teaching


Everything I Needed to Know I Learned on the School Bus
by National Hall of Fame Teacher Alan Haskvitz

It was a very cold morning. Bitter cold. And I didn’t have to go to work. Smug and delighted, I closed my eyes and enjoyed one of the greatest benefits of retirement: time. And with this time I began to make connections on what I had become and why and how. The quilted bed cover couldn’t hide the underlining commonality of my choices. Yes, after seven decades of life the unifying theme, the force that created my life style, paid for my childrens’ education, home, and way of living was the yellow school bus.

From kindergarten through junior college the stodgy, sometimes packed school bus carried me to my destination without fail. And, as a teacher of 40 years plus years, I watched my students use the same style school buses. All told, after 70 years of life, the one constant was the school bus. Remarkable, in that time they essentially have not changed. The seats are the same, the ride the same, and the doors are the same. Sometimes I even wonder if bus drivers are not cloned with the same personality and demeanor.

The bus is above all steadfast. You were always eager to see it come and eager to see it leave. So the first thing the school bus taught me was to be consistent and on-time. So lesson number one, in life, as at the bus stop, don’t be tardy or, to coin a phrase, you are going to miss the bus. Many a homework assignment that was not eaten by the family dog has been forgotten in the rush for the bus.

I believe of all the institutions we honor the school bus is the most under appreciated. Put it in the public service category. It is expected to be there and it is, rain or shine. But what is most appealing about the yellow school bus is that it is also the most respected of all vehicles. Police cars and ambulances and fire trucks need blaring sirens and bright lights to get respect. The school bus just has yellow paint and it works. So lesson number two is that what you wear is important to others regardless of your thoughts on the subject. Indeed, it does not matter what you really are, it is the perception that counts. You don’t have to call attention to yourself what you really need is to be yourself. If you are successful at this people will see you for what you are and that is how respect is earned.

The bus teaches us lessons, but so do its riders. Jerking open, the school bus door opens to expose to the riders even more important lessons. Those huge entry bus steps are an entry to a stage. For a few brief moments you are the center of center of attention. Before you spreads mankind and it can be intimidating. You can accept the honor and quietly look for an empty seat or a friend, or you can call attention to yourself with some wit or action. Regardless, you will blend into the masses and your journey begins. Consider your entry a job interview. Prepare yourself for acceptance as well as rejection. So lesson number three is to be accepting of others as some days they may return that favor.

The school bus neutralizes any individuality with a set of strict rules. The bus driver is the enforcer and dictates the rules. The driver is the fascist government using the mirrors to watch you at all times and the operator even has the authority to stop traffic. Anything considered anti-social is considered cause for alarm. If the bus driver gets up and walks through the masses something needs correction. The Constitution is on longer in effect. So lesson three is that the driver represents society and is there to interpret norms. A prank, well placed blow, hair pull, or even an “accidental” trip are felonies on the bus.
This obedience to a dictator is also reflected on what school is designed to do: follow the rules. Indeed, by the third grade the damage has been done. Line up, sit down, be quiet, play nice at recess, and don’t offend. In other words bow to authority. Since a substitute teacher has not really earned that authority all bets are off and anarchy can rule for a while.

When you enter a school bus your initial concerns are where to sit, who is going to sit next to you, and what happens if you are sitting next to someone of the other sex. Unless you are a late arrival, you usual have a choice. On a good day a friend is waving to you. On an average day you take an empty seat and make yourself look at big as you can so there isn’t room for anyone else. On a so-so day you have to sit beside another of the same sex. On an almost horrible day you have to sit beside someone of the other sex and that person is just as unhappy as you are. On a really terrible day you are the third person on that seat and brace yourself with your foot in the aisle. As in life, you are not always able to control who you work for or your neighbors. The school bus seating is thus lesson number three: always be thankful you are on the bus and make it a learning opportunity.

The bus ride can be anywhere from a half-hour to several hours and just sitting there is a lost opportunity. Sharing and learning from others adds spice to your life. An old friend can be trusted to help you. Trying to hog the whole seat is a missed opportunity, even if it is more comfortable for some people to be by themselves. Sitting next to someone of either sex is a chance to share and learn. If that person happens to be attracted to you or vice versa the opportunities to practice small talk are precursors to finding a significant other. In fact, sitting on the bus is unique in that that person is essentially trapped by you. You have their attention for long periods of time and there is little they can do to avoid it. For example, let’s say you aren’t the most beautiful creature to walk the Earth and don’t have much confidence. The bus seat is the perfect place to prove that looks aren’t everything. Your charm, humor, intelligence, and general ah-shucks effectiveness can all be practiced. And unlike airline seats, where the person can get up to go to the bathroom and disappear for most of the trip, the school bus is as close as you are ever going to get to a captive audience. So lesson number four is the bus is the perfect place to learn how to deal with different people.

The bus is where you can gauge your popularity. If you take a quick look around and there isn’t anyone signaling to you to share a seat the odds are you really haven’t tried to make friend. After all, this is the same bus you have been taking all year. Okay, for the first couple of week’s maybe strangers, but after that you should have found your pack. Most people accept their fate and sit silently with a stranger. Mistake. The bus has given you the opportunity to learn about new people. So lesson number five is that the ride is a chance to turn a stranger into a friend, and, with luck, someone who will welcome you aboard in the future. So the next lesson is to consider each bus trip your chance to see what it is like to be the president. You don’t have to be yourself, but you better be significant even if that requires a few Fox News like “facts” to enhance your street cred.

Sitting with your friends brings about another aspect of your growth, the ability to bullshit and see if it sticks. Any rumor with sex is especially  ripe for repeating. Teacher rumors, who is going with whom, and funny stories are all part of bus conversation. So lesson number six is to practice your ability to develop a rapport with facts that suit you and prefect your small talk.

The last ones on a crowded bus are the beggars. With all the seats taken they had to look for the least likely to hate you for being the third one on the seat. If you were fat you knew immediately that everyone on the bus feared you would choice their seat. With luck there were two skinny girls and you could at least get one cheek on the seat and brace yourself with your aisle leg. The beggars taught you three things that could help you in the future all wrapped up in one lesson. First, look at people in the eyes. If they divert their attention they are yours. If they stare back they are up to your challenge. Secondly, don’t trust friends to move over for you. They may be your friend, but that doesn’t have to mean that they want to share with you. Thirdly, being in the aisle, being uncomfortable, isn’t always a disadvantage. When the bus stops you are the first out. You are now in control. You can slow up a busload of students as they cue up behind you looking longingly for a way to pass. So turning negatives to positives is something that can prove valuable in life and is lesson number nine.

