Saturday, April 29, 2017

"Nothing compares to the simple pleasure of a bike ride." John F. Kennedy




Kids should have joy and fun in their lives. I remember our parents telling my brothers and me that the childhood years should be the happiest time of our lives.  We did have a wonderful childhood, growing up in a safe neighborhood with friends and caring adult neighbors, playing games like stickball, 7-Up, jacks, and board games (usually reserved for rainy days on the front porch). We also enjoyed catching lightning bugs, riding bikes, organizing baseball games, walking to the plaza shopping center and the bookmobile, and being home when the street lights came on. 

Of all the childhood games we played and the possessions we owned, our 2-wheel bikes were the favorites! George and I would ride all day - around our neighborhood, and then down the big hill (with hands in the air and no helmets) to another neighborhood, stopping at home only for a quick peanut butter and jelly sandwich with a glass of lemonade, in-between rides. When I think of those carefree days of childhood, I picture my brother George and I riding our freshly waxed two-wheelers down the big hill on Lengel Avenue with no hands on the handlebars. I can see our bikes with their matching streamers - with the logo "Roll-Fast" -George's boys' bike was blue, and my girls' bike was red. 

The 50's and 60's were a simpler time to be a child and ride a bike, but bicycle riding in childhood should transcend time, right?  One teacher in South Carolina decided that all kids- even ones who live in poverty - should have a chance to enjoy being kids. Since one of the things that makes every child happy is riding a bike, this dedicated teacher figured out a way to buy bikes for kids in her school.

Katie Blomquist, works in Pepperhill Elementary School in North Charleston, South Carolina.  A student told her that he wished for a bike for his birthday, but his parents could not afford to buy him one. After doing a bit of detective work, Katie discovered that many kids in the school did not own bikes, and she reflected upon her great childhood memories, which included riding a bike.  So, Katie decided to start a Go Fund Me page and a project to buy EVERY child in her school a new bike! With donations from businesses and ordinary citizens, she was able to reach her goal.  When I saw this story, I was very touched by her hard work and desire to help children!  You will be, too. Please click on this link for beautiful and heartwarming reactions from the students when they see their treasured new bikes. 
http://www.today.com/parents/teacher-raises-money-buy-new-bikes-each-school-student-t109833

I applaud Katie Blomquist and her dedication and devotion to her students and her school for working with her toward the goal of a bicycle  for every child. Katie saw a need, and she brainstormed a way to fulfill that need.  Isn't that what teachers do every day?  She just did it on a bigger scale.

I like sharing these true and feel-good stories.  I am a strong believer that inspiration creates more inspiration, and good things happen when people get inspired. Although teachers can't address every problem a child brings to school, teachers can address some of them. Helping students with their burdens is an inspiration.  I hope you will share this story, and help to lighten the load of a student today, even if it is not by giving them a new bike. Teacher kindness impacts children every day. 

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





You can find many strategies for teaching in Dede's book. 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 or on Amazon at https://www.amazon.com/Student-Teaching-Inside-Master-Teacher/dp/1633850102 

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! 

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/  


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; Grady Gets Glasses; Student Teaching: The Inside Scoop from a Master Teacher 
LinkedIn   Dede Rittman
Google +   Dede Rittman
Tumblr      The Bunny Teacher
Instagram   dede_rittman and Gradygetsglasses 
Pinterest   Rittman Publishing, LLC ® 





Saturday, April 22, 2017

"I'm just a regular guy from Pittsburgh." - Dan Rooney



I am from Pittsburgh, and except for one short year I have lived here my entire life. What are Pittsburghers like? Pittsburghers are hard-working people, down-to-earth, helpful, and friendly. Pittsburghers are the kind of people who will pull over to the side of the road if you need help, and if you are lost, they will TAKE you to your destination! ("Just follow me, Buddy!  No trouble at all!  Glad to help you out!")  Pittsburgh is a great town with three major sports teams, a lively cultural district, a center for Education and universities, and a mecca for medicine.

Pittsburgh lost two giants this past week -  Dan Rooney, owner of the Pittsburgh Steelers, and billionaire businessman and philanthropist, Henry Hillman. Both men gave so much to Pittsburgh.

