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Lessons from a Grocery Store Chain


This blog post really doesn't have anything to do with education, but it's a hot topic in my area, and there's definitely a lesson or two to be learned!

We have a local grocery store chain that's been in the news a lot lately for the last few weeks. 

Several weeks ago, the CEO, Arthur T. Demoulas was fired by the Board of Directors. They hired some other people. The employees of Market Basket were horrified by this decision, and let the Board know their opinions by protesting. They stood outside their stores with signs, demanding Artie T reinstated as their CEO.


Why? 

Artie T. cared about his employees. He went out of his way to know who they were and show interest in them. He also cared about his customers. He worked hard to keep prices low, despite pressure from the Board of Directors. 

The protests and boycotts lasted 6 weeks. Most of the shelves in the stores were empty, especially produce, meat, and dairy. Loyal customers boycotted, and did their shopping at other grocery stories. The other grocery stores were over priced and over crowded. It affected not only store employees, but customers, suppliers, even stores and services adjacent to the stores felt the loss. The business lost millions of dollars during those 6 weeks.

Late last Wednesday, the Board of Directors finally accepted Artie T's offer pay $1.5 billion dollars for 50.5% of the company.



There were plenty of celebrations! Managers went to their stores in the early hours of the morning to prepare their stores, and sure enough, customers returned! Stores had welcome back signs, smiling employees, balloons, and everyone was just plain happy to be there! (I even saw a facebook post of a conga line of customers, complete with their shopping carts!)


People were buying whatever they could! (Not all the shelves were re-stocked yet, but there were plenty of choices!) 

I didn't get a chance to visit until Saturday. (It was the first week of school, and we all know that teachers are too tired for grocery stores after the first few days!) When I finally visited, I was greeted by balloons, smiling workers, "Welcome Home" signs, and a big crowd of Saturday shoppers. I knew the shelves wouldn't be completely stocked, but I was surprised at how much was available after only being back in business for a couple of days. I really only needed cat food, but I bought several items, especially the store brands... those purchases will help the stores build back those millions of dollars lost in the protest. 

Despite the loss, plus Artie T's $1.5 billion purchase, the low prices are still there! Yes, that's $4.99 for K-cups... they were $7.99 at the "other" store!


The whole purpose of this protest was that employees wanted to work for the good guy. They were protesting the "corporate greed" that had replaced their beloved CPO.

Many people these days are just out to make as much money as they can, and are "in it" only for themselves. Here, we had a person who truly cared about his employees and his customers. They trusted him, and they stood by him.

Loyalty like this is rare in 2014. 

I remember my dad was loyal to certain companies and brands back in the 50s and 60s. He trusted them, and kept returning. That sort of product loyalty doesn't exist any more. 

Perhaps it's because these companies and brands don't work at earning our trust. Perhaps it's because they're just trying to get our money. 

Perhaps employers and companies should work a little harder at earning our trust and our loyalty.

What do you think?



Tips for Teaching Procedures

The beginning of the school year is all about procedures. 

Tips for Teaching Procedures: Here are three tips to help set expectations for procedures at the beginning of the school year!

  The kiddos learn procedures for lining up, choosing books, signing out to the Library, how to pass in work, what to do when work is finished. We teach them the procedure for fire drills, procedures for lock down, procedures for evacuation drills. We teach them the procedure for going to lunch, going to recess, and going to Phys. Ed. class. We teach them the procedure for reading groups, playing learning games, math time, and using materials in the classroom.

And so on. 


Here are some things to think about when teaching procedures!



Tips for Teaching Procedures: Here are three tips to help set expectations for procedures at the beginning of the school year!

When addressing a new procedure, I'll get right up and act out different scenarios. I find the kids really pay attention if I act out what NOT to do! (Adding a little humor helps the memory!)

For example, when acting out how to get into line, I might:
  1. neglect picking up my materials
  2. forget to push in my chair
  3. run, flailing my arms
  4. cut in line
  5. get into an argument about who got in line first
Isn't it amazing how they'll always notice what's done wrong when the adult is doing it? 

