Monday, February 29, 2016

Saturday, February 27, 2016

READ ACROSS AMERICA is only 4 days away! Come and see us this weekend for Dr. Seuss decor, hats, pencils, stickers, bookmarks, and more!!!

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Watch Morgan Park H.S. Teacher's Triumphant Return to School After Cancer

Pretty much impossible to watch this viral video shot at Morgan Park High School without tearing up...

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Seven Simple Steps...

7 Simple Steps...
Seven Simple Steps To Be More Productive.

We are 2 months in to the New Year, are you being more productive in 2016? 

Toward the end of 2015, I struggled with too much to-do left at the end of my days. How about you? With only so many hours in the day (24, at last count), you've got to use your head to accomplish more with less.
I've been a whirling dervish of productivity before, so I went back through my notes to help myself get back there to start the new year. 
Here's my seven-step productivity plan to start the new year if you wish to join me. Pay particular attention to the seventh.

Step 1: Have a crystal-clear picture of what it is you're trying to make happen.
Can you tell me, in just a couple sentences in clear language, what you're trying to accomplish and why? Write the what and why down. Keep them somewhere you can always access them. Say them aloud like a mantra because they'll help you stay focused on essential tasks.

Step 2: Create a to-don't list.
Are you being productive, or are you just busy?  Prioritize your tasks, you'll quickly and cleanly learn what, frankly, doesn't need to be done.

Step 3: Schedule your time.
Stuff that goes on your calendar gets done. Rather than opting into a large-and-growing-ever-larger to-do list, when a task comes in, schedule time to get it done. If it's a larger project, break it up into steps. Schedule the first, and keep a list only of the steps so you can schedule the subsequent tasks as they move up in the queue.

Step 4: Build in margin.
You've heard of eyes being bigger than a stomach? Is your will/enthusiasm bigger than the clock? Try adding 15 minutes to every newly-scheduled task on your calendar.

Once you've got your to-do's scheduled on your calendar, you can relax and know you do not have to fret. Just keep your head down and focus on what's next.

Step 6: It's a series of sprints.
Don't look at your day as a marathon; instead, consider it a series of shorter bursts of activity. Once you finish your first scheduled activity, take a short break as time and margin permit. Get a drink of water. Breathe. Go for a short walk.

Step 7: Do NOT let others interrupt your flow (when away from students- of course).
It's very tempting-and it's never been easier-to allow others to dictate your workflow. 

I don't know about you, but I was ready for 2015 to end. It was a tough year in many ways (not, you know, coal mining tough, but tough). It's going to be a great year in 2016. We'll get through it together. We'll celebrate together.

Now, let's get to work.

Friday, February 19, 2016

Special Alert!
I'm putting you on notice. Make it count.

U.S. Presidential elections... World Cups... Summer and Winter Olympics... and Leap Day... events so rare they only happen once every four years.

This is your one-week notice.
Do something special on Monday, February 29th. Take a leap.
What's on your bucket list?
What's on your dare-to-be-great list?
What's on your always-been-afraid-to-try list?
Go skydiving.
Go Rocky Mountain climbing.
Spend 2.7 seconds on a bull named Fu Manchu.
Love deeper.
Speak sweeter.
Give forgiveness you've been denying.

It's a special, special day. It only happens once every four years.
To be frank, who knows if it might be your last... or mine... or the last of someone you love.
Make it count.
Monday, February 29th, 2016.
I'm giving you one week notice.
Make it count.

Thursday, February 18, 2016

How to Bounce Back from a Difficult Caller !

One of our customers - one who is really good at her job and full of joy and good will - asked us to write about this:

How do you bounce back from an encounter with a difficult Parent?

Teaching is hard. You play the personality lottery each time a new school year starts.

If you're doing your job, with the best intentions, on a regular day, feeling good about your class, your school, your progress, your attitude,--- when a difficult person ruins everything, then read on dear one.  And take courage.

The bounce back begins before the phone ever rings.  Before you pick up your defensive shield and draw back your arrow, keep these five simple points in mind:

1.  Chances are- It's not about you.  There are just a lot of angry people in the world.  There are a lot of people who are hurting on a level that cannot be imagined by you and by me. That person has no idea (nor do they care) about what kind of day you are having.

2.  Before you pick up the phone, smile.   It will magically change your disposition which can, in turn, diffuse the fussiest of callers.

3.  Be prepared to listen.  Based on years of experience in customer service, community relations, and account representation, I find that what most people want is to be heard.  Listen more than you talk.  Ask questions.  Reflect back what you hear with statements like "What I hear you saying is...."  "What you'd like to see happen is..."  "Would it be alright if I..."

4.  It's not your job to make everyone happy. Solve the problem if you can.  If you can't, let the Parent know that you don't have the solution at hand, but you will look into it and get back with them.  Then follow up.  That's your only responsibility here.  

5.  In the words of Taylor Swift, "Shake it Off." Shake the metaphorical Etch-a-Sketch to remove that unpleasant experience.  Don't give Anyone the power to ruin your perfectly good day.

Hope some of that may have helped.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Easter Basket Ideas

There are many options other than candy for Easter baskets.  Melissa & Doug carry a variety of items such as puzzles, costumes, puppets, play food and dishes, and much more.  Here is a link to our online Melissa & Doug products.  There is a great variety in the store as well!

Melissa & Doug Products

Monday, February 15, 2016

I love this story!  My kids have a child at their school that uses one of these.

Go Baby Go! article...

Friday, February 12, 2016

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Super Hero Resources

If you liked the Super Hero theme last year, you are going to LOVE it this year. The theme has been completely revamped with new additions to bulletin board sets, borders, cut outs, post cards, awnings, paper, and even a treasure box for good behavior! Come in and see them all for yourself or shop online by clicking on this link:super hero resources.

Saturday, February 6, 2016



Here are some of the new puppets that just arrived.

Best Teacher Supply offers a wide variety of puppets.  This adorable puppet theater is make out of a science fair board, which we also carry.  Check them out in store and online:

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Do you like green eggs and ham?

We have great decorations and resources for your Dr. Seuss celebrations next week.  Stop in the store today!

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

This is such a cute video, posted from the Ellen Show.

She's Brielle-iant, Ep. 1