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.