Tag: education

Why Journaling and Creating Scrapbooks Could Result in GREAT Mental Health Benefits!

 

You have to leave the city of your comfort and go to the wilderness of your intuition. What you’ll discover will be wonderful. You will discover yourself.

~Alan Alda

Every year millions of blank and lined paged journal books are sold in the United States. Amazon sells  more than a million books to those wanting to write their musings or organize their thoughts.  Equally as popular is the scrapbooking community. Those who love to mesh photographs, stamping art and stickers together in a bound book for posterity.  I may have a few of these journals or scrapbooks on my shelves or in my drawers –  and by a few I mean twenty or more.

If you are a reader of this blog, then you will know that I am an ardent photographer and love to assemble projects that utilize photos and quotes. (Read a recent article here.)   I am a firm believer that sparking your mental processes through creative outlets is one way to keep yourself challenged and active from your youth through your golden years.

Let’s look at the value of both keeping a journal and scrapbook.

What is Journaling?

Consider journaling a way to plan your current and future life while reflecting on and learning from lesson of your past. A journal is a running diary of your thoughts, dreams and concerns. It also chronicles events and your “take” on what has happened.

A journal is a “safe place” where you can emote your love for another, anger, disappointment or sadness. It is where you can let out your deep seeded grief.  While not a substitute for a trained therapist, a journal is often a tool to help guide you through the tough times in your life.

One of the most common themes among those who journal is to see how problems, once thought unsurmountable, were actually resolved,  leaving the scribe with a much larger understanding and appreciation for having “made it through” and perhaps much better equipped to cope with future challenges.

What is Scrapbooking?

Scrapbooking to me is being able to put in to themed books the milestones of your life of those of your loved ones.  Many parents, especially mom’s, love to keep sweet memorabilia of their babies first year, child’s school years and extra -curricular activities.  I for one have made many scrapbooks when my children were young. Included in these precious memory books are first words, pictures of first steps, locks of hair from the first haircuts and much more.  Being able to fill in the blanks for older children of their first years, is always a nice way to add to bonding experiences between parent and child.

Now that my children are adults, I have “shelved” these lovely books hoping that someday I will show them to their offspring and have some good belly laughs and perhaps smile through nostalgic tears.

There is positive mental health value with both journaling and scrapbooking for all ages.

As an educator, I see the value of offering journaling opportunities in school.  Children can have complicated lives, and what a wonderful way to give them space to write and reflect than a journal.  This avenue for discourse can be quite powerful if  it is an ongoing conversation between a teacher / therapist and child.  Being able to voice concerns, opinions and much more without judgment or having to actually “talk”.

Also, imagine the ability to see your child’s interpretation of their lives through the art of creating a scrapbook.  There are many templates to help a child get started and ways to stir their creativity.  Also, parents – don’t be shy!

Now let’s talk about a fun company that helps enhance your journaling and scrapbook world with their designs – The Stickii Club!

 

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Related: Don’t miss the GIVEAWAY at the bottom of this post!

 

Stickii Club is a subscription service that also makes available a la carte stickers to accent your journal and scrapbooking project. I became interested in this start-up company when I met them at a gifting suite and thought that there true to life stickers would make a great addition to creative projects, especially with journaling.  My favorite is the retro ones and travel as I love to put together my photography and utilize these stickers to help compliment the story.  (As you know photography and journaling are my way to experience calm!)

 


 

I had an opportunity to send interview questions to the founder  of  STICKII CLUB , Rita and here is what I learned:

 

Louise: What inspired you to become an entrepreneur?:
Rita: I really didn’t want to work for someone else and be boxed into a strict schedule with no flexibility. I have a creative passion and I wanted to pursue that

 


Louise:  Is STICKII CLUB your first venture in to the world of entrepreneurship or are you a veteran in the business world?:
Rita: My first foray into the world of entrepreneurship but it’s taught me so much, I can see myself exploring other business endeavors in the future.

3. What was the catalyst for starting STICKII CLUB and tell us about the company: 
Rita: I’ve always had a love for stickers ever since I was little and dreamed of having my own stationery store. When I graduated I didn’t want to work for a company but had to work – at the same time I discovered subscription box services and decided to create one for stickers. So STICKII (stickers + kawaii {the Japanese word for cute}) was born. The company sends out a pack of stickers and stationery every month but because everyone has different styles, we have 3 selections to choose from every month.

