Friday, May 27, 2022

The 1619 Project

The 1619 Project created by Pulitzer Prize-winner Nikole Hannah-Jones is a powerful, inspirational book made up of 18 chapters built on individual essays and poems to help us understand how humanity evolved in the US from when the enslaved people from Africa arrived in the British colony of Virginia to where we are today. Chapter titles include DEMOCRACY, RACE, FEAR, CAPITALISM, POLITICS, PUNISHMENT, MUSIC, HEALTHCARE, and others.

This PBS video with reporter Amna Newaz interviewing the author gives a strong overview of the book, its powerful message, and how it has been received.

Sunday, May 8, 2022

Why Great Leaders Take Humor Seriously

Whether you are a teacher, a principal, a president of a board of directors, a corporate CEO, or . . . you will get a perfect understanding of why great leaders take humor seriously by watching this powerful TED Talk. In just 10 minutes, you will learn and laugh. 

This is the TED intro to the August 2021 video: "There's a mistaken belief in today's working world that leaders need to be serious all the time to be taken seriously. The research tells a  different story. Based on the course they teach at Stanford's Graduate School of Business, behavioral scientist Jennifer Aaker and corporate strategist Naomi Bagdonas delve into the surprising power of humor: why it's a secret weapon to build bonds, power, creativity and resilience -- and how we can all have more of it."

Here are two other humor resources I have previously posted on this blog:

"The Importance of Using Humor in Our Work & Lives" (April 9, 2021) and "Humor in Our Work as Educators and Leaders" (August 31, 2019).


Saturday, April 23, 2022

Gaining Strength as We Age

The book title tells it all: From Strength to Strength: Finding Success, Happiness, and Deep Purpose in the Second Half of Life by Arthur C. Brooks. It is an outstanding read. 

One excerpt that provides simple, excellent advice;

"Much more useful are the factors we can influence and that matter a great deal for late-life wellness. There are seven big predictors of being Happy-Well that we can control pretty directly;
1. Smoking. Simple: don't smoke—or at least, quit early.
2. Drinking. Alcohol abuse is one of the most obvious factors in the Grant Study leading to Sad-Sick and putting Happy-Well out of reach.
3. Healthy body weight. Avoid obesity.
4. Exercise.
5. Adaptive coping style. That means confronting problems directly, appraising them honestly, and dealing with them directly without excessive rumination, unhealthy emotional reactions, or avoidance behavior.
6. Education. More education leads to a more active mind later on, and that means a longer, happier life.
7. Stable, long-term relationships." (pages. 116-117)


Saturday, April 9, 2022

Great Reading For All Ages

My granddaughter recommended a book to me, and as soon as I saw the gold Newbery Medal seal on the cover, I grabbed it and gave her a big thank you. A Year Down Yonder (2001 Newbery Medal) by Richard Peck is precious and so well written. The facts that the prequel to this book, A Long Way From Chicago, is a 1999 Newbery Honor book; he has written over 25 novels; AND his books can be read by Newbery middle readers, young adults, and adults, all give much credibility to this fine author.

What sealed the deal for me was catching this three-minute YouTube with Peck entitled "Richard Peck on Reading and Writing." He nails it with his preciously astute recommendations.

 

Friday, March 25, 2022

Real Friends vs. Deal Friends

Check out this two-and-a-half minute video from Daniel Pink's newsletter. Arthur Brooks, author of the book From Strength to Strength: Finding Success, Happiness, and Deep Purpose in the Second Half of Life, helps us understand the difference between real friends and deal friends and answers the question: Why are so many successful people lonely?

Friday, March 11, 2022

Terrific Insights Into Regrets

 Daniel Pink has always been a star in my leadership and life lessons.  I interviewed him in 2010; here is a link to that article "Drive to Montessori: An Interview with Daniel Pink." His recent book The Power of Regret: How Looking Backward Moves Us Forward jumped to #3 on the NYTimes Book Review on February 20. 

