Archive for July, 2010

50 Subscribers!

What a monumental day for The Schooba Academy.  It is my greatest honor to announce to you the reaching of 50 subscribers to The Schooba Academy’s blog.  As promised, Ker1019, your free Schooba Academy shirt is on its way … just give me a chance to make them first.

To all of you, from the abyssal depths of my heart, danke schoen.

Hevruta in Schooba

The Posen Seminar is going great.  There is definitely a lot of work in what are definitely long days, but the diverse and open-minded group of participants have made this a most enjoyable learning experience.

It is late; I am tired; we start bright and early tomorrow.  I do, however, want to briefly mention my biggest takeaway thus far: Hevruta learning.  (Possibly also spelled ‘chavurah’ or ‘havurah’)  I will provide a source of further information at the end of this posting, but as I presently understand it (please correct me if I’m wrong) hevruta is a traditional Jewish method of learning.  It involves a partner and a text, and through discussion and debate the pair explore the text together to gain a deeper understanding and varying perspectives/interpretations.  As well, each person has an obligation to help their partner in their learning. Customarily, this method is associated with the learning of the “central text of mainstream Judaism”, The Talmud, but what a shame it would be to keep it so confined!  Is this a strategy that The Academy could in some way use?  When SCUBA diving, one should never go alone.  Always, it is recommended that you dive with a buddy, and throughout the SCUBA training process all divers are paired with one.  This partnership – which is so fundamental to SCUBA diving – seems to provide the ideal venue for learning via the method of hevruta.  Non?

As promised:

For further information on hevruta

1.  Go to

2.  Type the word “hevruta” into the text box

3.  Click “Google Search”

A week in Cincinnati

At the end of this past school year, my principal sent out an email about a professional development seminar that involved some “great thinkers”.  “The Academy could use those!” I thought, and quickly signed up.  And so tonight, along with my great friend, roommate, travel buddy, colleague, Math Consultant, and Director of Advocating the Devil, Alex, I’ll be heading to the Posen Foundation’s 5-day Summer Seminar in Cincinnati, OH. … Cincinnati!  … Only one thing comes to mind:

Devil’s Backbone.

Want more?

Weird Science!

A few days ago, I was successfully sidetracked into applying to live in Chicago’s Museum of Science + Industry for a month.  As part of their application, I had to make a 60 second video telling about my interest and experience with science, how I would make learning fun, and why I would be the best person to have this 0ne-of-a-kind experience.  Big up to Al for filming, and a big big up to Da Fuz for editing.  Enjoy.

City Kids Barely Afloat

Courtesy of Da Fuzz.  Thanks, dude.

city kids barely afloat

Successfully sidetracked … again

This exchange between my mother and me:


Hi Sweetheart,

Important question—Do you still have health coverage through school–when does it expire and what are your plans for maintaining it?
Love you,
hi mum,
i don’t know if i still have health coverage and haven’t put any thought into my plans for maintaining it.
Your response about the insurance seemed really casual and seemed to suggest you don’t think securing or having health insurance is of any concern.  That makes me concerned–I respect and encourage this venture, I hope you are able to give it adequate time to get off the ground and I always wish you success and certainly passion in what you are doing–however, none of that should compromise your safety and not having health insurance does.  If you needed medical care and were without insurance you would either have to apply for Charity Care or you would financially strain and deplete not only yourself but Dad and I as well–and I think that would go completely against you wanting to be responsible and independent.  Take 15 min out of your day and research how astronomical costs are for those w/out insurance.  Please…take this seriously and make sure you have adequate coverage–even if you need to pay into a plan.  This is non negotiable.  I love you and I want to make sure you are safe.
(me, to myself, grumbling)
It’s dad and me.

Successfully sidetracked

It’s 2:24 am, and I’ve been successfully sidetracked.  I had meant to spend the night working on the Echoing Green Application Handbook, but Yoshi,  my brother and Director of Knowing Things, informed me of this opportunity.

