Rock that Recess…

I sit at my desk and hear the crowds of children on the playground at our neighborhood school – where does all that exuberant noise come from? And where does it go by the time we become adults?  Jill Valet over at Edutopia explores the proven benefits of recess, including improved behavior and social skills, and five steps to a recess-friendly playground.

To Improve School Climate, Examine Recess

John Cleese on Creativity as Mood, not Aptitude

I am a huge fan of Open Culture for their daily inspiration of open source books, videos and more. Recently, they posted this on John Cleese of Monty Python fame and his views on creativity:

Drawing on research from his friend Brian Bates, a psychologist as Sussex University, Cleese claims that …[Creativity] is not a skill or an aptitude, it is a “mood,” one Cleese describes as “childlike” in that it aids one in the ability to play. Cleese makes a similar point in his 2009 talk at the top, emphasizing that acquiring this mood is difficult but not impossible. As all artists know, genuine creative insights occur when rational thought ceases—during dreamstates or moments of absorption so intense that self-consciousness, anxiety, and the needling cares of the day drop away. As Cleese put it at the World Creativity Forum, “if you’re racing around all day, ticking things off a list, looking at your watch, making phone calls and generally just keeping all the balls in the air, you are not going to have any creative ideas.”

– Open Culture

The impact of “I love to watch you play!”

A recent blog post by Rachel Macy Stafford on Huffington Post turned me on to this simple but powerful sentence:

I love to watch you play.

Reporting on another article about 30 years of research about parents of college athletes, Rachel Macy Stafford states,

“… college athletes were asked what their parents said that made them feel great, that amplified their joy during and after a ballgame. Their overwhelming response: ‘I love to watch you play.’

The life-changing sentence came at the beginning of an article entitled, “What Makes a Nightmare Sports Parent and What Makes a Great One,” which described powerful insights gathered over three decades by Bruce E. Brown and Rob Miller of Proactive Coaching LLC. Although I finished reading the entire piece, my eyes went back and searched for that one particular sentence — the one that said, “I love to watch you play.”

The phrase does not judge children’s performance. It does not go into evaluative detail.  It does not offer advice.  It simply lets them know you are glad to be part of their lives as they are living them.  It can apply to all kinds of situations:

I love to hear you sing.
I love to listen to you read.
I love to watch you build with Legos.
I love to see you help your grandmother.
I love to watch you jump.
I love to watch you sleep.


By the way, the remainder of “What Makes a Nightmare Sports Parent and What Makes a Great One,” is worth a read, as it goes into brief detail on five signs of a nightmare sports parent and five signs of an ideal sports parent…


  • Overemphasizing sports at the expense of sportsmanship
  • Having different goals than your child
  • Treating your child differently after a loss than a win
  • Undermining the coach
  • Living your own athletic dream through your child


Let’s hear it for the parents who do it right. In many respects, Brown and Miller say, it’s easier to be an ideal sports parent than a nightmare. “It takes less effort,” Miller says. “Sit back and enjoy.” Here’s what to do:

  • Cheer everybody on the team, not just your child
  • Model appropriate behavior
  • Know what is suitable to discuss with the coach
  • Know your role
  • Be a good listener and a great encourager






…learn about effective tools and strategies, new and tried and true, to support and enhance teaching and learning for all



…try out hands-on activities and project based learning opportunities that engage students’ hearts and minds



…learn what’s impacting children, teachers and the field of education:  policies, products, resources and reviews



…join our conversation as we share quotes, images, videos and more to get us thinking and talking about issues and innovations in education

Eugene School District 4J

Podcasting Workshop for 4J

On Dec 2, 2008, I’m running a workshop on Podcasting for Eugene 4J.  We’ll be learning to create, upload and share podcasts.

VoiceThread Redux

I think I mentioned VoiceThread before – the marvelous web site that lets you present a slide show and record comments, captions & doodles. The other innovation of VoiceThread is you can invite others to comment as well, creating a visually guided dialog about… well, anything.

One of my favorites:

See also Kenya Escape, the incredibly powerful story of one family’s experience in Kenya, during the election upsets of December 2007.

A Sample Podcast

Here is a sample podcast for a workshop I’m running. Just showing how to upload and share.

Codfish Ball