about Pemberton's conference keynote address in a NAIS Bulletin.

Friday, September 5, 2014

The Evolution of the College Degree OR Online/Blended/Hybrid Learning - Part II

I came across this very informative article "The Evolution of the College Degree" that I think you will enjoy perusing, especially as it pertains to online learning. The multi-page graphic is excellent.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Anne Frank Revisited

Even though it has been a while since I read the book The Diary of Anne Frank, my mind was refreshed when I recently read The Book Thief by Marcus Zusak and saw the beautiful movie with Emily Watson and Geoffrey Rush. Here's the movie trailer.

But I must say that it was listening to Deborah Feldman's ten-minute Moth podcast that gave me a whole new perspective on how Frank's diary could touch so many lives. One site claims over 25 million copies have been sold.

Also, visit the Anne Frank website for more information.

Friday, August 22, 2014

The Smartest Kids in the World

I just finished an excellent book that brought much perspective on testing. Here is a neat review from Independent School Management's (ISM) online "Monthly Update"

"On its surface, the basic structure of the book doesn’t seem all that exciting. However, The Smartest Kids in the World becomes a fascinating case study of global teaching pedagogy. Amanda Ripley puts her investigative reporting skills to use when she follows three students during their year in a study abroad program. What’s unique about these high-performing American students is that each spends his or her year in countries categorized as “high performing” according to international standardized testing. Using a combination of the students’ narratives coupled with research and data from Ripley’s observations on the various educational systems and how they help (and hurt) their students, The Smartest Kids in the World becomes a fascinating glimpse into how a school’s mission influences and molds the young people of the world."

Also, here is a video of author Amanda Ripley talking about the book.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Online/Blended/Hybrid Learning - Part I

I thought you might be interested in the ObaWorld and the Stanford University Online High School platforms for learning. I heard representatives speak from these two organizations at a recent think tank I attended about online/blended learning. 
Be sure to click on the video when you click over to the Online High School home page.

Friday, August 8, 2014

A Great Message for Children . . . and Adults

Andrew DeGraff - NYTimes
In his excellent Op-Ed piece in the NYTimes Sunday Review section, Arthur C. Brooks writes eloquently in "Love People, Not Pleasure."

Here's an excerpt:

“This search for fame, the lust for material things and the objectification of others—that is, the cycle of grasping and craving—follows a formula that is elegant, simple and deadly:

Love things, use people.

It is the worldly snake oil peddled by the culture makers from Hollywood to Madison Avenue. But you know in your heart that it is morally disordered and a likely road to misery. You want to be free of the sticky cravings of unhappiness and find a formula for happiness instead. How? Simply invert the deadly formula and render it virtuous:

Love people, use things.”

Friday, August 1, 2014

Appreciating Unity in Diversity

Seeing this video reminded me of how diversity should be viewed by children and adults. Having had the opportunity to interview Andrew Solomon for Montessori Life magazine and now hearing and watching him in this video only heightened my appreciation for his insights and writing. See what I mean . . .

Friday, July 25, 2014

The Ultimate Forgive

In Malcolm Gladwell's latest book David and Goliath there is a section on a family that has to deal with the tragic loss of their nine-year old daughter, Candace, and how the family chose to deal with the loss.

A very similar story can be found on The Moth website where Hector Black talks about how he chose to deal with the death of his daughter in his story Forgiveness.

I think you will find both stories compelling, and they may give you a new outlook on forgiving.

Friday, July 18, 2014

On Leadership and Governance

Next week I am off to The College of New Rochelle to teach a class to Montessori school administrators at the Center for Montessori Education | NY. The class will cover school leadership, governance, enrollment, legal considerations, and taking care of yourself. It is the highlight of my work in governance teaching. Here are a few resources I use in my work:

The Nonprofit Board Answer Book: A Practical Guide for Board Members and Chief Executives - BoardSource
Setting the Table: The Transforming Power of Hospitality in Business - Danny Meyer
Governance as Leadership - Richard Chait, William Ryan, and Barbara Taylor
"Golden Governance" - Dane Peters

Friday, July 11, 2014

Far Far Away

When the librarian and I were talking about young adult and middle reader literature, she immediately steered me to a book that I devoured in a week's time, and that is fast for slow-slow reader me. This coming-of-age YA book about two 15-year olds intertwined with the fairy tale Grimm brother, Jacob, is captivating and compelling. Far Far Away by Tom McNeal is a must read.