4. Your stickers are more “mature” – meant for those who love to journal or make scrapbooks.  Do you journal daily?: 
Rita: Hah, running the company and creating most of its designs is how I spend most of my time so I don’t journal as much as I used to but our team loves planning & journaling and using stickers to make each entry their own. One of our team members has multiple notebooks for different things, she loves working at a place where the perk is unlimited free stickers for her to play with!

5. Are your products available online and in stores or only online?: 
Rita: For the moment we only sell online through our own website. You can do a subscription or check out our shop for individual sticker sheets and some other fun things.

6. Do you customize for large orders and if so- how much lead time? (Such as a school specific set or a set for a wedding, etc.):
Rita: We never say no to a custom order, it just depends on if the person has the art work in place or needs one of our artists, the order size, the layout, etc. We prefer to have at least a month advance notice at a minimum but we’ve managed to pull off a few miracles before.

7. I work in media, so I am curious – which of the social media platforms are your favorite and get you the most results?: 
Rita: By far, Instagram.  Our service deals in the visual since it’s artistic and a tangible product so Instagram is great at showing the photos and people get excited about what they’re going to receive. Facebook is a close second and we’ve tried other ones but these two get the most results.

8. You are offering a giveaway {SEE BELOW} – what do people need to do to enter to win and when is the last date they can enter?:
Rita:  Please follow us on INSTAGRAM or FACEBOOK between July 16th and August 18th.  We will announce THREE prized winners:  Grand Prize (7 packs of stickers), 1st Prize (4 packs of stickers) and 2nd prize (3 packs of stickers).  We sadly need to restrict to the United States for entries as we have to ship our prizes.  (The giveaway rules are below.)

9. Any other information you wish for our readers to know?:
Rita: All our packs come in a unique Stickii Storage sticker insert so you can keep your stickers organized and neat. Signing up means you get happiness delivered right to your door every month!

BUT WAIT…. THERE IS MORE!!

SIGN UP IS ONE CLICK AWAY! USE THE PROMO CODE:  LOUISE for $2 off a month’s subscription

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Want to WIN a set of STICKII CLUB stickers? Simply do the following to ENTER the STICKII CLUB GIVEAWAY!:

GIVEAWAY COMPLETE-  WINNER ANNOUNCED. 

STEP ONE: FOLLOW ON and LEAVE A COMMENT with the HASHTAG #StickiiClubGiveaway >>> INSTAGRAM

or

FOLLOW ON >>>  FACEBOOK and COMMENT with #STICKIICLUBGIVEAWAY

STEP TWO: BE SURE TO COMMENT ON THIS POST BELOW SO I KNOW TO LOOK FOR YOU!!! 

LASTLY:  Be super groovy if you also signed up for their >>>>  EMAIL. 

 

What will the Stickii Club winners receive??

💥 💥

GRAND PRIZE:  SEVEN PACKS (7) of STICKI CLUB STICKERS! TRIPLE WOW!!!

FIRST PRIZE:  FOUR PACKS (4) of STICKI CLUB STICKERS! DOUBLE WOW!!

SECOND PRIZE: THREE PACKS (3) of STICKI CLUB STICKERS – WOW!

 

THE RU!LES

Winners will be randomly chosen from ALL Entries who either follow on INSTAGRAM or FACEBOOK between July 16th and August 18th, 2018.  The giveaway winners will be chosen by a random generator on August 19, 2018 of all eligible entrants.  Residents of the United States of America only.  Cannot be related to anyone from Stickii Club nor Louise Sattler. Shipping will be by standard mail.  No substitutions or monetary trade value will be offered. Multiple follows by autobots or fake accounts will result in deletion of entry.

 

DISCLAIMER:  I received promotional product from Stickii.Club.  However, I LOVE LOVE LOVE this product and would have written this blog regardless!

So you want to work in social media … Welcome to my inside scoop

I am a career chameleon.  I have worked many years in the rewarding field of education as a Psychologist, Sign Language Instructor and Interpreter,  Parent and Teacher Trainer and much more. I LOVE the milieu of education.  It is one of the most “warm fuzzy” careers you can have because you are able to make a difference in the lives of students on a daily basis.  Yet, it also can be stressful (very) and with the add on of responsibilities outside of the prevue of education being placed on teachers, many educators are leaving the field.  To some degree that was me – ten years ago.

Admittedly,  I was ready for something ELSE.  Something that wouldn’t result in burn -out.  As it so happened around that time I  developed sign language products to help novice learners, especially parents and First Responders.  I used social media to market these products and amazingly – they sold like hotcakes!   YES!  This was the catalyst that I needed to find my “second” career. And, due to  crazy twists and turns in my life,  I landed into the world of social media.

