Saturday, October 31, 2009

The Joy of Teaching

I love to watch them run and jump,
and oh how they do grow.

I love to look in their eager eyes,
to see how much they know.

I love the way they rap their arms,
around and hold you tight.

I love the times they talk too much,
to say what they think is right.

I love to help them learn the things,
to guide them along the way.

I love the way they skip and jump,
never stopping for a day.

I love to teach them all the things,
they will need for future times.

I love to watch them discover words,
and use them in print and rhymes.

I love the joy of teaching them,
as they grow inquisitive in every way.

I hope to teach them the purest truths,
by simpling loving them every day.
By: Debra E. West

Friday, October 30, 2009

Choose Peace

There's two sides of life,

It's the good and the bad.
Sometimes life brings happiness,
Sometimes life is sad.
It's all in how you handle,
life's ups and downs,
Whether you carry a big smile,
Or a constant sad frown.
When I look back,
over the good and the bad,
I wonder if I remember,
the blessings I've had.
So, in counting all my blessings,
I find unbelievable grace,
I stop complaining,
and put peace in sad's place.
Happiness waits inside you,
To give you peace of mind.
Sadness will creep in the darkness,
to try to steal peace every time.
So keep happiness in great abundance,
remember the battles you've already won.
Choose peace to live inside you,
and cherish joy as your bond.

by: Debra E. West

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Know Your Child's Intelligence

I hope you learned something about your child's learning style while reading the series on Howard Gardner's Multiple Intelligences. Dr. Gardner researched and found out that children and adults seem to learn and show how smart they are in a lot of ways. He also noticed that different parts of the brain seem to be tied to the different ways of being smart. Most people have some portion of each of the intelligences, but usually one or two of the intelligences will be more dominate. Review each of the 8 intelligences carefully, and try to decide which one or two is the most dominate in your child. Then, talk to your child and tell them their strengths and weaknesses. Finally, have them participate in strengthening the weaker intelligences and have fun and take advantage of the dominate ones. This should be a fun thing to do with the entire family.

Teachers today are aware of these findings on Multiple Intelligences. They should be using them in their daily instruction. If your child is having difficulty with learning, it could be the way the material is being presented. Talk to the teacher and let him/her know that you are aware of your child's learning style. Maybe you both can come up with a plan together to help your child succeed. If you or the teacher feel the problem is more serious, don't hesitate to have the child tested and evaluated as soon as possible. The earlier a problem is diagnosis and treated, the better the results. There are so many new findings and treatments for learning delays, disabilities, and other interferences.

Starting Sunday, November 1st, I am going to do a series on the three learning styles. It will be very informative and will help you and your child understand exactly learning takes place and how to be successful academically. Please write me if you have any questions or topics of interest and I will try to answer or find an answer to your questions. I wish you the best education possible for your child and loved ones.


Wednesday, October 28, 2009

The Naturalistic or Nature Smart Child

The naturalistic or nature smart child is curious about and understands the environment we live in. They notice what is around them and enjoy identifying and classifying things like plants or animals. This intelligence was not part of Gardner's original theory of Multiple Intelligence, but was added in 1997. Children and adults with this intelligence have a greater sensitivity to nature and their place within it. They love animals, usually have a green thumb, care about nature and the environment causes, like going to the parks, zoos, and aquariums, enjoy hiking, camping. Nature smart people have a good memory for the details of places where they have been and remember names of animals, plants, people, places, and things in the environment or nature.
Careers suited for those who are dominate naturalistic or nature smart include scientists, naturalists, conservationists, gardeners, and farmers.

If you would like to expand your child to be more naturalistic or nature smart you can:
1. Point out nature wherever you are.
2. Plant something and watch it grow.
3. Lie down in your yard together and look at the sky during the day and night.
4. Go bird watching.
5. Watch nature shows on television.
6. Read books and magazines about nature.
7.Get involved with environmental organizations.
8. Take care of a pet.
9. Build your own ecosystem.
10. Start a collection.

If your child is naturalistic or nature smart it is important that solve logic problems and games, get involved with a team sport or take dance classes, play an instrument, read books of interest, take photography lessons, keep a journal or diary, and meet new people. For more information on naturalistic or nature smart children read, "You're Smarter Than You Think", by Thomas Armstrong, PhD. For more information on how to get involved in your child's education, purchase my book, "A Parent's Handbook: How to Get the Best Education Possible for Your Child K-6 Grades". To purchase the handbook/workbook order from or .

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

The Interpersonal or People Smart Child

The interpersonal or people smart child has to do with the interaction with others. Children or adults who are highly interpersonal or people smart tend to be outgoing. They are sensitive to other's moods, feelings, and have the ability to cooperate as a part of a group. They typically learn best by working with others and enjoy discussion and debate. Interpersonal people like watch people, make friends easily, offer to help when someone needs it, enjoys group activities, feels confident when meeting new people, like to organize activities for friends, enjoys getting people to see things their way, and enjoys volunteering for causes that help other people.

