Thursday, December 13, 2018

"Disabled children are equally entitled to an exciting and brilliant future." Nelson Mandela




I have been writing inspirational/educational posts for several years, and this is the first time I am writing about a program called SUPERHEROES BELIEVE IN MIRACLES, a group that not only makes people aware of children with disabilities, but also supports the children by sending birthday gifts to 180 children per month all around the country.  The goal these gifts is to help those children facing medical challenges from autism to cancer to "feel like superheroes."  Each child receives a birthday present of a specific mask of a superhero, along with age appropriate gifts, according to the personal interests of each child. 

Needless to say, this task requires a herculean effort, great organization, lots of volunteers, and fundraising.  Founder Amy Hasson Faltot (my niece through marriage) is the founder.  She was inspired when her son had a lengthy stay at Children's Hospital in 2013, and she was inspired by the children who were so strong, as they faced their particular medical challenges with smiles and humor, prompting the moniker "superheroes."  .Amy approached the Art Institute of Pittsburgh with an idea of a calendar of the children "superheroes", and they worked together on a photo shoot of the kids, which is amazing!  The Art Institute, through their CARE program, even designed a logo for the charity. You can see Amy's interview and a clip of the photo shoot at this link. 

https://pittsburgh.cbslocal.com/video/program/750/3992943-special-calendar-to-support-superheroes-believe-in-miracles/ 

Calendar sales will go toward birthday gifts for the thousands of children who are involved in the program.  The cost of the calendar is just $10, and you can order your calendar at their website. You can also get involved as a volunteer.  Please check out the website for information about this inspirational program.  https://www.superheroesbelieveinmiracles.com/

At this time of year, so many charities are asking for donations.  I have seen the difference this charity makes in the lives of kids facing major challenges, and the confidence and spiritual lift these children receive is overwhelming.  

If you enjoyed the video and like their mission, I hope you will consider a donation or  the purchase of a calendar for your own personal inspiration from some exceptional children.

SUPERHEROES BELIEVE IN MIRACLES personifies the quote by Nelson Mandela that
"Disabled children are equally entitled to an exciting and brilliant future."

As always, I welcome your comments and suggestions. 
Rittman Publishing, LLC ®

Please invite Grady Gets Glasses (and me) into your school.  if you are not in the Pittsburgh area, we do virtual field trips with a group called Field Trip Zoom. www.Fieldtripzoom.com  GRADY GETS GLASSES was the winner of Best New Children's Book 2016 and 2018 (new edition) from The Authors' Zone.Grady also won a 2018 prestigious Moonbeam Award for Best Children's Book with Merchandise.


Visit Dede's webpage for complete details on her award-winning book, STUDENT TEACHING: THE INSIDE SCOOP FROM A MASTER TEACHER. Many colleges have made the book required readingSigned copies are available  www.dederittman.com Dede is also a national speaker on The Three C's for Classroom success: Confidence, communication, and Creativity; Avoiding Teacher burnout; and many other inspirational topics. 

I LOVE writing. And I love writing children's books- my newest passion. Although it will be a ton of work, I am looking forward to selling my books.  Since I was a secondary teacher, I know that I have much to learn about elementary students, and I will have to follow my own advice and be my genuine self.  However, I also know that I am passionate about helping kids who have to wear glasses, and that GRADY GETS GLASSES sends a positive message. I am willing to work hard and do all the things that also made me a successful teacher for 37 years. I remain inspired! 

Elementary teachers in Western Pennsylvania and beyond - I am willing to come into your classroom in person or as a virtual field trip through a group called Field Trip Zoom.  Check them out!  http://www.fieldtripzoom.com/ 

Teacher friends- let me know if you want me to read GRADY GETS GLASSES at your school. I am willing to come in to discuss the creative writing process, why writing is important, and personal fulfillment through writing, along with reading my book.  I would appreciate the exposure, and I would make signed copies available for purchase in your classrooms following the reading.  Please email me at dederittman@gmail.com  The website www.gradygetsglasses.com now has plush Grady bunnies for sale!

Please like Dede's new page Grady Gets Glasses for updates about her children's book. https://www.facebook.com/gradygetsglasses?ref=hl 

Connect with Dede!

