Life's like that!

July 31, 2010

Notes from a Beginning Teacher

I just read this blog post on The Tempered Radical about what new teachers need from their experienced colleagues.

All praise be to Allah SWT I am glad that I read it. Allah SWT willing I know now how to give my support to new teachers at the Islamic school for this coming school year.

Click here to read about it.


July 30, 2010

Understanding 4th Grade Students

Since I am going to be a group of 4th graders for the next 10 months, Allah SWT willing, I need to understand their psychological state of mind better. Here is an information article about 9-year-old kids on this web site.

According to the School Psychologist: 4th Grade

By Dewi L. Faulkner

Can it really be? That little squirmy, wriggling ball of sweetness and cuddles you held in your arms nine years ago is now standing, brow furrowed, at home plate getting ready to whack a softball to kingdom come? Fourth grade is often when children are “truly coming into themselves and are more engaged in the world around them. They can demonstrate a striking level of competence. Our job is to notice this change and support it,” explains Lori Landau, Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and Parenting Coach.

While preoccupation with peers and the need to fit in remains strong at this age, the fourth grade child is often even more concerned with measuring up to her own demands on herself. She is now being graded in school, not to mention being casually assessed by her peers and family members. The fourth grader may begin to exhibit a preoccupation with competition and “being the best,” either academically, in sports, or in some other skill or hobby in which she has an expressed interest. Fourth graders are “more self-reflecting as they’ve encountered enough of the outside world and judgments to know that they don’t always win or get chosen to have their work highlighted,” states Landau.

In addition to increasing self-awareness and budding recognition of her unique place in the world, a fourth grader is developing her sense of morality as well. This age marks the beginning of true autonomy in children in addition to the ability to see and process points of view other than their own. “They are able to make a decision and accept the consequences for it. They have made the shift to understanding that a correct behavior is based on their own internal values, rather than the threat of punishment that guided their actions only a couple years before,” explains thirty-year veteran school psychologist Dr. Laurie Zelinger, Ph.D.

With increased participation in school and extracurricular activities, in addition to her growing sense of self, and ability to process the world around her, fourth grade can be a heady time. It's important to help your child learn to budget and manage her time effectively, making sure, especially, that she always gets a good night’s rest. If your fourth grader becomes withdrawn or seems stressed, try helping her pare down some of her activities until she has a schedule that allows for unscheduled play and quiet time.

“Keep in mind however, that no matter how bogged down your child may get, kids are incredibly resilient,” advises Landau. Fourth grade parents are faced with the exciting (and sometimes daunting) task of helping their children nurture and develop the skills that in many ways will contribute to who they ultimately become as adults. “Find their strengths and keep them in the foreground,” Dr. Zelinger advises. “Applaud effort, not outcome.”


Blogging about your job

I have been reading several blogs by nurses who blog about their ups and downs at their hospital. I am also reading teachers' blogs that provides insights into helping kids make sense of learning and the 'wonderful' world of dealing with ' challenging' parents.

I can't say for sure that I won't be blogging about my new job. But if I were to do so, I hope to make it light/funny and not make light/fun of it.

Allah SWT willing.


July 29, 2010

Five signs you're in the wrong job

During this past two years as a 'domestic diva,' the thought of going back to work popped up in my head at least once a day. I guess it is because I started working at age 13 as a part-time bookshop assistant, so I'm a workaholic at heart.

I just read this article to find out signs that indicate I might be in the wrong job as a stay-at-home mom. After reading it, I am able to see how going back to work may just be the right thing for my family.

Five signs you're in the wrong job by Dave Snow

Most of us spend a significant proportion of our waking hours at work, so no one wants to be stuck in an uninspiring or stressful role. While even the most satisfied employee can have an off day, it may be heartening to know that 48% of Brits describe themselves as fulfilled at work and almost two thirds have had a job that they genuinely loved at some point in their lives.

However, that still leaves over half the population who aren't happy with their professional situation.

It's unlikely that any job will be 100% perfect, but if you live for the weekends and then spend Sunday in dreaded anticipation of the coming week then now might be the time to look for a more rewarding position. The main consideration is whether your current level of dissatisfaction is the result of temporary circumstances -- either of a personal nature or within your organisation -- or a sign of deeper problems that can only be fixed by a fresh start in a new company.

If you're still unsure whether it's better to stay put or jump ship then the check list below might come in handy -- if you find yourself nodding in recognition of three or more of these points then it could be time for a change:

1) The 80-20 rule applies for all the wrong reasons
The 80-20 principle was introduced as an economic theory in the early 20th century and has since been applied to many areas of life, such as diet. Nowadays it's an effective way to assess professional satisfaction, with the aim that you should be reasonably happy about 80% of the time you're at work. If the balance shifts and you spend most of your time feeling dissatisfied or frustrated then it's a clear indication that something is inherently wrong and major change is required.

2) You haven't had a pay rise in years
There are many factors to consider when assessing happiness at work - some of which are hard to measure -- but there's no doubting that money is a key issue and it's normal to expect your salary to increase over time.

The recent economic climate has forced numerous organisations to freeze pay rises and promotions until their financial situation improves. However, Home Learning College research shows that 10% of workers haven't had a pay rise in the past five years -- long before the recession caused companies to tighten the purse strings.

If this is ringing any bells then the question is whether your company is simply unable or unwilling to address the situation or whether your performance is lacking in some area. Either way, it's time to face the up to the problem and either fight for a pay rise or move into a new line of work that's better suited to your personality and skills.

3) The thought of promotion fills you with dread
Increasing responsibility is another sign of development and success at work, and many people are stimulated by the challenge of progressing to the next level in their career. However, if you're feeling bogged down and stressed by your current workload, or as though you're a round peg in a square hole, then the thought of additional accountability is sure to leave you cold. If this lack of desire for change is due to satisfaction with your current circumstances then there is no law that you need to strive for more seniority. When combined with a sense of inertia or feeling trapped in the wrong role then it's a warning signal that something isn't right.

4) Your work never excites or interests you
Money and promotions aside, most people prefer to be stimulated at work and boredom is often cited as a key reason for leaving a job. Doing the same role, day after day for several years, can become extremely tedious and leave you feeling jaded and in need of a new focus.

Consider when you last learnt something new at work: if you can't remember then it's time to get the old grey matter buzzing again. A change can be as good as a rest, but it's not always necessary to turn your life upside down to enjoy these benefits. Another option is to take up a vocational course that will deliver practical skills and may enhance your existing role or set you off on a whole new career path.

5) Conversations about work are mostly negative
It's completely normal to gripe about work occasionally. After all, there is no other social situation where you are obliged to spend a set amount of hours in the company of people you may not always like, doing things you may not always agree with. While the odd moan can be a healthy outlet for such frustrations these shouldn't dominate your conversations, either with friends or colleagues.

If you've passed that tipping point and rarely have a good word to say about work then your unhappiness at work has clearly spread into other areas of your life. Instead of wasting valuable energy complaining about things you probably can't change, why not re-focus that time on doing something productive, such as gaining new skills or hunting for a more suitable role. Not only will you feel happier, but those closest to you will feel relieved at having a new topic for discussion.


Know Your Icons Part 1 – A Brief History of Computer Icons

1990 – Windows 3

Check out this web site. These icons sure bring back memories for me...


Books, Bookstores and Libraries That Are Out to Get You

(Received link via American Libraries Direct)

Do you know that there is a certain sub-genre (sub-sub-genre?) of murder mysteries concerned with the world of authors, manuscripts, rare and deadly books - with the emphasis on deadly books?. Typically, they feature an indefatigable hero leaping around libraries in a race against time, unearthing cyphers, ancient manuscripts and clues hidden in old books.

Thrillers like this belong to a popular sub-genre called bibliomysteries, and as the name suggests, they all concern some sort of bookish skull-duggery.

