Reads of the Week #76

This is the last post before Christmas, so Seasons Greetings and good wishes if you read this blog regularly or if you’ve just arrived!

A little semi-self promotion to start this week. I spent a portion of the summer working on the contribution I made to this, the journal of Irish education, but it is so full of wisdom you shouldn’t just read what I wrote (but while you’re there I’d like some feedback): Ireland’s Yearbook of Education 2017–2018 from Education Matters

I loved the way this piece by Elizabeth Weil is annotated by her teenage daughter, it reminds of the back and forth of being the parent of a kid who knows the answers!: Raising a Teenage Daughter*

This is just scary: Jeff Yates describes how someone can turn your social media world against you: Inside the fake Facebook profile industry.

How One Woman’s Digital Life Was Weaponized Against Her by Brooke Jarvis is another cautionary tale about the modern world.

Following on from those two articles is this piece from Maria Popova on May Sarton which includes a reading of her poem Canticle 6 on The Art of Being Alone, the value and quality of the time we spend alone has never been more important.

Podcast of the Week is the RTE History Show‘s picks for the best history books published this year.

Finally the image on this post is Woman with Blue Hat by Georgia O’Keeffe and I found it here.

Advertisements

Reads of the Week #77

Christmas has come and gone, the reading goes on. This is a selection of the best things I read over the break, so it’s slightly longer than usual. Switching off the phone over Christmas for three days might not sound like a revolutionary act, but for me that’s extraordinary! So there’s plenty of interesting stuff still in the bank to share in the weeks to come.

 

First here’s a story about a basketball coach who can’t quit from Adam Zagoria. It struck a chord with me: teachers who have to suddenly stop on retirement must find themselves in a strange limbo sometimes.

 

This next piece is raw, honest and tragic. Mimi O’Donnell writes on the loss of her partner Philip Seymour Hoffman.

 

This piece by Jen Gann about her son is moving and frank while dealing with some of the issues the debate around the 8th Amendment will bring up in Ireland will bring up.

 

For a bit of fun head over to Instagram  to see Accidentally Wes Anderson which does the job of location spotter quite well for the next Anderson movie.

 

I loved this piece by Theo Dorgan about the place he came from. Home is so important, and so is remembering where we came from

 

Most of the education reading I did over Christmas I chose to challenge me. This post by Katie Martin did just that on collaboration and teachers supporting each other.

If we want to improve skills and knowledge and the application of them in our classrooms, we must move beyond telling people what to do and get into classrooms to help them problem solve, reflect, tweak, and learn together and collectively figure out how to move forward.
Improving our practice is always worth it.

 

This is just a beautiful essay on the triggers that set us off remembering someone who’s gone from Roy Hoffman. A Sister’s Nurturing, in Countless Home Haircuts

 

Two podcasts now, the first is on Suffragism from In our Time. Very apt for the year that we are entering because (some, not all) British, and, by association Irish women were given the franchise in 1918. Consistently brilliant programmes from the BBC here, by the way.

And the second is on the sounds our computers make  from Twenty Thousand Hertz. A fascinating look into what the noises our devices are making, where they came from and who designed them.

 

The cover image this week is one of my favourite pictures: Hunters in the Snow (Winter) by Pieter Bruegel the Elder which we were lucky enough to see about fourteen years ago in Vienna. I used it in school all the time. Some great conversations began there. I got it from the very cool Google Arts and Culture.

Reads of the Week #75

As we draw nearer to Christmas, the time to read seems to shrink, but, in the knowledge that in two weeks time the festival of reading that is the holidays in our house will kick off, we plough on and grab a moment where we can find it to explore the thoughts of someone else, and, if we are lucky we find something that changes us, in a small way maybe, but leaves us with a mark, a small dent on ourselves that we learn from, and remember.

Regular readers of the blog will know how much I value the writing of  Kenny Pieper. Just read this piece:

It’s time to shout from the rooftops… that we have things to to say; that we will no longer be silent and humble and shy about the great things we do in our classrooms. Lift your head up; look people in the eyes: you are a teacher.

The full post is here.

Two weeks in a row for Malachy Clerkin on the list. This week he wrote about Galway’s Niall Donohue, Galway hurler whose death was remembered in the midst of his friends succes this year.

Everybody moves on, though. From good days, from bad days. They go about their lives and leave you to yours. Niall Donohue ended his on Wednesday, October 23rd 2013 and left behind a family, a community, a hurling club and a county team, each of them bewildered in their own way at the loss.

The full article is here.

Miriam Lord: I had no hand, act or part in writing my column No extract, no spoilers, it’s hilarious and perfect.

Trump, Israel and the Art of the Giveaway by Tom Friedman, pulls no punches, but isn’t laughing at Trump like so many, this is deadly serious.

Trump is a chump. And he is a chump because he is ignorant and thinks the world started the day he was elected, and so he is easily gamed.

A building like no other, which will captivate you whether you are religious or not, La Sagrada Família is expertly described in this 99% Invisible podcast. Love these podcast, love Barcelona.

And finally this week, Cafe Pittoresque, 1917 by Georgy Bogdanovich Yakulov  Armenian painter, stage and costume designer is image of the week. I found it here.

Reads of the Week #74

A week of professional satisfaction and personal reflection. In a week where you visit the National Museum and the Houses of the Oireachtas for work, you can’t complain, work is good and I’m getting to do things a few short weeks ago, I wouldn’t have dreamt of.

