The Parent-Teacher-Child Connection: October 2011

Friday, October 28, 2011

Literature for Special Problems

Call me crazy, but I truly enjoyed teaching 7th grade language arts because I could help my students pull their creativity from deep within and develop it on paper.  I recently stumbled across a wonderful website filled with tips for language arts teachers of all grades: http://www.carolhurst.com/index.html.  There, teachers will find that any problem can be tackled with a book.  Got bullies?  Go to http://www.carolhurst.com/subjects/bullies.html and pick one of the many books on that topic for your grade level.  Then, ask your little learners to develop a similar story.  What about geology?  Carol Hurst recommends Everybody Needs a Rock (An Aladdin Book) because not only does it teach about Mohs' Scale of Hardness, the author also shows young readers about taking your time to make a decision.  Wow!

So, whether you teach fiction or nonfiction, second graders or seventh graders, the information you find at this website will provide the important link between literacy and curriculum.  Here's a quick link to the Table of Contents: http://www.carolhurst.com/toc.html.

Happy teaching!



Thursday, October 27, 2011

Is a child's self esteem misunderstood?

Has your child's teacher told you that she has low self esteem?  What exactly does that mean?  It's possible that she is simply too shy to volunteer answers during a group discussion.  It's also possible that she feels dissatisfied with everything she does.  Which is the worse scenario?  Obviously the second. 

I've seen well-meaning parents attempt to make perfect children by requiring them to re-do incorrect homework assignments.  When that happens, a child sees that his work is not good enough to hand in to the teacher; nor is it good enough to satisfy a parent.  His self esteem goes down a few notches. Yes, we want our children to succeed, but not at the expense of their basic self-worth.  How then can parents get their children to do better in school while building on their self-esteem?  Simple - by focusing on what they did right, rather than what they did wrong.  Let's go back to the homework issue.  If you look at a math assignment and see four wrong answers but six right answers, focus first on what the child did right.  Then, when he sees that he has the capability for getting the right answer, show him that four answers could be improved. (Don't say they are wrong, simply say they can be improved).  Now here's the hard part, parents ... walk away!  Let your child figure out all by himself what he needs to do.  If he decides to hand in the paper with the wrong answers, then accept that maybe he was tired that night and simply couldn't think about math anymore. It happens!  Harping on him will chip away at that self-esteem problem the teacher mentioned.  Repeat the process the next night by again observing what he did right.  Eventually, your child will learn that he can get the rest of the answers correct if he builds on what he knows.

So, how then is self esteem misunderstood?  Because many parents and some teachers feel that every child needs a reward for good behavior.  Does anyone give you a reward to doing the dinner dishes, getting the kids ready for bed, and then putting a load of laundry in the washing machine before you collapse in front of the TV?  No?  I didn't think so.  You've formed your own intrinsic reward system because you know if you didn't do those things, your home would fall apart.  A child needs that same intrinsic motivation, and that's why it's so important to walk away after you tell your child that some of his math problems need to be reconsidered.  Certainly, you can welcome his smiling face when he fixes them, but then comment, "I'm sure your teacher will be just as pleased as you are with your progress."  Ah!  You found the magic words - just as pleased as you are (intrinsic motivation) - not how pleased you are (extrinsic motivation). 

A recent study has shown that low self esteem causes increased materialism and raising self esteem decreases materialism. So, by raising your child's self esteem through intrinsic motivation, you'll be saving yourself some money.  And that's wonderful motivation for any parent!

Happy parenting!



Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Parents vs. Teachers

Teaching is one of the few professions where the "clients" think they know more than the professionals.  A parent wouldn't take her child to the dentist and say, "She has a chipped tooth.  I think you should extract it because it's ugly."  She wouldn't take her child to the hairdresser and say, "Now take about two inches from the back and an inch from the front and then layer it the rest of the way so it looks like this picture." (Although I have seen some parents get almost as demanding at the salon!)  My point is, why do parents think that they know what's best for their child's education and criticize a teacher's methods? 

