Dover Publications

I have a love of historical graphics and books that take a look at the every day lives of the long departed. Dover Publications is one of my favorite publishers, and they are teacher friendly. Click below for the recent coupon code offers.


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Kitoss Finland–100,000 American Teachers Roll Their Eyes

Tonight Brian Williams at NBC reported on the sterling Finnish education system. They’re tops in math and science and recruit the cream of the crop from university graduates to populate their teaching ranks. Just how are those Finns so successful?

Could it have to do with having up to three teachers per class, supportive parents, civil students, committed government funding along with a long-term plan to make significant changes that are practical and work? Not to mention well-educated and well-trained and respected teachers? You betcha!

I could have sworn I heard 100,000 eyes rolling last night, not at poor Brian, mind you, but at the USA, a country that will not do the right thing and take the steps necessary to educate our young people. Once again we hear how to do it and once again I know our politicians and decision makers will not help make it happen.

What will be done instead is teachers will become the pincushions of the debate. We evil, lazy, tenure seeking miscreants will be blamed for a systemic problem that needs to change the right way.

So Kitoss, or thank you Finland, for showing the way. Pardon me if I’ll believe it when I see it in the good old USA.

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J. Jill 15% Teacher Discount Offer

J. Jill offers a 15% discount on all full-priced merchandise in a single purchase in stores only (outlets excluded). Offer valid through 11:59 p.m. ET, January 31, 2011.  Limit one coupon per person per visit. Customer must present teacher identification in order to receive offer.

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Spiegel Clothing Offers 15% Teacher Discount

Spiegel, the catalog clothier, is offering a 15% discount on orders from teachers. Their Spiegel Loves Teachers campaign uses the technique of interviewing six female teachers and then matching their tastes to Spiegel items. Customers get ideas and inspiration from the videos available on the web site, as well as the discount.  Enter code TEACH at checkout.

…we reached out to 6 educators and had them take our style quiz, pick their favorite pieces for fall and join us in front of the camera. And because every teacher should have comfortable, versatile looks for the classroom and beyond, we’ve partnered with the National Educational Association to give back.

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Famous Teachers

Benito Mussolini and Mr. T. It’s an oddball collection, filled with the strange and gifted, but what they all have in common is that they were schoolteachers first. Here’s a list of ten who were teachers.

Jon Hamm a.k.a. Don Draper – The five o’clock shadow man from Mad Men was a teacher in his own high school before he tore up Madison Avenue.

Lyndon Johnson – Politics was second; Johnson was set to become a career teacher. He was fully involved, coaching the debate team (vomiting when they lost). Only his passion for social reform pulled him away from the schoolhouse.

Art Garfunkel – Haven’t you always wondered about the brains in that high forehead? Well, he actually is a brainiac. Garfunkel was a math scholar and taught in a prep school before making pop music history.

John Adams – My favorite president, known for his grumpy ways was once a grumpy schoolmaster who complained that the students were a “large number of little runtlings, just capable of lisping A, B, C, and troubling the master.”

Mr. T – The original bling-bling, former bouncer is a well-read, college scholarship winner, devoted to young people. In the 1970s he was a gym teacher in the Chicago public school system.

Joy Behar – Undoubtedly, she had a view and a sense of humor in the classroom. Now widely know as having two shows and national recognition, this stand up comedian once taught high school English.

J.K. Rowling – Before she was rolling in millions by writing about magic and an owl, she was teaching English in Europe.

Stephen King – When you read King you know the man has poked the dipstick straight into the black heart of humanity. What about his students? Fortunately, there were no reports of sudden loss of affect, or strange smells emitting from the kids he taught in Maine.

Benito Mussolini – Before he was a fascist and while he was still a socialist, Mussolini taught elementary school. Parents were not fond of his drinking and gambling. He left his teaching assignment to become a full time dictator.

The Cochranes – John and Kathleen, my parents. In spite of Catholic educations, both of them became strong supporters of public schools and taught for many years in Sacramento. Even today, it’s hard to go places with my dad (at 92) without someone taking a second look and recognizing “Mr. Cochrane.”

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Grants for Teachers

I added a button for Grant Wrangler on the side of the page. It’s a site that finds grants for teachers and awards by grade level, subject area or deadline. Featured this month is the Open Meadows Foundation, a grant-making organization for projects that are led by and benefit women and girls, particularly those from vulnerable communities. It offers grants up to $2,000.

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Teacher Discount ATT Verizon

Most of the carriers offer government and teacher discounts. Call your provider to check. Here are some links that can help you check on line.



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Teacher Discount – Bose

High end music systems are available at a discount for educators. Special pricing is available only by calling the Customer Focused Development Team. For inquiries, pricing and to place an order,
call 1-800-353-4207. Check out Bose on the web.

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5 Tips for Classroom Set Up

It’s impossible to have one perfect template for set up, since we all teach different subjects and grades, and have different personal styles. But there are some things to remember when organizing the physical classroom. Spatial design can have a huge impact on how well a classroom runs.

One thing I have learned is that students love an organized teacher but balk at over regimentation. Keep the classroom seamless in function. You don’t need to draw arrows on the floor or number desks to get results.

Other aspects of classroom organization are saved for other posts.

Classroom on a Grid

Stand in the center of your room and survey the whole classroom. Think of your space as a grid in your mind’s eye. Notice your critical work areas (art station, books, student computers…). Identify defined storage spaces for tools, supplies and filing. Are your spaces orderly and neat, and do all tools (computers, staplers…) function? Can human traffic flow in and out smoothly? It can be fun to work with graph paper to organize your set up. If you’re a real geek you can cut out models for desks and shelves (cut at the correct ratio) and put them on graph paper to play with the placement.

Efficiency Expert

Be your own efficiency expert. Consider how you move around the room to do your job and how the students need to move. Arrange to accommodate traffic flow and efficiency of movement. Keep the student computers, out of room tasks such as copying, and even discipline steps in mind. You don’t have to be a traffic engineer to get it right for your room.

Student Seating

Last year I tried the reverse fan, forum, groups of two, four and six, inner and outer circles and traditional rows, just to name a few. I surveyed the students to discover their preferences (groups, of course). Mike the custodian quickly answered, “rows” when I asked him what was easiest to clean. The fact is there is no perfect seating arrangement. Age, class size and goals all dictate which way to seat your students. I personally ended up going back to traditional rows (because of easy student access) and occasionally forming temporary groups as needed.

Know Yourself

Are you a hoarder, a spreader or a minimalist? Be honest and create space to accommodate your style. I can’t work unless I have a large flat surface to organize my class paperwork and teacher manuals. I HATE looking for stuff I’ve misplaced. This area is my go-to space for everything important for the class lesson of the day. If you need to create a secret area for hoarding, do it. Just make sure you contain it somehow, in a file cabinet, or small cupboard.

Filing and Storage

There are heaps of manuals on filing systems and storage organization, but where these work points are located in the classroom is important. Again, we all have different spaces given to us, but my point is that you want to know where stuff is and not travel or hunt to get at it. Obviously, supplies should be secure and important files such as your personnel documents and confidential student information should be close to your desk and locked up.

On a final note, your keys should be around your neck and your personal items (cell phones, purses…) locked up the minute you arrive. This seems so simple, but we get so distracted! I can’t tell you how many excellent, super organized teachers lose keys or become a victim of theft.

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Teacher Freebie List

The National Education Association posted a lengthy list of free things for the classroom on their web site.

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