September 29, 2011

Mr. Rogers on Grandparents and Other Smart People

Papa Lenny and Trevor

Mr. Rogers on Grandparents
and Other Smart People.....

Grandparents are both our past and our future.
In some ways they are what has gone before,
and in others they are what we will become.

Learning and loving go hand in hand. My grandfather was one of those people who loved to live and loved to teach. Every time I was with him, he’d show me something about the world or something about myself that I hadn’t even thought of yet. He’d help me find something wonderful in the smallest of things, and ever so carefully, he helped me understand the enormous worth of every human being. My grandfather was not a professional teacher, but the way he treated me (the way he loved me) and the things he did with me, served me as well as any teacher I’ve ever known.

Understanding love is one of the hardest things in the world.

It always helps to have people we love beside us
 when we have to do difficult things in life.
(I guess that is why we go to so many
Little League games and dance recitals.)

There’s something unique about being a member of a family
that really needs you in order to function well.
One of the deepest longings a person can have
is to feel needed and essential.

The greatest gift you can ever give is your honest self.

You bring all you ever were and are
to any relationship you have today.

In the external scheme of things,
shining moments are as brief as the twinkling of an eye,
yet such twinklings are what eternity is made of –
moments when we human beings can say
“I love you”
“I’m proud of you”
“I forgive you”
“I’m grateful for you”.
That is what eternity is made of:
invisible, imperishable good stuff.

Listening is where love begins.

The really important “great” things
are never center stage of life's dramas;
they're always "in the wings".
That's why it's so essential for us to be mindful of
the humble and deep
rather than the flashy and superficial.

G and Kate

One of the greatest dignities of humankind
is that each successive generation
is invested in the welfare of each new generation.

I find out more and more every day
how important it is for people
 to share their memories.

From Bamberg, Germany where I am
making memories to share.

September 26, 2011

And The Winner Is...

Recently, CTP fans, staff, and retailers voted on a few fun design concepts for a new magnetic notepad.  This colorful design below was the winner!  Thanks to all who participated in the vote, and for sending such great feedback!

Look for this magnetic notepad in June 2012!

September 22, 2011

The Wisdom of Mr. Rogers

In my last blog I mentioned that Lenny and I love to travel. 
Well, we are doing that right now.  
We are in Prague about to get on a boat that will take us along the
Rhine and Main rivers across to Cologne in Germany. 
 I hope to see lots of castles along the way.

Mr. Rogers has offered to fill in for me while I am gone.

I have been working on a presentation called
People of our Neighborhood
for NAEYC in a few weeks. 
Mr. Rogers was an important neighbor 
 so I did a little reading about him.
 I just finished a book (on my Nook) called
  Wisdom from The World According to Mister Rogers.

The foreword was written by his wife. 
She said she was always finding little notes that Fred
had written to himself with special thoughts and quotes on them. 
 She compiled his notes into this little book. 

Here are a few that were meaningful to me.
On the recent anniversary of 9/11

When I was a boy and would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, “Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping”. To this day, especially in time of “disaster”, I remember my mother’s words, and I am always comforted by realizing that there are still so many helpers-so many caring people in the world.

When I was very young, most of my childhood heroes wore capes, flew through the air, or picked up buildings with one arm. They were spectacular and got a lot of attention. But as I grew, my heroes changed, so that now I can honestly say that anyone who does anything to help a child is a hero to me.

  As human beings, our job in life is to help people realize how rare and valuable each one of us really is, that each of us has something that no one else has-or ever will have- something inside that is unique to all time. It’s our job to encourage each other to discover that uniqueness and provide ways of developing its expression.

“I like being a part of the beach of life...
I like being one of the grains of sand.”
Dr. Margaret McFarland

Often when you think you’re at the end of something,
you’re at the beginning of something else. 
I’ve felt that many times. 
 My hope for all of us is that “the miles we go before we sleep”
will be filled with all the feelings that come from deep caring...
delight, sadness, joy, wisdom...
and that in all the endings of our life
we will be able to see the new beginnings.

So in all that you do in all of your life,

I wish you the strength and the grace to make those choices
which will allow you and your neighbor to become the best
of whoever you are.

Prague Explorer Walking Tour and Boat Trip
Greetings from Prague......

September 14, 2011

Tell me your story and win some books!!!!

This Is My Story
by Jill
This is my story, all about me.
It is about my friends and my family.
This my story.
It is true.
It is about what I like.
It is about what I do.
You can read my story,
I hope that you do.
You can write a story all about YOU!
My Story
My name is Jill.  I am 7.  I have a brother and a sister
and a mom and a dad.  My funny yellow dog likes to
swim in my pool.  My friends are Annie and Will.
We like to play soccer and eat pizza.

Resource Guide:
Have children brainstorm contents for a bag that Jill, the main character in  This Is My Story, might have filled.

For homework, give each child a brown grocery bag and a parent letter explaining the assignment.