But, this week also had the birthday of my brother Conor who died in 2006. The 2nd of December is always sad, mainly for what have been.

Anyway, there’s a sporting theme to this selection, with the exception of the image I chose.

Malachy Clerkin is one of those writers who covers sport but pushes out of those pages to say things with far more import. This piece is about a fan who as a boy collected autographs and letters from GAA stars. Sounds simple, but it becomes a story of Ireland now and Ireland then, and how much our culture means to us.

This piece by Natasha Frost on Ann Gregory, the African-American golfer is an amazing piece of history, again teaching us that we wouldn’t be where we are in our world without trailblazers who pressed on against the tide.

I ran middle distance races when I was a teenager. If I’d managed my studies and athletics better I might have been closer to the people Ian O’Riordan writes about here. Ireland’s athletes once ruled American college races.

When Irish distance runners ruled American colleges.

This obit of Dorothea Findlater is an account of such a full life of sport, history and I’d guess huge fun, it does what an obit should: make you wish you’d known the subject in life.

Podcast of the Week is from 99% Invisible and tells the story of the graphic design of Mexico Olympics 1968. It’s what I love about this series, it makes you look again at the familiar and tells you something new about it.

Image of the week is Gustav Klimt’s Death and Life I found it here.

Reads of the Week #73

I spent more than usual reading offline, travelling and hotels will do that to you. The recommendations are about reading and writing for the most part, and that makes sense when words are your business. What we say has to match what we do, and our surroundings, our word choice, our choice of material and who we listen to and hear are all shaping us, all the time.

This piece by Julie Sedivy explained to me the importance of where you come from in differentiating what you write and what you say. Loved it.

Here’s why bad language is good for you, Emma Byrne‘s article is fucking great. (See what I did there).

I don’t know the answer to Frank Furedi’s question on book collectors (are they real readers, or just cultural snobs), but I enjoyed reading about myself in his essay here.

Two podcasts:

  1. There’s always more going on in a Malcolm Gladwell podcast than at first listen you can hear, I finished this episode thinking of Christy Moore’s version of Deportees. And of Leonard Cohen, one year on from his death.
  2. Philip King interviewed by Marian Finucane. A half hour of glorious talk about Dingle, the world and all the music in it. Rarely miss him on radio on a Saturday night.

And finally, the cover image shows that even in a detail Botticelli is magnificent, saying more than thousands of words can say. I found it here.

 

 

Reads of the Week #72

The weeks fly by and with them the reading becomes more specialised, more focussed. Whether it’s a president or a teacher, a dying man or a lottery winner, the time of year tells us things are silently taking shape beneath the surface, and we have to make do with what we can.

We’re lucky to have a President who is so versed and interested in History, this speech from his recent visit to Australia on the Famine and the scattering of the Irish is powerful.

This piece by Matt Bencke broke my heart.

Here, John Thomsett sets out how schools should approach professional development: it’s a primer for those of us in this area of education and for school leaders too.

Podcast of the week is 99% Invisible‘s account of how El Gordo, the lottery in Spain, is both a thing of beauty and a strange ritual.

And the cover image this week is from Jo. I found it here.

Have a great week everyone.

Reads of the Week #71

This week has been about the culmination of two months work with my amazing colleagues on what good History CPD looks like. And so far, so good. If I needed confirmation that teachers are special (I didn’t) I got it this week, and though we know there will be harder days, the openness and professionalism of those we met so far has been such a validation or my choice to move out of the classroom to support teachers in curricular reform. Truth be told, this whole blog has been the story of my move, post by post from outright scepticism to understanding that without engagement with professional development, teachers can’t improve their teaching. Denying them their right to the opportunity to collaborate, improve and acknowledge their current good practice is a poor way to lead them.

 

It should come as no surprise then that this week’s selection of things to read is all about education.

Geoff Barton on why pushing teachers out of the classroom has to stop.

But as a profession, we’ve not been good at rewarding great teachers for being just that – great teachers. Apart from system flirtations with initiatives like the “Advanced Skills Teacher”, “Excellent Teacher” and “Lead Practitioner” programmes, the dominant progression route has been to move into management. As a result, we take good teachers and expect them to teach less and to manage more.

Alison Peacock says hereTo teach and learn without limits is to place trust and empathy first, within a culture of high ambition for all. Essentially, if we believe that labelling children sets limits then we need to seize “transformability” as a means to see what might be possible, rather than focusing on a perceived deficit.

Successful people in education initiate, says George CourosThey innovate inside the box and do not let outside circumstances dictate their destiny. They are not waiting for the “next big idea” to find them, but go do what they can with what they have, to create the best experiences for the people they serve.

From Maria Popova, here’s ee cummings on art, life, and being unafraid to feelTo be nobody-but-yourself — in a world which is doing its best, night and day, to make you everybody else — means to fight the hardest battle which any human being can fight; and never stop fighting.

Cara Giaimo on the paperbacks that soldiers carried into warThe first set was released in October of 1943. Each month for the next four years, crate after crate of books made their way to overseas soldiers, pretty much wherever they were. “They have been dropped by parachute to outpost forces on lonely Pacific islands; issued in huge lots to hospitals… and passed out to soldiers as they embarked on transports,” reporter Frank S. Adams wrote in 1944.

Some good History in my podcast of the week, from the RTE Doc on One series on the Siege of Jadotville which does justice to these heroes who were forgotten, but are now being recognised for their bravery.

And finally, picture of the week is from Sean Scully Irish painter. Found it here.