Careers that suit those with dominate interpersonal or people smart intelligences include sales, politicians, managers, teachers, and social workers.

Some things you can do to help your child become more interpersonal or people smart are:
1. Keep a list of your friends and their telephone numbers.
2. Meet new people.
3. Volunteer to help others.
4. Run for election in student government.
5. Tutor someone.
6. Spend time with friends and family.
7. Practice meeting friend with family members or someone you trust.
8. Make the most of cooperative learning.
9. Start a club or group that has like interest.
10. Go to public places and watch people and notice their body language and expressions.

Interpersonal or people smart children need to learn to work alone. Encourage them to read books of interest, take up an instrument, play sports like tennis, golfing, or swimming where they must depend on themselves, take art lesson, keep a journal or diary, play logic games, or computer games. For more information on the interpersonal or people smart child read, "You're Smarter Than You Think," by Thomas Armstrong, PhD. To find out ways to get involved in your child's education purchase my book, "A Parent's Handbook, How to Get the Best Education Possible for Your Child K-6 Grades. To order the handbook/workbook go to or .

Monday, October 26, 2009

The Intrapersonal Child - Self Smart

The intrapersonal or self smart child has the ability of being self-reflective. Those who are strongest in this intelligence are usually introverts or prefer to work alone. They are highly self-aware and capable of understanding their own emotions, goals and motivations. They learn best when allowed to concentrate on a subject by themselves. They can be perfectionist, like to set and meet own goals, stand up for their beliefs even if not poplar, worry less about what people think of them, know how they are feeling and why, enjoy keeping a diary or writing a journal, have a good sense of who they are, and think about the future and what they want to be someday.

Careers suited for the intrapersonal intelligence include philosophers, psychologists, theologians, writers, and scientist.

To help your child become more intrapersonal or self smart have them:
1. Ask yourself, "Who am I?"
2. Keep a journal.
3. Make a list of thing you do well.
4. Set goals for yourself.
5. Put together your autobiography.
6. Remember your dreams.
7. Read self-help books.
8. Do something you love.

It is very important for intrapersonal or self smart children to learn to work cooperatively with others, take up a sports team and get physical exercise, learn an instrument or join a choir, read books of interest, volunteer to help someone or a cause, or take a hike in nature with family or friends. To find out more information on the intrapersonal or self smart child read, "You're Smarter Than You Think," by Thomas Armstrong, PhD. For ideas on how to get involved in your child's education purchase my book,"A Parent's Handbook: How to Get the Best Education Possible for Your Child K-6 Grades. Order the book at or .

Sunday, October 25, 2009

The Musical Child

The musical child learns by rhythm, music, and hearing and they really love music. Those who have a high level of musical-rhythmic intelligence displays greater sensitivity to sounds, rhythms, tones, and music. These children and adults enjoy singing , listening to music, play an instrument, remembers melodies or tunes easily, hear the differences in instruments, make up or write their own songs, and can remember facts by making up a song for them. Those who are strong musical intelligence can learn best by lecture. Our culture doesn't put such a great importance on being smart with music. Many people think it's a nice talent to have, but don't consider it an intelligence, but it is and shouldn't be overlooked.

Careers suited for this intelligence include instrumentalists, singers, conductors, disc-jockeys, orators, writers, and composer.

Here are some ways to expand your child's experiences with the musical intelligence that will be enjoyable:

1. Listen to as many different kinds of music as you can.
2. Sing with your family or friends.
3. Play musical games whenever you get the chance.
4. Get involved in music at school.
5. Learn to read music and learn to play an instrument.
6. Become more aware of the music around you.
7. Compose a song or musical piece.
8. Start a band.

If you have a child that shows dominates in musical intelligences make sure they play an instrument, sing in a choir, write music and develop that part of them. They should also develop the other part of their brain by write poems and stories, take up a sport, play logical games, take art classes, and go outside and hear the music in nature. To get more information on the musical intelligences read, "Your Smarter Than You Think", by Thomas Armstrong, PhD. or google multiple intelligences. If you want to get more involved with your child's education purchase my book, "A Parent's Handbook: How to Get the Best Education Possible for Your Child K-6 Grades". You can purchase my book at or .

Saturday, October 24, 2009

The Picture Smart Child - Spatial Intelligence

The visual-spatial child mainly learns and thinks in pictures. They probably have good memory for faces and places, or notice little details that other people over-look. These children and adults can visualize and mentally manipulate objects, and usually are extremely good at solving puzzles. A lot of the visual spatial have a good sense of direction and also have very good hand-eye coordination, although this is normally seen as a body-kinesthetic intelligence. There is a high correlation between spatial and mathematical abilities, which seems to indicate that these two intelligences are not independent. If you or your child are picture smart or spatial you will remember faces better than names, like to draw out ideas to figure out a problem, see objects in your mind, enjoy building things, play lots of video games, notice styles of clothing, hair, cars, bikes, read or draw maps for fun, enjoy looking at photos and pictures, and draw and doodle a lot.

