November 25 - December 2, 2018

Let's draw.  Suddenly, several sources are exploring the value of drawing -- even bad drawing -- to support richly encoded learning.  Some delightful news here to get us drawing with a pencil again.

Last week's article on college reading for incoming freshmen garnered significant interest, and I suspect many people would be interested in the report that offers much more detail on the books schools chose.  That report can be found here.

A while back, I posted an article about "thick institutions" -- those that garner loyalty, identity, sense of common purpose.  The Aeon video on dance explores how "collective effervescence" plays a role in building strong communities.  Chalk this in the category of how to build culture.

Enjoy these and others!




Dear Colleagues,

A reminder: after developing our summer fellowship program in 2017 and 2018, Athena will be expanding its professional development community this coming summer. Would you or your school like to participate?

To learn more, join me this Wednesday, December 5, 2018, from 3:30 - 4:30pm ET for a webinar/interview hosted by Peter Gow and the Independent Curriculum Group. Register at this link. Webinars are free and open to all.

If you're a school leader in search of staff professional development that is inspiring, productive, and directly connected to practice, or if you are a teacher, eager to browse other people's work, share your own, and collaborate to improve, this might be right for you.

Thank you!




Why We Should All Be Drawing  Quartz
"We have misfiled the significance of drawing because we see it as a professional skill instead of a personal capacity... This essential confusion has stunted our understanding of drawing and kept it from being seen as a tool for learning above all else... Drawing shouldn't be about performance, but about process. It's not just for the 'artists,' or even the weekend hobbyists. Think of it as a way of observing the world and learning, something that can be done anytime, like taking notes, jotting down a thought, or sending a text."

Tips For Fostering "Civil Dialogue" On High Pressure Topics  History Tech
"How can we encourage and support conversations around controversial topics? How can we tie current events to broader topics and past events without... you know, setting stuff on fire and throwing desks?"


A General Guide To Going To College In The UK  Bridge-U


On Dance, Music, And Building Community Through "Collective Effervescence" [video]  Aeon
"The French sociologist Émile Durkheim (1858-1917) theorised that 'collective effervescence' -- moments in which people come together in some form of unifying, excitement-inducing activity -- is at the root of what holds groups together. More recently, Bronwyn Tarr, an evolutionary biologist and psychologist at the University of Oxford who is also a dancer, has researched the evolutionary and neurological underpinnings of our innate tendency to bust a move."

On The Double Edge Of Goals  Medium
"Goals. Are. Awesome... But your goal shouldn't be the thing that's pulling you forward... What's pulling you forward should be your recognition that what you're trying to attain is worth it. Motivation should be a side effect of that."

8 Practices For Increasing Resilience  Fatherly


Drawing Makes Richer Memories Than Writing  British Psychological Society
"There are various components to the process of drawing a picture of a word or concept, each of which seems to cumulatively aid memory.  Getting people to trace over an existing drawing (so getting them to make relevant arm and hand movements, but not allowing personal elaboration), or to create a drawing which they were then not allowed to see (so allowing the physical movements and personal elaboration, but depriving them of the visual memory of the end result) both improved memory -- but not as much as when all of these stages were allowed."

A Collection Of Quotes About The Power Of Drawing  Austin Kleon
"It's more like I'm having an experience than making a picture."

Four Practices For Improving Recall  Kappan


A Review Of The Judicial Justification For Campus Diversity  New York Review of Books


The History Major Is Seeing Historic Declines In Numbers  Inside Higher Ed


Finland: A Different Look At How Education Thrives There  Washington Post

"After World War II, the Finns realized their human beings are their most valuable resource. Their budget reflects this belief. In spite of having three major political parties, all factions agree that human development is paramount, and the educational program has had consistent attention over decades."


On Collaboration And The Advantages Of Group Decision Making  Aeon


On "CUREs" Course-Based Undergraduate Research Experiences  Forbes

"CUREs have five defining characteristics. First, they contain an element of discovery: the student scientists are bringing brand-new data to light. Second, the experimentation in which they engage involves 'iteration': repeating a process a number of times, altering a single variable to find out what happens. Third, participants experience a significant degree of collaboration, with their peers and with the expert scientists who are their instructors. Fourth, students learn how to execute professional practices, from using techniques like pipetting to applying meta-theories like the scientific method. And fifth, the subject of their investigations is 'broadly relevant' -- of interest to people outside the class and perhaps even worthy of publication in a scientific journal."

Strategies For Building Community (Not Control) In Class  ASCD

A Primer On "Deeper Learning"  ASCD

Three Ways To Promote Choice/Autonomy In Assignments  THE Journal

An Explanation And Example Of The Jigsaw Classroom Strategy  ASCD


More Data On Why Having Books At Home Helps Learning  World Economic Forum
"The paper's authors studied 160,000 adults between 2011 and 2015 and found that just having 80 or more books in a home results in adults with significantly higher levels of literacy, numeracy, and information communication technology (ICT) skills... Children from such homes who ended up attaining just a high-school-level education 'become as literate, numerate and technologically apt in adulthood as university graduates who grew up with only a few books."

Exploring The Science Of Learning To Read  Kappan


Parting Advice In NYT Tech Columnist's Final Column  New York Times
"How should you, as an ethical and upstanding user of tech, navigate this misbegotten industry? I offer three new maxims for surviving the next era of tech. I hope you heed them; the world rides on your choices."

Tesla Isn't The Only Electric Car Company in The US: Rivian  TechCrunch


"On Defining 'Visualization Literacy'"  Medium

"Teaching Data Visualization To [Little] Kids"  Policy Viz


On The Growing Experience Of Loneliness In A Connected Time  Quartz

Dungeons & Dragons Continues Its Improbable Revival  District Administration