DBQing the rubric

Watch your rubric before you DBQ the column below. Cathy is spot on. Cluttered language is a big problem in education. Where else would English be turned into English language arts (a triple redundancy using a double modifier)? For the love of phonemes! It’s back to school time again, which, for parents means that we […]

Harlan Ellison, time troll

Harlan Ellison is the patent troll of sci-fi stories about time. I mean that in a good way. I respect Ellison’s tough-minded approach to idea theft, particularly towards Hollywood, where ten people in a room can come up short when looking for one original idea. I previously wrote about episodes of Outer Limits that Ellison […]

Secret of their success

One of my occupations is adviser to the student newspaper at my son’s elementary school, the Colonial Times. Our local Patch interviewed the fifth-grade editors of the paper to find out the secrets of their success: Eight months after it successfully launched the district’s first online newspaper, the Colonial Times’ staff continues to provide cutting-edge […]

Nice email on a Tuesday

After a slow summer, it was so nice to get a request for the full manuscript for LAST WORDS from an agent who “enjoyed” the first two chapters. On such one-word reviews I dine for a week.

The art of fiction

With a manuscript done and in the midst of deciding what to write next, I determined to spend the summer rereading all the best books on writing I’d ever read, and reading the ones I hadn’t. Summers being summer—or maybe me being me—I got through one and a half by the time school started. No […]

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 […]