Monday, April 28, 2014

failures of kindness

Sometimes my kids ask me, "What was the worst thing you did as a pre-teen and teenager?"

I know they are looking for a story about the hazards of smoking, or why you should never drink and drive, or … if only I had studied more.

But what I always say, and what is the most true for me, can be summed up in George Saunders advice to graduates last year:

"What I regret most in my life are failures of kindness." -George Saunders

Added April 29th:
Check out George Saunders' new book, Congratulations, By The Way. I just ordered it today after hearing him speak about it on The Diane Rhem Show.

Monday, April 14, 2014

transparent, relevant, meaningful, engaging, and inspiring

Over the weekend I read Digital Leadership: Changing Paradigms for Changing Times by Eric Sheninger. 

I follow Eric on twitter @NMHS_Principal. He's the principal at New Milford High School in New Jersey. His twitter feed focuses on leading and learning in the digital age. His creative work is a model for moving schools and districts forward. His emphasis for change begins with the use of social media and technology as a means to engage students, improve communication with stakeholders, enhance public relations, create a positive brand presence, discover opportunity, transform learning spaces, and help educators grow professionally.

As Eric says in his book…  Digital Leadership: Changing Paradigms for Changing Times presents a framework for leaders to harness the power of digital technologies in order to create school cultures that are transparent, relevant, meaningful, engaging, and inspiring.

Some of my favorite parts of the book were:
Leaders today must establish a vision and implement a strategic process that creates a teaching and learning culture that provides students with essential skill sets - creativity, communication, collaboration, critical thinking, problem solving, technological proficiency, and global awareness.
These skills and processes should be at the heart of every decision a leader makes and are key to providing students with the tools to succeed in jobs that have not yet been created. Consistent innovation, effective integration of technology, meaningful professional development, connecting beyond the walls of a brick-and-mortar building, and an open mind are all mandatory duties of a leader in the digital age. 

And, on a new type of learner:
Leaders of schools need to acknowledge that learners today are "wired" differently as a result of the experiential learning that is taking place outside of school. The learning styles of the active, digital learner conflict with traditional teaching styles and preferences.
Students today want to know things all of the time. In their world, they can use numerous digital tools to learn whatever they want, any time and from anywhere. These students have been raised in a technology-rich environment, accept that this environment is the norm, and they have grown up surrounded by digital devices that they regularly use to interact with other people and the outside world.

It is a sad reality that learners have transitioned to the Information Age while schools continue to operate under the constructs, ideas, and assumptions of the Industrial Age.


...with more digital leaders moving schools forward, real change can begin. Be sure to get this book for the leaders you know. Help change begin.

Also, be sure to listen to @NMHS_Principal interviewed by @coolcatteacher. (podcast #25)

Friday, April 11, 2014


Instructions for living a life.
Pay attention.
Be astonished.
Tell about it.

- Mary Oliver

Sunday, April 6, 2014

chosen with care

"Whatever words we utter should be chosen with care for people will hear them and be influenced by them for good or ill." - Buddha

Saturday, April 5, 2014

to be a hero...

To be a hero, you must:

"Do what you can, with what you have, where you are."
-Theodore Roosevelt

origami yoda

"Children are great imitators. 
So give them something great to imitate."