Fast forward, now I want to take this opportunity to share (and educate) others about what I have learned working in social media this past decade.  Consider this the “inside scoop”…

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Photo: Pexels.com

 

Point 1:  To  have a social media career is to know that social media as a career is not about making random fun posts but about constructing a well thought out strategic plan for 1-3-6 months – at a minimum. 

This is a profession that is not for the weak of heart or for someone who requires a lot of sleep.  The first step is to become educated.  What are the nuances of each of the most used and requested social media platforms?   My advice – learn about them and their algorithms and analytic programs.  Become an on-going student of media and marketing  as these are professions that change on such a rapid basis that it may make your head spin.  And lest not forget about the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) regulations.

Sidenote:  If you are involved in social media for pay or product – this is a must read! Start by clicking here for FTC guidelines for brands and influencers. 

Take away: A career in social media is not about the “posts” but the strategy behind the posts. 

Point 2:  Posts should be meaningful and client/ product centered.   

When you work in social media, unless you are a key influencer and are making a living doing so, chances are you are working for a client representing a brand.  It is important to remember that you (or your agency)  have been contracted or employed by a brand to work on their behalf.  This means that your focus is on the client.  Every day you will be looking at their competitors, curating related content, creating eye-popping engaging posts, and analyzing the impact of your campaigns.  Unless you are instructed to be part of the campaign – your face (literally) needs to be out of the picture.

Take away: Focus on your client if you truly are a media strategist.

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logo of Mixi.jp

Point 3. There is social media in other countries. Know what is popular there. 

The mistake we often make in social media in the USA is thinking that the only social media platforms “worth” anything are the ones we use here in “Old Glory”.  Not true.  If your brand wants to connect with an international audience then you need to familiarize yourself with these (among others),  too: MIXI (Japan) and  Youku (China).

 

Point 4: Social Media is a profession.  Don’t dilute it by working for free

If you have read this far chances are you want to work in social media and that means  needing to getting PAID.  No one will take you seriously if you give away all your expertise.  This also doesn’t help grow social media as a profession.  Gratis work for an occasional friend or non-profit is considered “ok” – but be cautious.  And, you are worth more than just a few dollars for your knowledge.

 

Point 5: Get professional liability insurance. 

 

This is a profession where you most likely will be a freelancer. Suppose that you work for a client who feels your strategy “didn’t work” and wants to now take you to court for “breach of contract”.  I highly recommend having liability insurance and also a legal team to help you – “just in case”.  While there are many good insurance and legal service companies / individuals, I use  Legal Shield   for legal services and  HISCOX  for professional liability insurance coverage.

 

Point 5: Be CLEVER!  Use your own content or give credit where credit is due!

Almost every person has a cell phone.  It also is one of the most important “tools” a social media manager can own in their personal arsenal.  BE CLEVER! Use great apps and computer programs to architect  social media campaigns with animation, gifs,  video, images, graphs and much more that will be “eye popping” and keep your audience engaged!

Most importantly – give credit to where your content was curated.  If the photo is not your own – let people know that! If the quote you used was authored by someone else- make sure you acknowledge them.

Sidenote:  Favorite programs include RELAY,  CANVA, RIPL, LUMYER and TYPORAMA.  All are apps and RELAY  and CANVA  have desktop versions.

Q8 What havent we asked that you would like our twitter audience to know @Cadefoundation #CADEfoundation (camille provide link

Sample Twitter Chat post made using an adorable stock photo by Pixabay for the                       CADE FOUNDATION

Point 6: Have Fun!

It is no secret that my work in social media includes being a social media correspondent. The opportunities I have been afforded has allowed me to meet, greet, interview and often become friends with many who are in the entertainment, tech and media verticals.  People often think “all I do” is work as a social media correspondent.   It has been a “ton of fun” to create campaigns and events that are high profile or to attend them as a social media reporter/ correspondent.

Below is a sample of where you may have seen my “work” as either an attendee or correspondent.

The US FESTIVAL 1982:  I had the pleasure to work with ICON Television and Music to help build their social media presence and create an event for their official film premiere. This was an exciting event as the film’s story is about a two weekend musical event solely paid for by Steve Wozniak, one of the founders of APPLE.  (Check it out on Amazon and other online stores.)

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Photo by Louise Sattler during US FESTIVAL 1982 Premiere

 


 

SUPPORTING SOCIAL GOOD CAUSES with SOCIAL MEDIA

RACE TO ERASE MS GALA

Below you will see photographs I have snapped from the ORANGE CARPET at the 2016 annual gala for ERASE MS.  I simply love this organization and am proud to have donated my time to help them promote about resources for those with Multiple Sclerosis and the medical advancements made to help those who have been diagnosed with this disease and related disorders.

