If I Were to Write an Op-Ed about Education it Would Read Like This….

Many people have become fired up about our “educational crisis” this week due to the release of the new documentary, Waiting for Superman.  It has been at the center of two recent Oprah specials, MSNBC’s new and powerful debate- Education Nation, and many other news outlets. People are talking, tweeting and some are even being driven to action due to the catalyst that Waiting for Superman has provided.  Not me.  I didn’t just happen to wake up this week to the educational crisis in the United States.  Nope, I have been yelling from the sidelines for many years.  However, the one thing I learned this week during my own personal “Ah-Ha” moment was that the sidelines are for wimps.  It is time to get messy.

So, what am I going to do that is DIFFERENT than before?  First, I plan on helping others join the discussion through social media. I have available to me many ways to help stir the debate and help others to join in to find real and viable solutions.  One way is to generate interest via EDUCATION.com. This great educational site has over two million visitors per month. Surely, someone will want to join the debate and heed the call to action on here.

For me, this is a personal and complicated matter.  No easy answers.  For me, there has to be monumental changes of the bad, while preserving what is good with our educational system.  For me, there needs to be inclusion and recognition of children with special educational considerations during these debates.  For me, we need to address the cultural and linguistic differences within our schools among the various populations and act accordingly.  For me, I need to honor the millions of people who have called themselves “educators” before me.  For me, I need to honor  my role model, my Dad.

I want to know how others will “get messy”. Who will YOU honor?   Will senior citizens, who are an amazing resource, become more involved in schools?  Will businesses allow parents to go to schools and volunteer on a regular basis?  Will law enforcement help even more to make the neighborhoods to which our schools exist safer?

I am finished asking questions.  I am ready to get “messy”.  Are you?

For more information about Education Nation,  Waiting for Superman and what YOU can do.. go to these websites:

NBC NEWS Education Nation: http://www.educationnation.com/index.cfm?objectid=E689D721-B6C9-605B-DE1D813E4CDA3339

OPRAH- http://www.Oprah.com

Waiting for Superman: http://www.WaitingforSuperman.com

Thanks for reading.

Louise Sattler is a Nationally Certified School Psychologist, Owner of Signing Families and a national presence in the media.  She will be starting her new radio show- The Louise Sattler Show- Where Learning Meets Laughter this Fall 2010 on soon to be launched network-HerInsight!  Look for her getting “messy” at a school district or state meeting near you!

How Lowe’s Can Help Your Child to LEARN and be SAFE!

Kids love to tinker!  Hands on activities are necessary and vital to the educational development of children.  When kids can see, feel and be interactive with an activity they tend to learn and remember better than when simply passive learners.  This concept can be applied to learning readiness skills, such as math all the way to learning social skills- which include ways to stay safe and out of harms way!

As an educator, I must admit that I was impressed with Lowe’s Build and Grow workshops and products geared for kid sized fingers! Children can learn about safety within their homes and schools in addition to basic educational principles, such as measurement and shapes.

I received by Lowe’s a cool Build and Grow series to check out. First I noticed a very generous sized pair of googles to wear as protective eye wear.  I know first hand that children can have corneal abrasions from rubbing foreign objects that “flew” in to their eyes!  Also, having these googles is starting young children to adopt habits about safety being primary when working on projects.

I also played with the adorable Build and Grow Fire Truck construction kit.  I really thought that Lowe’s must be doing their homework as September is Disaster Preparation month with Fire and Rescue services providing open houses, too!  I love that Lowe’s was really thinking and planning in tandem so that children know from several sources that they need to be safe in their homes and to look out for hidden dangers!

Lowe’s definitely gets an enthusiastic TWO THUMBS UP from this educator!

**Want to have fun and PARTY!  Well, let’s say you can TWEET with TWEEPS to help promote children being safe!  Here is the info:

When: Thursday, September 23rd, from 8:00P to 9:00PM EST

Where: #Lowes4Safety tag on Twitter
How: Follow hostess @SafetyMom and tweet with the party tag

ALSO….Check out Lowe’s Build and Grow workshops biweekly on Saturday morning.  Call your local Lowe’s to see times that they begin in your area.  Also you can check them out at http://www.LowesBuildandGrow.com

The fun continues on September 25th which is the National Lowe’s Safety Build and Grow workshop in one of their stores throughout CANADA and the UNITED STATES!  Big kids and little kids are invited to attend.  Snap some photos and post, too if you wish!

