Monday, December 26, 2011

The Importance of Recognition and Appreciation

The older I get, the more I reflect on how important it is for children and adults to feel appreciated. Give recognition to others whenever possible.

Please take a minute to read
"Recognition," an article I wrote that was recently published in Independent Teacher.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

The Parents We Mean to Be

If you have children or teach children (including adolescents) you must read The Parents We Mean to Be by Richard Weissbourd.

I found it especially profound where the author talks about the three challenges parents have with raising children:

1. To help children deal with their emotions. 2. To move children towards appreciation, the capacity to know and value others. (This book will provide a kind of map for parents for developing in children this vital quality.)
3. To develop in children a strong sense of self—so they can withstand adversity in the service of moral goals.

You can hear the author discuss his book by clicking on this 43-minute YouTube clip.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Complicated Teacher-Parent Email Communication

If you did not read the funny, short New Yorker piece "Dear Mountain Room Parents," take two minutes to do so. Whether you are a teacher or parent, you will appreciate how emailing can get complicated fast.

Happy Halloween. . . next October.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Conversations with Middle Schoolers — Redux

Click back to my November 24, 2010 post to review my first post "Conversations with Middle Schoolers"

OR click on this link to hear this beautifully produced "This American Life" episode "Middle School." It is excellent.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Drawing a Blanc on That Voice?

I grew up with Looney Tunes characters Porky Pig, Tweety Bird, Sylvester the Cat, Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, the Tasmanian Devil, and any other voice Mel Blanc produced. Cartoons, and now full length movies, continue to entertain kids and adults. Here is a cute NPR "Weekend Edition Sunday" 3-minute interview with Mel Blanc's son, Noel Blanc, talking about his father.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Bonawitz and Shafto Cognition Study

This enlightening article in The Economist, "When should you teach children, and when should you let them explore" is a must-read for all teachers and parents. The article is about a study completed by Elizabeth Bonawitz and Patrick Shafto that looked at 85 four- and five-year olds. Here is a link to the complete study published in "Cognition."

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Visions of the Earth

You must see this!

You and your kids check out this beautiful clip.
National Geographic presents some amazing pictures and facts about our planet in "Visions of Earth."

Sunday, November 27, 2011

What's in a Password?

Teaching students — and adults for that matter — about Internet security should start with the password. Listening to American Public Media's "Marketplace Morning Report" recently, I wasn't surprised to find out the least secure passwords of 2011 are "1234567," "abc123," "sunshine," and "iloveyou" but THE password with the most security holes is, yup, you got it — "password."

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Switching to e-books

I am a big fan of authors Dan and Chip Heath. Their book Switch is the best for understanding change.

Speaking of change, I continue to follow the changes taking place in book publishing as we work our way from print books to e-books. Well, the Heath brothers' latest book
The Myth of the Garage is the first e-book from Crown Publishing that is free. See for yourself when you click on the link to the book.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

12-Year Old Ap Developer?

Here is a neat TED Talk of Thomas Suarez talking about his experience learning and developing aps for the Apple Store. In true Google fashion, for now, Thomas is looking to help others with his new-found talent.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

2011 National Book Awards Teen Press Conference

Our Middle School students attended the 2011 National Book Awards Teen Press Conference this week here in NYC. Click on the link to hear the authors speak about their books and to hear students ask questions of the authors. Authors who spoke and were featured:
  • Franny Billingsley, Chime (Dial)
  • Debby Dahl Edwardson, My Name Is Not Easy (Marshall Cavendish)
  • Thanhha Lai, Inside Out and Back Again (Harper, an imprint of HarperCollinsPublishers)
  • Albert Marrin, Flesh and Blood So Cheap: The Triangle Fire and Its Legacy (Alfred A. Knopf, an imprint of Random House Children’s Books)
  • Gary D. Schmidt, Okay for Now (Clarion Books, an imprint of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)

Monday, November 14, 2011

Rosa sat . . .

While experiencing the sights, sounds, and smells of Zuccotti Park, I bumped into a vendor selling a T-shirt with a prophetic message. Here is what it said:

Rosa sat so Martin could walk.

Martin walked so Obama could run.

Obama ran so our children can fly.

Here is
one story behind the quote.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Ones Reprised Today

I don't often reprise a post, but on February 14, 2011, I posted "'1' Not Such a Lonely Number." On this special day, I thought I would repost it in celebration of November 11, 2011, you know, 11/11/11. And this post was posted at 11:11 a.m.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Alison Gopnik

Another instance where "guide-on-the-side" trumps "sage-on-the-stage."

