Humble and Kind This Season?

Humble and Kind this season for everyone
Humble and Kind this season for everyone

I recently read that a mom started asking her child a different question after school each day.  Instead of the typical “how was your day?”, she asked “ did you help anyone today?” What a different way to show your child what you value! 

It reminded me of the song “Humble and Kind” performed by Tim McGraw and written by Lori McKenna.  This song reminds us of the valuable lessons we were taught as kids. Respecting others, learning from challenges we face and sharing our successes to help others. I believe that this is the foundation for learning that children need to live to be successful in life.  Isn’t that what education should be about?  So, for me when I need a gentle reminder to be “Humble and Kind” I search for the 4-minute musical reminder from Tim McGraw.

You know there’s a light that glows by the front door
Don’t forget the key’s under the mat
Childhood stars shine, always stay humble and kind
Go to church ’cause your momma says to
Visit grandpa every chance that you can
It won’t be wasted time
Always stay humble and kind

Hold the door, say please, say thank you
Don’t steal, don’t cheat, and don’t lie
I know you got mountains to climb but
Always stay humble and kind
When the dreams you’re dreamin’ come to you
When the work you put in is realized
Let yourself feel the pride but
Always stay humble and kind

Don’t expect a free ride from no one
Don’t hold a grudge or a chip and here’s why
Bitterness keeps you from flyin’
Always stay humble and kind
Know the difference between sleeping with someone
And sleeping with someone you love
“I love you” ain’t no pick up line so
Always stay humble and kind

Hold the door, say please, say thank you
Don’t steal, don’t cheat, and don’t lie
I know you got mountains to climb but
Always stay humble and kind
When those dreams you’re dreamin’ come to you
When the work you put in is realized
Let yourself feel the pride but
Always stay humble and kind

When it’s hot, eat a root beer popsicle
Shut off the AC and roll the windows down
Let that summer sun shine
Always stay humble and kind
Don’t take for granted the love this life gives you
When you get where you’re goin
Don’t forget turn back around
And help the next one in line
Always stay humble and kind

In this “season of giving”, I hope you receive many gifts by sharing the lessons of your childhood. After all “it is through giving that we receive”.  

Isn’t education ALL about reaching the kids?

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Most People Are Good

Math Thinking Skills Primary: December

Math Thinking Skills can be strengthened when solving problems.
Math Thinking Skills can be strengthened when solving problems

Some students in the Primary Grades need additional math activities that goes beyond calculation skills.  For those kids we need to nurture a love of math while challenging them to deepen their mathematical understanding and thinking skills.  This month we’ll look at some problem solving involving counting body parts.  (really, we’re looking at early multiplication which is repeated addition)

Math Thinking Skills:

Don’t forget to use 1 of your 6 problem solving strategies

  • Draw a picture
  • Guess and Check
  • Use a table or list
  • Find a pattern
  • Logical reasoning
  • Draw a picture Working backwards (try a simpler version first)
Isn’t education ALL about reaching the kids?

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Christmas Jokes for Kids

Christmas jokes to make you laugh!
Christmas jokes to make you laugh!

Why not add some Christmas jokes to your Christmas celebration this year?

As I sit watching the first snowfall of the year, I’m reminded of the snow days that my kids and I would enjoy together. Yes, there was some shoveling with hot chocolate afterwards, but we also played games, hung out in our pajamas and enjoyed the SNOWDAY!

With Thanksgiving behind us we look forward to Christmas a short 24 days away. Why not use some holiday time to teach your kids some Christmas/winter jokes? Joke telling helps kids learn new vocabulary, strengthens comprehension and helps communication skills. Best of all, the holidays are a great opportunity to laugh together as a family.  Why not take some time to be silly this Christmas season and enjoy a laugh (or eye roll)?  Merry Christmas!

Q. What Christmas song do wild animals sing at Christmas? Answer: Jungle Bells

Q. What happens if you eat Christmas decorations?
Answer: You get tinselitus

Q. What do you call Santa when he stops moving?
Answer: Santa Pause

Q. What comes at the end of Christmas Day?
Answer: The letter “Y!”

Q. What do snowmen eat for breakfast?
Answer: Snowflakes. (or Frosted Flakes!)

Q. What does an elf study in school?
Answer: The elfabet.

Q. What do you get if you mix a vampire with a snowman?
Answer: Frostbite!

Q. What does Santa suffer from whenever he gets stuck in a chimney?
Answer: Santa Claustrophobia

Q. How do sheep wish each other happy holidays?
Answer:  Merry Christmas to ewe.

Q. What does Mrs. Claus say when there are clouds in the sky?
Answer: It looks like rain, deer.

Q, What do you call a greedy elf?
Answer: Elfish!

