Friday, June 18, 2010

Jim is traveling in New England. His trip, which will swing through five of the region's six states (alas, no Maine this time) will see him visiting friends and family in Massachusetts, hiking up Mount Mondanock in New Hampshire, and a attending a conference on progressive education at the Putney School in Vermont. The conference will feature presentations by Howard Gardner and Alfie Kohn, colleague and protege, respectively, of his father-in-law, the late Ted Sizer.

Jim's current reading is all keyed to the coming school year. He's begun Dave Egger's Zeitoun, an evocative piece of journalism about a Muslim family in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina (the book is the officially designated summer reading of the Fieldston School, and will be the subject of a symposium in the fall). He's also in the middle of his third time around with Mark Twain's The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, which will be taught in the new tenth grade English/Ethics/History curriculum he's currently co-developing. (The novel is funnier than ever.) Also packed for the trip is the Heath brothers' Made to Stick, a piece of pop psychology on why certain ideas take off and others don't. Jim is reading the book along with a bunch of colleagues, in the hope it will help improve their pedagogy.

All in all, a good way to kick off the official start of summer. May yours be similarly satisfying.