Read the interview with Alison Gopnik, professor of psychology at UC Berkeley. Her latest book is The Philosophical Baby: What Children's Minds Tell Us About Truth, Love, and the Meaning of Life.

Also, here is a TED Talk that features her work:

Friday, November 4, 2011

The Music Paradigm

If you want to experience professional development at its best, hope that you take part in The Music Paradigm. Maestro Roger Nierenburg uses a chamber ensemble—one he has never conducted before—to demonstrate leadership. Along with 150 heads of school from New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut, we sat among the musicians and witnessed the power of the conductor as leader. We were swept away by Tchaikovsky's Serenade for Strings and the brilliance of Nierenburg.

Here, see for yourself

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Rigor or 5 Cs + 1

A better way to describe school programs is presented by Pat Bassett, President of the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS). In a recent listserve message, he passed on the 5 Cs + 1 for 21st Century schools:

1) critical thinking
2) communication (writing, public speaking, and technology fluency)
3) character
4) creativity
5) collaboration (teaming and leadership)
6) cosmopolitanism (cross-cultural and global competency)

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Rigor or 5 Cs + 1?

When you think of the word "rigor" and how it applies to our schools, what comes to mind? Good? Bad? Certainly not neutral. In a recent meeting here at school, the word "rigor" surfaced, and I could feel my skin crawl. It has no place in schools. I came across this blog post "Stop Saying 'Rigor'" that shed another person's light on the word.

For the record, here is a definition from Merriam-Webster:

1 a (1) : harsh inflexibility in opinion, temper, or judgment : severity
(2) : the quality of being unyielding or inflexible : strictness (3) : severity of life : austerity b : an act or instance of strictness, severity, or cruelty

2 a tremor caused by a chill

3 condition that makes life difficult, challenging, or uncomfortable; especially : extremity of cold

4 strict precision : exactness

Check out my next post to learn about the 5 Cs + 1.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Okay For Now

Gary D. Schmidt's newest young adult book, Okay For Now, is the sequel to his highly successful Wednesday Wars. It follows Doug Swieteck and Joe Pepitone from Long Island to upstate New York. This could be a Newbery contender. I highly recommend it.

While you're at it, check out the review on the 2011 National Book Award Finalists website.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Importance of Being Positive

The other day I began connecting the dots on how important it is to be a positive leader; what it means to the people around you when you are positive; and how exhilarating it is to work in a positive environment. Let me take you through the sequence of how I arrived at this epiphany.

Click here to read my recent article,
"A Triumph," that was published in the fall issue of "The Public School Montessorian."

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

The Progressive Alfie Kohn

I saw Alfie Kohn speak yesterday. Young-spirited, gesticulating provocateur and passionate about his beliefs, he convinced me that he is an advocate for the child. Expounding upon effort over achievement, he made many references to "the research says."

I loved his article, "Progressive Education," in the Spring 2008 edition of Independent School magazine. It's well worth reading.

For now, here is a brief clip:

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Bird Flies 3,500 Miles Nonstop!

While listening to Scott Simon on Weekend Edition, I was astonished to hear about the Whimbral, a bird that will fly from Virginia to Alaska nonstop. Listen to this four-minute clip, "A Bird Flies Into a Hurricane. Does It Fly Out?," to hear how this is done—the tracking and flight. You might want to share this with your class.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Fed by Feed

Author M. T. Anderson's book, Feed, is of the Brave New World genre—scary but highly prophetic. Feed is a book that every educator and parent must read. Here is a link to the movie trailer, but be careful; you should really read the book first!

Meet the author and hear him talk about writing in this video clip.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Zinsser - 5 Principles of Good Writing

I am a big fan of William Zinsser. His book, On Writing Well, is the quintessential (He would cringe if he knew that I used that big Latin word) book on writing. His address to Columbia Graduate School of Journalism students can be found in "Writing English as a Second Language," published in The American Scholar. I love his closing comments to them:

"As you start your journey here at Columbia this week, you may tell yourself that you’re doing 'communications,' or 'new media,' or 'digital media,' or some other fashionable new form. But ultimately you’re in the storytelling business. We all are. It’s the oldest of narrative forms, going back to the caveman and the crib, endlessly riveting. What happened? Then what happened? Please remember, in moments of despair, whatever journalistic assignment you’ve been given, all you have to do is tell a story, using the simple tools of the English language and never losing your own humanity.

