Saturday, October 14, 2017

Disruptive Leadership

Listening to a TED Radio Hour podcast, "Disruptive Leadership," I was enthralled with the speakers—Sheryl Sandberg, General Stanley McChrystal, educator Bunker Roy, entrepreneur and writer Seth Godin, and leadership advocate Drew Dudley—who presented segments from their on-stage TED Talks.

While the whole podcast is a worthwhile 53-minute listen with tons of sage advice, I thought you might like to view Drew Dudley's 6-minute Talk since it is so powerful and uplifting, especially when he talks about "lollipop moments."



Sunday, October 1, 2017

Aesop's Fables


Aesop's Fables are fascinating stories for children of all ages . . . and adults, too. To get a hold of a book of Aesop's Fables, you can download a copy free from iBooks or Google Play or you can just go to this Library of Congress website.

Recently, I read to preschool children, Jerry Pinkney's The Lion & the Mouse. This beautifully illustrated book has no words, so you can "tell" the story in your own words. Children loved it.

From amazon

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Our Responsibility as Teachers

"Commentary: As school year begins, a message to teachers" by head of school Susan Kambrich is a must-read piece from the Times Union paper in Albany, NY.

From the article:
"It is easy to react emotionally and often angrily when confronted with conflict, racism, and bullying. Instead of reacting, let's work together this year to respond to hate by arming our children with ways to be empathetic and curious about others and the world, and giving them the ability to think critically about injustice."

Sunday, September 3, 2017

Technology Dilemma

Pedro Veneziano - NYTimes
In Clayton Christensen's book Innovator's Dilemma he discusses how "disruptive technology" can be both helpful and terrible at the same time and how we can navigate to the helpful side.

As an example, look at our technology habits when it comes to communicating—texting, phone, tweets, Instagram, YouTube, etc.—with one another and where it is leading our younger generations.

Along with Christensen, here are three excellent resources to read to learn about the insidious, ill-side of technology.

The Big Disconnect: Protecting Childhood and Family Relationships in the Digital Age by Catherine Steiner-Adair (2013)

"Have Smartphones Destroyed a Generation" by Jean M. Twenge from The Atlantic

"Save Your Sanity, Downgrade Your Life," by Pamela Paul in the Sunday NYTimes 

Friday, August 18, 2017

The 33 Traits Of Inspirational Leaders

From the Forbes website:

"But what makes an inspirational leader? This infographic identifies 33 distinct and tangible attributes that are statistically significant in inspiring others." Read more at "The 33 Traits of Inspirational Leaders."


Saturday, August 5, 2017

Ethan Bortnick — a Young Inspriation

Who is Ethan Bortnick? Here is an excerpt from his website bio:

“Recognized by the Guinness World Records as 'The World’s Youngest Solo Musician to Head-line His Own Concert Tour,' 16-year-old Ethan Bortnick has been performing around the world, raising over $50,000,000 for charities across the globe.

When he was just three years old, the Hollywood, Florida native asked his parents for piano lessons and discovered an uncanny ability to hear a song once and play it back note for note – the musical equivalent of a photographic memory. He soaked up the music of such diverse artists and composers as Beethoven, Mozart, jazz pianist Bill Evans, Little Richard, Billy Joel and Elton John, and began creating original compositions at age five. A few years later, Ethan began making television appearances and touring, connecting with audiences in countries such as Japan, Brazil, Canada, South Africa and Australia.”

Get to know him better by watching this YouTube video.

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Learning to Read

Children love to listen to stories.

I have the privilege of volunteering for United Way's K-Ready Readers, a program that gives me the pleasure of reading to a group of 3-, 4-, and 5-year old children each week.

So, this past week, I thought of my former Brooklyn neighbor and friend Tad Hills and his dog Rocket when they would come to my school and read Rocket books. How the children loved that experience.

Well, I read How Rocket Learned to Read and the children loved it. Just maybe Tad, Rocket, and I inspired and brought these little ones a bit closer to reading on their own.

