Friday, December 25, 2015

Exploring The Adolescent Brain

Brainstorm: The Power and Purpose of the Teenage Brain by Daniel Siegel, M.D. is one of the most hopeful books on adolescence. Siegel explores life between the ages of 12 and 24 and offers "Mindset Tools" along the way. I love the way he explains the essence of the adolescent brain —

"ES: Emotional Spark
SE: Social Engagement
N: Novelty
CE: Creative Exploration

This is the essence of living well during adolescence and during the adult years. . . Adol-ESSENCE. Or: Adolescence is Adult-ESSENCE."

Friday, December 11, 2015

No Matter How Busy We Get, Remember The Importance of Family

During this holiday time . . . here is a video to watch. With over 40M views, I think you will appreciate its message.

Friday, December 4, 2015

Kids, Job, Personal Life, . . .

Does this sound familiar to you?

“Children are much more likely than not to grow up in a household in which their parents work, and in nearly half of all two-parent families today, both parents work full time, a sharp increase from previous decades.

What hasn’t changed: the difficulty of balancing it all. Working parents say they feel stressed, tired, rushed and short on quality time with their children, friends, partners or hobbies, according to a new Pew Research Center survey.”

And — if you have the time : ) — read Jenifer Senior’s good book All Joy and No Fun.

Friday, November 27, 2015

Good Advice on Bullying

Recently, I had the opportunity to sit with Aija Mayrock for an interview about her personal experiences with bullying and how she came to write her book, The Survival Guide to Bullying, that is a big global hit.  Here is her website and below is the 15-minute interview we did together.

Watch to hear the advice she gives on
•  how a school can build an environment where there is no bullying
•  a list of good resources — books and videos
•  cyberbullying
•  recommendations she gives to
          ->  teachers
          ->  parents
          ->  a child who is being bullied
          ->  a child who is bullying

Also, you will hear her inspirational roem — rap poem.

Friday, November 20, 2015

Hey, New Teacher, Don't Quit. It Will Get Better

For both beginning and veteran teachers, this is a must-listen-to report from npr.

"Hey, New Teachers, Don't Quit. It Will Get Better."

Having served as a Director of the New England New Teachers Seminar and as a Director of the New York State Association of Independent Schools (NYSAIS) Beginning Teachers Institute for many years, I know how important it is for veteran teachers to step up and support our newest colleagues. So much of our work as educators is working with our newest teachers and supporting their enthusiasm until they find their stride.

Friday, November 13, 2015

"Students Selecting Their Reading . . .

. . . with Guidance, Confidence, and Independence" is an article I wrote and was just published in the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS) Independent Teacher magazine.

Read the article to learn "What is appropriate reading for our students? When is the right age and time to introduce sensitive books to them? How do we guide with a goal of letting students choose for themselves?"

Friday, November 6, 2015

Bad Boys

In a true The Simpsons style, i.e. animated shows and children's literature written on both child and adult levels, the book Bad Boys by Margie Palatini and Henry Cole is great fun to read. I'll let the brief video below serve as an "appetizer" to the book.

Friday, October 30, 2015

What's a Great Boss?

“7 Things That Make Great Bosses Unforgettable” by Travis Bradberry (author of Emotional Intelligence 2.0) in Forbes / Leadership online magazine is a must read.

From the article . . .

"Any of us can study the unique qualities of unforgettable bosses to learn valuable skills.
  1. Great bosses are passionate.
  2. They stand in front of the bus.
  3. They play chess not checkers.
  4. They are who they are, all the time.
  5. They are a port in a storm.
  6. They are human.
  7. They are humble."

Friday, October 23, 2015

More on Marshmallow Test

Having read the The Marshmallow Test by Walter Mischel and having seen the marshmallow test video, I bumped into this interesting article that takes the four-decade-old study a step further.  Read the update from the Washington Post article "Recent 'Marshmallow Test' shows impulse control, other traits not fixed" by Michael Alison Chandler.

Friday, October 16, 2015

Emotional Intelligence 2.0

A must read book, Emotional Intelligence 2.0 by Travis Bradbury & Jean Greaves will help you and your interaction with others. Easy to read and full of excellent examples.

Here are some quotes from the book that I think you will appreciate:

•   "Emotional intelligence is your ability to recognize and understand emotions in yourself and others, and your ability to use this awareness to manage your behavior and relationships."

•   "Listening and observing are the most important elements of social awareness."

•   "Working on a relationship takes time, effort, and know-how. The know-how is emotional intelligence."

•   "Social awareness is centered on your ability to recognize and understand the emotions of others."

Friday, October 9, 2015


To understand what mindfulness is and how it can have a direct impact on our children, read this excellent article from the August 31, 2015 issue of The Atlantic. "When Mindfulness Meets the Classroom" by Lauren Cassani Davis will direct you to the Center for Mindfulness at UMass website where you dive deeper into this growing educational resource, and at the site, you will be able to view a 60 Minutes piece with Anderson Cooper.

Friday, October 2, 2015

The Shorter Runway

As a follow up to my last post, here is an excellent TED Talk with model Cameron Russell. "Looks aren't everything. Believe me, I'm a model."