Click here to see book covers of the following titles.

The Book With The Iron Clasps by Angus B. Reach in 1848
The Book of Death (The Sexton Blake Library series)
The Locked Book by Frank L. Packard
The Closed Book by William LeQueux
Murder of a Novelist by Sally Wood
The Murder of a Mystery Writer by John Hawk
Death Stops the Manuscript by Richard M. Baker
The Fatal Manuscript! (The Sexton Blake Library series)
The Title is Murder by Hugh L. Nelson
The Body on Page One by Delano Ames
Murder in a Library by Charles J. Dutton
Death Walks in Marble Halls by Lawrence G. Blochman
The Library of Death by Ronald S.L. Harding
Dewey Death by Charity Blackstock
Murder in the Bookshop by Carolyn Wells
The Bookshop Mystery by James Saxon Childers
A Book for Banning by Nat Easton
Forbidden Book by Anne Marsh
Murder-First Edition by Truman Garrett
The Gutenberg Murders by Gwen Bristow and Bruce Manning
Murders in Volume 2 by Elizabeth Daly
The Mystery of the Human Bookcase by William Morton
Death of a Bookseller by Bernard J. Farmer


News: Kitten found stuffed in library book drop

A striped kitten is fighting for its life at the Montgomery County SPCA after someone left him in the book drop of a library in Cheltenham Township, officials said Monday.

The male gray tabby was placed in the book drop at the La Mott Community Center, which doubles as a library, sometime overnight Thursday after the center closed at 9 p.m.

The kitten was discovered by a maintenance man at 7:30 a.m. Friday when he reported for work - and heard mewing from the drop box.

"He investigated, and lo and behold, it was a kitty," said Kelly Rebitz, a center staffer.

The worker summoned police and community center officials who unlocked the drop box, she said. The kitten was freed at 9:30 a.m. and taken to the SPCA for emergency treatment.

Read the rest of the report here.


You're Hired!

All praise be to Allah SWT I am hired as the 4th grade teacher's aide at the Islamic school.

I am thankful for this fabulous opportunity to hang out with cool teachers and wonderful kids (and get paid), but I am torn by the thought that I will be away from the kids.

DD1 loves to play board games like Chutes & Ladders and Candyland. She also likes to put together simple jigsaw puzzles with me. She also loves to sit close to me while I read some of her favorite books e.g. The Hungry Thing Goes to a Restaurant, Mother Goose Nursery Rhymes and Chrysanthemum etc.

DD2 is smiling more often now, especially after getting a new clean diaper and feeding. She has been looking at her hands since last week, trying to figure out how to use her cute little fingers.

It's a good thing that I'll be working from 7:30am to 3:30pm, Monday to Friday, so that I can be home early to spend time with the girls. On the weekends I plan to bring DD1 to the public library so that she and I can spend time together on our own. Allah SWT willing I hope to balance work and home commitments during this coming school year.


July 28, 2010

Book: Getting Things Done When You Are Not in Charge

I bought the book 'Getting things done when you are not in charge: how to succeed from a support position' by Geoffrey M. Bellman when I was working at TTU. I read it this afternoon and I learned what I can do to bring positive changes.

I would recommend this book to anyone who is looking for ideas on how to empower oneself while increasing one's work contribution and personal satisfaction. Here are some main points in book that I find enlightening.

(Page 78)
Integrating Politics and Principles
  1. Know what your principles are.
  2. Acknowledge the reality of politics.
  3. Know that you are a part of the political process.
  4. When you want to get something important done, know that it will be considered politically as well as objectively.
  5. Be clear about what you will and will not do in the politics of your organization.
(Page 79)
Creating a Positive Political Climate
  1. Deal with people face to face. - Politics are based on established relationships of loyalty and trust.
  2. Find shared goals.
  3. Take the larger, longer view.
  4. Take an open, receptive stance.
  5. Use openness to undermine secretive, back-room politics.
  6. Increase your tolerance of ambiguity.
  7. Remember that understanding does not mean agreement.
(Page 81)
Outcome and Options (5 steps process to get you through politically loaded encounters:
  1. Remind yourself of the outcomes you want to achieve through dealing with other people.
  2. Survey all of your options: What could you do or say that would make it more possible for you to realize the outcomes you want?
  3. Ask yourself: From all of these options, which do you want to do? Which do you not want to do? Which are you open or not open to doing? (Consider your principles.)
  4. Choose; decide on the path to take that will be most likely to lead you and others to the results you want.
  5. Act.
(Page 171)
Simple Rules for Establishing Patterns of Success
  1. Grow through small success.
  2. Risk being converted - Be at least as willing to listen to others as you are to have them listen to you.
  3. Give your customers an "out." - Provide alternatives.
  4. Expect not to be appreciated.
  5. Accept their lack of knowledge.
  6. Focus on what they know. - If you want people to talk with you and tell you what is going on, then ask them to tell you about their work.
  7. Don't give your expertise away. - Help people to recognize the special expertise you bring, by suggesting how you might help them.
  8. Reinvent the wheel.
  9. Ready, fire, aim.
  10. Model what you want. - Do for yourself whatever it is that you would have others do for themselves.
(Page 269)
Leading Change
  • You have the opportunity to lead your life.
  • Leading required going places you have never been before.
  • Leading requires that you separate yourself from others.
  • Leading involves expressing your uniqueness in a way that allows others to embrace it and you.
  • Leading helps others realize what they want and take responsibility for getting it.
  • If you choose not to lead your life, others will.
  • The rewards of leading come primarily from yourself.

Labels: ,

July 27, 2010

Neighbor Blues

All praise be to Allah SWT the contractors finally finished the construction of a roof over the concrete patio. This project took about a week and the backyard is in a mess. I'll have to get it all cleaned up before I go back to work next week. The chickens will be pleased to have their territory back.

Yesterday the landlord dropped by the check on the progress. He said that one of the neighbors, who works the night shift, filed a complaint at the city hall about construction noise. He even asked the contractors to show him the building permit. My landlord told me that he had checked with the city hall and was told he would not need a building permit for the patio. He was not very happy with the neighbor who complained. I think it is understandable for the neighbor's to sleep well in order to function properly at his workplace. Well it is finally done, so there should not be any more problems.

I hope.


Work is Fun

Me: What do you want to be when you grow up?

DD1: A conductor!

Me: Huh?

DD1: Dinosaur train conductor!

Me: Don't you want to be a teacher? A chef? A doctor? Or a nurse?

DD1: No.

Me: Why do you want to be a train conductor?

DD1: Because it's fun!

Me: A train conductor will get to meet many different people, you know.

DD1: And it's fun!

(Yup. That's my girl!)


July 23, 2010

Quiz: Which Austen Heroine Are You?

I am Marianne Dashwood!

Take the Quiz here!

You are Marianne Dashwood of Sense & Sensibility! You are impulsive, romantic, impatient, and perhaps a bit too brutally honest. You enjoy romantic poetry and novels, and play the pianoforte beautifully. To boot, your singing voice is captivating. You feel deeply, and love passionately.


July 22, 2010

Top 20 Teacher Blogs

Click on this link to read funny and inspiring blogs by teachers, a library media specialist and a bus driver!


Alphabet Wiki

This is an AWESOME web site that has videos of kids learning the alphabet letters in a fun and interactive way.

Makes me wish I had teachers like the ones who posted these videos when I was in primary school.


Video: Hands in the Air (Fingerplay)


Video: Wide Mouthed Frog (Storytelling by Patrick Lewis)

This video is linked from this Canadian first grade teacher blog.


July 20, 2010

News: Hospitals seeing more prescription drug addicted babies


Posted on July 20, 2010 at 6:57 AM

SEATTLE - Prescription drug abuse is nothing new, but it's a problem that is growing and now babies are paying the price.

