Hierarchy of Reading

Abraham Maslow made the concept of hierarchies of progression in systems popular via his work on a hierarchy of needs.  Below is a theory about the hierarchy of different types of readers.


Survival Reader
Only reads when critical to survival.  This type of reader regularly denounces the benefits of reading.  They are often too busy to read and can’t see any value in spending time to read.

Procrastinator Reader
Wants to read more.  Understand reading provides pleasure and opportunity.  Asks for book recommendations and has good intentions, but doesn’t make the time to start reading.  Often afraid of the commitment of finishing a book.

Active Reader
Reads semi-regularly for pleasure and social acceptance.  Doesn’t have any focus to the books that are being read and doesn’t process what they read outside of themselves.

Engaged Reader
Takes time to engage with others on meaning of books and reads with a purpose.  Is excited about what they are reading and want to share with others the excitement.  Starts thinking deeper about the meaning of the works and are curious about how it relates outside themselves.

Remix Reader
Assembles content from multiple sources to create new works and/or actively applies to daily life.  Reading enough to find common strands among multiple works.  Actively connects ideas, thoughts, works and people to push boundaries of changing things well outside themselves.  Is able to put read works to practical use.

So where do you sit?  Are you okay with where you sit?

A Facilitator’s Best Weapon. Emotional Intelligence.

As a facilitator one of your jobs is to keep things on track. There is a finite amount of time to get the desired objective/output. Sometimes it is important to remember that interactions that seem like they are going no where are the very thing that get the discussion beyond the surface level. Don’t kill the serendipity in conversation just to stay to the minute on your time line.

Training on Graphic facilitation

Facilitators need to have strong emotional intelligence to be effective. It is important to allow people to explore outside the “plan” of your intended your agenda. Let them stray off the path and use your inuition to determine when to reel them in. Improvise accordingly to get back on track. When you facilite with emotion and are open to possibility, instead of an iron fist, you will unlock the best in those you are facilitating.

Stop Treating Students Like Prisoners

When we will understand that treating students like prisoners, makes them act like prisoners?  While Chandler Unified School District has noble intentions in considering installing camera’s on school buses.  What they fail to understand is the destruction it will impose onto the culture of the district.

I am not a privacy nut, but I do believe in treating people as humans.  This is not human.  In fact, it’s similar to how we treat prisoners.  When I hear things like “It helps us with student ‘management'” I want to cry a little inside.

If we want results in education we have to stop treating our children in this fashion.

Brain Storming at Willis Junior High iAcademy

Jade, Mike and I had a chance to sit with the teachers at Willis Junior High‘s iAcademy. This is a new program to the Chandler Unified School District. Principal Jeff Delp is pushing against the status quo and gave us the opportunity to explore.

We took the time to do the human thing and asked them “How can we help you get where you want to be?“. It looked something like this.

Quick introductions to the staff with an explanation about putting our brain in play mode. How might we do this? How about some improv (Yes Jose, Improv!). We pulled some of our favorites from Forty’s morning warm ups out. Playing electric company and then one word story. It was absolutely hilarious. After a few seconds of awkward they fell right into the playful and real selves. (approx 10 min)


We then jumped in the four C’s exercise. This is a quick exercise we use at a lot of corporations that helps illicits the Characters, Characteristics, Components and Challenges around a system. In this case the iAcademy. This is a highly interactive session that has teams and lightning quick data collection. In about 25 minutes they collected the following items.

Willis 4C's
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From there we took another 15 minutes to independently brainstorm items for ideas that we could tackle based on the insight gained from the 4C’s data collection. Below is a list of 40 items generated:

  1. Peer to Peer Teaching
  2. Individualized Instruction
  3. 21st Century Purpose “Define It”
  4. More Collaboration w/ Teachers In Similar Programs/Content Areas
  5. Almost Completely Open Internet
  6. Other Blended Schools
  7. Cross Class Room Sessions
  8. Create a Community of Practice
  9. Opportunities to Engage with Other Risk Takers
  10. How can this scale beyond an experiment?
  11. Tech Accessibility
  12. IS Needs to be a partner and respond quickly to our best interests
  13. Standardized testing (this teaching doesn’t translate to tests)
  14. More technology (tablets, video editing software)
  15. Lack of funding to take program to next level
  16. Restrictive technology policies
  17. Shared vision. What is the ideal?
  18. More time to plan 7th & 8th
  19. Stop focusing on the technology
  20. Skills first content second
  21. How can I differentiate for 100 different levels of math
  22. Self organized students and teachers
  23. Where can I find discovery math lessons
  24. What is the focus of iAcademy
  25. Publicity and/or marketing to the community and future students
  26. What are the expectations of the students
  27. How to share experiences and challenges with others who can help
  28. Mentor for problem based learning
  29. Access to better lab facilities and more chemicals
  30. Student/Parent teacher feed back forum
  31. Individualized learning vs standardized tests
  32. More engaging classroom layouts
  33. Evangelism
  34. Physical environment to foster creativity
  35. Conferences to get more ideas
  36. Shared vision without a box
  37. Truly student driven
  38. How to teach knowledge workers
  39. Willingness to make mistakes
  40. More student ownership of how/when things are done

We then quickly dot voted the top items that could really make an impact. The items above in bold were the top 10.


We immediately walked away saying we could tackle the following low hanging fruit.