What's even worse is when the parent question's the teacher's comments.  A teacher explains to a parent that his son hit another child in the schoolyard.  The parent turns to his son and asks, "Did you do that?" to which the son naturally denies the accusation, leaving the parent glaring at the teacher.  HUH?  You believed a ten-year-old over a professional educator?

Or how about the parent who wants to know what the teacher "did" to her child to make him behave so poorly in class?  Again I say, "HUH?"  Maybe the teacher should set aside his or her professionalism and ask the parent what she did to model such disrespectful behavior at home. 

Finally, there's the parent who doesn't believe that the teacher taught the material well enough, causing her child to fail the test.  Could it be that her little angel simply wasn't paying enough attention to the teacher's instruction?  Or was too busy with two sports and piano lessons to have time to complete the homework?

The bottom line with today's rant is that teachers don't get the respect they deserve for all the time and effort they put into planning, implementing, and grading their students' work.  Parents should realize that the teacher has the degree which has been sanctioned by their state to teach methods they learned in college.  Why is that so difficult to comprehend?  I don't tell my plumber how to fix my leaky pipe.  I don't tell my carpenter how to fix my sagging door.  And when my children were in school, I worked with the teachers to understand how my children would be better prepared for their daily instruction.  Isn't it time parents learn that teachers are actually on their team not playing against them?  By working together, parents and teachers will cooperatively reach the same goal - the best possible education for the children.

Happy parenting and happy teaching!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Hidden sources of BPA


 
Recent research indicates that the presence of BPA in food items can cause hyperactivity and other learning problems, particularly with girls. Bisphenol A (BPA) is also linked to a higher incidence of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and liver enzyme abnormalities in humans. Most parents today know enought to use baby bottles and sippy cups that are BPA free, but what about the hidden sources of this additive? Here are a few:
  1. Thermally printed paper like receipts and movie tickets. Keep these away from your kids if they also use those hands to dip into a box of popcorn.
  2. Dental Sealant. The sealants dentists use to protect teeth from cavities break down into BPA when in contact with saliva. Researchers at Mount Sinai Hospital also advise pregnant women to avoid dental sealants.
  3. Pizza boxes. Yep, they are recycled, sometimes from that thermally printed paper!
  4. Soda cans. The plastic lining contains traces of BPA. Now both the can and the contents should be avoided.
  5. Wine (those fermented in vats lined with plastic.) I know you won't give your children wine to drink, but you may use it in cooking.
To avoid or limit your own exposure, avoid plastic containers that have the number 7 printed on the bottom. Never microwave your food in any type of plastic container and never wash these plastics in the dishwasher with detergents that are harsh with very hot water. This combination of hot water and detergent can cause BPA to be deposited on your other dishes and even glassware.

As part of their study, the Breast Cancer Fund and Silent Spring Institute enrolled five families, each consisting of two parents and two children, who had regularly consumed prepackaged, processed foods and drinks in cans, frozen dinners, bottled water and foods designed to be microwaved in their own containers. Then, for three days, these families were presented with fresh, organic food cooked by the research team and stored only in glass or stainless steel containers. To measure the direct and immediate impact of the change, researchers collected urine samples from all participants before, during and after the diet.

After just three days, everyone’s BPA level fell, with an average drop of two-thirds. BPA has a half-life of six hours in your body, notes Connie Engel, PhD, program coordinator at The Breast Cancer Fund. This means that six hours following exposure, half of what you’ve taken in is eliminated. When the families resumed their normal diets, their BPA levels returned to pre-intervention levels by the next urine sample. These findings were published in March in the online journal Environmental Health Perspectives.

So, the bottom line is: Natural is better and always question the quality of the plastics you use when feeding your family.

Happy Parenting!