Repeat after me:

Short is better than long.

Simple is good.

Long Latin nouns are the enemy.

Anglo-Saxon active verbs are your best friend.

One thought per sentence.

Good luck to you all."

Friday, October 7, 2011

Now that we are into a new school year. . .

. . . here is a short but powerful article, "Teaching Secrets: After the Honeymoon," that all teachers should read. What I love is its therapeutic advice. Here are the main bullet points:
  • Take time for yourself
  • Be proactive about your health
  • Keep family time sacred
  • Exalt the positive
  • Build a support network for yourself
  • Take time to laugh
  • Choose Happiness
Parents should also read (for yourselves) what author Cossandra George writes about each point above.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Do You Doodle?

Check out Sunni Brown's (author of Gamestorming) TED Talk on how doodling is one of the greatest allies to intellectual thought.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

More on Palindromes

Back on October 28, 2009, I posted "Is That Really a Palindrome?"

Recently on NPR's Sunday Weekend Edition, with a mouthful of palindromes, puzzle master Will Shortz amused listeners with his weekly puzzle. If you enjoy playing with palindromes, you will be delighted by this 7-minute piece.

Then, if you really want to see a long—I mean long—palindrome, check out "Master Palindromist: Way Beyond 'Madam, I'm Adam.'" This article will lead you to a ridiculously long palindrome that is over 400 words.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Apple Icon Steve Jobs

Two resources you might find interesting about the former Apple CEO:

1) "The Ten Commandments of Steve"

2) This is his commencement address to the Class of 2005 at Stanford University. At the least, listen to the first of his three stories.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Mistakes & Failure and Grit & Success - Part III

How can our children understand failure if they're afraid to stretch themselves to their potential?

T. S. Elliot said it well: "Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go."

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Mistakes & Failure and Grit & Success - Part II

How DO we measure whether one fails or succeeds?

Imagine a person failing 6 times out of 10 attempts and being considered a huge success. Read the inspiring
NYTimes article "Ted Williams's .406 Average Is More Than a Number."

BTW, failing 7 times out of 10 attempts can be pretty good, too.
I guess failure or success is often in the eyes of the beholder, so parents be kind when your kids fail.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Mistakes & Failure and Grit & Success - Part I

I have always thought of good classrooms as safe places to fail—students and adults. I expressed this back in the fall of 2008 when I wrote "Rethinking the 'F' Word."

Click over to this edutopia article "The Role of Mistakes in the Classroom" for another author's excellent take on mistake
making, and last week's NYTimes article "What if the Secret to Success is Failure" speaks to the importance of "grit" as an important piece of our children's character development.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Spud — A Must Read

Having spent 11 years teaching in junior boarding schools, I fell in love with the book Spud. It is a delightful young adult book filled with laugh-out-loud humor. Author John van de Ruit tells of 14-year old Spud's struggle into adolescence. The setting is a boys' boarding school, which is located in South Africa during its 1990 break from apartheid. Also, if you enjoy the music from the play Oliver, Spud plays the lead in his school play, and you can follow the challenges he faces along with the wonderful Dickens characters.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Guide-on-the-Side OVER Sage-on-the-Stage Teaching

I loved the front page NYTimes article "In Classroom of Future, Stagnant Scores." Here is the sentence that caught my attention:

"The digital push here aims to go far beyond gadgets to transform the very nature of the classroom, turning the teacher into a guide instead of a lecturer, wandering among students who learn at their own pace on Internet-connected devices."

Is this what happens in your (child's) classroom?

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Brain Plasticity III - Fast ForWord

After reading The Brain That Changes Itself and learning about the work of Dr. Michael Merzenich, I came away with a better understanding of how the brain works and techniques that can help children in their work and development. An intervention produced by Scientific Learning developed the program Fast ForWord. Take five minutes to view this neat video.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Brain Placticity II - Dr. Doidge

Our faculty book group finished Doidge's book and a beautiful discussion on The Brain That Changes Itself. Neuroplasticity and brain mapping are fascinating topics that provide so much hope for the future. Listen to Dr. Doidge yourself.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Brain Plasticity I - The Brain That Changes Itself

I was first introduced to the concept of brain plasticity when I read JoAnn Deak's Your Fantastic Elastic Brain. And the work of Carol Dweck and her book, Mindset, talk about the idea that intelligence can grow. For me, both authors helped to dispel the myth that the brain is "hard-wired" and unchangeable.