Hospitals are delivering more newborns addicted to the powerful opiates than ever before.

At any given moment, hospitals like Harborview Medical Center in Seattle are delivering babies that are addicted and more and more of them are withdrawing from prescription pills.

Barbara Drennen is co founder of the non-profit Kent Pediatric Interim Care Center. She takes care of addicted newborns.

Drennen says the medical community is well aware of the growing problem of prescription pill addiction and pregnant women.

They're using opiates like Oxycontin, Vicodin and Percocet, which can be highly addictive and very powerful.

One the biggest problems is that many times these types addictions can start out with legitimate prescription use but then quickly spin out of control..

It takes anywhere from 30 to 60 days for newborns to wean off of the drugs.

"So we need to move rather quickly because the minute that baby is born he's going to go cold turkey now that he's not receiving these drugs any longer," says Drennen.

As for the babies' long term recovery, the Pediatric Interim Care Center says other than being hypersensitive to overstimulation like noise and light, the babies should be fine.

Of course this is relatively new and the long term effects won't be known for some time.

The National Institute on Drug Abuse says some of the best ways to try and stop this growing problem are better training for doctors to spot the addictions, better training for pharmacists who interact with patients and can give them clear directions and for the patients themselves to follow the prescribed directions.

Labels: ,

Text Messaging and Chat Abbreviations

I have been sending text messages to friends more often lately. It is an effective way of communication when I need to send a short note to let them know they are in my thoughts. However, instead of using abbreviations to shorten my messages, I tend to spell out whole words in complete sentences. Maybe I should memorize some commonly used abbreviations to prevent thumb texting injury.

Check out this web site for a list of text messaging and chat abbreviations.

Thumb Pain and the Danger of Text Message Injury from

Virgin Mobile has launched a website which explains how to avoid repetitive strain injury (RSI) from sending too many text messages.

New findings from Virgin Mobile reveal that:

• Latest figures from the MDA reveal that over 100 million text messages are sent every single day in the UK alone
• 3.8 million British mobile phone users suffer from text-related injuries
• 38% people suffer from sore wrists and thumbs from texting
• Virgin Mobile link up with the British Chiropractic Association to help prevent Text Message Injury ( TMI )
• Visit for further information

Sensible advice

• If texting starts to hurt. Stop. Use the other hand or call instead
• Vary the hand you use
• Vary the digits you use
• Don’t text for more than a few minutes without a break


Stop these exercises if you feel any pain otherwise you can do more harm than good.

In your texting hand: -

• Tap each finger with the thumb of the same hand. Repeat x 5
• Pull your thumb firmly with the other hand. Repeat x 5
• Wrap an elastic band around the tips of fingers and thumb and open your hand against the resistance. Repeat x 20
• Palms down wrap an elastic band around each thumb and force apart. Repeat x 20
• Tap the palm and back of your hand on your thigh as quickly as you can. Repeat x 20
• Massage thumb web, back of forearm and front of forearm. 2 minutes.
• Press and rub in a circular motion the painful nodules in those muscles. 30 seconds for each nodule.
• Reach up high with both arms and shake your hands. Reach down low with both arms and shake. Repeat x 3.
• Arms at 45 degrees squeeze them behind you.
• If it still hurts after a week of doing exercises wrap an ice pack on sore hand and arm parts. Do not put ice directly on the skin but wrap in a thin cloth or piece of kitchen roll. 10 minutes on, 10 minutes off. Repeat x 3.


Article: Highly Qualified for Successful Teaching: Characteristics Every Teacher Should Possess (PDF)

Here are the main points from the article. I think these characteristics are also essential for successful parenting.

Fairness - Whenever we are dealt with by someone in a manner that violates what we think constitutes fairness in the situation, we react negatively. Any semblance of favoritism, or lack or fairness, can leave scars that last a lifetime.

Positive attitude - Effective teachers are those who use "meaningful verbal praise to get and keep students actively participating in the learning process'. Effective teachers are generally positive minded individuals who believe in the success of their students as well as their ability to help students achieve.

Preparedness - Nothing frustrates a student more than to come to class and be assaulted by a teacher who has no idea what he or she is doing. In a classroom where students were well prepared, behavior problems were less prevalent. The well-prepared teacher is more likely to be able to take time during lessons to notice and attend to behavioral matters, and is less like to miss the beginnings of potentially disruptive activity.

Personal touch - Teachers who convey a personal touch with their students call their students by name, smile often, ask about students' feelings and opinions, and accept students for who they are. Teachers who bring their lives and stories into the classroom build trust with their students. Teachers who tell stories of events in their own lives which relate to subject matter currently being taught, captivate students interest and promote bonding with the students. Teachers who show interest in their students have interested students.

Sense of humor - If a teacher has a quick wit and the ability to break the ice in difficult situations with the use of humor, this is an extremely valuable asset.

Creativity - Students remembered unusual things that their teachers did in their teaching and the creative ways that they decorated the classroom or motivated the students.

Willingness to admit mistakes - Teachers who recognize their mistakes and apologize for them when they affect the students provide an excellent model to give students, and a great way to be remembered as a favorite teacher.

Forgiving - A willingness to forgive students for misbehavior and a habit of starting each day with a clean slate.

Respect - Favorite teachers were remembered for keeping grades on papers confidential, for speaking to students privately after misbehavior or when the teacher needed some clarification, in contrast to public rebuke. Favorite teachers were remembered for showing sensitivity for feelings and for consistently avoiding situations that would unnecessary embarrass students.

High expectations - Teachers' expectation levels affect the ways in which teachers teach and interact with students. In turn, these behaviors affect student learning. Generally, students either rise to their teachers' expectations or do not perform well when expectations are low or non-existent.

Compassion - A caring teacher can have a tremendous impact on the frequency of insensitive, uncaring, or deliberately malicious behavior in the classroom.

Sense of belongings - Teachers develop a sense of family in their classrooms. Classroom pets, random act of kindness awards, class picture album, and class cooperative goals were employed to build a sense of unity and companionship. In addition, emphasis was placed on maintaining an emotionally safe classroom. Good teachers also took strong measures to prevent mean and hurtful behavior like teasing and bullying. Effective teachers know well that when children feel emotionally, as well as, physically safe, they learn far better.


Personality Traits for English as Second Language (ESL) Teachers.

There are certain personality traits, such as being friendly and patient, that are required of all teachers. Other traits, such as being open-minded, are important for ESL teachers in general. Teaching may come more naturally to people who have many of the traits in the following list. Personality, however, is not something that remains static throughout a career. If you are willing to let them, your students will bring out the personality traits you need to become a better teacher. Here are some qualities that students look for in ESL teachers:

  • bilingual (or studying a second language)
  • confident
  • consistent
  • creative
  • detail oriented
  • flexible
  • friendly
  • funny
  • good listener
  • independent
  • logical
  • motivated
  • motivating
  • objective
  • organized
  • outgoing
  • patient
  • resourceful
  • respectful
  • sensitive
  • sympathetic
  • strong speaker
  • well-rounded
Visit for more information.


Quiz: What is Your Teacher Personality?

I hope the diagnosis for my teacher personality is true!

You have the Fair and Balanced Personality:
You are a teacher who students can really depend on to be fair. You are consistent and balanced in your approach. You rarely raise your voice and you almost always treat every student the same. No favortism in your room. Wonderful!

Seriously though...:
Fair and balanced teachers make teaching seem easy. They have less disruptions in their classes because students realize that they will be dealt with according to the rules but in a fair and consistent way. If you ever slip up and do something that students perceive as unfair or inconsistent, don't worry - they'll be happy to point it out.

Take the test here.