Twitter       @dederittman
Periscope   @dederittman
Facebook   Dede Faltot Rittman or Rittman Rules
LinkedIn   Dede Rittman
Google +   Dede Rittman
Tumblr      The Bunny Teacher
Instagram   dede_rittman  and Gradygetsglasses
Pinterest   Rittman Publishing, LLC ® 













Wednesday, December 5, 2018

"We are a nation of communities- a brilliant diversity spread like stars, like a thousand points of light in a broad and peaceful sky." President George H. W. Bush




George H. W. Bush died at the age of 94, just seven months after Barbara,  his beloved wife of over 70 years. The nation is in mourning, not just for the loss of a great man, but for the kindness and decency he brought into the world.

Mr. Bush made his life one of love for family and service to his country,  I do not idolize him, but I do admire him.  He volunteered to serve in World War II, and then made his fortune in the oil business, which was so new and risky at the time. He followed his higher calling to serve the country he loved, a job he continued for all of the years of his life.  He served on many committees and charitable organizations long after his Presidency ended, continuing to exemplify his spirit for volunteerism. .

I have listened to some of the talk shows, and the passing of 41 has made Americans reflect on the manners and persona of the President.  George H. W. Bush worked with all branches of the government in a true bipartisan effort, aimed toward improving the lives of the American people. He signed the Americans with Disabilities Act, which helped to level the playing field for those who wanted to compete, but could not open the door. George H. W. Bush may have been the President with the most encompassing view of diversity. 


Perhaps one of his greatest gits was to his family.  He made every grandchild feel that he was the "favorite," Interviews with Jenna and Barbara Bush show that although he had the weight of the world on his shoulders, he was totally present in their lives, never leaving them to do "work." His love for family shows us the strength of love and its everlasting effect on others.

Others more informed and more eloquent than I will eulogize Mr. Bush.  I am grateful he was my President and the leader of one thousand points of light for so many in our world.  God speed, Mr. President.  You made a difference for so many.  




As always, I welcome your comments and suggestions. 
Rittman Publishing, LLC ®
Please invite Grady Gets Glasses (and me) into your school.  if you are not in the Pittsburgh area, we do virtual field trips with a group called Field Trip Zoom. www.Fieldtripzoom.com  GRADY GETS GLASSES was the winner of Best New Children's Book 2016 and 2018 (new edition) from The Authors' Zone.Grady also won a 2018 prestigious Moonbeam Award for Best Children's Book with Merchandise.


Visit Dede's webpage for complete details on her award-winning book, STUDENT TEACHING: THE INSIDE SCOOP FROM A MASTER TEACHER. Many colleges have made the book required readingSigned copies are available  www.dederittman.com Dede is also a national speaker on The Three C's for Classroom success: Confidence, communication, and Creativity; Avoiding Teacher burnout; and many other inspirational topics. 

I LOVE writing. And I love writing children's books- my newest passion. Although it will be a ton of work, I am looking forward to selling my books.  Since I was a secondary teacher, I know that I have much to learn about elementary students, and I will have to follow my own advice and be my genuine self.  However, I also know that I am passionate about helping kids who have to wear glasses, and that GRADY GETS GLASSES sends a positive message. I am willing to work hard and do all the things that also made me a successful teacher for 37 years. I remain inspired! 

Elementary teachers in Western Pennsylvania and beyond - I am willing to come into your classroom in person or as a virtual field trip through a group called Field Trip Zoom.  Check them out!  http://www.fieldtripzoom.com/ 

Teacher friends- let me know if you want me to read GRADY GETS GLASSES at your school. I am willing to come in to discuss the creative writing process, why writing is important, and personal fulfillment through writing, along with reading my book.  I would appreciate the exposure, and I would make signed copies available for purchase in your classrooms following the reading.  Please email me at dederittman@gmail.com  The website www.gradygetsglasses.com now has plush Grady bunnies for sale!

Please like Dede's new page Grady Gets Glasses for updates about her children's book. https://www.facebook.com/gradygetsglasses?ref=hl 

Connect with Dede!

Twitter       @dederittman
Periscope   @dederittman
Facebook   Dede Faltot Rittman or Rittman Rules
LinkedIn   Dede Rittman
Google +   Dede Rittman
Tumblr      The Bunny Teacher
Instagram   dede_rittman  and Gradygetsglasses
Pinterest   Rittman Publishing, LLC ® 




Thursday, November 29, 2018

"As small as it may seem, a good deed is always worth the doing." Spark Matsunaga





Sometimes, a story just hits me right between the eyes.  That happened today.