Well, for my summer
professional reading, I happened to choose The Brain That Changes Itself by Dr. Norman Doidge.

Here are several of many stories in the book that you can read, and I guarantee you that if you read them, you will want to read the whole book:
  1. Cheryl Schiltz (page 1)
  2. Pedro Bach-y-Rita (page 20)
  3. Willy Arbor (page 72)
  4. Nicole von Ruden (page 150)
  5. Emma (page 174)

Friday, September 2, 2011

Independent Teacher

Independent Teacher is an excellent resource for teachers.

Here is the opening of its mission:

"Independent Teacher is an electronic journal that publishes articles on curriculum and pedagogy, across all grades and disciplines, of particular interest to independent school teachers. It is our hope and intention to promote lively discussion and debate about education that will be useful and interesting to independent school educators."

Click over to read some of the articles.

Better yet, click on the "Submissions" link and see what you need to do to have your own article published.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Thoughts From a Teacher of 50 Years

Want to get an idea of what it is like to teach for 50 years? Read this Highline Times article about Jim Glennon: "Retired Teacher Did Anything to Get Students Engaged."

50 years is a long time, but according to Jim, "The students are my battery," Glennon explains. "If I'm not feeling well, and I could make it to school, I felt better. As a result, I've missed around 15 days in 50 years... All of my awards came because of my students, not because of me."

Friday, August 26, 2011

Middle School Mischiefs - About Books

Here is a great resource for three middle school books. "Middle School Mischief" by A. J. Jacobs recently appeared in the NYTimes Book Review. Here are the books that were reviewed in the article:

Troublemaker by Andrew Clements (Middle grade; ages 8 to 12)

Middle School: The Worst Years of My Life by James Patterson & Chris Tebbetts (Middle grade; ages 8 to 12)

Journal of a Schoolyard Bully: Notes on Noogies, Wet Willies, and Wedgies by Farley Katz (Young adult; ages 9 and up)

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Neat Video Tools

Have you ever seen a YouTube video that you would love to share at a faculty meeting but will be in a location without Internet connection? Here are two sites that allow you to download videos to your hard drive so you can share them anywhere from your computer:


Also, here's another one:

TubeChop lets you "adjust" a video so you don't have to deal with ads.

Give 'em all a try.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

I Needed the Relief . . . or the Value of Childcare

Childcare attitudes, availability, and use have changed dramatically over the past two generations, so much so, I felt that my ancient baby boomer viewpoint was out of touch with today’s generation’s practices. An event in my life changed that viewpoint, and I wanted to pass on my updated perspective to the parents at my toddler-through-eighth-grade school to support their use of childcare for their children. To do this, I wrote "I Needed the Relief or the Value of Childcare" and sent it to them early this month. My instincts were confirmed when I received an immediate response from a parent that said,

Dane, this is a lovely piece. It does something very important for our community — it gives parents (but really mothers) permission to feel relief in work, in separation, and in being apart from their children. There's so much guilt floating around — we all need to counteract it with more support. This is a really good message. THANKS.

Go ahead and read the piece. You may want to share it with members of your family and the parents in your school:

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

What Baseball Should do for Kids

When you watch this "60 Minutes" piece—and do watch it all—you will see what should be happening on AND off the field. Albert Pujols is leading the way.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Providing Service

I was walking in Union Square recently, and I decided to have lunch at Danny Meyer's Union Square Café. It was four years ago when I read his seminal book Setting the Table, a book that emphasizes service to the customer. Meyer has built a restaurant empire based on good service to customers. You may have heard of a few of his other eating establishments: Tabla, Gramercy Tavern, Eleven Madison Park, and Blue Smoke.

Providing service in our schools is essential for building strong communities — service to students, to parents, and to faculty and staff.

By the way, the service was excellent at Union Square Café.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Who Needs Summer Homework?

A close colleague wrote a beautiful piece for Lisa Belkin's NYTimes Motherlode blog. You should read "Who Needs Summer Homework?" now that many parents are in the home stretch of cajoling, bribing, and—some might say—torturing their children to finish assigned summer work. I think you'll like it . . . the piece that is.