 


iPain Foundation Gala

The iPain Foundation helps those who have chronic disorders, such as Lupus or RA.

 


Nyle DiMarco Foundation for Sign Language Support for Parents and Deaf Children

 

This foundation is near and dear to my heart as helping families to learn how to communicate with their Deaf child with sign language (ASL)  has been one of my  life-long career goals.

 


Last thoughts…

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I love covering travel events – such as the LA TRAVEL and ADVENTURE SHOW

In closing… I hope that this article has enlightened those who wish to pursue a career in social media.  And remember that this career is not for everyone.

The educator in me wants to leave you with some last nuggets of information:

  1. Follow reliable online tech and media outlets (Mashable is one of my favorites)
  2. Join groups that help to educate without judgement on Facebook and especially, Linkedin.
  3. Remember with social media, like with almost everything else – is dependent on knowing your business by being educated.  In other words… education does matter!

Good luck! And remember life is too short – so do what you love.  I am lucky… I get to work in both EDUCATION and SOCIAL MEDIA!

~Louise

No Drama, Please

I am going to venture a bet that you all  have all experienced that feeling. The one that started in the pit of your stomach, shortly after you entered a crowded room. Then came the immediate realization that something was “just not right” and perhaps it was best to go to PLAN B – bolting for the door.  What was your first clue? Was it the whispering conversations? Or did you spot staring looks of disdain someone made towards another attendee? Perhaps there was one person who seemed to “be holding court” with obnoxious laughter and countless diatribes.

This my friends, is what I like to call “Creating a drama effect”.  A behavior(s) that is meant to make a significant impact in a group or situation for the sake of garnering power, controlling a situation, elevating a  person’s level of self- importance or simply for “sport”.

Moreover, the drama effect could happen when a person joins or participates in an association / club  and ends up creating chaos. A calm event turns to calamity with one person shifting the mood with a single behavior.  Sometimes we call that person the “Drama Queen” … but in all fairness… “Drama Kings” also can be in our midst.

You have all experienced drama if you belong to any formal or informal organization, such as a PTO, sports league, religious organization or heck – even an online social group.  I bet as you are reading this blog you are conjuring a face or name in your mind.. right now.  No need to share.  I already “know” that person and have “met” him/her before. You see,  I guess I  am old enough and maybe wise enough that I no longer need to be part of this “scene” as I have had my fill of drama.

Now I can graciously bow out of arenas where drama prevails and join or continue to be only where people are kind, generous and believe that giving is far better an action than getting.  Being in the thick drama is now a choice for me. And, I am choosing to live and work in a “drama free zone.”

The take – away… if you are genuine to your true self you don’t need to surround yourself with drama.

It takes a lot of guts to actually be the person you truly are – faults, flaws, and amazing traits!  It also takes a lot of chutzpah to walk away from drama.  I am nothing but filled with chutzpah – for sure!

It saddens me to see the news at night and think how better our world would be if we did a few simple steps to stop making our world FULL of drama.  May I suggest…

  1. Accentuate the positive in a person even when they don’t say positive things about others. If that is too hard to do – walk away to a “no drama” zone in your environment.  Sadly, people who create drama usually don’t stop easily. So, for your own emotional health – don’t engage, but simply walk away. 
  2. Offer to be a helper and a doer vs. a hinderer or taker. 
  3. Get an education – in whatever is your passion. And, support education for all. (Yes, that is a blatant and shameless political message.)
  4. Stop the blame game by stopping to look in the past. You aren’t headed that way – so leave it there.  

In closing, I am not writing this blog to point fingers, but simply to shine a light on a prevailing theme in our world – that we tend to accept powerful and popular people who create drama, despite it being a negative response to a situation and that has no real purpose.

Once again, thanks for reading.

An Outside of the Classroom Education

Airports. Supermarkets. Hospitals and Animal Shelters.  What do all of these places have in common? They all offer an opportunity for “out of classroom” educational experiences. As an educator and one who works in social media, I believe that education is not restricted to the classroom.  Here are some places that you may not realize can be chocked full of learning moments.

airport-1895173_1280Imagine how much one learns about culture, patience and adventure by walking through an airport as people are rushing about to get to a plane? I remember the days, before TSA, when you could meet your loved ones’ at the gate. The joy of reuniting with relatives and friends filled airport gates around the world with happiness! These days you have to patiently await your family somewhere near baggage claim.  Yet, you are exposed to the various people from far away lands or those who simply flew across the state. If you are lucky you will hear languages, other than your own. (Or see them in the case of sign language.) Regardless, if you love watching human behavior, nothing beats an airport!