Labels: ,

The Story: Decades of Oil Spill

'For the past couple of months we've heard a lot about the oil in the Gulf of Mexico, the way that it threatens both the environment and the people who depend on fishing. The Niger Delta is a similar kind of landscape. People there rely on the shrimp and the fish that have sustained them for generations, and their area is also rich in oil. World oil companies have been drilling there since the 50s - and the region has been polluted for decades by spills that get little international attention. Nnimmo Bassey runs a Nigerian NGO that works to hold oil companies accountable for the oil they spill. He talks with Dick Gordon about how he was drawn into working on behalf of people in the Niger Delta and what keeps him going, despite the danger and hopelessness he’s faced over the years.' - The Story

Listen here.


July 19, 2010

Gulf Oil Spill - Stopped Finally!

All praise be to Allah SWT, the gulf oil spill that started in April has finally been stopped. It is sad enough that 11 people were killed and many were injured in the explosion that caused the oil spill. More than 15,000 people will be out of jobs because of the pollution along the Louisiana coastline. has uploaded stories of how people's livelihood have been destroyed by this disaster.

Go to this web site for photos of the Louisiana oil spill.

Labels: ,

Video: An American Cry for Help

First seen on this blog.

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy


Video: Wile E. Coyote and Road Runner

Gotta love this duo. I love the road runner's determination to just keep on going like the Energizer bunny.

If you're on the highway and Road Runner goes beep beep.
Just step aside or might end up in a heap.
Road Runner, Road Runner runs on the road all day.
Even the coyote can't make him change his ways.

Road Runner, the coyote's after you.
Road Runner, if he catches you you're through.
Road Runner, the coyote's after you.
Road Runner, if he catches you you're through.

That coyote is really a crazy clown,
When will he learn he can never mow him down?
Poor little Road Runner never bothers anyone,
Just runnin' down the road's his idea of having fun.


July 18th: National Ice Cream Day

Yesterday was National Ice Cream Day. DD1 loves chocolate ice cream while husband prefers vanilla. My favorite ice cream flavors are Mint Chocolate Chip and Breyer's Chocolate Crackle with Vanilla. Yum!

According to,

'In 1984, President Ronald Reagan proclaimed July as National Ice Cream Month. He also established National Ice Cream Day as the third Sunday in the month. '

What does your preferred ice cream flavor reveals about you? Visit this web site and find out for yourself.

Mint Chocolate Chip

As a Mint Chocolate Chip lover, you tend to be ambitious and confident… yet a little skeptical about life. You are a realist who prepares for the future, needing a solid plan to feel secure. While your stubbornness is a business asset, it can add a challenging element to your relationships. Nonetheless, your loyalty, honesty and dependability create lasting friendships and close family ties.

Romantic Compatibility: You are most compatible with other Mint Chocolate Chip lovers.

Labels: ,

When it is time to go...

Death is a sensitive topic that people seldom talk about. Every person in the right frame of mind has the right to make well-informed decisions about his or her health. If I were to be diagnosed with an incurable illness, I wouldn't want any treatment to prolong my life. I would just want to live out the rest of my life with my family around me. Just give me some pain medication so that I am still able to function as a productive human being until my last breathe. And ask Allah SWT to make it easy for me and my family.

Americans are treated, and overtreated, to death
By MARILYNN MARCHIONE, Ap Medical Writer – Mon Jun 28, 2010

The doctors finally let Rosaria Vandenberg go home.

For the first time in months, she was able to touch her 2-year-old daughter who had been afraid of the tubes and machines in the hospital. The little girl climbed up onto her mother's bed, surrounded by family photos, toys and the comfort of home. They shared one last tender moment together before Vandenberg slipped back into unconsciousness.

Vandenberg, 32, died the next day.

That precious time at home could have come sooner if the family had known how to talk about alternatives to aggressive treatment, said Vandenberg's sister-in-law, Alexandra Drane.

Instead, Vandenberg, a pharmacist in Franklin, Mass., had endured two surgeries, chemotherapy and radiation for an incurable brain tumor before she died in July 2004.

"We would have had a very different discussion about that second surgery and chemotherapy. We might have just taken her home and stuck her in a beautiful chair outside under the sun and let her gorgeous little daughter play around her — not just torture her" in the hospital, Drane said.

Read the rest of the article here.

Labels: ,

Quotes: Endurance

When I was in secondary school, I used to write my favorite quotes in a notebook that I carried in my backpack all the time. I learned so much from reading quotes and they have greatly influence my thoughts on life. My mother always tell me to learn from the wise (and stay away from fools) to have a fruitful and rewarding life. I think I should start recording her words of wisdom for DD1 and DD2 to read when they are older.

“Those who are firm, enduring, simple and unpretentious are the nearest to virtue” - Confucius

“Enduring setbacks while maintaining the ability to show others the way to go forward is a true test of leadership.” - Nitin Nohria

“Happiness is different from pleasure. Happiness has something to do with struggling, enduring, and accomplishing.” - Unknown

“True character arises from a deeper well than religion. It is the internalization of moral principles of a society, augmented by those tenets personally chosen by the individual, strong enough to endure through trials of solitude and adversity. The principles are fitted together into what we call integrity, literally the integrated self, wherein personal decisions feel good and true. Character is in turn the enduring source of virtue. It stands by itself and excites admiration in others.” - Edward O. Wilson

“No idea can succeed except at the expense of sacrifice; no one ever escapes without enduring strain from the struggle of life.” - Ernest Renan (French Philosopher and Historian, 1823-1892)

“There will have to be rigid and iron discipline before we achieve anything great and enduring, and that discipline will not come by mere academic argument and appeal to reason and logic. Discipline is learnt in the school of adversity.” - Mohandas Gandhi

Labels: ,

NYT: As Facebook Users Die, Ghosts Reach Out

July 17, 2010

Courtney Purvin got a shock when she visited Facebook last month. The site was suggesting that she get back in touch with an old family friend who played piano at her wedding four years ago.

The friend had died in April.

“It kind of freaked me out a bit,” she said. “It was like he was coming back from the dead.”

Facebook, the world’s biggest social network, knows a lot about its roughly 500 million members. Its software is quick to offer helpful nudges about things like imminent birthdays and friends you have not contacted in a while. But the company has had trouble automating the task of figuring out when one of its users has died.

Read the rest here.


Life is Too Short

After reading several medical blogs by ER, ICU and OBGYN docs and nurses, I get reminded that life is too short to be depressed. I hope that I can bring positive energy to the school Allah SWT willing. Sometimes I need to read those blogs to remind myself that at least I still have the chance to choose to live each day positively and productively, Allah SWT willing.

“Do what you love to do and give it your very best. Whether it's business or baseball, or the theater, or any field. If you don't love what you're doing and you can't give it your best, get out of it. Life is too short. You'll be an old man before you know it.” - Al Lopez

“Life is too short to spend your precious time trying to convince a person who wants to live in gloom and doom otherwise. Give lifting that person your best shot, but don't hang around long enough for his or her bad attitude to pull you down. Instead, surround yourself with optimistic people.” - Zig Ziglar

“Forgive, forget. Bear with the faults of others as you would have them bear with yours. Be patient and understanding. Life is too short to be vengeful or malicious.” - Phillip Brooks

“Life is too short to be little. Man is never so manly as when he feels deeply, acts boldly, and expresses himself with frankness and with fervor.” - Benjamin Disraeli

Good reads:

Weird Nursing Tales

A Day in the Life of an Ambulance Driver

Madness: tales of an emergency room nurse

ER Stories


Video: Never Give up on a dream by Rod Stewart

(Rod Stewart, Bernie Taupin / Jim Cregan)

If there's doubt and you're cold,
don't you worry what the future holds.
We've gotta have heroes to teach us all
to never give up on a dream.

Claim the road, touch the sun,
no force on earth could stop you run.
When your heart bursts like the sun
never never give up on a dream.

