Currents: Listens & Reads

Listens

Apparently, I’ve been out of the loop this year and missed the incredible work happening on Broadway. I’m now binge listening to The Band’s Visit  and the newest revivial of my favorite musical of all time, Carousel.

I’m just starting to dig into Shawn Achor’s second book, Big Potential, and in the midst of unpacking so many boxes, I listened to his TED talk on Happiness at Work. This is an important reminder for me–we make the choice to be happy and our work is profoundly impacted by this mindset.

I also listened to the TED talk from Jason B. Rosenthal on grief and loss. If you don’t know the love story of Jason and his wife, Amy Krouse Rosenthal, please read her modern love article from the New York Times before watching the talk. There are so many applications for his message, but the one that sticks with me the most is final charge:

“I would like to offer you what I was given: a blank of sheet of paper. What will you do with your intentional empty space, with your fresh start?”

As I begin a new position and a new stop on the journey, I love this thought of starting with a blank sheet of paper. The same could be said with each new summer or each new school year and I hope we make intentional decisions to live and love fully.

Reads

In my goal of doing a bit of easy fiction, I picked up small great things by Jodi Picoult on multiple friends. I have never actually read any of her work so I was pleased on multiple levels by this direct look at racism, white supremacy, and a raw confrontation of implicit bias. While I was less pleased with tied with a bow ending, I found the epiphany scene to be so very real. (You’ll have to read it to understand!) Be prepared to spend the last two hundred pages in one spot because you won’t want to put it down. (PS-If you like this book, I highly recommend the work of my favorite author, Chris Bohjalian. Start with Midwives.)

This throwback article from Jessica Lahey in The Atlantic is a great reminder for all of our families as we head into a summer. Play is the way! If a child is bored, great! Let them find their way to creative and unstructured play.

What are you reading or listening to these days that strikes your fancy, challenges you, or nourishes your soul?

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Summer Family Listens & Reads

A wonderful parent just asked for my recommendations for a family read this summer for a road-trip. I was so honored that they asked my opinion. I am a complete podcast junkie and have also started to get into audiobooks. Here are some of my recommendations:

Podcasts for the Family Road Trip:

Podcasts for the Teens and Adults

Great Family Reads (these are in book form, but I bet there might be audiobooks, too.)

Audiobooks for Adults

What would you recommend to your readers/listeners?

Commencement Season 2018

I absolutely love commencement speeches. I find they provide such beautiful nuggets of wisdom and beauty. Here are some of my favorites:

Tim Cook, Duke University

Abby Wambach, Barnard College

Hillary Clinton, Yale College Class Day

Jake Tapper, UMASS-Amherst

And just for kicks, here is the speech I gave at our Closing Ceremony last week.

What has inspired you this commencement season?

Update May 24, 2018: Don’t miss out on Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie at Harvard Class Day and Justin Trudeau at NYU.

 

Currents: Listens & Reads

Listens:

It’s Been a Minute podcast: Meg Wolitzer on her book The Female Persuasion- I loved her book The Interestings and have not cracked the spine on this one yet, but I found this conversation really relatable. She taps into the values of mentorship. As someone who is still searching for a mentor, it reminded me to keep moving forward on that quest.

The Knowledge Project podcast from Farnam Street: I stumbled on this website from Shane Parrish this week and am now obsessed with this podcast. I have listened to several podcasts featuring Barbara Oakley and this one is no exception in brilliance. About 40 minutes it, Dr. Oakley and I divert in our views, specifically in memorization, but I appreciate that she is challenging me to think deeply.

The Meaning of Nuance from the Pantsuit Politics podcast was highly engaging. Regardless of your political affiliation, this episode provides a look at the way Spaceship Media is engaging a bi-partisan discussion (started in Alabama) that allows for nuance. In our age of shouting and memes, I really appreciate the way the offer insight into the value of nuance, especially in challenging conversations. Let’s keep talking and keep the doors to grey areas of all conversations wide open.

Reads:

I’m about halfway through Boundaries for Leaders by Dr. Henry Cloud. It has given me the phrase, “ridiculously in charge” to consider as I reflect on closing up my first leadership role and moving into my second. The two essential boundaries that are sticking with me right now are: what you create and what you allow. These provide the framework for a culture that can thrive, survive, or fail. Several chapters in, I recommend this to anyone in a leadership role or pursuing one.

From my new found resource, Farnam Street: Go Fast and Break Things: The Difference Between Reversible and Irreversible Decisions I tend to be a significant overthinker or an impulsive underthinker. Being intentional in these types of decision takes practice and skill. They can also have deep and wide consequences if chosen incorrectly. A good read for a leadership team to consider.