And they're not shy about pointing out what I did wrong!


Tips for Teaching Procedures: Here are three tips to help set expectations for procedures at the beginning of the school year!

Once they've had a good discussion on what NOT to do, it's time to have someone model what to do. Have a few volunteers act out the right thing to do. Be sure to comment on each thing the child does right! This is a good chance to give positive attention to some of those kids who REALLY need attention!

"Notice how John pushed in the chair as he walked by." 
"I like the way Bobby walks at a good pace." 
"Did you notice how Marie let Anna go first?"
"I noticed Bradley kept his arms by his sides when he was walking."
"Of course Theresa put her math tools away properly before walking to the line."

Tips for Teaching Procedures: Here are three tips to help set expectations for procedures at the beginning of the school year!


The old saying goes "Practice Makes Perfect", but I think "Practice Makes Permanent" is more accurate. (I'm sure you know the difficulty of trying to break a bad habit, or "unlearn" something you learned incorrectly!)

After having several children acting out the right way for the procedure, it's not over. Find time later in the day for more children to model it again. Every time they go through that procedure for the next couple of days, have them stop and think about what they've learned.

"Before we line up, turn and tell your partner what we've learned about the right way to line up."
"Close your eyes and picture yourself lining up the way we practiced."
"After you share with a partner, take a deep breath before you line up."
"Put your hands on your head if you know the right way to line up."
"Name something your partner won't think of that's important to remember when lining up."

You know, it's amazing we ever finish going over the procedures and get on to the real learning!  But seriously, if you take the time to teach the procedures properly, the rest of the year goes smoothly. 

 And I truly believe that's worth it!

Tips for Teaching Procedures: Here are three tips to help set expectations for procedures at the beginning of the school year!




Music, the Brain, Memory, and the Seven Continents


Did you ever find yourself singing along to the radio to a song you've never really liked, yet somehow you know all the words? Or perhaps you caught yourself singing along to a commercial on TV? Doesn't that kind of point out the connection between music and the brain? Yep, without even trying, you've memorized the words to hundreds of songs, right? 
 
Music, the Brain, and the Seven Continents: This post makes the connection between music and memory, and has a song to help the children remember the names of the seven continents.
 
I use that often in the classroom. If there's something I want the children to know by heart, I'll whip up a little song for them. I typically pick a tune that is familiar to all, squeeze in some words in a similar rhythm, and there you go! Sometimes I'll even make it rhyme, but that's not all that important. Nor is it important for the words to fit perfectly in the rhythm.

Here's a social studies song to the tune of This Old Man (also known as The Barney Song.) 

The Continents Song
North America, South America, 
Europe, Asia, Africa,
Australia and Antarctica.
There are seven continents. 

North America, South America, 
Europe, Asia, Africa,
Australia and Antarctica.
Now we all can cha, cha, cha!
 
I'll admit, the kids made up the second verse. 
I figured, if my second graders can name the 7 continents, they deserve to dance! 
Years later, kids come back to me and sing the song to me!


Want printable copies? See this freebie:

 
https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Seven-Continents-Song-for-Learning-About-Our-World-5308695?utm_source=blog%20post%20seven%20continents&utm_campaign=Seven%20Continents%20Song


 Music helps the memory.
Music is magical.


Music, the Brain, and the Seven Continents: This post makes the connection between music and memory, and has a song to help the children remember the names of the seven continents.





Ten Brain Tricks for Learning Math Facts

I've been fascinated by the brain for years now. I've read about how the brain works, and the best ways to help children learn. I've applied this knowledge into my teaching and have had fabulous results!

 Ten Brain Tricks for Learning Math Facts: These strategies are backed by science, and will help the kiddos with basic math facts!
 These are some of the things I've learned about the brain!
 Let's see how they relate to learning Math Facts!

