Friday, December 25, 2020

Uncomfortable Conversations With a Black Man

Recently in a book club, I was introduced to Emmanuel Acho (former NFL player and now a Fox Sports analyst) and his book Uncomfortable Conversations With a Black Man. After rapidly reading the book — it is so good — I then discovered his series of YouTube videos with the same title. He is an amazing person and speaks so well about racism and all of the many issues that go along with it.

Get to know the author via one of his many YouTube videos:

Saturday, December 12, 2020

Reflections: Online Learning, Distance Teaching, and Life in the Midst of COVID-19

"Reflections: Online Learning, Distance Teaching, and Life in the Midst of COVID-19" is an article I wrote for the National Association of Independent School's (NAIS) Fall 2020 Independent Teacher publication. 

Along with my reflections, you will find many links to stories I read to children and shared with them during the initial online learning/teaching as a result of the pandemic. Feel free to use them with your children.

Also, the other articles in this edition of Independent Teacher are excellent.

Friday, November 20, 2020

Dedicated to Doing What is Best for Others

The book group I am a part of read Reading With Patrick by Michelle Kuo, and we could not believe the devotion and dedication the author demonstrated throughout the book. How she and Patrick endured the crass racism and inhumanity is difficult to believe. To give you a quick overview on the setting of the story and how some things just do not change in life, read this article from the November 15  NYTimes "No One Should Have to Live Like This" by Catherine Flowers.

You can get to know the author better by watching her TEDx Talk . . .

Friday, November 6, 2020

Supporting Staff Morale in Our Schools

In a recent National Association of Independent Schools NAIS Bulletin (Oct. 14), an often overlooked essential practice was highlighted; it is especially important during times of stress and crisis in our schools. No matter what school you are leading—public, independent, charter, special education, virtual, daycare—do check out this graphic to see what actions can be taken to support staff morale during the pandemic.

Friday, October 16, 2020

Powerfully Uplifting TED Talk

Here is a special, must-see TED Talk (over 2.5M views) that gives perspective as we make our way through this pandemic. 

"Imagine being unable to say, "I am hungry," "I am in pain," "thank you," or "I love you,” — losing your ability to communicate, being trapped inside your body, surrounded by people yet utterly alone. For 13 long years, that was Martin Pistorius’s reality. After contracting a brain infection at the age of twelve, Pistorius lost his ability to control his movements and to speak, and eventually he failed every test for mental awareness. He had become a ghost. But then a strange thing started to happen — his mind began to knit itself back together. In this moving talk, Pistorius tells how he freed himself from a life locked inside his own body."

Friday, October 2, 2020

Five Undeniable Facts of Life

 This is such a wise video about life. It takes less than two minutes to view. We all need a refresh—especially during this pandemic—of what is important in life.

Friday, September 18, 2020

Virtual Learning for Young Children?

In the midst of children going back to school and teachers and parents trying to figure out how this will all work, here is a precious video of young children engaged with each other virtually. Yes, it can work!

This video is from Greenpoint Montessori a one-room schoolhouse in Brooklyn, New York for children 30 months to five years.

Friday, September 4, 2020

Learning More About Critical Racial & Social Justice Education

White Fragility by Robin DiAngelo has been on the NYTimes BestSeller list for 21 weeks and as of this post, is #7. Robin is an academic, lecturer, author, and has been a consultant and trainer on issues of racial and social justice for more than 20 years.

Here is an introduction to the book: "Referring to the defensive moves white people make when challenged racially, white fragility is characterized by emotions such as anger, fear, and guilt, and by behaviors including argumentation and silence. These behaviors, in turn, function to reinstate white racial equilibrium and prevent any meaningful cross-racial dialogue."

The interview below will give further insight into her take on race and her powerful book.

Here is a link to an interviews with the author: Teaching Tolerance Interviews Robin DiAngelo: White Fragility in the Classroom (30:28)  

Finally, here is an extensive article that she wrote back in 2012, "Nothing to Add: A Challenge to White Silence in Racial Discussions" you might like to dive into for more good thinking by Dr. DiAngelo

Friday, August 21, 2020

Using the NAIS Trustee Table Podcast with COVID-19


The National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS) has a podcast The Trustee Table that is perfect for nonprofit board growth and development. It can be used for onboarding of new trustees/directors and ongoing board professional development work. Podcasts usually run 15 to 25 minutes in length.

