Holiday Gift Guide

Wishing you and your family a safe, healthy, and joyous new year. We appreciate all you do to make the world a better place for kids.

We hope to see you soon as we are planning more face-to-face events this upcoming year. Constructing Modern Knowledge will be July 10-14, 2023 in Manchester, NH. So, mark your calendar and register soon!

In the meantime, get some rest and take care of yourself!

Funny, Therapeutic, and Ingenious Books
The nine Scaredy Squirrel books for early readers are very clever, hilarious, and beloved by every child we have given them to. Every parent looks at the book and says, “this is exactly what my son/daughter needs.” We’re late to the Scaredy Squirrel party, but are so happy to catch up! You must read Scaredy Squirrel!
What’s a Great Book Series without a Puppet?
Reading Scaredy Squirrel’s adventures aloud is so much better with this super cute, soft, and cuddly Scaredy Squirrel puppet? You know you need one!
Don’t be scared! Read ’em all!
Magic and Making in Two Colorful Inexpensive Books!
The “Maker Magician,” Mario Marchese has created two delightful, project packed, and full-color books about how to make and perform maker magic tricks using items found around the home. Of course, magic requires performance and communication skills that all kids need too. Start making magic today!
Settling a Tiresome Debate
Old friend & colleague Professor Amy Bruckman wrote an important book (that we wish wasn’t necessary) making the case for Wikipedia and modern knowledge construction. Buy copies for your colleagues or kids’ teachers! Learn more »
The Case for Universal Art Education
Professor Ellen Winter shares an incredibly vital and fascinating history of art education in America in a book that offers justification and practical advice for thriving school art programs. Get the book »
Essential for Your Library
Gary Stager contributed a chapter for this new anthology of scholarship by those on the frontiers of children, computers, and powerful ideas first espoused by Seymour Papert.  Check out the who’s who of authors »
Howard Gardner’s Riveting New Memoir
One of the world’s most influential educators shares his candid thinking about thinking in this delightful new pageturner.
Get the book »
New Donald Graves Anthology
Teaching writing starts with Donald Graves. This is new collection of Donald Graves’ most significant writings paired with recovered tapes that illuminate his research and his inspiring work with teachers. This collection allows you to hear this revolutionary shift in writing instruction – with its emphasis on observation, reflection, and approaching children as writers.
Get the book »
Perfect Gift for Job-Seeking Children, Students, and Classroom Teachers
For decades, AI pioneer and Professor Patrick Winston taught one of MIT’s most popular courses on how to communicate clearly in lectures, job interviews, and other practical settings. His ideas have been captured in this new book. Gary also wrote about his work here (complete with video).
Check out Make it Clear »
Wonder Art Workshop: Creative Child-Led Experiences for Nurturing Imagination, Curiosity, and a Love of Learning
We love this book. It’s filled with incredibly clever ideas for hands-on art projects that stimulate the learning. It is the perfect gift for parents and classroom teachers – or anyone who values beauty and creativity.
Get messy & creative »
The Math(s) Fix: An Education Blueprint for the AI Age
This is the only book to explain why being bad at math may be as much the subject’s fault as the learner’s: how a stuck educational ecosystem has students, parents, teachers, schools, employers and policymakers running in the wrong direction to catch up with real-world requirements. But it goes further too, for the first time setting out a completely alternative vision for a core computational school subject to fix the problem and seed more general reformation of education for the AI age.
Read the Math(s) Fix »
The Case for Instrumental & Choral Music Education
There may be no more significant pedagogical innovation in the past half-century than Venezuela’s El Sistema project. The lessons of El Sistema have wide reaching implications for all education and social justice efforts. Everyone should read this book. »

Would you believe that kids can design and program their own video games using the block-based and Web-based MakeCode Arcade software and then carry those games in their pocket?

Essential Podcasting Mixer

Mix four microphones, audio sources, and even callers, plus independently control four sets of headphones, and record your productions to an SD card or directly to your computer! This puppy also includes sound pads for triggering pre-recorded clips or sound-effects and can run on batteries! The designers of the Zoom Livetrak L-8 thought of everything.

