What is Genius? Part 1: Calli’s Love Life

Finding genius is not about finding ability. Finding genius is about unlocking the creative potential of the human brain.

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Raising Competent Children Is Easier than Raising a Spoiled Brat

A teacher friend of mine recently transferred from a “Title One school to a school for Entitled Ones,” as she puts it. According to her the Title One children were generally appreciative, creative, resourceful and loving, the Entitled Ones (not all of them, of course) were demanding, unappreciative, disrespectful and very difficult to teach. Continue reading

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Continuing the Discussion of Gifted Education

Last week’s post began an important conversation about gifted education. Let it continue.  Project Bright Idea is showing that gifted education works for all children. The moral of the story is: “Treat students as if they are gifted and they will show up as gifted.” Take a look at the video and see what you think. Continue reading

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Parents and Teachers Building Empathy in Children

 “Hey, would you help me…”

Say this to children, and you will usually get an enthusiastic, “Sure.”

If you get a negative reaction, I can think of several possible causes off the top of my head: Continue reading

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How a Willful Child Can Become a Game Changing Leader (Hint: Have Fun Saying “No.”)

You can tell a good school from a bad one within minutes of walking in the door. All the humans are learning, and no one is making them. Everyone is taking responsibility.

Last June I walked through the gate in a chain-link fence that enclosed a mottled asphalt parking lot/playground and approached a steel door in a one-story brick building. A sign above the door read: Academy for Global Citizenship.

Buzzed in, I was immediately greeted by one of two busy people who escorted me down the hallway to the director’s office. I waited in the hallway so I could see what was going on. Continue reading

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Making Better Schools is a Local Enterprise

In the summer of 1974 I became principal of my first school. It was in trouble—such trouble, in fact, that I was the only person they could find to be its principal.

Demographic change had hit the school hard. White flight and other changes had dropped the enrollment to only 210 students, 38% of whom were now African American. The neighborhood of the school was what the real estate agents charmingly called “a little salt and pepper,” and everyone believed what one trustee whispered in my ear: “Research has shown that if a third of a school goes black, it goes all the way.” Continue reading

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In Education Failure IS an Option: New Myths for Successful Kids and Better Schools

In Education failure IS an option, and a pretty good one at that.

Fear of failure is not a big issue for most kids going off to first grade. Their life is not yet framed with questions of success and failure. Even after a year in kindergarten where their mission was to make friends, create, do fun things, and learn as much as they can, the concept of failure isn’t really on the brain, much.

Unfortunately, most schools try to change this. Our culture is obsessed with success and failure in the context of a pyramid model of society, Continue reading

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Blessings on the First Day of School

On the first day of school, Peter had had a good night’s sleep and a good breakfast. His teeth were brushed, his lunch and snack were in his backpack, and his favorite shirt was on his back. As his father scurried around the kitchen, he talked to Peter saying things like, “Have you got your lunch? Have you got your backpack?”

Peter was in the lead as they stepped out the door and down the steps to the car. Five feet from the car his father yelled: “Peter! You don’t have any shoes on!”

Looking down at his stocking feet, Peter saw that it was true and said, “Okay. But you don’t have to get mad at me.” Continue reading

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Procrustean Education

Procrustes was a blacksmith who had his house by the side of the sacred way between Athens and Eleusis in ancient Greece. Being a friendly, hospitable guy, though, Procrustes also ran an inn. When tired travelers came down the road, he would sometimes invite them in to spend the night.

The rooms in the Inn were equipped with special beds. When the guests lay down, if they were too long for the bed, a special guillotine-type knife would drop down and lop off whatever was hanging over the foot of the bed. If they were too short for the bed, they would be stretched to fit. Continue reading

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Pedagogy over Poverty

Between poverty and impoverished pedagogy there is a high correlation. Quality of education goes down with income.  Wealthier children go to better schools, and children who grow up in poverty have a very high probability of getting a bad education. We all know this.

Then we adults make the standard mistake of turning correlation into causation, Continue reading

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