Here is an excellent, timely podcast sample: "COVID-19 Generative Governance - Board Guidelines from Dr. Richard Chait," Dr. Chait, by the way, is my favorite guru on nonprofit governance. I look at his book Governance as Leadership as the governance bible. New York City heads of school collaborated to have him as a keynote speaker when I was the head at Brooklyn Heights Montessori School in Brooklyn, NY.

Friday, August 7, 2020

Meet Sal Khan and Khan Academy

Khan Academy has been around for a number of years.

“In 2004, Sal Khan, a hedge fund analyst, began making math tutorials for his cousins. Twelve years later, Khan Academy has more than 42 million registered users from 190 countries, with tutorials on subjects from basic math through economics, art history, computer science, health, medicine and more.” (From TED website)

Saturday, July 25, 2020

Children Are Quick

These came from a recent friendly email . . . 

TEACHER: Why are you late?
STUDENT: Class started before I got here.
TEACHER: John, why are you doing your math multiplication on the floor?
JOHN: You told me to do it without using tables.
TEACHER: Glenn, how do you spell 'crocodile?'
TEACHER: No, that's wrong
GLENN: Maybe it is wrong, but you asked me how I spell it.
(I Love this child)
TEACHER: Donald, what is the chemical formula for water?
TEACHER: What are you talking about?
DONALD: Yesterday you said it's H to O.
TEACHER: Winnie, name one important thing we have today that we didn't have ten years ago.
TEACHER: Glen, why do you always get so dirty?
GLEN: Well, I'm a lot closer to the ground than you are.
TEACHER: Millie, give me a sentence starting with ' I. '
MILLIE: I is..
TEACHER: No, Millie..... Always say, 'I am.'
MILLIE: All right... 'I am the ninth letter of the alphabet.'
TEACHER: George Washington not only chopped down his father's cherry tree, but also admitted it.
Now, Louie, do you know why his father didn't punish him?
LOUIS: Because George still had the axe in his hand...
TEACHER: Now, Simon, tell me frankly, do you say prayers before eating?
SIMON: No sir, I don't have to, my Mum is a good cook.
TEACHER: Clyde, your composition on 'My Dog' is exactly the same as your brother's.
Did you copy his?
CLYDE : No, sir. It's the same dog.
TEACHER: Harold, what do you call a person who keeps on talking when people are no longer interested?
HAROLD: A teacher

Friday, July 10, 2020

A Must Read for School Communities

I'm Still Here: Black Dignity in a World Made for Whiteness by Austin Channing Brown is a powerful best selling book. It is currently #4 on the NYTimes Bestsellers list. The book is a perfect read for school communities. Faculty, middle and high school students, and parents will learn so much about race, class, dignity, DEI (Diversity, Equity, Inclusion), and humanity. This would make for subsequent healthy virtual discussions within a school community.

You can get to know Austin by watching this amazing video.

Friday, June 26, 2020

Stories For Children . . . and Parents

Reading to children has always been a treat for me. During the pandemic, I have not been able to be with them in their classrooms, so I read to my iPhone and passed the links on to the teachers and parents. Here are the links to most of my video reads. Hope they can help you.

Fish Story (5:05) (Ages 3 - 7)
Boffo The Great Motorcycle Race  (3:38) (Ages 3 - 7)
The Lion Roared (8:08) (Ages 6 and up)
Cinderella (10:17) (Ages 4 – 7)
Socks for Supper (4:43) (Ages 3 – 7)
Miss Nelson is Missing (6:07) (Ages 4 – 7)
DUDE (5:07) (Ages 3 – 7)

Saturday, June 13, 2020

School Online Resources

So much is happening in education—on all levels—and will continue into the summer, fall, and the 2020-21 school year.

In January a colleague of mine took on the role of Head of School of ICL (Institute for Civic Leadership) Academy, which is a 100% virtual school (grades 7-12) affiliated with the Dwight School. He passed on to me the following: “Our platform of fully developed high school classes can be used by schools to enhance or replace the online learning they have been thwarted into. The courses would be theirs to use, as a white-labeled resource. They are designed to be engaging, allow for regular interaction with the teacher, have a built-in grade book, embedded videos and assessments.”

"The next evolution in education is ICL (Institute for Civic Leadership) Academy, a transformative private online school for grades 7-12 that connects students’ passions with personalized academics, using the best in educational technology and philosophy to meet the demands of today’s generation. At ICL Academy, students achieve college readiness in addition to jumpstarting the career of their choosing, whether it’s performing arts, athletics, entrepreneurship, or more.

