Month: March 2010

Yo-Yo Ma to the Rescue

Returning from a spring break trip to Montana, my 14-year-old son Aidan and I were minding our own business, walking among the weary hordes of travelers at the Chicago airport. Then we noticed a slight commotion twenty feet ahead of us. A middle-aged woman had accidentally dropped her boarding pass, but since she wore an iPod, …

The Importance of Being Unpredictable

This time of year our family happily geeks out on the Iditarod, that legendary 1,049-mile sled dog race from Willow to Nome. We tape a map on the fridge and follow our favorites — Lance Mackey, Ally Zirkle, our old neighbor Jim Lanier, and, this year, Jamaica’s own cool-runner Newton Marshall.
This year’s race has been completely …

The 3 Traits of Great Teachers

What makes certain teachers so magical? What qualities should we look for, and what ones should we ignore?
In the last month we’ve seen a provocative new wave of reporting and research on that old and important mystery, from Elizabeth Bennett (New York Times Magazine), Amanda Ripley (Atlantic), and two terrific new books, Teaching as Leadership, by …

And the Oscar Goes to…

Ah, Oscar Week. Over the next six days we’ll witness people praising the visionary talent of best-director co-favorites James Cameron (“Avatar”) and Kathryn Bigelow (“The Hurt Locker”). We’ll hear about Cameron and Bigelow’s amazing skills: their unerring sense of story, their painterly eye, their supreme knack for framing an unforgettable story. Over and over, we …