Tag Archives: Unlock

Unlock the Teacher is Thrilled to Share a New Teacher Author

"If I Could be a Monster" Written by RoseAnn McHugh~2nd Grade Teacher

“If I Could be a Monster” Written by Rose Ann McHugh~2nd Grade Teacher


The Unlock the Teacher team is proud to share If I Could be a Monster a creative eBook written by one of our favorite 2nd grade teachers Rose Ann McHugh.  Rose Ann not only wrote this book, she illustrated it too!  She has been sitting on all these wonderful book ideas for years and one day her and I had a conversation about Mysteries on the Beach and how fun it is to write and publish and eBook… and before I knew it she was sharing this very special book with me; it is sure to delight the minds of many young people.

Please check out Rose Ann McHugh’s first book, “If I Could be a Monster” on sale now at Barnes and Noble.com

May we continue to seek knowledge in all things~


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Summer is a Time for Learning through Play-Carpe Diem

During the school year, we reflect on summers past and the next one to come and we remember treasured times of relaxation.  However, sometimes we get so caught up in our scheduling and planning of events, that we forget to just pause, relax and allow our children…and ourselves to play.

If you find upon reflection that you and your family fit into the latter category this summer, I want to encourage you to pause, choose two good books to read and “schedule” some time into you weeks ahead to just “be”…to allow your children to play with some containers and a water hose in the yard, to research finger foods online and allow your children to make dinner for the adults in the house one night…they will have so much fun and you will be amazed at how much they have grown. 🙂

Our team has collected some helpful tips to ensure that summer is indeed a time of relaxing and learning, for you and the child(ren) in your life.

Moms who Think

Moms who Think, is a great site for recipes, diet and nutrition, holiday and celebration ideas and so much more.

Kid Recipes

Easy and Kid-Friendly Recipes from Kraft Foods

Kid-Friendly Recipes

Rachel Ray Everyday …a great family website!

Rachel Ray’s Kid-Friendly Recipes

Martha Stewart and Summer Activities for Kids~We like the summer housekeeping and garden in a jar 🙂

60 Activities for Kids this Summer

Great Schools, Involved Parents, Successful Kids is an amazing website!

Ten Ways to Keep your Child Learning this Summer

Given that we like to promote the good in education, we would like to share the Department of Education’s Office of Educational Research and Improvement‘s recommendation for parent/child involvement this summer:

Every Day…

  • Give your child a hug and say “I love you.” Do not forget to look them in the eye, to ensure that you make that special connection with them.
  • Praise your child. We all like to hear that we are doing a good job…it is o.k. and encouraged to tell your child(ren) often.
  • Talk with your child. I encourage you to not only talk with your child, but read the same book they are reading independently, specifically if your child is 7-18.  This will always give you something to talk about with them…a common ground.
  • Read and write with your child for at least 30 minutes every day. My children keep journals and we write and share about what we are passionate about. (When children are little, pictures in journals versus words are just as good…let your child explain their pictures to you.)
  • With your child, make a dictionary of new words and add to it every day. Studies have shown that the more words we learn, the higher our IQ…make it a family activity to choose a word or few words a week and have some fun at the dinner table using these words.
  • Count with your child. Math is everywhere, in the grocery store on labels, on the road as we drive…make it a fun exercise to play Eye Spy math or numbers with your child.  The more that children can be exposed to numbers in their world and what they are utilized for, the more understanding they will have for math.
  • Listen to music with your child. There are many positive studies on why this is important. Studies have shown, that memory retention and learning is enhanced while studying and listening to classical music.

May your summer, or what is left of it, be a time of renewal and rejuvenation for both you and the child in your life. Learning can indeed be fun and relaxing, it just might take a bit of planning.  We encourage everyone to live in the moment and choose to be the difference in the life of your child.

Please share your tips and favorite websites with us and we will post it here for all of our readers.  Together we can make a difference!

May we continue to seek knowledge in all things~


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“You are the Difference” Presentation for Birmingham Public School District’s MLK Educational Training Conference

Unlock the Teacher


“You are the Difference”

for Birmingham Public School District’s

MLK Educational Training Conference

January 16, 2012

All labor that uplifts humanity has dignity and importance and should be undertaken with painstaking excellence.
~Martin Luther King Jr.

Unlock the Teacher was asked to present at Birmingham Public School District’s MLK Educational Training Conference.   The district invited over thirty presenters to come in an speak on various topics. The entire educational staff for the district was then able to look at all presentations being offered, and choose two to add to their professional development plan.

I was happy to come in and share Best Practices, Anti-Bullying techniques and remind educators the very important responsibility and role we play in the life of a child.  As Carol Buchner once said, “They may forget what you said but they will never forget how you made them feel.”

As educators, we pass on wisdom/skills by modeling  the expected behavior.  Of course, all the wonderful educators knew the importance of these tips. However, sometimes even the most qualified and most dedicated teachers need reminders, and these teachers were positive and a joy to collaborate with today.