A bus full of students can be a torture zone if just one of them has a hygiene or a gas problem. Telling someone they smell can be considered bullying. Being clean is not everyone priority and some resort to chemical weapons; cheap after shave or perfume to mask the odor. You have three choices. First, if there is room you can move to a vacant seat. Secondly, you can let your eyes water and bear it. Finally, you can tell the person about their problem. The latter requires a sophisticate approach best left to the diplomats or self-assured girls. So lesson number ten is the fact that the bus teaches you problem solving and people skills.

Lesson number eleven is that regardless of how confident you are getting on the bus you may be defeated by the caste system. This system is based on an unwritten rule that those of your caste sit in certain parts of the bus. The most dangerous is the backseat caste based on the fact that distance from the bus driver builds boldness and a breakdown in discipline. Being forced to sit in a different caste area is as close to death as you can come unless your mom visits your classroom. So the lesson to be learned here is to be flexible and hopefully, learn to be tolerant of others.

Lesson twelve is two-fold. First, making friends with the bus driver is time well spent. The person in charge can give you confidence and even allow you to adjust the windows. That is power. So the lessons to be learned here are to try and control the situation, give kudos to those that can help make your day, and the importance of taking the responsibility of making friends with the leader.

The emergency door and practicing emergency procedures is lesson thirteen. Basically, the bus is offering you the knowledge that having an emergency plan is vital in life. You want to be prepared.

Perhaps the most important lesson the bus ride can teach you is how to deal with rejection. You are among the first on the bus get a primo seat and make yourself as big as possible. Suddenly the doors swing open and there is the person you have a crush on. You make eye contact, you slide over, and nothing. You know the person saw you, and yet there was clear rejection to your offering. Within the confines of the bus ride there was nothing that you could do. You have but one choice, except defeat and move on to another prospect. So lesson number fourteen is that the bus is teaching you is that love may be fleeting, but there is always another bus ride. And always remember that Rosa Parks turned a bus ride into a national movement.

Finally, the bus teaches you to plan ahead. You must stay alert, know where you are, and realize that if you miss your bus stop it might take you longer to get where you want to go.

Dental Health Lessons
by National Hall of Fame Educator Alan Haskvitz

Teaching students to take care of their teeth is vital. Research has shown that bad teeth can result in heart problems and other aliments.It also means missed days of school. Here are some good resources that deal with everything from toothbrushes to toothpaste to flossing with braces. Below are some resources that can make this topic interesting and valuable. Problems with oral care account for almost a million absences a year in just California.

Common Core related dental questions

Dental health facts to get students thinking
http://www.dentalgentlecare.com/fun_dental_facts.htm

Great videos about dental care.
Includes everything from dental care to animations to dental tools to music.
http://www.watchknow.org/Category.aspx?CategoryID=4697

Before toothpaste
http://kidshealth.org/kid/stay_healthy/body/teeth_care.html

Primary lessons
http://www.teachingheart.net/teeth.html

Lessons by grade level
http://www.atozteacherstuff.com/Themes/Teeth/

Printables
http://www.mouthhealthy.org/en/kids-brushing-playlist
http://www.mouthhealthykids.org/en/activity-sheets

Songs about dental health for children
http://www.mouthhealthy.org/en/kids-brushing-playlist

What to look for in an electric toothbrush
http://electrictoothbrushreviews.org/
http://www.consumersearch.com/electric-toothbrushes

Toothpaste ratings
http://www.consumersearch.com/toothpaste

Types of toothpastes
http://www.dentistry.com/daily-dental-care/dental-hygiene/which-type-of-toothpaste-is-best

How to floss
Includes flossing with braces.

Top Eleven Traits of a Good Teacher

By National Hall of Fame Educator Alan Haskvitz and national inservice presenter

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alan_Haskvitz

For car family vehicle reviews go to https://www.motorists.org/tag/the-car-family/

“Some say that my teaching is nonsense. Others call it lofty but impractical. But to those who have looked inside themselves, this nonsense makes perfect sense. And to those who put it into practice, this loftiness has roots that go deep. “

Lao-Tzu,

First, there is no hard and fast list that tells you who is a good teacher or who is not a good teacher. However, there are traits that excellent teachers have in common. These are not the usual qualities such as being a good friend, or have a nice personality. These are what researchers from around the world have found when they watched those teachers whose students excelled once they left that teacher’s classroom. Of course, not every teacher is going to be a skillful teacher for every child and a child spends only about eight percent of the year in school which means that regardless of the quality of teacher a supportive home environment is essential to excellent learning.

Be unsatisfied

The first trait of a high-quality teacher is that he or she is a good learner. They are always eager to learn new things, expand their knowledge base, experiment with better ways to achieve success. They are life long learners and they produce life long learners. So, the first trait is to be unsatisfied with what is. In other words, the best teacher is always a student.

High expectations

High expectations are the second trait of outstanding teachers. I once had a principal who said that having high expectations created failure. In other words, the principal did not want to set high goals for fear of having parent complaints. In reality, setting high standards brings out the best in students and creates in them a feeling of accomplishment. They become self-reliant, learn to delay gratification, and fit more readily into adulthood where competition is inevitable. High standards are not impossible standards. Setting high expectations may require making the student uncomfortable, much like taking the training wheels off a bicycle. In other words, good teachers encourage risk taking and accept errors.

Create indepedencyThirdly, highly effective educators are adept at monitoring student problems and progress. They remediate when necessary and differentiate as needed. To do this they use their time well. They are not the center of the classroom. The students are encouraged to look for help and answers on their own. They are passionate about not teaching, but facilitating learning. As such, they are promoting their own obsolescence. Just as a fine manager has a team in place that can operate well without him or her, a good teacher creates in a student a sense of self that lasts a lifetime. They promote a deeper understanding or concepts and work habits than just learning the curriculum suggests. In other words, they create independency.

