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RESPECT

September 22, 2018
 
RESPECT, COURTESY -  ARE THOSE BAD WORDS NOW?
by
Linda M. Penn
 
            I heard recently about a young man, a 5 grader, who was punished at school for saying “yes, Ma’am,” to his teacher.  This incident has been turning over and over in my mind for several weeks now and I just had to voice my ideas.  I decided to research about the history of the words, “Ma’am” and “Sir.”  “Ma’am” goes back to the 1300’s when it was the word, “Madame,” meaning a respectful way to address a woman.  “Sir” dates from the 1200’s when the word,”Sire” was used, meaning a respectful way of addressing a man, especially one in authority.
 
            So…if the words began as forms of courtesy to others, how did we get to the point of having a student punished for using the word, “Ma’am?”
 
            Not knowing the reasoning or history of the teacher involved, it is difficult for me to speculate on how this incident should affect teachers and students going forward.  Do teachers, parents, and any authority figures expect to be treated with respect or is it old-school to expect courtesy from our young people?  Do students have a conflicting view of how to treat adults, not knowing if they will respond positively or negatively to the youngsters’ eagerness to say kind things?  Do others have differing views of  “Ma’am?”
 
            Yes, I know you might be thinking, “the lady writing this Blog must be a narrow-minded, old lady.”  Go ahead, think that if you want, but I really appreciated it when a student said to me, “yes, Ma’am,” during my 25+ years of public school teaching.
 
            The above incident is to me, just another example, of how common courtesy is slipping away from our society as a whole.  Have we not figured out that kids need respectful adults after which to model behaviors?  I cannot help but wonder what the young man thinks about trying to use common courtesy as he grows up.  Will he keep following his parents leading and try to use respectful words to authority figures or will he be hardened to never use them again?
 
            As adults, it seems obvious to me that we need to do a better job modeling courtesy to our young people if we want a society that holds each other up, rather than tears each other down. 
 
            Martin Luther King, Jr. said, “Intelligence plus character – that is the goal of true education.”  (goodreads.com) The Bible says in Luke 6:31, “Treat others the same way you want them to treat
you.”

KIOSKS AND LONELY PEOPLE

May 3, 2018 
 
KIOSKS AND LONELY PEOPLE 
 
By 
 
Linda M. Penn 
 
Raise your hand if you use the self-checkout kiosks at the grocery store and avoid the person-to-person contact when checking out?   
 
So… how much more quickly did the kiosk person finish shopping before me since I chose a real live person to scan the purchases and bag them?  Three to four minutes time saved – WOW, THAT’S REALLY IMPORTANT, RIGHT?  Yes, she gets to sit in the car rider pickup line at school and she is five cars in front of me!  Oh, no! 
 
On the other hand, I was able to talk to one of my favorite checkers, Catherine, and found out she sold a painting – “Congratulations!” I told her.  I could tell she was really excited over the prospect of selling another piece of art. 
 
What about that ATM machine located just outside the front door to my bank?  Oh, that ATM transaction will take a lot less time than if you go inside, you say?  Well, I waited in the car while my husband chose person-to-person contact and went inside.  At the same time, I saw another gentleman walk up to the ATM machine.  He left to go to his car about three or four minutes before my husband returned.  WOW, THAT’S REALLY IMPORTANT, RIGHT?  Yes, he gets in the local restaurant and is waiting to be seated when my husband and I walk in.  Oh, no!  He’ll get his table and food before us! 
 
On the other hand, when my husband got in the car at the bank, he shared the news that one of our favorite bank tellers, Carol, has her house up for sale and intends to move in a condo down our street.  He shared what he told her, “That’s cool, you’ll love the neighborhood.” 
 
Ok, just one more kiosk story!  Have you tried the kiosk where you can place your food order instead of ordering using that perceived old-fashioned person-to-person contact at the counter?  My local favorite fast food restaurant recently closed for several months for renovation.  Upon my first visit back, I saw the newly installed ordering kiosks, but instead of choosing that perceived time-saving kiosk, I chose person-to-person contact with my favorite clerk, George.  “Hi, glad to see you are back at work now,” I told him and he grinned ear to ear.  “Oh, yes!” he enthusiastically answered.  Well, what do you think happened?  The kiosk user and I received our orders at the SAME TIME!  
 
