May 6 - May 13, 2018

Applications for the 2018 Athena Summer Fellowship are open!  More details below.

The second feature article is about teaching writing, but its lessons are at the core of what I've found to be at the heart of making most anything an automatic skill: practice regularly, which often means in small chunks, and share your work (make it social).

Also this week: Childish Gambino's "This is America," tech dystopias in the present (robots that run, digital AI assistants that sound human), and strategies to help kids love math.


Sunday, May 13, 2018

Dear Readers,

An invitation: Athena is looking for excellent, passionate, and diverse high school humanities teachers for a limited number of Summer Fellowships.  Ideal candidates are English, History, Humanities, or Religion/Philosophy teachers hungry to find and join communities of educators with shared interests, teachers eager to share their best and favorite assignments, classroom activities and discussion questions, teachers excited to offer feedback to help others.

Athena Summer Fellowships are not geographically restricted; teachers can participate from any location with internet access.  Fellowships have a flexible weekly schedule (5-7 hours/week) and include a $500 stipend.  Here’s what teachers said about their experience during a pilot last summer:

“Athena is the best experience I have had in terms of connecting with other teachers online.”

“This experience was a great example of how truly constructive criticism can build community and encourage even better work to take place. I felt validated by my fellow teachers.”

“It felt like the big, collaborative English department I've always wanted to have. Maybe even better, because some of the teachers I was collaborating with came from history and religion departments.”
Do you know teachers who might be interested in joining the 2018 Summer Fellowship cohort?  Find more information online, download a PDF overview to share, or apply now.  The 2018 cohort will support up to 50 teachers.  Applications close on May 24.  Responses by May 31.

Please forward this invitation to anyone you think might be a good fit.  Thank you!



May 6 - May 13, 2018


Making The Case For Innovation Systems (In Higher Ed) Educause
"In general, higher education institutions have sound and rigorous processes for known, incremental, and precedent-setting change. What they lack is a valued parallel process for true bottom-up experimentation when the outcomes are unknown."

"The Keys To Content-Area Writing: Short, Frequent, And Shared" ASCD
"When students understand that most writing in class is ungraded and meant to promote experimentation, thinking, and discussion, their volume of low-risk writing increases. The more they write, the more confident they become as writers."



"5 College Application Essays About Work, Money And Social Class" New York Times

Students And Admissions Officers Reflect On The Same College Essays New York Times


"Lacrosse Casts Its Net Farther From The Coast" New York Times


Investor Describes The Importance Of Excellent Curriculum EdSurge


Childish Gambino's "This Is America" Reflects A Complicated Nation New Yorker

Childish Gambino's "This Is America" Doesn't Quite Hit The Mark Vanity Fair

"An Open Letter About Female Coaches" (Re: Becky Hammon) The Players Tribune

Is Afrofuturism Having Its Moment? (What Is Afrofuturism?) BBC

Guidelines For Increasing Diversity In Academic Hires Inside Higher Ed


Further Explorations Into High School Digital Humanities Mark Connolly

"Are Museums The Right Home For Confederate Monuments?" Smithsonian

The First Review Of Each Of Toni Morrison's Novels Literary Hub


Should You Appoint Insider Or Outsider Leaders? Larry Cuban
"The folk wisdom surrounding superintendents or chancellors heading urban districts says to appoint insiders if you like what has been happening in the system under the exiting superintendent in order to extend and protect what is working well for students, teachers, and the community. Stability and tweaking what works is the order of the day when insiders are appointed school chiefs. However, if you dislike what has been happening in the system, the dysfunctions, mediocre performance, the proliferation of problems, and the accompanying disarray, for heaven's sake, appoint an outsider."

"How To Identify Talent: Five Lessons From The NFL Draft" Behavioral Scientist

"How To Plan And Implement Continuous Improvement In Schools" KQED


"In Defense (Sort Of) Of Student Evaluations Of Teaching" Chronicle Of Higher Ed


On Letting Kids Lead In Library-Based Makerspaces School Library Journal


On Academic Writing Versus Journalistic Writing Atlantic


"Jo Boaler Wants Everyone To Love Math" Medium
"For instance, Boaler is an advocate of 'number talks,' in which students work on a problem -- say, 5 x 18 -- then discuss the different ways each approached it. Successful students intuitively rewrite such problems in friendlier terms, but there are more ways to do that than you might expect."


Data On Full-Time Virtual And Blended Schools National Ed Policy Center
"This sixth NEPC Annual Report on Virtual Education provides a detailed overview and inventory of full-time virtual schools and blended learning, or hybrid, schools. Full-time virtual schools deliver all curriculum and instruction via the internet and electronic communication, usually asynchronously with students at home and teachers at a remote location. Blended schools combine virtual instruction with traditional face-to-face instruction in classrooms."

"Kids Are Not Better At Technology Than Adults" George Couros
"The difference between kids that are deemed better than adults with technology is not some innate ability; it is their willingness to push buttons. To see what happens. To act on their curiosity."

Boston Dynamics Now Has A Robot That Runs YouTube

Google's AI Assistant Makes Calls Designed To Sound Human. Yikes. Ethan Marcotte

"Dear iPhone -- It Was Just Physical, And Now It's Over" Nautilus


Educating The Whole Child Requires Ongoing Growth Vunela

"The Case For Having A Hobby" New York Times