With over 11M views, you will find this very touching, honest, and powerful.

Friday, September 25, 2015

The Longest Runway

“Models have 45 seconds to present the latest fashions to people sitting on either side of the 60-foot runway they walk. With spotlights illuminating every inch of the way, each model’s gait, poses, and gestures help entice retailers to buy. There is another much longer runway—a runway that parents use to model for their children. Instead of displaying fashions, parents present habits, opinions, actions, and life skills for children’s viewing.”

So begins my article, "The Longest Runway," recently published in Montessori Life. Give it a read and share with teachers, parents, and anyone who is close to children.

Friday, September 18, 2015

A Challenge in Syllabification

How much do you think about breaking words down into their syllables? Unless you teach elementary children, probably not much. Well, check out this video to see a word that has 58 syllables.

Friday, September 11, 2015

Brené Brown on Vulnerability, Worthiness, Courage & Shame

I was fortunate to see and hear Brené Brown yesterday evening at a nearby lecture series. I first heard Dr. Brown speak in San Francisco at an American Montessori Society Conference. Once I heard her, I posted her TED Talk on March 18, 2012 so more people might hear her great message.

If you do not get a chance to read one of her bestselling books, Daring Greatly or  The Gifts of Imperfectiondo at least, watch her TED Talk. Her newest book Rising Strong was released August 25, 2015.

Friday, September 4, 2015

Happiness — a la Shawn Achor

I first heard Shawn Achor speak in November 2008. At that time he was a big hit. He has gotten even bigger talking about his favorite subject, happiness. His book The Happiness Advantage: The Seven Principles of Positive Psychology That Fuel Success and Performance at Work is a bestseller. If you have not already done so, be sure to watch his TED Talk "The happy secret to better work" that — of this writing — has been viewed by over 11M people. I am in the middle of his latest book Before Happiness: The 5 Hidden Keys to Achieving Success, Spreading Happiness, and Sustaining Positive Change and am happy reading it.

Visit him at GoodThink— a fabulous resource where you will be greeted with . . .

Welcome to GoodThink!

The goal of GoodThink is to make you happier. We do that by bridging the gap between academic research and the real world, so that our message is not only instructive and inspirational, but evidence-based. We’ve gathered a team of world renowned researchers, speakers, and trainers to deliver this information to organizations around the globe. But talent, degrees, and reputation alone do not ensure integrity. Our team believes that research should be lived, so as a company we strive to embody what we teach.

Saturday, August 29, 2015


This past Sunday I read an article in the NYTimes ("Dinner and Deception" by Edward Frame) about waiting on tables that included a mnemonic waiters use, "raise on the right and lower on the left"; it is used when they are clearing and serving tables. That got me to think about how helpful mnemonics can be for children and adults. Here are a few of my favorites:
  • I before E except after C or when sounded A as in "neighbor" and "weigh" (helpful when spelling words when letters I and E come together)
  • Red, right, return (where the red buoy should be upon returning to port)
  • Roy G. Biv (colors of the spectrum — red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, violet)
  • Please excuse my dear aunt Sally. (order of mathematical operations — parenthesis, exponents, multiplication, division, addition, subtraction)
  • Red sky in the morn, sailors take warn. Red sky at night, sailors delight (when referring to weather forecasting)

Friday, August 21, 2015

Leadership: The Power of Telling Stories

One of my favorite books is Robert Coles's The Call of Stories: Teaching and the Moral Imagination, a book I discovered during my work with the Klingenstein Center at Teachers College. Well, here is an excellent article by Julie Winkle Giuliani, "What's Your Story? Leadership and Storytelling" that I discovered in BoardSource's SmartBlog on Leadership.

I love the closing quote in the article by Howard Gardner — "Stories are the single most powerful tool in a leader's toolkit."

Friday, August 14, 2015

What's Worse . . . Failure or Success?

". . . we, as teachers, go out of our way to say we need students to take risks in the classroom, and yet we don't practice what we preach because we are concerned about failing in front of our colleagues. If we feel this way...why do we expect students to feel differently? Isn't it hypocritical to expect differently from them?"

This quote is from the Education Week article by Peter DeWitt, "What's Worse . . . Failure or Success?" Give it a read and see what you think.

Friday, August 7, 2015

Appreciating Classical Music With a Chuckle

Whether you like classical music or not, please watch this TED Talk and share it with friends. Entertaining, instructional, and filled with much humor and thoughtful analysis, Zander is a master at getting people, including children, to appreciate classical music and "shining eyes."

Friday, July 31, 2015

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Good Job

According to Alfie Kohn in this recent Washington Post article "Things We Say to Kids That Sound Positive But Can Be Detrimental" sheds new and interesting light on the value of saying "Good job" to children. Here is a quintessential Kohn quote from the article:

“How can we help children grow up to be happy? That’s an important question, but here’s another one: How can we help children grow up to be concerned about whether other people are happy? We don’t want our kids to end up as perpetually miserable social activists, but neither should we root for them to become so focused on their own well-being that they’re indifferent to other people’s suffering. Happiness isn’t a good thing if it’s purchased at the price of being unreflective, complacent, or self-absorbed.”

To my CMSM colleagues, be sure to read the entire article.