Louise Sattler is a Nationally Certified School Psychologist, owner of Signing Families and sought after guest speaker.  She is the host of the new radio program on HerInsight Media Network-  The Louise Sattler Show- Where Learning Meets Laughter! Starting Fall 2010 on HerInsight.com

Look for her on Eduction.com, Our Journey Thru Autism and many more national blogs!

Never Forget… the Wisdom of Children

Today is the ninth anniversary of 9/11.  It seems like times stops every year on 9/11 as we reflect as a nation, a world, and as individuals the horrors of the day and the lessons learned. Over the years I have attended many lectures, read books, watched countless hours of documentaries and spoken with hundreds who have all shared and recounted the days event.  Even today I sat among people of a variety of faiths as we came together to make sense of this world that is somehow off kilter with the sole goal to learn from each other and pray- together.

However, through the years I must admit that the people who make the most sense to me are indeed the children.  Nine years ago I asked my Sunday School class to generate an idea to say thank you to the many rescuers who worked tirelessly at Ground Zero.  They decided to make a quilt of written paper messages, woven together with yarn.  The quilt was quite poignant with some messages in other languages, such as Hebrew or Spanish.  One child wrote… “I hope adults learn to play nice with others,someday”.  Others drew pictures of families holding hands.

September 11, 2001 also was the day that a poem was written that struck such a cord with me. It was shortly after 9/11 that I learned about one amazing young man, Mattie Stepanek. I was so awestruck by the wisdom of this child who spoke beyond his years and through his pain of his Muscular Dystrophy.  He wrote the most loving poem I had ever read from a child. And it has been a true privilege for me to get to know and learn more about Mattie from his mom, Jeni. She writes about Mattie and his efforts for peace in her book, MESSENGER. One of the poems that Mattie has left as his true legacy is below for your perusal and is titled, “For Our World”. My favorite portion of this poem reads..

“Stop for a moment.
Before anybody
Says or does anything
That may hurt anyone else.”

Need I say more. Nope.  Children have so much more wisdom than many adults. And because of this I have great hope that we will learn to “play nice with others”.

Here is the poem and please check out Jeni’s book, Messenger on the website dedicated to Mattie’s world and legacy at http://www.MattieOnline.com

We need to stop.
Just stop.
Stop for a moment.
Before anybody
Says or does anything
That may hurt anyone else.
We need to be silent.
Just silent.
Silent for a moment.
Before we forever lose
The blessing of songs
That grow in our hearts.
We need to notice.
Just notice.
Notice for a moment.
Before the future slips away
Into ashes and dust of humility.
Stop, be silent, and notice.
In so many ways, we are the same.
Our differences are unique treasures.
We have, we are, a mosaic of gifts
To nurture, to offer, to accept.
We need to be.
Just be.
Be for a moment.
Kind and gentle, innocent and trusting,
Like children and lambs,
Never judging or vengeful
Like the judging and vengeful.
And now, let us pray,
Differently, yet together,
Before there is no earth, no life,
No chance for peace.


September 11, 2001
© Matthew Joseph Thaddeus Stepanek
Used with permission from Hope Through Heartsongs, Hyperion, 2002

Louise Sattler is a School Psychologist, Owner of Signing Families™ and a radio personality.  Look for her new show on the HerInsight media network coming Fall 2010!

Welcome to Changes and How Two Truck Drivers Saved the Day!

September is always a month of transitions.  This year is of no exception.  Within just the past month our family has experienced a wealth of changes.

First this past month we changed from being a family with a working air conditioner to one without.  To change back to a cool air family was possible and in my viewpoint- mandatory.  So, we are now the proud owner of a fairly clean piece of machinery known as Mr. Carrier.

Second, Mr. Carrier must have sent word that we were a really nice house to reside in because we then gave birth to an assortment of other new household items, including our soon to be new family member, Mr. New Roof.  I decided to change the roof tiles from green to grey.  I know you are shuddering at my exciting life right now.