Knowledgable

Fourth, they possess a deep knowledge of the subject matter and are able to manipulate, simplify, and individualize this data more easily because they are a master of it. To gain this they are not just hard workers, but have a passion for the subject. They are able to empathize with students who might not like that subject and turn that lack of enthusiasm around by presenting the facts from a different angle. In other words, their bumper sticker reads, “ This teacher stops for new ideas.”

Humor

Fifth, first-class teachers have a good sense of humor. They make jokes and accept jokes. They are not comedians, but they are entertaining. They tell stories, point out silly things, bring joy to difficult situations, and are not afraid of laughter. They use humor to connect to their students. In other words, excellent teachers keep the students’ attention without fear.

Insightful

The sixth trait is to provide quick and accurate assessment of student work. Tests and other projects are evaluated in a timely manner. The student work may not be filled with red marks or gold stars, but it is returned with the understanding of what was right and what could be improved. Without constant evaluation a learning child cannot make the progress of a student who is guided. A helpful teacher does not discourage original thinking, but it must be proven. At all times, the best educator is looking for the student’s reasoning rather than the answer. In other words, student assessment is a teacher’s assessment and provides ideas of what changes need to be made for both of them to improve because they are insightful.

Flexibility

Seventh, the best teachers use the community as their resource. They see education as more than what is done in the classroom. They belong to civic groups, participate in organizations, and use their contacts to enhance student learning. For example, they bring in guest speakers, seek donations from the community as needs arise, and allow their students to display their work for the citizenry to critique and enjoy. They use technology as an extension of the community and find new resources to make their lessons more attractive. They use a newspaper and current events to open a child’s mind to what is happening in the world and at all times they search for a teachable moment. That is any instance where a child expresses an interest in something that could be used to stimulate their learning. This includes both negative and positive items and is the main reason that lesson plans are never mentioned as a trait of good teaching because superior teachers abandon them to follow more encouraging leads. This is why educators and education is so misunderstood by those who feel that children are cans of soup, all alike and open ready for knowledge to be poured in and sealed. Excellent teachers encourage student input and use the community to make for more invigorating teaching. In other words, a quality instructor is a master of flexibility.

Diverse

Eighth, a first-rate teacher provides an array of methods to learn. They integrate the lessons among several subjects, they have research papers, artwork, poetry, and even physical education as part of the learning process. For example, when a child is studying an explorer the teacher shows them how many miles per hour they walk, how to create a graph of the calories they would need, make a map of the trip with legend, write a journal of what they saw, draw pictures of the flora and fauna, and make a presentation of what the student felt was the best and worst part of the discovery. In other words, the proficient educator offers children a diverse array of avenues to pursue excellence.

Unaccepting

Ninth, a quality teacher is unaccepting. They do not accept pat answers. They do not accept first drafts. They do not accept false excuses. They are not the easiest teachers because of this trait. The rationale for this trait was the need for a child to be educated. Education is in essence the disciplining of the mind. A student who knows the rules knows what to expect and knows what is right. The best teachers are those that have standards that are appropriate and that build good habits. In other words, a superior teacher understands what a child needs now and in the future.

Unconforming

The tenth, and perhaps most interesting traits, is that a quality teacher keeps the children off balance. The student is not bored, but challenged. When a child who has a skillful teacher comes home they talk about what they did in class. They are riled up, they are motivated, and they know they need to be ready for the unexpected. A high-quality teacher can be dressed up in an outfit, show a video, take them to the library, have them work on a project, create lessons for one another, work on a computer, proofread a classmate’s work, and invent a game to play at recess all before noon. One day is seldom like the next. There is continuity, but diversity is everywhere.

A communicator

What is of note is that not one research paper or comment said that a trait of good quality teachers were their bulletin boards, tidy rooms, easy grades, ability to write neatly, or dress well. All the traits dealt with the ability to trigger learning and that is the most important trait of all, the ability to communicate. Number 11

Below are traits of good teachers as expressed by young people around the world from UNESCO.

From Indonesia

A great teacher smiles to his/her pupils even when they screw him up.

A good teacher shows the whole wide world to the students.

From India

One who help his students in all respects. He makes his students able to live better life. He teaches students to take decisions in all the conditions.

From Croatia

A really good teacher should be child in his soul…

From Ireland

It is fundamental that a teacher cares about humanity in general.

From Chile

A good teacher is someone who can learn from his students, who can learn with them, and for them.

From Egypt

To win their confidence should be the teacher’s first aim – though strictness has to be in its place.

From Germany

A good teacher, of course, has to be humorous… a teacher has to enjoy what she does!

Has to remember how it was when he/she was a child

Pakistan

A guide…

A real friend is someone who knows all about you and still he loves you. A good teacher is a good friend.

Good teaching is keeping yourself in the shoes of your students.

Malaysia

One who doesn’t ‘teach’ but instead is willing to ‘learn’ with the child and from the child.

From Mexico

The teacher is to the students what the rain is to the field.

From Chad

A good teacher should answer all questions, even if they are stupid.

From Jamaica

To become a good teacher, you not only teach the children but you also have to learn from them.

From Nigeria

A good teacher must be prepared to be foolish if that will help his pupil attain wisdom.

“If you are not learning, you are dying.”
Albert Einstein

10 Crucial Errors: A Retired Teacher’s Guide for Retiring Teachers
by Alan Haskvitz, retired

I am not a financial expert or psychologist. What I am is a retired teacher and so the information that I am presenting is advice that I have learned from the often times wondrous and sometimes daunting task of retiring from a profession that, until recently, was my life.

Do Not Look Back

The first rule is do not lament. Yes, you may miss the students and the identity, but saying to yourself I could go one more year solves nothing. When someone asks what you do take pride in telling them you are retired. It is a noble task. You have done your best and time to take a brief rest. A brief rest. And, by the way, you are not alone. Every year there are about 75,000 teachers retiring for one reason or another. To help you avoid living in the past, you should take all those letters from students, awards, photos, and the like and give yourself one day a year to look them over. Just one day. After a few years it won’t take that long.

However, all those lesson plans you have created could be worth gold. There are sites where you can offer them for sale such as http://teacherlingo.com/. Here is an article on how to do it https://edsource.org/2015/teachers-become-entrepreneurs-by-selling-classroom-materials-online/86500

Every time you go by a school you may look at and wonder if they need help. The answer is probably yes. However, be aware that you are no longer going to be in charge of the situation and you may not like what you see. So, if you have time consider volunteering there are several sites that offer such opportunities, but I have found that those in need of tutoring are usually the most rewarding based on my skills.

