Children of Ash and Elm Book Review

Children of Ash and Elm by Neil Price

“Children of Ash and Elm: A History of the Vikings” by Neil Price offers a comprehensive and detailed exploration of the Viking Age, spanning from their earliest origins to their lasting impact on the modern world. Price delves deep into Viking life’s social, cultural, and political aspects, presenting a nuanced view that challenges many popular misconceptions.

The book is not a novel but a historical account, richly detailed and engaging. Price presents a narrative that is both scholarly and accessible, weaving together archaeological findings, historical texts, and linguistic studies to create a vivid portrayal of the Viking world. The main characters in this context are the Vikings themselves, portrayed not just as raiders and warriors, but as traders, explorers, and settlers. The setting encompasses the vast expanse of the Viking influence, from the Nordic countries to the far reaches of the North Atlantic and the coasts of North America.

Price’s writing style is eloquent and fluid, making the complex history and culture of the Vikings approachable for general readers while still offering depth and insight for scholars. In this case, the character development applies to the portrayal of the Viking society and culture. Price succeeds in humanizing the Vikings, presenting them as a complex and multifaceted people with their own values, beliefs, and social structures.

One of the most striking aspects of “Children of Ash and Elm” is its ability to bring the Viking world to life through vivid imagery and descriptive language. Price uses a variety of sources to reconstruct the Viking Age, allowing readers to immerse themselves in the era. The book does not shy away from the more brutal aspects of Viking life, including their rituals, warfare, and social practices, providing a balanced and unvarnished view.

Emotionally, the book is engaging and thought-provoking. It evokes a sense of wonder at the Vikings’ achievements and their resilience and a reflective consideration of their impact on the societies they encountered. Price’s analysis of Viking mythology and religion adds a fascinating layer to the narrative, revealing their actions’ spiritual and philosophical underpinnings.

Children of Ash and Elm
  • Price, Neil (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 640 Pages – 09/13/2022 (Publication Date) – Basic Books (Publisher)

Through “Children of Ash and Elm,” Price communicates a theme of complexity and contradiction in the Viking age, challenging the stereotype of Vikings as mere barbaric raiders. He successfully conveys their culture’s richness, contributions to trade and exploration, and lasting impact on European history.

The book’s primary strength lies in its thorough research and ability to present a nuanced view of the Viking era. However, some readers might find the level of detail overwhelming, especially those looking for a more casual read.

I would highly recommend “Children of Ash and Elm” to history enthusiasts, particularly those interested in the Viking Age and scholars in the field. It offers a valuable perspective that enriches our understanding of a crucial period in European history.

Comparing it to other works on Viking history, Price’s book stands out for its depth of research and engaging narrative. It complements other historical accounts by providing a more rounded and humanized view of the Vikings.

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars. “Children of Ash and Elm” is a must-read for anyone interested in the Vikings, offering a comprehensive, insightful, and beautifully written account of their history and legacy.

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Snow Days and AI Plays

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Live look at Kentucky schools

It’s a Friday in mid-January, which means there’s snow on the ground here in Kentucky, and many of our schools are either working remotely or out of session. I’m checking in with my teachers while enjoying cup of coffee number 3, swaddled up in my old man sweater.

Next week, I’m attending FETC and will be presenting on Thursday afternoon. If you’re there and want to chat, hit me up!

For now, here’s this week’s 10 Things. Stay warm!

10 Things Worth Sharing

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Nurturing Teacher Well-Being: Advocating for Time and Energy

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Digital Promise explores strategies for improving teacher well-being. It emphasizes the importance of teacher autonomy, community building, and inclusivity, advocating for instructional coaches to support these aspects. The article also highlights the role of mindfulness and reflective practices in fostering a positive educational environment.

The post suggests that teachers and students can benefit from a more supportive and effective educational experience by focusing on these elements.

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OpenAI Partners with Arizona State University

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For all the AI haters out there…

  • OpenAI on Thursday announced its first partnership with a higher education institution.
  • Starting in February, Arizona State University will have full access to ChatGPT Enterprise and plans to use it for coursework, tutoring, research, and more.
  • The partnership has been in the works for at least six months.
  • ASU plans to build a personalized AI tutor for students, allow students to create AI avatars for study help, and broaden the university’s prompt engineering course.
AI for Educators: Learning Strategies, Teacher Efficiencies, and a Vision for an Artificial Intelligence Future
  • Miller, Matt (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 132 Pages – 03/16/2023 (Publication Date) – Ditch That Textbook (Publisher)

OpenAI announced a partnership with Arizona State University, giving the university full access to ChatGPT Enterprise in February 2024. The collaboration, in planning for six months, will integrate ChatGPT into ASU’s coursework, tutoring, and research. ChatGPT Enterprise offers unrestricted access to GPT-4, enhanced performance, and API credits. ASU aims to develop a personalized AI tutor and creative AI avatars for students. The partnership emphasizes student privacy and intellectual property protection, with OpenAI not using ASU data for training models. This initiative follows concerns about AI chatbots in education, particularly around cheating.

