February 9 - February 16, 2020

An excellent array of articles this week.

Most notable might be the writing about writing: from the clear and minimal feature article, to the post about on-demand essays written by A.I., to another post about how Amazon requires leadership to make company proposals in writing, to the power of prose in the love letter, and more.  It's all a good reminder.

There's much else to delve into, and I'm taken by the recurring idea highlighted in the second feature article that our students' success is inflected by our confidence in them and our high expectations for them.  Taken with the first feature article, this week reminds me that having fewer expectations that are held highly, and with lots of time for practice and support, is a key to student excellence.


Peter Nilsson
King's Academy


The Case For Minimal Standards, Lots of Reading, And Lots Of Writing ASCD
“If we want people to perform well, concision is king: the fewer the criteria, the easier it is to reinforce, practice, monitor—and thus ensure—that those criteria are fully met. When organizations establish only a tiny set of crystal-clear criteria, both performance—and job satisfaction—skyrocket. The same goes for schools. There are both historic and contemporary precedents for minimalist literacy standards which would ensure that students read and write in larger—much larger—amounts.”

The Case For High Expectations And High Performance Standards Fordham Institute
“The analysis yielded six major findings. Among them: Students of all racial/ethnic groups learn more from teachers with high grading standards, and these standards tend to be higher in schools serving more advantaged students. Moreover, the impact of rigorous grading practices can improve student performance in subsequent math classes up to two years later.”


Tips From Five Counselors About College Admissions (APs, Internships, etc) Medium

Detailed Study Of The Effect Of Merit Aid On Higher Ed  New America


“How Listening To Music Hinders Learning” Guardian


How Some Schools Are Teaching And Measuring Creativity  EdWeek
“Based on more than a decade of research on creativity and collaboration, Sawyer and his colleagues found schools that have been successful in nurturing creativity in their students use an approach he dubs "guided improvisation," to borrow a jazz metaphor. Rather than entirely student-led instruction, teachers ground students' creativity within a domain such as history or science, using a few core concepts to anchor a student's exploration and teaching students to look for connections to other subjects. A series of studies found students taught this way remembered content-area knowledge equally as well as students whose classes focused on covering more total content, but they performed better at using their knowledge in creative ways and for unfamiliar problems.”

A Biological/Evolutionary Model For Technological Innovation Aeon


“Why The ‘Business Case’ For Diversity Isn’t Working” Fast Company


Teaching The Coronavirus: Council On Foreign Relations Makes 2-Page Case Study  Council on Foreign Relations

Write Letters To Politicians For A Class Project: 6 Tips For Success Middle Web

The New Yorker Profiles Yuval Noah Harari New Yorker


More On Amazon’s Culture Of Writing (And No Powerpoint) Money

Tips For Creating Good Accountability Systems  Harvard Business Review


Education Programs Are Beginning To Use Virtual Students For Teacher Training Chalkbeat

“Why Focusing On Adult Learning Builds A School Culture Where Students Thrive” KQED


On The Benefits And Risks Of Group Work  Hechinger Report
“Students didn’t always learn more from interacting with each other than working alone in the 71 underlying studies. The ones that produced the strongest learning gains for peer interaction were those where adults gave children clear instructions for what do during their conversations. Explicit instructions to “arrive at a consensus” or “make sure you understand your partner’s perspective” helped children learn more.”


“Grab A Pen. It’s Time To Revive The Love Letter” The Lily
“Let us collectively weep for the dying art of letter writing. Then, let’s dry our tears and bring it back to life. Below, you’ll find snippets from historical love letters — some of which are centuries old — pulled from “Love Letters” and “A Love No Less.” You’ll also see tips for crafting your own letters, derived from reading hundreds of romantic epistles.”

Students Can Push A Button, And A.I. Will Write Their EssaysEdSurge
“After subscribing to a service called EssaySoft, you can tell its essay generator to write a paper on, say, “symbolism in the great Gatsby” (or whatever you need for class). Then you enter how many words you want the final paper to be, select other specs from drop-down menus (set research depth to “low” if you want the machine to return an answer as fast as possible), and click “Generate Essay.””

“How More Teachers Are Being Trained In The Science Of Reading” KQED

Is The Novel A Dying Form?  Spectator


Are Lockdown Drills Good Or Bad For Children? WBUR


Is The Risk Of Smartphone And Social Media Depression Overstated? New York Times


San Francisco And Manila: How Two Cities Are Fighting Rising Sea Levels  New York Times


Microphones Are Everywhere, Now There Are Bracelets That Jam Them.  New York Times
“They designed a piece of digital armor: a “bracelet of silence” that will jam the Echo or any other microphones in the vicinity from listening in on the wearer’s conversations.”

Voyager 2, After An Outage, Is Back Online Inverse

3D Printing: Now Done In Seconds With Printers That Use Resin And Light Engadget


On Why You Should Have Plants In Your Office And Home  Mic

“How To Mend A Work Relationship” Harvard Business School


How Field Of View Affects Your Perception Of Speed  Digg

Family And Community: The Quality And Quantity Of Relationships Matter Brookings

What Is Love? A Dozen Stanford Scholars Explore The Question Stanford

4 Tips For Good Storytelling About Your Data MIT Sloan Management Review