And, for the record some of the best teachable moments also
happen when you travel.  Family travel enriches a child’s mind beyond measure.  Learning about the Declaration of Independence? Go see it! Experience it as forefather’s had done over two centuries ago. What are the natural wonders of the world – Go visit!

Related: Learn about Global Entry for air travel

Related: Family Travel Info via Colleen Kelly

Supermarkets can teach a child about math and health.  Have a child who thinks that money grows on trees? Try giving them a list of food and “just the right ” amount of money and see if they can get to the register “on budget”.   This is an especially valuable lesson for tweens who are going through the “I gotta have it” stage of life.  Simply give them a reality check by  having them try to buy all the ingredients to make a cake “from scratch”. Then watch their eyes pop at the register when they realize (more than likely) that they fall short of cash.  While flour and sugar may be the cheapest ingredients on the list, chocolate and real vanilla flavoring are not! Oh and if they are adding sprinkles or fruit – well, that could break the proverbial bank!

kitchen-scale-532651_1280.jpgThen flip the situation around and have them gather all the ingredients to make a healthy salad.  Let them compare which is cheaper – cake vs. salad.  I bet a really interesting discussion about shopping the outside aisles of a grocery store vs. the inside aisles will ensue.

Related: Budding chefs and “foodies” will love Kitchen Chat

Hospitals teach a multitude of lessons.  Of course there is the abundant medical terminology. Yet, one can go even deeper and learn about patience (again), family dynamics and sadly – grief. Plus there is the discussion about the value of having health insurance.

What makes hospitals and interesting place for education is that it is rarely a happy place.  We sometimes have to accept and teach that we have to be open to life’s toughest lessons as well as the best it has to offer.

Related: How to make someone’s hospital stay easier 

 

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Lastly, animal shelters teach people about caring and advocacy. It is no secret that some of the most impactful lessons are when we advocate for those who cannot speak up for themselves. Case in point… long ago I recall having my Sunday school class vote as to which charity they wanted to donate monies they had collected.  Almost unanimously the sixth graders voted for the local animal shelter vs. any healthcare organization (such as The American Cancer Society).  Some adults were appalled feeling that my students were displaying a lack of compassion for humans by wanting to support animals, instead. However,  it seemed clear to me why the children made this choice. Almost everyone of the students had a cat or dog in their home and they related to them and their needs much more than someone who had cancer or another disease.  They were advocating for something familiar – a pet.

And…While a trip to the shelter can be very intense, it also can help a child feel that they are making a difference by doing acts of kindness.  While it may not be feasible to adopt all the animals, a family can help by supplying the shelter with old towels, blankets or pet food. When our children were school aged we fostered 17 dogs. Two were “foster fails” – we adopted them.  Years later my children, now adults, are doing the same, including twice having “foster fails”.

Last thoughts… I am a firm believer in formal education. Yet, we can’t overlook that there are limited hours in the day and teacher’s cannot and should not be expected to teach our kids the majority of lessons about LIFE.  That is the job of loving parent’s , family members, mentors, neighbors, and caregivers. We are ALL teachers.  The world is a giant classroom.

Thanks for reading!

Related blogs:

Thank you, Miss Huntley

Could you be your child’s teacher

HISTORY. LEGACY. EQUALITY. FEMINISM.

659c2fd9d6d148fb28816576425f929a_largeAbout two months ago I was asked to create a short video that would state, “ I AM A FEMINIST, WE ARE ALL FEMINISTS”.  It would be used to help with the promotion of a new documentary, FEMINISTS – WHAT WERE THEY THINKING?   I chuckled upon this request as I come from a long line of “feminists” and I would only be stating “the obvious”.  After all, my family was known to have strong minded women, who are progressive with our thought and believe in equality, etc.  So, making this declarative video was a “no brainer” for me.

BUT.. then I got thinking.  Isn’t EVERYONE a “feminists”?  Surely, there can’t be too many of my contemporaries that believe women should be “June Cleaver” and not have much of a role outside of the home?  Or that if all else is equal that a man should be given a job- “just because”.

Let the research begin... So I decided to delve into this topic. Recalling where I was in the 1960’s when the feminist movement was really getting some power. And how DIFFERENT it would have been if social media was available!  This is what I learned:

1-  Most teens these days don’t realize that there was a time where women were not considered capable of tackling jobs that were traditionally given to men.