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Unlocking Classroom Discussions: Using “Every Political Ideology Explained in 8 Minutes” as a Teaching Tool

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In today’s digital age, educational resources have expanded beyond textbooks to include diverse mediums like YouTube videos. A prime example is the video “Every Political Ideology Explained in 8 Minutes,” offering a succinct overview of various political ideologies. This blog post aims to guide high school civics, history, or government teachers on how to utilize this video as a discussion starter in their classrooms.

1. Pre-Viewing Preparation:

Before playing the video, it’s essential to establish a foundational understanding among students. Teachers should:

  • Briefly Introduce Political Ideologies: Explain the concept of political ideologies as systems of beliefs that shape individual and collective political stances.
  • Set Expectations: Inform students that the video provides a brief overview, encouraging them to seek deeper understanding through class discussions and further research.

2. During the Viewing:

As students watch, they should be encouraged to take notes. Teachers can provide a guided worksheet that includes:

  • Key Terms and Definitions: Such as conservatism, liberalism, socialism, etc.
  • Critical Thinking Questions: Like “What are the core beliefs of each ideology?” or “How might these ideologies impact governance?”

3. Post-Viewing Discussion:

This is where the magic happens. Teachers can facilitate discussions by:

  • Breaking Down Ideologies: Discuss each ideology presented in the video. Encourage students to express their understanding and ask questions.
  • Comparing and Contrasting: Have students compare ideologies, discussing similarities and differences. This can lead to deeper understanding and critical thinking.
  • Real-World Applications: Relate these ideologies to current events or historical instances. This connection helps students see the practical impact of these ideologies.
  • Debate and Role Play: Organize debates or role-playing activities where students defend or critique various ideologies. This exercise enhances understanding and empathy.
Political Ideologies: Their Origins and Impact
  • Baradat, Leon P. (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 406 Pages – 12/09/2019 (Publication Date) – Routledge (Publisher)

4. Extended Activities:

To deepen understanding, teachers can assign activities like:

  • Research Projects: Students can research a particular ideology in-depth or study a political leader associated with an ideology.
  • Creative Presentations: Encourage students to create presentations or infographics about different ideologies.
  • Field Work: If possible, arrange visits to political organizations or invite guest speakers representing various ideologies.

5. Critical Reflection:

End the unit with a reflective exercise where students:

  • Reflect on Personal Views: Encourage students to ponder how their personal views align or differ from the ideologies studied.
  • Discuss the Role of Ideologies in Society: Facilitate a conversation about the impact of political ideologies on societal development and individual lives.


“Every Political Ideology Explained in 8 Minutes” serves as an excellent springboard for engaging students in the complex world of political thought. Through this video and subsequent activities, students can develop a nuanced understanding of political ideologies, enhancing their critical thinking skills and preparing them for informed citizenship in a diverse world.

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Leveraging the Science of Learning and Development to Combat Loneliness in Schools

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Understanding the Loneliness Epidemic

In a profound exploration of the modern societal challenge, Harvard professor Robert Waldinger sheds light on the growing epidemic of loneliness in his recent YouTube lecture. He defines loneliness as a subjective experience where an individual feels less connected to others than desired. This feeling is distinct from isolation, as one can be isolated and content, surrounded by people, yet feel profoundly lonely.

The Rise of Loneliness

Loneliness has been on an upward trend since the 1950s. Factors contributing to this rise include increased societal mobility, the introduction and evolution of television, and the digital revolution. These changes have gradually eroded community engagement and personal interactions.

The Health Impacts

Research by Julianne Holt-Lunstad highlights the severe health implications of loneliness, equating its danger to smoking half a pack of cigarettes a day. Loneliness contributes to physical health deterioration and accelerates brain decline in later life.

The Power of Connections

Waldinger emphasizes the importance of investing in relationships for well-being. It’s not just close relationships that count; even casual interactions with community members, like a mail carrier or a grocery store cashier, can foster a sense of belonging.