Friday, October 21, 2011

No more bumpers


The truth is out ... the evil crib bumper has hit the poverbial dust bunny. Apparently, they are hazardous to infants who can't get their face away from the fluffy sides of their environment. I accept that. But when the child gets older and can move his head with much dexterity, wouldn't keeping a bumper in the crib eliminate some bumps and bruises from knocking into the side of the crib? Maybe... maybe not. All I know is that my kids survived the wrath of the crib bumper. They also survived lying on their tummies in that crib. And the crib they survived as infants is probably not safe for my grandchildren! I'm sure there are a lot of other innovations in the past thirty years that have improved the plight of the young. HOWEVER, nothing surpasses the watchful eye of a mindful parent who cares enough to know where her child is and what she is doing at all times.

Happy parenting!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

When your friend needs help


We've all been there. We're sick, had an operation, had a baby, or are simply overwhelmed with life's demands. Then some unsuspecting family member asks, "What's for dinner?" and you lose all patience. When my daughter had her baby last month, a very kind relative started a meal delivery system after I left. Called Take Them a Meal, the website offers a sign-up system for meals for as long as the help is needed. Chelle got delicious home-cooked casseroles for two weeks, which fed her and her family for dinners and leftovers for lunches. The sign-up system prevented her having baked ziti every night, too! Some neighbors were disappointed that they couldn't sign up becuase all the spaces were filled for dinners, so they got together a Sunday brunch basket. What wonderful people! And since she delivered by C-section, my daughter was unable to lift anything heavier than a gallon of milk, so when she went to the grocery store, she only bought the necessary lighter items - bread, eggs, cheese, diapers, etc. So not only did the system provide wonderful meals, it lightened her burden for shopping.

The website also has a section for recipes and a section for ordering meals if you live far away from the friend or family member in need. In addition, if you belong to a group that holds potluck dinners, they have a companion site to sign up for a church supper as well.

What a boon for the person who needs help because she or he knows that she'll easily be able to reciprocate or "pay it forward" somehow.

Happy parenting!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

You and Your Children's Happiness


Do you lead a happy life, generally speaking? Then chances are your children will also lead a happy life.

A group of scientists from four major universities examined over 1,000 pairs of twins from a huge study on the health of American adolescents. In “Genes, Economics and Happiness," they concluded that about a third of the variation in people’s happiness is genetic. And although their conclusions were indisputable, they were unable to isolate the happy gene. Why? Because they used only American subjects in their test, which skewed an ethnic genetic bias. Asians are typically less happy than their North American counterparts. Africans span the gamut of happiness, depending on the origins of their tribes. Intersting stuff, this genetics!

External circumstances are just as important to determining the happiness of your children. It's common knowledge that people who are satisfied with their careers are generally happier with their lives, which caries over to their family life. Extroverts are generally happier than introverts. And people who are very young and very old are generally happier than those in the middle-aged group who seem overwhelmed by life's many commitments. Many factors come together to determine the happiness of your children. One-third, the genetic factor, is beyond your control. The other two-thirds will involve hard work and a positive outlook on life. But when you think of it, hard work and a positive outlook generally lead to a happy life. Hmmm...

And certainly, physical disabilities will also play a role in a child's happiness. If a parent is seriously injured in an accident or gets a debilitating disease, that child's life will be less happy than a child with an able and capable parent. Hovever, I've also noticed that people who are more positive and happy generally have a lower incidence of accidents and disease. Another hmmm....

So the bottom line with this post? When you're chosing a life-long partner, find one who likely carries a happiness gene for the health and welfare of your family! And then work hard to maintain a positive outlook for a happy existence.

Happy parenting!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Stick a Star on Stellar Parents!