How cool is that!?

And how awesome would it be for The Academy!?

My plate is overflowing, but with a nearing application deadline, I feel that this is an investment which is worth my time.  And so, without further ado (“although I’m rather fond of ado” – Tom Robbins), I teleport thee to the top of my priorities.

Get creative, kids!

Marketing is all about creativity … I think.  And so, today I would like to announce the launching of The Schooba Academy’s first triannual Competition of Creative Marketing.  Advertise your favorite Academy and win!

Grand Prize – Official Schooba Academy t-shirt!

First Prize – Brand new Hanes TAGLESS white t-shirt with official Schooba Academy design permanently drawn on!

Second Prize – Already broken in Hanes TAGLESS white t-shirt with official Schooba Academy design permanently drawn on!

Third Prize -Incredibly comfortable Reef sandals … already broken in!

incredibly comfortable reef sandals

Please send all submissions to by November 15, 2010.  Winners will be announced shortly afterward.

Current leader

This  “leave-behind” technique compliments of Yoshi

Yoshi's leave-behind technique

Get crackin’!

What did I gain from SCUBA?

On August 3rd I will be departing for a trip in which I will ride a bicycle from Prague to Vienna.  If this gives you the impression that I am some sort of cyclist, you are most certainly mistaken; I haven’t ridden a 30 mile day in all my life, let alone many 30 mile days to necessitate this trip.  There is not a smidgen of evidence that would suggest that this is a reasonable endeavor, but like I said, I am irrationally confident.

Anyways, I had a meeting with my great friend, roommate, and travel buddy to go over some logistics of our adventure.

Alex: “Alright, so we need to find out where we can rent bikes in Prague.”

Me: “What are some of the biggest needs of our kids?”

Alex, perplexed: “What?”

I tricked him.  This was going to be a Schooba meeting, instead.  In addition to being a great friend, roommate, and travel buddy, Alex was my colleague at Lyons for the past two years, and is now doubling as The Schooba Academy’s Math Consultant and Director of Advocating the Devil.  This was going to be a Schooba meeting, instead.

“Our kids don’t participate in enough experiences where learning is enjoyable,” I plead.

For not very long, Alex ruminates.  “I don’t think I participated in many experiences where learning was enjoyable,” he responds.

My turn for rumination:

… He’s got a point.  Aside from SCUBA diving, I can’t quite come up with much else.

“What did you gain from SCUBA diving?”  He probes.

Another good one.  It takes me some thinking, but eventually I come up with an answer I am happy with:

“Direction,” I say.  “I guess SCUBA diving provided me with a direction – a foundation for making decisions.”

“But you were passionate about SCUBA diving.  You can’t ensure that all of these kids are even going to like it?

“Oh, come on,” I retort.  “How many people that have ever been SCUBA diving don’t like it!?”

“I didn’t!  I was terrified!” He says through my snickers.  “You can’t assume that it’s going to give them the same direction that it gave you.  What can you ensure that you can give them through teaching them to SCUBA dive?”

… Hmm, well I can confidently say that I can improve their understanding of science … and most certainly they will be trying something new … Do I smell a mission?:

To academically and experientially enrich the lives of (at risk?) NYC youth through learning how to SCUBA dive??


What I need

Some days back, Dan asked me to think about my needs.  “What are you not willing to sacrifice?”  He asked.  “What are your non-negotiables?”

Well, I have thought about this for a few days now, and I’m kind of stuck.  Every “need” I come up with I simply trace back to this one, mammoth, all-encompassing need.  Is it possible that I have just one need?  Is all I need really just … autonomy?

I mean, it makes sense, I guess.  Google seems to be doing alright and they give their employees 20% of their time to work on a project they are passionate about.  Just imagine how productive I’ll be if I have 100% autonomy.

New Question:

- What are the non-negotiables of the program?

On the Importance of Autonomy

Daniel Pink: The Surprising Science of Motivation

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