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.  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  

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 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! 

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!

Twitter       @dederittman
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