I was in the grocery store the other day and observed stellar parenting in action. I wish I could have placed a star on that mother's cart as an indication of her superior ability to show creative parenting. Here's what happened: They were in the cleaning materials aisle. At the far end stood one of those ubiquitous cheap toy displays right at the little girl's level. She made a selection that involved pressing buttons to make noises and showed it to her mother. "Can I get this," she asked. "Not today, honey, put it back," Mom answered, trying the easy route first. The little girl naturally responded, "But mom..." Now here's where the story diverges from the usual, "I said put it back, now do as I say" scenario. Mom saw that her daughter wanted to play with the cheap toy, so she said, "Tell you what. You can play with it when we're in this aisle, but when I turn the corner, you must put it back." WOW! The little girl got to play with the cheap toy for a few minutes, and Mom got some peace in the dangerous materials aisle. When she got to the end of the aisle, Mom reminded her daughter, "Ok, I''m ready to go to the next aisle. What do you have to do now?" WOW! Mom didn't even have to tell her daughter what to do, she simply reminded her of her obligation, letting the little girl make up her own mind. So what did the little girl do? She skipped, yes skipped, back down the aisle, put the cheap toy back exactly where it belonged, then skipped back to Mom. However, in typical little girl fashion, she just had to add as they rounded the corner, "Do you think Santa will bring that to me?" And of course, Mom responded the way all moms would have handled that question with a "We'll see!"

That just goes to show you that with a little patience and creativity, you can avert many meltdowns in the grocery store!

Happy Parenting!

Friday, October 14, 2011

Early Literacy

According to Dr. Barry Zuckerman, founder of Reach Out and Read, "Research has shown that the first five years of life are critical to a child's language development.  Reading to a young child, even before a baby can hold a book, will help the child develop a love of books because she will associate them with being on her mother's lap and hearing her mother's voice."

Wow - that sounds like classical conditioning to me.  How can a kid lose if he or she associates reading with early nurturing?  What a simple, yet important concept for new parents to understand! 

Reach Out and Read brings books to children in doctor's offices who give them age-appropriate reading material.  It will expand to 100 U.S. bases by 2013, in support of Joining Forces, a White House initiative to honor and support America's service members and their families. What better place to begin helping children than with those who must accept a parent's deployment.  Those parents can easily record a story for a child and then have the home parent play the recording while the child looks at the book. 

Watch this video to see the 2011 information:



Happy Reading and Happy Parenting!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Children and their sports

Today, I have a guest blogger, Audrey Brown from KidProof who has good insight into the world of children and their sports:

Football, softball, hockey, volleyball, soccer. Organized sports are a great way for kids to get in shape, build their skills, meet new friends and develop a life-long love of the game.
And more kids are playing than ever before. The American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons estimates that about half of all boys and a quarter of girls ages 8 to 16 participate in some sort of sports program during the year. Millions more hit the field for physical education classes, church and community tournaments or city recreation programs.

But pushed too far too fast by overzealous grown-ups, these young athletes have more risk of injury than we do. Here’s why: because their bodies are still growing, sometimes at uneven rates, kids’ bones, tendons, muscles and ligaments might not yet be in proper alignment – which leaves them prone to injury. What’s more, they’re still developing their coordination, endurance and strength, which means they’re more likely to get hit by a ball or another player, to fall or twist an ankle, or to overexert themselves.

In younger players, match-ups aren’t always equal. One 10-year-old boy who’s 75 pounds may have to face off against an opponent who weighs 40 pounds more. And when athletes reach high school age, they’re faster, stronger, heavier, and capable of slamming their rivals to the ground.

To prevent injuries, look for the right program – and the right coach. The league should require all kids to use proper equipment and safety gear, which may include helmets, protective eye wear, the right shoes, mouth guards, face masks, shin guards, athletic supporters and padding. Make sure the playing surface is appropriate and well maintained. Fields shouldn’t have any holes or grooves that might trip players. High-impact sports like basketball and running should be done on wooden courts and dirt tracks, not concrete. Practices and games should always be supervised by conscientious adults who, ideally, have been trained in the game rules, safety, first aid and CPR.
Next, look for a coach who encourages teamwork, confidence, cooperation and growth – over winning at all costs. Physically, he should always warm up the team before practice, teach your kid basic skills and defensive moves, and focus on building your kid’s overall muscle strength, flexibility, endurance and heart-and-lung fitness.
He should also know the basics of sports injuries and what to do when they occur. Sprains, strains, cuts, bruises are by far the most common, while bone fractures and spinal cord injuries are rare. A good coach will know how to spot early signs of trouble, like limping or flinching, and urge you to seek treatment from your family doctor or, when necessary, the emergency room.