The many many quotes he inserts from people from all over the world throughout the book are so insightful and supports each chapter in a humanistic, thoughtful way. 

Here is a link to Daniel in a TED interview talking about four core regrets that he presents so well in his book.


Friday, February 25, 2022

Black or White?


Toni Morrison's one and only short story that was published in  An Anthology of African-American Women CONFIRMATION by Amiri Baraka (LeRoi Jones) & Amina Baraka (1983) is now a book on its own entitled Recitatif It is an intriguing story about two eight-year-old girls who spent four months together at St. Bonaventure shelter. There, Twyla and Roberta—one who is African American and the other white and from different backgrounds—get to know one another. What Morrison does so cleverly in her story is that she never lets the reader know which child is black and which girl is white.

What enhances the book is the introduction by Zadie Smith. 

Friday, February 11, 2022

A Newbery Medal AND a Caldecott Honor Winner

In case you did not know it, the book Last Stop on Market Street by Matt De La Peña and Christian Robinson (2016) received a Newbery Medal AND a Caldecott Honor. A very special honor that does not happen very often. The best part of this post is inspiring you go to your local library, book store, Amazon, etc. to get a copy of the book and enjoy what it has to offer children and adults.



Friday, December 31, 2021

On Cue Everyone, "Consider EQ Before IQ": Leading with Emotional Intelligence

 

Check out my recent article, "On Cue Everyone, 'Consider EQ Before IQ': Leading with Emotional Intelligence," in the latest issue of Montessori Leadership

Along with the history of EQ and IQ, I highlight three big considerations: EMPATHY, HUMOR, and TRUST; all so important in our work with children, educators, and families.

Saturday, December 11, 2021

Helping Our Children, Parents & Educators with Media


Media Power Youth, is a non-profit organization dedicated to supporting youth with media. Here is their powerful mission: "Media Power Youth inspires young people to engage with media in thoughtful and constructive ways that support their physical and mental well-being." Visit their website to get a full picture of who they are and the important work they are doing.

Take two minutes to view this powerful video by clicking on this link:


Friday, November 19, 2021

Learning More About Humanity

 

I am a huge fan of author, Yuval Noah Harari. He has such a clear understanding of humanity—where it has come from, where it is now, and where it is headed. His latest book Sapiens: The Pillars of Civilization, A Graphic History Volume Two is due out on December 21. Harari's popular books history follows:

Sapiens The Birth of Humankind Volume 1

Sapiens Homo Deus

21 Lessons for the 21st Century

His October 31 interview on 60 Minutes is an excellent overview of where he has been and where he is headed regarding humankind. You can also get an inside look at his brilliance in the NYTimes interview "Yuval Noah Harari Believes This Simple Story Can Save the Planet" by David Marchese. (Nov. 7, 2121).


Friday, October 29, 2021

Guiding us Through the Pandemic


As we make our way through this pandemic, it is so good to be able to pick up a book that speaks to what we are going through. In the brilliance of using dragons to talk about our psychology, emotions, habits—good and bad—Dr. Daniel Amen is powerful in the way he advises readers in his book Your Brain is Always Listening. He is a doctor who practices as a psychiatrist and brain disorder specialist and is the director of the Amen Clinics. He is a five-times New York times best-selling author.

Meet Dr. Amen in the TED Talk below.



Friday, October 8, 2021

Understanding The Importance of Serving Others

 

When I do my weekly readings for my preschool children class, I wanted to help them to be sensitive to the importance of helping others. With all that has been happening in our world regarding hurricanes, massive fires, Afghanistan, hunger. . . I wanted to help children understand how important it is for us to help those in need AND how it helps them—and all of us—in our own lives. 

I happened upon the big red dog, Clifford, series by Norman Bridwell and particularly the book Clifford and the Big Storm. Clifford is so sensitive about helping others who are in need, and he does such a good job. 

