March 11 - March 18, 2018

Many additions to ongoing narratives this week: the role of play and risk in learning, what alternative assessment models might look like, the state of media literacy, and more.

New this week, however, is the "Safety" category, prompted by recent polling from Gallup on safety measures following Parkland.

I'm interested in the quirky but fascinating conversation going on about tree intelligence. Whether or not there is any kind of plant consciousness, their surprisingly social behavior offers provocative perspectives on how people behave.

Enjoy these, this week's robust section on school leadership, and more!



UK Schools Are Intentionally Building "Risk-Enhanced" Playgrounds New York Times
"Out went the plastic playhouses and in came the dicey stuff: stacks of two-by-fours, crates and loose bricks. The schoolyard got a mud pit, a tire swing, log stumps and workbenches with hammers and saws... Now, Ms. Morris says proudly, 'we have fires, we use knives, saws, different tools,' all used under adult supervision."

How To Not Give Grades, Complete With Alternative Assessments Jesse Stommel
"I haven't put grades on student work since I started teaching as instructor of record in 2001... none of the institutions where I've worked (including R1s, community colleges, liberal arts colleges) has entirely dictated how I had to approach assessment--at every single one there was sufficient wiggle room for experimentation."


A Town Wrestles With Teen Vaping (See: Great Infographics, Too) East Aurora

More On The Rise In Sexting Among Teenagers New York Times

"And experts say that rather than being shocked to find that kids are sexting, we should instead be talking about it from an early age, just as we should about other aspects of their developing sense of their sexual identities."


"Reimagining The High School Transcript" - A Conversation NAIS


Exercise Into Older Age Keeps Muscles And Immune System Young New York Times

"Older cyclists are not like most of the rest of us. They are healthier. They are, biologically, younger. Their muscles generally retained their size, fiber composition and other markers of good health across the decades, with those riders who covered the most mileage each month displaying the healthiest muscles, whatever their age. The impacts on riders' immune systems also were marked."


On The Value Of Focus And Unfocus Harvard Business Review

Going To University Changes More Than Academics, It Changes Character Pac. Std.

"A university education has a positive impact on two key personality traits--extroversion and agreeableness."


A Growing Sense That Trees Communicate, But Is It Intelligence? Smithsonian

"For young saplings in a deeply shaded part of the forest, the network is literally a lifeline. Lacking the sunlight to photosynthesize, they survive because big trees, including their parents, pump sugar into their roots through the network... To communicate through the network, trees send chemical, hormonal and slow-pulsing electrical signals, which scientists are just beginning to decipher."


How Do You Generate New And Interesting Ideas? (A Twitter Thread) Twitter

On How Verbal And Visual Thinking Fuel Creativity Medium


MIT OpenCourseWare Creates Portal For Educators MIT OpenCourseWare

Universities Start Cutting Humanities Depts. Forbes Calls It "Wrongheaded" Forbes

danah boyd Questions Media Literacy, Fields Questions Medium


How One Program Identified 3x As Many Gifted Black And Latino Students  NYT


Cooper Union Plans To Return To Free Tuition... In 10 Years Inside Higher Ed


"Americans Name The 10 Most Significant Historic Events Of Their Lifetimes" Pac Std.

"The Humanities Are Dead. Long Live The Humanities." Pacific Standard


Merriam Webster Adds 850 New Words in 2017, Including "Embiggen" io9


You Can't Be Busy All The Time And Be A Great Leader Know Your Company

How An Organization Reinvented Itself Through Hiring (Volvo) Harv. Bus. Review

On The Importance Of Leadership For Systemic Change New York Times
"Researchers from the University of Minnesota and the University of Toronto studied 180 schools across nine states and concluded, 'We have not found a single case of a school improving its student achievement record in the absence of talented leadership."

How Performance Reviews Can Make Or Break Organizations Gallup
"Today's top talent does not want a boss, they want a coach. Managers should establish expectations, coach, and create accountability."


Conversation Is Key. Talk With--Not To--Kids To Maximize Learning Hechinger Report

Let's Not Throw Away Direct Instruction Just Yet Larry Cuban


"Broad Agreement On Most Ideas To Curb School Shootings" Gallup

"Most U.S. Teachers Oppose Carrying Guns In Schools" Gallup


Everything You Wanted To Know About: Email Quartz


John Maeda's 2018 Design In Tech Report Slideshare


Is Political Activism (Read: Campus Walkouts) Good For Kids? New York Times

Why Schools Should Encourage Civil Disobedience, And Also Punish It  74 Million

Key Words Used By People With Depression The Conversation

What Students Believe About Free Speech Knight Foundation

8 Lessons From Visiting Over 200 Schools In 50 States Washington Post
"Sixth, I was encouraged to visit districts, and even states, that are transforming their schools -- all of their schools. Their leaders bring a compelling message about the urgency of change and lay out aspirational possibilities. They prioritize essential competencies, not state-mandated tests and obsolete curriculum. They trust teachers to lead the way, both in managing classrooms and designing next-generation assessments."