Careers that suit picture smart people are artist, engineers, and architects.
Here are some things a parent can do to help their child become more picture smart or spatial:

1. Explore the world of art.
2. Keep a visual journal.
3.Collect pictures, images, or designs.
4. Take pictures of your day.
5. Create your own video
6. Take a class in something of interest.
7. Spend a few minutes a day looking around you.
8. Look for visual patterns in every day life.
9. Have a picture conversation by drawing instead of talking.
10. Create an art area in your home with as many art materials available as possible.

If your child is already picture smart or spatial make sure they are involved in physical activities such as sports, or play a musical instrument or sing in a choir, read books of interest, play logic games and try learning a foreign language. To learn more about the picture smart/spatial intelligence read, "Your Smarter Than You Think", by Thomas Armstrong, PhD. or google multiple intelligences. To get more involved in your child's education, purchase my newly released book, "A Parents Handbook: How to Get the Best Education for Your Child K-6 Grades". You can order it at or .

Friday, October 23, 2009

The Body-Kinesthetic Child

The body-kinesthetic children learn and think with the bodies. They also use their bodies to express themselves or their skills. In theory, people who have bodily-kinesthetic intelligence should learn better by involving muscular movement,and moving around into the learning experience. These children are generally good at physical activity such as sports or dance. They may enjoy acting or performing, and are good at building and making things. They often learn best by doing something physical, rather than reading or hearing the information. Body-kinesthetic child likes to move around and be active, learn physical skills easily and quickly, move while thinking, enjoy acting in skits or plays, mimic or imitates people's gestures and expressions, play sports, build models with skill, dance gracefully, movement helps them remember, and love recess.
The careers the body-kinesthetic people seem to enjoy and are successful at are athletes, dancers, actors, surgeons, doctors, builders, and soldiers.

Here are some ways to help your child become more body smart:
1. Practice your hand-eye coordination.
2. Join a sports team in your neighborhood or at school.
3. Play charades with family and friends.
4. Look for ideas while you move and exercise.
5. Learn how to give shoulder rubs to your family and friends.
6. Think of an idea and then build it.
7. Learn an art or craft.
8. Let your stress go and relax.
9. Take a drama class or try out for a play.
10. Take martial arts lesson.

A body-kinesthetic child should act out their favorite story or poem, exercise to music, draw pictures or symbols to remember information, listen to tapes while walking through nature, dancing, jumping rope, or exercise. Make sure your body-kinesthetic child writes out vocabulary words and traces over the words with their finger, read books that interest them, build things using math skills, use dance and listen to music while learning. To learn more about body-kinesthetic intelligences read,"Your Smarter Than You Think", by Thomas Armstrong, PhD. or google multiple intelligences.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

The Logical-Mathematical Child

The Logical-Mathematical Child enjoys figuring things out and may easily understand numbers and math concepts like finding patterns, and are interested and have fun with science. These children can excel in chess, computers, and like riddles, creating their own codes, and numerical activities. They also have the capacity for the abstract, and have a natural ability toward scientific thinking and investigation. These children enjoy estimating, doing math in their head, solving mysteries, spending time with brainteasers or logic puzzles, love organizing information on charts and graphs, and use computers for more than playing games. Career's which suit those with logical-mathematical intelligence include scientists, mathematicians, engineers, doctors, and economist.
Remember we all have some of all the intelligences, it is just that we may have more dominate traits of one or two. Ways your child can become more logic smart are:
1. Play games that use strategy and logic.
2. Watch television programs that teach science and math.
3. Practice calculating simple math problems in your head.
4. Explore science.
5.Read magazines or newspapers that cover math and science news.
6. Practice estimating things.
7. Do brainteasers.
8. Have a special math or science day with the entire family.
9. Write down ten questions about how the world works that you want answered.
10. Join a math or science club.
11. Find a book or Web site on science experiments.
12. Get a tutor or classmate to help with science or math.
13. Teach someone else science or math.
14. Research the orgins of math in other cultures.
15. Build your own Web page or site.
16. Notice how you solve problems.
If your child already is logical-mathematical, make sure they participate in some sports activities, read or write stories, play an instrument, join a social club like Boys/Girl scouts, or take up gardening. It will make them more social and engage them in much need physical activities. For more information on multiple intelligences get,"You're Smarter Than You Think", by Thomas Armstrong, PhD or google multiple intelligences.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

