About ADHD: Thinking Fast and Slow

Still true!



I’ve had a theory brewing for a few decades.

It’s about ADHD.

My theory is that some people have been gifted with the adroit ability to think and move quickly; they ride life like a stallion, seeing, hearing and experiencing everything in magnified ways.  It is a gift.  In the right hands, these people emerge out of childhood as curious, lifelong learners who understand deeply and creatively.  They are bright.  Intuitive.  Daring. Perceptive.  Sensitive.  Interesting.   They learn how to manage their strengths well; how to avoid the deleterious consequences of being who they are.  

ADHD is listed in the Center For Disease Control and Prevention;  it is listed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, all revisions.  Disease and disorders have negative connotations.  Science says it is a “thing”; I won’t argue that.  Instead, I wonder if there isn’t another…

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Losing a Pet in an Autistic Household

Such an intimate post. Reflecting on how a child with autism understands the emotions involved in the loss of a beloved cat.

A Quiet Week In The House

When our beloved seventeen-year-old cat was dying, Tyoma, our autistic son, reacted thus:

“Oh. So, then we’ll get a new kitty.”

No emotional depth. No concern. No sadness.

This did not fool us.

Kitty Pearl filled our son’s daily imaginings. Wobbly scratching posts and sinister-looking grooming contraptions were built in her honor. He wrote her sentimental “I-love-you-kitty” letters and taped kitty-centric schedules near her water bowl. Homemade Kitty Forts stretched across rooms and cluttered staircases.

Kitty Portal

Then there were lists. Page after page of numbered instructions pertaining to the cat:

  1. Pet kitty gently.
  2. Add ice cubes to fresh water.
  3. Brush with the fur.
  4. No pestering.

Tyoma needed to organize his interactions with Pearl, not just to remind him of his duties but also to cope with the delicious and abhorrent impulse to pull her tail.

Pearl’s declining state preoccupied Tyoma later that evening. He spread inky equationed papers on the bed…

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The Problem Of Innovation

It all starts with WHY!


The thing about innovation, more often than not, it finds you…before you find it.

The best innovations are usually not something we go out of our way to search out and find.  Rather, most often, innovation finds and reveals itself to us.

Not because we are smart, not because we are clever, or imaginative, or creative, or interesting, or even knowledgable…but, because we are willing to ask the question.  Why?  We are willing to ask why something is the way it is.  And it is that question, that why, that we just can’t seem to get past.  It nags and pesters at us.  It clings to us and won’t seem to leave us or our consciousness alone.  Continuing to pull at us until we finally find ourselves willing to do something about it.

Innovation often begins its journey as a question…

Many people ask why everyday.  And it never leads…

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UDL and The Flipped Classroom: The Full Picture

User Generated Education

In response to all of the attention given to the flipped classroom, I proposed The Flipped Classroom: The Full Picture and The Flipped Classroom: The Full Picture for Higher Education in which the viewing of videos (often discussed on the primary focus of the flipped classroom) becomes a part of a larger cycle of learning based on an experiential cycle of learning.

Universal Design for Learning has also been in the news lately as a new report Universal Design for Learning (UDL): Initiatives on the Move was released by the National Center on UDL, May, 2012. This post describes the principles of Universal Design for Learning and how they naturally occur when a full cycle of learning, including ideas related to the flipped classroom, are used within the instructional process.

Universal Design for Learning

The UDL framework:

  • includes three principles calling for educators to provide multiple means of engagement…

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Meta-cognition: What does it mean for teachers? – Education Research: What does it mean in the classroom?

Thinking about thinking…..

The Echo Chamber

Meta-cognition loosely means thinking about thinking. It is often a goal that teachers pursue. In order to become more independent, students should learn to monitor and reflect upon their own learning. 

In John Hattie’s 2009 book, “Visible Learning,” he indicates that meta-cognitive strategies can be quite effective. In the language of the book they have a ‘high effect size,’ meaning that Hattie would recommend such strategies as worthy of further investigation. To Hattie, meta-cognitive strategies include planning how to approach a given learning task, evaluating progress and monitoring comprehension, for instance, by self-questioning as you read a text. In fact, Hattie groups the notion of ‘study skills’ in the same category; an approach which also has a high effect size. This gives strength to the argument that we should pay attention to thinking about thinking, although Hattie’s examples are relatively prosaic compared to other conceptions that are available.

via Meta-cognition:…

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Effective Languages in Learning Groups




I had the very fortunate luck of attending  Harvard Graduate School of Education’s Project Zero Classroom Summer Institute last summer.  One of the mini-sessions I attended was “Effective Professional Learning Communities:  Supporting Learning in Staff Rooms and Classrooms” by Daniel Wilson.  The session aimed at identifying the key features of learning communities while discussing the common roadblocks that impede progress.

Wilson created this helpful graphic to help us understand the languages that we use in learning groups.  This chart summarizes, on a continuum, the ways in which people share ideas.



“Languages that support learning are most effective when they are in the moment portable across situations and focus on sharing, generating, integrating knowledge to solve problems. “


Group work is full of difficult paradoxes.  What is important, though, is that each person understand, accept and embrace differences so that problems can ultimately be solved.  The languages we use become the details that either make or break the process.  Being honest with oneself is the first step toward progress.