How I love to write for Rewireme.com. Here are three of the latest: How (Not) To Talk to Kids about High-Stakes Tests 7 Ways to Help Kids Unplug from Technology  and, from the fall, Mindfulness for Teachers, a review of Andrew Solomon’s Far from the Tree, and my best-read, best-titled article ever, My Amygdala Ate [...]

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I am so grateful to my college friend Melissa Lawrence for allowing me to guest post at her terrific parenting site, CloudMom.  Melissa is a mother of five who shares all that she has learned in her years as a parent:  from swaddling to breastfeeding to learning not to take it all so darn seriously. [...]

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Today I had the privilege of posting at rewireme.com.  ”Combating Stereotypes in the Classroom”  addresses the challenge teachers face in addressing what Claude Steele’s brilliant book, Whistling Vivaldi calls “stereotype threat.” Head on over to rewire me — and please let me know what you think in a comment:  either here or there!  

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The Summer of my Content

August 11, 2013

  This morning I stumbled across article that simply won’t get read enough, I am sure. It’s a New York Times article explaining a study of women’s job satisfaction when they are in positions of authority.  In explaining the gender gap in leadership, these social scientists looked at the perceived benefits (not even financial benefits) [...]

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Today’s New York Times Well Blog carries an article about “Fat Talk,” that pernicious conversation that most women in my demographic have been schooled in since we were teenagers. Here are the rules of this incredibly destructive sort of conversation, carried on all day long among otherwise sane and competent women: 1. If you are [...]

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Mother 101

May 12, 2013

June piles the children into a canoe on an Adirondack lake in 1949.  Black flies fill the air, biting and buzzing their little heads.  Being outdoors is good for you, she teaches, without saying a word.  I am decades in the future, my girls decades more.  But the lessons began long before they were needed, [...]

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I’m trapped in a kitchen with eleven teenagers,  unable to speak a word.  Two are stirring pans over a hot stove, two are grating cheese (their fingers getting closer and closer to the blade as I type.)  Six are wielding knives, dangerously close to chopping off their own fingers.  Several of them are singing Justin [...]

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On Empathy and Shoes

May 7, 2013

“Hmp, maybe we need a police force of children….you children last night made Walter Cunningham stand in my shoes for a minute.  That was enough.”    —   Atticus Finch, speaking to his children, in To Kill a Mockingbird   Teenagers are famously lacking in empathy.  Their inability to see another’s perspective is our chief complaint [...]

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  “Why haven’t you been posting on your blog, Launa?” It’s a question I’ve been meaning to answer.  But it’s taken me awhile to set it all straight in my own mind before explaining it here to you. You know how sometimes when you haven’t spoken for awhile, you need to make some icky throat [...]

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When I became a teacher, I thought my job was all about the lessons I needed to teach. But really, the first lesson I needed to learn was this: If something in my class or in my school wasn’t working, I could not expect it to start to benefit my students and their learning unless I changed. [...]

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April is National Poetry Month. Blossoms mass on the cherry trees. Liquid light draws forth their pinks, brings into being colors I have not before seen. Blue from the open sky, Browns from the house paint on the doors and windows of 1st Street. Like an existential alarm clock, April calls out through the old [...]

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So, what really happens in a house with “No TV”? Whenever my children don’t have something in particular to do, or I haven’t come up with something to occupy them, they often slink off and click on some sort of screen.  We don’t have cable or network TV, so they can’t watch that, but since [...]

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(A letter mostly to myself… as one of my children prepares to exit preteen purgatory, and the other one teeters on the brink…) Part One:  Let the eye rolling begin, for it will. There will be — if there has not been already — the shouting of “I HATE you” as she stomps, furious, down [...]

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When my husband and I moved our family, sight unseen, to a tiny village in southern France, planning to stay for a year, we thought we knew what we were doing.  In our mind’s eyes, it was crystal clear: our children would magically learn to speak French, I would somehow master recipes and cooking implements [...]

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What They Ought To Be

November 13, 2011

“Treat people as if they were what they ought to be, and you help them to become what they are capable of being.” — Goethe     I struggle a lot as a parent.  These most complicated relationships don’t come easily to me — the ones unfolding here in my house.  I admit my difficulties [...]

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In Praise of Play

November 6, 2011

This weekend, we put aside work in favor of play.  I played music three different times:  first with the Tiki Brothers on Saturday night, belting out Aretha Franklin covers and singing harmony on Johnny Cash’s Big River.  DH came out to hear us, and we all stayed up way too late, enjoying the rare feeling [...]

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Am I expecting enough of my children, preparing them to be resilient and strong? Or do I ask too much, and give too little, leaving them feeling lost and low? Paul Tough’s brilliant article in Sunday’s New York Times Magazine and yesterday’s Motherlode blog each explore an issue that has vexed me since the day [...]

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Today I became a Montessori teacher.  Or, more accurately, I accepted a part-time job teaching middle school humanities ‑ history, writing, reading, and Shakespeare at a Montessori school.  I don’t have the requisite training and experience to call myself a Montessori teacher, but today I began the “work,” as Montessori teachers would say, of moving [...]

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This summer, I did not finish editing my book.  I did not make any money, or contribute to the economy in any way other than as a consumer and a traveler — buying food and sending my kids to summer camp.  I did not do very much yoga.  My garden still looks bleak and weedy. [...]

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The very very best reason I can think of to learn to speak French is that it’s seriously, exceptionally, wonderfully gorgeous, and you really should get here someday, even if it’s just for a few weeks.  But save up your pennies because Euros cost 140 each.  And learn some French,  because being in France with [...]

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The Family of Yes

June 19, 2011

Meet The Family of Yes. No, not the late 80′s super group. It’s us.  If you know us, you might be surprised to hear me call us anything but conflicted.  But this was my goal for us for a week as a family at Music Camp. That we say Yes.  At least that we would [...]

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The Rules

June 8, 2011

I briefly toyed with naming this new blog of mine “Because I Said So,” as a way to grab back a little of the maternal authority that my generation has thrown out the window.  But honestly, now that my girls are moving out of girlhood towards adolescence, my word is no longer an adequate law.  [...]

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Laundry Camp

June 2, 2011

Sometimes in our house, it’s the mom who acts like a spoiled brat.  Yes, I mean me. Like yesterday, when I was trying and wheedling and thinking of any possible way that I could get my kids to go to this supercool new family music camp I heard about. I tried the hooks that sometimes [...]

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(please note: the following post was fully vetted by the dreamer, who was gracious enough to allow me to share it with you.)   “Mummah?” I answered vaguely, if at all. My body was there in the kitchen with her, but my head was getting her on the bus. I was setting out the cereal, [...]

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I volunteered twice this week at 826NYC, a writing center created to inspire schoolkids.  To get into the center, you sneak through a real-live secret passageway in the back of a room that would otherwise appear to be a store selling Superhero Supplies.  Invisibility capes. Anti-Villain Disguise Masks. Paint cans with labels lovingly designed by [...]

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