The Linguistic Child

The linguistic child's strength has to do with words, spoken or written. Children or adults with high verbal-linguistic intelligence are able to express themselves with words and language. They are typically good at reading, writing, telling stories, and memorizing words along with dates. They tend to learn best by reading the information, taking notes, listening to lectures, and discussion and debate. They also can explain, teach, and persuade by simply speaking. Those who have verbal-linguistic intelligence learn foreign languages very easily as they have high verbal memory and recall. This intelligence are usually found as writers, lawyers, philosophers, journalists, politicians, poets, and teachers.
If you believe your child's strength is the linguistic intelligence, then reading and speaking will come very natural. They should study by taking notes, listening or tape recording information, discussing, and reading over the materials and brainstorming ideas.
How to help your child become more word smart? Your child should:
1. Write down their ideas as they get them.
2. Read about what interest them.
2. Start a journal.
4. Start going to the library.
5. Look up words they don't know in a dictionary.
7. Have a regular storytelling time with your family.
8. Pay with words.
9. Play with spoken words.
10. Join a book club where they can discuss books with others.
11. Write their favorite authors.
12. Go listen to writer speak.
13. Learn another language.
All of the intelligences are equal and we all possess some of the other intelligences, but usually one or two are more dominate. It is also important to strengthen the other intelligences . So, linguistic students should try to be a part of playing math logic games, sports, playing an instrument or singing, art lessons, dance, or join Boy/Girls Scouts. These activities will not come naturally, but can be enjoyed by linguistic students and mastered.
For more information on Multiple Intelligences get "You're Smarter Than You Think" by Thomas Armstrong, PhD. or google multiple intelligence.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

The Different Types of Intelligences

Howard Gardner has identified 7 types of intelligences in his Multiple Intelligences Theory. When asked for advice on how parents could rear successful children, Gardner replied that we should not try to make our children good at what we ourselves were good at, or what we ourselves were not good at. Gardner says that our job is to help our children become who they are supposed to be, and not what we think they should be Some parents find it difficult to do.

Teachers and recognize that all children are gifted in some area. It is our job to find out the strengths and weakness of each child. We must strengthen their weaknesses and highlight their straights. Gardner's 7 types of intelligences are:

1. Linguistic Children - These children with this kind of intelligence enjoy writing, reading, telling stories, or doing crossword puzzles.

2. Logical-Mathematical Children - These children have lots of logical intelligence are interested in patterns, categories and relationships. They are good at arithmetic, strategy games, and experiments.

3. Bodily-Kinesthetic - These children process knowledge through bodily sensations. They are often athletic, dancers, or good at crafts such as sewing or woodworking.

4. Spatical - These children think in images and pictures. They are fascinated with jigsaw puzzles, mazes, or spend time drawing and daydreaming.

5. Musical - These children are always singing or drumming. They are usually aware of sounds others may miss. These children know what music they like or don't like.

6. Interpersonal Children - These children are leaders among their peers, who are good at communicating and who seem to understand others' feelings and motives other.

7. Intrapersonal Children - These children may be shy. They are very aware of their own feelings and are self-motivated.
8. Naturalistic - These children learn best when the subject involves collecting and analyzing, or is closely related to something in nature.

The most important thing for teachers and parents to do is recognize the signs of intelligences and help develop them. Tomorrow I am going to start with the Linguistic child and go into an in depth description. I will also tell you how to develop and strengthen this type of child's intelligence. So, stay tune for tomorrow and for the rest of the week to learn about all Gardner's Intelligences and then the different learning styles. For more helpful tips on your child's education, purchase my newly released book, "A Parent's Handbook: How to Get the Best Education Possible for Your Child K-6 Grades". Order at or .

Monday, October 19, 2009

How Children Learn

Children learn in different ways. This week I am going to do a series on learning styles. I am going to tell you the latest research on how the brain actually works. Teachers are now aware of the different styles of learning and realize they must teach each skill in different ways so all children are learning.

When you know your child's learning style, you will be able to help them to study and become more successful in school. Many parents think their child is having a hard time learning, but it is simply the material is not being presented in a way they are able to understand and retain the information. I will do a different learning style every day, so make sure you read my blog for the next week or so. Hopefully, you will figure out your own learning style and it will help you also.

I hope you enjoy this series on learning styles. It should be very helpful! If you would like more helpful hints on helping you child with school, purchase my newly released book,"A Parent's Handbook: How to Get the Best Education Possible for Your Child K-6Th Grade. Order this helpful handbook/workbook at or

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Find Happiness

Everyone seeks happiness, and wants wishes to come true.

But finding it is difficult, because we seek pleasure in all we do.

Not realizing happiness, is just a state of mind.

We forget about peace, love, and charity, and always to be kind.

You'll never find true happiness, in people or in things.

You may think you'll find happiness in diamonds or in rings.

Look for others to make happy, and give some of your love away.

That is where you'll find true happiness, in giving every day!

By: Debra E. West

Saturday, October 17, 2009

A Good Man And Good Father

I'm always proud to say I know you,

You were there growing up, and I married one too.

Like winter, spring, summer, and fall are the seasons,

We know you'll defeat each challenge with reason,

And wisely decide what the family should do.

