Thursday, December 27, 2012

A Beautiful 9th

The best part of this delightful video is the camera shots of the children. You can see that they are mesmerized by Beethoven's artful work.

Sunday, December 23, 2012


Music has a powerful way of keeping alive the remembrances of loved ones. The children and teachers at Sandy Hook Elementary School will never be forgotten. Listen to this beautiful song "Condolences," which is a tribute to them.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Upon reading the NYTimes Sunday Review article "The Power of Concentration" by Maria Konnikova, it was no surprise to read this part of it:

“Multitasking is a persistent myth. What we really do is shift our attention rapidly from task to task. Two bad things happen as a result. We don’t devote as much attention to any one thing, and we sacrifice the quality of our attention.”

Also in the article, learn how Sherlock Holmes used meditation and mindfulness in his work. Fascinating.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

An Unthinkable Position for Parent and Child

After a friend sent me the link to the article, "I Am Adam Lanza's Mother," I responded to him with an email that said:

Wow! What a powerful piece. So, so sad. What's a parent to do?

So, the next time I am feeling sorry for myself, I will force myself to sit down and read this passionate story; and at the same time, I will also reflect on an all-time favorite book When Bad Things Happen to Good People.

Thanks, for sharing.


Friday, December 14, 2012

Trying to Look Beyond Today

This song and video by Kristen Andreassen and second graders from Brighton, MA can help.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

What Motivates Us?

David McClelland

Dan Pink's book Drive is specific about what motivates us; they are
  • Autonomy
  • Mastery
  • Purpose
David McClelland also did a great deal of research in this area, and he lists three things as well; they are
  • Achievement
  • Affiliation
  • Power
To learn more check out these notes on Pink and McClelland

Monday, December 3, 2012

Want to Feel Good?

If you're having a tough day with your kids, click on this video; I guarantee it will perk you up. "Siyahamba," a South African hymn, was sung by our faculty and staff chorus to our students at a recent all-school assembly.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Lois Lowry's Son

Newbery Medal winning author Lois Lowry's latest book in the Giver quartet is Son. Gathering Blue (2000) and Messenger (2004) were numbers two and three respectively. Son is the fourth. You might want to read the NYTimes Sunday Book Review article, "The Searcher" on Son.

What is most impressive is the author's life story about her own son, Grey. Read this fine NYTimes Magazine article "The Children's Author Who Actually Listens to Children" to learn more.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Origins of Morality?

If you did not catch the "60 Minutes" segment last Sunday night, you must see the research that has been done with children and the origins of morality. Here is "Born Good? Babies help unlock the origins of morality," go online and check it out. This excellent piece made me think of Ellen Galinsky's book Mind in the Making." Here is a link to her work from a previous post.

Sunday, November 18, 2012


While I know this is TV, I have never been more moved by a young performer. Here, see what I mean. . .

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Professional Development Collaboration

On Veterans Day my school had a professional development day with Metropolitan Montessori School — a collaborative activity where both schools share one speaker, thoughts and practices, a lunch together, AND the cost. 

Guest speaker Dr. Ron Taffel spoke to us on child development, particularly the generational differences that confront parents and educators today. Be sure to visit his website and note the many books he has authored and his premise of children's "second family."

Thursday, November 8, 2012

What Just Happened to Me?

"What Just Happened to Me?" is an article I wrote in the Fall 2012 issue of Independent School Online Feature.

The piece contains important information on child abuse from expert Lisa Friel. It is a must-share with teachers and staff.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Post-Sandy Classroom Notes

Those of us who teach for a living and live in the New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut region, know that beyond the Sandy-caused school cancelations, there is much to think about with our students. 

Here is an excellent piece by Launa Schweizer in the NYTimes Motherlode Blog, "The Frist Day in the Classroom, Post-Sandy," that speaks directly to this.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Lessons in Diversity

This past week, our students, faculty, staff, and parents were treated to separate, thoughtful, and instructive presentations by Derrick Gay, educational consultant ( He was so good. I know we'll be seeing more and more of him in our schools.

He concluded his talk with parents by showing the profound TED Talk by Chimamanda Adichie "The Danger of a Single Story."

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Class Bias the Real Enemy Revisited

When my article "Class Bias the Real Enemy" first appeared in the 1999 Winter issue of Independent School magazine, I knew this was a societal problem that would be insurmountable. It is rampant in nearly all cultures. 