2- Most teens these days are confused as to why female students were not allowed to dress in pants, let alone jeans, in public schools. And how those rules didn’t change for me, at least, until the 1970’s!

3- Many teens these days are unfamiliar with what exactly transpired during the feminist movement and are unfamiliar with names such as Betty Freidan or Gloria Steinam.

Ahhh… I get it!  FEMINISTS – WHAT WERE THEY THINKING? is an educational documentary.

So that our youth DON’T forget the hard fought battle women (and men) conducted to be sure that all had equal opportunities.

VIEW the VIDEO OF – I AM A FEMINIST 

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Then there is a question that still bugs me… why are women NOT paid in the workplace what a man is paid?  In fact, many women are paid only 2/3 of the salary of a man.  Say what??

Read related article about women being paid less then men 

As an educator, a woman and a mom to a grown daughter, I believe it is my responsibility to help our youth learn about the feminist movement from a historical and contemporary perspective.  To do that I interviewed Johanna Demetrakas, the director and spirit behind the documentary- FEMINISTS WHAT WERE THEY THINKING!   Johanna is a fascinating woman who knows her “stuff” when it comes to filmmaking!  She clearly wants to preserve the historical aspects of the Feminists movement in a legacy film reminiscent of  Steven Spielberg’s SHOAH Foundation.  What I found fascinating with Johanna is that she truly believes that the Feminist movement didn’t start in the 1960’s but at the start of World War II when women went to work in the place of men. This Johanna strongly cites was the catalyst for change in the societal role of women.  Instead of being only a person who cared for home and family, women in the 1940’s were made an integral part of the workforce and demonstrated their extreme capabilities far beyond making the perfect apple pie!

History. Legacy. Equality.

That is what I believe has been Johanna’s vision for making this movie. She wants to tell a story so that people don’t forget or minimize the importance of the Feminist Movement.

Below  Johanna and I discuss the  catalyst for the movie

 

Now for the film specifics. First, it brings together voices past and present of known leaders in the Feminist Movement. The filmmakers had this to say about the “why” behind the making of this film:

In the late ‘70s, Cynthia MacAdams, an actress turned photographer, was roaming the streets of Los Angeles and New York photographing women.  She did it, she said, becausesomething new was happening in women and she wanted to see if it showed up in photographs.  Laurie Anderson, Anne Waldman, Gloria Steinem, Lily Tomlin, Jane Fonda, Kate Millett, Patti Smith, Michelle Phillips, Judy Chicago, Marisol Escobar, Meredith Monk stopped what they were doing and looked into her lens.  And many others, whose names and faces may not be so familiar but their struggle is–they stopped and looked too.  And out of it came abook called EMERGENCE. 

Read more

The film is currently in production but in need of a financial infusion of support.  To help  go to KICKSTARTER at this LINK.    Join me in supporting this project! You will be glad you did!  

Continue the conversation and follow all the news by using the hashtag #Feminists_WWTT  if you are on TWITTER.  

 

 

Everything a New Teacher Should Know.. and I will ASK about! My interview with Otis Kriegel

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Once again I hit the airwaves this Sunday, April 14th in order to delve in to a topic that is of great interest to me.. Helping classroom teachers.

WHY?

Well for starters, statistics are staggering over the number of teachers who are leaving their profession.  Many of the reasons cited have nothing to do with salary but the demands that are placed on teachers which in a short amount of time take an emotional and physical toll.

 Years ago teachers had really a handful of simple professional duties. Instruct. Keep the parents as to progress at report card and conference time. Make sure the students get to lunch and to and from the bus on time. Don’t mess up on the fire drill routine.

Today the average classroom teacher is expected to complete all of the above and  a myriad of other duties which include being a surrogate parent, law enforcer, special education expert, local implementer oft disaster and emergency plans, counselor, behavioral specialist, etc.

All of this is why I am delighted that Otis Kriegel who wrote the book  Everything a New Elementary School Teacher REALLY Needs to Know (But Didn’t Learn in College) will be joining me for this interview.  In essence he will share his “pearls of wisdom” for new and seasoned teachers.  I hope his incredible knowledge and candor will help keep teachers in the classroom and motivate others to become teachers. See the featured video below to get a taste of Otis’ ability to relate and engage.

 I loved the book – it truly is great and I am sure we will discuss the why and how of writing it.  

To listen live please join us Sunday, April 14th at 8pET, 5p PT at the 411 VOICES RADIO NETWORK.

           Click here to listen or access downloads

          New teachers with questions are encouraged to call in during the live show.