Can the spring with its beauty, the fall painted bright,

Compare to the colors of a father's pure light.

As he clutches the hand of his daughters and sons,

And loves the woman beside him, til his journey is done.

As the sun rises early, your word is never lost,

A father provides for his family, at whatever the cost.

With a strong arm of love, at each side of his frame,

A father provides, and never looks for great fame.

Each dew drop and rain drop, and rainbow are glorious,

But nothing in nature, will be as victorious,

Just find one and watch as he loves and you'll see
A good man and good father is how God meant it to be!

By: Debra E. West

Friday, October 16, 2009

A Teacher's Ability To Teach Is Extremely Important

The most important components that determines a student's overall academic achievements are the teacher's knowledge and expertise, socioeconomic status, and parental and social factors. Recent research finds that the most important factor that determines student achievement is the teacher's knowledge and expertise. This report proves that more money needs to be allocated for training and improving teacher instruction in our schools.

It is not enough to just train teachers, but there must be support to see that the instruction and training is being implemented properly. Reading coaches, math coaches, and instructional specialist must continue to be trained and oversee professional development so that the latest researched strategies are being used correctly in the classroom.

This report also proves that teachers who are unable to implement the new strategies and training, or unwilling to change current teaching methods, should be strongly encouraged to find a new profession. Research states that it really doesn't matter how many years a teacher has been in the classroom, but what makes the difference between an average teacher and a skilled and knowledgeable teacher is the willingness to train, change, and has a passion for teaching students. Today's teachers must be willing to plan and collaborate with other teachers and share ideas and materials. More importantly, because technology and students are changing so rapidly, the teacher must be willing to grow and meet all the changes.

With the positive partnership of parents, community members, a skilled faculty that continues to grow professionally, and the leadership of a supportive and visionary principal, all students should receive "The Best Education Possible". For more tips on getting a quality education, purchase my newly released book, "A Parent's Handbook: How to Get the Best Education For Your Child K-6Th Grades". You can order this handbook/workbook at or

Thursday, October 15, 2009

212 Degrees Of Power In Your Life

At 211 degrees, water is hot.
At 212 degrees, it boils.
And with boiling water, comes steam.
And steam can power a locomotive.

I was given a small book as a gift, "212 Degrees the Extra Degree", by Sam Parker and Mac Anderson. They state that by raising the temperature of water by one extra degree means the difference between something that is simply very hot and something that generates enough force to power a machine. It reminds us that seemly small things can make tremendous differences. 212 degrees is not only a message of action, it's a message of persistent and additional action. We must realize in order to reap the greatest rewards that are possible we must apply one extra degree of effort.

Now that you're aware of "212 degrees - the extra degree," no longer should you be able to do only what is expected of you, because with this awareness comes responsibility to yourself, your family, and to others. 211 degrees can serve a purpose, but 212 degrees is the extra power that will move any obstacles, and get results that required by additional effort. So, teach your children about 212 degrees of power and establish it in your own life. You will experience the reward and extraordinary success.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Hormones and Breast Cancer

According to an article in Good Housekeeping October 2009 issue, if you were on hormones and now worry about getting breast cancer, there is a new report that is reassuring: Once you stop taking the estrogen-progestin drugs, your risk of the disease drops 28 percent in the first year, an analysis from the Women's Health Initiative found. Even better news is after just two years off the hormones, your chances of breast cancer go back to normal or what they would have been if you had never take the drug.

You might want to have your vitamin D levels checked. New studies suggest women with higher levels are less likely to develop breast cancer and, it if they do, the greater D reduces the chances of a recurrence. How much should you take? Based on you test, enough to achieve a blood level of over 40 nanograms per milliliter, says Qamar Khan, M.D., of the University of Kansas Medical Center. He advises that you take a supplement of 800 to 1,000 IU a day.

Ladies, October is "Breast Cancer Awareness Month". Please make an appointment to get a mammogram today and take a girl friend with you while you're at it!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Get Our Kids Going!

If you follow my blogs, you know I am very concerned about the physical health of our children, and how much aerobic activity they get everyday. Many of our kids are overweight and addicted to TV and video games. It is time to get involved and get our kids going!

According to the September 2009 issue of WebMD Magazine, here are three suggestions on getting our kids more active:

1. Class Action - Don't assume your child is getting enough physical activity at school. Give kids a chance to move and get their heart rates up before studying makes it easier for them to learn. Ask your child's teacher about having the class do jumping jacks, run in place, and other quick exercise in between classroom activities.

2. Power Hour - Make sure your kids run around for at least an hour each day. It doesn't have to be a straight hour of exercise. Try short 15-minute burst of running, jumping, or games that encourage these activities to keep them interested and active.

3. Family Affair - Busy families tend to skip physical activities together. Bond with your kids and boost the whole family's health by planning family bike rides, walks, or other exercise you can do together.