In today's NYTimes "Admitted, but Left Out" by Jenny Anderson let's us know that diversity numbers in our "private" schools have improved, but class distinctions for students and families linger. When you look at the main drivers of class—education, wealth, occupation, and salary—you can understand the rancor that engulfs this presidential election.

Monday, October 15, 2012

The Happy Secret to Better Work

If you have never heard of Shawn Achor, you must see this TEDX Talk on positive thinking. He goes from a childhood experience with his little sister to the campus of Harvard.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Century of the Child

You'll want to view The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) interactive website Century of the Child Growing by Design 1900 - 2000 even if you cannot get to the exhibition itself, which runs through November 5. Here is how MoMA describes the exhibition:

"MoMA’s ambitious survey of 20th century design for children is the first large-scale overview of the modernist preoccupation with children and childhood as a paradigm for progressive design thinking. The exhibition will bring together areas underrepresented in design history and often considered separately, including school architecture, clothing, playgrounds, toys and games, children’s hospitals and safety equipment, nurseries, furniture, and books."

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Feeling Sorry For Yourself?

In my previous post, I introduced you to the book Wonder. It attracted me because one of my all-time favorite books is Harold Kushner's When Bad Things Happen to Good People.

Recently, a Wall Street Journal front page story, "Study of Rare Disease Helps in Search of Clues on Aging" and the article's related video give Wonder a partner in helping adults navigate the difficult waters of childhood medical issues.

Both books and the article give you an understanding of the bigger picture in life. So, when you are feeling sorry for yourself, start with the article, then go to Kushner's book, and if you need to, read Wonder.

Friday, September 28, 2012


Here is a Wonder . . . ful young adult book. I believe it will be a Newbery Medal contender.

The video below tells a lot, but you must read the book to fully appreciate its beautiful messages. Here are two links for you to read as well:

NYTimes Review

NPR Story

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Rethinking Sleep

For all of my readers who are caring for little ones and challenged by sleep issues—yours, that is, you must read "Rethinking Sleep" by David K. Randall in today's NYTimes. It gives all of us a whole new outlook on how to sleep.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Golden Governance

My article "Golden Governance," recently published in NAIS's The Savvy Trustee, talks about how a strong relationship between the Board President and CEO/Head of School is critical to building a strong governing body.  Coincidentally, yesterday's NYTimes Magazine cover story "Anatomy of a Campus Coup" revels pieces of how the University of Virginia fell prey to not following golden governance.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Sesame Street's Success

Having enjoyed innumerable episodes of Sesame Street many, many years ago, I often think about its success. Here is "10 Reasons Why Sesame Street Has Been On For So Long" and speaks to why the program has served and survived for so many years.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Who Should Decide What Students Read?

As I write another article on choosing what to read, I came across an Education Week, November 2009 article I wrote "Who Should Decide What Students Read." 

An awesome and onerous task, guiding students in their reading is such a delicate and important responsibility for parents and teachers. Likewise, if we as adults hope to have our students read, we have to be equally as vigilant in our reading habits and choices.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

The Empty Pot

The Empty Pot by Demi is a beautiful story that you will want to get and read to your 1st through 5th grade child(ren). Here is a handy reading of the story.

Monday, September 3, 2012

In Celebration of Maria Montessori's Birthday

Google used this graphic on its search webpage on August 31, Dr. Montessori's birthday; and when you clicked on the Montessori materials graphics, you were brought to an information page for Montessori references.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Is Math Phobia in Your Home?

Here is an excellent article and related video from Sue Shellenbarger reporter for the Wall Street Journal. "A Worksheet for Math-Phobic Parents" gives good perspective on math and will help you resist throwing math under the bus when frustration sets in with your child and you.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

The Meds-for-ADHD Debate

Whether you read the balanced, August 19, 2012 NYTimes article "Raising the Ritalin Generation" or not, you only have to glance at the article's unfortunate accompanying graphic (displayed at the right) to receive the paper's intended negative impression of one approach to treating Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).

First read the article to take away your own impressions, then click over to Dr. Ned Hallowell's website to get a full and accurate understanding of ADHD, use of medications, and how to best support our children.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Getting Ready for College

"Six Life Tips to Guarantee Survival at College," a thoughtfully practical article crossed my path recently, and if you are thinking about packing up your daughter or son to begin a college career, you may want to read this article by Aileen Pablo.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Boomer Buddy Axiom — Generational Differences

Based on the previous post "Parent, Buddy, or Both?" I received this precious quote from a baby boomer friend who received this message from his mother when he was growing up.

