Saturday, February 3, 2018

"Acceptance is what we wish for ourselves and often deny others." Susan L. Taylor

A few weeks ago, I went to the movies to see WONDER.  After being in the classroom for 37 years, and teaching many students with special needs, I knew that WONDER would be a film that I would like.  The film was engaging and well-acted, and the lessons were both heartbreaking and heartwarming.  In fact, I think it is appropriate for classroom use.

This is a beautiful film on so many levels. The story is about a young boy with Treacher Collins Syndrome, which affects the development of bones and other tissues in the face. A child with this syndrome does not look like other children.  Auggie's parents decide that he should go to "real school" and not be home schooled, and so he enters middle school. The film is about the manner in which  parents and students at Auggie's school react to his presence in school.

This film offers so many lessons and teachable moments. Sometimes, teachers are presented with material that can help students to understand a topic, and this Hollywood film is a good example of such material. Students could learn perseverance from Auggie, as well as developing self-confidence and friendships. They could learn that the way a person looks has nothing to do with who the person is on the inside, and that everyone needs to be included and friended by others. The theme of acceptance and denial of acceptance permeates the film, and I think this theme lends itself to many class activities and it could be a really good teaching tool in the middle school.  A creative teacher could plan writing and discussion activities around the film, which could have a huge impact to help all students understand the concept of inclusion and exclusion. 

I urge all teachers to see the film, and perhaps the department could work together to create lessons to accompany the viewing of the film.  I think the impact on student learning, understanding, and acceptance will be well worth the effort. This film presents far more information to promote understanding of anti-bullying than any anti-bullying lesson I was required to teach in the classroom. 

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. 

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