Get your kids off to a healthy start this school year with regular exercise and healthy habits.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Children and Chores

I am a big fan of having kids do chores. Giving children chores teaches responsibility, appreciation, independence, and trains them for basic adult living. It is a dis-service to a child when they get to school and can not button or zip their coat, tie their shoes, or pick up after themselves. I have seen children who have no home chores and expect the teacher to do everything for them. This is impossible because a teacher has 18-30 other children they must look after.

Chores should be age appropriate. Make sure you are not handicapping your child by doing to much or too little. Here are some suggestions of age appropriate chores:

3-5 years old
- Help organize room (ex. pick up toys, pick up clothes, put books and other
items in place).
- Get requested items (ex. pamper for younger sibling, TV remote, books)
- Start to dress themselves

6-8 years old
- Take out trash
- Make up bed and clean their room
- Fold laundry

9-12 years old
- Operate washer and dryer
- Clean the kitchen
- Help out with younger siblings
- Cut the grass and help in the yard
- Wash the car(s)

Remember, children develop at different rates and some can handle responsibilities sooner than others. These are only suggested benchmarks.

In The Eyes Of An Innocent Child

Have you ever looked at life, through the eyes of an innocent child?

A child can see the best in me, and everything I do.

A child can sing a simple song, and have me singing too.

A child can speak the words of truth without intent or harm.

A child can reach my broken heart with a smile and out stretched arms.

A child can imagine anything, and fill my heart with joy.

A child can comfort my lonely soul, simply by sharing a favorite toy.

A child can laugh, and make a cruel world, seem a lighter place to live.

A child can touch my hardened heart, and open my hands to give.

A child can practice their ABCs, and always want to learn.

A child can love, and expect the same love, to be given in return.

What changes the lenses of someone's eyes, that makes sight so unclear?
What gives a person the sight of a blind man, full of hatred, lust, and fear?
A child sees the beauty in everyone's soul, and never discriminates.
So, why can't we see with the eyes of an innocent child?

Let's see before for it is too late!

By: Debra E. West

Saturday, October 10, 2009

The Perfect Recipe For an Effective School

4 cups of a superintendent, principal, and school board with vision and energy
6 Tablespoons of skilled, dedicated, willing to learn, motivated teachers

3 teaspoons of concerned, involved, willing to discipline when necessary, parents
4 1/2 cups of excited, hard working, well behaved students

1. Preheat school building to 72 loving degrees Fahrenheit.

2. First you must pour in 4 cups of leaders that have a vision for success and know how to make that vision come alive for everyone involved. They can verbalize the vision and get everyone to buy in. You must combine the 4 cups of leaders in a large functioning building with all the staff, materials, curriculum, and technology needed to make it smooth and fluffy.

3. Next you mix in 6 heaping Tablespoons of skilled, dedicated teachers. They must be able to do whatever it takes to make this school the perfect consistency. They should be able to apply the latest research strategies and individualize lessons so all students are engaged in learning. They should also be deeply in love with the process of learning, sharing ideas and seeing every student as a perfected work in progress. You blend that with the principal and vision until the consistency is thick and blended well.

4. Blend in 3 leveled teaspoons of concerned and involved parents. The parents are the right spice of partnership that is needed to give every school the sweet aroma of success. They cover their children with encouragement and positive attitudes about learning and consistent appropriate discipline. They turn off the heat of the TV, video games, and cell phones during the process of baking "The Best Education Possible". They attend PTA meetings, conferences, and special programs. Roll out the batter on the cooking board of knowledge and kneed the dough until the vision of the school leaders, teachers, and parents have rise together.

5. Finally, you add 4 heaping cups of excited, hard working, well behaved students. They respect the entire recipe and understand the importance of mixing well with all the other ingredients. They are self-motivated and rise to every occasion and want the baking process to be perfect until all knowledge has been significantly added for easy consumption. They feel a sense of belonging and ownership to the recipe of excellence. Slowly add the future leaders of the world and sprinkle in respect, responsibility, and resourcefulness.

6. Allow the effective school to stand in a warm place until well done. Lastly, spread the icing of outstanding academic standards on top and enjoy "The Best Education Possible For Your Child!"

Friday, October 9, 2009

Breast Cancer: Move for the Cure

Just about everyone knows a loved one or someone who has been affected by breast cancer. October is "Breast Cancer Awareness Month" and even the NFL is getting into the act, by wear some form of pink. There are new treatments and research findings for breast cancer and you must stay aware and informed. Ladies, please get a mammogram and perform a regular self-examination, because we need you here with us.