Shadows fall, daylight dies,
freedoms never got a place to hide.
Search forever finish line
but never give up on your dream.

Crazy notions fill your head,
you gotta break all the records set.
Push yourself until the end
but don't you ever give up on your dream.

Now listen to me
you don't need no restrictions yeah
Oh, sing it again
you can't live on sympathy.
You just need to go the distance,
oh the distance
that's all you need to be free,
to be free, to be free, to be free.

Sing a song for me children
you don't need no restrictions yeah
you can't live on sympathy.
You just need to go the distance,
that's all you need to be free,

Now listen to me!
Inspiring all to never lose,
it'll take a long long time before they fill your shoes
it'll take somebody, somebody, who's lot like you
who never gave up on a dream.
No, you never gave up on a dream
no, you never gave up on a dream.

You never, never, never,
never gave up on a dream.


Video: I Believe I Can Fly by R. Kelly

I used to think that I could not go on
And life was nothing but an awful song
But now I know the meaning of true love
I'm leaning on the everlasting arms

If I can see it, then I can do it
If I just believe it, there's nothing to it

I believe I can fly
I believe I can touch the sky
I think about it every night and day
Spread my wings and fly away
I believe I can soar
I see me running through that open door
I believe I can fly
I believe I can fly
I believe I can fly

See I was on the verge of breaking down
Sometimes silence can seem so loud
There are miracles in life I must achieve
But first I know it starts inside of me, oh

If I can see it, then I can do it
If I just believe it, there's nothing to it

[Repeat 1]

Hey, cause I believe in me, oh

If I can see it, then I can do it
If I just believe it, there's nothing to it

[Repeat 1]

Hey, if I just spread my wings
I can fly
I can fly
I can fly, hey
If I just spread my wings
I can fly


Video: Raindrops Keep Fallin' on My Head

Raindrops keep fallin' on my head
And just like the guy whose feet are too big for his bed
Nothin' seems to fit
Those raindrops are fallin' on my head, they keep fallin'

So I just did me some talkin' to the sun
And I said I didn't like the way he got things done
Sleepin' on the job
Those raindrops are fallin' on my head, they keep fallin'

But there's one thing I know
The blues they send to meet me won't defeat me
It won't be long till happiness steps up to greet me

Raindrops keep fallin' on my head
But that doesn't mean my eyes will soon be turnin' red
Cryin's not for me
'Cause I'm never gonna stop the rain by complainin'
Because I'm free
Nothin's worryin' me

It won't be long till happiness steps up to greet me

Raindrops keep fallin' on my head
But that doesn't mean my eyes will soon be turnin' red
Cryin's not for me
'Cause I'm never gonna stop the rain by complainin'
Because I'm free
Nothin's worryin' me


July 18, 2010

Video:Day Dream Believer by The Monkees

Words and Music by John C. Stewart

Oh I could hide 'neath the wings of the bluebird as she sings
The six o'clock alarm would never ring
But it rings and I rise, wipe the sleep out of my eyes
My shaving razor's cold and it stings

Cheer up, sleepy Jean, oh what can it mean
To a daydream believer and a homecoming queen?

You once thought of me as a white knight on a steed
Now you know how happy I can be
Oh, and our good time starts and ends
With a dollar one to spend
But how much baby do we really need?


Video: You’re the Best by Joe Esposito (from the movie 'The Karate Kid')

Try to be best
‘Cause you’re only a man
And a man’s gotta learn to take it
Try to believe
Though the going gets rough
That you gotta hang tough to make it
History repeats itself
Try and you’ll succeed
Never doubt that you’re the one
And you can have your dreams!

You’re the best! Around!
Nothing’s gonna ever keep you down
You’re the Best! Around!
Nothing’s gonna ever keep you down
You’re the Best! Around!
Nothing’s gonna ever keep you dow-ow-ow-ow-own

Fight ‘til the end
Cause your life will depend
On the strength that you have inside you
Ah you gotta be proud
starin’ out in the cloud
When the odds in the game defy you
Try your best to win them all
and one day time will tell
when you’re the one that’s standing there
you’ll reach the final bell!


Video: Danger Zone by Kenny Loggins

Revvin' up your engine
Listen to her howlin' roar
Metal under tension
Beggin' you to touch and go

Highway to the Danger Zone
Ride into the Danger Zone

Headin' into twilight
Spreadin' out her wings tonight
She got you jumpin' off the track
And shovin' into overdrive

Highway to the Danger Zone
I'll take you
Right into the Danger Zone

You'll never say hello to you
Until you get it on the red line overload
You'll never know what you can do
Until you get it up as high as you can go

Out along the edges
Always where I burn to be
The further on the edge
The hotter the intensity

Highway to the Danger Zone
Gonna take you
Right into the Danger Zone
Highway to the Danger Zone


Video: If You Want to Sing Out by Cat Steven (now known as Yusuf Islam)

Well, if you want to sing out, sing out
And if you want to be free, be free
'Cause there's a million things to be
You know that there are

And if you want to live high, live high
And if you want to live low, live low
'Cause there's a million ways to go
You know that there are

You can do what you want
The opportunity's on
And if you find a new way
You can do it today
You can make it all true
And you can make it undo
you see ah ah ah
its easy ah ah ah
You only need to know

Well if you want to say yes, say yes
And if you want to say no, say no
'Cause there's a million ways to go
You know that there are

And if you want to be me, be me
And if you want to be you, be you
'Cause there's a million things to do
You know that there are


Well, if you want to sing out, sing out
And if you want to be free, be free
'Cause there's a million things to be
You know that there are
You know that there are
You know that there are
You know that there are
You know that there are


Video: All Star (From the Movie 'Shrek')

Somebody once told me the world is gonna owe me
I ain't the sharpest tool in the shed
She was looking kind of dumb with her finger and her thumb
In the shape of an "L" on her forehead

Well the years start coming and they don't stop coming
Fed to the rules and I hit the ground running
Didn't make sense not to live for fun
Your brain gets smart but your head gets dumb
So much to do so much to see
So what's wrong with taking the back streets
You'll never know if you don't go
You'll never shine if you don't glow

Hey now you're an All Star get your game on, go play
Hey now you're a Rock Star get the show on get paid
(And all that glitters is gold)
Only shooting stars break the mold

It's a cool place and they say it gets colder
You're bundled up now, wait 'till you get older
But the meteor men beg to differ
Judging by the hole in the satellite picture

The ice we skate is getting pretty thin
The waters getting warm so you might as well swim
My world's on fire how about yours
That's the way I like it and I never get bored

Hey now you're an All Star get your game on, go play
Hey now you're a Rock Star get the show on get paid
(And all that glitters is gold)
Only shooting stars break the mold

Hey now you're an All Star get your game on, go play
Hey now you're a Rock Star get the show on get paid
(And all that glitters is gold)
Only shooting stars

Somebody once asked, could I spare some change for gas
“I need to get myself away from this place"
I said yep what a concept
I could use a little fuel myself
And we could all use a little change.