Ten Brain Tricks for Learning Math Facts: These strategies are backed by science, and will help the kiddos with basic math facts!
   We know that “Practice Makes Perfect” is a fallacy since we know if a child practices something incorrectly, he learns it incorrectly.  Whatever they practice needs to be accurate so the child learns it correctly.  (I’m sure you know how hard it is to break a bad habit!)  When practicing facts, it's important that the child practices the correct answer. Either have the correct answer on the back of flashcards, or have the child practice with someone who knows the answers!

Ten Brain Tricks for Learning Math Facts: These strategies are backed by science, and will help the kiddos with basic math facts!
    This goes with the first idea: the kiddos need to know if they're getting the answer correct. If they are not, they need to know right away so they will practice it correctly.


Ten Brain Tricks for Learning Math Facts: These strategies are backed by science, and will help the kiddos with basic math facts!
   Brains are much more likely to remember something if the learner uses more than one process. If the children are looking at the fact, saying the fact out loud, and moving manipulatives on the tens frame, they are more likely to remember the information than if they just looked at it. Another idea, stating the fact while jumping on one foot, or while doing jumping jacks.

Ten Brain Tricks for Learning Math Facts: These strategies are backed by science, and will help the kiddos with basic math facts!
    When children work together, they are keeping the brain happy. Social interaction is HUGE when it comes to learning! This is one reason why games are great for learning math facts!


Ten Brain Tricks for Learning Math Facts: These strategies are backed by science, and will help the kiddos with basic math facts!
    A little healthy competition gets the blood moving, bringing oxygen to the brain and helping the memory do its thing. This is another reason why games are great for practicing facts!


Ten Brain Tricks for Learning Math Facts: These strategies are backed by science, and will help the kiddos with basic math facts!
   When the kids practice facts, it's a good idea to put fact families together: 4+7=11   7+4=11   11-4=7   11-7=4   or  3x6=18  6x3=18  18÷6=3  18÷3=6 This really helps the kiddos make the connections in the brain!


Ten Brain Tricks for Learning Math Facts: These strategies are backed by science, and will help the kiddos with basic math facts!
    If it's possible color code copies of facts by fact families.
The brain really focuses on color, and helps make those connections!



Ten Brain Tricks for Learning Math Facts: These strategies are backed by science, and will help the kiddos with basic math facts!
   This is why it's not a good idea to give the kiddos too many facts to study at a time. Start with just a couple of families, and build from there!


Ten Brain Tricks for Learning Math Facts: These strategies are backed by science, and will help the kiddos with basic math facts!
    It is suggested that children spend 5 minutes a day, every day, rather than a half hour once a week. It's actually less time, but it's more productive!

Ten Brain Tricks for Learning Math Facts: These strategies are backed by science, and will help the kiddos with basic math facts!
     It is recommended that background music is played during practice times. This is a good time for a piece of classic music, not rock music or anything with lyrics. 

Hope this list helps your kiddos learn their facts!

THIS FREEBIE makes it clear just how many facts the children need to master!
Ten Brain Tricks for Learning Math Facts: These strategies are backed by science, and will help the kiddos with basic math facts!

It just so happens I have a set of addition and subtraction facts to practice that follow almost all these brain rules, (you have to supply your own music) and even has a few brain breaks worked in! See here if you're interested:  

Update: Due to popular demand and success with the above set of addition and subtraction facts, I'm made a new version to practice and assess multiplication and division, which you can find here:  

Ten Brain Tricks for Learning Math Facts: These strategies are backed by science, and will help the kiddos with basic math facts!

Clip Charts, Yay or Nay?

Many teachers use a clip chart for behavior management in their classrooms. I know of many parents and teachers who have strong feelings about these clip charts.
 
Clip Charts: Yay or Nay? Here are some reasons for and against using clip charts. The conclusion? It's all in the execution!
 
 
Clip Charts: Yay or Nay? Here are some reasons for and against using clip charts. The conclusion? It's all in the execution!