A 14 year old boy who lives in Reynoldsville, PA *(the center of the state) is dying.  He has neuroblastoma and only a few weeks to live.  His Christmas wish?  Christmas cards from far and near.  His angelic face belies his pain and fear.  Such a cruel sentence to impose on one so young.

When I saw this story, I went straight downstairs to look through my Christmas paraphernalia to find a card for Maddox.  I cried while writing him a Christmas message of hope.  (I also enclosed a few stickers, because every child likes stickers.)

The words Children and Cancer should never be used in the same sentence, and to see this young man's plight at this season of Advent makes it even more heartbreaking.

If you are feeling the need to do a good deed, please send young Maddox a card. 

His address: 

Maddox Hyde
333 Ohio Street
Reynoldsville, PA 15851
Here is the link to his story.  https://pittsburgh.cbslocal.com/2018/11/28/terminally-ill-teen-wants-christmas-cards-from-around-world/


This small deed will mean so much to this child. 

As always, I welcome your comments and suggestions. 
Rittman Publishing, LLC ®
Please invite Grady Gets Glasses (and me) into your school.  if you are not in the Pittsburgh area, we do virtual field trips with a group called Field Trip Zoom. www.Fieldtripzoom.com  GRADY GETS GLASSES was the winner of Best New Children's Book 2016 and 2018 (new edition) from The Authors' Zone.Grady also won a 2018 prestigious Moonbeam Award for Best Children's Book with Merchandise.


Visit Dede's webpage for complete details on her award-winning book, STUDENT TEACHING: THE INSIDE SCOOP FROM A MASTER TEACHER. Many colleges have made the book required readingSigned copies are available  www.dederittman.com Dede is also a national speaker on The Three C's for Classroom success: Confidence, communication, and Creativity; Avoiding Teacher burnout; and many other inspirational topics. 

I LOVE writing. And I love writing children's books- my newest passion. Although it will be a ton of work, I am looking forward to selling my books.  Since I was a secondary teacher, I know that I have much to learn about elementary students, and I will have to follow my own advice and be my genuine self.  However, I also know that I am passionate about helping kids who have to wear glasses, and that GRADY GETS GLASSES sends a positive message. I am willing to work hard and do all the things that also made me a successful teacher for 37 years. I remain inspired! 

Elementary teachers in Western Pennsylvania and beyond - I am willing to come into your classroom in person or as a virtual field trip through a group called Field Trip Zoom.  Check them out!  http://www.fieldtripzoom.com/ 

Teacher friends- let me know if you want me to read GRADY GETS GLASSES at your school. I am willing to come in to discuss the creative writing process, why writing is important, and personal fulfillment through writing, along with reading my book.  I would appreciate the exposure, and I would make signed copies available for purchase in your classrooms following the reading.  Please email me at dederittman@gmail.com  The website www.gradygetsglasses.com now has plush Grady bunnies for sale!

Please like Dede's new page Grady Gets Glasses for updates about her children's book. https://www.facebook.com/gradygetsglasses?ref=hl 

Connect with Dede!

Twitter       @dederittman
Periscope   @dederittman
Facebook   Dede Faltot Rittman or Rittman Rules
LinkedIn   Dede Rittman
Google +   Dede Rittman
Tumblr      The Bunny Teacher
Instagram   dede_rittman  and Gradygetsglasses 

Pinterest   Rittman Publishing, LLC ® 









Wednesday, November 21, 2018

"When I started counting my blessings, my whole life turned around." Willie Nelson





Thanksgiving Day is almost here!  My top 5 reasons Thanksgiving is such a great holiday:

1.  Turkey and stuffing  are so delicious! 
2.  Thanksgiving makes us feel connected to our forebears.
3.  Thanksgiving brings families together, even if it is just for one day.
4.  No presents are required on Thanksgiving!
5.  Thanksgiving makes us pause to reflect on our blessings, and share our bounty with others.