Q. Why wouldn’t the Christmas tree stand up?
Answer: It had no legs.

Q. What kind of ball doesn’t bounce?
Answer: A snowball.

Q. What did one snowman say another snowman?
Answer: You’re cool.

Q. What is every parent’s favorite Christmas carol? Answer: Silent Night.

Q, What do you get when Santa plays detective?
Answer: Santa clues! 

Q. What falls but never gets hurt?
Answer: Snow.

Q. What do you call a shark that delivers toys at Christmas?
Answer: “Santa Jaws!”

Q. Where do snowmen keep their money?
Answer: In a snow bank.

Q. What do snowmen like to do on the weekend?
Answer: Chill out.

Q. What does Jack Frost like best about school?
Answer: Snow and tell.

Kid: Knock, knock.
Adult: Who’s there?
Kid: Murray.
Adult: Murray who?
Kid: Murray Christmas, one and all!

Kid: Knock, knock.
Adult: Who’s there?
Kid: Pizza.
Adult: Pizza, who?
Kid: Pizza on earth, good will toward men!

Isn’t education ALL about reaching the kids?

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Scientist of the Month: December 2019

As parents and educators, we know we must teach our kids skills to support scientific thinking. But, how do we encourage kids to explore science? Why not, share stories about Marie Curie? Scientists, like most kids, are curious and want to know answers. The great thing about studying scientists is there are many branches; so there surely is a topic to motivate all kids. Seems like a perfect match! 

Hello Marie Curie! – December 2019


Marie was a scientist who grew up in Poland and went to school at the Sorbonne in Paris, France.  She became very interested in X-rays and did experiments on an element called uranium.  Marie named the term radioactivity.  The two elements that she named were: Polonium after the country where she was born (Poland) and radium because of its strong ray. In 1903 Marie Curie was the first woman to be awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics. She died in 1934 from overexposure to radiation from her experiments.  Today, there are lots of safety measures to keep people safe from overexposure from x-rays.

Facts about Marie Curie

  • Marie was good friends with Albert Einstein, another famous scientist.
  • The first woman to be a professor of Physics at the Sorbonne
  • Marie’s daughter, Irene, also won a Nobel Prize for her work studying radiation.  
  • The Curie Institute in Paris is a major research facility in cancer research.  It was found by Marie almost 100 years ago (1921).

Source: Ducksters

Isn’t education ALL about reaching the kids?

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Student Teacher References: Are VIP

Student Teacher References are important
Student Teacher References are important

Student Teacher References: Don’t Forget The Principal

You may not be aware but it was the school principal that OK’d your placement in the building.  Yes, your cooperating  teacher is the “rock star” that will help you transfer your book  knowledge into the classroom.  Another one of your supporters is your Student Teaching  Supervisor who will help you bridge college and classroom experiences.  But, it’s the school principal that can be your best ally in being hired as a teacher. Very often, the principal will be one of the 3 people called by a hiring principal for a reference if you are a potential hire.  So, don’t forget, the principal is watching you and thinking about the answers to “the call” for your future success.

Before Your Placement

Accepting student teachers in your building is not an easy decision.  Even the best prepared student teacher can be a liability in a building. There is always a concern about sharing a master teachers’ time when more teaching time is always needed.  A well qualified student teacher can be a great support for students, but not always. To ensure a qualified candidate, I often called the college placement office to be sure that we would be getting top candidates.

During Your Placement

All student teachers should do a quick search on characteristics of great student teachers.  This list should be copied, pasted and committed to memory.  They are all true. 

Student teachers should also remember that there are “no secrets” in schools.  Commit that to memory too.  The principal gets both official and unofficial updates about your progress throughout your placement.  So be sure that updates are positive.  One of the most important things to do in your placement is be sure that the principal sees your contributions.  Don’t wait until the end of your placement to make a lasting impression.

At the End of Your Placement

At the end of your placement, be sure to  leave a note of thanks for the building principal. That simple gesture. along with an updated resume, with specific accomplishments achieved during your placement is beneficial.  That “cheat sheet” will help the principal answer questions if they get a call about you.  Many districts require a minimum number of personal contacts for candidates being considered for employment.  Recommendations letters are helpful but it’s the  personal contact responses that are placed in your hiring packet and submitted for final review.

So, what are the top 5 questions that hiring principals ask  the principal about  student teacher performance?

  1. What are the candidates strengths?
  2. What are the candidates weaknesses?
  3. How did the candidate work with students?
  4. How did the candidate get along  with others in the school?
  5. If you had a position available, would you hire the candidate? Why or why not?