Here are some of the arguments against the clip charts:

 
1. It's too public.
2. It upsets children when their clip is moved down.
3. They don't change behavior.
4. It's negative.

Clip Charts: Yay or Nay? Here are some reasons for and against using clip charts. The conclusion? It's all in the execution!

Well, despite all these beliefs, I use a clip chart in my classroom, and I love it!  Here's why:

1. It holds the students accountable for their actions.
2. It gives the children a chance to change things around.
3. It motivates the children to want to do well.
4. It's positive and honest.


Does it sound like some of my reasons for using it are conflicting with some of the reasons some have for not using it?


Well, I think the difference lies in the execution. 

I find the clip chart to be a positive experience because I make sure it is a positive experience. 


Most of the time, most of my students end the day well above green, and very rarely does a student end the day below green. 

If they do end below green, then they must have needed that communication. 

Do you know who else needs that communication? 


The other students in the class. 

They see the inappropriate behaviors in the classroom. It makes them feel insecure and sometimes scared if the child isn't held accountable for their actions. When they see that the teacher does something about inappropriate behavior, it makes them feel more secure. 

Clip Charts: Yay or Nay? Here are some reasons for and against using clip charts. The conclusion? It's all in the execution!


When I have to move a clip down, I make it clear that the child made a bad decision and is NOT a bad child. Then I repeat one of my famous phrases: "You have the power to change this!"

Clip Charts: Yay or Nay? Here are some reasons for and against using clip charts. The conclusion? It's all in the execution!

Then I make a point to find them doing something well, and make sure that clip gets moved in the right direction.  

It's all about positive execution! 

The teacher has the power to make it a positive experience or a negative experience. I choose to make it positive.

I have a music theme in my classroom, so I designed this Clip Chart System:
 
Clip Charts: Yay or Nay? Here are some reasons for and against using clip charts. The conclusion? It's all in the execution!


It has music pictures and music themed words like "Rhythmic Day", and the most desired level: "Symphonic Day". It's tough to get to that top level, but I make sure it happens, and I make sure even the most challenging kids find their way to the top level. 

Clip Charts: Yay or Nay? Here are some reasons for and against using clip charts. The conclusion? It's all in the execution!

For children who struggle, there is a more private option.

Clip Charts: Yay or Nay? Here are some reasons for and against using clip charts. The conclusion? It's all in the execution!

Each day, the children record where they end the day. Each week, they do a self evaluation and choose a goal for the week.   Sometimes they do need a little help coming up with appropriate goals, but sometimes I am amazed at how insightful these goals can be!

There is also another incentive built into my clip chart system:



Clip Charts: Yay or Nay? Here are some reasons for and against using clip charts. The conclusion? It's all in the execution!

Beanie Babies!


Clip Charts: Yay or Nay? Here are some reasons for and against using clip charts. The conclusion? It's all in the execution!

Depending on where they end up at the end of the day on the clip chart, they'll get to start the next day with a certain amount of beanies on their desk! It may seem like a little thing, but this is HUGE with my second graders! Those beanie babies are like trophies to those little guys!

Clip Charts: Yay or Nay? Here are some reasons for and against using clip charts. The conclusion? It's all in the execution!

I've been using beanie babies as rewards for years now, and I've never had a class that didn't love them. Yes, they play with them at first, but they don't want to lose the privilege of the beanie, so they learn real fast to leave it alone.

All in all, I love the clip chart system, but it is indeed a lot of work to make it work in a positive manner. 

If you're interested in the Clip Chart System I use, See the image above or see THIS LINK.

I also have a version of the clip chart with a sports theme!

 
Clip Charts: Yay or Nay? Here are some reasons for and against using clip charts. The conclusion? It's all in the execution!
 

Click the image or click HERE to see this resource!

I also use other methods of classroom management such as the scoreboard from Whole Brain Teaching but I believe in the Clip Chart because I make it work!
 
Clip Charts: Yay or Nay? Here are some reasons for and against using clip charts. The conclusion? It's all in the execution!
 

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