 

Currents: Listens & Reads

Listens:

On a non-professional note, I LOVE Brandi Carlile‘s new album, by the way, I forgive you. It is a masterpiece of passion, text painting, and raw vulnerability. She remains my spirit animal.

How to Be Awesome at Your Job podcast: I really enjoyed the episode on Critical Factors Separating High and Low Performers with Morten Hansen What practices separate the high performer from the low? He offers the key practices that differentiate the two.

Reads:

The Grief of Accepting New Ideas by Rick Wormeli This one punched me in the gut. I have read it several times and am still processing it. I won’t provide much commentary other than to say that honoring the grief within change is just as important as moving the change forward. This quote says it all:

“To quote Bob Dylan, the times, they are a-changin’. We wonder, though, if teachers have the dispositions needed to make fundamental changes to their teaching practices in order to respond constructively to our changing times, especially when those changes reveal that what they were doing was less effective than their egos thought they were.”

The Danger of Teacher Nostalgia by Jennifer Gonzalez Following a similar theme of change and grief, Jennifer (Cult of Pedagogy) tackles how teachers can get stuck in “the way things were” or “have always been” which stunts the possibilities of serving the kids of now. I was also struck by the thought of creating negative stereotypes of kids and classes that they can’t shirk, even when they show growth and maturity. It is so important we live growth mindset not only for ourselves but also for our kids.

Currents: Listens & Reads

Listens:

WorkLife with Adam Grant podcast: Every episode so far has been amazing, but I was most moved by the episode entitled Team of Humble Stars. In my ongoing quest for more humility, this one spoke directly to me. (However, the episode on Creative Burstiness gave me an awesome new phrase to share!)

The Culture Code by Daniel Coyle: I’m simultaneously listening and reading this remarkable book that profiles the way strong team culture is developed. This is a MUST listen/read for anyone working in or with teams. (Also, how much do I love the relevant and quippy reply from Zappos?)

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How to Be Awesome at Your Job (podcast), Episode 270: In this episode, author Scott Mautz is interviewed and discusses his theory of the nine anti-muses that drain our inspiration at work. This one might be a multi-time listen, especially late in the school year when exhaustion can rear its ugly head.

Reads:

This week was our Spring Break and I took the time to read three YA works and one other work of fiction.

Mustaches for Maddie by Chad Morris & Shelly Brown: A sweet story of compassion and kindness based on the true story of Chad and Shelly’s daughter Maddie. It has drawn comparisons to Wonder. I find the reading level a bit easier on this one and a little less development in the characters, but it is still worthy of a classroom library.

Beyond the Bright Sea by Lauren Wolk: I adored Wolf Hollow by Lauren Wolk and was thrilled to be able to borrow her second novel from our school library. This tale of family, mystery, and hard life is stunning in its word painting. It will hook you in quickly and leave you turning each page quickly.

Long Way Down by Jason Reynolds: I read All American Boys last year and found it riveting. This work has a similar vein of gun violence and young African American men, but is written in verse. I must admit, I don’t typically love verse written texts (with all apologies to Jacqueline Woodson) but found myself consumed by this text, finishing it in less than an hour. Its language is rich and content sacred while being simple to access. I imagine this work could cross a wide range of reading levels.

Hag-Seed by Margaret Atwood: This book is part of the Hogarth Shakespeare series; a retelling of his great works by renowned authors. Much to my mother’s chagrin and due to the classroom of a very mean 9th grade English teacher, I tend to avoid Shakespeare at all costs. However, Hag-Seed is a delightful journey into the fall and rise of Felix, his dedication to his students, and his dreams of his lost Miranda. I highly recommend it!

Currents: Listens & Reads

Listens:

Cult of Pedagogy: Moving from Feedback to Feedforward Jennifer Gonzales talks to Joe Hirsch about the concept of changing feedback to feedforward, particularly in the frame of teacher evaluation. This is definitely worth having a conversation around for teachers and administrators alike.

Aspen Ideas to Go: Walter Isaacson talks to Norman Lear and Khizr Khan about Understanding American Values This is an engaging hour of conversation between an icon and a patriot facilitated by a genius. Enjoy.

Reads:

The Principled Principal: 10 Principles for Leading Exceptional Schools by Jeffrey Zoul & Anthony McConnell This is an easy-to-read yet chock full of wisdom book that explores the need for principals to be led by core principles to successfully lead a school. I really appreciate the discussion of culture crushers. (Halfway through, but a full review will come after I’m done.)

Accident by Andrea Tsurumi This is a lovely children’s book packed with wisdom for any age. Accidents happen–how we react to them is everything.

Have a great week!