Learn more about Otis Kriegel on his website www.otiskriegel.com   

The book is available from the publisher  FREE SPIRIT PUBLISHING   and other locations where books are commonly sold.

No payment was received for this interview or review from the author or publisher. Only a copy of the book.

Could you be your child’s teacher? (Dedicated to Underpaid Teachers Everywhere!)

Teaching creates all other professions.  ~Author Unknown

Who dares to teach must never cease to learn.  ~John Cotton Dana

We expect teachers to handle teenage pregnancy, substance abuse, and the failings of the family.  Then we expect them to educate our children.  ~John Sculley

I have had the privilege of working with many excellent and dedicated teachers. Of course, there are some teachers who should have retired long ago, yet I would like this article to be in praise of the motivated, hard working, steadfast teacher. Oh, and for the majority of teachers they also are “the underpaid”.  Yes, I said UNDERPAID.

I have had an opportunity recently to observe up close teachers  functioning in suburban and urban area schools.  Some taught preschoolers while others were in public schools instructing students from the elementary to high school grades. Many were special educators.

Their day all starts pretty much the same. Often well before the clock turns 6a.m. they are in their car for commutes to schools quite a distance from their homes. These days teachers will endure long hours commuting as jobs are scarce. Many times this means sacrificing precious moments with their own families.

Upon arriving at school educators are hoping to get through the day without any “incident”.  Many teachers hope that the school day will be full of promise and “aha” learning moments. This is when light bulbs go off,  synapses are connected at great rates, motivation to be creative is demonstrated and learning flows like the Mississippi River. However, for many their day will start or  be interrupted by behavioral challenges, emotional drama and endless amounts of paperwork delivered under the guise of “needed asap”. Not to mention we are all “racing to the top” in the great national education marathon!

Why do I say that teachers are UNDERPAID? First, how many careers do you know where the employee are expected to do their job and also play the roles of parent, counselor, media specialist, nurse, entertainer (this is the  MTV – i”something”  age) and advocate? I can’t think of too many jobs where disrespect is often delivered on a daily basis by “clients” (or in this case students) and their parents!  I don’t know of too many people that are willing to work an eight hour day for pay and then another five hours for “free”.  In some settings, one would get overtime. Not teachers. They get mugs at holiday time and lunches by the PTO during teacher appreciation week- granted both are appreciated, but neither feed their family.

Please do not tell me that the salary of the teacher is commensurate with their work load and summers off. That is a HUGE fallacy. Summers are NEVER OFF for teachers.  ALL of the teachers I know spend a great portion of their summers catching up on CEU credits and their income on purchasing supplies for the students. Schools are now on austerity budgets and can hardly afford books that are not outdated let alone the simple touches which turn the school classroom from sterile to a warm environment.  Many decorate the classrooms from their own wallets. I know of dozens of teachers who supply their students with clothing and food because kids are often from homes that are poor, thus they arrive in dirty clothes and without any lunch money. Many are too proud to ask for free and reduced lunches or the parents don’t complete the required forms.  Yet, when a teacher sees a student being bullied due to lack of hygiene or go without lunch- they often pitch in both financially and emotionally.

I worked with a teacher who had a classroom of young second graders. They were given the last lunch shift- well after 1p.m. EVERYDAY she fed them granola bars or another healthy snack to keep them concentrating on their school work instead of their growling stomachs! It is no doubt that years later students still name her as one of their favorites. She was an excellent teacher, but even more – she was an exceptional role model and example of how one could display unconditional kindness to another human being.

ALL of the teachers I know have sought  extra coursework to enhance their skills. Some are not given a choice as per school district policy. However, the vast majority of my teacher friends are often students themselves. Many are seeking ways to enhance learning in their class for the child with special needs. Some are taking a foreign language (including sign language) in order to communicate with the growing bilingual population. Others are taking degrees in counseling, not with a goal to leave the classroom, but to understand and perhaps help the ever complicated children that are walking through their doors.

So,  if you think teachers are overpaid then reconsider. If I had my druthers I would double each ones’ salaries and give them a healthy budget to dedicate to classroom materials. Feel free to disagree with me. But, as you are typing the words of your comment remember to take a moment and thank the teacher who taught you language arts.

TEACHER SALARIES:  http://www.teacherportal.com/teacher-salaries-by-state

When the Stock Market Impacts Back to School Shopping

It has been quite a week with the stock market acting like a roller coaster at SIX FLAGS. It doesn’t take a genius to know that all the recent negative economic events have had a huge impact on families and businesses.  And, if you doubt that fact simply walk in to a store that has aisles of unsold BACK TO SCHOOL products and then listen to the moms and kids running commentaries.