So, to summarize, living in the past is a hobby that does not bode well for your future. You were a good teacher and had a long run, now is the time to capitalize on your investment in education and spend some time developing new interests and refilling your bucket list.

Build a New Life

That leads us to the second rule, your social life. Females don’t seem to have as much of a problem as males in making new friends, but regardless it is best to start cultivating new acquaintances. Expanding your social realm helps you gain new insights into what is happening and new opportunities to share. I participate in the Senior Olympics program that is offered in most states. You can participate in a variety of sports and doing so helps you meet new people and set fresh goals. No matter how uncoordinated you are or how long is has been since you have been in a sporting activity, here is your chance. Push yourself out of your comfort zone. Read the newspaper looking for new clubs or social events. Go to city council meetings and look into becoming involved in organizations. These can result in opportunities to meet others. There may even be retired teacher groups in your area. There are senior centers in most communities where you can meet and greet a variety of people as well as participate in activities. The point is your social life is important because it provides you with an outlet, a place to learn and share, that keeps you in balance and provides that push you may need to get off the couch and away from the television. The most dangerous thing you can do is to become withdrawn and spend too much time thinking of what was instead of what could be. Remember that a successful retirement requires two main ingredients, patience and the desire to develop new habits knowing it takes 66 days to change a habit.

Ban the Nap

The third rule is your health. Go to a doctor and get a complete physical. Ask the doctor what you can do to improve your health and abide by that advise. I have high blood pressure. I joined a running club and found my blood pressure was back to normal after just a few months of walking and jogging. Do I run, barely, but I enter the frequent 5K runs knowing I can write-off the entry fee on my taxes. I am not competitive, but I set a goal for myself and try to get better little by very little. And, you don’t have to run. You can walk in these events and some even allow you to take a well behaved dog There are friends to be made and your health is going to improve if you pace yourself. Another item to be aware of is eating too much. While at school you had to eat when the students did. Now you can raid the refrigerator whenever you want. The result can be bad for your wardrobe and health. Set yourself some goals about what you are going to eat. I have found that a walk around the block or longer is excellent after eating. Perhaps the most dangerous thing you can do for your health, outside of eating too much, is watching television or spending too much time in front of a computer. Sitting too long can even contribute to diabetes, heart disease, and cancer. So keep a record of when you started working on a computer or watching television and when you stopped. You are probably going to be shocked at how easy it is to waste away hours without challenging yourself.

Another aspect of health is your health coverage. Make a list of any medications you need and take it to the pharmacy. Ask them what company offers the best coverage for those drugs. By the way, remembering to take your drugs can be a real problem. I would buy one of those plastic containers with each day of the week on individual compartments and put your daily doses in them every Sunday. It is so easy to get busy and forget them and this method helps contradict that concern. Match that with your medical conditions and you can have a better way to shop the various health plans. Some medical plans also offer free health club memberships. Take it. Another important element of health care is too keep track of your body. Keep a log of your weight and check for new skin moles that might be cancerous. If you are brave, try doing the Five Tibetans. This is a series of exercises you can do every day that limber up your body. However, they aren’t easy so at first instead of doing the recommended 21 try just doing a couple.

Take a hard look at the weight scale. As you get older it becomes much harder to control your weight. There are two ways to lose weight. First, eat better and, secondly, exercise more. The first is totally a personal choice and may require some sacrifices such as your favorite ice cream. The exercise part is the hardest because it means you have to do something whereas eating less is not doing something.

With your doctor’s permission consider taking vitamins. Vitamin B12 is important for creating red blood cells and DNA, and for maintaining healthy nerve function. Also check your intake of calcium vitamin D, potassium, magnesium, fiber, and omega-3 fats. There is evidence that omega-3s may also reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease and keeps the brain sharper.

Water is literally life. My wife is always telling me to hydrate. Constipated, hydrate. Dizzy, hydrate. Dehydration can cause a headache, dryness in the mouth, lips, tongue, and skin, fatigue, dark urine confusion, and chest pain. It helps regulate your body temperature, improves providing organs with sufficient oxygen, and bone and joint lubrication. It also affects the balance of electrolytes, vitamins and minerals are essential for the body to function, including brain signaling. Dehydration can cause both internal and external aging especially in the condition of your skin. So drink water frequently and make sure to tell my wife she is right.
Finally, work on your balance. Here are some statistics that should get your attention from the National Council on Aging: One-fourth of Americans aged 65+ falls each year. Every 11 seconds, an older adult is treated in the emergency room for a fall. Every 19 minutes, an older adult dies from a fall. Falls are the leading cause of fatal injury and the most common cause of nonfatal trauma-related hospital admissions among older adults.
https://www.ncoa.org/news/resources-for-reporters/get-the-facts/falls-prevention-facts/

You should dedicate five to ten minutes every day on balance exercises. They can be as easy as you want, but they need to be tried with your doctor’s permission. Here are some examples, stand on one foot for ten seconds and switch to other foot. You can hold on to a chair if you wish. Walk heel to toe for several steps. Raise one leg towards the back and see if you can hold this position for a few seconds. Always use a chair to hold onto when you are just getting the hang of it. You can also raise your leg to the side or back. Slow and steady is the key. As you get better you can invent ways to improve your balance such as walking on a plank. Of note, vitamin D deficiency has also been linked to increased risk of falling.