Student Mental Health: A Guide For Teachers, School and District Leaders, School Psychologists and Nurses, Social Workers, Counselors, and Parents
  • Dikel MD, William (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 400 Pages – 08/16/2022 (Publication Date) – W. W. Norton & Company (Publisher)

Schools’ Role in Building Inclusive Communities

Recognizing Loneliness in Students

Schools must first acknowledge that loneliness can be a significant issue among students. Young adults, in particular, are highly susceptible to loneliness. Educators can play a crucial role in identifying signs of loneliness and providing support.

Creating Inclusive Environments

Schools can use the science of learning and development to build inclusive student communities. This includes:

  1. Promoting Social Skills: Integrating social skill development into the curriculum can help students who feel lonely and are hesitant to reach out. Cognitive behavioral therapy techniques can be adapted for the classroom to help students revise their assumptions about social interactions.
  2. Encouraging Community Engagement: Activities that foster community involvement can help students feel more connected. This might include group projects, community service initiatives, or school clubs that cater to diverse interests.
  3. Building Casual Connections: Schools should create environments where casual, positive interactions are encouraged. This could be in the form of mentorship programs, buddy systems for new students, or structured social time during the school day.
  4. Supporting Emotional Health: Schools can provide resources for emotional support, such as counseling services or workshops on managing feelings of loneliness and building healthy relationships.

Empowering Students

Empowering students to understand and combat loneliness is essential. This involves teaching them that seeking connection is normal and healthy and providing them with the tools and opportunities to build meaningful relationships.


Loneliness is a complex and growing challenge, but schools can play a pivotal role in addressing this epidemic by understanding its dynamics and implementing strategies to promote connection and belonging. It’s about creating a culture where every student feels, as Waldinger concludes, “You belong. You matter. You’re connected.”

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Revolutionizing Education: A Deep Dive into Career and Technical Learning’s Impact

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The landscape of education is evolving rapidly, and nowhere is this more apparent than in the realm of Career and Technical Education (CTE). A recent in-depth study sheds light on this transformation, focusing on the intersections of culture and leadership in fostering deeper learning within CTE settings.

CTE: Paving the Way for Deeper Learning

CTE isn’t just about equipping students with vocational skills and nurturing critical thinkers and problem solvers. The study highlights how CTE environments, with their hands-on, practical approach, are uniquely positioned to drive deeper learning – a form of education that goes beyond rote memorization to develop critical thinking, problem-solving, and real-world application skills.

Leadership and Culture: The Drivers of Change

At the heart of CTE’s success are two pivotal elements: leadership and culture. Effective leadership in CTE isn’t just about administrative decisions; it’s about creating a vision for comprehensive learning and fostering a culture where this vision can thrive. This involves nurturing an open, collaborative environment where students and educators alike are encouraged to take risks and think creatively.

Empowering Students for Tomorrow’s Challenges

One of the study’s striking findings is the emphasis on student empowerment. CTE programs that excel are those that put students at the center of their learning journey, allowing them to explore their interests and apply their learning in real-world settings. This prepares them for the workforce and develops their confidence and decision-making skills.

Innovative Learning Strategies in CTE

CTE programs are breaking away from traditional learning models, adopting innovative strategies like project-based learning, internships, and real-world problem-solving tasks. These approaches make learning more engaging and relevant and help students develop a deeper understanding of the subject matter.

Collaboration for Career and Technical Education: Teamwork Beyond the Core Content Areas in a PLC at Work® (A guide for collaborative teaching in career and technical education)
  • Wendy Custable (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 248 Pages – 05/19/2020 (Publication Date) – Solution Tree Press (Publisher)

The Future of CTE: A Beacon of Hope

The study’s findings are clear: CTE is not just an alternative path but a forward-thinking approach to education. With its focus on deeper learning, empowerment, and innovative teaching methods, CTE stands as a beacon of hope in the quest for a more effective and relevant education system.


The transformation of CTE from a vocational pathway to a hub of deeper learning is a testament to the power of innovative educational practices. As we look to the future, it’s evident that CTE will continue to play a crucial role in preparing students for the workforce and life as proactive, engaged citizens.

Thanks for reading. This site and all the work shared here are completely reader-supported. The best way to support it is to check out my recommendations or subscribe to my weekly newsletter.

Unlocking Deeper Learning: A Guide for Educators and Leaders

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Have you ever wondered what makes an educational experience truly impactful? It’s not just about the information being conveyed; it’s about how it’s conveyed and internalized. This is where the concept of deeper learning comes into play.

The Essence of Deeper Learning

What is deeper learning? It’s a holistic approach focusing on critical thinking, problem-solving, and understanding complex concepts. Think of it as learning to fish and understanding the ecosystem, the fish’s role, and sustainable fishing practices.