Sunday, August 7, 2011


Every once in a while you hear or read something that sticks in your head. This summer, when I was teaching a class to heads of school on working with parents and boards of trustees, I referenced a quote that remains stuck in my head. Here is what I shared with my colleagues:

In an article that I wrote for the quarterly publication
Montessori Life, "Heading a Montessori School," I quoted from a talk head of school Bodi Brizendine gave to a group of heads in 2003. She was quoting from 19th Century philosopher and author George Eliot on how she categorized knowledge:
"The lowest level of knowledge, opinion, is readily available, and then fact is the next level in the hierarchy of knowledge; but the third and highest level of knowledge — and the most difficult to achieve — is empathy."

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Harvard Business Review Post

I picked up this well written post from Harvard Business Review blogger Andrew McAfee. He reflects on his Montessori school experience. The post, "Montessori Builds Innovators," has lots of good links embedded within it.

Friday, July 29, 2011

One Woman Teachers

One of the special treats about living in New York City is the availability of performing arts for students and teachers. I had the occasion to see "No Child . . ." at the Barrow Street Theater in the Village; it is a one-woman show about teaching Bronx high school students drama. I was awe struck by Nilaja Sun the sole performer. Like Sarah Jones's (TED Talk) "Bridge and Tunnel" and Anna Deavere Smith's "Let Me Down Easy," one actor portraying many different characters on stage is amazing.

I had the good fortune to sit next to an actor and high school drama teacher during the performance, and this is what she had to say:
"The play really is a very accurate portrayal of the kids I and all my colleagues teach and how we work with them. And you are so right about how challenging and heartbreaking it can be. But as you well know, it is the most rewarding work in the world, and I have have been privileged to see hundreds of young lives utterly transformed in the 8 years I have worked with the Epic Theatre Ensemble"

Thursday, July 28, 2011

The Lottery

During my exploration of the book The Lottery and Other Stories, I stumbled upon "Charles," "After You, My Dear Alphonse," and "Afternoon in Linen." Shirley Jackson's stories are "Twilight Zone"-like, compelling, and fun to read. I read the classic "The Lottery" each year to our Middle School students.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Too Many Emails in Your Inbox?

For all of us: parents, educators, and students, email has gotten out of hand. Step back or plow through?

You have to read The Energy Project's Tony Schwartz's excellent column in this morning's Business Section of the NYTimes. "The Personal Energy Crisis" has an answer. Here's a peek:

"The problem is that rest and renewal are counterintuitive for most of us, and counterculture in most organizations. Rewards go to those who do just the opposite in the face of demand. The guiding ethic is more, bigger, faster. We admire those who hunker down, stay the course, burn the midnight oil."

Schwatrz has a proven suggestion.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Not Acceptable R Word

A colleague who is raising a five-year old child with Down syndrome shared this simple, excellent, and poignant public service announcement with me.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Positive Child Guidance

I had the good fortune to spend two days with author Darla Ferris Miller at a Board of Directors retreat. She let me know that the 7th Edition of her textbook, Positive Child Guidance, will be out in October.

After our conversation, I checked out the currently available 6th Edition on Just take a look at the Table of Contents; it's encyclopedic. The book contains all you need to know about raising, understanding, and educating children.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Avenues: The World School

An editor of a national publication asked me if I read the piece "The Best School $75 Million Can Buy" in the Sunday NYTimes and what I thought of Whittle's The Avenues: The World School concept. I responded by saying, for me, it sounds very much like Whittle's '92 Edison Project all over again. He had heavy hitters working with him then—Chubb, Schmidt, Finn, and Alexander. It did not work. It is important to point out that it is tough enough for public schools having to deal with tight budgets and unions, but to also have to deal with profit-making was too much to ask. Can you blame the public schools?

Now we have Whittle, Round 2. I see the same dynamic: big building, $75M, heavy hitters—Tingley, Matoon, Dunnen, Schmidt—and a market that begs for more schools, independent and public. Certainly, we know that for-profit schools work; look how many there are in the Montessori community.

At our independent school tri-state association heads conference in November, Whittle will be one of the speakers to address the assembled heads of NY, CT, and NJ independent schools.

For now, it seems like we will have to take a wait-and-see posture.

Monday, July 11, 2011


Recently, I had the good fortune to spend three days with 20 other educators just outside of Albany, working in a think tank. Our job was to look at professional learning and collaboration for the member schools of the New York State Association of Independent Schools (NYSAIS). Our inspiration was the book What Would Google Do by Jeff Jarvis.

Taking our lead from Google, we all used (a Google extension) to record our work. Give it a try; it's pretty simple to use.