A good coach will also know when to give your athlete a break. Repetitive actions like pitching or swimming stress young bones and muscles and can lead to overuse injuries. This can include stress fractures, sore and swollen knees, elbow pain in pitchers, sore shoulders in swimmers, shin splints from running on a hard surface, and spondylolysis from repetitive flexing and twisting in soccer, football, weight lifting, gymnastics, wrestling and diving.

To prevent these stress injuries, make sure your child always warms up, keep an eye on the duration and intensity of his practices, make sure he has the right equipment and technique, schedule breaks in his year-round schedule and don’t let him back on the field until a prior injury has completely healed.

Most important, teach your player to acknowledge pain, listen to his body and know when to stop – even if his team mates or coach are egging him on. Trying to push past the pain might land him on the bench for the rest of the season.

Happy Parenting!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Long-distance parental relationship

Even more important than maintaining strong, close relationships between parents who live together most of the time, is the relationship between parents where one travels frequently.  The truck driver, salesperson, or military spouse find themselves on the road more than they are at home.  This absence can only erode an ordinarily strong relationship, creating pitholes of doubt and deception.  According to Peggy Schwartz, a sex and relationships expert, there are many ways to combat the woes of lovers living apart.  Some suggestions are based on hers and some are mine...
  1. Use Skype.  When it's dinner time, skype in the missing parent so he or she can have dinner with the family.  We did that when my neice had a baby shower and my daughter who is married to an army colonel, lived in Germany.  She wanted to participate in the shower for her cousin, she we skyped her in.  The transmisssion glitched a few times, but Theresa would show the gifts she received to my daughter by putting them near the computer camera lens.  What fun! 
  2. Videotape. Similarly, if your children are in a school play or concert, videotape their part and send it to the other parent, who can comment intelligently on the performance. 
  3. Write.  Yes, write - letters, emails, texts.  You can store these in digital memory and can refresh your true memory of a loved one's words.
  4. Watch the same shows.  If you all really enjoy watching a certain sports team or a TV show in the evenings, make sure everyone watches so the next time you talk on the phone or skype, you can discuss a common interest.
  5. Schedule time together when the family reunites.  It is SO important to have something to look forward to when you're on the road.  The humdrum work activities become very burdonsome unless the missing parent has a special event or family activity to look forward to upon return.
Keep in mind that the missing parent is hurting just as much as the family members who are left behind at home to cope with everyday events without that person.  Do all that you can to work together despite the temporary absence.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Toward Better Parental Relationships

Much of my focus for this blog has been on interactions between adults and children.  However, just as important are the interactions between the adults who care for those children.  This blog focuses on the married parents who may need a little help staying married so their children don't have to deal with the problems associated with separation and divorce.
  1. Ask yourself if you'd rather be right or would you rather be happy?  The key here is acceptance.  If your spouse doesn't load the dishwasher the way you would, accept that he or she actually does load the dishwasher!  If your spouse doesn't take the trash out until five minutes before the truck arrives, which annoys you that he waited so long, accept that he actually remembered in time!
  2. Communicate, communicate, communicate.  Don't simply say, "The kids need to be picked up at 5:00 from soccer practice."  That's not communication.  Instead, ask, "What's one thing I can do to make your life easier?"  Wow!  What bomb just dropped in that household?  The bomb may drop but the silence may be deafening on the other end! Remembe to add one thing to the question so you don't get a laundry list of improvements.
  3. Romance is important.  That doesn't mean you need wine and flowers every week (which may become overwhelming and redundant!).  It means the you truly care about the other person and see when he or she needs a boost.  In other words, be alert to your spouse's needs and respond accordingly with a simple hug, kiss, words of appreciation, or those flowers on a non-occasion.
  4. Never assume that you know what the other person is thinking.  His or her body language may be misleading.  Ask what's bothering your partner.  Only then will you be able to respond to the problem.  Remember, men, if you ask and your wife says, "Nothing," it usually means "Everything!" Probe deeper. Just sayin'!
  5. Put family first.  Many families totally ignore this rule as they go about their everyday lives.  The parents work, which builds stress into any family.  The kids have school, activities, and homework.  But if you all work to put the family first, you will all see ways to help each other through the good times and the bad.  One of my previous blogs recommended that you have a family dinner at least once a week.  What other ways can you consider that will bring your family together?
Happy Parenting!