Teaching for Deeper Learning: Tools to Engage Students in Meaning Making
  • McTighe, Jay (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 130 Pages – 01/22/2020 (Publication Date) – ASCD (Publisher)

The Role of Networked Improvement Communities

Networked Improvement Communities (NICs) are like beehives of educational innovation. They provide a platform where educators can share, collaborate, and refine their teaching methodologies. It’s about building a collective wisdom.

Video Clubs: A Catalyst for Growth

Imagine a book club but for teaching practices. Video clubs in NICs offer a dynamic way for educators to visually share and discuss their teaching methods. It’s about seeing and improving together.

The Impact of Leadership in Educational Transformation

Leadership in education is not just about administrative tasks. It’s about guiding, inspiring, and creating an environment where deeper learning can thrive. Great leaders are the architects of educational innovation.

Preparing Teachers for Deeper Learning
  • Darling-Hammond, Linda (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 416 Pages – 05/28/2019 (Publication Date) – Harvard Education Press (Publisher)

Fostering a Community of Practice

A community of practice in education is like a garden where ideas grow and flourish. It’s a space where educators can cultivate their skills and knowledge, rooted in shared experiences and goals.

From Theory to Practice: Real-World Applications

Applying deeper learning isn’t just a theoretical exercise. It’s about integrating these approaches into actual classroom settings, transforming the educational experience into something more meaningful and lasting.

Leadership for Deeper Learning
  • Richardson, Jayson W. (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 190 Pages – 07/27/2021 (Publication Date) – Routledge (Publisher)

Challenges and Solutions in Implementing Deeper Learning

Every revolution has its challenges. In the case of deeper learning, these include resource allocation, teacher training, and adapting to diverse learning environments. But with every challenge comes a solution.

Case Studies: Success Stories and Lessons Learned

Learning from others’ experiences is a cornerstone of deeper learning. By examining case studies, educators can glean insights into successful strategies and common pitfalls to avoid.

The Future of Deeper Learning in Education

The future of education is not static; it’s dynamic and ever-evolving. Deeper learning is at the forefront of this evolution, paving the way for a more engaged and thoughtful generation of learners.

In Search of Deeper Learning: The Quest to Remake the American High School
  • Amazon Kindle Edition
  • Mehta, Jal (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 452 Pages – 04/09/2019 (Publication Date) – Harvard University Press (Publisher)

Key Takeaways for Educators and Leaders

In conclusion, the journey toward deeper learning is both challenging and rewarding. It requires dedication, collaboration, and a willingness to rethink traditional educational models.

Access the full study from this article here


  1. What is deeper learning?
    Deeper learning is an educational approach that emphasizes the development of critical thinking, problem-solving, and a deep understanding of core academic content.
  2. How do Networked Improvement Communities support deeper learning?
    NICs provide a collaborative space for educators to share, innovate, and improve teaching practices, fostering a community that drives deeper learning.
  3. What role do leaders play in promoting deeper learning?
    Leaders in education are pivotal in creating the right environment and providing the necessary resources for deeper learning to flourish.
  4. Can deeper learning be applied in all educational settings?
    Yes, with the right approach and resources, deeper learning can be adapted to various educational contexts, benefiting a diverse range of learners.
  5. What are the main challenges in implementing deeper learning?
    Some challenges include ensuring adequate teacher training, providing sufficient resources, and adapting the curriculum to support deeper learning methodologies.

Thanks for reading. This site and all the work shared here are completely reader-supported. The best way to support it is to check out my recommendations or subscribe to my weekly newsletter.

New Year, Same Bat Time, Same Bat Channel

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It’s the first newsletter of the new year, and I’ve got several cool things to share with you.

I’m still struggling to adjust back to normal life after the swirling nothingness that is the week between Christmas and New Year’s. We didn’t do much at our house besides reading, listening to new vinyl, and eating way more snacks than we should have.

But, life continues, and we meet a new year with new challenges head-on, no stopping.

I hope this year holds much joy and happiness for you. For now, here’s this week’s “10 things”…

10 Things Worth Sharing

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Finding the Solution by Identifying the Problem

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Sometimes, the barriers we have, personally or professionally, are ones that are buried deep down and are limitations we set on ourselves. To overcome them, we must identify them and face our own internal realities.

George Couros

George Couros delves into the importance of recognizing and confronting personal and professional barriers to progress. Drawing parallels from his marathon training experience, Couros illustrates how identifying and overcoming internal limitations is crucial for personal growth and success.

He extends this lesson to educational leadership, emphasizing the need for open communication about problems to foster solutions and progress in school communities.

Thanks for reading. This site and all the work shared here are completely reader-supported. The best way to support it is to check out my recommendations or subscribe to my weekly newsletter.