Ask children to fill their bag with objects that describe just who they are.

Model this activity first by bringing in your own bag, describing its contents, and writing a personal narrative that mentions your props.

Then ask children to write about themselves, referring to the objects in their bags.

When the writing is complete, have children share their items and read their stories.

This is my bag.
(Notice that I over-did
the decoration a little).

This is my stuff!

This is my letter:

My name is Tommie and this is my story.

These are some of the people that are very important to me. 
 Lenny and I have been married for 45 years. 
We have two children and a daughter-in-law.
We count her as one of our children so that makes 3. 
Trevor and Kate are our grandchildren. 
They call me "G" which stands for grandma.

Lenny and I love to travel. 
 One time we went to Holland and I tried on some
VERY large wooden shoes.

I loved the tulips
and the windmills.

NOOK Color screen
I love to read just about anything.
For my birthday I got a Color Nook. 
Now, I can read in the dark.  What fun!


I collect Teddy Bears. 
I have about a dozen. 
I made this one myself from
an old quilt that my grandmother
 made for me. 
This bear's name is Belle. 

The poem says...
I wish I was a
Teddy Bear.
Everybody loves them.
Nobody cares how fat you get.
And the older you get,
the more you are worth.

Maybe that is why I like Teddy Bears.

That's my story.  What is yours?

I would really love to hear your stories and see you classroom and kids.
Send me a note and/or picture to
I will choose 10 to receive prizes. 
The prize this time is one each of the three books
mentioned in the latest posts.
I Am Special
Special Memories
This Is My Story

Be sure to send you name, email address, and home address
when you send your stories.
(Your story can be short. 
You know I have a tendency to go on and on and on.)
 Be sure to send them to my email
 not as a comment on the blog.

I can't wait to read your stories.

September 8, 2011

Special Memories

CTP has a great series of books called
Learn to Write.
Each of the 24 engaging little books focuses on a different writing concept.
The last page of each book invites readers to write their own story 
modeled after the writing done by the characters in the book. 
The resource guide offers even more activities to extend the books.

In a few weeks we will be attending NAEYC in Orlando.
I am presenting a session called, People of our Neighborhood.
I have been studying someone
 who was a very important neighbor,
Mr. Rogers.

I hope to share with you some of the
wisdom of Mr. Rogers in future posts.

I love this quote from him,
"I find out more and more every day
how important if is for people to
share their memories."

Here is a book from Learn to Write to help kids do just that.

To read this little book go to
Do a quick search for Special Memories.
Then click on details and then sample pages.
You can do this for any of the small readers.

These pages are from the resource guide for
Learn to Write.
This book is available in an e-book
so you can buy it and use it right now.
Quick search for 6227-EB.

I always like to try to find other uses for books....
like sparking ideas for making my own.

I love using the 6" Poppin' Pattern cards
for the book and binding the pages with ring-its.

This is a Special Memories book that
Kate and I made after going on a Disney cruise.
She got to meet all the princesses.
What a Day!

Kids love to see pictures of when they were little
especially when they can compare
Then and Now.

Trevor and I had a great time making this book
for an assignment for Grandparents Day
when he was in kindergarten.

We included several pages telling
how different things were then.

It was fun for me to re-live those
Special Memories from LONG AGO!

How different life is for these post 9/11 kids!

I wonder what his Special Memories will be.

September 1, 2011

All About Me

Most teachers do a unit on All About Me at the beginning of the year
to introduce the kids to each other and to welcome them into the class.

Each child is special.

To read this book go to
Do a Quick Search for I Am Special.
Click on details and then on sample pages.

This idea from Early Childhood Centers goes perfectly with the little book.

It starts as a step-book and ends with a thumb print.
The child lists the things he can do.
Then ends with I am "thumb-body" special.

I would like to share with you my rationale
for teaching an All About Me  unit.

The Help is a book that has been on the best-sellers list for months.
Recently, I went with my daughter and sister to see the movie.
After the movie my daughter asked, “Was it really like that?”
Having grown up in the south during that time
my sister and I both answered, “Yes”.
 Most people of the south were not like that, but certainly some were.
It was a sad time in our nation’s history.

I think more people were like Skeeter's mother. 
People knew things were wrong, but they didn't have the courage
 to stand up for what was right.
I think it is interesting that the movie is being shown at the same time
 as the dedication of the Martin Luther King Memorial in Washington D.C.
 Talk about courage!

I cried through the last ten minutes of the movie.
Aibileen, the maid, was falsely accused of stealing and was fired.
It came time for her to say goodbye to Mae Mobley,
the little three year old girl who thought of her as Momma.
Both Aibileen and the little girl were crying.
Aibileen takes her aside and tells her….
”Baby Girl, always remember what I taught you.”

Mae Mobley puts her pudgy white hands on Aibileen’s black face
and together they repeat….

"I is kind.

I is smart.

I is important."

Every child needs someone in his life to teach them just that.

This year, for some child, that someone is YOU.