Thank you, Tad and Rocket.

Friday, July 7, 2017

Visit Understood to Understand


Visit the website Understood for learning and attention issues and learn more about--
"Parents want the best for their children. We do, too. For the first time ever, 15 nonprofit organizations have joined forces to support parents of the one in five children with learning and attention issues throughout their journey.

With the right support, parents can help children unlock their strengths and reach their full potential. With state-of-the-art technology, personalized resources, free daily access to experts, a secure online community, practical tips and more, Understood aims to be that support."

Here some of the topics discussed:
  • “I’m Concerned My Child Might Have Learning and Attention Issues. Now What?”
  • “6 Steps for Requesting a School Evaluation”
  • “How to Organize Your Child’s IEP [Individualized Educational Plan] Binder”
  • “Getting My Child to Listen (Without Yelling)”
  • “Am I Cheating?” Why I Felt Ashamed to Use Dyslexia Accommodations”



Friday, June 23, 2017

The Joy of Reading to Children

"The Joy of Reading to Children" is an article I wrote that was just published in Montessori Life. It begins with . . . 

"As a father, teacher, head of school, and now a grandfather, I have always loved reading to children. I read to my sons from birth and sustained this habit as they grew up. I saw the amazement in their eyes as I read; they were enthralled and totally immersed in the story. I knew reading to my sons would increase their vocabulary and their interest in reading, but there was also a selfish reason—it gave me great joy."

Friday, June 9, 2017

Rediscover The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People

I recently rediscovered Dr. Stephen Covey's bestselling book The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. Published in 1989, the book has endured the test of time and overlapped with Howard Gardner's work on multiple intelligences, which I believe was the springboard for John Mayer's book Personal Intelligence and Daniel Goleman's book Emotional Intelligence.

If you want to learn more in SEVEN minutes, click on this video about the book.


Friday, May 26, 2017

A Voice on Leadership



Hear what Angie Morgan has to say about leadership. View her brief video "It's not about the job title: A Marine explains how to lead when you're not the boss." Here are three excerpts:
  • "So leadership is about two things: influencing outcomes and inspiring others."
  • ". . . as a leader I have to prioritize the needs of those around me and make sure that they are met and their needs are more important than mine."
  • "But I can share with you honestly if you step up and serve those around you, you're going to build that team."

Friday, May 12, 2017

An Even Better Teacher Resource

The National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS) has given its online FREE teacher magazine Independent Teacher a whole new online look. As a member of the editorial board, I am proud to present this post of the spring edition and the new look.

With the theme of Wellness in Schools, here are some of the articles in this edition:

"Exploring the Question of Happiness"
"Initiating an All-Employee Wellness Program"
"Neurodiversity and Differentiation"
"Wellness for Leaders"
"Incorporating Wellness Into School Life"

Click over, see, and read the high quality of Independent Teacher.

Friday, April 28, 2017

The Gift of Failure

This is a must-read book, especially if you have anything to do with tweens and teens. The author, Jessica Lahey, a mother of two boys AND a middle school teacher, has all of the correct instincts when guiding parents through the perils of how parents should handle failure with their children. Here are three quotes from the book that can apply to any child and parents:

In order to raise healthy, happy kids who can begin to build their own adulthood separate from us, we are going to have to extricate our egos from our children’s lives and allow them to feel the pride of their own accomplishments as well as the pain of their own failures. (p. xv)

The less we push our kids toward educational success, the more they will learn. The less we use external, or extrinsic, rewards on our children, the more they will engage in their education for the sake and love of learning. (p. 22)


Teach your children to face failure and accept it as valuable feedback. Let them see you taking risks and failing, and talk about those failures as opportunities to better yourself. (. 238)

I personally read the book through the lens of a middle school teacher, former head of two schools, and a father of two sons. Some of my thoughts on failure are captured in "Rethinking the 'F' Word" an article I wrote back in 2008 for Independent School magazine.