If you can believe it, Japanese novelist, talking cat enthusiast, and weird ear chronicler Haruki Murakami turned 70 years old this weekend. 70! But I suppose we should believe it, despite the youthful gaiety and creative magic of his prose: the internationally bestselling writer has 14 novels and a handful of short stories under his belt, and it’s safe to say he’s one of the most famous contemporary writers in the world. To celebrate his birthday, and as a gift to those of you who hope to be the kind of writer Murakami is when you turn 70, I’ve collected some of his best writing advice……..
I would like to dedicate this to my muse, if I had one, but I don’t. So, I won’t. (Wink Wink) bubbles of love Soaking in an effervescent tubof your warm poetrytiny inspirationsburst all around meSparkling suds of passioncleanse my soulof the unsightly stainsof dirty loversand tainted memories For you are the nymphetof my passionsa […]
Her husband’s gentle acts toward her, translated… The Latin name for rosemary meant the “Dews from the Oceans”, my husband planted a few pots on our lanai. There was, the Pacific Ocean that we can see from there, it’s a weird thing though, no matter how big the wind, I could, never smell the scent […]
How can my heart Forgive a mark Permanently Engraved for gaze Each time I see Her photographs Hanging behind Walls of my heart I do recall The notes she left: ‘I appreciate Your sweet kindness But these my legs Just have to walk Probably run… I must delay Tomorrow’s egg Well, this my heart I […]
A decade later, and a decade before he won the Nobel Prize in Literature, Steinbeck turned this abiding tug of war between good and evil into a literary inquiry in East of Eden (public library) — the 1952 novel that gave us his beautiful wisdom on creativity and the meaning of life, eventually adapted into the 1955 film of the same title starring James Dean……
WeWork, a co-working and office space company, recently made a company policy not to serve or reimburse meals that include meat. WeWork’s co-founder and chief culture officer, Miguel McKelvey, said in an email that it was the company’s attempt at reducing its carbon footprint. His moral arguments are based on the devastating environmental effects of […]
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Regardless of whether or not you are subject to the estate tax, it is essential to have a current will and related documents. I recently wrote two articles on the sticking points that can cause well-intended adults to delay the execution of their estate plan: Choosing an Executor of your Estate and Naming Potential Guardians for Minor Children.
Another common consideration is determining the appropriate time for children to have access to their inheritance. Although my focus here is on distributions from trusts created by a will (testamentary trusts), these considerations also apply to trusts created during your lifetime (inter-vivos trusts).
A major distinction between your will and lifetime irrevocable trusts is that; during your lifetime your will can be regularly updated to reflect current thinking, while amending or changing provisions within a lifetime irrevocable trust will generally be more restrictive and often require a statutory solution (decanting), where possible, or having to seek permission from the courts.
Generally, distributions can be discretionary, mandatory or event-driven. For most (with high confidence in a trustee), I recommend a combination of allowing for both mandatory and discretionary powers to make distributions – assuming the facts and circumstances allow for it.
The most common distribution structure we’ve seen over time seems to include mandatory distributions at specified ages – i.e. ages 25, 30 and 35. This could mean that one-third of the principle is distributed at age 25, one-half of the balance at age 30, and the remaining balance distributed at age 35.
Prior to or between mandatory distributions, the trust can provide that the fiduciary has the power to make either fully discretionary distributions or distributions under some “ascertainable standard,” such as for the beneficiary’s health, education, maintenance and support (HEMS). The power to distribute can be very broad (absolute) or narrow – the HEMS standard is a statutory standard that lies somewhere in between and may provide certain tax protections.
I find it interesting that clients with young children often initially choose ages 25, 30 and 35, only to then stretch out the ages of mandatory distributions as both they and their offspring age. This implies that any initial confidence the parents had in their children’s ability to handle large sums of money early on (e.g. age 25) dissipates as the distribution becomes more imminent and, perhaps, the monetary sum increases.
A common alternative is to allow for a portion of the principal to remain in trust for the beneficiary’s lifetime, while granting current beneficiaries the power to appoint future beneficiaries (e.g. descendants). Putting aside one’s choice of ages of distribution, I favor a hybrid approach that combines some mandatory distributions with the ability to make discretionary distributions for assets in continuing trusts. To me, this approach stands out for its flexibility and asset protection benefits.
