“FIRST DAY OF (BACK TO) SCHOOL: I say, “let’s make this year the most educational ever!*”

Vol. 2,  No. 14, August 21, 2011
TITLE: “FIRST DAY OF (BACK TO) SCHOOL:  I  say, “let’s make this year the most educational ever!*”


This week, my mail box was filled with flyers shouting “They’re going back” and “Back to School”. On TV, the commericals are announcing great sales for children’s wear and school supplies.  I therefore can’t help, but think about children and adolescents and the approaching first day of school. My book of the week is “Best-Ever Back-to-School Activities: 50 Winning and Welcoming Activities, Strategies, and Tips That Save You Time and Get Your School Year Off to a Sensational Start” [Paperback] by Elaine Israel. Hence my subject is the commencement of the school year. (Editor’s Note: This is the first of a continuing series on education and related topics.)

PREVIEW: Next week, I will write about what makes a school great and choosing a school (e.g., primary, middle and high) for your child and recommending a college for your teenager. 


I am thinking back to years past and the few weeks before the start of the school year.

As a mother of five year old girls -this was a long time ago -I remember this as a bitter-sweet time.  Summer was over and the children’s day-long play time was then coming to an end; but they were also very excited to go back to school and see their friends. For me, life was about to go back to normal.  I started the preparations in the third week of August. I hit the stores to buy a few school supplies. I only bought the basics because I knew that my daughters would come home in the first week with a list of further items specified by the teacher. I also renewed the wardrobe of each child- I wanted them to look their best. In my perspective, if students started the year well-prepared, they would do better academically. 

I also have another point of view. I spent 35 years working in a major college in my home town. The time leading up to opening day was always hectic, but the staff was looking forward to what the new year would bring. Department chair persons and teachers were calling often to make their final course preparations. Students were calling to solve scheduling problems. Each day, there was more and more to do. Finally day one arrives and students are everywhere.  I usually remarked that they looked younger  and younger, although I saw myself as middle aged, not aging much. In the first week, students got their course outlines and teachers started presenting the material.  You could feel the high energy in the air.  The serious students started their work as soon as possible – they don’t waste any time. I commend this attitude- this is the only way to get ahead.      

And now I have another angle. I am a grandmother with a granddaughter, age 2-1/2 years old, this week, she was accepted at a pre-kindergarden.  I was SOOO excited when I heard the news.  Not only will she be taught, but she will play with so many kids her age. Indeed, I am thinking about going to the store and buying her a pink school bag!

S & R* CHOICE ANECDOTAGE #1: Fruit Stand Zappa? (long)
“When the 1960s ended, San Francisco’s Haight-Ashbury district reverted to high rent, and many hippies moved down the coast to Santa Cruz. They had children and got married, too, though in no particular sequence. But they didn’t name their children Melissa or Brett.
“People in the mountains around Santa Cruz grew accustomed to their children playing Frisbee with little Time Warp or Spring Fever. And eventually Moonbeam, Earth, Love and Precious Promise all ended up in public school. That’s when the kindergarten teachers first met Fruit Stand.
“Every fall, according to tradition, parents bravely apply name tags to their children, kiss them good-bye and send them off to school on the bus. So it was for Fruit Stand. The teachers thought the boy’s name was odd, but they tried to make the best of it.
“‘Would you like to play with the blocks, Fruit Stand?’ they offered.
“And later, ‘Fruit Stand, how about a snack?’
“He accepted hesitantly. By the end of the day, his name didn’t seem much odder than Heather’s or Sun Ray’s. At dismissal time, the teachers led the children out to the buses. ‘Fruit Stand, do you know which one is your bus?’
“He didn’t answer. That wasn’t wasted. He hadn’t answered them all day. Lots of children are shy on the first day of school. It didn’t matter. The teachers had instructed the parents to write the names of their children’s bus stops on the reverse side of their name tags. The teacher simply turned over the tag. There, neatly printed, was the word ‘Anthony.'”
[Sources: Luanne Oleas in Salinas, Calif., Reader’s Digest]
(Source: www.anecdotage.com) –http://www.anecdotage.com/index.php?aid=9248

S & R* CHOICE ANECDOTAGE #2: Young Harold Ramis
“Harold Ramis has always taken the long view: when he was sent to the principal’s office on the first day of first grade for chewing gum, he remembers thinking, Well, there goes college.”
(Source: www.anecdotage.com) – http://www.anecdotage.com/index.php?aid=18541