We then decided to drive our son to Michigan State and of course, back home again.  This is the part of the blog when I get to introduce our newest and best friends- the two truck drivers who saved the day.  You see, we didn’t realize that hitting a median at a high speed when you are pushed off the road by an idiot that is texting causes a bent wheel as well as the other parts of the back of the car that makes it go straight.  Lucky for us, the guy driving behind us on I-80 was adamant that we were in a FLC (Funny Looking Car) and motioned for us to pull over.  So, we did at the first stop we could.  A nice truck stop.  Two wonderful drivers of awesome rigs ,who also moonlighted as mechanics, assured us that if we drove fairly slowly (say speed limit) and didn’t attempt any stupid turns, we would arrive home safely.  I was so happy to be given the sacred trucker’s blessing that I offered to buy them coffee and lunch.  Not being of sound mind, I missed the clue of them holding bags full of food and a cup of coffee while talking to us.  (And if you are curious one was hauling paper and another sand for highway repairs!)

So on the week that we celebrate the Jewish Holidays I must relish in the changes that have entered my life.  And acknowledge that even in a truck stop trust can be earned and kindness can be found.

L’Shana Tovah  / Happy New Year

Louise Sattler is a Nationally Certified School Psychologist, the owner of Signing Families and a radio personality.  Come tune in soon to her new show on the HerInsight Media network starting this Fall. As always- bring the coffee!

Meet Jaylen Arnold!

Jaylen Arnold is no ordinary kid!  You will know that from the very first minute that you speak to him or read his Twitter feed.  You also will know that he is a force to be reckoned with as he is the catalyst behind a very strong anti-bullying campaign known as Jaylens Challenge. He also is trying to raise funds to help educate children and school personnel about bullying.

I first “met” Jaylen through Twitter.  I kept seeing his Twitter name – @JaysChallenge– linked with some pretty interesting words such as Tourette’s Syndrome and Bullying.  I also found out that he was not camera shy despite having a significant tic disorder which makes vocal fluency difficult, to say the least.  He piqued my curiosity because two decades ago while still in training as a psychologist I attended a Tourette’s Conference in Pennsylvania.  Our graduate class was all assigned the task of attending portions of special education conferences to report to the statewide association for School Psychologists.  My fellow graduate students picked their favorites and I was given by pick of the straw- the leftover session- Tourettes.  What my fellow grad students didn’t know was that I was the winner.  I was fascinated and in awe of the dozens of people who came to the conference to explain their lives with hard to control or uncontrollable tics.  I also found great strength within this group. I believe that my training prepped me for helping Jaylen.

I explain all of this because I wanted to know how a nine year old boy could literally turn many in this country into foot soldiers for his anti-bullying campaign.  Now I don’t mean area school children only (although they make up a wonderful part of his anti-bullying army).  I mean people in the entertainment industry.  Even Leo DiCaprio is on board and Moon Frye!  His biggest supporters, however are his parents, sister and actor, Dash Mihok. Dash understands Tourettes and Jaylen because he too has had to handle the disorder.  He is an exceptional role model for Jaylen. Dash also is the “grand prize” for what Jaylen has termed, “The Next Step”.  This is a grassroots campaign to educate people about bullying and give assistance.  The full explanation of why Jaylen is taking on such a huge undertaking is here:  http://www.JaylensChallenge.org

And why am I writing this blog to ask you to join Jaylen’s Army for “BULLYING NO WAY”. Because no one deserves to be treated as he has been within our public school system.  This child endured wearing a teacher designed sign around his neck warning people that he was disabled.  Thus, inciting bullying by classmates.  I was incensed when I heard his mom, Robin discuss this issue and knew I had to help prevent any other child from having such an atrocity happen within our school system.

To learn more about Jaylen Arnold,  JaylensChallenge or the NEXT STEP campaign visit any of these links:

www.JaylensChallenge.org (Here is where you can order some really groovy glow in the dark support bands to wear)  Check out who owns them at the bottom of this post!

Jaylen’s many past media appearances: http://www.jaylenschallenge.org/jaylens-on-the-web

Discovery Channel –  Jaylen is featured here:  Tourette’s Uncovered” premier on @Disc_Health http://bit.ly/arImEy 9/13/10 at 9pm

Now it is time to hear from Jaylen!!