  • Run an agile project liftoff to set team vision for iAcademy
  • Connect iAcademy with Litchfield Park school using Scrum and academy in Tullamore, Ireland doing blended learning
  • Work with the IRC and district to tackle current Internet policies
  • Brainstorm professional development opportunities for teachers wanting to move the bar
  • Setup open space for faculty from within district to share experience
  • Work with staff and facilities to challenge classroom layout’s
  • Connect school to community in meaningful ways

What an inspiring hour. We learned a lot.  Already there is a K-6 hacknight in the works at a local school and new programs for professional development programs at ASU being discussed from this conversation.

I plan on sharing more thoughts and how you can help. Our people are our greatest asset. It is far more productive to cultivate talent than it is to import it. It starts with us. No More Bricks!  If you want to help hack education let me know and follow No More Bricks!


Supporting Arts and Culture is Fundamental to Place Making

Culture is paramount for the future of humanity. The presence of strong art and culture in a community serves as an inspiration to strive beyond ones self. It pulls us out of our own head and opens up new doors and pathways for seeing the world around us. It opens up a sense of endless possibility. We are wired to do work outside of that which serves only ourselves. Being exposed to new possibility allows us to dream bigger and achieve more than we thought possible.

When we see the work of other creators it inspires us to want more and drives us to enrich our environment for the betterment of everyone. Supporting arts and culture is conducive to creating deeper tolerance of our differences. Understanding the beauty in difference opens us up for new ways of thinking. The wildest ideas often produce the best innovation. Being surrounded by diversity allows us to embrace the uncomfortable and see new opportunity in our weakness.

Places that restore arts and culture into their schools will see a much needed new found creativity and increased diversity. When we stop looking at art and culture as optional we will start building the exceptional.

Political Bites : Montessori High School

Would Tempe Union’s proposed Montessori high school adequately prepare students for college?

Absolutely not. It would prepare them for the real world. Which is a much more noble goal. Montessori brings us back to a much more human development approach to learning allowing students the liberty to choose and act freely within their environment and unlocking their full potential. It’s no surprise that the founders of Google, Amazon and Facebook all attended Montessori schools.

Valley Area Libraries Now Support Kindle Book Reader

I love to read.  I love libraries.  I have blogged before about my obsession with books.  I regularly put out book reviews.  I am extremely active on Goodreads.  So today, is a special day for me.  Many of the Metro Phoenix area libraries have started to lend digital books for the Kindle.  Starting with 28,858 titles isn’t too shabby.

Libraries Supporting the Initiative

Apache Junction Public Library
Website | Support

Arizona State Library
Website | Support

Casa Grande Public Library
Website | Support

Chandler Public Library
Website | Support

Glendale Public Library
Website | Support

Maricopa County Library District
Website | Support

Mesa Library
Website | Support

Peoria Public Library
Website | Support

Phoenix Public Library
Website | Support

Scottsdale Public Library System
Website | Support

Tempe Public Library
Website | Support

Political Bites : Should East Valley Schools Start Later?

Would you support an idea to start the school year after Labor Day, when it’s cooler?

It would seem that the only reason to do so would be cost savings in air conditioning. Children in most industrialized countries go to school more days per year and more hours per day than in America. I would be in favor of year round school with much less time off for vacation. If our educational systems were doing a better job engaging the curiosity of our youth, students would want to be there more as well.

The Effects of Shifting/Resetting on Society

If you are listening. A lot of people are talking about a “new norm”, a “reset” or a “shift”.  Largely this discussion is around economics and growing concerns of debt.  In reality it is about a lot more than that.

Every so often a significant transformation happens.  Five recent transformations:

  1. The Industrial Revolution
  2. Age of Steam and Railways
  3. Age of Steel, Electricity and Heavy Engineering
  4. Age of Oil, Automobiles and Mass Production
  5. Age of Information and Telecommunications

During each one of these shifts/transformations/resets more than the economy was changed.  Social norms are impacted as well.

  • Homes
  • Work Places
  • Educational Systems
  • The Way We Govern
  • How We Spend Our Liesure Time

I am excited to be living in a period of transition and doing work with Integrum and Gangplank tackling how these issues play out.  I love talking abouf this stuff.  Let’s chat over a beer sometime.

Ken Robinson Notes April 16th, 2010

Evidence of human creativity, we have no idea of future, children have high capacity for innovation.

  • Everyone has an interest in education
  • Education is meant for our future.. Kindergarten is 60 years out
  • All kids have talents, we squander them ruthlessly
  • Creativity is as important as literacy
  • Kids will take a chance, not frightened to be wrong
  • If you are not prepared to be wrong you can never be original
  • Educating people out of creativity
  • We don’t grow into creativity we grow/educate out of it
  • Shakespeare was in someone’s English class
  • Every education system has same hierarchy
    • Math/Languages
    • Humanities
    • Arts
    • Arts, Music
    • Drama, Dance

We educate from the waist up, then heads slightly to one side.  Goal is to produce university professors.

  • Education system built for industrialism
  • Poor self esteem because schools tell people not talented if they don’t fit to school
  • Degrees aren’t worth anything
  • Intelligence (diverse, dynamic, distinct)

Hope for future ecology of  humanity

  • Reconstitute our concept of human capacity
  • Fundamentally change our education system
  • Use gift of imagination
  • Put hope into our children

We will never this future, but we can hope that they will.