Well the years start coming and they don't stop coming
Fed to the rules and I hit the ground running
Didn't make sense not to live for fun
Your brain gets smart but your head gets dumb
So much to do so much to see
So what's wrong with taking the back streets
You'll never know if you don't go
You'll never shine if you don't glow

Hey now you're an All Star get your game on, go play
Hey now you're a Rock Star get the show on get paid
(And all that glitters is gold)
Only shooting stars break the mold

(And all that glitters is gold)
Only shooting stars break the mold


Video: Accentuate the positive by Johnny Mercer & The Pied Pipers

You've got to accentuate the positive
Eliminate the negative
Latch on to the affirmative
Don't mess with Mister In-Between

You've got to spread joy up to the maximum
Bring gloom down to the minimum
Have faith or pandemonium
Liable to walk upon the scene

(To illustrate my last remark Jonah in the whale, Noah in the ark
What did they do Just when everything looked so dark)

Man, they said we better
Accentuate the positive
Eliminate the negative
Latch on to the affirmative
Don't mess with Mister In-Between
No, do not mess with Mister In-Between

You've gotta accentuate the positive
Eliminate the negative
Latch on to the affirmative
Don't mess with Mister In-Between

You've got to spread joy up to the maximum
Bring gloom down to the minimum
Have faith or pandemonium
Liable to walk upon the scene

To illustrate my last remark
Jonah in the whale, Noah in the ark
What did they do
When everything looked so dark

Man, they said we better
Accentuate the positive
Eliminate the negative
Latch on to the affirmative
Don't mess with Mister In-Between
No! Don't mess with Mister In-Between


Videos: French Children Songs

I love to listen to children songs in different languages. Here are some videos on YoutTube. Enjoy!


ISNA Education Forum 2009

I have been reading papers presented at the ISNA Education Forum 2009 that have been posted online.

One of the papers presented some suggestions for Islamic schools to implement a behavior management program based on Islamic good manners. Here are the main points.

Implementing an Adab and Akhlaq Based Behavior Management Program
By Sabura Rashad.

Adab and Akhlaq Behavior Management Program - Standards to promote:
1. Nurturing the confidence of children
2. Developing a positive learning environment
3. Teaching self control
4. Developing a sense of concern and empathy for others
5. Establishing and maintaining clear limits
6. Teaching and focusing on responsibility
7. Teaching and modeling positive conflict resolution
8. Cooperation and meaningful connections

Recommended Classroom Rules

Pre-K to 1
1. Eager Ears (listen to the teacher and follow directions)
2. Happy Hands(keep hands, feet and object to yourself)
3. Soft Sounds (use nice words and indoor voices)
4. Friendly Faces (pay attention to the teacher and be nice to others.)

2nd - 5th grades
1. Follow directions
2. Hands, feet and objects to yourself
3. Raise your hand before speaking
4. Use kind words and language
5. Use indoor voice

Middle-High School
1. Follow directions
2. Eat at appropriate times in appropriate places
3. Get permission before leaving class
4. Hands, feet and objects to yourself
5. Raise hand before speaking
6. Get permission before leaving your seat
7. Use kind words and language
8. Use indoor voice
9. Be prepared to learn
10. Be in class on time

Recommended Tracking Systems

Pre-K to 1st
(Color Cards) **Pocket Chart
Green - positive praise
Yellow - verbal warning
Orange - time out and note home
Red - Teacher conference or call home

2nd - 5th grades
(Color Cards) **Pocket Chart
Green - positive praise
Yellow - verbal warning
Orange - note home and written assignment
Red - Teacher conference or call home

Middle-High School
(Strikes System) **Clipboard
Strike 1: Warning
Strike 2: 2 min after class for teacher-student conference
Strike 3: Written assignment and note home
Strike 4: Teacher conference or call home

Labels: ,

Video: Roll Over (Nursery Rhyme)

10 in the bed,
and the little one said,
So they all rolled over,
and one fell out.

10 in the bed,
and the little one said,
So they all rolled over,
and one fell out.


1 in the bed,
and the little one said,


July 17, 2010

Video: The New Ambulance

Seen here first.


Video: Colorectal Surgeon

Lyrics from this blog.

We praise the colorectal surgeon
Misunderstood and much maligned
Slaving away in the heart of darkness
Working where the sun don't shine

Respect the colorectal surgeon
It's a calling few would crave
Lift up your hands and join us
Let's all do the finger wave

When it comes to spreading joy
There are many techniques
Some spread joy to the world
And others just spread cheeks

Some may think the cardiologist
Is their best friend
But the colorectal surgeon knows...
He'll get you in the end!

Why be a colorectal surgeon?
It's one of those mysterious things.
Is it because in that profession
There are always openings?

When I first met a colorectal surgeon
He did not quite understand;
I said, "Hey nice to meet you
But do you mind? We don't shake hands."

He sailed right through medical school
Because he was a whiz
Oh but he never thought of psychology
Though he read passages.
A doctor he wanted to be
For golf he loved to play,
But this is not quite what he meant...
By eighteen holes a day!

Praise the colorectal surgeon
Misunderstood and much maligned
Slaving away in the heart of darkness
Working where the sun don't shine!


Muppet Show: Animal Performs Wild Thing


The Animal from The Muppet Show - My kind of Puppet!


15 Strategies for Managing Attention Problems

Received via a school mailing list.

15 Strategies for Managing Attention Problems
By Glenda Thorne, Ph.D.,
Alice Thomas, M.Ed., and
Candy Lawson, Ph.D.

December 2005

The following strategies are offered for enhancing attention and managing attention problems. This listing is by no means exhaustive, but rather is meant as a place to begin. The best resources for strategies are the creative, inventive minds of enlightened assessment professionals, teachers and parents, in partnership with the students they serve. Together they can create multiple alternative strategies.

1. Take the Mystery Away

The first and perhaps most important management strategy is to insure that all students understand how attention works and identify their particular profiles of attention strengths and weaknesses. Then, students should be taught attention management strategies.

2. Understand Consistent Inconsistency

Teachers and parents should understand that the inconsistency of children with attention problems is not evidence of a poor attitude or lack of motivation. It is a part of their biologically based attention dysfunction, and is beyond their easy control.

3. Explore the Option of Medication

For many children and adolescents, medication can be helpful in dealing with attentional difficulties. Medication can improve mental alertness and the intensity and duration of concentration. In addition, it may diminish impulsivity and hyperactivity. The student and his parents may wish to explore this option with his physician.

4. Allow for Movement and Breaks

It is helpful for students who have problems with inconsistent alertness and mental effort to be provided with opportunities to move around. For example, at school, teachers could ask the student to erase the board, collect papers or take a message to the office. At home, parents and/or the student could schedule regular breaks and change work sites. That is, the student could work several minutes at the kitchen table and several minutes on the living room floor. Each time the location is changed, the student may experience a burst of mental energy. Additionally, students may need to be doing something with their hands while seated. They may doodle, roll a piece of clay or perform some other manual tasks that enhance their alertness and arousal.

5. Vary Instructional Strategies

Teachers should use a variety of instructional strategies and these should be changed approximately every 15 to 20 minutes. For example, they could deliver information for 15 minutes via lecture. This strategy could be followed by small group work or cooperative learning for 20 minutes. Next, students could engage in individual seatwork or watch a video.

6. Use Signals

The teacher and parents should have a private way of signaling students when they are tuned out. For example, a gentle tap on the shoulder may be effective. Also, the student's teachers and parents may need to signal him when something important is about to be stated. Looking right at him, his teacher or parent could say, "Now listen very carefully. I am about to give you important instructions about tomorrow's test.”

7. Leverage Interests

Attention is enhanced when interest is heightened. Thus, students should be encouraged to read, write and talk about subjects in which they are interested. Additionally, students' attention is enhanced when information is personally relevant to them. For example, if students need to learn a chronological timetable, the teacher could begin with having the students develop a chronological timetable of the important events in their own lives.

8. Minimize Noise & Other Distractions

Students who are easily distracted should benefit from a structured auditory environment. They may need preferential seating near the front of the classroom so that noise and distractions from other students are minimized.

9. Develop Previewing and Planning Skills

Teachers and parents can help students develop previewing and planning skills by requiring them to formulate plans for writing reports and completing projects. For example, when completing a book report, the students could submit plans for how they are going to accomplish this task. They will likely need specific instruction, followed by modeling, then guided practice, and finally feedback on performance. The concept of previewing should be explained to the students and they should be aware of the fact that the activities they are engaging in will help them develop previewing/ planning skills. It is helpful if they are first given practical examples of planning, such as planning for a party.