BTW, we all loved Google's concept of beta testing: put the product out there, let the users work with it, and invite feedback to make it better.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Everything is a Remix

"Everything is a Remix" is a fascinating series of three short (7 to 11 minutes) videos about how ideas come together — copied, borrowed, discovered, original, or otherwise. Using music and movies, producer Kirby Ferguson makes excellent points on how hits are often produced from previous materials. It is easy to understand how students can "use" or "borrow" others' ideas in work they produce.

I was particularly taken by "Everything is a Remix Part 3: The Elements of Creativity" and its exploration of how the Macintosh computer evolved from earlier ideas. See what you think

Everything is a Remix Part 3 from Kirby Ferguson on Vimeo.

Thursday, June 30, 2011


How often have you thought about working? Enjoyment, too many hours, not enough pay, satisfaction, no rewards for the investment, fulfillment, etc. I gave this much thought, sat down, and wrote reflections on work.

Recently published in the Public School Montessorian, a national quarterly publication, here is an article where I shoveled those reflections. Click over to read the piece and see if you agree with what I have to say about work.

Working: Lessons from a barista"

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Same Job, Higher Salary

This morning's NYTimes "Sunday Review" (with its brand new format) presented an excellent article by David Leonhardt "Even for Cashiers, College Pays Off."

Here's one of many interesting points made:
"Only about 33 percent of young adults get a four-year degree today, while another 10 percent receive a two-year degree."

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Writer Michael Lewis

Popular journalist Michael Lewis's books are often ostensibly about sports and competition, but when you immerse yourself into those books, you discover he writes beautifully about people, relationships, and families. Two of my favorites are Coach and The Blind Side.

I first was introduced to Lewis's writing when I read in the NYTimes Magazine "Coach Fitz's Management Theory."

Monday, June 20, 2011


The National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS) has long encouraged private education with a public purpose. Horizons National fits that to a tee. Look at this 3-minute NBC Nightly News clip to see what it is all about, then Call Lorna Smith, CEO of Horizons, to learn more about this fabulous program.

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Friday, June 17, 2011

Walter Dean Myers & Father's Day

That GIECO commercial about the person living under a rock reminded me of myself when a teacher introduced me to author Walter Dean Myers. I was embarrassed to admit that I had not read any of his books. Author of over 100 books, Myers is followed by many young adults and adults.

After hearing this StoryCorps clip of Myers, I picked up his book Slam! Take a minute to listen to this powerful StoryCorps piece and get to know the author better. Perfect for Father's Day.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Summer Reading: Hardback, Paperback, or Digital

"First, I have to say that, like many of you, I love the feel of a hardback edition of a book in my hands, and the look of it on my bookshelf, even years after I’ve read it. And all my bookshelves at home and at the office are filled to overflowing with hardback books I love and won’t give up. In fact, the overflow was getting to be a hazard, so I donated hundreds of my hardback books to the local public library the last time we moved, a couple of years ago. But now, I have to admit (and I know the purists out there will cringe), I'm buying more e-books than hardcover books, and downloading them to my laptop, iPad, and iPhone. Here’s why:"

So begins Pat Bassett's (President of NAIS) recent blog post "On Summer Reading."
Click here to read more. It is an excellent post.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

The Teacher We Remember Most

How sad that the New York City school system has found yet one more nefarious use of standardized testing. Read "Tests for Pupils, but the Grades Go to Teachers" NYTimes article to see how "more than a dozen new standardized tests" — inspired by Race to the Top — will be administered to students beginning as early as next school year. As the article title suggests, the grades will be used to help measure teacher performance.

Don't lose heart, though. Read my latest
Independent Teacher Magazine article "The Teacher We Remember Most" to understand what really matters most between student and teacher. And, it is not test scores.

Monday, June 6, 2011

List of Exemplary Blogs

I believe blogging is here to stay. Heads of school would be well advised to get into the world of blogging to parents and the rest of the world.

Claudia Daggett, Executive Director for the
Elementary School Heads Association (ESHA) — "a non-profit organization established to promote a sense of identity among heads of independent elementary schools" — has compiled a set of slides with links to Exemplary Blogs. See what you think.

I distinctly remember in the mid-80s when the VHS video was introduced to take the place of a school admissions view book, but I guess I don't remember when the WWW took the place of the VHS video. It's all a blur.

Also, I just read in Sir Ken Robinson's book
Out of Our Minds where he describes when the television was introduced at the 1939 Worlds Fair. Skeptics said no way that it would take over the radio.