Henry Hillman and his late wife, Elsie Hillman, are the reason that Pittsburgh is home to The Hillman Cancer Center, The Hillman Library,  and The Hillman Hall of Gems and Minerals at the Carnegie Museum of Pittsburgh, just to name a few of their contributions. The Hillmans also provided dollars for research and grants, making Pittsburgh a center for cancer research and innovative treatment.  Never seeking the spotlight, Henry Hillman did things quietly, in keeping with his famous quote, "A whale is harpooned only when it spouts."  Mr. Hillman was 98 years old, and he will be missed greatly.   (Link to Mr. Hillman's obituary:  http://www.post-gazette.com/local/city/2017/04/14/Philanthropist-Henry-Hillman-dies/stories/201704140181 )

Dan Rooney was just 84 years old when he passed last week.  His father, Art "The Chief" Rooney, bought the Pittsburgh Steelers back in 1933. Dan began as a ball boy and worked his way up to becoming the President of the franchise.  During that time, he never lost his sense of humbleness, and he always remembered his roots, still living in his house on the city's Northside.  Mr. Rooney's vision to implode Three Rivers Stadium and to build Heinz Field was the impetus for the revitalization of the city's now beautiful North Shore.  His sense of fair play led to what is called The Rooney Rule, which requires NFL teams to interview at least one minority candidate for coaching vacancies. Mr. Rooney put his money where his mouth was when he hired Mike Tomlin as the head coach of the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2007. 

Mr. Rooney went to work every day, and he seemed to make everyone feel at ease, like he was an old friend.  I saw him at a speaker's series last winter, and we exchanged a few words.  I always liked him. I was thrilled for Mr. Rooney when President Obama made him Ambassador to Ireland, and not surprised that as Ambassador, he and his wife visited every county in Ireland. He was a people person.  (Link to Mr. Rooney's obituary:  http://www.legacy.com/obituaries/postgazette/obituary.aspx?n=daniel-milton-rooney-dan&pid=185096813&fhid=8074

The passing of these two men has made Pittsburghers weep.  Two icons gone in two days; two men who made our city great, but kept their humility; two men whom we all thought of as "friends."   

When I was in the classroom and the passing of an important person who had a profound effect was in the news, I would often spend a few "teachable minutes" discussing the person and extolling the virtues of the deceased.  if I were in the classroom today, I would be talking about these two men who loved their city, and who did the best they could for others, never losing their humility, their Pittsburgh work ethic, or their Pittsburgh values.  I read that both men gave to many community projects - anonymously. I think it is important for students to know that providing for others, through donations or service, is paramount. I think students should also know that humbleness and humility, and showing respect for others, is the way a life should be lived.  These two men were great examples of the Golden Rule.   

Thank you, Mr. Hillman and Mr. Rooney!  I appreciate all you did for Pittsburgh!  You will be missed by so many. 

Here is a link to a great article about these two Pittsburgh giants:  http://www.post-gazette.com/local/city/2017/04/16/dan-rooney-henry-hillman-pittsburgh-deaths-pittsburgh/stories/201704160166 

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











You can find many strategies for teaching in Dede's book. 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 or on Amazon at https://www.amazon.com/Student-Teaching-Inside-Master-Teacher/dp/1633850102 

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! 

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/  


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; Grady Gets Glasses; Student Teaching: The Inside Scoop from a Master Teacher 
LinkedIn   Dede Rittman
Google +   Dede Rittman
Tumblr      The Bunny Teacher
Instagram   dede_rittman and Gradygetsglasses 
Pinterest   Rittman Publishing, LLC ® 










Sunday, April 16, 2017

"I do not think there is any other quality so essential to success of any kind as the quality of perseverance." John D. Rockefeller




I often write about the lessons the game of golf teaches for us the game of life. Another major lesson happened last week, when Sergio Garcia became the Masters Champion on Sunday.  

Sergio Garcia had a great beginning to his career, and then nothing happened.  His win at the Masters is his first top finish win in 74 starts over 19 years.  He won some on the European Tour, but nothing HUGE, like The Masters. 