10. Use Behavior Modification and Self-Assessment

The use of behavior modification and self-assessment strategies can be helpful in increasing desired behaviors (e.g., task completion) and/or decreasing behavior problems (e.g., impulsive blurting out during class). The specific behaviors that need to be changed should be identified (e.g., completes reading classwork; raises hand before answering questions; brushes teeth before going to bed; puts dirty clothes in laundry). The specific consequences for behavior change should also be identified. The consequence for positive behaviors must be more rewarding to the student than failure to complete the positive behavior. For example, if the child is allowed to stay up an extra 15 minutes in the evenings, this behavior must be more rewarding than leaving his/her dirty clothes on the bathroom floor. Additionally, performance of the targeted behavior must be the only way that the student is able to obtain the reward. In the previous example, the child is only able to stay up the extra 15 minutes at night if he puts his dirty laundry in the designated place. School-home notes can be used to communicate back and forth between home and school. In both settings, charts and graphs can be used to monitor progress toward the goal. Students should be encouraged to assess their own behavior in addition to being assessed by the adult. They could be given an additional reward for accurate self-assessment.

11. Discourage Frenetic Work Patterns

To help students refrain from rushing through their work, teachers and parents could avoid making statements such as, "You can go out to recess as soon as you finish your assignment" or "You can watch television when you finish your homework." Offers such as these may inadvertently encourage students to work too quickly and carelessly.

12. Get Organized

A notebook with three sections labeled "Work to be Completed," "Work Completed" and "Work to be Saved" may be used to help students organize their assignments. Color-coding notebooks for different subjects may also be helpful for organizing work.

13. Use Daily Planners

A student should use a structured daily planner to help him organize his assignments and activities. A planner that is broken down by subject within the day and has sufficient room to write all the information he needs would be preferred. ELAN Publishing offers a number of good student organizers (available from CDL's A+ Store). Alternately, he may benefit from using a personal digital assistant (PDA).

14. Set Up a Home Office

At home, parents should guide their child/adolescent with setting up his/her own well-organized "office.” Parents should schedule a weekly time that their child/adolescent will dedicate to straightening up the office and making sure all office supplies are well-stocked (e.g., post-its, pencils, pens, highlighters, paper, paper clips, stapler). The student should find his/her best time(s) for studying (his/her most alert times of day), and post these times as his/her "Office Hours." The student should also experiment with different kinds of background noise levels that work best for him/her when doing homework of studying. Some children/adolescents actually concentrate better in a noisy environment or while listening to music while others may need to use ear plugs.

15. Allow Time to Wind Down

Many students with attention problems have trouble falling asleep at night. It is helpful for them to have an established routine for going to bed at night. For example, they could read a book or have a book read to them. They can engage in stretching exercises before getting in bed. They could drink a glass of milk or hot chocolate prior to going to bed. They might also listen to quiet, easy music while falling asleep. “White noise,” such as a fan, may also be helpful in facilitating sleep.


Barkley, R. A. (1997). ADHD and the nature of self-control. New York: Guilford Press.

Barkley, R. A. (1998). Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder: A handbook for treatment and diagnosis. New York: Guilford Press.

Hallowell, E. M., & Ratey, J. J. (1994). Driven to distraction: Recognizing and coping with attention deficit disorder from childhood through adulthood. New York: Simon and Schuster.

Hallowell, E.M. & Ratey, J.J. (1994). Answers to distraction. New York: Pantheon.

Levine, M. D. (2002). Educational care: A system for understanding and helping children with learning problems at home and in school. Second Edition. Cambridge, MA: Educators Publishing Services, Inc.

Levine, M. D. (1998). Developmental variation and learning disorders. Second Edition. Cambridge, MA: Educators Publishing Services, Inc.

Ratey, J. J. (2001). A User's Guide to the Brain. New York: Pantheon Books.

Thomas, A., Thorne, G., Small, R., DeSanti, P., and Lawson, C. (1998). MindWorks... And How Mine Works: A book about learning and thinking, and learning how you think. Covington, LA: Center for Development & Learning.

Thomas, A., Thorne, G., & St. Germain, C. (2002). Learning Connections Training Binder. Sixth edition. Covington, LA: Center for Development & Learning.

Thomas, A., ed. (1997). PLAIN TALK ABOUT K. I. D. S. Cambridge, MA: Educator's Publishing Service.

Thomas, A., ed. (2004). Plain talk about kids: A summit on teaching and learning. Covington, LA: Learning Success Press.

Thomas, A. & Thorne, G. (2005). Learning Profiles Teacher's Binder. Covington, LA: Center for Development & Learning.

Thorne, G. & Thomas, A. (in press). Paying attention to attention. Covington, LA: Center for Development & Learning.

Thorne, G. & Lawson, C. (2005). Behavioral, academic and neurodevelopmental surveys. Covington, LA: Center for Development & Learning

Labels: ,

Concrete Patio - Done!

All praise be to Allah SWT yesterday the contractors that my landlord hired finally finished set up the concrete patio outside the kitchen. They put up wooden pillars that will probably support a roof. It was hot yesterday with temperature nearing 100 degree F and I was relieved to see the three-men crew kept drinking water to stay hydrated.

The rain gutters will be installed either on Sunday or Monday. Maybe we will install a rain barrel to collect rain water for our vegetable garden, Allah SWT willing.

The landlord told me that the roof repair costed about $3,000. Home ownership sure requires one to be careful about budgeting for repair costs.


Book: Raising a Thinking Child Workbook

I bought this book 'Raising a Thinking Child Workbook' by Myrna B. Shure at a Half Priced Book store about two years ago but it has been sitting on my book shelf. Last week I found it and have been reading it.

In the introduction, the author wrote,

'Why do some children do well in school, and others don't?

In more than twenty-five years of working with families with young children, my research colleague George Spivack and I learned that in families of all income levels, children as young as age three or four can learn to solve everyday problems that arise with others. We also learned that children who are able to think for themselves are better adjusted than those who cannot or do not, and that good problem solvers are less likely to show aggression or withdraw socially and are more likely to develop empathy and care about others, be good leaders, and have friends.

Why is it important for young children to be good problem solvers? Because research now reveals that children who show impulsive and withdrawn behaviors, and who are having difficulty making friends, are at risk for later, more serious problems that we are all concerned about today: violence, drug use, teen pregnancy, school dropout, and some forms of psychological dysfunction, including depression.

Although telling children what to do, and even explaining why, may result in their doing what you want, often this compliance does not last. Perhaps that's because they've heard the explanation many times before and are now tuning out. Perhaps it's because we are doing the thinking for them. We all want to be free to think for ourselves. And, I have learned, so do very young children-if they have the skills and the freedom to do it.'

This workbook contains lots of exercises based on real life scenario for parents to practice with their children. The workbook is divided into two parts, parent/child problems and child/child problems. Typical parent/child problems include:

- child won't clean her room
- child jumps on the furniture
- child interrupts you while you are on the phone

Typical child/child problems include
- two children fight over a toy
- one child feels left out of a play group
- one child teases or intimidates another child

Although my mother did not use any workbooks with us to raise us, her parenting philosophy is quite similar to this book. Whenever I told her of a problem I was facing, she would often offer her solution and then told me to think about it for myself. I learned that she might be able to suggest solutions but ultimately I had to make the decisions and face with the consequences myself.

I have began to use some of the techniques outline in this book on DD1. Allah SWT willing I hope that my kids will be able to think for themselves and be effective problem solvers.

Labels: ,

July 16, 2010

Color Songs and Poems

Rainbow Song
Tune: Hush, Little Baby

Rainbow purple
Rainbow blue
Rainbow green
And yellow too
Rainbow orange
Rainbow red
Rainbow shining over head.

Come and count
The colors with me
How many colors
Can you see?
1 - 2 - 3 on down to green
4 - 5 - 6 colors can be seen!