A man in Massachusetts found a wonderful way to help others and to save them from eating alone (or not eating) on Thanksgiving, and he has been doing it for 33 years.  Here is the link to a remarkable and uplifting story.  
https://www.cbsnews.com/news/massachusetts-man-has-cooked-thanksgiving-feast-for-strangers-for-33-years/

I am closing with a quote from the man in this wonderful story, who has figured out how to make his world better.  "I think each of us are called to brighten a corner where we are and if everybody took care of their neighbor in their own neighborhood we'd have a much better world, Scott Macauley

HAPPY THANKSGIVING! #Bethankful 

As always, I welcome your comments and suggestions. 
Rittman Publishing, LLC ®
Please invite Grady Gets Glasses (and me) into your school.  if you are not in the Pittsburgh area, we do virtual field trips with a group called Field Trip Zoom. www.Fieldtripzoom.com  GRADY GETS GLASSES was the winner of Best New Children's Book 2016 from The Authors' Zone. For more information about The Authors' Zone, please visit http://www.theauthorszone.com/submissions/  


Visit Dede's webpage for complete details on her award-winning book, STUDENT TEACHING: THE INSIDE SCOOP FROM A MASTER TEACHER. Many colleges have made the book required readingSigned copies are available  www.dederittman.com Dede is also a national speaker on The Three C's for Classroom success: Confidence, communication, and Creativity; Avoiding Teacher burnout; and many other inspirational topics. 

I LOVE writing. And I love writing children's books- my newest passion. Although it will be a ton of work, I am looking forward to selling my books.  Since I was a secondary teacher, I know that I have much to learn about elementary students, and I will have to follow my own advice and be my genuine self.  However, I also know that I am passionate about helping kids who have to wear glasses, and that GRADY GETS GLASSES sends a positive message. I am willing to work hard and do all the things that also made me a successful teacher for 37 years. I remain inspired! 

Elementary teachers in Western Pennsylvania and beyond - I am willing to come into your classroom in person or as a virtual field trip through a group called Field Trip Zoom.  Check them out!  http://www.fieldtripzoom.com/ 

Teacher friends- let me know if you want me to read GRADY GETS GLASSES at your school. I am willing to come in to discuss the creative writing process, why writing is important, and personal fulfillment through writing, along with reading my book.  I would appreciate the exposure, and I would make signed copies available for purchase in your classrooms following the reading.  Please email me at dederittman@gmail.com  The website www.gradygetsglasses.com now has plush Grady bunnies for sale!

Please like Dede's new page Grady Gets Glasses for updates about her children's book. https://www.facebook.com/gradygetsglasses?ref=hl 

Connect with Dede!

Twitter       @dederittman
Periscope   @dederittman
Facebook   Dede Faltot Rittman or Rittman Rules
LinkedIn   Dede Rittman
Google +   Dede Rittman
Tumblr      The Bunny Teacher
Instagram   dede_rittman  and Gradygetsglasses 
Pinterest   Rittman Publishing, LLC ® 



Friday, November 16, 2018

"Appreciation is a wonderful thing: it makes what is excellent in others belong to us as well." Voltaire





Two former colleagues passed away withing the past week, and both were extraordinary educators. Both shared a great passion for knowledge, teaching, and both the written and the spoken word. Both had high expectations of their students, and they shared a strong belief in their respective students. Both were revered.  Links to their obituaries are posted on a school/community Facebook page, and the accolades written by past students are so touching. The two English teachers who passed would have been both embarrassed and delighted to read the comments written by their former students.  Reading these expressions of grief and gratitude made me think this thought:  I hope those students took the time to write a personal note or make a phone call to show their appreciation for these two teachers while they were still alive, rather than extolling praise after they passed.


Showing appreciation to others is so important.  Because teachers never have a "finished product", positive feedback is a gift.   Teaching is so stressful and demanding, trying to make accommodations for so many individual students, that a small note or any form of of appreciation is a real "pick me up"  on any draining and busy day.  I saved every note given to me by my students and their parents, and many of my teacher friends did, too. I used to keep some of the notes in my desk drawer, and on a particularly difficult day, I would read those notes, and the notes would give me the energy and the impetus to continue.

