December 16 - December 23, 2018

Some excellent reading: in character development, in the science of motivation and stress, in leadership, and more.

I'm a believer in the compound effect of small routines: over the past decade or so, my 10th grade English classes have started every class reading and then reciting poems from memory.  By the end of the year, in just five minutes a day, without trying particularly hard, the students have memorized 7-10 poems, and it lasts for years.  They take pride in their ownership of the poems, and their mastery enables deeper analysis and easier transfer.  In this week's first feature article, a teacher reports on trying a similar practice, but with ten minutes of reading.  In the Character section, another writer similarly explores the effect of small habits, and yet another writer argues that no particular set of habits are best.  In any case, consistency at something (the subject of yet another character piece this week) appears to have benefits when applied well.  I suppose this newsletter is another example...!

Also and unrelated: vaping is a serious problem.  See the Health section.

And also in this issue: several great leadership articles from the MIT Sloan School of Management's year in review.

These and others: enjoy!



She Started Every Class With 10 Minutes Of Free Reading: How'd It Go?  Medium
"On the first day of school, my students and I met in the library. Instead of going over a syllabus or introducing course expectations, the librarians and I gave brief book talks, sharing novels we had read or that we knew were well-received by young adults. When I invited my juniors to choose a book to read, they stared at me blankly. Anything? Yes, anything.”"

Understanding Motivation: Down To The Neurochemical Detail  Harv. Ctr. for the Dev. Child  
"This Working Paper from the National Scientific Council on the Developing Child explains the science behind motivation–the “wanting” system and the “liking” system–as well as how those systems develop, and how that development can be disrupted. It also dives into the implications of the science for parents, caregivers, and teachers, as well as policy and public systems."


"Acceptance Rate Of Elite US Colleges from 2015 To 2018, Visualized"  Digg


"Aerobic Activities... Can Make Our Cells Biologically Younger"  New York Times


"How To Be More Resilient"  New York Times
"Another growth factor, BDNF, promotes neurogenesis in animals and may enhance resilience in humans. The good news is that we have some control over our own brain BDNF levels: Getting more physical exercise and social support, for example, has been shown to increase BDNF."

Consistency And Productivity: Lessons On Succeeding Later In Life  TED

"Successful people engage in project after project after project. They don’t just count their winnings; they buy more lottery tickets. They keep producing."

How Good, Small Habits Make A Big Difference  Farnam Street

There Are No Keystone Habits, Only Self-Awareness  Medium

On Teaching Emotional Literacy To Young Boys Washington Post

Exploring Paradoxes As A Tool For Prompting Empathy  ASCD


Stress And Test-Taking: Results From A Biochemical Study  Chalkbeat 


How To Be An Artist -- Or How To Be Original: 33 Excellent Steps  Vulture

Some Thoughts On Fostering Creativity In Students  EdSurge

On Why Bach Increasingly Recycled His Work Later In His Career  New York Review of Books


What To Look For To Identify Real Montessori Schools  Hechinger Report


Surgeon General Declares: Vaping Is Now An "Epidemic"  NPR
"I am officially declaring e-cigarette use among youth an epidemic in the United States. Now is the time to take action. We need to protect our young people from all tobacco products, including e-cigarettes."

More (Bad) News On The Vaping Explosion  New York Times
"The vaping increase was so precipitous, researchers said, that it was the largest annual jump in the use of any substance, including marijuana, they had seen in the project’s 44-year history."


Project-Based Learning: The 100-Year Old History  Washington Post
"The same year that armistice ended World War I, Columbia University professor William Heard Kilpatrick produced his own shot heard round the world: 'The Project Method.'"


"Orality And Literacy From Homer To Twitter"  Kottke
"There are marked differences in the ways that oral and literate cultures think about memory, originality, and repetition. In highly literate cultures, there is a tendency to dismiss repetitive or formulaic discourse as cliche; we think of it as boring or lazy writing. In primarily oral cultures, repetition tends to be much more highly valued. Repeated phrases, stories, or tropes can be preserved to some extent over many generations without the use of writing, allowing people in an oral culture to remember their own past."

A Visualization Of The Nations That Have Preoccupied The US Since 1900  Pudding


"Why People Believe In Their Leaders -- Or Not"  MIT Sloan Management Review
"What’s at the heart of credibility? Two critical elements: perceived competence (people’s faith in the leader’s knowledge, skills, and ability to do the job) and trustworthiness (their belief in his or her values and dependability)."

3 Steps For Strategic Alignment Within Your School  MIT Sloan Management Review

One Approach To Setting Project Management Goals  MIT Sloan Management Review


Reflections On Getting Things Done When You Have Kids  Austin Kleon


BBC's R&D Team Reflects On Writing For Young Audiences  Medium

"We made under-26s and women aged 28 to 45 the focus of our innovation process. Over a year, we interviewed 85 people face-to-face. As well as giving their feedback on our prototypes, they told us about their news behaviours: where they find value, as well as their pain points. Based on these conversations, we developed a set of writing principles."


"Physical Computing" -- Teaching CS Principles Without Computers  EdWeek


These People Don't Exist. Astonishing Fake Portraits Created By AI.  Petapixel

How To Make Your Smartphone Distraction-Free  Medium


First Time In 20 Years: Copyrighted Works Will Enter Public Domain  Smithsonian
"At midnight on New Year’s Eve, all works first published in the United States in 1923 will enter the public domain. It has been 21 years since the last mass expiration of copyright in the U.S."

Art Institute Of Chicago Has Put 50,000 Hi-Res Images Online  Kottke

A High School Tries Home Visits: Lessons From The Field  Hechinger Report

Kids Are Making Powerpoint Presentations To Persuade Their Parents  New York Times