Tuesday, March 7, 2017

We've Got It From Here; Thanks For Your Service


Christopher Emdin Keynote:

After hearing Chris Emdin speak, I felt like I needed to dive deeper into his message. So I listened again ... this time annotating what I heard. Enjoy the notes below as you watch Chris Emdin's keynote...


1. Friends
    Education is the Civil Rights issue of our time.

2. Enemies
    Pitch products to schools.

3. Frenemies
    Speak the language but don't represent certain populations.


Dr. Christopher Emdin describes the Sudanese Dinka Tribe.

Claiming ownership back over your culture.

Martin Luther King 'Maladjusted' quote.

Be maladjusted. Break the norms of public education. Ask, "Why am I doing what I'm doing when I know it's not working?"  Be bold enough to be maladjusted.

A Tribe Called Quest

Inheriting the trauma of the institution of education. We become adjusted to the fact that young people have trauma. MLK would say, "I never intend to become adjusted to that fact."


Hiding under the umbrella of tech rather than focusing on the pedagogy.
Uncommon Cores
Engage in critical conversations with young people, cogenerative dialogues.

Preparing young people to move amongst the stars. Stem economy. Teaching to the lowest level of the new economy: a worker in the stem workforce - instead, provide students with equity.

Allow young people to teach us what we need to do. Creating spaces to allow young people to take the helm of the instruction. Coteaching


Chance The Rapper  @chancetherapper 

express intelligence and brilliance

Rachet - the worst of urban, the worst of grammar, rude

cultural expression - context/content/competition

The goal of school- construct and celebrate rachedemic identities.


Hiding behind fake numbers.

Broke people break people. Hurt people hurt people.

Educators seen as less than, and treat students as less than.




Achievement gaps

Project based learning - social emotional learning - extraction of context

They tried to bury us ... we are diamonds.


Why are there so few black male teachers?

Gloria Ladson-Billings

Be loud about good work.
Tell the truth and let the devil be ashamed.

Google - as modern workplace 

The hard part is being yourself.
It's completely possible to listen to hip-hop and have a PHD.

Have courage.

Never become adjusted to inequity and violence.

All youth benefit from being exposed to a more diverse and robust approach to teaching and learning.

Appreciate the complexity.


follow @chrisEmdin

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

We The People

Martin Luther King's "I Have A Dream" speech, as seen by Lincoln.
(via shorty.com)

Yesterday was Martin Luther King Day. Every year the remembrance of MLK Jr as a day of service grows for me. This year felt exceptionally poignant.

My favorite King quotes for a post 2016 America:

"Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter."

"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere."

"I have decided to stick with love. Hate is too great a burden to bear." 

"The time is always right to do what is right."

This MLK day has got me thinking... Have you seen Shepard Fairey's inauguration protest posters?

Check out the Kickstarter to get involved and support We The People. We decided to get started a little early:

We The People
Are Greater Than Fear

Happy Martin Luther King day! 
I hope your day was inspiring.

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

rise up

For a book club, I read The Gilded Hour by Sara Donati. I began reading it after the results of the November 8th Presidential election.  This work of historical fiction was just what I needed. The themes of women's rights, immigration, equality, politics and race were just the tonic I needed.

The Gilded Hour takes place in 1883 New York City. The primary protagonist is Dr. Anna Savard, a female surgeon. Dr. Savard is dedicated to women's health and women's rights at a time when contraception and abortion are illegal. Anna's cousin, Sophie Savard, is also a female OB/GYN - but as a "free woman of color" is confined not only by her gender but also by her race.

This is a long book - over 700 pages - but I learned so much history. An interesting part of the book is the Author's Notes at the end. In the Notes, the author tells us:
To really understand Manhattan in 1883 you have to forget the Manhattan you think you know. In 1883 there was no Ellis Island, Statue of Liberty, Flatiron Building, Times Square, or New York Public Library, to name just a few landmarks. 
The Comstock Act is not fiction. All of the incidents mentioned in the story - including Anthony Comstock's antics in and out of the courtroom - are based on the historical record, in particular on newspaper accounts. 

But what struck me the most was: 
Young people today (finally, I'm old enough to use that cliché) seem to have no real concept of how bad things were for women and, more importantly, could be again.

As I was reading this book, I would stop to ask questions and read portions aloud to my teenage children. 

"Did you know that in 1883 you could be imprisoned for buying birth control?" 