Did this post make you think of a favorite teacher, or a special teacher who made you believe in yourself?  Today is a great day to write a short note or make a phone call.  Sharing your message of gratitude will lift both of you!  In this week of Thanksgiving, show your thanks. "Appreciation is a wonderful thing: it makes what is excellent in others belong to us as well." Voltaire 

As always, I welcome your comments and suggestions. 
Rittman Publishing, LLC ®
Please invite Grady Gets Glasses (and me) into your school.  if you are not in the Pittsburgh area, we do virtual field trips with a group called Field Trip Zoom. www.Fieldtripzoom.com  GRADY GETS GLASSES was the winner of Best New Children's Book 2016 from The Authors' Zone. For more information about The Authors' Zone, please visit http://www.theauthorszone.com/submissions/  


Visit Dede's webpage for complete details on her award-winning book, STUDENT TEACHING: THE INSIDE SCOOP FROM A MASTER TEACHER. Many colleges have made the book required readingSigned copies are available  www.dederittman.com Dede is also a national speaker on The Three C's for Classroom success: Confidence, communication, and Creativity; Avoiding Teacher burnout; and many other inspirational topics. 

I LOVE writing. And I love writing children's books- my newest passion. Although it will be a ton of work, I am looking forward to selling my books.  Since I was a secondary teacher, I know that I have much to learn about elementary students, and I will have to follow my own advice and be my genuine self.  However, I also know that I am passionate about helping kids who have to wear glasses, and that GRADY GETS GLASSES sends a positive message. I am willing to work hard and do all the things that also made me a successful teacher for 37 years. I remain inspired! 

Elementary teachers in Western Pennsylvania and beyond - I am willing to come into your classroom in person or as a virtual field trip through a group called Field Trip Zoom.  Check them out!  http://www.fieldtripzoom.com/ 

Teacher friends- let me know if you want me to read GRADY GETS GLASSES at your school. I am willing to come in to discuss the creative writing process, why writing is important, and personal fulfillment through writing, along with reading my book.  I would appreciate the exposure, and I would make signed copies available for purchase in your classrooms following the reading.  Please email me at dederittman@gmail.com  The website www.gradygetsglasses.com now has plush Grady bunnies for sale!

Please like Dede's new page Grady Gets Glasses for updates about her children's book. https://www.facebook.com/gradygetsglasses?ref=hl 

Connect with Dede!

Twitter       @dederittman
Periscope   @dederittman
Facebook   Dede Faltot Rittman or Rittman Rules
LinkedIn   Dede Rittman
Google +   Dede Rittman
Tumblr      The Bunny Teacher
Instagram   dede_rittman  and Gradygetsglasses 

Pinterest   Rittman Publishing, LLC ® 



Friday, November 9, 2018

"Happiness springs from doing good and helping others." Plato




I live in Pittsburgh, PA. and our city continues to grieve over the senseless shootings on October 27 at the Tree of Life Synagogue, which killed 11 and wounded many more.  Sometimes, our world can be so cruel, and make us feel so powerless. 

In response to such sadness, I am choosing to share a happy story, which deals with Education and children, who are doing something good for another person.  

First, I must tell you that I believe that empathy can and should be taught.If fact, I believe that teaching empathy is just as important as teaching subject content. I am also a strong believer in total inclusion, which makes everyone a better person. Combining empathy and inclusion is the classroom is hitting an educational home run. 

In a small town in Tennessee, "Mr. James", as the kids refer to him, is the beloved custodian of Hickerson Elementary School. You need to know that Mr. James has a severe hearing impairment, rendering him practically deaf.  As a special surprise for his 60th birthday, two classes of kindergarten students learned to sing and sign "Happy Birthday to You" for Mr. James.  Two teachers, an aide, and the school nurse worked with the students so they could all work together to learn to sing and sign for Mr. James. His reaction is truly heart-melting, and the joy expressed by the students to gift this special gift to their custodian friend makes their faces radiant! These students did so much more than a kindness for a friend; they learned valuable lessons.  They learned some sign language, and how to be a part of a team. Most importantly, they learned the joy of giving a special gift to another person.  I hope this lesson of sharing and kindness will be in their hearts for the rest of their lives. 

In my opinion, such a small gesture to "do good" is a huge inspiration.  As I said in my opening paragraph, with so much sadness in the world, we all need to spread some happiness, so I am sharing this uplifting story. 

