As I was walking around town today, many acquaintances asked,"Oh, are you off today?" That just goes to show you that if you live in a smallish town like I do, everyone seems to know where you are supposed to be at certain times of the day. Yes...usually I would be teaching at 11:00 in the morning. So I answered with a perky upbeat tempo, "I am retired now!" "Oh, really?" The next question is usually always the same. "So, how do you like being retired?" My answer..."I LOVE is fantastic, marvelous, I can get up and do whatever I want or don't want to do every minute of the plans just bliss and happiness! I don't even wear a watch anymore!" They say, "REALLY?" "I mean you are such an active person, don't you get bored or upset that you are not teaching?" Jealous? Perhaps...but why should I feel guilty that I am happy with what I am doing with my that I am retired? I was happy teaching and now I am happy retired.

So, as I strolled around town stopping at various places: the Post Office, a local health food store, a grocery store, the high school to drop of a letter of recommendation and a few other local spots, I began to look at people's smiles, no upbeat prancing, no laughing, giggling, singing, humming or happiness or if they were happy no one was showing it except for one man who smiled and said,"Hi, how are you doin' today?" I thought to myself; Where's that happy to be alive attitude, time to smell the flowers wisdom, dance like no one is watching attitude..where was it? It was buried deep down in the hecticness of life.

I am a firm believe that the diamonds you look for are usually right in your own backyard (Russell Conwell Acres of Diamonds) Everything you need to be positive and happy is in your own mind or right in your own life (backyard). So let me share with you what I call Mimi's Mini List of Ways to Stay Positive Everyday.

1. Count your blessings and there are many. Everyday before you go to work or get your day going, think of 4 things you are happy about. It can be a small as I woke up this morning and am able to enjoy this beautiful day!

2. Look for the positive in everyone you encounter and give them a smile and a kind word. A smile and a kind word can go a long way and you never know just how important that smile may have been to the person who noticed those pearly whites!

3. Find something positive in what life's journey brings everyday. Even a negative situation can have a positive twist.

My dad was an extremely fast paced type "A" personality kind of guy. He never stayed in the same spot for more than 5 minutes and in fact, if he had something to deliver to my house, he would beep the horn and toss it on the joke! At age 66 he had a stroke, this negative situation was turned quickly into a positive. He was not able to pick up and move around too much after this unfortunate situation, but I got to know him better than ever because he could only sit in his wheelchair and talk. Sitting and chatting in his living room created some the fondest memories I have of him. He expressed his feelings and I really began to develop a friendship with my dad that may not have happened if it were not for this illness.

4. Don't take anything personal. If someone snaps at you and you respond in a negative way then you will feel that negativity long after the incident, but if you respond with a smile and kind will spread positiveness and maybe even make a friend.

I know these ideas seem simplistic, but....why not give it a try? You may just change the way you think and...According to Aristotle: Happiness depends upon ourselves.

Be positive...think positive...stay have nothing to lose!

Another fabulous idea for Back to School that I forgot about when I was racking my brain for what ideas I have used in the past...see what did I tell you...those shoes (great ideas) need to be organized so you can pick and choose as needed. So, even if you don't use this idea this year. File it in "Back to School" and use it next year!

I am all about building community and making our classroom like a "school family" where we can feel safe, learn about each other, take care of each other and do our best together as a "family". The classroom is a place where we can solve problems, feel comfortable and make our environment one in which all students have the opportunity to learn, grow and do their best!
So this activity that I have created is just what you need to promote classroom community!

Back to School…We are Alike and We are Different

 This back to school ready to use printable activity can be used the first day of school, first week, as a getting to know you activity or as an anytime activity. It also includes a first day activity of “Find Someone Who…” to get your students up and and moving around to meet other classmates. Here is what is included in this packet:

  • A first day getting to know you activity sheets for students to find other students with various attributes. 
  • An I like and I can sheet for the students to fill in about themselves to use for the Venn Diagram. 
  • A Venn diagram to compare and contrast with a partner. 
  • Differentiated sheets to use to write about their findings. 
  • Small frames for self-portraits. 
  • An idea for activity use. 
  • A sample of what the project might look like when completed. 
  • An Original poem to hang or copy to display with the finished projects in color and black and white.