For woman who are not getting enough exercise, here is some motivation. Not only does regular workouts cut your risk of breast cancer, but if you develop the disease, an active lifestyle will lower the chances of cancer's recurring. According to an article in the October issue of Good Housekeeping magazine, physical activity reduces your odds of getting breast cancer by up to 30%. As for a better prognosis, in a study of 1,225 women diagnosed with breast cancer (mean age: 56), those who had previously logged an average of at least 3.9 hours of moderate-intensity exercise per week were 34% less likely to have their cancer return or spread than women who had the least active (clocking less than 1.4 hours a week of physical activity). "Other studies show that it's important to keep moving after a diagnosis, too," says lead author Christine Friedenreich, PhD. Exercise can help you keep from gaining weight and this will increase your chances of survival of this disease.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Schools That Work!!

I was watching MSNBC and they were doing a story about KIPP schools in New York City. Two young teachers started a Charter School that works for low income middle and high school students. The results are amazing! The schools start early, have 10 hour days, and meet during the summer and every other weekend. The program is developed to meet the needs of the student population that they service. If KIPP students make it through the 8Th grade, 85% of them will go and finish college.

The key to the success of this charter schools is everyone has a feeling of ownership and belonging. The dedicated and skilled teachers visit every students home. Parents are an important part of the success of the schools and if there is a lack of parental participation the school fills in the gap of parent. Lessons are taught in kid friendly ways with a lot of chanting, movements, and beats. These are found to be successful methods for many children of poverty.

The students must earn privileges such as earning new uniforms and going on field trips. There are currently 82 KIPP charter schools with the hopes of opening 20 more next year. Although this model will not work for every system, I think it is exciting when there is a successful model that can be replicated where it will work. We must highlight these schools and find out why they are successful and make sure every student in this country is receiving the "Best Education Possible"!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

A Condition That Effects 1 in 91 Children

The classroom is very different then just 10 years ago. Children are coming with challenges that teachers were not trained to handle. One of the challenges are how to recognize and handle an autistic child that enters the classroom. Autism is a Nero-disorder that was thought to effect 1 in 150 children. The latest findings puts that number at 1 in 91 children will fall within some spectrum of autism. The autism's spectrum can expand to very mild to extremely severe. Boys are found to be 4 times more likely to have the disorder than girls.

The key to treatment is early intervention. It is important that parents take their child to see a doctor if they think that there is a possibility that the development of the child is delayed or their behavior is unusual. When a child enters school and has not been diagnosed, it is extremely difficult for the classroom teacher to deal with the disorder if she/he is not warned or familiar on the methods on how to handle an autistic child. When a teacher is aware and gets the training on how to handle certain behaviors, it will make all the difference in how the teacher interacts with the child. Most teachers will do whatever is necessary to see that the child has a positive successful classroom experience, but they cannot do that it they are unaware of the disorder.

The most important thing a parent can do is to be honest with themselves and anyone who will have to deal with an autistic child. Make sure you become an expert and advocate for your child, because the educational institutions are just becoming aware of this growing disorder. This disorder is not the end of the world, and parents must be positive and get the right diagnosis. The next step is to receive the proper treatment and strategies that should be used for the child, because every case is so different. These children will grow up and we must service them properly, so they will be productive and happy adults.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Three Important Things To Do To "Get The Best Education Possible"

In order for your child to get the most out of school the you must be dedicated and determined that your child will receive a quality education. The school he/she attends must have a vision and qualified teachers to make sure your child receives "The Best Education Possible". Here are 3 important things you should do for your child to make sure they are successful in school:

1 Make sure your child reads or is being read to at home every day for 10-20 minutes for a younger child and 20-60 minutes for an older child.

2. Review your child's homework every evening. If they do not understand a concept help them or get them some help.

3. Turn the TV off during the week. If they must watch some TV let them choose a 30-45 minute show and then turn it off.

To find other tips to help your child get the "Best Education Possible", purchase my newly released book, "A Parents Handbook: How to Get the Best Education Possible for Your Child K-6 Grades", at or

Monday, October 5, 2009

Safe Halloween Costumes

Whether you buy your child's Halloween costume or make your own, keep safety in mind. Candles are used quite a bit during Halloween and flammability is a top concern. According to Kathleen Huddy, a textile, paper, and plastics director, says that costumes with spray-on glitter (even if they claim to be flame-retardant) are the greatest risk, because the glue that holds the glitter on can be very flammable. It would be better to: sew on sequins if you must have sparkles. She also suggest that all costumes should be made of synthetic fabric, never cotton; generally, nylons and polyesters melt when they come in contact with a flame and cotton can ignite quickly and the flame can travel throughout the costume. Capes may be a danger if they are too long because they may get caught into a pumpkin's candle. So, this Halloween, please think safety when choosing or making your child's costume. It is better to be safe then sorry.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Twelve Years Old and Can't Read

I was watching CNN news this morning and Bryron Pitts, a Cnn News Commentator, just released his book about growing up and not being able to read. He was smart enough to get by and no one knew that he was unable to read. When his teacher finally realized he could not read she told his mother that she thought he may be "retarded". His mother refused to accept that diagnosis. She worked tiredlessly to make sure he got the help he needed until he completed high school and college. It is sad to say, but this story is not unusual.

