AASL Day 3 – A Whole New Mind

I took part in the book discussion this morning about Dan Pink’s book, A Whole New Mind. Alice Yucht lead the discussion and gave each of our table groups one of the six essential skills. Be sure and read the summary at the AASL blog as well.

Here is what our groups shared:


Regina from Fairfield, California was our designated laugher!

Laugh clubs becoming popular – a laughing five minutes.

Use a “FLIP” camera to show people laughing and then show the video.

  • Play is mentioned in previous literature such as:
  • FISH philosophy.
  • Piaget talked about play

Book: Worksheets Don’t Grow Dendrites. This book presents ways to make lessons that are more engaging that worksheets.

Examples from the book:

Southwest Airlines – flight servers singing.

Games are the “literature of today”. In reading a novel, readers become characters and “play” with the character in the book. With video games, gamers become the characters.


Allow students to play board games in the library to let their brains take a break from left brained learning.

In one school, during rainy days, kids play games. They started to make up the rules for the games and then the rules were written down to share with others.

Make the library a friendly place to be.


Definition is putting together the places.

Transcend the idea of different instruments to make the total song. Connection to the book, see Blink.

People confuse information with understanding. Too many little pieces, you can’t see the whole picture. The transition from left to right brain is really important.

Examples: Writing a research paper in the LMC. How do students shift from the small pieces of information to a whole project? Need to teach students to do this.

Student’s sit in circle. Each student writes a topic on top of the page. The paper is sent around to other students and others write down questions about the topic.


Utility enhanced by significance. Everyone wants to be significant.

Our job is to help all students to feel significant. It is program and policy. In this age of abundance, in perspective when we look at the resources we do have, if everyone is to share in this abundance, we need to look beyond facilities into our own dispositions and how that can be shared outside of our centers.

Examples: Do things that make everyone feel significant.


Dan Pink’s stories he told during his talk last night helped us to remember the concepts he talked about. For kids, we need to tell stories to help them connect to important concepts.

Artifacts as story. Pictures as story. Make history real because student can tell his own story based on that artifact. The child can then create the stories based on those stories that can be told to their grandchildren. Bring history to the table as a story – both fiction and non-fiction. Take those stories to legislators and let those stories resonate with them to show the importance of education and libraries.

Examples: Use historical artifacts and pictures and allow students to create their own stories.


Talked about rules and how we convey those rules. Important to frame rules in a positive way. There are rules in LMC such as Be Respectful, Be a Learner. Rules should help everyone to achieve the goals they have. Suggested having a cell phone free section of the library but also a section entitled “this area has great cell phone reception.” Connect service learning to the library. Have kids step into other people’s shoes as far as thinking about what other kinds of books other people would like.

Example: Empathetic listening and the standard reference interview. Interesting to take the Jefferson scale of empathy in Pink’s book (p.170-171) and compare this to how we conduct the reference interview.


In school libraries, we are all aout making meaning for students. Ends might look like motivation. Strategies through instructional design. Help teachers to create lessons that really matter. Do an interest inventory an follow through with that. Give kids time to question and browse the library. Kids need unstructure

Library is a bubble of comfort.


Allow kids to dedicate their work to others. Important to dedicate our work to those who have touched our lives.

LEARNING (added because of Doug Johnson’s suggestion)

Learning is really the idea of creating meaning. Learning could be growth and understanding of our universe. Learning how we learn. One idea is reader response, which creates meaning for them. Allow kids to research topics of personal interest rather than a pre-assigned. Be flexible and learn new skills. When doing research, we should not just use the new tools in the same way. Be ready to change. We need to change our own minds before we can change our student’s minds. Many are teaching to the test and we need to not lose sight of the fact that we want students to come out of the project with new understandings. Help students and teachers to learn. Make sure students are involved and make their learning personalized. Overall, learning fits in the meaning category.

My note: I think learning and meaning is the same thing.


From a university perspective, we need to prepare students for the future, as well as educator preparation. We are tired of testing to the max. Mr. Pink is validating what we already know. We know arts and music are important. Remember Howard Gardner.

Writing this book from a businessman’s viewpoint helped to give these ideas more credibility than if they were written by an educator. Pink is an advocate for educators. Teaching is an art, not a routine! We are receptive to this because there is no roadmap for librarians. Overall, libraries are being pushed by students and the technology. Always moving Pink is more right brained than he thinks he is.



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