Fight Forgetfulness

The fourth area to improve is your scheduling. All that time you used to work needs to be accounted for in a positive way. You need to keep a calendar of events and make sure there is something recorded every day for you to do. It can be as simple as walking the dog, washing the car, going to the library, shopping, or even writing letters. Now scheduling requires due diligence so don’t just write it down, do it. And, spending time on social media is not a scheduling inclusion. Scheduling is not keeping a diary, that is past tense. You want to be pushing forward in your planing and thinking. For example, tomorrow is Monday. What do I have planned. Nothing. Well, what could I do? Organize the photo books, weed the flower bed, wash the windows, write letters to the children, make a list of local organizations where I could donate my old books? Something often forgotten in scheduling is to take time every day to ponder, think, let your mind wander. Make it a habit. Just do it.
Take the time to write
The fifth area to work on is writing. It cost nothing to start a blog and they are easy to start and update. You can use a blog to post your thoughts, add photos, and create. We all have funny stories about incidents we survived while teaching and you can put them in writing. Make time daily or weekly to add something. It could be a poem, or your thoughts on investing, or a joke you heard or made up. Write a book about the story of your life and add to it on a regular basis. Regardless, writing is very therapeutic for your mind. In order to write you have to observe, restate what you are thinking, select the words that you want to use to communicate, and finally, after the work is written, to evaluate it. Here is a free site that I use: https://wordpress.com/ Above all don’t say you can’t do it. Remember that you may be helping others as well as yourself by sharing.

Let Your Mind Loose
The fifth area, and probably the most overlooked, is to work on your fantasies. I am not writing about those fantasies, but possible ones. Fantasies are important to the growing mind and provides you room to roam and let your thinking loose on the universe. Spending a dollar on a lottery ticket is essentially money thrown away from a practical standpoint. But in the days or weeks before the numbers are released you can spend hours of time planning how the money is to be used. As well, go to the library and read magazines that feature travel or science, or whatever. The point is it keeps your mind active and leads to the one item that every retiree should have, a bucket list. This acculturation of dreams and wants and perhaps a need or two can constantly be updated. The list does not have to make sense, it could include being the first person on Mars. Who knows when NASA is going to look for a well educated older person to help a young team solve problems.

Organize your affairs
The sixth area is legal in nature. If you don’t have a trust create one now. It will help your survivors when you die, prevent legal and financial headaches, and you can even do it yourself. This is a site that explains why and how it can be done. http://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/making-living-trust-yourself-29736.html While you are working in the legal area you might want to take a look at how your investments, if any, are doing. I am not going to spend a lot of time on this basically because I don’t know a hill of beans about it. Here is what I know. I have a pension and a small 401k and a saving account. I am making zilch on the savings, not much on the 401k, and the pension is static and thus fixed so if inflation rises I am a sitting duck. I am sure others know more, but I can offer you one suggestion, don’t let this area go without tending to it on a regular basis. Ask questions, search for better rates, and try to have enough for emergencies. Emergencies are real and expensive and can remove you from a life of leisure to one fraught with constant worry. You must have a good health insurance plan. Period. If you are young enough to qualify for a long term care plan that also would be advisable. But beware that these plans are very limited so you may need help. Here is a good site for that data: http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/2012/08/long-term-care-insurance/index.htm
If you are too old or do not qualify for this insurance, I highly advocate you start a saving or other type of account to cover assisted living costs for at least a year between in excess of $40,000 and nursing home care is about $75,000 a year. You might want to examine all your insurance policies and see if they cover what you want. The rates might have even gone down so check it out and get the policies organized.
Polish Your Knowledge
The seventh area is to become an expert at something. If you have enough room plant some milk weed plants and watch the Monarch butterflies appear as they journey from Mexico and back taking five generations to make the trip. Or start a vegetable garden even if you have to use large patio type containers. Learn about astronomy and buy a telescope or become an expert on geology. There are countless areas that you can study and, in doing so, strengthen your mind and body. I recommend auditing college classes in various subjects to expand your knowledge base. Online cases are another way to acquire new knowledge.
Simplify
The eighth area to consider is downsizing. Selling your house for a smaller one or condo or even moving into an apartment are considerations. However, most retirees are comfortable where they are especially if they have a one story home. Besides why move from what you know? There are also tax considerations if you own an expensive home and move to a less costly one you may need to pay a gains tax. There are a great many lists of what states have better tax advantages for retired people. However, if you are on a teachers retirement plan and, perhaps, Social Security, you may not find the saving enough of a motivation to move. While downsizing also consider your accumulated clutter. Many charitable groups can take that outfit you have owned for three decades and sell it to someone who actually feels it is stylish. The same goes for those student gifts and left over dog toys. Walk around your home and if you have not used something in a year make a decision as to whether to hold a garage or yard sale or get the tax deduction receipt for the donation. Something that is often forgotten when moving is to look for a place where the sun can shine in the windows or at least make it easy for you to go out into the sun. Research has shown that vitamin D, made when your skin is exposed to sunlight, plays a role in activating white blood cells and help protect you from flu, food poisoning and even cancer.
Expand your vision
The ninth area is travel. You may consider retirement as your time to see the world, or at least get those good off-season rates. Be warned that traveling may not be as glamorous as it seemed on a rainy day in the classroom. For example, if you are taking a tour that means you may be with people you just do not like. So what I recommend is what Larry Martz in his book, Making Schools Better, coined; the small bites approach. Start small. A day or week long trip and see how that goes. However, whatever you do don’t write off traveling. It is stretching your mind making you figure out everything from exchange rates to communicating in a different language to remembering where you are going on how to get back. If you enjoy driving and have the funds, you may want to check out a later model car that features a great many safety items such as blind spot warnings, automatic emergency autonomous braking, stability control, even adaptive cruise control. All these updates can save your life and those of others. Seniors have the highest death rate in vehicle accidents outside of teenagers so consider a safer car a good investment regardless of its residual rate. Here is the site with great reviews: https://www.motorists.org/tag/the-car-family/
A final area to help you with retirement is to reconstruct your work space. Take an inventory of what you have, what you want to keep, and what might be discarded or donated. Give your work area a fresh look and you can always do some research on Feng Shui decorating to give it more energy. Perhaps a new plant or reworking your file cabinets could be a start. You may also want to take an inventory of what is in each room of your dwelling including a garage if one available. Taking pictures or a video of the items would help as well. Replacing fire alarms, lubricating hinges and locks are all jobs that can help you assess what you have, need, and could sell or donate.
In conclusion, you want to avoid becoming lazy. Thinking, “I did my time, now I can relax, “is okay for a day or two, but what about the coming years? Take control of your free time and use it to your advantage. You do not want to be a would have, could have, should have type of retiree.

What would the person you were think about the person you are now.
As a 75-year-old retired educator I have a life expectancy of about 10 more years and women have close to 13 more years of life on average. With that in mind your motto and mine from here on in should be that retirement isn’t how long you live, but how well you live.
About the author: Alan Haskvitz is a National Hall of Fame educator who has received over 30 state, national and international teaching awards including being selected as a Reader’s Digest Hero in Education. Haskvitz worked in education for 45 years and is now a writer, athlete, and speaker.

