A writer writes

The thoroughly modern me finds it a surprise that the old description, “the three R’s,” is so valid in education today. I am no basics-only advocate. But reading, writing and math are the core of Planet Education and influence, like gravity, everything else. Math is required to move into sciences like physics and chemistry, and […]

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.