S & R* CHOICE ANECDOTAGE #3: Teacher’s Pet?
“One day Charlie Chaplin, returning from Mexico with a new bride, found some unexpected visitors in his home.
The law relating to compulsory education in California was very rigid and, having discovered Mrs. Chaplin’s age (sixteen), truant officers had swept down to ask why she was not in school.
Marriage or no marriage, they told her, she must either return to school or take a solemn oath to study at home for a certain number of hours each day, under the guidance of a ‘teacher’.[Not surprisingly, she adopted the latter ‘course’.]”
(Source: www.anecdotage.com) –  http://www.anecdotage.com/index.php?aid=11270

S & R* QUOTE #1: – Heinrich Heine
“Experience is a good school. But the fees are high.”
(Source:  Wisdom Quotes) –  http://www.wisdomquotes.com/topics/experience/

S & R* QUOTE #2:  Rabbinical saying
“Don’t limit a child to your own learning, for he was born in another time.”
(Source:  Wisdom Quotes) – http://www.wisdomquotes.com/topics/children/index7.html

S & R* QUOTE #3: Virginia Woolf
“The first duty of a lecturer: to hand you after an hour’s discourse a nugget of pure truth to wrap up between the pages of your notebooks, and keep on the mantlepiece forever.”
(Source:  Wisdom Quotes) – http://www.wisdomquotes.com/topics/education/index9.html

THE AUTHOR: Elaine Israel

Elaine Israel is an author of children’s books. She is also an editor, She is versatile. She knows how to talk to kids. She is therefore able to give pointers to school teachers .
Some books are:

  • Hilary Duff (Today’s Superstars: Entertainment)
  • Election 2000 – Time for Kids Readers
  • The Official Study Guide for All Sat Subject Tests
  • Celebrate the Winter Hoidays: Sensational Activities & Helpful Background Information That Help Kids Learn About & Appreciate Five Important Holidays
  • The World Almanac and Book of Facts 2002

THE BOOK: “Best-Ever Back-to-School Activities: 50 Winning and Welcoming Activities, Strategies, and Tips That Save You Time and Get Your School Year Off to a Sensational Start” [Paperback] by Elaine Israel (Author)

This is a book addressing primary grade teachers. Israel gives them pointers on HOW-TO achieve a better launch of the school year. Her chapters signify her priorities. According to her, these are: 1) Introducton: the First Day & Getting to know you; 2) Mini- Books; 3) Making books;  4) Bulletin boards, 5) Perfect Poems: A Song to Sing; Riddle poems; 6)  Top Ten Start- of- the- Year Stories. Here’s a ‘for instance’, under the “First Day”, Israel grabs you with a sub-title: “Build community and establish routines with activities that will make the first day of school a stunning success.” Now that’s a great goal- I buy into that. Wouldn’t any parent? She follows that with a sub–heading, “Alumni visits: and explains how “To give your students an idea of what the coming year will bring.”She also wants to break the ice between future school friends. Her idea is called  “Good Morning” Match. As per Israel, she thinks that “Each child’s cubby holds a welcoming surprise with an activity that makes it easy for new classmates to meet one another or get reacquainted and share a favourite book.” She also offers a “Calendar surprise” She explains that  “a surpirse awaits your students each day with this easy to-make this lift- the- flap- calendar”.  It appears to be a continuing interest builder, helping making school fresh. The book seems to be a winner. Read it and become aware and help your child to succeed.


The future of your child is substantially dependent upon his/her schooling. You should do verything possible to ensure that his/her education is the best that it could be.  

Personal Comments

Every parent needs information to help their kids in their educational career.  A parent should know what to expect by the day he/she drops the child in the school yard as they march into school at the start of the school year. I think that armed with this information, a  parent could prepare his/her child better and of course, better preparation should result in better grades. And the student has a greater chance to excel in his/her school career.

With young students, a parent needs to be hands on closely monitoring his/her child in school work and activities.  With teenage students, a parent needs to supervise their offspring attentively. They need to review school correspondence and reports. They need to ask questions and have a yearlong dialogue, insisting upon results. With college age students, initiate discussions and offer recommendations. 

Teachers, principals, school board members and educators at all levels will tell you that the first few days of the school year are key. What happens and doesn’t happen could spell a good year or a bad one.

The Point

Your child’s education is VERY important. You have a role.  The school year is about to start. You need to become informed and active right away. 