Fun Activities and Facts about the Presidential Inauguration
http://americanhistory.about.com/od/uspresidents/ss/inauguration.htm

Supreme Court Chief Justice John G. Roberts, Jr. administers the oath of office to President Barack Obama during the inaugural swearing-in ceremony at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., Jan. 21, 2013. First Lady Michelle Obama holds a Bible that belonged to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and the Lincoln Bible, which was used at President ObamaÕs 2009 inaugural ceremony. Daughters Sasha and Malia stand with their parents.  (Official White House Photo by Sonya N. Hebert)

Supreme Court Chief Justice John G. Roberts, Jr. administers the oath of office to President Barack Obama during the inaugural swearing-in ceremony at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., Jan. 21, 2013. First Lady Michelle Obama holds a Bible that belonged to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and the Lincoln Bible, which was used at President ObamaÕs 2009 inaugural ceremony. Daughters Sasha and Malia stand with their parents. (Official White House Photo by Sonya N. Hebert)

What is the Inauguration?
An Inauguration is a ceremony to mark the start of a new four-year term of as president of the United States of America.

What was the first Inauguration like?
George Washington’s day found out from Congress that he had won the presidency. He borrowed money to pay off his debts in Virginia and traveled to New York. On April 30, he came across the Hudson River in a specially built and decorated barge. This custom gave rise to Inaguruation floats that are now scene in the official parade. Washington’s inaugural ceremony was performed on the balcony of Federal Hall on Wall Street in New York. The president then went indoors to read Congress his inaugural address. The evening celebration was opened and closed by 13 skyrockets and 13 cannons being fired. Today that tradition continues with a 21 gun salute fired from artillery pieces.

Inauguration Day takes place on January 20 and the president’s term starts at noon after the Chief Justice administers the oath to the president. Inauguration Day was originally on March 4, four months after election day, but this was changed to noon on January 20 by the Twentieth Amendment in 1933
http://www.npr.org/series/169619067/inauguration-2013

Why is it important?
The United States of America is a Democratic Republic. That means that the voters elect someone to represent them. The elections determine who is the representatives, or, in the case of the Inauguration, who will lead the country’s Executive Branch. The Inauguration is important because it represents the peaceful transfer of power. It also is a way to celebrate the voter’s decision.

Who gives the Oath of Office?
The Chief Justice of the Supreme Court.
https://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2013/01/21/second-inauguration-barack-obama

What is the Oath of Office?
I, , do solemnly swear that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter. So help me God.

What is the inaugural address?
Newly sworn-in presidents usually give a speech called the inaugural address. They can vary in length with George Washington’s being only 135 words and William Henry Harrison’s 8,495 words. (Later in this article and you can test the president’s address for grade level and compare them.)
What is the Inaugural Parade
The Inaugural Parade on Pennsylvania Avenue passes the presidential reviewing stand in front of the White House. The typical duration of the parade is about two hours and proceeds along the 1.5 miles of Pennsylvania Avenue in view of the presidential party. The president, vice-president, their respective families and members of the government and military review the parade from an enclosed stand at the edge of the North Lawn.
Where is it held?
The event is held at the Capitol’s western front in Washington DC.
https://www.aoc.gov/us-capitol-building

What does the word mean?
It is a French word meaning an installation or consecration. Essentially, it is a word that is meant to convey good omens.

What do other nations call their inaugurations?
If a country has a monarchy, which means the leader is not chosen by the people, but born into that position such as a king or queen, the ceremony is called a coronation. It is highlighted by a crown being placed on the head of the one being honored.
http://www.telegraph.co.ukph.co.uk/news/uknews/queen-elizabeth-II/10066234/Next-coronation-to-involve-other-faiths-besides-Christianity.html

Who is in the parade?
Both military and civilian participants from all 50 states and the District of Columbia are involved as well as bands and floats.
Chapter two
What is the Executive Branch?
The power of the Executive Branch is vested in the President of the United States, who also acts as head of state and Commander-in-Chief of the armed forces. The President is responsible for implementing and enforcing the laws and appoints the heads of the federal agencies and Cabinet. The Vice President is also part of the Executive Branch, ready to assume the Presidency should the need arise.
Why is the position important?

The President has the power either to sign legislation into law or to veto* bills enacted by Congress. The Executive Branch conducts diplomacy with other nations, and the President has the power to negotiate and sign treaties, which also must be ratified by two-thirds of the Senate. The President can issue executive orders, which direct executive officers or clarify and further existing laws. The President also has unlimited power to extend pardons (A person is forgiven of a crime) and clemencies (mercy to a convicted individual) for federal crimes, except in cases of impeachment.
*A veto means that president does not approve of the bill and it cannot become law unless the Senate and House can override the decision by a 2/3rds vote.

Qualifications of a President
The President must be 35 years of age, be a natural born citizen, and must have lived in the United States for at least 14 years.

Elected by Electoral College
The President is not, in fact, directly elected by the people. Instead, on the first Tuesday in November of every fourth year, the people elect the members of the Electoral College. Apportioned by population to the 50 states and the District of Columbia. Electors then cast the votes for President. There are currently 538 electors in the Electoral College.

What is the Cabinet?
The Cabinet is an advisory body made up of the heads of the 15 executive departments. They are the Department of Agriculture, Department of Commerce, Department of Defense, Department of Education, Department of Energy, Department of Health and Human Services,
Department of Homeland Security, Department of Housing and Urban Development,
Department of the Interior, Department of Justice, Department of Labor, The Department of State, Department of Transportation, Department of the Treasury, Department of Veterans Affairs

Chapter Three
Strange Inauguration happenings.
In 1865, Andrew Johnson was ill with typhoid fever and took the medicine that impacted his speech as he bragged about his humble origins and his triumph over Confederate States. Despite the best efforts of those around him he refused to stop. It is called that “hungover speech.”

Ulysses S. Grant thought that canaries would add a festive touch to his inaugural ball in 1873, but the cold March temperatures caused a recorded 100 birds to freeze to death during Grant’s inauguration.