Our nearly 150-year-old academic tradition is rooted in the history and mission of the renowned Dwight School, and is underpinned by the Institute for Civic Leadership’s award-winning youth leadership and character-building program."

Friday, May 29, 2020

In Spite of COVID-19, Never Give Up

I love this video for kids, teachers, AND parents. It provides a little boost in life and what we need as we go through "paralysis analysis" in determining next steps for our children, schools, AND homes.

Friday, May 15, 2020

A Look at the Pandemic

I find myself asking what are we learning from this historic pandemic?

Some thoughts and resources . . .

Humanity is far better off when everyone is working together, rather than forming tribes and forcing people to care for their tribe rather than caring for humanity, especially when we look at the world population. In America, we experienced this humanity/tribe effect before, during, and after the Civil War and World War II.

Tribes and the evolution of humanity are so well explained in the popular book Sapiens by Yuval Noah Harari—see my June 9, 2019 blog post, and in Sebastian Junger's book Tribesee my July 8, 2016 blog post. Both books can be helpful in understanding where we are as a global society in the midst of this pandemic.

One last resource is equally powerful: the podcast "Making Sense" with Sam Harris and his May 1 conversation with Yuval Noah Harari. It has so much good pandemic perspective information on what is going on around us during these difficult time.

Friday, April 17, 2020

Autism: A Fresh Look

I first posted information on autism on June 24, 2010 with Loving Lampposts - A Movie About Autism. Next came Neurodiversity posted August 26, 2016 and then, Neurodiversity: A most Important Word & Topic, which was posted March 31, 2017 and featured Steve Silberman's popular TED Talk and his precious book NeuroTribes: The Legacy of Autism and the Future of Neurodiversity.

Now, here is a thoughtful and first-hand TED Talk account of autism "What it's really like to have autism," Ethan Lisi's beautiful, personal story he presented in February 2020. This is so good.

Friday, April 3, 2020

Reading to Children — At Home

The Covid-19 pandemic has caused our schools to close and forced our children to work at home. The Joy of Reading to Children is an earlier post that talks about the importance of reading to children. This post also has an article I wrote about reading to children. See what you think. In the meantime—parents and teachers—here is a video your young ones might enjoy.

Friday, March 20, 2020

Being Mindful of Meditation

I am learning more and more about the advantages of meditation, especially as it pertains to leadership. Having recently finished Wherever You Go There You Are by Jon Kabat-Zinn and having watched the two short videos below, I am sold on the beauty and benefits of meditation. And, after you watch the videos below, I hope you might be enticed to give meditation a try. Be patient with yourself; it does take practice.

Friday, March 6, 2020

Meet Derreck Kayongo

I had a wonderful opportunity to meet Derreck and write about our interview. Click here to read the article recently published in Montessori Life.

From the opening paragraphs of the article:

Derreck Kayongo is an entrepreneur and the former CEO of the National Center for Civil and Human Rights. He founded the Global Soap Project (now acquired by Clean the World), a humanitarian aid organization for collecting discarded and unused soap from thousands of hotels worldwide, reprocessing it, then distributing it to in-need populations around the world. The organization battled global health issues in 90 countries, and hygiene-related diseases, and the resulting deaths have dissipated in many at-risk communities.

Kayongo will be the closing keynote speaker at the Montessori Event 2020, March 12–15, in Dallas ( In his talk, “Harnessing Your Power to Create Change,” he will share his visionary ideas about creating an environment in which everyone is empowered to thrive.

His TEDx Talk that will give you a great introduction to him and his special work.

Friday, February 21, 2020

New Kid - 2020 Newbery Book Award

Jerry Craft won this year's [2020] Newbery Medal for the most outstanding contribution to children's literature for New Kid, a book focused on the struggles of a seventh grade student of color who has been sent to a prestigious private school with little diversity.” (From npr reporter Colin Dwyer)

Meet author and illustrator, Jerry Craft, of this fabulous book . . .

Friday, February 7, 2020

Tragedy of the Commons

I happened upon this concept recently and found that it makes so much sense.

"The tragedy of the commons is a situation in a shared-resource system where individual users, acting independently according to their own self-interest, behave contrary to the common good of all users by depleting or spoiling the shared resource through their collective action." [Link to this and other links on the topic]

Here is a neat video to help . . .