“A hundred years from now, it will not matter what kind of car I drove, what kind of house I lived in, how much money I had in the bank…but the world may be a better place because I made a difference in the life of a child.”

  — Forest Witcraft

May we continue to seek knowledge in all things,


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Filed under Anti-Bullying Workshops, Conferences, Professional Development Workshops for Educators

Positive Energy and Praise Goes a Long Way for Educators and Students

Welcome back everyone (or those just returning) to the classroom or diving back into home school studies.  I hope everyone had a fabulous break and made wonderful memories.

We have had many email requests for suggestions on “How to Deal with Negativity in the Classroom or Work Environment”.  Given that the entire Unlock the Teacher LLC team prefers to dwell in the positive versus the negative (which is why we work so well together 🙂 ) I thought I would pull some positive energy from my team and share it with our readers.

First off, when we allow ourselves to get caught up in the negativity of the world around us, we can not fully achieve what is intended or live intentionally.  This is also true in education…and I would go so far as to say it is even MORE important for us to NOT embrace the negative, because we are examples for all the future minds of tomorrow!

There are many philosophers who have tackled this subject in the past and present. Below is a brief synopsis of what I have found this week, that I have found helpful to get along with others or words that have helped shape my management style.

All Business provided the following rubric for great team building in a work environment:

  1. Communicate Goals Clearly
  2. Define Responsibilities
  3. Provide Equal Training
  4. Encourage Relationships
  5. Empower
  6. Provide Feedback
  7. Reward (I say provide PRAISE…it goes a long way!)
  8. Set Reasonable Deadlines
  9. Meet Regularly (Our team lives in various states.  Given this, we try to Skype and have timely phone conferences.)
  10. Discourage “Back-Door” Reports *All Business reminds us, that inevitably, there will be at least one employee who will attempt to report to  you after every meeting — giving a play-by-play slanted in his or her favor.  Don’t encourage this behavior, and resist the temptation to use this employee as  a fly on the wall. Backdoor tactics can severely undermine an otherwise positive  office environment.

Education World is a great resource for this topic and I recommend this site for anyone looking for collaborative tools.

A single arrow is easily broken, but not ten in a bundle. – Japanese proverb

It is amazing how much people get done if they do not worry about who gets the credit. – Swahili proverb

A team is more than a collection of people. It is a process of give and take.  – Barbara Glacel & Emile Robert Jr.

None of us is as smart as all of us.Ken Blanchard

No man is wise enough by himself. – Plautus

Interdependent people combine their own efforts with the efforts of others to achieve their greatest success. Stephen Covey

The ratio of We’s to I’s is the best indicator of the development of a team.  – Lewis B. Ergen

One man can be a crucial ingredient on a team, but one man cannot make a team.  Kareem Abdul-Jabbor

Teams share the burden and divide the grief. – Doug Smith

Coming together is a beginning. Keeping together is progress. Working together is success. – Henry Ford

Light is the task where many share the toil. – Homer

T.E.A.M = Together everyone achieves more. – Anonymous

Ultimately, it is in our actions that define who we are.  If we are one who promotes the good in all things, collaborates and maintains an open mind to others point of view…this can only help but begin a positive synergistic effect on any work relationship or environment.

I encourage all our readers to embrace the good!

I am very blessed to have an opportunity at Unlock the Teacher to work with a group of people who are dedicated to excellence in all things, and continue to strive to BE the difference for our children…our FUTURE!

Now that I am also wearing an Assistant Principal hat, I am equally blessed to work with  a wonderful staff of 40+ who are positively centered and choose to embrace the good in each day.

Please share your great “team-building” tips so we can all benefit from the wisdom of many.

May we continue to seek knowledge in all things,



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Filed under Classroom Management, Curriculum Resources, Team Building/Positive Work Environments

Anti-Bullying Workshops gets Views and Comments…Thank You!

Thank you for reading our blog. In this week alone, we have had over 200 views of our Anti-Bullying Workshops.

The beginning of the school year has been very busy for us and as we continue to go into schools to conduct our ePublishing and Anti-Bullying workshops, we are also working with a few schools currently on CCSS Curriculum Alignment…and if this was not enough to keep us smiling, we have been writing and meeting with our parent and teacher focus groups.

Given our schedule the last couple of weeks, we are thrilled with the views and emails coming in requesting information about our Anti-Bullying Workshops…THANK YOU! 

We worked very hard last year creating student- friendly workshops that would be age appropriate.  We gathered input from parents, teachers and law enforcement (for grades 9-12 workshop) and gathered statistical data to help all stake holders realize just how important it is to talk about bullying, address questions and concerns and provide students with  problem-solving tools and strategies in bullying situations.

Please feel free to contact us to ask questions, provide input or feedback or to request letters of recommendations.

Thank you for your continued support, together we can make a difference!

May we continue to seek knowledge in all things,


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Filed under Anti-Bullying Workshops, Book I in the Unlock the Teacher Series