I like it that he never gave up.  He continued to chase his dream, even though for years, he has been the guy explaining why he did not win. Sergio Garcia is a great example of PERSEVERANCE.

As teachers, i think we should share stories of real people who personify the word PERSEVERANCE.  In our world of instant gratification, students need to know that in real life, nothing happens instantly.  They need to learn the lesson that PERSEVERANCE can be the difference between success and failure.

When I was in the classroom for those 37 years, I liked to spend a few minutes on a story from the news or the sports world that had an interesting and teachable lesson.  The students liked it, too.  sometimes, when we were discussing a theme in literature, a student would reiterate one of those teachable moments from the year and apply it to our discussion. (Yes, your students are listening! )  

I hope you can fit Sergio or other role models who offer positive and teachable moments into your weekly lessons.  Somehow, hearing, reading about, and seeing a real person succeed because of a trait such as PERSEVERANCE makes the lesson that much more attractive and inspiring!  

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











You can find many strategies for teaching in Dede's book. 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 or on Amazon at https://www.amazon.com/Student-Teaching-Inside-Master-Teacher/dp/1633850102 

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! 

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/  


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; Grady Gets Glasses; Student Teaching: The Inside Scoop from a Master Teacher 
LinkedIn   Dede Rittman
Google +   Dede Rittman
Tumblr      The Bunny Teacher
Instagram   dede_rittman and Gradygetsglasses 

Pinterest   Rittman Publishing, LLC ® 



Friday, April 7, 2017

"The most rewarding things you do in life are often the ones that look like they cannot be done." Arnold Palmer




This week is The Masters Tournament in Augusta, Georgia. I was lucky enough to attend Saturday at The Masters 2 years ago.  Magnolia Drive and the course were green and magical and everything I wanted them to be, except for one thing.  I didn't see Arnold Palmer, my personal hero, that Saturday. He hit the ceremonial first ball on Thursday, but was not on the grounds on Saturday.

This 81st competition at Augusta is the first Masters since Arnie died in September of 2016. He appeared in this event for 50 consecutive years, and never lost his popularity.  Just as he was conspicuous by his absence at Bay Hill, the gallery, players, and commentators are also feeling his absence at Augusta.  A man like Arnold Palmer just doesn't come along every day, and that is why we should learn from him - through his life and his death, and his continuing impact on the game, the players, and the fans.

In the late 50's and through the 60's, Arnold Palmer was a movie star masquerading as a golf pro, all while trying to be a normal person. He never took himself so seriously that he acted better than anyone else.  A blue collar guy who made it big, Arnie never forgot his small town roots of Latrobe, PA.  He had the magical way of looking at each person, making small talk, gladly signing autographs, and making every fan feel like he was the only fan in the King's presence.  Arnold Palmer was charming, down to earth, engaging, fearless, and most importantly - everyone felt like he was their friend.

I think Arnold Palmer would have been a wonderful teacher.


He clearly understood what is entailed in being a positive role model.  His exuberance and self-confidence bubbled; his swagger and effervescence made people believe in him, and his "I can do it, so can you" attitude was contagious.  In fact, that "can-do" attitude is why the game of golf grew exponentially!  As Arnie's fame and success grew, so did the number of golfers in the field. Suddenly, golf was not just a rich man's game, because Arnold Palmer made it that way.

Teachers, take note! Learn from Arnold Palmer! Study the larger than life successful people in this world and the qualities that make them so successful.  Model those positive qualities for your students.  Show the students YOUR positive attitude, and let them know that YOU believe in THEM as people. No matter what the climate is in your school building, optimistic attitudes and solid relationships will always make a positive impact on students. Go the extra distance to inspire your students, because you CAN!  Remember what Mr. Palmer said:  "The most rewarding things you do in life are often the ones that look like they cannot be done."  



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




April 11, 2015, Augusta National 






You can find many strategies for teaching in Dede's book. 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 or on Amazon at https://www.amazon.com/Student-Teaching-Inside-Master-Teacher/dp/1633850102 

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! 

