New new new math

Tom Lehrer, brilliant satirical songwriter and very smart mathematician, penned these words: It won’t do you a bit of good to review math. It’s so simple, So very simple, That only a child can do it! Pelham parents struggling to help their elementary kids with the Math Investigations textbooks would be forgiven if they thought […]

Geo catching

This is a good little news item: Goecaching—21st Century treasure hunting using GPS—caused a scare in Peekskill because  the cache, a plastic pipe, looked like, guess what, a pipe bomb. In the game, GPS-using hunters find the chaches and add something to them to show they were there, then hide the thing again. The Peekskill […]

Troubled homework

When I wrote about homework in the Pelham Patch in June, I mainly focused on the meaningless minimums set by some school districts, including ours in Pelham. This piece from the Sunday New York Times, by a writer expert in the science of learning, points out how important quality is over quantity. The techniques, developed […]

Riding bikes

My front yard: Six bikes, six kids. They stopped for a snack. This all happened without recourse to phones, email, iCal or that linguistic abomination, “playdate.” I’m time traveling.

The shoulders of giants

Back to school is a fresh start, that clean slate with the promise of new lessons and approaches. I wish we could get that clean slate—or smart board these days, I guess—in the great American debate over education reform. We’re heading in the wrong direction, according to one critical report I read recently. It shows […]

Sorkin does CNN for HBO

Here’s another one I’ll watch. He did sports news (“Sports Night”) and succeeded with national politics (“West Wing”) and now Aaron Sorkin will provide his special POV for a series on cable news for HBO. The untitled hour-long drama doesn’t have an air date yet, according to Broadcasting & Cable. The series will portray staffers at a fictional […]

MA in Tolkien

The Mythgard Institute opened this fall as an online academic outpost for the study of all things Tolkien. You can earn an MA in English on J.R.R., with the first diplomas handed out spring of 2014. “Most of all, we hope to provide students with new opportunities to study Tolkien and related works seriously and […]

The first day of school

I wrote about the last day of school in one of my early Pelham Patch columns back in June. I would never attempt one on the first day of school after reading the piece by the late Mike Levine linked below. The editor and writer got it so right that his column was re-posted by his paper, The […]

Dyslexia saves the writer

Lost for what to do after my first mystery manuscript received eight nice rejection letters from crime editors and my agent decided to get her MBA and enter venture capital (I still wonder if it was my writing that caused this), I enrolled in the Writer’s Studio back in 1997. Joining the New York-based workshop run out […]

Tinker, tailor, soldier, spy

“Tinker, Tailor, Solider, Spy” is one of the great twisty spy thrillers, about thinking and betrayal rather than booms and bangs. I was worried a new version would pale in comparison to the British mini-series, or die on the vine of period-piece dustiness. Not so, says this first review, from THR. I can’t wait to […]