By Dede Rittman • Oct 1st, 2016
I found a terrific video by Dr. Brené Brown on YouTube about the difference between sympathy and empathy, and I have probably watched it 10 times. This video is simple enough for children to understand, yet sophisticated enough for high school and college students to appreciate. The message is direct, engaging, humorous, and touching. Many friends "liked" my share on Facebook and Twitter, and all comments about this wonderful video were so positive. I urge my global colleagues in education to use this video as a teaching tool in the classroom.
By Dede Rittman • May 2nd, 2016
I am so lucky- I was blessed with two remarkable parents.
A few weeks ago, I wrote a post honoring my late father, who would have been 99 years old on April 24. Today, for Mother’s Day, …
By Dede Rittman • May 1st, 2016
I think of the many things my dad taught me. We used to watch golf on TV in the late 50's and early 60's- Dad was a huge Arnold Palmer fan (of course, Latrobe, PA is only about an hour from where I grew up in Pennsylvania. Also, the Steelers were no good in those days, so golf, not football, was the Sunday afternoon TV choice.) I can remember asking about the putting- especially when the hole was 8 feet away, and the golfer was aiming 2 feet to the right or left. Dad explained that in my terms. I was taking sewing lessons and learning about the grain of fabrics. He said,"Honey, you know how material has a grain? Well, so does grass, and the golfer is reading the grain to see how the ball will roll." Years later when I became an avid golfer, I remembered Dad's lesson, as I learned to "read the grain of the grass- just like reading fabric."
By Dede Rittman • Apr 1st, 2016
I want to share some humorous observations (so far) from the preschool and elementary students and schools in which I have presented. I have noticed that for whatever reason, all elementary schools smell exactly the same. (Chalk? Crayons?? Cleaning products????) Toilets in elementary school lavatories are very short. And virtually every girls' room has a sign that says "Remember to flush." Adults in elementary restrooms must become VERY AWARE of not tripping over small stools which are in front of some sinks...
By Dede Rittman • Jan 22nd, 2016
Thirty years ago, a terrific young man named Dave Martin was a student teacher in my building, under the watchful guidance of my friend and excellent (and award-winning) teacher named Kathy Coll. Dave quickly became a part of the team, and when Kathy was busy with her wonderful Student Council projects, he spent some planning periods with me, both observing and discussing teaching strategies. Dave moved on to teaching, then into administration. Years later, we made contact. As our conversation was winding down, Dave said something to me that touched my heart, and that one simple statement is what prompted me to write this post.
By Dede Rittman • Dec 11th, 2015
Your job as the teachers to be sure that you hand out papers which you have 3 hole-punched. Upon receiving the papers, the student writes the date at the top of the paper, and places the paper in the correct sequential order of dates in the correct section. Result? No more squashed and torn papers at the bottom of backpacks, no more “lost” papers. What about a quiz, test, or homework that is returned? It must be 3 hole-punched if you want it to be a part of the notebook. What are the benefits of this organizational program so far?
By Dede Rittman • Nov 1st, 2015
I recently attended my 45 year high school reunion. After all these years, it was still great to see old friends and to reminisce about what was, and to reflect upon what is, and to discuss what might have been. Classmates came from our hometown and from out of state; in some ways it felt like time stood still for us during those cherished hours we were reunited. Although we discussed many subjects, many of the conversations were about our former teachers. We laughed at classroom episodes from the past, but many of my classmates made sincere and heartfelt comments about the influence of particular teachers on their lives.
By Dede Rittman • Sep 1st, 2015
With the beginning of a new school year, I know the anxiety level of all teachers is elevated; when those "Back to School!" ads pop up in mid-July, the pulse of all of "teacherdom"- elementary to college, begins to race. Faculty rooms across the country will be filled with teacher thoughts like: "Who will my students be? Am I getting the kids who were the jerks last year? Please let me have some accelerated students in my classroom! I don't want to teach the challenged learners. Do I really have to teach the same kid I flunked last year?" Hearing these kinds of words spoken aloud makes me sad and hurts my heart. Instead, try this...
By Dede Rittman • May 1st, 2015
The crowd's first-class behavior and manners at The Masters are legendary, and I experienced that firsthand on Saturday. People place their chairs where they would like to end their day on the course, but during the interim period, anyone is welcome to sit in the seats until the owners arrive. The Southern hospitality from the ladies' room attendants to the state troopers and marshals was exquisite. The spectators were nicely dressed, polite, and appropriate, more so than any other spectators I have ever seen at any sporting event. No denim, shirts tucked in, no shoving or shouting.
You might be wondering why The Masters is known to have the best behaved spectators in all of golf. The answer is simple. Bobby Jones made his expectations clear.
By Dede Rittman • Apr 1st, 2015
While I was traveling in Florida for the month of January, I was stunned when the television news talked about enacting a law which would eliminate recess for elementary students, not just in Florida, but in many US states. The reason: recess takes precious time away from teaching the standards and all of the material that must be covered. I believe that recess provides just as much learning as a classroom setting, and in some cases more.