September 1 - September 8, 2019

An excellent week.

Storytelling as skill, as tool, as science and more has seemed to be always on the periphery of conversations about teaching, about engaging ourselves in learning.  But because of its anecdotal appearance and perceived absence of scientific validity, storytelling doesn't seem to have moved into the mainstream.  But good science is often made of good stories, and individual stories can nonetheless reveal universal truths.  

The feature article this week on the science of the storytelling doesn't come from a mainstream publication, but it dives into storytelling in a way that is deeply applicable for teachers -- or anyone who hopes to connect with people and help each other grow.  It also makes an interesting bookend to the final article in this week's issue: the profile of Malcolm Gladwell.

This and more this week.  Enjoy!

Peter Nilsson
King's Academy


Why Storytelling Has Such A Powerful Effect On Our Brain  Lifehacker
"If we listen to a powerpoint presentation with boring bullet points, a certain part in the brain gets activated. Scientists call this Broca's area and Wernicke's area. Overall, it hits our language processing parts in the brain, where we decode words into meaning. And that's it, nothing else happens. When we are being told a story, things change dramatically. Not only are the language processing parts in our brain activated, but any other area in our brain that we would use when experiencing the events of the story are too. If someone tells us about how delicious certain foods were, our sensory cortex lights up. If it's about motion, our motor cortex gets active."



Mysterious Lung Illness Linked To Vaping Spreading Across The US  New York Times
"The number of people sickened with a severe lung illness linked to vaping has more than doubled to 450 possible cases in 33 states, including three deaths and a possible fourth… The patients were typically healthy, young, with a median age of 19 years and a majority have been men."

Are We Overreacting To The Emergence Of Vaping Habits?  New York Times


“10 Reasons To Let Your Kid Major In Music”  Forbes


How One School Assesses Character And SEL  Hechinger Report
"Capital City educators said they take steps to ensure that their process is fair and geared toward helping students improve. Students are measured on traits like reflection and accountability in the context of their academic work, school officials said. A research-heavy science project that involves numerous revisions and multiple draft deadlines, for example, provides an opportunity for a student to demonstrate organization and punctuality skills."

Understanding Mastery Through The Lens Of Great Artists  Inside Higher Ed


“Why Idle Moments Are Crucial For Creativity”  BBC

Mitch Resnick’s Creative Learning Spiral: Ten Tips For Cultivating Creativity  Medium

Austin Kleon On Mitch Resnick’s Creative Learning Spiral  Austin Kleon


A Project-Based School: No Class, No Curriculum, Only Graduation Requirements  Medium
"We give children the opportunity to play, because when children are playing with something they get interested. And then you don’t have to teach, and you don’t have to police them either."


On The Intersection Of Shakespeare And Hip-Hop  Hechinger Report


How Should High School Courses In Hong Kong Discuss China?  New York Times
"The mandatory civics course known here as liberal studies has been a hallmark of the curriculum in Hong Kong for years, and students and teachers say the point is to make better citizens who are more engaged with society. But mainland Chinese officials and pro-Beijing supporters say the prominence of the city’s youth at recent mass protests is the clearest sign yet that this tradition of academic freedom has gone too far, giving rise to a generation of rebels."


Benjamin And Wittgenstein On How Words Have Meaning  Aeon


On The Role Of Delight And Performance In Teaching & Learning  Atlantic
"I asked Teller, a former Latin teacher and the silent half of the magical partnership known as Penn & Teller, about his years as an educator, and the role performance played in his teaching. Teller taught high school Latin for six years before he left to pursue a career in magic with Penn… As our conversation meandered through Catullus, Vergil, Shakespeare, and education theory, he explained why he believes performance is an essential, elemental aspect of effective teaching."


Elizabeth Gilbert On How To Write  Swiss-Miss


A Grim Look At Our Inability To See Our Own Impending Extinction  The Baffler


"Yes, Texting While Talking Is Relatively Safe”  New York Times
"There’s ‘little concrete evidence’ to connect distracted walking to pedestrian deaths, a report said."

On Using VR To Help Students With Disabilities See School Sooner  Hechinger Report


“What Does Business Casual Even Mean In 2019?”  Fast Company


“Why Play Needs A Comeback”  KQED

Do Literary Prizes Influence Book Sales (Do Nominations)?  Public Books

A Profile Of Malcolm Gladwell  New York Times