Announcing: the daily riff! (Also a bit of dinosaur trivia.)


I'd like to announce that over the next few weeks, I'll be experimenting with something on this blog: a daily riff on some exciting thing I'm reading. Nothing long — just some short tiny ideas! Little bon mots.

First up: riffs on the fantastic book How to Raise a Wild Child: The Art and Science of Falling in Love with Natureby the paleontologist Scott D. Sampson.

If you're a dinosaur buff,you might recognize Sampson as being one of the world authorities on the late Cretaceous therapod Majungasaurus:


If you have kids, you might also recognize Dr. Sampson as the consultant to the Jim-Henson-Company-made Dinosaur Train show, on PBS:

Dinosaur train

Why these daily riffs?

Because it turns out explaining your life's work to others is hard.

I find, as an ADHD-type personality, that it's really easy to talk about new ideas. 

They're fresh! Well-defined! Exciting!

But talking about the big ideas behind our vision of school? The foundational ideas? The conclusions I reached a decade or more about?

Almost impossible.

These oldest, most important ideas have become the source code of my thinking: they've become almos invisible. They're powerful and rousing, but not in a zippity-doo-dah sort of way.

In order to explain our conception of what schooling can become, I've got to excavate these foundational ideas. And I think that riffing off of the formative books I've read over the years might be a good way to do it.

Anyhoo, enough of the navel-gazing! Look forward to a short post every weekday, in addition to the longer, more fresh-idea-bearing essays.