Friday, October 7, 2011

Cold and flu prevention

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, school-aged kids are some of the best transmitters for cold and flu germs. And once they catch a virus, kids can stay contagious for three to eight days, quickly spreading their illness throughout your family.  They are such generous creatures!  Here are some tips to help prevent their generosity:
  1. Get a flu shot! It's easy, safe, and relatively inexpensive.
  2. Teach children how to properly wash their hands.  Most rinse with water and forget the antibacterial soap.  This results in their placement of germs on the towel.
  3. Speaking of towels, change them frequently.
  4. Remind kids to avoid touching their face, which is the primary way germs go from their hands to their systems.  Nail biters are at particular risk for picking up germs.
  5. Drink plenty of liquids to flush the germs from their systems.
  6. Eat yogurt - the beneficial bacteria cuts susceptibility to colds by 25%.
  7. Take multivitamins with C and Echinacea.
  8. Encourage physical exercise, which amps up a child's ability to fight disease.
With these eight steps, your children will be less likely to catch colds and flu from other children and family members.  However, if they do get sick, remember to keep them separated from the rest of the family, give them plenty of fluids, and frequently wipe down surfaces they touch with an antibacterial cleanser.

Happy, Healthy Parenting!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

On Finnish Schools

For public school teachers in NJ, I encourage you to read the article entitled "Why are Finland's Schools Successful?" in the October 2011 NJEA Review. (Now that I'm retired, I have time for such a luxury as reading a magazine!)  For my readers who are outside the state of NJ or too busy to read the article, here is a synopsis:

Schools in Finland focus on the student rather than the test scores.  What a novel approach to education! 
  • They have no mandated standardized tests, except for one exit exam at the end of senior year in high school. (They don't have to teach to the test??)  
  • There are no rankings, competitions, or comparisons between students.  (Your child isn't 117 out of 285 students in her class??) 
  • The people in government who fund the schools are educators. (What - politicians don't control the schools??) 
  • Every school draws from the same pool of university-trained educators.  (Students in small villages and larger cities have the same advantage!)
According to the Finnish Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, "Equality is the most important word in Finnish education."  All political parties agree on the direction of the children's education.  And yes, Finland does have teacher's unions, but they all agree that children come first before funding, testing, and any other distraction to education.

Ninety-three percent of Finnish children graduate form high school.  Compare that with the seventy-five percent of American children.  Sixty-six percent go on to higher education, the highest rate in the European Union.  Now here's the kicker:  Finland spends thirty percent less per student than in the United States.

What does this all tell us?  That teachers need to focus on the student, rather than the test scores.  Because when you focus on the well-being of the student, you will find that the test scores of those students will also increase.  Why?  Because when the student feels wanted and needed by the teachers, they will strive to succeed.

So, the next time you see a student failing, take the time to really get to know that student rather than giving him more work to do to pull up his grade.  Find out what he likes and dislikes; what life is like at home.  When you do that, you'll reach the child on a personal level, which in turn will cause that student to self-motivate, which is a life skill many adults failed to learn when they were in school.