In addition, rating candidates on personal characteristics is common.  (Ex. punctuality, appearance, communication, preparedness, character, involvement in school activities)  Ratings are usually 1-5 and  few scores should be less than 4.  So give your principal the opportunity to sing your praises by sharing a “cheat sheet” of your positive contributions.

Finally, I believe that its my responsibility, as a principal, to only recommend someone that I know is a good to great candidate. So, doesn’t it make sense that I keep an eye out for you?  Combining that along with a “cheat sheet”  just might help you secure a job.

Student Teachers:  Keep an eye out for future postings on creative interview questions along with characteristics of effective student teachers.

Good Luck Folks!

Isn’t education ALL about reaching the kids?

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  • Teacher Interview Questions: My Top 9

Kindness Quotes for Home and School

Scientific studies have shown that kindness has a great number of physical and emotional benefits. So what can we do at home and school to promote kindness? Remember, for kids to learn it’s a combination of what we say and do. Sometimes for kids to learn they just need a few simple words to promote an action. Quotes about Kindness give students “the words”. Kindness is best learned by feeling the emotion of caring for someone else and feeling cared for by others.

Kindness quotes spread the happiness

Next month we’ll post some new Kindness quotes to add to your toolbox. It’s never too early to start building your resources for The Great Kindness Challenge (January 27-31, 2020)

Kindness quotes to spread some happiness!
Isn’t education ALL about reaching the kids?

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  • The Great Kindness Challenge January 2020

Are You A Real Teacher?

Good Luck Student Teachers -You've got this!
Good Luck Student Teachers -You’ve got this!

On Opening Day, each year, I gave each staff member an inspirational poem about being a teacher. The poems were typed on decorative paper with a small trinket (heart, shell) attached. Often I would see it in the classrooms, and that made all the printing and gluing worth the effort. 

So, as we end our semester together, I want to share with you my Opening Day poem from 2010-2011.  How many of the 13 items below sound like you this past semester?   

I hope you enjoyed your student teaching experience.  It’s time to go out and find the teaching job that is right for you!  Enjoy the journey friends.  You’ve got this.  

  • Real teachers grade papers in the car, during commercials, in faculty meeting at times in the bathroom.
  • Real teachers cheer when they hear April 1st or Halloween does not fall on a school day.
  • Real teachers can’t walk past a crowd of kids without straightening up the line (or at least thinking about it).
  • Real teachers have disjointed necks from writing on boards or turning their backs on the class.
  • Real teachers are written-up in medical journals for the size and elasticity of kidneys and bladders.
  • Real teachers have been timed gulping down a full lunch in 2 minutes.
  • Real teachers can predict exactly which parents will show up at Open House.
  • Real teachers are solely responsible for the destruction of the rain forest.
  • Real teachers have their best conferences in the parking lot.
  • Real teachers have never heard an original excuse.
  • Real teachers buy Tylenol and Advil at Costco.
  • Real teachers will eat anything that is put in the Faculty Room.
  • Real teachers know secretaries and custodians run the school.

Real teachers hear the heartbeats of crisis; always have time to listen; know they teach students, not subjects; and are non-expendable.


Isn’t education ALL about reaching the kids?

Other posts related to this topic:

  • Teacher Interview Questions: My Top 9
  • Student Teacher References: Are VIP
  • Resources for Substitute Teachers

Scholastic Books Warehouse Sale

Scholastic Books Warehouse Sales are great opportunities to buy books at bargain prices.
Scholastic Books at deep discounts

Scholastic Books Warehouse Sale 2019 is Coming!

December 4th – 14th 

My local friends the closest location is Danbury, Ct.  (Approximately 40 mins. from Fishkill area.

Scholastic Books Warehouse offers for a limited a limited time only deep discounts on books.  This holiday you can purchase “Buy One, Get One Box” from hundreds of books, gifts,  and school supplies. There is even a Build a Box opportunity!  Refresh your school, home, and classroom libraries, and stock up on gifts for everyone.

For every item you buy, choose an item of equal or lesser value for FREE

  • Shop from a large assortment of already reduced items
  • No limits on how many items you can buy
  • Build-a-Box is included with the BOGO offer (yes, Danbury has it)
  • Perfect way to maximize school purchase orders, grants, and Title 1 funds

Coupon is $10.00 off a purchase of $100.00. OR $25.00 off a purchase of $100.00 using Scholastic Dollars.

Danbury, CT Warehouse Sale:

Weekday Hours: 10:00 am – 8:00 pm
Saturday Hours: 9:00 am – 4:00 pm
Closed Sundays

The Danbury location is a Build-a-Box event. As many books as you can fit in a box for less than $29.95.

Sign up and get coupon! Enjoy!