Saturday, September 19, 2015

Another edition of Dan Pink's email newsletter. It's such a bonanza and it is not too long...

Continuing Education

One of the quotes that I posted in my classroom recently was

"The person who doesn't read is no better off than the person who can't read."

That's a reminder that we have so many opprotunities to move ahead through treading.

Here's what I look foward to... the infrequent letter from Dan Pink.

Here is his latest list of links to explore.  I encourage you to sign up for his email letter.

Welcome to the latest edition of our irregular and irreverent newsletter. In this issue, you’ll find: a brand new interview feature called “Four Questions For”;  the best piece of software I’ve downloaded in years; 4 books, movies, and podcasts I’ve recently discovered; and our usual collection of 7 must-read articles.

Let’s get started.


We’re introducing a new feature here at the newsletter. I call it “4 Questions 4” (hereinafter “4Q4”). In every newsletter, I’ll enlist a smart writer with a new non-fiction book — and I’ll ask that person four questions. Four questions that cut through the clutter and get to the heart of what the writer is trying to say and what it means for readers. The same four questions every time. 

We launch 4Q4 with one of my favorite books of the year, How to Raise An Adult: Break Free of the Overparenting Trap and Prepare Your Kid for Success (Buy it at IndieBoundBarnes & Noble, or Amazon). Here are four questions for its author, former Stanford University Dean of Freshmen Julie Lythcott-Haims:
1. Julie, what’s the big idea?
We worry about neglectful parents, and rightly so. But there’s also harm at the opposite end of the spectrum: Overparenting. Whether via overprotection (think “bubble-wrapped kids”), overdirection (“tiger mom”), or too much hand-holding (“parent as concierge”) kids raised this way lack basic life skills, can’t think for themselves, don’t take the initiative, and suffer from alarming rates of anxiety and depression.
2. How do you know?
As Stanford’s freshman dean, I saw more students each year who needed a parent to tell them what to do, how to do it, or outright do it for them, and who couldn’t cope with even small setbacks. Colleagues nationwide saw the same. I realized overparenting was to blame when one night at dinner I began cutting my son’s meat (he was ten). I was already doing too much for him and was on track to be “that parent” who couldn’t let go of him at eighteen. 
3. Why should I care?
Parents: regardless of the short term “win” you achieve by overparenting (e.g. a higher grade), in the long term your kid will be mentally unwell, lack skills needed in the workplace, and be bewildered when you’re gone. Boomers and GenXers: we have to hand the mantle of leadership to these “kids” one day. If young adults increasingly lack the wherewithal to act and think like an “adult” – and lead our institutions and families one day – what’s to become of our society?
4. What should I do?
Teach kids to fend for themselves (e.g. wake themselves up, make a meal, keep track of their stuff, do their own work, meet deadlines, get places, talk to others, advocate for their needs, and bounce back from adversity). Here’s an easy four step method for teaching kids any skill: 1) do it for them; 2) do it with them; 3) watch them do it; 4) then they do it completely independently.
More: How to Raise an Adult


Ads on the web are kinda creepy, right?  

Say you visit a sports goods site looking for swim goggles, but don’t buy anything. For the next week, that jilted vendor will follow you to every other place you visit — your bank, your local newspaper, that dermatology site you checked when you had that weird rash — beckoning you with ads for goggles you’ve already decided you don’t want. If this happened in meatspace, you’d call the cops.

A few weeks ago, perhaps later than some of you, I found a solution. It’s called Adblock Plus - a browser extension that blocks ads. It’s free, open-source, and it works like a dream.

Now I’m no longer assaulted by ads (though I can whitelist certain sites from which I do want ads). And pages load much faster.

Of course, some argue that ad-blocking technology will kill certain web sites by denying them revenue. But my view is that these innovations will force publishers to create better, more useful, less annoying ads or figure out less creepy methods for paying their bills.

More: Adblock Plus 


Here’s some other stuff I’ve liked lately:

BOOK: The Speechwriter: A Brief Education in Politics. Barton Swaim’s vivid, funny, and often sad account of a few years writing speeches for a peculiar and persnickety southern Governor.

DOCUMENTARY: Going Clear. From HBO Films, a look inside the bizzaro world of Scientology. Riveting (and slightly terrifying). 

NEWSLETTER: Sunday New York Times Digest. Matt Thomas reads the Sunday Times so you don’t have to. No crossword help, though. 

PODCAST:   Hidden Brain. An amazing new show from NPR social science correspondent Shankar Vedantam. It launches next week, so be sure to subscribe now.  (Disclosure: I have a small role in this one). 

From my Instapaper account to your email inbox comes our most popular feature. Here are 7 articles that caught my eye and charged my brain: 

How to Graciously Say No to Anyone
The more time I spend on this planet, the more I realize that one secret to well-being is saying no. Austin Kleon explains how to do it with a touch of grace. 

How to Improve Your Writing: 5 Secrets From Hollywood
Structure, surprise, and the importance of being semi-miserable. More shrewd advice from Eric Barker.