Contrast these experiences with a news report I saw recently about the high percentage of adults, particularly young adults, who admitted to feeling lonely more than 50% of the time.  Just wondering, are those kiosk users complaining of being lonely?  
 WOW!  Not me!  I love that person-to-person contact!  TRY IT!  YOU’LL LOVE IT!   
 
  
 

ARE INDEPENDENT BOOKSTORES DYING?

February 20, 2018

ARE INDEPENDENT BOOKSTORES DYING?

By

Linda M. Penn

SAD NEWS - Our local bookstore in Lagrange, KAREN’S BOOK BARN, has closed. So sorry to hear about another bookstore closing its doors. These stores are so important to communities and leave a lot of people searching for a place to connect with local authors.

If you visit an independent bookstore that is still operating, please try to support it and give the owners some words of encouragement. Want to thank all those customers who supported Frank and me and Karen’s Book Barn over the last several years. Our books are still available at CARMICHAEL'S, Frankfort Avenue and Bardstown Road, in LOUISVILLE, as well as online at Amazon.

Check out the latest Clayton River Adventure chapter book for ages 7-11, Clayton’s River Adventure Louisville to Paducah, at the website: www.lindampenn.com.



COPYRIGHT 2018 LINDA M. PENN ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
www.lindampenn.com lindampenn@gmail.com

A NEW BABY ARRIVES!


November 15, 2017
 
A NEW BABY ARRIVES!
 
BY
 
Linda M. Penn
 
 
            Nothing quite like a new baby – for my co-writer, Frank, and I, there’s nothing quite like a new BOOK!
 
            The shipment of our fourth Clayton River Adventure series book, “Clayton’sRiver Adventure Louisville to Paducah,” just got delivered!  Now, all those tedious writing sessions while “camping out” one morning a week at Panera Bread Louisville Oxmoor seem well worth it!  Hard to explain just how exciting it is to see our ideas actually out there in print.  This book was prompted by the requests of teachers that Frank and I met from the western KY area at the KY Teachers of English and Language Arts Conference two years ago.
 
            Special thanks to the other team members – Melissa Quinio, illustrator, and Marie Billings, editor and layout designer, and the other people who helped us along the way.  Be sure and see the Acknowledgements page in the front matter when you read the book.  As usual, the back matter of the book contains references, nautical language, and ideas for teachers and parents to use with the book.
 
            So…just be prepared!  Frank or I will be out there on the Book Signing trail soon. 
You can get precise dates and times and other details at website:  www.lindampenn.com.
The book cover and summary are also on the website.  Book is available on Amazon and through IngramSpark.
 
            Many thanks to family, friends, and supporters, particularly, the independent book stores, libraries, and schools that we have made connections with in the last several years.
 
God Bless and Happy Reading,

MOVING ON1

September 1, 2016
 
MOVING ON!
 
By
 
Linda M. Penn
 
            All good things come to an end…at least an end to things as we know them now!  I hope reading my Blogs has been a good thing for you, however, I am suspending writing my monthly Blog as of this date.
 
            I began a Blog in June, 2012 to give a helping hand to teachers and parents, providing reading and writing ideas to use with their kids.  Here we are 60+ Blogs later and just not sure what else I can suggest to you!  Thanks for your comments along the way.  Please continue to email me with any questions or concerns.
 
            The other writing projects will continue.  I am currently involved in two projects – another Clayton’s River Adventure children’s chapter book with my cousin, Frank J. Feger, and my first attempt at writing a book targeted to adults with my friend, Sara.  Also, other projects are rumbling around in my head, including a “BOMB,” a Book of My Blogs.
 
            Signing off for now with the Blogs but will continue to email a monthly Newsletter, my attempt to keep followers advised of what is happening in my life as an author!  If you are not on my monthly email Newsletter list and would like to be, please let me know at:  lindampenn@gmail.com
           
            You can also keep up with my activities at website:  www.lindampenn.com
 
 God Bless and Happy Reading,
 
            Linda

FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL.

FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL – SPARKING SUCCESS
By
Linda M. Penn
 
            Weren’t we just talking about what to do on summer break?  How did the summer go by so quickly?  Yes, time flies!
 
            Sparking success for a school year actually depends on everyone in our communities.  Give that encouraging word to kids when they come through your checkout line with all those new school supplies, when they come to your library, when they try on clothes at the dressing room of your store, and of course, when they try on those new shoes in your shoe department.  And don’t forget smiles and kind words for the parents, teachers, administrators, bus drivers, kitchen staffs, office staffs, custodial workers, and anyone else involved in the start of school.
 
