May 2010


Letter to My Daughter by George Bishop

by George Bishop, author of Letter to My Daughter: A Novel

In my novel Letter to My Daughter, Laura, a middle-aged mother, writes a long letter to her runaway daughter.  Early on in the story, she bemoans the fact that letter writing seems to be a dying art:  “In this hyperactive age of emails and text messages, the kind of correspondence that Tim [her boyfriend] and I shared must seem like an anachronism to you . . . But I sincerely hope, dear Elizabeth, that someday you might have the pleasure of such an anachronism; that one day you’ll experience for yourself the irreplaceable joy of receiving letters from a lover.”  Much like my protagonist, I too appreciate the value of letters as a form of communication, and for this reason I’m always looking for ways to incorporate letter-writing activities in my English classes. 

Unlike an electronic message, a letter’s a tangible thing; it’s got heft and substance.  We can hold it in our hands, turn it over, smell it even.  We appreciate the extra time it took the sender to write out their thoughts on paper, put the paper in an envelope, address, stamp, and mail it.  A letter says, Listen to me.  I’ve got something important to tell you. (more…)

Mindset by Carol S. Dweck

In this week’s Chronicle of Higher Education, staff reporter David Glenn has written an interesting piece considering the pioneering work—and controversial viewpoints—of psychologist, professor and author Carol Dweck. The National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) took note of this article and linked to it in their weekly INBOX e-newsletter, sent out today.

Dweck, currently a professor at Stanford University, is a leading expert on motivation and personality psychology.  Having done more than twenty years of research on mindset, she has come to form what many consider to be a contrarian view: by fostering the belief that intelligence is a fixed trait, and praising students for simply “being smart”, educators do a disservice not only to students but to society-at-large.

The article has sparked varied reactions among Chronicle readers.  In exchange for a free copy of Dweck’s book Mindset: The New Psychology of Success, we’d like to get your point of view as well.  Simply read the Chronicle article and/or the book excerpt and post a thoughtful comment here.  Then email us for your free copy (please be sure to include your full school mailing address).

Are you a high school teacher in the Tri-State area or are you going to be in NYC this summer? If so, we would like to invite you and your students to our Second Annual Author Event for NYC Educators. Held at the Random House, Inc. building in midtown Manhattan on Wednesday, June 30th from 1-4pm, come hear four fascinating authors speak about their books: Wes Moore (The Other Wes Moore), Liz Welch (The Kids Are All Right), Alissa Torres (American Widow), and Geoffrey Canada and Jamar Nicholas (Fist Stick Knife Gun). The event will also feature teacher presentations and fun, creative workshops for students. Refreshments and free books will be available. Join us for lunch starting before the event at 12 noon.

RSVP necessary. Click here for more information.