Saturday, March 4, 2017

"Prejudice is a learned trait. You're not born prejudiced; you're taught it." Charles R. Swindoll

As you know, I was a classroom teacher for 37 years, and I worked with students in grades 9,10,11, and 12.  Presenting to students in grades K, 1, 2, and 3 with my children's book, GRADY GETS GLASSES has been a real eye-opener!  (Also- I am glad I taught high school all those years- the youngest students are so much work!)

Something I have noticed at every school where I have presented is the overall acceptance of the students:  for Grady, for me, for my presentation, and for each other. The children I have seen are friendly, inclusive, and caring. I have never seen any signs of bullying or discrimination in the year or so I have been presenting at elementary schools.  

You might remember a song from Rodgers and Hammerstein's SOUTH PACIFIC called "You've Got to Be Taught."   Lt. Cable sings the song in the show, and the message is that prejudice is taught, and not inborn.  I believe that is true.  

Here are the words to the song, from

You've got to be taught to hate and fear
You've got to be taught from year to year
It's got to be drummed in your dear little ear
You've got to be carefully taught

You've got to be taught to be afraid
Of people whose eyes are oddly made
And people whose skin is a diff'rent shade
You've got to be carefully taught

You've got to be taught before it's too late
Before you are six or seven or eight
To hate all the people your relatives hate
You've got to be carefully taught

To hear the song from the show, click here.

This week on the news, two dear little best-friend 5 year old boys, one black and one white, decided to "trick" their teacher.  The white boy got his hair cut very short-so that he would look "just like" his best friend, and the teacher would not be able to tell them apart!  Such innocence is so refreshing that this story has gone viral!  If you have not seen the clip, please take a minute to watch it.  I promise this clip will be the best thing you see all day. 

As teachers and parents, we model the behavior for our children to learn.  How wonderful that these two friends have no preconceived notions about prejudice, and that their innocence and friendship can teach the rest of the world about getting along!

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 or on Amazon at 

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  

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! 

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  The website now has plush Grady bunnies for sale!

Please like Dede's new page Grady Gets Glasses for updates about her children's book. 

Connect with Dede!

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