During Richard Nixon’s Inauguration Day parade hundred years later he wanted to make sure pigeons didn’t ruin his day. The Nixon had a chemical bird repellant sprayed all along the inaugural parade route. The result was dozens of dead pigeons along the route of the parade.

After Andrew Jackson’s inauguration he threw an epic party at the White House and is was crashed by drunken backers who broke windows, china, and damaged the drapes. To get them out of the White House the staff placed a tub of booze on the front yard.

When President Herbert Hoover was sworn in, the chief justice who administered the oath, William Howard Taft, apparently substituting the word “maintain” for “protect.” An eighth-grade girl named Helen Terwilliger caught the errors and sent Taft a note. He denied it, but the newsreels showed the young girl to be right.

Unusual facts
George Washington’s wife, Martha, did not make the trip to New York
Thomas Jefferson was the first president to be inaugurated at the Capitol in Washington, D.C.
James Monroe was the first president to take the oath out-of-doors in Washington.
Martin Van Buren inaugural parade saw first use of floats.
Franklin Pierce stood up in his carriage during the parade and memorized his speech.
Abraham Lincoln’s inaugural was the first to have African-Americans participated in the inaugural parade.
Rutherford B. Hayes was the first president to take the oath of office in the White House.
William McKinley had his inaugural recorded on a movie camera.
Woodrow Wilson’s inaugural was the first time that women participated in the inaugural parade.
Harry S. Truman’s was the first inauguration to be televised.
Lyndon B. Johnson was first to use a bullet-proofed, closed limousine.
Richard M. Nixon only allowed people with special invitations to the ceremony to be admitted to the Capitol Grounds.
Jimmy Carter was first to make provisions for the handicapped to watch the parade.
Ronald Reagan had first closed-captioning of television broadcast for the hearing impaired.
William J. Clinton’s was the first ceremony broadcast live on the Internet.

Here are some Awesome Stories links to inaugurations.
https://www.awesomestories.com/search/full/inauguration

Fast facts about First Ladies at Inaugurations.
Martha Washington and Abigail Adams, Dolley Madison, Elizabeth Monroe, and Anna Harrison were did not attend the inauguration.
Sarah Polk was present at the inauguration and attended the Inaugural Ball, but the ball was stopped in deference to her religious beliefs.
IJane Pierce did not attend because was upset that her husband lied to her about running for president.
Mary Lincoln was in attendance and is said to have danced with her husband’s opponent, Stephen Douglas at the Inaugural Ball.
Julia Grant attended.
Lucy Hayes was at the Inauguration.
Crete Garfield was there and made a statement that was startling as she proclaimed how super human her husband looked only to have him die a few months later.
Grover Cleveland was a bachelor at the time. A year later the 49-year-old president married a woman 28 years younger. When Cleveland lost the election she vowed to return, and she did four years later.
Carrie Harrison was there.
Ida McKinley was witnessed the swearing in of her husband but fell ill at the Inaugural Ball.
Edith Roosevelt watching Theodore’s swearing-in ceremonies.
Nellie Taft was there for William’s inauguration.
Ellen Wilson was in attendance, but when she died Woodrow remarried and his wife, Edith, attended his second inauguration.
Florence Harding was very active in the Inaugural.
Grace Coolidge not only witnessed the ceremony, but talked with Nellie Ross, the nation’s first woman Governor.
Lou Hoover was late to the ceremony.
Eleanor watched her husband take the oath of office four times.
Bess Truman was there and hosted the first integrated inaugural ball.
Mamie Eisenhower was there and was kissed by her husband.
What is called the “First Lady” Inauguration was done so because first ladies and future first lades were in attendance such as: Edith Wilson, Eleanor Roosevelt, Bess Truman, Mamie Eisenhower, Jackie Kennedy, Lady Bird Johnson, Pat Nixon, and Betty Ford.
Lady Bird Johnson was there and held a Bible while her husband took the oath of office.
Pat Nixon was there but was forced to sit down as protesters threw rocks. This happened at both inaugurations. Richard Nixon later became the first president to resign after the Watergate affair became public. He was replaced by Vice President Gerald Ford and there wasn’t an inauguration.
Rosalynn was there. With her husband, Jimmy Carter they got of of the chauffeured cars and walked during the parade.
Nancy Reagan was there dress in very expensive clothes and watched her husband, Ronald, take the oath on the west side of the Capitol. During his second inauguration she was wearing an outfit estimated to cost over $40,000. The event was held in the Capitol Rotunda due to freezing weather.
Barbara Bush was there both times and walked back to the White House.
Hillary Clinton was there and walked back to the White House with her husband, William Jefferson Clinton.
Laura Bush was there both times her husband took the oath.
Michelle Obama was there both times her husband, Barrack Obama took the oath of office.
For more information read First Ladies by Carl Sferrazza Anthony
http://parpro.zweb.com/Inauguration.html

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Here is a lesson plan for your school
Making School l Elections Meaningful: A Relevant Civics Lesson
by National Hall of Fame Educator Alan Haskvitz
http://articles.latimes.com/keyword/alan-haskvitz/featured/1
Almost every school has school or class elections with the idea of sharing the true nature of a democracy where everyone can vote. Usually those students who want to run create posters, give a speech, and come election day the results are tabulated and the winner announced. What I would suggest is to consider making it more representative teachable moment.
The Campaign
First, every one who wishes to run for office must meet certain requirements such as a 2.0 GPA. When the person signs-up to vote they are given an agreed upon number of poster paper and they are numbered and signed. They are accompanied by a list of where they can be placed and proper etiquette. In that way all the participants have an equal chance. There can also be interviews in the school newspaper, using the public address system for a fixed number of ads, and a speech that can video tapped to play on the school system, if it is enabled. The whole idea is to make the election fair and to promote creativity within set bounds.
Election Day
The next step takes place before the voting. Students line-up at registration tables where the school attendance folders are duplicated. Students sign by their name and are give a ballot. They have a day to consider the person they wish to vote for and the ballots are cast the following day. This means that some students who don’t care simply can’t vote because they didn’t take the time to register.
The Vote
After the election there is a registration process in which every student who wants to vote registers to vote and receives a ballot.
Integrating the Lesson
I also recommend having an art competition for the best campaign poster and one for the best slogan. The competition could even include the best campaign song. A panel could do the judging, teachers, or it could be on the ballot. In this way the election becomes more interesting to the students and gets them more involved. This site provides information on what is called the “youth vote.” It makes interesting reading, but it also provides more evidence to support educators who use voting as a teaching tool. Have students reach conclusions from this data:

25 Facts About the Youth Vote This Year


Of course, integrating civics is a given. Here are some recommended websites that have good lessons to accomplish that goal:
National Student/Parent Mock Election
The best site to get involved.
http://www.nationalmockelection.org/
iCivics lessons
You can register, but it isn’t required. Some lessons are interactive.
https://www.icivics.org/teachers/lesson-plans/mock-election
Scholastic
Lessons by grade level
http://www.scholastic.com/teachers/unit/elections-everything-you-need
For federal elections
http://www.educationworld.com/a_special/election.shtml
Types of propaganda. It is important for students to understand how propaganda is used to influence them in elections and elsewhere.
Print out
http://shepherdenglish.pbworks.com/f/AdvertisementAssignment.pdf
An exceptional source of Constitutional related materials
A great newsletter, lots of lessons, and a knowledgeable staff.
http://www.crf-usa.org/bill-of-rights-in-action/

A Business Model for Students and Teachers: A Paradigm Shift
By National Hall of Fame Educator, Alan Haskvitz
http://www.edu-cyberpg.com/Ringleaders/al.html

Want to improve student achievement the easy way? Teach them about business. Here is an easy to follow plan that can be done in advisement periods.

There is little doubt that successful business leaders would like to take charge of education. There is also little doubt that none of them have spent time teaching students in a realistic atmosphere. However, that does not mean the students cannot benefit from ideas that business fosters such as a business model. What I am proposing is that each student be taught the basics of a business model and use that information to turn themselves into that business, essentially improving their output.

The business plan for the student is essentially creating a marketing plan for themselves as a person and as a potential employee. As they create this plan they are going to find weaknesses that need to be improved by taking action and they are also going to find areas of strength and learn how they can turn these attributes into strengths that can attract others to their viewpoints. Regardless, the business plan is just that, a plan. It can be changed as needed and the objective can also be altered as age and experiences sway viewpoints. However, it is essentially that the plan be reviewed and maintained so that the goals are fresh and assessable. For example, a student might want to select an occupation that they perceive as high paying and seek to direct their objective in that direction only to find that they do not have that same goal when the amount of time and education required is factored into the equation.
Not be disregarded is the importance of items such as developing communication skills in a variety of ways. Speech classes may have gone the same way as shop classes, and so it is vital that such excuses s being shy or afraid are soothed over by opportunities in school. Students may want to run for school office, but are reluctant to speak before a large group. A good business plan must include these opportunities and, win or lose, builds the basis for a better future.
Teaching business in the lower grades is seldom seen for a variety of reasons of which the most vivid is probably that it isn’t on the state’s standardized test. But, creating a business plan and giving students the opportunity to explore, modify, and grow with it can be incorporated in most core subject areas. For example, in math classes problems that require the student to compare various occupations based on income are simple to use, but what can be added to that problem is the cost of reaching that goal in terms of education expenses. Language arts classes offer the opportunity to create essays that allow each student to express their viewpoint and have it critiqued builds character and communication expertise. Having students present work in every class builds speaking skills that are necessary through life. (add more specifics)
A while back a found a museum that offered an interesting lesson that included the Who Am I poem. I modified that to include that Who Am I and added Who Do I Want to Become. I next added the requirement that the student develop a list of how they would meet this change from present to future and to develop a business plan to reach it. The results were called Investing in Yourself and, based on the letters from students I have received years after my class, were life changing. And isn’t that what a good business plan should be, a plan to improve. As the Japanese call it, Kaizen, continuous improvement.
A Step-by-Step Guide
The first step would be to have each student make a list of their attributes. These could include the obvious such as a grade point average, but also organizations they belong to, sports, activities outside of school, hobbies, and even items such as knowing how to juggle.

They need to list these so they can see if any of these attributes can be applied to what the customer, the teacher, wants in terms of performance.

Next, they need to make a graph of what they spend their time on during the course of the day. This should not be taken lightly and having a parent or guardian sign it would be of value. This is their allocation of resources. They also need to add any resources they feel that they may need such as paper, pens, thesaurus, or technology.

The last step of the preliminary stage is to look at their progress reports for the past few years and set a realistic objective for their business. If a student has a C average setting a goal of a B- would be realistic.

So they have now taken an inventory of skills, available time, and an objective for their business.
The next step is to meet with consultants with their plan. They need to meet with their parents and at least two other students in the class to compare their available time and objectives. Each consultant must sign-off on the plan indicating that the objective is possible.

The second phase is difficult because it requires the student to think about and write about the changes that will be necessary for the plan to be effective and the objectives meet. What is the students willing to give up to have enough time to study and reach that goal? What skills do they need to refine and improve upon?

Again, once this has been done the student needs to meet with the consultants and modify the plan as needed.

The next phase is for the student to make a visual of the plan. They can create a PowerPoint or a story board or even a video. In that way they have a record of what their business hopes to accomplish.

Finally, the plan needs to be implemented. This can be done slowly or all at once depending on the plan. Regardless, at the end of each day the student must make an inventory of what was accomplished in reaching the goal. They also need time to weekly check with the consultants and make any modifications to the plan that are necessary. The student must also take this end of week report to the president of the company (i.e. teacher) so that he or she can mark on the class chart if the target was reached. The teacher should have a graph for each student, made by the student, on which the progress marks are made.

Since students have a variety of classes or products, it is best to implement the business plan for one class at a time. Students should also keep a diary of their thoughts during this process to give to the teacher at the end of the unit so that the ideas can be reviewed from the student’s aspect.

Conclusion: In the end the student shall have a much better understanding of four important elements that successful people share. First, they will learn how to budget time. Secondly, they will gain a better perspective on their strengths and weaknesses. Third, they will be able to modify and change plans and direction as objectives are changed. Finally, they will learn to work with others to improve their product, which is their future.

Free Classroom Resources for Women’s History Month

This site is excellent and contains free resources, lessons and ideas to help motivate students at all grade levels and subject areas.

https://mycalcas.com/2016/03/classroom-resources-for-womens-history-month/

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