Saturday, September 16, 2017

"If you want your children to improve, let them overhear the nice things you say about them to others." Dr. Haim Ginott


These past few weeks, social media sites Facebook and Twitter have been filled with pictures of children and grandchildren going back to school.  The kids are sporting new clothes and back-to-school haircuts, and from both the pictures and the written text, it is apparent that hopes are high for great success in the new school year.  I enjoy seeing these pictures, and I always loved the first few days of the excitement in my school building when the new year began.  The possibilities for happiness and learning and friendships and new adventures in the new year are endless!

Parents and grandparents can help to keep children and teens engaged in the learning process and school activities.  Instead of asking a simple "How was your day today?", with the stock answer "Fine." ask more engaging questions.  For example, "What happened at school today that was exciting?" or "Can you share something you learned today that your family would find interesting?"  When I was a classroom teacher, pondering a question aloud asking a student to explain something to me inspired almost every hand in the room to shoot up!  And as I look back on the year when I got my first iPhone and had no idea of how to use it, students worked with me to match their study hall schedules to my schedule so they could "tutor" me on the iPhone 3.  I was grateful for their expertise!  I remember telling students (who were checking on my progress) - "Yes, I DID finally learn how to set up email!  thank you for offering- Mary in period 2 met me during lunch," or "I finally have working voice mail!  Danny in period 6 knew how to set that up!"  I enjoyed saying nice things about the many students who offered their help, and I as a result of my voicing those kind words, I found that student work improved in my classroom, especially from my iPhone tutors and their friends.

Everyone has something to offer, and everyone needs to feel important.  When parents and grandparents truly engage their children with thought-provoking questions and then share kind words about their answers, learning and more sharing of knowledge is encouraged.

Let's keep students as bright as the shiny new pennies they appear to be on the Facebook pages in the first day of school pictures.  Appropriate praise and family interaction can help to keep a positive focus on student engagement at school, as well as the sharing of learning at home.

Here's to a GREAT year, filled with endless possibilities for success!

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 
Pinterest   Rittman Publishing, LLC ® 



Saturday, September 9, 2017

"The strength of our student relationships makes the difference in translating our passion for teaching into their passion for learning." Beth Morrow



I had breakfast this morning with my former 10th grade English student, who is now my attorney.  We talked about many things, including the school district we shared, where Alan was a student and a school director, and where I was a teacher for 35 years, as well as a coach for 33 years. Amazingly, Alan remembered so many great experiences from his elementary years, as well as a year in 3rd grade that caused him great unhappiness. Although I spent so much time reflecting on the influence of a teacher, our conversation reminded me that the mental pain inflicted by a teacher lasts forever.

With the new school year just beginning, now is a great time for teachers to think about the manner in which they treat their students. Kindness and respect are a must, with a large helping of humor added.  Teaching is all about relationships.  Everyone knows that kids resist learning from a teacher they do not like!  Making eye contact, taking an interest in students as individuals, and truly listening to students are three great ways to begin a healthy relationship with students.  In my 37 years in the classroom, even the most reluctant students could be won over with respect and kindness, and a smile.  Kids know when teachers really care about them and for them.

Begin your year positively, and stay on that positive train!  If you follow me on Twitter, I tweet lots of articles and inspiration for teachers.  I am @dederittman 

Here's to a GREAT year!

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 
Pinterest   Rittman Publishing, LLC ® 





Sunday, September 3, 2017

"One of the great things about travel is that you find out how many good, kind people there are." Edith Wharton



I was in Salt Lake City a few weeks ago, on a Friday night, alone, and in need of some dinner.  A Ruth's Chris Steakhouse was within a few blocks of my hotel, and it was an easy walk. The only problem was this:  I have not been to a Ruth's Chris since my husband died, because Ruth's Chris any town, USA,  were our favorite restaurants, wherever we traveled. Sometimes, doing things alone that were always done as a couple can be very difficult.

I decided to make a reservation for one - a sad thing to do, I know.  I said I would eat at the bar, which offered full service, just like table service.  I steeled myself, tried not to be sad, walked the few blocks in the dazzling sunlight, and entered the restaurant.  

I sat at the bar and ordered a wine.  It was early - only a little after 5:00 - and just one other person sat at the bar about 6 seats away from me.  I swiped my phone and went to pictures, and our wedding picture popped up on the screen, even though I did not choose that picture.  Just then, a Frank Sinatra song came on in the restaurant.  Scott and I actually had the opportunity to spend time with Frank years ago in Las Vegas, so I was really feeling astonished that both the picture and then Sinatra were happening simultaneously.  A few seconds later, a waiter appeared at the side of the bar near me and asked the bartender for a Manhattan - which was Scott's favorite cocktail at Ruth's Chris.  I could not believe my ears!  I turned to the waiter and asked, "Did you just order a Manhattan?"  "I did," he said.  I then explained to all the waiters, who were now gathering near me, and the bartender about my choice to return to Ruth's Chris alone, how Scott and I  knew Frank Sinatra, and Scott's favorite drink, the Manhattan, all in a row, which I felt were giving me a sign that Scott was still with me.  One waiter became teary eyed, truly sharing my emotional experience, because he had recently lost his sister (unexpectedly), and he could sometimes feel her presence in the things that were happening around him. We discussed how grief sneaks up just like PTSD, and you never know when it will strike.  The waitstaff stopped by throughout my meal, kept me company, and asked to see pictures of Scott, and about our lives together and about the Frank Sinatra story.  What I thought was going to be a lonely dinner turned out to be a beautiful connection of many souls.

After dessert, I placed my charge card in front of me, and asked the bartender, a sweet gal named Andrea, for my bill. She said, "Dede, I think your universe is aligned, because the man at the end of the bar paid your entire tab.  He heard your story and wanted to do this for you." I am not embarrassed to tell that I cried when I heard this, and so did the waitstaff who surrounded me when Andrea shared that news. Sometimes, the kindness of strangers can be so overwhelming.  

I asked Andrea if she knew his name, and she did. The kind stranger is named Paul Rodriguez, and he is a local resident.  I looked in the white pages, but there were no matches.  Maybe someone who knows Paul will read this and tell him how much his kind gesture meant to me.

I have spent my lifetime trying to be kind to others and to treat others with respect. I have never been the recipient of such a kind gesture, one that was so needed at the time, and one that lifted me so much.  Thank you, Paul Rodriguez, for assuaging my pain and my loss with your caring.  Thank you for making me feel less alone.  Thank you for seeing my pain and attempting to soothe it.  I will carry your kindness in my heart and pay it forward. 

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


My sweetheart Scott with me in happier times at our cabin in Potter County, PA

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 
Pinterest   Rittman Publishing, LLC ®