Happy Teachingt!!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

More on bullies

I observed that in one week, I got 42 hits on my previous blog posting about how to help children handle bullies. That's a staggering number of hits compared to the numbers for other postings.  When I shared this on my Facebook page, I got the following very intuitive responses:

From Vicki, a middle school special ed teacher: I think it's because parents refuse to believe their children can do wrong; they question the schools and by telling their kids not to listen to their teachers empower their kids to push boundaries. Add to that kids who are showered with expensive toys by preoccupied parents too busy with everything BUT parenting and you have attention- seeking, lonely and frustrated bullies.

And from my daughter Val, a 3rd grade teacher: I have found that kids actually need lessons on how to socialize and conversate correctly. With all this technology, parents and kids aren't socializing let alone kids with other kids. How do they know how to be polite/not bully/respect others when they aren't told or shown otherwise?!?! Hmmmm

So, from these two teachers who are still in the "trenches," I conclude with them that parents are the children's primary role models.  I was fortunate that my daughters were neither bullies nor bullied to the best of my knowledge.  That's because I taught them to be proactive about their relationship with other people, both young and old.  I showed them that each person, no matter how much that person annoyed them, deserved their respect. 

The writer in me decided to find resources to help parents and teachers understand the importance of teaching their children to be empathetic and accepting of others' differences.  I looked for books that showed parents/teachers how to form an anti-bullying strategy rather than how to help kids cope with bullies, which may be the bigger picture.  Here's what I found:




Happy Teaching and Happy Parenting!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Things you can do with chalkboard paint


I wish I had this stuff when my girls were little!  Chalkboard paint has a bazillion uses.  Here are some of the more useful and interesting:
  1. Paint a wall in your child's playroom and give her a place for creative expression.  This will also teach her to clean her own space as it will become rather dusty if she doesn't! I don't recommend this for a bedroom for that reason.
  2. Paint a space on reusable water bottles to chalk on the user's name.
  3. Paint the top of a wooden cigar box (available at stores that sell cigars!)
  4. Paint a poster frame and mount in the kitchen for a menu board or shopping list
  5. Paint a portion of a flowerpot and label the contents.  This is particularly helpful for herbs.
  6. Paint the edge of storage bins for easy labeling and changing of those labels.
  7. Paint the side of an item that requires directions for use.
  8. Paint old coasters so you can personalize them each time.
  9. Paint the side of spice jars for easy labeling.
  10. Paint a sign in a guest room to personalize a message for visitors.
  11. Paint a sign for the front of your house to personalize seasonal messages.
For a minimal investment of time and money, chalkboard paint allows you to personalize your home and belongings, decorate with motivational, funny, or everyday words, and change your mind and decor daily!  And THAT is simply good Feng Shui!

Happy Parenting!

    Monday, October 3, 2011

    Fundraiser for Home and School

    Recently, I found a catalog (www.vanengelen.com) of bulbs that recommended nonprofits use them as a fundraiser.  My interest piqued, I investigated further.  Here's what I found:

    For $149.50, you can get 250 Arkle daffodil bulbs. (There are many from which to choose, but this seems to be a good price.) You print your own flyer advertising the fundraiser.  For example, you could say that your patrons can buy a dozen daffodil bulbs for $10.00.  That gives you a profit of about $2.80 per dozen purchased or $56 per order of 250 bulbs.  You'll likely get more than 20 people to support your fundraiser, so the profits will go up as you increase the size of your order.

    Now here's the unique part of this fundraiser... Tell your patrons that for every dozen bulbs they buy, they'll really get only eleven.  One bulb from each order will be planted around the school to beautify it in the spring.  What a great idea!

    If you work quickly and efficiently, you'll be able to assemble this profitable fundraiser in time for the recommended early November planting.  However, if you think it may be too late to try this now for a fall fundraiser, think about it for next fall. 

    For more ideas on fund raising, see my book Helping Kids Help: Organizing Successful Charitable Projects.

    Happy teaching and Happy parenting!
    Shelfari: Book reviews on your book blog