Or, listen to this:
"I'm on the side of women," she said, her voice hoarse. "Those individuals who actually bear and raise children. The human beings whom Malthusians and priests see as no more than mindless breeding stock."

In him Anna saw a man who was controlled by the most basic and childish of impulses, a man who had convinced himself that dealing out pain and humiliation was a sacred mission granted to him by a loving and discriminating God. Because he had earned that right. Most of all, Comstock was a man who would not forget or forgive. He would vent his anger on Clara if he could, and if not, on someone like her.

If you can, read this book with your teenagers. Remind young people how bad things were and how bad they could become again if we don't stand up for our rights and the rights of others.

Think of Steinbeck's quote from 1941:

“All the goodness and the heroisms will rise up again, then be cut down again and rise up. It isn’t that the evil thing wins — it never will — but that it doesn’t die.” 

This book has me looking into becoming a Planned Parenthood escort. I keep thinking about what steps I can take to ensure that women in my community have access to affordable birth control and the ability to plan and control their lives.

To quote Planned Parenthood Federation of America President Cecile Richards: 
"If women lose our rights to our bodies and to make our own decisions about pregnancy, that's just the beginning. We will lose our rights to everything else in America."

Monday, January 2, 2017

born a crime

One of my favorite books in 2016 was Born A Crime by Trevor Noah. I picked up a copy of the book after watching my favorite US Senator, Cory Booker, interview Trevor Noah on Politics and Prose.

I hadn't realized how little I knew about Apartheid. 
Be sure to read this book!

“I don’t regret anything I’ve ever done in life, any choice that I’ve made. But I’m consumed with regret for the things I didn’t do, the choices I didn’t make, the things I didn’t say. We spend so much time being afraid of failure, afraid of rejection. But regret is the thing we should fear most. Failure is an answer. Rejection is an answer. Regret is an eternal question you will never have the answer to. “What if…” “If only…” “I wonder what would have…” You will never, never know, and it will haunt you for the rest of your days.” ― Trevor NoahBorn a Crime

“I was blessed with another trait I inherited from my mother, her ability to forget the pain in life. I remember the thing that caused the trauma, but I don't hold onto the trauma. I never let the memory of something painful prevent me from trying something new. If you think too much about the ass kicking your mom gave you or the ass kicking that life gave you, you’ll stop pushing the boundaries and breaking the rules. It’s better to take it, spend some time crying, then wake up the next day and move on. You’ll have a few bruises and they’ll remind you of what happened and that’s ok. But after a while, the bruises fade and they fade for a reason. Because now, it’s time to get up to some shit again.” ― Trevor NoahBorn a Crime

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

bolstered by facts

Have you been following Teen Vogue on twitter? I started following their twitter feed in October for the amazing coverage of the Dakota Access Pipeline. But, since Saturday's op-ed by Lauren Duca titled “Donald Trump Is Gaslighting America” Teen Vogue has been making news and jumping onto everyone's radar.

29-year-old Elaine Welteroth became Teen Vogue's first black editor in chief in May of 2016. Since her arrival, Teen Vogue has been covering politics, feminism, identity, and activism.

For example:
Teen Vogue’s recent September issue, typically the month in which fashion magazines focus on upcoming trends, was noteworthy for its politically oriented content. It featured a personal essay by the presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, a conversation between the actor Amandla Stenberg with the feminist Gloria Steinem, and an interview with the U.S. attorney general Loretta Lynch, conducted by the black-ish star Yara Shahidi. The issue also introduced “21 Under 21,” the magazine’s “official guide to the girls and femmes changing the world.” The list of young activists, artists, and advocates featured few household names, but a notable majority of young people of color.

In the Lauren Duca interview on Amy Poehler's Smart Girls, when asked "What do you hope that teen girls will take from your op-ed?" Duca replied, "I want teen girls to feel empowered to form opinions about current events, to express them in a way that is bolstered by facts, and to never ever worry about seeming rude."

SG: What do you hope that teen girls will take from your op-ed?

LD: I want teen girls to feel empowered to form opinions about current events, to express them in a way that is bolstered by facts, and to never ever worry about seeming rude. In this fraught moment, young women are often silenced or treated as something silly and other, despite having an equal investment in the political future.

So I made some post-its with that quote and left them around town. I can't think of a more empowering wish for young women.

If you are looking for a holiday gift for the young women in your life, consider a subscription to Teen Vogue. Thoughtful, empathetic, fact based journalism will thank you for it.

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Love conquers Hate

This morning I saw news that a racial slur was sketched in the snow at the Idaho Black History Museum.