I remember when I was an undergraduate student waiting at bus stops or walking home late at night feeling weary and sometimes frightened of my setting.  To try and ease my anxiety I carried with me the safety device de jour at the time, known as the “rape whistle”.  I also carried a small canister of mace.  How much safer and also more comfortable would I have felt had I access to an iSafe backpack! What is the iSafe Backpack? In essence, it is an ingenious backpack/ mobile personal safety device that helps keep children of all ages and adults feel safer when they leave home!

I agreed to try the iSafe backpack (which I received complimentary), because I wanted to see for myself this product that was causing all the  buzz on the “back to school” circuit. Recently, I have had the opportunity to see many backpacks for this back to school season and I wanted to compare.  ( I need to confess- I am FUSSY!)  The iSafe backpack (Sling style) arrived at my door and it was an instant hit with all the teens who were there when the box arrived!  Not only did the iSafe bag come equipped with the most brilliant of mobile personal safety devices-  an easy to access pull string alarm system, but it is able to hold so much of my personal stuff!  My netbook with sleeve fit easily in to the sling backpacks main compartment.  Also, there was a very healthy sized outside pocket to hold a cell phone, personal belongings and even some snack food! In addition, as a person with a bad back, I was duly impressed with the ergonomics of the iSafe Sling backpack. There was much cushion on this backpack which made both the shoulder straps and the outside that rested against my back very comfortable

. As I was trying on my iSafe bag, with the cadre of teens still acting as “judges”, we generated many applications for use.  Some of the teens noted that the alternate styles (in the literature I received with the bag) would be super for college and high school students who needed to pack an entire day of books, computers and after school apparel.  One  girl noted that her parents would feel better if her younger sister had a bag as she walked to school and an iSafe backpack would ease their fears of about potential child abduction.  Of course, we tested the alarm – immediately- and much to our surprise, it was LOUD!  I originally thought the alarm would be a beep, but as one of the teens yelled over the siren- “This alarm could be heard blocks away!”  Collectively we were sold! In addition, my daughter, who is always looking for trendy items paired with practical usage, suggested that the iSafe company may want to consider cute daytime and evening purses, too.  (I personally second the idea)

Moreover, I am thrilled to have the sling back for travel!  Plus, I am a woman who travels nationwide for business.  I often have to stay in hotel rooms by myself.  I love that this backpack acts as a personal security system in a hotel, parking garage and so much more.

As an educator I would give the iSafe Sling Backpack an A+! And I have to thank the iSafe company for making my holiday shopping that much easier- as now I know exactly what I am buying the students in our family!  Oops- just let the cat out of the bag!! Oh well- maybe my nieces and nephew will let me know now which style they want! Here’s hoping you all discover iSafe Backpacks and bags, too!

If you follow my blog then you already know I am a huge fan of photos and videos!  I plan on adding a VLOG on my SIGNING FAMILIES FACEBOOK PAGE for all to learn ASL signs related to the iSafe Backpack.

Check out iSafe on this video!!

To make it easy for all of you- iSafe is now on TWITTER and FACEBOOK!

Louise Masin Sattler is a busy psychologist and owner of Signing Families™.  She also is honored to be part of the HerInsight Network . Catch her show, Learning and Laughter with Louise! every Wednesday at 9 a.m. EST.  Coffee optional.  Laughing is mandatory.   And she’ll be sporting a new iSAFE sling backpack cause it is groovy! Laugh with Louise on Twitter as @LouiseASL

DISCLOSURE: I received a complimentary ISafe Bag for this review. No other compensation was provided.

A SUPER SURPRISE from CANSON/ Papershow and ABCTeach.com !!

Anyone who follows my show, Learning and Laughter with Louise! will know that I am passionate and a bit of a zealot when it comes to supporting educators and families.  I even try to make my enthusiasm contagious which is why when people within the educational realm listen and respond to the show, I get really excited.   So, imagine my excitement when two super companies called today saying that they wanted to give unbelievable giveaways during the next couple of weeks! Read below to see who and what is being offered!