Every parent of a student should: 
1. Consider the appropriate school for your child/adolescent, today and tomorrow and after tomorrow; (More about this next week.)
2. Research the curriculum of the coming school year – encouraging your child to get a head start on the reading is always a good idea;
3. Think about after school; to this end,
3.1 Inquire into the extra- curricular activities being offered- signing up early is another good idea;  try to have one physical activity/sports plus one hobby/interest club.
4. Shop for back to school wisely; in this regard, 
4.1 Look for the sales at major retailers – school supplies are usually discounted to get you into the store.    
4.2 Buy hi-value clothing: strong seams, good fabrics and multipacks; and supplement the new articles with spruced- up hand me downs from siblings and close family; 
5. Plan to start the school year by serving up nutritious meals; to this end,
5.1 Make a complete breakfast for the youngsters – they need fuel to learn;
5.2  Use a variety of food groups: high food value, low calories/cholesterol,
6. Think about routine; more precisely, 
6.1 Limit usage of TV, computer, Internet, video games, etc.; nevertheless, keep in mind that educational TV programming is beneficial – so is research on the web! 

6.2 Reserve quiet time, reading time, etc.
6.3 Set age appropriate bedtimes in order to permit sleep hours sufficient for age;
7. Get involved at school:
7.1 Introduce yourself to the principal and teachers;
7.2 Join parent-teacher school group; etc.

Your child (and you) can and should enjoy this time in school.  Help him/her to succeed and be happy. I hope that you give me an A+ on this blog post!

And that’s my thought of the week on books, what’s yours? *
“Books are life; and they make life better!*”
Take it out for a spin and tell me if you agree.
And that’s my thought of the week on books, what’s yours? *
P.S. I wish to remind you that I have a TWITTER page – it is located at:  saveandread – please register as a follower.
P.P.S. I also have a FACEBOOK page – it is located at: Alp Save Andread – please check it out.
-Web Tech:  richmediasound.com
The above is a new media production of Valente under its “United Author*” program.
*TM/© 2011 Practitioners’ Press Inc. – All Rights Reserved.
For today, my word/phrase(s) are: “school”; “student”; “”; etc.


“A school is an institution designed for the teaching of students (or “pupils”) under the direction of teachers. Most countries have systems of formal education, which is commonly compulsory. In these systems, students progress through a series of schools. The names for these schools vary by country (discussed in the Regional section below), but generally include primary school for young children and secondary school for teenagers who have completed primary education. An institution where higher education is taught, is commonly called a university college or university.”
(Source: Wikipedia the free encyclopedia) – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/School


“A student is a learner, or someone who attends an educational institution. In some nations, the English term (or its cognate in another language) is reserved for those who attend university, while a schoolchild under the age of eighteen is called a pupil in English (or an equivalent in other languages). In its widest use, student is used for anyone who is learning.”
(Source: Wikipedia the free encyclopedia) – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Student


“Education in the general sense is any act or experience that has a formative effect on the mind, character, or physical ability of an individual. In its technical sense, education is the process by which society deliberately transmits its accumulated knowledge, skills, and values from one generation to another.Etymologically, the word education is derived from educare (Latin) “bring up”, which is related to educere “bring out”, “bring forth what is within”, “bring out potential” and ducere, “to lead”.[1]
(Source: Wikipedia the free encyclopedia) –http://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Image_filter_referendum

STUDY/STATISTICS: Back-to-School Shopping
“7.2 billion

The amount of money spent at family clothing stores in August 2009. Only in December were sales significantly higher. Similarly, sales at bookstores in August 2009 totaled $2.5 billion, an amount approached in 2009 only by sales in January.
Source: Monthly Retail Trade and Food Services <http://www.census.gov/mrts/www/mrts.html>

“For back-to-school shopping, choices of retail establishments abound: In 2007, there were 27,326 family clothing stores, 7,036 children and infants clothing stores, 27,213 shoe stores, 9,754 office supply and stationery stores, 23,756 sporting goods stores, 10,635 bookstores and 10,116 department stores.”
Source: County Business Patterns: 2007 <http://www.census.gov/econ/cbp/>

“76 million
The number of children and adults enrolled in school throughout the country in October 2008 — from nursery school to college. They comprised 27 percent of the entire population 3 and older.
Source: School Enrollment — Social and Economic Characteristics of Students: October 2008” <http://www.census.gov/population/www/socdemo/school/cps2008.html>