Specifying only mandatory distributions or event-based distributions (i.e. earning a degree, marrying, passing drug screens, etc.), greatly reduces the fiduciary’s flexibility. As a fiduciary for many estates and trusts, I often see inflexibility as an unnecessary impediment to a more successful plan particularly when a beneficiary’s life circumstances change.
For example, recently a beneficiary with a medical degree finished his residency and chose to specialize in high-risk surgery. As a trust provides a significant degree of asset protection, I would have preferred that at least a portion of the principal remain in trust for the beneficiary’s lifetime. This would have been most beneficial to the beneficiary given his exposure to potential future liability due to his choice of profession.
Of course, decisions with respect to trust distributions include both the principal (as discussed above) and the income that is generated by that principal. It has been common to allow income distributions at age 21 or some other age. However, it should be noted that when an estate plan is designed, you may be unsure of the ultimate size of the children’s inheritance, thus requiring mandatory income distributions (or principal distributions) that may lead to very large distributions at relatively young ages.
An alternative approach can be to designate an income stream in today’s dollars, and then build in a cost of living adjustment to account for inflation. Even better, perhaps, would be to allow for income distributions to simply be at the discretion of the trustee. By giving greater flexibility to the fiduciary, distributions can be made based on the requisite need at the time.
Overall, there is not a “one size fits all” solution to these situations. It is of paramount importance to invest the appropriate amount of time, thought and care when drafting these documents. Doing so will help to lay the groundwork for more favorable outcomes later in life that ultimately better reflect the grantor’s initial intentions.
How do we know when our learners are thinking critically? Critical thinking assessment can be tricky to perform as it encompasses such a broad area of skills. However, we can begin to assess critical thinking by breaking it down into more basic components, and then determining criteria you can use with your learners.
The following rubrics cover some crucial aspects of critical thinking. These charts are included along with the amazing critical thinking activities we offer in our popular Critical Thinking Teacher’s Companion. You’ll find specific criteria for each category within the rubrics that will make an initial critical thinking assessment possible.
6 Categories for Critical Thinking Assessment
These rubrics for critical thinking assessment are based on the stages of Bloom’s Taxonomy. They can be used for either teacher or peer assessment. Here are the 6 basic categories we cover:
- Questioning Abilities—This is all about a learner’s capacity for formulating questions and framing relevant inquiries around a problem or challenge. It also refers to their ability to state questions clearly and concisely so as to be easily understood by anyone else.
- Use of Information—Information is everywhere today and the amount we have available is growing exponentially. Part of the critical thinking abilities learners need involves finding information that is useful and relevant to their needs in school and in life.
- Keeping an Open Mind—It takes many cultures, beliefs and stories to make a world. There are also many possible answers to the questions we face every day in life. Critical thinkers remain open at all times to the multiple possibilities within their environments.
- Drawing Conclusions—When we draw conclusions, we see the true purpose of an information quest come to its fruition. It gives us an opportunity to clarify whether or not our question was answered or our challenge was met. It is also the recognition of new learning.
- Communication & Collaboration—The classrooms and workforces of today and of the future are places of teamwork and trust. Learning how to build connections and manage a role in a collaborative group is an essential modern learner skill. Such skills are life skills.
- Self Awareness—By far, one of the most important aspects of being able to think critically is based in self-awareness. It’s knowing potential without any expectation, limits without judging, and ability without arrogance. In short, it is mastery of the self.
A Word of Caution
It’s important to note that critical thinking assessment isn’t exact. As such, there are many other factors to take into account beyond what’s presented below. What we want to provide for you here is a starting point for contemplating how critical thinking assessment can be approached.
These charts will provide a good baseline to work with. Beyond this, feel free to expand on their concepts as you develop different assessment strategies for different learners.
Develop Critical Thinking Skills the Right Way
Honing and assessing critical thinking skills in your learners can be even easier with the right teaching tools. The above charts are essential companions to the learning you can create with Wabisabi, a revolutionary new way to teach
Imagine real-time reporting against standards, rich media-driven learner portfolios, a vibrant collaborative learning experience, top-notch unit plans from teachers around the world, and much more. Schools all over the world are using Wabisabi to transform instruction for their own learners, and you can too.
Prepare to get excited about the learning journey every day. Check out Wabisabi now—it’s teaching simplified, and learning amplified.
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Empty cup no coffee in the house it’s a disaster my head is pounding may this be the worst thing I ever experience