First, next Wednesday, August 18th I will be talking to Giulia Giovanelli, Product Manager for the super company- CANSON. They have developed the PAPERSHOW. What is the PAPERSHOW and why did it get my attention?  In essence, the Papershow is a digital writing solution that enables the teacher to instantly display handwritten notes from the paper to the screen.  For a classroom, this is breathrough technology compared to what has been available in the last ten years. A teacher can write from anywhere in the classroom and keep their eyes on the students!  Also, CANSON offers on their website many constructive examples of the application for the Papershow within the classroom.

Papershow is so new it is only  available starting September 2010 for MAC and PC computers!  Connect with PAPERSHOW on FACEBOOK: http://www.facebook.com/papershowus?ref=ts

Here is the GREAT NEWS!  One lucky educator can win the TEACHER’S EDITION STARTER KIT for their classroom (VALUE $249).  Included in this kit is the following:

  • 1 PAPERSHOW Bluetooth® digital pen.
  • 1 Bluetooth® 512 MB USB key containing the PAPERSHOW application.
  • 1 large 128-page interactive book with small squares.
  • 30 sheets of letter interactive printer paper.
  • 1 detachable and interactive EXTRA ruler with colours and calculator.
  • Accessories: 1 binder1 carry case, 1 AAA battery, 3 ballpoint pen refills, and rings to personalise the USB key and pen.

How can you be eligible to win this great prize?

There are three ways you can be eligible to win.  You may leave a comment on all three website to increase your chances to win.  You MUST write why you want to be the winner for this wonderful prize!  (We will use a random service to pick the winner and contact the winner by 9 p.m. August 19th)

First, Leave your comment on my WORDPRESS BLOG as to why you wish to have the PAPERSHOW: http://louisesattler.com/

Second- Leave a comment about why you would love the CANSON PAPERSHOW for your classroom on my Learning and Laughter with Louise! FACEBOOK PAGE- http://www.facebook.com/pages/LEARNING-and-LAUGHTER-with-LOUISE-SATTLER/111990452155127

Third- Leave a comment about why you would love the CANSON  PAPERSHOW for your classroom on my SIGNING FAMILIES™ page- http://www.facebook.com/pages/United-States/SIGNING-FAMILIES/108062343239?ref=ts

Want to see Papershow in action!  Here is the video!

Secondly, meet our generous friends from

I first “met” Sandy Kemsley via a mutual friend, Shara Lawrence-Weiss of MommyPerks.com.   I was happy to be introduced to a “hands on” site for teachers.  I even bought my niece a year subscription for her birthday last year and she was thrilled!  Sandy and I recently were talking about her Wednesday, August 25th segment for Learning and Laughter with Louise! She generously offered not one, not two, but TEN one-year subscriptions to her website- abcteach.com !   Ten lucky winners will be able to use a pleth

ora of online resources to use within their classroom or homeschool environments.  (My favorite section is ABCTools! Here you can create what you need for the classroom setting! WOW! )

How can you win?  Easy shmeezy… go to the links above and tell us why you want the  abcteach subscription.  We will pick FIVE WINNERS on AUGUST 18th and FIVE MORE on AUGUST 26th (9p.m.EST).

Connect with abcteach.com on FACEBOOK here: http://www.facebook.com/abcteach?ref=ts

Questions?  Please feel free to contact me at info@signingfamilies.com

Have a great day and thanks for reading!

Disclaimer- I received no free products for this blog. NADA!

Louise Masin Sattler is a busy psychologist and owner of Signing Families™.  She also is honored to be part of the HerInsight Network Catch her show, Learning and Laughter with Louise! every Wednesday at 9 a.m. EST.  Coffee optional.  Laughing is mandatory.

Laugh with Louise on Twitter as @LouiseASL

College 101: Making Friends with a PEZ Candy Dispenser

It has been about a dozen years since I started the annual hunt for PEZ dispensers. That was when I commenced sending packages to various relatives and friends who were beginning their freshman year in college.  I know that it may sound totally insane to send one of the Disney Princesses in a college box, but I consider this little plastic dispenser filled with yummy candy as a magnet for instant college friends.