“Remember one thing, as long as you live in my house you follow my rules; there is no democracy, I didn’t campaign to be your mother, and you didn’t vote for me.  We are mom and son by the grace of God, and I have an obligation to perform my role as your mother.  I’m not your pal, or your buddy, our age differences make that relationship impossible.  Whatever I ask you to do is motivated by love . . . You have to trust me, and will understand perfectly when you have a son.  Tough lady . . .”

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Parent, Buddy, or Both?

Can parents be both a parent and a buddy to their child?

Read the Sunday NYTimes"More than a Son, He's My Buddy" by Douglas Quenqua for an interesting perspective. 

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Feel Good TED Talk

You will love this one. Watch Neil Pasricha talk about the 3 A's — attitude, awareness, and authenticity — using one touching story after another. Here is "1000 Awesome Things," his famous blog link, in case you want to go there after seeing his Talk.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Raising Successful Children

In yesterday's NYTimes "Sunday Review" section, Madeline Levine's excellent article "Raising Successful Children" is a must read. Drawing from the work of Diana Baumrind and Carol Dweck, Levine points out several important parenting tips. 

I quote from the article:

  • . . . the optimal parent is one who is involved and responsive, who sets high expectations but respects her child's autonomy.
  • Hanging back and allowing children to make mistakes is one of the greatest challenges of parenting.
  • If you can't stand to see your child unhappy, you are in the wrong business.
  • When we do things for our children out of our own needs rather than theirs, it forces them to circumvent the most critical task of childhood: to develop a robust sense of self.
  • But we must remember that children thrive best in an environment that is reliable, available, consistent, and noninterfering.
  • Parents also have to be clear about their own values. Children watch us closely.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Benji @ 21 months

Notes from a parent:

"My son Benji threw a Billy Martin tantrum yesterday in the Wal Mart parking lot. I gave him the choice of walking into Wal Mart with me or riding in the cart. He wanted me to carry him. My back wasn't in the mood for that option, so he proceeded to sit down in the parking lot, take off his shoes, throw them, then throw his sippy cup, then stand up and kick his water bottle and shoes. It looked so ridiculous, I had a tough time not laughing."

Sunday, July 29, 2012

One way of using an iPad

Check out this generational video that answers a daughter's question, "So Dad, how do you like the iPad we got you?"

Saturday, July 21, 2012

The Child Whisperer

Over the past ten years I have been struck by how Dr. Maria Montessori's understanding of the child was so powerful. It inspired me to express her gift in an article I wrote that was recently published in Montessori Life. Here is the article, "The Child Whisperer."

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Manage or Lead? Do Both.

Here's something for all educators to think about whether leading colleagues or modeling for students.

This great quote comes from Erika Andersen's article in Forbes, "Manage or Lead? Do Both."

"Great leaders and great managers listen well, are curious, manage their self-talk, and hold themselves accountable for moving the business forward."

Friday, July 13, 2012

Grandparent Advice

  Stumbling upon this Brian Crane comic on the "Pickles" section of the ArcaMax website,  I asked, "Could this really happen?"  ; )

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Learning Flows When Kids Are in Their Element

I write a column for Public School Montessorian, a quarterly publication for "ideas and information intended to improve the lives of children and adults with public Montessori programs." My most recent column, "Learning Flows When Kids Are in Their Element" talks about children being in their element when it comes to learning what interests them.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Technology Expanding

In her book, Cathy N. Davidson author of Now You See It: How the Brain Science of Attention Will Transform the Way We Live, Work, and Learn quoted from "Exactly How Much Are the Times A-Changin?" Newsweek, July 26, 2010, (p. 56).

"By one recent accounting, in the last decade we've gone from 12 billion e-mails sent each day to 247 billion e-mails, from 400,000 text messages to 4.5 billion, from 2.7 hours a week spent online to 18 hours a week online."

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Why Teach Kindness

In his book Flourish, author Martin Seligman says "we scientists have found that doing a kindness produces the single most reliable momentary increase in well-being of any exercise we have tested."