31 million
Average number of children participating each month in the national school lunch program in 2008.
Source: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Food and Nutrition Service, as cited in the Statistical Abstract of the United States: 2010, Table 558” <http://www.census.gov/compendia/statab/>

19.1 million
The projected number of students enrolled in the nation’s colleges and universities this fall. This is up from 13.8 million 20 years ago.
Source: U.S. National Center for Education Statistics as cited in the Statistical Abstract of the United States: 2010, Table 214:” <http://www.census.gov/compendia/statab/>
(Source: US Census Bureau) – http://www.census.gov/newsroom/releases/archives/facts_for_features_special_editions/cb10-ff14.html

S & R* NEWS ALERT* #1: Set your child up for success this school year
“(NC)—We’ve all heard that breakfast is the most important meal of the day – and it’s true. Research reveals that people who skip breakfast don’t make up for the missed nutrients later in the day. But, how many of us follow that advice and ensure that our kids eat it too? It’s crucial to start your day with a nutritious breakfast and even more so for your children as they head back to school this September.

As we literally “break the fast” of 8 to 12 hours without eating, the body and brain need to refuel. A balanced breakfast not only kick-starts the metabolism, it sets us up for a more successful day. More than a quarter-century of research supports a positive link between breakfast and mental alertness and physical performance.

Families count on cereal for convenient, affordable nutrition, too, making it a popular breakfast choice among parents. In fact, ready-to-eat cereal is the preferred breakfast in many countries and the choices keep getting better. The taste, nutrition, simplicity and affordability of Kellogg cereals (just 50 cents a serving for cereal and milk) explain why they are a mainstay in nearly 77 per cent of Canadian homes.

What many parents may not know is that cereal is also an extremely nutritious choice. Cereal ranks as one of the best choices available as it is typically low fat and a nutrient dense food with many essential vitamins and minerals such as iron, B vitamins and zinc. Cereal also delivers the important benefits of grains, including fibre. Add to that the fact that kids and adults who regularly eat cereal tend to have lower body mass indexes and are less likely to be overweight than those who eat cereal less frequently and parents can be confident that are choosing a healthy breakfast option. As for what cereals to choose, Kellogg’s has a great selection of cereals that are healthy options including Frosted Flakes, Rice Krispies, Mini-Wheats, Corn Pops and Froot Loops. More information about the nutritional benefits of choosing cereal is available online at www.loveyourcereal.ca.

S & R* NEWS ALERT* #2: Backpack tips for back to school
“Kids and backpacks just seem to go together. Whether sending them off to school, to a sporting event or for a sleepover with a friend, chances are they will be bringing a backpack. But carrying a heavy load unevenly or improperly can result in poor posture and even distort the spinal column, causing muscle strain, headaches, neck and arm pain, and even nerve damage.
More than 50 per cent of young people experience at least one episode of low back pain by their teenage years. Alberta’s chiropractors offer the following tips to ensure your child’s pack doesn’t become a pain in the back:
Pick it right
• Choose a bag made of lightweight material, such as vinyl or canvas.
• Pick a bag that has two wide, adjustable and padded shoulder straps, along with a hip or waist strap, a padded back and plenty of pockets.
• Ensure the bag is proportionate to body size and no larger than needed. The top of the pack should not extend higher than the top of the shoulder, and the bottom should not fall below the top of the hipbone.
• Explore other options such as bags with wheels and a pull handle for easy rolling.
Pack it light
• The total weight of the pack should not exceed 10 to 15 per cent of the wearer’s body weight.
• Make sure the backpack contains only what is needed for the day or activity.
• Spread the weight throughout the pack.
• Pack the heaviest items close to the body.
Wear it right
• Both shoulder straps should always be used and adjusted so the pack fits snugly against the body. • You should be able to slide a hand between the backpack and the wearer’s back.
• The pack should sit two inches above the waist.
• Never allow your child to sling a backpack over only one shoulder.
• Using the waist strap reduces the strain on the back and transfers some of the load to the hips.
To ensure your child’s back is healthy and strong, consult your chiropractor. They can teach you and your child how to pack, lift and carry a backpack properly to prevent injury. More information, including where to find a chiropractor near you, can be found at www.albertachiro.com.

This entry was posted on Sunday, August 21st, 2011 at 9:37 pm and is filed under Schooling and Returning to Class. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.


3 Responses to ““FIRST DAY OF (BACK TO) SCHOOL: I say, “let’s make this year the most educational ever!*””

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