In case you are not familiar with Clifford, here is a cute 2-minute video trailer:

Friday, September 17, 2021

The Importance of Libraries



"It checks out — libraries are an 'investment that's well worth it" a 5-minute podcast from David Brancaccio of MarketPlace is spot on regarding the importance of libraries. Having spent many months working on the Building Committee of our local library and recently celebrating the completion of the library renovation have been such important work over the past year and a half.  The picture above gives you a quick view of the library transformation, but visit the Weeks Public Library website, and you can watch the beautiful 6-minute slide show to get a full view of what I am talking about. 

Town, school, and at-home libraries are so important!!

Friday, August 27, 2021

How to Calculate Delta-Variant Risks For Children This Fall

I came across this excellent Wall Street Journal article and want to pass it on to you: "How to Calculate Delta-Variant Risks For Children This Fall" by Sumathi Reddy. It opens with this paragraph . . .

"With the Delta variant of Covid-19 infecting more children, many parents are worried about how to keep their unvaccinated young kids safe as schools reopen and extracurricular activities resume. Vaccination is best protection against Delta, doctors and public-health officials say. But that doesn’t directly help children under age 12, who are ineligible for the shots. So parents must weigh the risks and benefits of fall activities like in-person school, sports, play dates and birthday parties."

In the article is a fascinating 5-minute video on "The Science Behind Why the Delta Variant is Spreading Covid-19 Faster."

Parents, educators, and physicians are working hard to protect children and students. It is important to keep reading and learning what we can about the evolution of this ongoing pandemic.


Friday, August 6, 2021

Inspirational Reading in Just A Minute

 

The Daily JAM is an inspirational writing that you can read in Just A Minute (JAM). 
 
Visit the website.

Here is a beautiful, recent JAM . . . 

“Teach Children 

We take our kids to so many practices - sports, music, etc. But do they practice being a good person? We are good at practicing everything but humanity. (Dr. Michele Borba) 

Children learn from us and from their environment. We need to make a conscious effort to teach our children that we are all one. Without even knowing it, we create our children’s unconscious prejudices. 

Our children find comfort in the familiar. When they see something that is 'different' they become cautious and fearful. As a result, if they see a person of a different color or different to them in any way, children get anxious and retreat. We often don’t even know it’s happening. 

Practice humanity with your children. Teach them the concept of ‘same-same.’ This means that trees, animals, the sky, humans and even emotions are the same. We are all connected and dependent on each other. No one thing is better than another. 

Teach them to look for the soul in every living thing. Souls are all the same—they are love and truth. We must bring more diversity into our children’s lives. Do everything you can to change your child’s perspective. Let them see themselves in others. “ 

This beautiful quote is a perfect follow-up to my July 16 post “Humankind: A Hopeful History.”

Friday, July 16, 2021

Humankind: A Hopeful History


If you want a better understanding of where we — humans — are in getting along with one another, read the book Humankind: A Hopeful History by Rutger Bregman. I found the book to be a perfect follow-up to the book Sapiens a Brief History of Humankind by Yuval Noah Harari

In chapter 15 entitled "This Is What Democracy Looks Like" Bregman gives a brilliant comparison of democracy and communism. 

Also, in chapter 14, I love how he explains what is best for children: "Over the past five decades, the intrinsic motivation of children has been systematically stifled. Adults have been filling children's time with homework, athletics, music, drama, tutoring, exam practice — the list of activities seems endless. That means less time for that one other activity: play. And then I mean play in the broadest sense — the freedom to go wherever curiosity leads. To search and to discover, to experiment and to create. Not along any lines set out by parents or teachers, but just because. For the fun of it." (page 280)

Finally, view Bregman's TED Talk where he talks about poverty not being a lack of knowledge; and view his interview with Dan Pink.



Friday, July 2, 2021

Top Three Emotions For Leaders

View this short video to hear Donna Orem, President of NAIS (National Association of Independent Schools) introduce Marc Brackett who is the director of the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence, professor in the Yale Child Study Center, and author of the book Permission to Feel. She highlights a recent, excellent article he wrote "The Pandemic's Toll on School Leaders Is Palpable. Here's what's Needed for a Successful School Year" where he highlights the top three emotions.