Who needs Facebook when you can walk the hallways of  a new college dorm holding a cute PEZ with lots of extra candy to “reload” at a moments notice?!  Who could say no to a yummy taste of cherry or orange goodness?  And what about using it as a conversation starter!  (” I remember when my mom got me my first PEZ”. )  First, you can establish what is your favorite PEZ character and candy flavor and then before you know it- your new friend has shared info about their hometown, major and perhaps much more.

AHHH… an instant friend maker.  And in case you are wondering what ELSE goes in the college box I send every year…. here is this list:

1. Homemade brownies with white chocolate chips.  Individually wrapped.

2. A deck of cards, unopened.

3. Something the college student loves- such as comic books, magazines, hometown paper and a personal note.

4. A gift card or two.  Including the coveted iTunes gift card.

5. Healthy foods (sorta) like popcorn, monster mix or mac and cheese.

6.. and the PEZ dispenser.  This year we are going retro- Thomas the Tank Engine!

Remember that timing is everything- so the box is always sent priority mail and set to arrive the first week of classes.

On second thought, maybe I’ll send two PEZ.  One for the roommates, too.

Louise Masin Sattler is a busy psychologist and owner of Signing Families™.  She also is honored to be part of the HerInsight NetworkCatch her show, Learning and Laughter with Louise! every Wednesday at 9 a.m. EST.  Coffee optional.  Laughing is mandatory.

Transitions- The Good. The Bad. The Ugly… Bring on the Kleenex

A lot of my discussions with friends and relatives lately have centered around the word… TRANSITIONS. “My kid  is off to middle school this fall, how will I survive”,  “My husband and I are moving, the house is too large for us with the kids gone”,  ” I am quitting my job and starting a fresh new business”,  and on and on and on.

And like many, my little family also is undergoing transitions.  We will have two in college this year.  I will be transitioning our hard earned money from our bank account to the finance offices at Michigan State and U of Central Florida.  And when all the moving hoopla is done for our two collegians my hubby and I will return to our somewhat empty five bedroom home. The dogs will be waiting for us.  I know that the sneaky white one, Tess, already has scoped out our son’s room to claim as her own… hmmm.

By the way,  re-entering our home after the college drop-off  is is the part of this new cycle of our life I will HATE.  You see, a mother with ADHD should not be allowed to have a home that is sans a lot of noise and activity.  I do not operate well in quiet.  I need a little chaos.  I will miss the door banging to let me know that dozens of teens are here and coming in to our home just in time for dinner.  The sound of loud music, books and shoes being slammed on to the floor at our front door, and the phone ringing at all hours is music to my ears and warms my heart.  (My husband who is hard of hearing will not miss noise he cannot always hear, however!)  I will miss the loud and sometimes “attitudinal” remarks from my kids.  I will miss the laughter,  often  at my expense.  I will miss all that is encompassed by being a mom- ready and waiting to spring in to immediate action to care for my cherubs!

So, here is my strategy for coping with  my new transition period.

First, I will not use the words- “empty nest” to describe my new situation.  Instead, our home will now be known as at “Low occupancy” vs. “No vacancy”.

Second, hell have no fury as the next person who tells me now is a good time to start my “bucket list”.  Seriously!  As far as I know, I am not dying.  I didn’t even like the movie.  And …I am a mother who just paid two out of state  tuitions. Do you think I have an endless stash of dollars out there to help me go on the long awaited African Safari, or to walk the Great Wall, or cruise to Alaska?

Third, “This will be a great time to rekindle your marriage”.   I didn’t know that our embers burned out.

And lastly,  I will try and embrace new endeavors, new adventures, new malls.  I hear that mild retail therapy can be good for moms in “transition”.

Just in case you are curious and want to hear how others may handle life transitions, too… listen next Wednesday, August 4th as Kat Eden from Education.com stops by Learning and Laughter with Louise! (With a special co-host, Beth Engleman, from Mommy on a ShoeString!)


Louise Masin Sattler is a busy psychologist and owner of Signing Families™.  She also is honored to be part of the HerInsight Network Catch her show, Learning and Laughter with Louise! every Wednesday at 9 a.m. EST.  Coffee optional.  Laughing is mandatory.

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