The power offered by this affordable portable sound studio is quite impressive. Anyone involved in podcasting or webinars with multiple audio sources needs one.

I can hear you now! »

Blackmagic ATEM Mini

This is one of the best investments we’ve ever made. After weeks of reading web sites and watching YouTube videos, we finally understood why you just can’t connect your video camera to a laptop and “zoom” away. This small, insanely powerful hardware switcher allows you to plug-in four HDMI cameras (or even separate computers), and switch between them with the press of a button. Use the free software, and you can produce broadcast quality programming for a few hundred bucks with the cameras you may have lying around. This is a game-changer at a huge price drop!

Can’t zoom without it »

Rode Microphone for Podcasting

At only $87, you can not beat the quality of the Rode NT-USB-Mini USB Microphone. It includes a detachable magnetic stand, built-in pop filter and headphone amplifier right in the mic. With the right dongle, you can record or broadcast directly into any computer or tablet. Plus, it’s built like a tank!

Check out the mic »

Ring Light with Tripod

Look mahvelous on Zoom with this adjustable light ring, 50″ tripod, phone mount, and remote control cannot be beat for less than $45!

We have one here at CMK Studios.

Get ready for your closeup! »

You will not believe the insanely cool high-quality action and 360 degree video you can shoot with this brilliant little camera and its magical invisible selfie-stick/tripod! Imagine if a GoPro came with cinematic talent. The Insta360 One RS Twin Edition is spectacular.

The Coolest, Magical, & Most Versatile “Action Camera”

Of Course You NEED a Drone!

These great artists have all appeared at Constructing Modern Knowledge
We Love You Jimmy!

Sadly, the world lost the great Jimmy Heath in 2020. Jimmy was a CMK “guest speaker” twice.

His posthumous album, Love Letter, is his stunningly elegant last testament, a take on seminal ballads. Love Letter includes songs written by Billie Holiday, Dizzy Gillespie and Kenny Dorham in addition to original material. Recorded in New York in the days preceding his 93rd birthday, Jimmy presided over a brilliant cast of colleagues and friends. The result is pure Heath: polished, inventive, candid, beautiful. Guest artists include Wynton Marsalis, Gregory Porter, and more. Love Letter »

Best-selling new jazz CD

Emmet Cohen’s New Record

Emmet Cohen has become quite a musical sensation since he performed with Jimmy Heath at Constructing Modern Knowledge 2013. Few of those present will ever forget the musical interactions and love displayed by these two musicians separated by nearly 70 years. Since then, Emmet’s professional career has exploded internationally. He won the American Pianist’s Association competition and since the start of the pandemic has been broadcasting insanely popular concerts from his Harlem apartment every Monday night.

CMK 2019 guest speaker, composer and trumpeter Brian Lynch, earned the 2020 Grammy Award for Best Large Jazz Ensemble Album earlier this year. This exciting and evocative literary tribute features legendary guest artists. Get the CD or MP3 files »

Brian Lynch has released two more fantastic albums since winning the Grammy. Check them out too!

Zaccai Curtis played at CMK 2019

Zaccai Curtis accompanied Brian Lynch on the piano at Constructing Modern Knowledge 2019. This recent all-star recording is co-led by his brother, bassist Luques Curtis, and features Brian Lynch on trumpet. Listen to the Curtis Brothers »

Streaming everywhere!

One of our great friends, pianist, bandleader, and composer John Beasley just released a streaming album of holiday classics played by a very fine piano trio. Check out Holidaze on Amazon or wherever you stream/download music.

Learn to play or sing jazz, Brazilian music, & the blues with music legends online.

Constructing Modern Knowledge 2022 featured pianist Peter Martin who talked about his revolutionary online school for musicians of all ages and ability levels. Some of the finest living musicians are available 24/7 to be your teacher!

Open Studio is the gold-standard for online teaching. Check out the amazing work they’re doing and develop your musical ability, regardless of whether you are a novice or expert. Even if you’re not interested in music, their technical and pedagogical innovations are worthy of your attention.

1 Comment on “Holiday Gift Guide

  1. This is a great post. Happy Holidays to you and Sylvia. I have marked CMK on my calendar.