            I don’t normally repeat a Blog but I received several positive comments about my August 1, 2016 Blog about courage and fear in the new school year.  So, here goes:
 
Provide your kiddos with courage and confidence to take away the anxiety and fear of a new school year. 
 
1)    Arm them with the appropriate tools – supplies, clothes, shoes.
2)    Tour the school.
3)    Meet teachers, principals, counselors, office staff.
4)    If possible, purchase a T-shirt with the school logo.
5)    Discuss morning, after-school, and nighttime expectations with them.
6)    Begin the bedtime routine at least a week ahead of time.
7)    Discuss lunchtime options – buy or bring?  If bring, compromise on nutritional food choices.
8)    Address any concern of your children in a POSITIVE manner.
9)    Model a GOOD ATTITUDE.  Show your excitement but calmness about the upcoming year.
10) Reinforce to them how proud you are of them.
11) PRAY WITH THEM, PRAY FOR THEIR TEACHERS, BUS DRIVERS, AND ALL SCHOOL STAFF AND THEN TRUST IN THE LORD. 
 
Please see Bible verse Phillipians 4:6.  “Don’t be anxious about anything, but in all your prayers, ask God for what you need, always with a thankful heart.”
 
See you back here the first week of September.  New Blog:  “MOVING ON!”
 
Copyright 2017 All Rights Reserved Linda M. Penn

IMAGINATION

July 1, 2017
 
IMAGINATION – BUBBLES AND TENTS!
By
Linda M. Penn
 
            Has your child ‘hit the wall’ this summer?  “Mommy, what can I do?”  “Daddy, I’m bored!”
 
            How about some imagination activities?  Imagination opens doors for kids – new ways for them to see and think about things.   Our kiddos have an abundance of imagination just waiting to be opened.  How else do we get mature adults who come up with innovative ideas?
 
            I searched “imagination in children” and found an interesting article titled “10 Easy Ways to Fire Your Child’s Imagination” by Jeremy Schlosberg. If you look up the article, it is well worth it. 
 
Here are some ideas from the article and I added a couple of my own tried and tested suggestions:
 
1)    Tell stories – no video or book needed.
2)    Make art – draw, paint, etc.
3)    Use natural or generic materials – blocks, sand, etc.
4)    Let them create their own visions - don’t overload them with images from TV, movies, computers.
5)    Make puppets – old socks are perfect.
6)    Take a nature walk – grab that paper bag and go.
7)    Fold blank sheets of paper.
8)    Play with big boxes – is it a house, cave, spaceship?
9)    Blow bubbles.
10) Make tents in a large indoor space – quilts, blankets, sheets, etc.
 
HAVE A FUN SUMMER!  SHARE YOUR IMAGINATIVE IDEAS WITH US!
 
            Come back at the beginning of August – Blog Title: 
 
“FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL – SPARKING SUCCESS”
 
COPYRIGHT 2017 ALL RIGHTS RESERVED LINDA M. PENN
 
 
 

VOLUNTEER .

June 1, 2017
 
VOLUNTEER – SOMEONE NEEDS YOU!
By
Linda M. Penn
 
            As you and/or your kids get out of school for the summer, what are you going to do?  Relax?  Yes!  Read?  Yes!  Sleep more?  Yes!  Volunteer?  What?
 
            YES - SOMEONE NEEDS YOU!
 
            Volunteering by you, your kids, or as a family brings enjoyment in working on something worthwhile together, increases self-esteem, and makes us aware of our importance to the world.
 
            Okay, so what are we going to do?
 
            Search about the places to volunteer that sound interesting to you.  A search  for me was:  “volunteer opportunities Louisville, KY” and this produced numerous websites. 
 
I found there are areas of volunteerism in:  Children and Youth, Community, Education and Literacy, Health and Medicine, Seniors, Sports and Recreation plus more.  Specifically, volunteers could work at the Louisville Zoo, Kentucky Science Center, Louisville Metro Parks, or Louisville Metro Animal Services just to name a few. 
 
For those of you who live in other towns and cities, just search for volunteer opportunities in your area.
 
Still not sure what to do?  Try talking to someone at your school, library, church,  government center or just talk to a neighbor or friend.  REMEMBER:  SOMEONE NEEDS YOU! 
 
 
COME BACK THE FIRST WEEK OF JULY – “IMAGINATION – BUBBLES AND TENTS!”
 