Please take a look at this link - it will make you smile. 
https://www.scarymommy.com/kindergarteners-learn-sign-language-surprise-custodian/https://www.scarymommy.com/kindergarteners-learn-sign-language-surprise-custodian/
As always, I welcome your comments and suggestions. 
Rittman Publishing, LLC ® Please invite Grady Gets Glasses (and me) into your school.  if you are not in the Pittsburgh area, we do virtual field trips with a group called Field Trip Zoom. www.Fieldtripzoom.com  GRADY GETS GLASSES was the winner of Best New Children's Book 2016 from The Authors' Zone. For more information about The Authors' Zone, please visit http://www.theauthorszone.com/submissions/  


Visit Dede's webpage for complete details on her award-winning book, STUDENT TEACHING: THE INSIDE SCOOP FROM A MASTER TEACHER. Many colleges have made the book required readingSigned copies are available  www.dederittman.com Dede is also a national speaker on The Three C's for Classroom success: Confidence, communication, and Creativity; Avoiding Teacher burnout; and many other inspirational topics. 

I LOVE writing. And I love writing children's books- my newest passion. Although it will be a ton of work, I am looking forward to selling my books.  Since I was a secondary teacher, I know that I have much to learn about elementary students, and I will have to follow my own advice and be my genuine self.  However, I also know that I am passionate about helping kids who have to wear glasses, and that GRADY GETS GLASSES sends a positive message. I am willing to work hard and do all the things that also made me a successful teacher for 37 years. I remain inspired! 

Elementary teachers in Western Pennsylvania and beyond - I am willing to come into your classroom in person or as a virtual field trip through a group called Field Trip Zoom.  Check them out!  http://www.fieldtripzoom.com/ 

Teacher friends- let me know if you want me to read GRADY GETS GLASSES at your school. I am willing to come in to discuss the creative writing process, why writing is important, and personal fulfillment through writing, along with reading my book.  I would appreciate the exposure, and I would make signed copies available for purchase in your classrooms following the reading.  Please email me at dederittman@gmail.com  The website www.gradygetsglasses.com now has plush Grady bunnies for sale!

Please like Dede's new page Grady Gets Glasses for updates about her children's book. https://www.facebook.com/gradygetsglasses?ref=hl 

Connect with Dede!

Twitter       @dederittman
Periscope   @dederittman
Facebook   Dede Faltot Rittman or Rittman Rules
LinkedIn   Dede Rittman
Google +   Dede Rittman
Tumblr      The Bunny Teacher
Instagram   dede_rittman  and Gradygetsglasses 
Pinterest   Rittman Publishing, LLC ® 

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

"Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible." Dalai Lama







I have lived in Pittsburgh my entire life.  Pittsburgh is a giant melting pot,with neighborhoods like Squirrel Hill, Polish Hill and Bloomfield, aka "Little Italy".  The diverse peoples, cultures, ethnic traditions, and delicious foods are a huge part of the unique charm and beauty of Pittsburgh. We  are a city of contrasts, for example, we have many working class neighborhoods alongside a cultural district that includes a world class symphony. Although we are a city, people here know each other, and walking down 5th Avenue, a person might see 3 or 4 friends and acquaintances in a matter of blocks.  Pittsburgh is a very small town in the guise of a big city.


On Saturday, October 27, 2018, Pittsburgh was the site of the worst massacre of Jews in America.  What we thought could not happen here, happened here, in a diverse and beautiful neighborhood, just blocks from where Fred and Joanne Rogers made their home and raised their sons. An act of hatred, murder, and terror occurred in MR. ROGERS NEIGHBORHOOD - a place of welcome and inclusion.  All of Pittsburgh is heartsick. There is a pall over the city and its people - heightened by a dreary gray sky and cold rain showers. 11 murdered and 6 more injured.  Pictures and stories blare from the television and the extensive newspaper coverage. The faces of the victims have become so familiar that they now seem like lifelong friends. 

Like everyone else, I am crushed by this act of hate.  I lived in Squirrel Hill when I was in my 20's, and I loved the diverse and delicious neighborhood, with its unique array of characters, groups, and food.  I have been pondering one question since the shooting happened on Saturday: what makes a person so filled with hate that he can shoot and kill people in cold blood?  I have no answers - just more questions. Was it his upbringing?  Coming from a home filled with love, I am conflicted about how that could be possible, and how any parents could teach hate to their child.  Did he have mental health issues?  This seems likely, as we know that he was a loner with no friends or visitors, and a neighbor noted that the shooter had never raised the blind in his apartment. This leads us to assume that his life was filled with darkness. Does he have any family members?  None have stepped forward at this time, but even if he did, we don't know if he discussed his hatred with them. How did he get this way, when he was raised in Pittsburgh?  I don't know if we will ever know the answers to these questions. 