Here is a beautiful quote from Aung San Suu Kyi to share with students and adults: 

"Every kindness I received, small or big, convinced me that there could never be enough of it in the world."  Kindness she said, "can change the lives of people."

(This was reported in the NYTimes on June 17, 2012 the day after Aung San Suu Kyi accepted her Nobel Peace Prize, which was originally awarded to her in 1991 while under house arrest in Myanmar, formerly known as Burma.)

Friday, June 22, 2012

How the Internet Works

What was life like without the Internet—for teachers, parents and our children? Coincidentally, I happened upon this YouTube video AND a piece that aired on WNYC/NPR,  "A Journey to the Internet Through Telecom's Past."

Watch the video then listen to the WNYC/NPR clip; both overlap nicely.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Memory After 60

"I can’t remember that song. I grew up with it; I should know it by heart."

"What was that author’s name? I just read her latest book."

"I can’t remember anything . . . like now, what’s your name? Only kidding, dear; how could I ever forget your name after 35 years of marriage?"

Until I read “Older Brain Really May Be a Wiser Brain” by Sara Reistad-Long in a past issue of Sunday’s NYTimes, I was getting pretty critical of what I remember or do not. Whether you are 30, thinking about your parents, or 60, thinking about yourself, read what the research is saying about . . . ah . . . let me go back and read the article.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

The Other Wes Moore

Wes Moore's NYTimes bestseller The Other Wes Moore is a must-read book for teachers, parents, and students. Having read the book and hearing the author speak at a diversity conference inspired me in so many ways — one of which was to present each of this year's graduates with a copy for their summer reading. Check it out. You won't be sorry.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Flourish with GRIT - 2 of 2

In Flourish, Seligman uses the equation: achievement = skill x effort where effort is the noncognitive ingredient and self-disciline is the character trait that engenders deliberate practice.

Angela Duckworth, a protege of Seligman, gives great advice on resilience and GRIT. She wanted to find out how self-discipline compares with IQ in predicting who will succeed. Here is Duckworth talking about GRIT. Take the time to hear what she has to say.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Flourish with Flourish - 1 of 2

I was first introduced to positive psychology when I heard Shawn Achor speak at a conference (Be sure to watch his TEDx Talk). I remember him mentioning a mentor of his, Martin Seligman, who is the founder of positive psychology. Now, after reading Flourish, Seligman's excellent book that presents, kindness, psychology from a positive point of view, happiness, well-being, meaning and purpose, and grit with lots of research-based data, I am convinced that it is the best way to navigate life for students and adults.

You might also want to view Seligman's TED Talk.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Please Don't Throw Math Under the Bus

Here is "Please Don't Throw Math Under the Bus," an article I wrote and is published in the Summer 2012 Independent School magazine. See if you agree with what the article says.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Learning About Diversity

Yesterday, a "pod" of 12 from my school, consisting of students, alumnae/i, teachers, parents, diversity coordinators, administrators, and trustees worked with 22 other school pods from the New York City independent school community to collaborate on building diversity in our schools. 

The full-day event hosted by The Dalton School held two highlights for me: hearing author Wes Moore talk about his NYTimes bestseller book The Other Wes Moore and listening to student participants present their reflections through poems, letters, and essays on
What diversity means to me . . .
My ideal school . . . 
Dearest School . . . 
Who am I . . . 
Three main things schools must address in diversity . . . 

Monday, May 14, 2012

2012 Summer Reading

Each summer our faculty and staff read a book from a collection chosen by our professional development committee. Here is a link to the post that displays the books that the committee chose last year.

This year the committee chose to focus on Dr. Maria Montessori, her life and work. Here are the books from which we can choose.

Children Who Are Not Yet Peaceful - Donna Brynt Goertz
Maria Montessori: A Biography - Rita Kramer
Montessori Learning in the 21st Century - M. Shannon Helfrich, Andre Roberfroid 
The Secret of Childhood - Maria Montessori

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Recipe for Anxiety

Here is a link to one of my articles, which is a recipe for anxiety, but don't worry, there is also a recipe for support soufflĂ©, which is much more comforting for youngsters and young adults. 