COPYRIGHT 2017 ALL RIGHTS RESERVED LINDA M. PENN
 

FOCUS ON RELATIONSHIPS - NOT ACHIEVEMENTS


FOCUS ON RELATIONSHIPS – NOT ACHIEVEMENTS
By
Linda M. Penn
 
 
            It’s graduation season this month – Kindergarten, 5 Grade, 8 Grade, Middle School, High School – that time for parents and grandparents to brag about their kids’ achievements!  WHAT?  BRAG?  WHO, ME? BRAG?
 
            If your kids are graduating and moving on to a new challenge for next year, avoid the gloating over their achievements.  Most people favor modesty and humility, so please, minimize the boasting, and just sticking to the facts and expressing gratitude.  Example:  “Yes, Susie Q has been accepted at -------Academy.  I’m thankful for all the people who have helped her along the way.”
 
            Last year, I was fortunate to attend an event where Peyton Manning was the guest speaker.  When asked about his award-winning career, instead of boasting of his numerous football records, he spoke of the many relationships he was able to make and maintain.  His advice to the young people in the audience was to be proud of your school work accomplishments but be more proud of the quality relationships that you make, not just for today, but for your lifetime. 
 
            So, for all of us as we go through graduations and awards ceremonies, let’s prepare ourselves and our kiddos to utter wholesome comments after picking up that diploma or award.  And, please – no belittling others!
 
            I searched “Bragging About Accomplishments” and several websites popped up, most of which related ideas on handling business successes, but could definitely be modified for school successes.  Therefore…take a look at the sites, be happy, be grateful, be sensitive and cautious about your comments!
 
            COME BACK THE FIRST WEEK OF JUNE – “SOMEONE NEEDS YOU – VOLUNTEER!”
 
           
COPYRIGHT 2017 ALL RIGHTS RESERVED LINDA M. PENN
 

TESTING TIME !

April 1, 2017

SPRING BREAK, THEN IT’S THAT PESKY TESTING TIME!
By
Linda M. Penn

    Hope that Spring Break has gone well for you and your kids!  Are you ready for accountability tests?

    In looking back at my previous Blogs about standardized testing, I found I may not have given accountability tests a fair shake.  DO I NEED AN ATTITUDE CHANGE?

    As an elementary public school teacher who just started my career in the mid-80’s, accountability testing had real meaning.  If students had performed poorly throughout the year and on the end-of-the-year tests, they were given the opportunity for summer school remediation or repeat a grade. 

    However, then came state testing based on No Child Left Behind (NCLB) standards and there were tests, tests, and more tests thrust upon the students throughout the year to prepare them for the ‘biggie’ end-of-the-year tests.  The accountability was more on the school and teacher, and not the individual student.  Summer school remediation for the kids?  What was that?  Summers meant more teacher meetings on ‘teaching the test’ so the school, county, and state would appear to be achieving success.

    Today, there is the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) which was passed in 2015 to replace the NCLB.  Betsy DeVos, the current U.S. Secretary of Education has notified state school officers to keep developing their ESSA plans.  Apparently, the ESSA keeps some testing but shifts focus away from the high-stakes type testing of NCLB.   

    EVERYONE WHO IS CONCERNED ABOUT THE FUTURE OF OUR WORLD needs to be more aware and informed about the type of testing for our kids.  My research (see below) revealed to me there is a focus now on various types of assessments thoughout the school year and not just end-of-the-year tests.  Specific needs for each individual student are made more evident to teachers.

    OKAY, I WILL TRY TO HAVE A CHANGED ATTITUDE ABOUT ACCOUNTABILITY TESTS!  So…teachers, parents, students, and legislators, let’s all try to be positive.  Let’s give our teachers and students an extra shout-out and encouraging words at this time of year.  Also, please check out my Blog from April 1, 2016, “Test Takers – Help for the Frightened.”

    Since I am retired and not active in the classroom, would love to have your feedback about the ESSA.

    Come back the first week of May for next Blog – “Focus on Relationships – NOT Achievements.” 

COPYRIGHT 2017 ALL RIGHTS RESERVED LINDA M. PENN

www.lindampenn.com
lindampenn@gmail.com



References

Gallup.com “Testing that Benefits Students” by Brandon Busteed and Jonathan Rodkin, May 5, 2016 Blog.

Wikipedia.org. “Every Student Succeeds Act,” last page modified February 26, 2017.