Dynamo Girls

A few weeks ago, our younger daughter surprised us when she insisted that we do a “backyard birthday party.” We asked her what that meant, wondering whether she had in mind a throwback party from our own childhood birthday parties at home, before the age of parties at Sky High, Monkey Joes, and Sports Connection. […]

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Commencement

Commencement: a beginning at the end. I recently gave this speech to the class of 2015. I wanted to reach all of the students and all of the adults in the room. I used stories to do so.  BACCELAUREATE SPEECH TO THE  CLASS OF 2105 — with love from Ms. Flaxman I want to begin by […]

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Centered on the Wheel

This week in school, I watched an art teacher give a demo lesson in ceramics. She took a block of wet clay, threw it down in the middle of the wheel she was sitting at, and told students how difficult and important it is to center the clay. As she spoke and the wheel turned […]

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The Truth About Fiction

I watch Mad Men the way I read. I scour Don’s interactions and facial expressions for meaning, trace motifs strung like pearls along episodes, pore over images like prim and proper Betty shooting birds in her backyard. The theme song repeats in my head long after the show closes, and the graphic of Don falling […]

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Words, words, words

In a recent article in Education Gadfly, Robert Pondiscio wrote that “to grow up as the child of well-educated parents in an affluent American home is to hit the verbal lottery … when it comes to vocabulary, size matters.” I couldn’t agree more. A diverse and broad vocabulary is more than handy, more than a way […]

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French Lessons

In my class on Dystopian Literature, we talk a lot about what I call “hallmarks of dystopia” — those aspects of an imagined society that make the individual citizen’s life feel proscribed and unfree. If Utopia is an imagined place where all is right in the world (for the one who dreams it, anyway), dystopia is its […]

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