Articles Worth Reading This Week

As my Twitter handle and blog title denote, I like to read. Reading regularly and widely might be the most essential habit I practice as a school leader. Beyond books, I subscribe to a number of feeds and periodicals. I am a smarter person because I am willing to consider many perspectives.

Here is a rundown of the articles I read this week, ones I would recommend other school leaders check out for themselves.

Dispelling the Myth of Delayed Gratification by Alfie Kohn (Education Week)

I always try to read Alfie Kohn’s commentary through the lens of someone who is fairly distant from the classroom (he is not an educator). However, this article really resonated with me. He revisits an oft-cited research study – the Marshmallow Experiment – and basically debunks the whole concept of “grit” and “resilience”, buzz words in education right now. If you read one article from this post, this is it.

Boosting the Power of Projects by John Larmer (Educational Leadership)

This past summer I participated in a Project-Based Learning training, facilitated by a Buck Institute in Education trainer. John Larmer is the editor in chief of this organization. What I appreciate about this article and BIE’s mission is they are so willing to share their ideas with the world. They just want to see great instruction happening in every classroom. This article highlights the main steps in creating a highly engaging learning experience for students.

Have You Tried Making Common Core Lemonade? by Amber Chandler (MiddleWeb)

The teacher’s voice is too often missing in the debate about the Common Core State Standards. This 7th grade teacher shares both the benefits and her concerns about aligning her instruction with both the CCSS and her students. It’s a very honest and informative reflection.

For dyslexic students, are smart phones easier to read than books? by Ruth Tam (PBS Newshour)

I shared this article with one of my special education teachers. This led to a good conversation about how we might introduce these practices for our students, at least on a small scale initially. Anytime an article can prompt this type of discussion is worth recommending.

Activist warns about Common Core consequences by Melanie Lawder (Wisconsin Rapids Daily Tribune)

I actually sat in on this presentation which was covered by our local newspaper. While Dr. Pesta was an excellent speaker and made some good points, any credibility he might have gained was offset by his questionable sources and his obvious self-serving efforts for his private school business. I thought the reporter nicely represented both sides of the argument.

5 Ways to Help Your Students Become Better Questioners by Warren Berger (Edutopia)

After reading his book A More Beautiful Question, Warren Berger has become my new hero. I regularly reference his “Why? What if? How?” protocol for developing better questions during webinars and presentations. Learning how to be better questioners is a critical skill for the 21st century.

Steve Jobs Was a Low-Tech Parent by Nick Bilton (New York Times)

I have no idea why this article was buried in the Fashion & Style section. It is one of the most balanced pieces I have read about the amount of technology we should allow our kids to be exposed to in this digital age. I shared this piece out on our school’s Twitter account for families to read.

Happy reading this weekend!

Author: Matt Renwick

Matt Renwick is an 18-year public educator who began as a 5th and 6th-grade teacher in Rudolph, WI. He now serves as an elementary principal for the Mineral Point Unified School District ( Matt also teaches online graduate courses in curriculum design and instructional leadership for the University of Wisconsin-Superior. He tweets @ReadByExample and writes for ASCD ( and Lead Literacy (

6 thoughts on “Articles Worth Reading This Week”

  1. Hi Matt, thanks so much for sharing this list of articles you read this week. I hope you will make a habit of doing this. I like the way you have listed articles from a variety of perspectives and points of view. Some challenge views I hold, others extend and others are valuable simply for their interest.
    I found the article about the marshmallow test very interesting. I have previously blogged about that test and delaying gratification. The range of views expressed in comments that my post received was probably reflected in that article and comments.
    The use of smart phones and tablets by students with dyslexia was also interesting, as were the ones about about CCS. We are having similar discussions here in Australia. I very much enjoyed the Steve Jobs biography so enjoyed that article too. I had already read the Warren Berger article and bought his book ‘A More Beautiful Question as a result, so of course was delighted to see it mentioned again on your post.
    Thanks for making these articles so accessible. Have a great weekend! Happy reading! 🙂


      1. Thanks for that Matt. I haven’t got the hang of Pinterest yet and have not used Diigo, though it sounds interesting.
        Australia is in the process of introducing a new national curriculum. The subjects are being rolled out progressively. English, Maths and Science were the first in 2012. Previously each state set their own curricula. While the curriculum was to be implemented by all states, not all have done so yet.
        If you are interested, here is a link to the documentaion:


  2. Hi Matt,
    Nice list of readings. I was particularly glad to see the project-based learning article. I too attended a week-long session by Buck Institute and found it very valuable. I’m working to help the teachers who attended as well as other teachers who wish to get started with project based learning.


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