Friday, November 9, 2018

"Happiness springs from doing good and helping others." Plato

I live in Pittsburgh, PA. and our city continues to grieve over the senseless shootings on October 27 at the Tree of Life Synagogue, which killed 11 and wounded many more.  Sometimes, our world can be so cruel, and make us feel so powerless. 

In response to such sadness, I am choosing to share a happy story, which deals with Education and children, who are doing something good for another person.  

First, I must tell you that I believe that empathy can and should be taught.If fact, I believe that teaching empathy is just as important as teaching subject content. I am also a strong believer in total inclusion, which makes everyone a better person. Combining empathy and inclusion is the classroom is hitting an educational home run. 

In a small town in Tennessee, "Mr. James", as the kids refer to him, is the beloved custodian of Hickerson Elementary School. You need to know that Mr. James has a severe hearing impairment, rendering him practically deaf.  As a special surprise for his 60th birthday, two classes of kindergarten students learned to sing and sign "Happy Birthday to You" for Mr. James.  Two teachers, an aide, and the school nurse worked with the students so they could all work together to learn to sing and sign for Mr. James. His reaction is truly heart-melting, and the joy expressed by the students to gift this special gift to their custodian friend makes their faces radiant! These students did so much more than a kindness for a friend; they learned valuable lessons.  They learned some sign language, and how to be a part of a team. Most importantly, they learned the joy of giving a special gift to another person.  I hope this lesson of sharing and kindness will be in their hearts for the rest of their lives. 

In my opinion, such a small gesture to "do good" is a huge inspiration.  As I said in my opening paragraph, with so much sadness in the world, we all need to spread some happiness, so I am sharing this uplifting story. 

Please take a look at this link - it will make you smile.
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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