You choose the recipe that fits your family situation.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Joey Pigsa

When I asked our school librarian if there was a book about children taking medication, she pointed at the book
Joey Pigsa Loses Control, and that was my first introduction to author Jack Gantos. There is a whole Pigsa series, but this book is about 11-year old Joey who has to deal with ADD, and while visiting his father, Joey stops taking his medication. Gantos is also the author of the Rotten Ralph series.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Trust the Students

Last night I had the wonderful opportunity to see John Hunter's film "World Peace and Other 4th Grade Achievements" at a theater in Manhattan. The viewing was followed by a Q&A with John, film producer and director Chris Farina, and The Martin Institute for Teaching Excellence sponsor, Jamie Baker. 

Much like Montessori education, John's message, which came through loud and clear in his movie, was: Trust the students. You can click on my previous posts to learn more about this amazing man.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

5 Misunderstandings About Bullying

You'll want to read Dr. Danah Boyd's excellent article from the Wall Street Journal about bullying. Here are the beginnings of the five misunderstandings:
  1. Bullies usually aren't the source of the problem . . . 
  2. Not all meanness and cruelty is bullying . . . 
  3. "Cyberbullying" has become an unnecessary distraction . . .
  4.  When a child has been hurt, people want someone—or something—to blame . . .
  5. Most anti-bullying assemblies are ineffective . . .

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Between Now and Feed

Technology keeps exploding daily with amazing, new ideas. I think about the evolution of textbooks (printed, e-texts, and publish your own); music (vinyl, 8-track, cassettes, CDs, and MP3s); home movies (8mm, VHS, Flip HD cameras); and telephones (rotary, wireless, cellphone, Smartphone). You get the idea.

Will we ever get to what M. T. Anderson writes about in his futuristic, young adult book, Feed? I think so.

In case you have not seen Google Project Glass, click here to read and view the amazing video, "Project Glass: One day . . ."

From desktop computers, to laptops, to Smartphones, to glasses, to eventually a direct feed to our brains?

Saturday, April 14, 2012

9-Year Old?

If you are not one of the 1.6 million (as of this posting) viewers of "Caine's Arcade" and you love seeing talented 9-year olds, check out this beautiful video. It's worthy of viewing at a faculty meeting. There's more info about Caine Monroy at his website.

Sunday, April 8, 2012


There is a lot of hype regarding the documentary film "Bully" that will premier this Friday. Part of the rise in publicity is the rating it received from the Motion Picture Association of America. The R rating was assigned because of the real-life profanity used by children in the movie. Filmmakers struggled with the MPAA on whether to release their film as "unrated" or PG-13.

Having spent many years in middle school education, there is no doubt about how preadolescent/adolescent children can treat each other. Check out my July 11, 2009 post on bullying.

I suspect that the film will have an impact on educators and parents but may leave our children continually mired in the pitfalls of growing up. Here's the trailer . . .

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Inspiration for Students, Teachers, & Parents

So, you say you've had a bad day? When that happens, click on the video below to see and hear Rohan Murphy's story.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Smart v. Healthy

As I read management and leadership consultant Patrick Lencioni's latest book
The Advantage, I find it so eloquent when he states that teams/organizations need two requirements for success—"smart" and "healthy."

"Smart" includes
  • strategy
  • marketing
  • finance
  • technology
"Healthy" includes
  • minimal politics
  • minimal confusion
  • high morale
  • high productivity
  • low turnover
He goes on to say "if someone were to press me on which of the two characteristics of an organization, intelligence or health, should receive first priority, I would say without hesitation that health comes out a clear number one."

Monday, March 26, 2012

Center of the Story of the Universe

I never heard of Brian Swimme until I heard him speak at the AMS Annual Conference in San Francisco. His work on the universe is unbelievable and a challenge to wrap your arms around. Check out this trailer to his movie "Journey of the Universe":

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Working with Heads and Boards

I had a wonderful opportunity to present at the American Montessori Society (AMS) Annual Conference in San Francisco last week. Here are the slides I used in my presentation, "Fostering Relationships Between Heads of Schools & Boards of Trustees."

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Shame and Vulnerability

One of the keynote addresses I attended at the American Montessori Society (AMS) Annual Conference in San Francisco was by Dr. Brené Brown, presenting her work and analysis on shame and vulnerability. Here is her excellent TED Talk

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Benefits in Failure?

"The Benefits of Failure" by Peter DeWitt in EdWeek's Blog "Finding Common Ground" is an excellent perspective on kids and failure. It is a perfect follow up to my article "Rethinking the 'F' Word" that I wrote for Independent School magazine back in the fall of 2008.