Saturday, June 19, 2021

An Extraordinary Chess Player

 

This Young Readers Edition (a middle reader) of My Name is Tani by Tanitoluwa Adewumi with Craig Borlase is the story of a young boy and his family who moved from Nigeria, Africa to America. They first settled in New York City . . . where he learned to play chess.

Check out the interview below with Tani; I know it will inspire you to read the book and pass it on to your own children and/or students.





Saturday, June 5, 2021

Black Like Me


John Howard Griffin wrote the book Black Like Me in 1959. I read it for the first time about 20 years ago and never forgot it. Well, I read it again this summer and was moved once again. Back then, the author changed his skin color, and now as a black person, he ventured through several racially segregated southern states so that he could experience just what a black person experienced in life. 

Click on the title above to get a further insight via Wikipedia; then you can check out the trailer of the 1964 movie below.




Friday, May 21, 2021

Alternative Math: 2 + 2 = 22 ?

 

WSJ - May 18, 2021
I happened upon this Wall Street Journal article the other day: "California Leftists Try to Cancel Math Class" by Williamson M. Evers. You might read the article after viewing the video. . . 

Simultaneously, I happened upon this YouTube video, Alternative Math, that has over 10 million views. See what you make of the article and the video.


Saturday, May 8, 2021

School Boards & Parents and Some Great Guidance

 

Here are two of the best experts in the field of education, Dr. Robert Evans and Dr. Michael Thompson. You may have read one of their many books. Raising Cain by Dr. Thompson and Seven Secrets of the Savvy School Leader by Dr. Evans are two of my favorites.

They have co-authored Hopes and Fears Working with Today's Independent School Parents that goes nicely with their podcast.

Here is a link to their podcast on SOUNDCLOUD. It is a must-listen-to resource, especially for school Boards of Trustees/Directors.

Friday, April 23, 2021

Millennials Helping Out


As a follow-up to my March 26 blog post regarding my book reading of Lulu and the Hunger Monster presented to Gather Food Pantry volunteers, I want to share a recent email from our Gather Board of Directors President citing a dedicated millennial helping to end hunger.

 “One of the advantages of my former profession, and the fact that I am now fully retired from it, is the amount of free time that it afforded me to indulge in volunteering with my pet project at Gather—Meals4Kids/Mobile Markets.

There are so many reasons that the experience feeds my soul, but one of the highlights is in working with the young people who have committed to doing the heavy lifting, and along the way have also discovered the deep-seated value of helping out those who are struggling. The college interns and the high school and college volunteers who consistently show up and pitch in, bring a special energy to the work that makes this old guy feel a bit younger. 

I wanted to share with the Board a singular moment that I observed a few weeks ago, that I think will make you proud of the team of young people that Deb [our Executive Director] and Seneca [our Associate Executive Director] have put together to run these programs. 

At a recent Mobil Market for Meals4Kids, I was signing in the shoppers when a woman approached me and told me that it was her first-time shopping with us. As with so many of those who utilize our services, this woman’s life was in grave crisis. She explained to me that she had physical and medical challenges. Her son, who had been helping to take care of her had recently been killed in an automobile accident by a drunk driver. Needless to say, it was an emotional moment, and the woman was tremendously grateful for the services Gather offers. I explained how the market worked, signed her in, and then went and got our college intern, and asked her if she minded helping this woman through the Market, which of course, she agreed to do without hesitation. Ten minutes later, when they were finished shopping and loading up the woman’s car with nutritious food, I was close enough to overhear the intern quietly say to this distraught woman, 'I wish that Covid wasn’t a thing, because I really want to hug you right now.' 

