Sunday, December 29, 2013

Organizing is what you do before you do something, so that when you do it, it is not all mixed up. -A.A. Milne

Anyone who knows me will tell you I'm not organized.  And the beginning of a new year is the time for putting our lives and our things in order, right? set up new goals? find new energies and challenges?  Organize shelves, closets, drawers? 

Well, I've never been able to do it even though I know  my life would be so much easier if I did.  In my classroom I always looked pretty good at the beginning of the day with stacks of activities neatly arranged and ready for distribution.  The trouble started as soon as papers were returned for correction. 

Actually, the trouble with me in general, in life, is that I love to set up and do stuff, and hate to put away.  I mean really hate.  So back in the classroom when students complained that a paper was missing, I wasn't the teacher who could look back knowingly and make accusations of unfinished work.    I was the one who started frantically going through my desk drawers!

Another trouble with me is being around friends and colleagues who are fastidiously well-organized - and that's most of the people around me!   I get peevish.   "Who cares about that?" I think to myself. "Obviously not spending their time doing seriously important things like I do."  HAH!  If only I really did do something worthwhile instead of look for what I'd just lost.

So, I won't even try to offer suggestions for a more organized world - at home or school.  You should definitely be relieved.

I do have some products to tell you about, though, that could help your day run more smoothly.  For starters, download this freebie for 4th, 5th, and 6th graders to read and make predictions about four potential Winter Olympics athletes.  Click here for this free product! OR how about reading comprehension passages on Civil Rights Leaders - again for free:  Download it now!

 For a full day of activities on the Winter Olympics, go to

And a full day on Famous Americans for 3rd graders:  to supplement your upcoming Black History Month or President's Day Units.

The bottom line here is that you can save a lot of time in your day by checking out products on  What to do instead of writing lesson plans?  Clean out a few drawers or shelves and get yourself energized for the rest of the school year. 

p.s.  just so you know I'm not exaggerating about my lack of organization, here's what my desk looks like.  The papers piled to the right have to get filed in my 2013 tax file.  Sometime later today, maybe. 


Be well today and always,

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Joyful, Joyful.......

Click on:
It's not just the amazing music in this flashmob scene from Spain but the look on every face - performers and audience alike.  Such joyfulness!  The perfect message for this Holiday Season. 
Find time to rest, reflect, and refuel during your vacation

..... and have a very Merry Christmas.

Be well today and always,

Friday, December 13, 2013

“A day without a friend is like a pot without a single drop of honey left inside.“ -Winnie the Pooh

A good belly laugh or two with a best friend can be better than just about anything else!  Especially with all your stresses during the last days before vacation, lean on a friend for a shared laugh...or cry...or roll of the eyes.  You might discover your friend needs it almost more than you do.

Be well today and always,

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Think left and think right and think low and think high, oh the thinks you can think up if only you try! -Dr. Seuss

Sometimes I think we've forgotten how to think.  Seems like we let everyone else do it for us:  editorial writers, twitterers, talk radio shows, daytime tv shows, preachers, teachers.  And if it's easy for adults to let others do our thinking, where and when do our kids learn how to think?  I mean thinking for themselves - feeling real ownership of their own ideas and opinions.

How often do we as teachers ask our kids, "what do you really think about this or that?"   Instead our emphasis is on filling up every classroom minute with skill building, test prepping, and data collecting.  We've even put "made up" words to their thoughts by scripting literacy group conversations (my own personal outrage).

In my school the only dedicated "stop and think" time is for kids in trouble!

What if, instead of  having a Drop Everything and Read time, we instituted a Drop Everything and Think time - for all of us?

Well, it's just a thought.

Be well today and always,