On the Journey
news reel: stories of People, places, and learning AT Aspen Country Day School
Summer is a great time to nourish our work as educators and parents in the school year ahead. Here are some titles that various groups in the ACDS community are enjoying during the summer of 2018.
The Culture Code: the secrets of highly successful groups by Daniel Coyle
The ACDS Leadership Team gathers for a day-long retreat each summer. This year's session focused on school culture, a topic that is central to the 2020 InSight, the Strategic Plan for Aspen Country Day School. A podcast with Daniel Coyle and insights from this book fueled a spirited discussion. Coyle is also the author of The Talent Code, a great read for parents seeking to help children unlock their full potential.
"Coyle draws lessons from a broad range of teams and organizations (including including the U.S. Navy's SEAL Team Six, Pixar, and the San Antonio Spurs) to identify the critical components of a successful group culture. In a school community, Coyle's insights around the importance of feeling safe, being vulnerable, and sharing purpose are especially important."
-- Mark Bell, ACDS Director of Advancement
iGen: Why Today's Super-Connected Kids Are Growing Up Less Rebellious, More Tolerant, Less Happy--and Completely Unprepared for Adulthood--and What That Means for the Rest of Us by Jean M. Twenge
All Middle School teachers are reading this book, which was excerpted in a much-talked-about essay ("Have Smartphones Destroyed a Generation?") in last September's issue of The Atlantic. There could hardly be a more important topic for teachers and parents of young people today.
Join a discussion of iGen at the first ACDS Parent Book Club of the 2018-19 school year: Thursday, November 8 at the Limelight Hotel, 5:30 pm.
"As I thought about a summer read for the middle school faculty, I wanted to find something that resonated with us as educators and parents, and something in particular that would help us reach our students and understand the world in which they're growing up... which is remarkably different than what we experienced as children and adolescents."
-- Brenda Stockdale, ACDS Head of Middle School
Peak by Roland C. Smith
All ACDS Sixth, Seventh, and Eighth Grade students are reading this book, then completing an interdisciplinary summer assignment based on the novel (check out the full description here). The plot: after 14-year-old Peak Marcello is arrested for climbing a New York skyscraper, he's left with two choices: wither away in juvenile detention, or go live with his long-lost father, a famous climber who wants Peak to become the youngest person to summit Everest -- whether he's ready or not.
This year's summer assignment shows how innovative and creative ACDS teachers can be, and Smith's book has special meaning for children growing up in a mountain town. You don't have to be in middle school to enjoy this tale of mountains, climbing culture, family dynamics, and even the politics of Tibet.
-- Carolyn Hines, ACDS Director of Communications
Creating Cultures of Thinking: the 8 forces we must master to truly transform our schools, by Ron Ritchhart
All Lower School teachers are reading this book, which aims to show "why and how schools must become places where thinking is valued, visible, and actively promoted." Ritchhart is senior research associate at Harvard Project Zero and co-author of the bestselling Making Thinking Visible. Head of Lower School Jennifer Bohnen selected this book as the all-Lower School read for faculty and staff.
"It is important for educators to think about how we foster classroom learning communities. Ritchhart examines eight forces that truly transform classrooms, creating better learning and greater student engagement. These are: expectations, language, time, modeling, opportunities, routines, interactions, environment."
-- Jennifer Bohnen, ACDS Head of Lower School
Voice Lessons for Parents: what to say, how to say it, and when to listen, by Wendy Mogel
Parents and teachers alike recommended this book; Mogel also wrote another book that ACDS teachers recommend highly: The Blessing of a Skinned Knee: using timeless teachings to raise self-reliant children. Her latest, Voice Lessons, is about using "words and tone, cadence and timing, setting and demeanor, to deepen your relationship with your child. It's not a formula but a practice."
Join a discussion of Voice Lessons at the second ACDS Parent Book Club of the 2018-19 school year: Thursday, February 7 at the Element Hotel Willits, 7:30 am.
"When you put down your phone and turn up your curiosity and enthusiasm, you deepen your connection. You serve as an escort out of technology's magnetic field and into 'the great cathedral space' of childhood. In that wide and sacred place, children will speak from their heart."
-- author Wendy Mogel