Rainbow purple
Rainbow blue
Rainbow green
And yellow too
Rainbow orange
Rainbow red
Rainbow shining over head.


Tune: Are You Sleeping?

I like red,
I like red,
A fire truck is red.
A stop sign is red.

Tune: This Old Man

P - U - R - P - L - E
Spells the color purple you see.
Like the grapes on a vine,
Or some plums in a tree.
P - U - R - P - L - E

Tune: The Farmer in the Dell

B-l-u-e spells blue.
B-l-u-e spells blue.
Hi-ho did you know
B-l-u-e spells blue?

The big sky is blue.
The ocean is too.
Hi-ho did you know
B-l-u-e spells blue?

Tune: If You're Happy and You Know It

Y-e-l -l-o-w spells yellow.
Y-e-l -l-o-w spells yellow.
Like the early morning the sun
When the day has just begun.
Y-e-l -l-o-w spells yellow.

Daffodils and baby ducks are yellow.
Lemonade and scrambled eggs are yellow.
I like the smiley face that’s yellow,
He is such a happy fellow.
Y-e-l -l-o-w spells yellow.

Tune: Jingle Bells

Black bats fly,
Black cats cry,
Black is the color of the night

Tune: Little Brown Jug

That spells white, sing with me.
Milk is white and so is glue,
Ghosts are white and they say

That spells white, sing with me.
The clouds above, the snow below,
Santa’s beard

Tune: Bingo

There is a color we all know.
Can you guess what it is?
That’s how you spell brown.

Teddy bears and squirrels are brown,
Autumn leaves are too.
Chocolate candy is always brown.
Chocolate cake is always brown.
Chocolate milk is always brown.
I like brown, don’t you?

Tune: Bingo

There was a farmer who had a snake
and it was very green.
g-r-e-e-n, g-r-e-e-n, g-r-e-e-n
and it was very green.

There was a farmer who had an alligator
and it was very green.
g-r-e-e-n, g-r-e-e-n, g-r-e-e-n
and it was very green.

There was a farmer who had a frog
and it was very green.
g-r-e-e-n, g-r-e-e-n, g-r-e-e-n
and it was very green.

They all lived in the long green grass
and they were very green.
g-r-e-e-n, g-r-e-e-n, g-r-e-e-n
and they were very green.


Sound of the Letters Song

After DD1 watched Sesame Street on PBS, sometimes she would sing the songs that she learned for several days after the show. I am sure that the melody and rhyming words helped her to remember the songs so well. So I am going to use songs to teach her to sound out letters. Here is an example from this web site:

(Tune: Farmer in the Dell)

A says /a/
A says /a/
See the letter say the sound
B says /a/

B says /b/
B says /b/
See the letter say the sound
B says /b/


Video: Dem Dry Bones

The toe bone connected to the heel bone,
The heel bone connected to the foot bone,
The foot bone connected to the leg bone,
The leg bone connected to the knee bone,
The knee bone connected to the thigh bone,
The thigh bone connected to the back bone,
The back bone connected to the neck bone,
The neck bone connected to the head bone,
Oh, hear the word of the Lord!

Dem bones, dem bones gonna walk aroun'
Dem bones, dem bones, gonna walk aroun'
Dem bones, dem bones, gonna walk aroun'
Oh, hear the word of the Lord.

The head bone connected to the neck bone,
The neck bone connected to the back bone,
The back bone connected to the thigh bone,
The thigh bone connected to the knee bone,
The knee bone connected to the leg bone,
The leg bone connected to the foot bone,
The foot bone connected to the heel bone,
The heel bone connected to the toe bone,
Oh, hear the word of the Lord!


July 15, 2010

Three Steps to Protect Your Bank Account from Debit-Card 'Skimming' Scams


Debit-card 'skimming' scams: Three steps to take to protect your account data from getting into the wrong hands
Last reviewed: January 2010

Whether by choice or necessity, American consumers are increasingly relying on debit rather than credit cards. Debit-card spending has risen steadily, growing from 47.7 percent of purchases made with plastic in 2003 to 58.9 percent in 2008. And it is expected to surpass 67 percent by 2013, according to the Nilson Report, a newsletter that tracks the consumer payment industry.

When you use a debit card, the money is immediately taken from your checking account. While using debit guarantees that you pay as you go, these cards have downsides, including a growing appeal to thieves. "As economic conditions have worsened, there's been a noticeable increase in all types of card fraud," says Avivah Litan, an analyst specializing in fraud detection and prevention at Gartner Research in Stamford, Conn. "But ATM and debit-card fraud is the top area of concern we're hearing about from banks all over the world."

Unlike credit-card thieves, who usually charge merchandise and then resell it to come up with money, people who create counterfeit ATM or debit cards by stealing your PIN and other account data can simply pull cold cash from your bank account. Using a technique known as skimming, they set up equipment that captures magnetic stripe and keypad information when you input your PIN at ATM machines, gas pumps, restaurants, or retailers.

Here's how you can protect yourself:

Don't type in your pin at the pump

Be especially vigilant at gas stations, Litan says. "Gas pumps are notorious for skimming because they're produced by only a couple of different manufacturers, and if someone gets the key to one from a disgruntled employee, they can insert a skimming device inside the pump where it can't be seen," she says. She recommends using a credit card rather than a debit card when you fill your tank.

If you must use a debit card at the gas pump, choose the screen prompt that identifies it as a credit card so that you do not have to type in your PIN. The purchase amount will still be deducted from your bank account, but it will be processed through a credit-card network, which will give you greater protection from liability if fraud does occur. This is because card issuers typically have "zero liability" policies for both debit and credit cards, but sometimes exclude PIN-based transactions from that protection.

Stick with ATMs located at banks

To reduce your risk at ATMs, use machines at banks rather than in convenience stores, airports, or any isolated locations, advises Darrin Blackford, a spokesman for the U.S. Secret Service, which investigates financial crimes involving interstate commerce. "A thief has to be able to attach and retrieve a skimming device to use the data it's gathered," he says. "And that's more likely to happen in nonbank settings where there's less traffic and no surveillance cameras."

That doesn't mean that bank ATMs are immune, however. In August 2008, Wachovia Bank reported that several debit-card "identities" were stolen when a skimming device was placed on an ATM at a branch in Cape Coral, Fla.

"It's often hard to spot skimmers," Blackford says. "But if you notice a change at an ATM you use routinely, such as a color difference in the card reader or a gap where something appears to be glued onto the slot where you insert your card, that's a warning sign you'd want to report to the bank that owns the machine."

Closely monitor your bank accounts

Check them regularly—preferably online rather than waiting for monthly statements to arrive in the mail. Federal law limits your liability for fraudulent debit-card charges to $50, but only if you report the theft or loss of your card or PIN within two business days of discovering the problem. If you fail to report unauthorized charges within 60 days of the date the statement listing those charges was mailed, you could be liable for any unauthorized withdrawals afterward, including the full value of credit lines or savings accounts linked to your account for overdraft protection.

Visa and MasterCard have zero liability policies that go beyond federal law by exempting debit cardholders from liability in most circumstances when a bank investigation confirms that a transaction is fraudulent. But dealing with debit-card fraud can have a greater impact on your finances than credit-card fraud.

When you're a victim of unauthorized charges on a credit card, you won't be out any money while the disputed charges are being investigated. But when a thief steals money from your bank account using a counterfeit debit or ATM card, that cash won't be restored to your account until the bank conducts its investigation and classifies it as a case of fraud. Some victims of debit-card skimming scams who have contacted the Privacy Rights Clearinghouse, a nonprofit consumer advocacy group, about their experiences report that while banks in most cases replenished the stolen funds, some of them had no access to the money for several weeks while bank investigations were conducted.

Labels: ,