“Hating people because of their color is wrong. 
And it doesn't matter which color does the hating. 
It's just plain wrong.” 

I didn't know what to do. I am so angry and exhausted by hate. But, the 'better angels of our nature' got to me and I remembered that Love conquers Hate.

"We are not enemies, but friends. We must not be enemies. Though passion may have strained it must not break our bonds of affection. The mystic chords of memory, stretching from every battlefield and patriot grave to every living heart and hearthstone all over this broad land, will yet swell the chorus of the Union, when again touched, as surely they will be, by the better angels of our nature." 
- Abraham Lincoln inaugural-address

So I brought that message of Love to the Museum:

Tuesday, November 29, 2016


“Don't accept the world as it is. Dream of what the world could be - and then help make it happen.” - Peter Tatchell

November 8th, standing on a busy street corner, encouraging my fellow citizens to vote... and being flipped off by passing drivers.

It has been three weeks since the 2016 presidential election, and I'm still moving through the five stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. I am currently standing on that "and" caught between acceptance and depression.

I know there is no such thing as innocent bystanding; and I need to move on past acceptance and into action. It feels too  hard to do. But, I can do hard things.

Here are some Articles, Podcasts and Videos that I have found helpful...  that have moved me along:

And this just makes me so hopeful even when I feel things are hopeless...

Be kind to one another. 

I am especially grateful for all of you who are taking action for equality, empathy, inclusion, compassion, and justice for all.

Friday, October 7, 2016

build your way forward

Have you ever asked yourself... 

Why am I here?

What am I doing?

Why does it matter?

What is my purpose?

What's the point of it all?

By training yourself to think like a designer, you'll be able to figure out the answers.

This week I read the book Designing Your Life: How To Build A Well-Lived, Joyful Life by Bill Burnett and Dave Evans. I highly recommend this book as the Holiday Gift you can give to everyone and anyone.

Start investigating design thinking by watching the video above and listening to Bill and Dave on the Diane Rehm Show.

My favorite parts of the book:

I loved all the reframes! For example:

Dysfunctional Belief: To be happy, I have to make the right choice.  Reframe: There is not right choice - only good choosing. 
Dysfunctional Belief: I need to figure out my best possible life, make a plan, and then execute it.  Reframe: There are multiple great lives (and plans) within me, and I get to choose which one to build my way forward. 
Dysfunctional Belief: I should know where I'm going!  Reframe: I won't always know where I'm going - but I can always know whether I'm going in the right direction. 
Dysfunctional Belief: Life is a finite game, with winners and losers.  Reframe: Life is an infinite game, with no winners or losers.

I loved the idea of Wayfinding.
Wayfinding is the ancient art of figuring out where you are going when you don't actually know your destination. For wayfinding, you need a compass and you need a direction. Not a map - a direction.

In this book you will be introduced to five things you need to do - the five mind-sets you will need to move forward:

  1. be curious (curiosity)
  2. try stuff (bias to action)
  3. reframe problems (reframing)
  4. know it's a process (awareness)
  5. ask for help (radical collaboration)

You'll be so glad you read this book. Check out the NewYorkTimes article on thinking like a designer. Then, head over to the Design Your Life website. Watch this vimeo and this vimeo.

Start design thinking, and build your way forward.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016


The theme of the 2016 Boise TEDx is Reframing Radical

What a great theme! 

The TEDx Boise event organizers have assembled a diverse and inspiring group of speakers under the theme of ‘Reframing Radical.’ 

Speakers include:

Amy Pence-Brown 
Belma Sadikovic
Canwen Xu
Erin Guerricabeitia
Refik Sadikovic 
Marianna Budnikova
Justin Richie
Kenton Lee
Stephen Miller 
Nicole LeFavour
Jessica Holmes 
Esther Emery 
Jason Morales 
Eric Walton

Tickets for TEDxBoise 2016: Reframing Radical are available for sale for $93 at tedxboise.org

It got me thinking of my favorite radical reframing... Hamilton, the hip-hop, rap musical about Alexander Hamilton by Lin-Manuel Miranda. He completely and radically reframed the founding fathers and American history. Miranda's linguistic dexterity turned Hamilton's immigrant story into a phenomenon. Anyone who can make the Federalist Papers and America's treasury system exciting is an expert at radical reframing!

What other Reframing Radical examples can you think of?

While we await hearing from these great speakers in Boise, how can you radically reframe an idea you are working on?

I went through this blog and found a few of my favorites: