August 19 - August 26, 2018

A wealth of articles this week, including three valuable if very different features.  Elsewhere, some surprising developments: in college admissions, in school safety, in literary form, and more.

I think my favorite: For almost a decade, I've been using Wikipedia as a place to get comprehensive, fairly objective news coverage when something is unfolding in real time.  (During the Arab Spring, for example, newspapers covered each day particularly well, but Wikipedia collected a constantly accruing day-by-day summary.  More recently, it has been similarly helpful during Charlottesville and other contemporary events.) Alexis Madrigal writes about Wikipedia's success at maintaining a kind of political neutrality in times of polarization.  See the humanities section for more.

Last, the piece in language on "irony poisoning" seems a meaningfully slippery slope to be aware of in toxic times.

These and much else this week...




The Case For Emotion And Empathy As Part Of The Curriculum  Atlantic
"[A rigorously intellectual unit] is arguably incomplete unless students tangle with the book's emotional core... Standards rarely address it; administrators rarely explicitly encourage it; few people pay consultants to give presentations on it at staff meetings. To do the work mandated by the Common Core well (which, for a good English teacher, is nothing particularly new), it may be helpful. To make students kinder and more conscientious citizens, it's perhaps imperative."

"What To Do In Week One" -- A Helpful List  ASCD
"The most urgent questions students ask as they begin a new school year are, Am I safe? and, Do I belong? Once students feel sure these needs are met, they'll dive into learning. We can't take successful communication of these assurances for granted, though. We have to prove them to students every day. What can teachers do?"

"The Case For Applied History"  History Today
"Historians are not seers; their analogies may be misplaced and their assessments can be wrong. Yet the idea of history constituting a valuable guide for present and future action was an established part of western culture. This makes sense. After all, the past is our sole repository of information about what works and what does not; we have nothing else to draw upon."


Colleges Increasingly Conditionally Admit Students For Sophomore Year  Hechinger Report

"Nearly one in five full-time freshmen drop out. Conditional admission gives universities a line on applicants ready to start as sophomores, filling the resulting empty beds and keeping tuition coming in."

Elite Schools Should Get Much Bigger  Bloomberg


Kids (Age 14 To 22) Form Consulting Business For How To Talk To Kids  New York Times

"JÜV Consulting is staffed entirely by young people who range in age from 14 to 22. 'I was honestly quite skeptical when I found out they were teenagers,' Mr. DeLeo admitted. 'After the first call, they blew me away. They could walk right into a regular business setting with people in their 30s and 40s and be completely comfortable. They are living the demographic we were targeting."


The Princeton Review's Woes -- And How The Tutoring Industry Is Changing  Chron. of High. Ed.


US Olympics Hosts Reality Show Auditions To Woo Crossover Athletes  New York Times

"The idea of 'talent transfer' -- that a sprinter could become a bobsledder or a gymnast could become a diver -- is not new. But in the 'Olympic Hopeful' model, the athletes don't come from professional sports backgrounds. Most are full-time students or hold full-time jobs. Not everyone thought it would work, until Josh Williamson, then a 20 year-old lacrosse player, emerged as a winner in 2017. Within months, Mr. Williamson transformed into a world-class bobsledder, winning five international medals. He is expected to compete at the 2022 Winter Olympics."


Deconstructing Why People Say "I Can't"  Rob Jones Journey


Some Awards (For Attendance, Etc) Actually Demotivate People  Harvard
"Survey studies provide evidence suggesting that receiving retrospective awards may demotivate the behavior being awarded by inadvertently signaling (a) that recipients have performed the behavior more than their peers have; and (b) that recipients have performed the behavior to a greater degree than was organizationally expected. A school leaders survey shows that awards for attendance are common, and that the organizational leaders who offer these awards are unaware of their potential demotivating impact."

Rote Drilling Can Actually Be Helpful  Psychology Today
"Routine practice and drilling -- especially when coupled with corrective feedback and ambitious but attainable goal-setting -- should help students learn better. Such distributed practice is 'necessary if not sufficient for acquiring expertise.' Procedural fluency and conceptual understanding influence each other bidirectionally over time."

"The Pediatrician's Case For Resuscitating Play"  Brookings
"This week, the journal Pediatrics featured a clarion call to encourage play as a way to reduce stress, promote social skills, and to embolden cognitive growth in young children."

Another Reminder: Multitasking Hinders Long Term Performance  EdSurge


A Talk By Austin Kleon Summarizing His Books On Creativity [video] MIT Media Lab


Should Service Be Part Of The Required Curriculum?  Stanford Social Innovation Review

"No matter how smart, educated, and well-resourced you are, when it comes to problem-solving, nothing can replace the power of lived experience."


On Teaching Boys To Examine Gender In Patriarchal Societies (Via India)  Brookings

"Why 'Crazy Rich Asians' Marks... A Movement For Underrepresented Voices" LA Times

On Overcoming Cultural Forces Telling You Others' Approval Matters Most  New York Times


On Motivating Young Children Without Rewards Or Punishment  New York Times


"Wikipedia, The Last Bastion Of Shared Reality" Atlantic

"As the rest of the media has lost its power as something like a neutral arbiter of reality, Wikipedia's grip on that center has tightened. In the current conspiracy-obsessed world, where real structural divisions, technological change, and racial, ethnic, and religious conflicts have created deep polarization, Wikipedia's importance is recognized by (basically) all."

Narrative Texts Go Fully Digital: Into Social Media  New Yorker
"Almost since the start of the smartphone era, film and TV producers have been trying to figure out how to capitalize on our new habit of jumping from one screen to the next. At first, many of these efforts felt like tricks. With "SKAM," the multi-platform approach feels organic -- after all, the characters themselves are constantly shuttling among YouTube and Instagram and Facebook Messenger."

On How Students Struggle With Interpreting Literature  Smart Set
"I want them to do all the things: read against the grain, interrogate their own assumptions, and the biggie: think critically about what they read. In the end, however, Eliot's 'sea-girls' must speak for themselves even if it means they're whispering one thing into the ears of my male students while beckoning the women to follow them out of the fog and into the 'chambers of the sea.'"

10 Writers On Books They'd Like To See In The High School Curriculum  New York Times

Gerard Manley Hopkins: 100 Years Since Being Published  New Statesman

A Close Look At The Drop In Humanities Majors  Atlantic


A (Surprisingly Deep) Look At Alternatives To "Hey, Guys!"  Atlantic

Irony Poisoning: When Being Ironic Turns Into -- Or Masks -- Real Problems  New York Times


School Stages A Murder Mystery As Tool For Using Evidence To Make Arguments  ThisWeek
"The purpose is to get students thinking about how to frame an argument and defend their position using facts. As part of the unit, students work in teams and must write rationales for their case theories."

"What 'Mastery-Based' Can Look Like In The [Elementary] Classroom"  Hechinger Report


Step-By-Step Guide For Teaching Narrative Writing  Cult Of Pedagogy


On Implementing Safety Drills With Children's Safety In Mind  Medium
"Shouldn't school safety drills take into consideration the children's developmental levels and weigh the consequences of frightening them to the point of traumatizing them?"

Social Media Monitoring Companies Start Working With Schools  Wired
"A Vermont company that provides social media monitoring to schools and other organizations described business as 'definitely booming'... Desmond Patton, a professor at Columbia, believes social media monitoring can work if managed correctly. 'I think there's an opportunity for schools to use this as a way to support people, but I would do so with extreme caution."

Surveillance In Schools: Where Is This Taking Us?  Forbes


New York Public Library Makes Novels Readable On Instagram  Hyperallergic

"Soon-to-come literature includes digital renderings of Franz Kafka's 1915 novella The Metamorphosis, and 1892 short story The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman."


Information Overload -- And The Tools We Develop To Overcome It  1843 Magazine
"One example was the introduction, in the late 17th century, of scholarly journals that included book reviews, helpfully filtering and summarizing (and in some cases excerpting) notable titles... And the centuries-old practice of prefacing longer works with a 'list of headings' was refined and developed in two directions to help reader find passages of interest within individual books."

The State Of MOOCs: 2018  EdSurge


No Walking While On The Phone At GM -- Even For The CEO  Fast Company

"At General Motors, employees are not allowed to walk around on their phones. That's pretty standard behavior for warehouses and manufacturing facilities, but this rule extends to the office. That means no looking at phones on the way to a meeting. No taking calls while en route to the bathroom. No checking email while you're going to the kitchen to get a coffee."


A Private School/Public School Partnership Model  KQED
"What can we do with what we have now and how might we be able to make an impact, a difference? To be a little more equitable, a little bit more accessible, a little bit more of the solution."

Flossie Lewis, The 94 Year Old Retired Teacher -- And Viral Sensation  PBS
"More than 7 million people viewed teacher Flossie Lewis' Brief but Spectacular take on growing old in 2016. When it aired, her former students contacted us by the dozen, many to express appreciation for the profound impact she had on their lives. Flossie, now 94, returns in this special installment for an inspirational class discussion with some of her biggest fans."