Pittsburghers are reacting with their unique generosity - giving blood for the victims, creating flower memorials, providing financial aid for the victims, holding vigils, holding moments of silence to honor victims before sporting events, and meeting and talking to each other - even strangers- in the street, The people of Pittsburgh will be forever scarred by this tragic act of hate, but we are the Steel City, and I believe we will become stronger and more united because of this event.

I was a high school English teacher for 37 years, and when terrible events happened, students often looked to their teachers for answers.  If I were in the classroom now, I think I would tell the kids that this is a very difficult time, and that although I wish it could be otherwise, no one is ever completely safe from people who want to do evil.  I would tell them it is a good thing to be aware of one's surroundings - not to be fearful - but to be aware. I would say that our world is not perfect, but it is still filled with beauty, and that by practicing kindness and compassion, each of us can make our part of the world more beautiful. I would whisper that the world can be a scary and confusing place, and that it is a good idea to seek solace in the love of their families and in the caring adults who guide them through their lives. If I were in the classroom right now, I would have the students write letters of consolation and hoe to the Tree of Life Synagogue (only if they wanted to-not as an assignment,)  I wrote my own letter on Sunday, hoping to provide solace for the friends I have not yet met, as well as solace for myself. 

The one truism I can share is this: The best way to combat hate is to practice kindness and compassion. I hope you will join me in this quest.  

Blessings to all at Tree of Life, the victims, their families and friends, the heroic first responders, and the doctors and nurses. #PittsburghStrong



As always, I welcome your comments and suggestions. 

Rittman Publishing, LLC ®


Please invite Grady Gets Glasses (and me) into your school.  if you are not in the Pittsburgh area, we do virtual field trips with a group called Field Trip Zoom. www.Fieldtripzoom.com  GRADY GETS GLASSES was the winner of Best New Children's Book 2016 from The Authors' Zone. For more information about The Authors' Zone, please visit http://www.theauthorszone.com/submissions/  


Visit Dede's webpage for complete details on her award-winning book, STUDENT TEACHING: THE INSIDE SCOOP FROM A MASTER TEACHER. Many colleges have made the book required readingSigned copies are available  www.dederittman.com Dede is also a national speaker on The Three C's for Classroom success: Confidence, communication, and Creativity; Avoiding Teacher burnout; and many other inspirational topics. 

I LOVE writing. And I love writing children's books- my newest passion. Although it will be a ton of work, I am looking forward to selling my books.  Since I was a secondary teacher, I know that I have much to learn about elementary students, and I will have to follow my own advice and be my genuine self.  However, I also know that I am passionate about helping kids who have to wear glasses, and that GRADY GETS GLASSES sends a positive message. I am willing to work hard and do all the things that also made me a successful teacher for 37 years. I remain inspired! 

Elementary teachers in Western Pennsylvania and beyond - I am willing to come into your classroom in person or as a virtual field trip through a group called Field Trip Zoom.  Check them out!  http://www.fieldtripzoom.com/ 

Teacher friends- let me know if you want me to read GRADY GETS GLASSES at your school. I am willing to come in to discuss the creative writing process, why writing is important, and personal fulfillment through writing, along with reading my book.  I would appreciate the exposure, and I would make signed copies available for purchase in your classrooms following the reading.  Please email me at dederittman@gmail.com  The website www.gradygetsglasses.com now has plush Grady bunnies for sale!

Please like Dede's new page Grady Gets Glasses for updates about her children's book. https://www.facebook.com/gradygetsglasses?ref=hl 

Connect with Dede!

Twitter       @dederittman
Periscope   @dederittman
Facebook   Dede Faltot Rittman or Rittman Rules
LinkedIn   Dede Rittman
Google +   Dede Rittman
Tumblr      The Bunny Teacher
Instagram   dede_rittman  and Gradygetsglasses 
Pinterest   Rittman Publishing, LLC ®