My Weekly Reads: Top 5

 

Awkward teens (and 20- and 30-somethings) rejoice. Study finds that it might take 63 years, but you will, eventually, shed all traces of your awkward middle-school self. (Fast Company)

Adderall usage by individuals without attention deficit is out of control. Fast Company reminds us we have the power to control our brains, sans meds. (Fast Company)

Diverse Hollywood, in NYC? Steiner Studio lot at the Brooklyn Navy Yard is surprisingly under the radar. It costs a third of most other film schools—$18,400 a year—and part of its mission is to admit women and minorities whose stories aren’t usually told. (New York Times)

And the award for the most unsatisfying industry to work in post-college goes to anything in finance (kind of). Meanwhile, in self-reported data from more than 13,000 recently graduated college students, such industries as technology, biotechnology, consulting, and arts, media, and entertainment top a list of “job satisfaction” ratings. Consulting -> we agree! (Poets & Quants)

Depression strikes today’s teen girls especially hard, and I see this firsthand in my work with high school students as they prepare and apply to college. Brains constantly “on-tech,” and in particular social media, may not be helping, but talking about it and identifying symptoms of depression early on can help teens get back on the right track. (NPR)

Michael Bloomberg on How to Succeed in Business (and Life?)

This is a fun, honest read. Particularly relevant to this blog is the first section, Choosing a College, in which he says:

Nobody remembers where you went to school. The first job they may ask, by the third job they won’t remember to. People put too much emphasis on that. It’s much more important that you go to a place where you fit in and which has decent academics. People say they can’t afford a college? My parents took out a mortgage, I had a job every summer working in a faculty parking lot. Then I got lucky, Sputnik was launched and the government created national defense loans.

Given the article’s emphasis on education, Bloomberg even goes on to comment on the MBA, and that it matters, but….:

The part that’s most important in an education is how to deal with people. There’s no job I know that you do by yourself, and I learned as much from the two guys I worked for at Salomon Brothers, Billy Salomon and John Gutfreund, as I’d learned at Harvard. In the end, it’s people skills that you need. Whether you remember that Columbus arrived in 1492 or not — a lot of the facts you memorize are immaterial.

Read the full article online!

Using the Modern Love Podcast to Teach Narrative Writing

Just in time for Valentine’s Day, but applicable all year ’round, here is an idea from Kinana Qaddour for using the popular Times podcast to encourage narrative writing.

Modern Love is a series of weekly reader-submitted essays that explore the joys and tribulations of love. Each week, an actor also reads one of the essays in a podcast. Though the stories are often about romantic love, they also take on love of family, friends, and even pets. This teacher finds their themes universal and the range of essays engaging models to help her students find their own voices.

In my work, I have found that most students have little or no experience writing personal narratives, which they need to write for the personal statement/Common Application essay requirement when applying to college. Naturally, I love this idea—so give it a read and share with a teacher who may find it useful!

The Plague of ‘Early Decision’

Another great article by Frank Bruni on the craziness of college admissions, specifically, early decision.

But what worries me more is how the early-application process intensifies much of what’s perverse about college admissions today: the anxiety-fueling, disappointment-seeding sense that one school above all others glimmers in the distance as the perfect prize; the assessment of the most exclusive environments as, ipso facto, the superior ones.

That’s hooey, but it’s stubborn hooey, as the early-application vogue demonstrates.

Worth a read here!

Text to Text: John Milton’s ‘When I Consider How My Light Is Spent’ and ‘Today’s Exhausted Superkids’

Right now, many students are entering the final college-application sprint. They’re wondering Are they enough? about their lists of accomplishments. Some may even be wondering Is it worth it? about college at all.

Centuries ago, the poet John Milton wondered how best to live his life as he went blind. In his sonnet “When I Consider How My Light Is Spent,” he contemplates his condition. While for him, the “light” he spends is literal — he was completely blind by age 42 — he uses it metaphorically to meditate on what it means to really live.

In this Text-to-Text they pair Milton’s poem with Frank Bruni’s Op-Ed “Today’s Exhausted Superkids,” which discusses the high costs of following the narrowly defined and proscribed path to an elite college.

This a thoughtful read for parents and students alike, or really, anyone working with adolescents today. Check it out here!!!

NYT Student Contest – Write a Rap About the News of 2016

For the sixth year in a row, 13 to 19 years old anywhere in the world are invited to write a rap about the news that mattered most to them this year.

So whether you choose international or national news, politics or education, sports, science or technology, the arts or fashion,  post your entry by 7 a.m. Eastern on Jan. 10, 2017. Then, the educational hip-hop experts at Flocabulary, our annual partner for this contest, will choose their favorite rhymes to publish both here and on their site.

Read more here!

Second Language Acquisition Can Improve How You Think

bilingualism

An oldie but goodie re-posted on the New York Times SundayReview on the advantages of bilingualism. Worth a read and just in time for the new year, when learning a second, third or fourth language could be on your to-do list!

Speaking two languages rather than just one has obvious practical benefits in an increasingly globalized world. But in recent years, scientists have begun to show that the advantages of bilingualism are even more fundamental than being able to converse with a wider range of people. Being bilingual, it turns out, makes you smarter. It can have a profound effect on your brain, improving cognitive skills not related to language and even shielding against dementia in old age.

Read the article here!

No College Talk Thanksgiving

no-college-turkey-day

Great article yesterday in the New York Times. Parents of seniors give it a read!

If you have a high school senior, and your child has decided to apply somewhere early decision (or early action or early something or other), the application is most likely in and done by now. And with Thanksgiving approaching, my first piece of advice is that you shelter your high school senior from her or his loving family this Thanksgiving by absolutely prohibiting any talk of college and applications.

Believe me, your senior does not want to discuss this. Not with uncles, aunts, cousins or loving grandparents. The right thing to do under these circumstances is for the parents to tell everyone that college is a forbidden subject — and the best way to explain that is to say, we are all sick of it, and we have promised ourselves and our child a respite. Let’s all find another subject.

Happy Thanksgiving!