This is why I take my hat off to the state of Alabama. They adopted the Alabama Reading Intuitive, ARI, which trained all elementary teachers in strategies to help the struggling readers with research based methods. They also placed a reading coach who received additional training and placed one in every elementary school building in the state. The reading coach is responsible for making sure the strategies are being implemented properly, train the teachers, and work with struggling readers. The state test every child, K-3, three times a year. With that data the principal, reading coach, and teachers determines who needs additional intervention to make sure every child is reading at certain benchmarks throughout the year. If a child is having difficulty, then a plan is developed and the child given additional instruction, a short assessment weekly, and changes are made if improvement is not evident. These reports are sent to local and state personnel who closely worked with the principals, reading coaches, and teachers to find out the interferences that may be keeping a child from reading on grade level.

This program has been so successful that school districts from all over the country are coming to Alabama to see what ARI is all about. I am the reading coach at The Academy for Academics and Arts, and can proudly say that we have successfully moved most of our students K-3 to reading on grade level or above and this is something to celebrate. This has been done with really hard work from the classroom teachers, who have been willing to change old instruction and old habits to advance every child in their classes. These teachers are also skilled, capable, professionals who are concerned with the progress of every child in the building. It is an atmosphere of professionals educators coming together and sharing good instructional practices for the advancement of every child.

There are research based reading strategies available and there should be no more Bryron Pitts going through a school system and reaching twelve years old unable to read. Parents you must get involved and support your childrens' education. For more information on things you can do, you can purchase my book, "A Parents Handbook: How to Get the Best Education Possible for Your Child K-6 Grades", from or go to

Saturday, October 3, 2009

The Basic Financial Skills Every Child Needs to Master by the Age of 18

Learning how to manage money can start very early in a child's development. The reason so many families are in financial ruins is because they never truly understood how to make their money work for them. There are some basic principles that every child should learn as soon as they start receiving finanical gifts for birthdays, holidays, chores, or allowances. If you don't understand money take family financing courses at local community college, college internet courses, self-help books, or any church or community financial courses. Below are 10 things your child should start as early as 3-5 years old and master by 18 years old.

1. How to save;

2. How to keep track of money;

3. how to get paid what you're worth;

4. How to spend wisely;

5. How to talk about money;

6. How to invest;

7. How to live on a budget;

8. How to excercise an entrepreneurial spirit;

9. How to handle credit; and,

10. How to use money to change the world

* list above from "Raising Financially Fit Kids," by Joline Godfrey.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Why Do I Worry?

Sometimes I feel overwhelmed with pressure from home, work, and health challenges, (like visits from my old friend Arthur). I could worry about my children, grandchildren, my father, sisters, nieces, or nephews. I could worry about meeting deadlines, making sure every child is reading on grade level, or all the teachers getting the help and the materials they need to be successful. I could worry about my book getting to the parents that really need it, and the book getting distributed to bookstores. I could worry about my husband's health or the aches and pains I feel in my neck, shoulders, arms, and knees when the barometric pressure is high and rain is on the horizen. But, when the weight of daily life starts pressing down on me, I remember one of my great-grandfather's favorite hymns:

His Eye Is On The Sparrow
Why should I feel discourage?
Why should the shadows come?
Why should my heart feel lonely?
And long for heaven and home.
At this point my soul is lifted up and all the pressures of life roll off my aching shoulders with the chorus of the song. I remember my great-grandfather's beautiful, strong, baritone voice singing loudly...

I sing because I'm happy.
I sing because I'm free.
His eye is on the sparrow,
And I know He watches me.

And once again all the cares and worries just seem to disappear into the night!! I can close my eyes, say a silent prayer and get some much needed rest to meet tomorrow's challenges.

Thank you Pop Pa for living a life of service to God, and teaching me to know where all my strength comes from, and I don't need to worry, because... He watches me.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

How to Lose an Easy 5 Pounds!

When I was little I was told, "An apple a day keeps the doctor away." Now the experts are saying an apple a day will make you thinner! Well anything that will make me thinner gets my attention. A Penn State researcher served an apple as an "appetizer." The diners took in on average 187 fewer calories than a group who had only the entree. That sounds simple enough to me, but will it work? The researcher suggest that whole fruit works best: Apple juice and apple sauce, even with the same amount of calories and fiber, just weren't as filling and didn't curb meal intake as much. So, buy yourself some apples, which will be in season really soon and eat one before your meals. You could drop five pounds and may find yourself "too stuffed " for dessert!

To find more tips on fighting cravings with healthier substitutions go to

About This Blog

This weblog seeks primarily to be a resource to parents and their children facilitating, "Empowerment & Personal Responsibility through Education."

This weblog is an extension of BestEducationPossible-theCommunity an online community dedicated to Parents and their efforts to empower their children through Education.

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