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/  


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; Grady Gets Glasses; Student Teaching: The Inside Scoop from a Master Teacher 
LinkedIn   Dede Rittman
Google +   Dede Rittman
Tumblr      The Bunny Teacher
Instagram   dede_rittman and Gradygetsglasses 
Pinterest   Rittman Publishing, LLC ® 

Sunday, April 2, 2017

"Empathy is seeing with the eyes of another, listening with the ears of another, and feeling with the heart of another." - Alfred Adler




Empathy is an important topic for most teachers, and one that I have written about on this site and in other articles numerous times. For my 37 years in the classroom, lessons about showing empathy were as important as lessons about literature.

Throughout my tenure as a teacher, and because of my personal empathy in connecting with students, various administrations "rewarded" me by giving me all of the students that no other teachers wanted to deal with: the ones who were new, the ones who had big issues and challenges, the ones with no friends, and the ones who did not fit in. I did not mind, and actually felt it was better for the kids, too, because I would do my best to help them, when some others might not care quite as much.  When the "new" student came to my classroom, I always felt that my most important job as the teacher was to set that student up for success by finding him a new friend in my classroom who had the same lunch period.  My school was large - 4 lunch periods, and very confusing, with lots of different lines for types of food- but that was not why I was worried about the new kids. This most important objective was all about the social aspect -  to find the student a friend to eat with.

If you are an adult and have forgotten about the importance of lunch time in junior high and high school, let me remind you that lunch is the most coveted time of the school day. Students can freely discuss the events of the day, compare notes before the next big test, have some laughs, and relax for a generous 30 minutes.  Lunch time is high school heaven, unless you have no friends and are eating alone, and then it is high school hell.  Having a solid lunch group of friends can make the difference between having a great high school experience and a terrible one.  

A senior at a high school in Boca Raton, Florida, saw the sadness and isolation of many students at his high school.  He felt their pain as he remembered how sad he was as a Haitian immigrant at a new school, with no friends to talk to and no friends to share lunch time, so he did something about it. Because of his extraordinary empathy, this caring young man formed a club called WE DINE TOGETHER, and his group makes sure that no one eats alone at his school for lunch. He was able to put together a large group of kids from all facets of the school, including football players, who are very often the most popular kids at school.  His message has been well received, and the group #WeDineTogether is forming chapters at other schools.  

I applaud these kids.  Negotiating one's way through the social aspects of high school is difficult, and they are making it easier for kids to feel accepted.  Please watch the clip of this remarkable young man and his friends!  I am so proud of their efforts, and I am not even their teacher! Kindness matters every single day.  http://www.cbsnews.com/videos/at-one-high-school-no-one-eats-lunch-alone/ 


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

You can find many strategies for teaching in Dede's book. 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 or on Amazon at https://www.amazon.com/Student-Teaching-Inside-Master-Teacher/dp/1633850102 

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! 

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/  


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; Grady Gets Glasses; Student Teaching: The Inside Scoop from a Master Teacher 
LinkedIn   Dede Rittman
Google +   Dede Rittman
Tumblr      The Bunny Teacher
Instagram   dede_rittman and Gradygetsglasses 
Pinterest   Rittman Publishing, LLC ® 















Sunday, March 26, 2017

"Children have a way of forcing you back into the present moment." Lorna Luft


You have undoubtedly seen the television clip last week- the one where a 3 year old girl swiped the cap right off the Pope's head as he gave her a kiss.  If not, take a quick look- here is the link! http://www.newsweek.com/pope-francis-hat-572783   Something about the little girl's delight in reaching for the hat was so charming, so childlike, and so innocent, that all of the adults just had to laugh, including the Pope himself! Children are so genuine, and they live in the moment.  This is an important lesson adults can learn from children

Adults are so preoccupied with what happened (the past) and what might happen (the future), that there is very little time left to focus on right NOW.  Kids are not like that.  When they are playing baseball, they are engrossed in the baseball game, and when they move on to eating ice cream and riding bikes, those activities are their focus.  They really enjoy the NOW.