Friday, July 4, 2014

Babies Dancing?

If you need a quick chuckle during these restful—I hope—summer days, watch this one-minute video. Eighty-five million other viewers have.

Friday, June 27, 2014


"Who knew that we learn empathy, trust, irony, and problem solving through play — something the dictionary defines as 'pleasurable and apparently purposeless activity.' Dr. Stuart Brown suggests that the rough-and-tumble play of children actually prevents violent behavior, and that play can grow human talents and character across a lifetime. Play, as he studies it, is an indispensable part of being human."

This is taken from the On Being website introducing the in depth interview host Krista Tippett had with Dr. Stuart Brown.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Teachers Touching Lives

Teachers touch their students' lives everyday, and the teacher may never know how much until a student is well into adulthood. Recently, I wrote an article entitled "Teachers Touching Lives" because I received an email that surprised me to no end.

Whether you are a teacher or a parent, at some point in your life, a teacher made a difference in your life—a difference that has affected you forever.

Friday, June 13, 2014

How Children Succeed

Paul Tough, author of the NYTimes bestselling book How Children Succeed: Grit, Curiosity, and the Hidden Power of Character, draws upon the work of Angela Duckworth (the grit and resilience guru), Dave Levin (KIPP founder), and Dominic Randolph (Head of Riverdale Country School) to demonstrate the importance of character and the non-cognitive characteristics of child development.

Friday, June 6, 2014

Fault in Our Stars - Part 2

It was a year ago when I read John Green's The Fault in Our Stars, a popular young adult book. Now #1 and 77 weeks on the NYTimes bestseller list, the book will debut as a movie this week. Below is the trailer.

Be sure to listen to npr's Neda Ulaby's interview with the 36-year old Green to learn what inspired him to write the story. Oh, it is also impressive to note that Looking For Alaska, Paper Towns, and An Abundance of Katherines by Green are in the top 10 on the bestseller list as well.

Sunday, June 1, 2014

It Was the Children

"But I was most impressed with the children. The children were very eager to want to reach out and try to help me, in some way."

This quote is taken from an npr interview with Mormon Bishop David Musselman when he was disguised as a homeless person and stood outside of his church before the service as congregants entered the church. Listen to his powerful interview with npr's, Ari Shapiro.

Friday, May 16, 2014

The Cycle of Computer Programing

Twenty-five years ago programing using Basic, Logo, Pascal, and HTML was a popular educational tool. At some point, it slipped off of the academic technology grid. Today students are designing applications for smartphones. See the TED Talk of 12-year old Thomas Suarez. Programing aka "coding" is now stronger than ever as illustrated on the front page of the May 11, 2014 New York Times. “Reading, Writing, Arithmetic, and Now Coding” by Matt Richtel who reports a “national educational movement in computer coding instruction that is growing at Internet speeds.”

Also, check out

Friday, May 9, 2014

Look Up

If you can't find the time to read Catherine Steiner-Adair's much-talked-about book, The Big Disconnect, then view this five-minute video. THEN, go get her book and read it.

Friday, May 2, 2014

Get Grimm

It's all a matter of coincidence, but I've been consumed by brothers Jakob and Wilhelm Grimm, you know, the 19th Century fairy tale writers.

1) I am involved in a production of "Fractured Fairytales" at the Seacoast Repertory Theater; I'm playing the part of Hansel.
2) Coincidentally, the local librarian in my town recommended the book Far Far Away by Tom McNeal, a young adult book about 15-year olds Jeremy and Ginger who are guided by ghost Jakob Grimm. It's a book I recommend highly.
3) I bumped into the free online book on Google Books, Grimm's Fairy Tales and cannot put it down. The original versions of Cinderella, The Golden Goose, The Frog Prince, Little Red Riding Hood and many more are fascinating to read, even though a bit grim if I do say so. Make sure you read them first before considering whether to read them to little ones.