What You Miss When You Take Notes on a Laptop
Shut the MacBook and take out a pen. You’ll be a better note-taker.

A World Without Work
Very thoughtful Atlantic article by Derek Thompson about automation, leisure, and the meaning of work.

The Coddling of the American Mind
Another great Atlantic piece, this one about the lunkheadedness of protecting college students from ideas they don’t like.

Not an Introvert, Not an Extrovert? You May Be an Ambivert?
The Wall Street Journal’s Elizabeth Bernstein on one of my favorite topics. 

Traffic signs with a heart ask you to stop - in the name of love
Luc Rinaldi at Macleans covers another topic near to my heart: Emotionally intelligent signage.

BONUS: If you’ve still got the time and the mental bandwidth, here is a short Wired story I wrote on the science of being happy at work. And here is a (not universally loved) PBS Newshour video essay I did explaining why parents, even nice ones, shouldn’t watch their kids' athletic events.

That’s all for this edition.  As always, thanks for reading our humble newsletter. 

Daniel Pink

Edmodo makes a mobile app to assist commuinication between teachers and parents

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Another way to introduce a person

"A beautiful young girl"
Why describe the person's exterior?  Why not say, "Here is an ethical person who volunteers twice a week at the hospital massaging the feet of old people."

The first minute contains the language that I'm describing.   Why can't we describe young women wihtout describing their physical attributes?

A discussion about Grades vs. "The Discussion Letter" (narratives)

A discussion about grades comes from pages 154-161 in The Big Picture.  Here's the essence:

At The Met, we use narratives not to rank students or compare them to each other, but to help each student understand what he or she must do to meet his or her own learning goals and needs. In other words, when a teacher reads a student’s paper, she is not reading it to mark the stu- dent’s progress in relation to a predetermined set of activities and goals, but to actually figure out what those activities and goals should be for that student. When you say you want to get rid of grades, some people think you want to get rid of standards altogether. It’s the exact opposite. Using narratives really forces schools to look more closely at each stu- dent’s accomplishments and gaps. The standards are determined in a really personalized way by developing an individualized learning plan, with goals and indicators of achievement for each student. Then it’s a matter of evaluating that student in a real-world way: assessing the student’s progress as it compares to what he or she will need in order to succeed in college and in life. When you think about it, you can’t hold students to any standard higher than that. 

Here are the screenshots.
Get the book (search terms)
"Big Picture 2004  Littky Amazon" 

See excerpts

 I want to wokr in a high school where these ideas are discussed.

Charter school in Brevard County (Palm Bay, Florida) has Aquaculture, Apps room and music in the cafeteria ... Proof that the teaching the ‘Whole Child’ is 21st Century Learning!

I was given a tour of Odyssey Charter School in Palm Bay by Dr. R. Harrison in September 2015.  Here are some highlights.
See the website 
Aquaculture in the front of the building
The school embraces projects -- and has a connection with agriculture. 

Apps room:  I saw pairs of students working with PLTW (Project Lead the Way) to design Apps, and other software using hi-tech coding and other gaming systems. The school has paired itself with Harris Technologies.

Sometimes the easiest way to learn about a good program that involves projects is to visit a school that found a good program.  Look at the PLTW website.

Music and Organic food in the cafeteria 
Food is prepared using organic and whenever possible, locally grown produce. Students enjoy the calming of a morning breakfast while various symphonic or jazz music plays in the background.
A parent posted this

The Farm at Odyssey
In front of the school, students engaged in the STEM program, collaborate with both their STEM Educator and an Organic Agricultural Specialist, in planning, designing, and building the school’s Aquaponics system. The Farm at Odyssey will eventually develop into a community program offering organic produce, and live fish (sold in buckets of water), which were born and raised in the Aquaponics system.

There is currently no Youtube account for the school because "there's no real need for marketing."  I hope that their best practices will soon be shown on YouTube so that my school might learn from watching how the Apps room is set up. 
Here is the webpage

The school does not have an active social media section because 'We have a waiting list.  It's not really a priority."  Well done.   Here is a link to the webpage.  Look at the Nutritional Guide

Here's the text that caught my attention:  I learned from these links.

This school raises the bar for all who teach ... 
And Dr. Harrison points out that schools in Connecticut go farther
Nutrition and Healthy Living Education

As a means to develop the full potential of every child, the school will offer nutrition education to all of its students. The student’s nutrition curriculum strand comes from Big Ideas: Linking Food, Culture, Health, and the Environment, written by the Center for Eco-literacy. Big Ideas offers key concepts drawn from the American Association for the Advancement of Science Benchmarks for Science Literacy. LIFE: Linking Food and the Environment is supporting curriculum published by Teachers College Columbia University. As described by LIFE curriculum, the modules increase scientific conceptual understanding in life science as well as improved attitudes toward personal health and nature. Positive behavioral changes in relation to personal and ecological health are encouraged.