I recently overheard conversations at popular box stores that went like this… “Honey, let’s wait until we see if we REALLY NEED these folders”,  “We’ll pick up more supplies after we get paid on the 30th, so you will need to wait until the paycheck clears and see what we have left”,  “Not this year, we will all need to learn to do without new clothing”.

The situation is so dire for some that they are writing to online sites such EDUCATION.com asking where families can access the very basics of school supplies.  So, here is a list of what is being offered and how you can help.  Please feel free to add to this list to help others in your communities.

 STAPLES is offering a DO SOMETHING 101 Campaign

Local school districts often have donations and give assistance to students in need. Here is one example from BALTIMORE CITY SCHOOLS

WALMART has several events to help with charitable community donations such as this STUFF THE BUS  

Here is a blog about how to purchase supplies that cost practically nothing

My company SIGNING FAMILIES  donated our ASL folders and other products to area WASHINGTON DC schools.  If you are a small or large business owner will you join me by donating in your area, too?

YOUR SUGGESTION or DONATION can go HERE (actually in the comment section below)____________________

Rosetta Stone Homeschool English Program Shines as a Language Acquisition Product for Deaf and Autistic Children!


As a special educator I often am requested to write blogs or answer questions on websites such as Education.com.  Typically, the questions I receive are from parents who are looking for tangible ways to promote the general development of their child with special needs.  The two most sought after domains for information are communication and social skills. It became apparent that I needed to delve further in to research as to what affordable products and programs were available to parents, especially those who opted to teach their child at home. This is why I connected with Rosetta Stone to preview their Homeschool English edition and I was glad I did!

I decided to go through the Rosetta Stone English – Level One series twice. First time I did not use the sound nor the speech simulation aspects of the kit. I wanted to experience this language program from the perspective of a deaf individual.  Now while I recognize that I could never truly duplicate a deaf person’s experience, it helped me to try. To the credit of Rosetta Stone the program had great visual aspects and clear and concise language acquisition modules.  Without the sound or speech replication, one could learn a lot about English grammatical components as there was a continual flow of text/ captions. Note: research has demonstrated that some deaf children who use ASL as their primary language do experience difficulties with writing as ASL is based on syntactical concepts that are not “English”. (And actually are closer to French.) Thus, this program could prove to be a great tool for a deaf child regarding the development of their reading and writing skills!

Now the program was not absolutely “perfect” from the “deaf perspective” however, in my opinion – nearly so.  Only a few times, did the lack of expressive language skills trip up my “grade”.  Overall, as I have indicated,  I think this would be a great addition to primary level deaf education programs, especially grades 2-5.  It also could help with any child who is undergoing speech therapy, such as those with a cochlear implant.

Now for my take on my second experience delving in to the Rosetta Stone Homeschool English Edition. This second time I worked through the program and decided to keep the sound and speech elements in tact.  I wanted to experience the program as if I was home educated and with learning challenges, such as Autism.  I paid special attention to the social story components and the photography.  I must say that Rosetta Stone has created an exceptional product for special needs populations. The photos were excellent.  The kind that is needed to  grab a student’s interest when attending can be difficult. The design of the content was engaging and beautifully demonstrated how people work through every day social situations by providing models and scenarios that could be used as effective learning strategies for socialization. Two examples included how one could greet a stranger or learn to  interact appropriately within a group setting. It would seem very reasonable that the Rosetta Stone program could assist a child on the Autism spectrum to learn how to integrate key socialization concepts and vocabulary needed to engage with others in their own lives.

There are many aspects of this comprehensive series that made it “hands down” the best on the market, in my humble opinion.  However, I would make some minor additions and adaptations to the supplemental materials (e.g. parent guide, student workbook, etc.) and the program itself for children with learning challenges and sensitivity issues. I would be happy to discuss these with Rosetta Stone, if they wish.

Lastly, I saw on Rosetta Stone’s website that homeschool educators gave the Homeschool English Edition a score of 4.8 out of 5.  I would have to agree! This program has proven to be par excellence for language acquisition across ages and needs.  As for the price, some may balk, but if you look at other quality homeschool and special education materials you will see that Rosetta Stone is right in line with most and well worth the price.

For more information about Rosetta Stone Homeschool Program go HERE:

Note: I received no monies for this review.  Only Rosetta Stone product to experience for myself and share with all of you.  Thanks for reading!

THIS IS HOW I FEEL ABOUT ROSETTA STONE- TWO THUMBS WAY UP!!

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