Over the course of the five years that I have been helping out with these Mobile programs, I have witnessed other such acts of human kindness from our staff and volunteers, and it makes me grateful to be associated with an organization that attracts and inspires this caliber of individual, young and old alike. So, a big thanks to all of our interns, and to all of our volunteers, who in their own ways, are providing more than just food to our neighbors who are hurting.”


Friday, April 9, 2021

The Importance of Using Humor in Our Work & Lives

 I have always found humor to be essential in fostering relations with friends, teachers, children, and parents. It makes building relationships a joy and fun, especially during these very trying times.

Humor, Seriously by Jennifer Aaker and Naomi Bagdonas is a treat to read. I love how they look at humor from the perspective of those who use humor in their work, e.g. stand-up comedians. Their perspective and talent are inserted throughout the book, which makes it easy reading, entertaining, and most helpful.

Friday, March 26, 2021

Helping to Eliminate Child Hunger

According to Feeding America, "Due to the coronavirus pandemic, 42 million people may face hunger in the U.S. — including more than 13 million children." Working with Gather—an organization in Portsmouth, NH that has been committed to helping to end local hunger for over 200 years—we have discovered this beautiful book about ending hunger in the U.S. 

Recently, I made a YouTube reading of Lulu and the Hunger Monster by Erik Talkin and illustrated by Sheryl Murray that was shared with a group of volunteers in an evening session, talking about how we can help families and children eliminate hunger.

Do get the book, and share it with as many educators, schools, libraries, families, and children as you can.

Friday, March 12, 2021

Caste versus Class

 

I have always been intrigued about the difference between "caste" and "class." I wrote an article back in 1999 in Independent School magazine, "Class Bias—The Real Enemy" that gave my thoughts on class. . . back then. Well, the book Caste The Origins of Our Discontent by Isabel Wilkerson explains it all and in such an understandable way. This NYTimes bestseller—28 weeks on the bestseller list—is a must-read book by all. 

It really takes the wonderful book Sapiens by Yuval Noah Harari to the next level in helping us understand the importance of "humanity" in any culture.

Here is an excellent seven-minute video review of the book with Isabel Wilkerson from the PBS News Hour.


Friday, February 26, 2021

Books For Children Age 4 to Adult

 


"Your Kids Aren't Too Old for Picture Books, and Neither Are You" article by Pamela Paul was in the February 20 New York Times. She is the author of the book How to Raise a Reader. Her message and spirit are precious and most informative for teachers and parents.

Having read many books to young people over the years, here are a few favorite picture books that young and old can enjoy:

Mixed: a Colorful Story by Arree Chung

The True Story of the 3 Little Pigs by Jon Scieszca

Dude! by Aaron Reynolds & Dan Santat

Wild Symphony by Dan Brown (author of The Da Vinci Code)

My Name is SANGOEL by Karen Williams, Khadra Mohammed & Catherine Stock


Friday, February 12, 2021

How to Deal With People Who Treat You Like Dirt

I first came across author Robert Sutton when I viewed him on a Daniel Pink video. I was immediately intrigued by the title of his book, The Asshole Survival Guide: How to Deal with People Who Treat You Like Dirt. 

Then, I was surprised to read the NYTimes  article “Michael Jordan: N.B.A. Champ, Marketing Legend and … Toxic Worker?” by Noam Scheiber May 16,2020 . . . Michael Jordan, no way, but after reading it, he is "yes way."

From Robert Sutton, a Stanford University management professor: “Every organization needs the ‘no-asshole rule’ because mean spirited people do massive damage to victims, bystanders who suffer the ripple effects, organizational performance, and themselves." Here he is speaking to a group of followers.

Friday, January 8, 2021

Make Schools More Human

 "Make Schools More Human" by Jal Mehta appeared in the NYTimes Sunday Review section on December 27, 2020. It cites Casco Bay High School in Maine, a school where students had the idea of writing a song that would celebrate community and social isolation. Well, look at what these students came up with for a virtual orchestra . . . 

When I viewed it on the morning of Dec. 27th it had 8,300 views. As of this posting there are now 24,000! Enjoy.