I encourage all of my readers to think more about the present.  Yesterday is over, and tomorrow is not in our control.  The only time we really have is NOW. Be more like a child! I know that I am going to try harder to do this!  

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

You can find many strategies for teaching in Dede's book. 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 or on Amazon at https://www.amazon.com/Student-Teaching-Inside-Master-Teacher/dp/1633850102 

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! 

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/  


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
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Facebook   Dede Faltot Rittman; Grady Gets Glasses; Student Teaching: The Inside Scoop from a Master Teacher 
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Saturday, March 18, 2017

"Your child is capable of things NO ONE can predict." Natan Gendelman, D.O.M.P.



I was fortunate to be invited to a PNC women's event to hear Dr. Dana Suskind, renowned cochlear implant surgeon, speak about the 30 Million Word Gap, a program with which I was unfamiliar. PNC partners with DR. suskind and the Thirty Million Words initiative. (Please see  http://thirtymillionwords.org or more information.) This initiative encourages parents to speak more words to their babies and children; a good analogy is to compare new words going into the child's brain with coins being deposited into a child's piggy bank. Both are enriching the child and helping to shape the child's future. This initiative comes after a study  by Hart and Ridley, which shows that children from professional families hear approximately 30 million more words by age 3 than children from welfare families. This information is STUNNING. (Please see http://literacy.rice.edu/thirty-million-word-gap for more information about this study.)   

In the program Dr. Suskind presented, she discussed parents' use of the "Three T's" - Tune in, Talk more, and Take turns. According to Dr. Suskind, "Tuning in" asks you to notice what a child is doing, and get involved, including cooing to your child and answering when a baby or child communicates.  "Talking more" requires you to talk about what you are doing, even if you are changing a diaper! "Taking turns", Dr. Suskind said, means looking at your child as a conversational partner, and to take turns talking, and even responding to gestures and sounds from your baby. Dr. Dana Suskind noticed this: n her surgically implanted cochlear patients,  she noted that the cochlear implants did not truly benefit the child unless they were learning new words. The child's brain power is dependent on how many words the parents speak to the child. This was a very compelling presentation, and I was so inspired! Dr. Suskind even authored a book about the subject, titled THIRTY MILLION WORDS - BUILDING A CHILD'S BRAIN.

I was an English teacher for 37 years, and through the years, I noticed deficiencies in the general vocabulary of some students in my classes.  By the time a student is in the 10th grade, it is impossible to pinpoint how long and at what age that student began to fall behind. Teaching students who are behind is always a push to "make up" for deficiencies, and to try to have the student learn more and learn faster to close that gap. Students with a better command of the English language performed better in class and made better grades, for the most part.  I can tell you that owning and using a large vocabulary, as a student or as an adult, is a gift that propels a person forward in school, college, and in the job market.

Many teachers read my weekly posts, which is why I chose the Thirty Million Words as my subject this week.  I am so impressed with the Thirty Million Words initiative to close the gap that I wanted to share this information with all of you.  Child caregivers, parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, neighbors, and siblings all have the ability to improve a child's vocabulary and intelligence from the day the child is born!  For me, as a teacher, as one who enjoys learning, and as a person who identifies as a lifelong learner, I am inspired by this initiative! Please share the news about The Thirty Million Words with others in your circle so we can help to make today's babies and toddlers smarter and more successful students and adults!   

To learn more, please visit http://thirtymillionwords.org.

Here is a link to an interesting article about Dr. Suskind's book in USA Today: http://www.usatoday.com/story/life/2015/10/18/baby-talk-brain-programs/73808670/

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

You can find many strategies for teaching in Dede's book. 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 or on Amazon at https://www.amazon.com/Student-Teaching-Inside-Master-Teacher/dp/1633850102 

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! 

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/  


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; Grady Gets Glasses; Student Teaching: The Inside Scoop from a Master Teacher 
LinkedIn   Dede Rittman
Google +   Dede Rittman
Tumblr      The Bunny Teacher
Instagram   dede_rittman and Gradygetsglasses 
Pinterest   Rittman Publishing, LLC ®