Category Archives: classroom rules

Revolutionary Music Found in Movie


While thoroughly laughing at some of the outrageous comedic complications

to be found in the British movie, “Pirate Radio,” I wondered why this movie,

was ‘panned’ and didn’t make it. Originally released as, “The Boat that Rocked,”

it was a fictitious story about the BBC being rather rigid in the choices of music,

they promoted and allowed on their channel. The ones who were ‘forced’ into

the ships floating in the Sound, have the music British teenagers really wanted

to hear! There are scenes where nurses and doctors are listening in, on their

‘night shifts,’ along with parents who had strictly forbidden their youth to listen

to this ‘trash’ and other derogatory labels given to ‘rock and roll.’

Kenneth Brannaugh portrays a very strict BBC broadcasting boss, who is trying

to use his authority to promote censorship over the ‘air waves.’ While the crazy

characters on board the ship, are sending radio ‘shock waves’ of rock and roll

music out into the English atmosphere. They  look like they are having a ball!

The gorgeous January Jones, is in a short part of the movie, as the “Duchess,”

while the main character is Tom Sturgess’ young teen, sent off to his godfather’s

domain, as a so-called “punishment” for being too wild in school.

After the movie, my Mom told my brother and I that she never could get why

parents were so upset over the lyrics, rhythm and movement that washed

over the musical industry during the period that this movie takes place in.

She mentioned the literary period where there was revolutionary thoughts,

along with the 50’s less serious musical and expressionary embodiment of

the “Beatniks.” She summed this up, coherently in this thought:

“Every generation has its rebels, who think they are totally original. While

their deterrents are ones who feel that their oppositional views will create


I have to remind you of why Mom is so open-minded, just in case you are

a ‘new’ reader or visitor to my blog. My Mom taught 30 years of high school.

She found the students that were repressed by authoritarian parents were

the first ones that showed rebellion, like the age old views on “P.K.’s” or

Preacher’s Kids.

My brother, Randy, while discussing the soundtrack, somehow got on to

the subject of how there are main stream artists, bands and singing groups

that go beyond their ‘comfort zones.’

His examples were eclectic and unexpected. An example of a vegetable song,

which may not have been drug-induced but sounds like it was:

“Smiley Smile,” by the Beach Boys! It is part of that same driving and catchy

album, “Good Vibrations” is on. I had never heard it! Loved it, due to its quite

unique sound.

Using synthesizers, combined with real instruments led us to YouTube, to

also pursue a group with a “genius,” in Randy’s mind and ‘ears.’ Have you ever

listened to the group, Craftwork? Gary Anderson’s “Heroes and Villains,” is

plain awesome!

The intriguing movie, that inspired a musical conversation about the “Beatniks”

by my Mom and my brother, Randy’s random musings, has great performances

from some ‘quirky’ actors, including the late, Phillip Seymour Hoffman and one

of my favorites, (from “Love Actually” and other British films) Bill Nighy. The

screenwriter is the one who came up with, “Four Weddings and a Funeral.”

If you haven’t time to watch the movie, please check out the soundtrack. Lots of

popular songs can be found here, along with the sixties and seventies connection.

I enjoyed the way England received the harder styled rock and roll, showing

young people gathered in front of televisions there on the “Other side of the

Pond,” teen-aged girls shrieking and teen boys, hiding below their blankets,

trying to listen to the ‘pirated’ songs played on a boat.

A true page out of history that is enjoyable from beginning to the end! You may

need to include a brew, ale or wine to get in the humorous proper frame of mind.

If you are not a drinker, be prepared for absolute silliness, some rather risqué

scenes, included.

You may enjoy actual footage of DJ Robbie Dale, who was aboard the “Mi Amigo”

boat, captured by the film makers, Mike Hodges and Paddy Searle.

I cannot imagine a time when the Hollies and the Rolling Stones, among others

were considered so inflammatory and controversial!

Who would have imagined these ‘renegades’ would most of them have been

‘knighted’ by the Queen?!


Do you know a band who sang something you normally would not hear them sing?

They may have ‘stretched’ to encompass a different musical genre and out of their

“comfort zone?”

Were there any songs(or groups) your parents ‘forbade’ you to listen to?


Memories of Toys and Wishes


What was your favorite toy or game you played while a child?
Sometimes this is very simple and one that lasts for a long time, too.
What did you wish for “on a star,” throwing a penny into a fountain or
a hurried, anxious whisper to Santa Claus.

My favorite toys were:
While a toddler, blocks and stuffed animals. I have a black and white
photograph of myself dialing a “real” black telephone.

While a child, baby dolls came next. I loved the baby buggy that I
would push down the sidewalk. I loved my “real” babies, my baby
brothers. One born 18 months after my birth and the other one, born
two years later. I loved to dress my youngest one up in baby booties,
a little outfit and a hat upon his head, tied under his chubby chin.

While a little older, Barbie, Tammy doll, Ken, Skipper and Alan came
along. To play “acting out like a teenager” with beautiful dresses,
mostly hand-sewn by my Grandma Oldrieve or my Mom. Later still, I had
a Tutti, who was Skipper’s little sister, I still have a few matching
outfits those two wore together. I always wished I had a SISTER!

Even older still, I loved to play with my Mom’s jewelry, fancy clothes
that she would ‘pass down’ for my friends and I to play “dress up” in.
I enjoyed wearing her high heels and clicking around in the house in
our uncarpeted hallway and on the sidewalk– to the detriment of the
dressy shoes!

I enjoyed the Madame Alexander collectable dolls from foreign countries,
dreaming of places far and wide. I had Spain, France, England and also,
Germany. (The 6″ sized ones, one each birthday or Christmas so I would
take care of them! I just gave a “Mary Poppins” doll to my friend, Felda’s
daughter, Kridia Dawn out of my collection. I now pass them on, not
worrying about their ‘value’ except in the smiles I receive when given!

My favorite gift of all time was the kitchen and grocery store that my
Dad set up for my brothers and me to play with in the basement. I had
a sink, a refrigerator, a stove and a pantry full of shelves. The kitchen
set was a combined birthday and Christmas present before I reached second
grade. I remember it so well, little plastic dishes, pots, pans and a
“real” rubber silverware holder, with plastic utensils. There was even a
new “potholder” and new kitchen towel with a rooster on it.

In the grocery store, we had a fishing tackle box, we used as the “cash
register.” We had a small pad of paper, a little chalk board that we
would write the “special sales” on and play money. My Dad threw in a
big glass jar of pennies to use, too.
On all the multiple shelves in our grocery store, Mom had saved boxes
of Jello, Rice Krispies, Wheaties, Quaker Oats cardboard circular boxes
and plastic tubs for putting things in. Mom or Dad had absconded with
a huge pile of paper sacks, too!
There was a large tin can with the words Conn’s potato chips on it. We used
this for our stool behind the “cash register.”

Many, many innumerable hours passed with my brothers, neighbors, my cousins
and I spent “playing house,” “playing school,” and “playing grocery store.”

I ran into a couple of news items about toys, just to add to this memory

1. “Matchbox cars” came about due to a teacher in Anne Odell’s classroom
making a rule up in 1952, that nothing could be ‘played with’ or brought
to school: “Unless they were no bigger than a match box.”
Her father was an engineer and made her a tiny die-cast steamroller. Got
the patent and thus, the creation and invention of the Matchbox cars and
vehicles! What ingenuity! Glad to hear a little girl was the impetus, too!

2. Play-doh was someone’s invention that some parents would “rue the day”
that stuff entered their houses! I think the inventor must have been a
child who loved playing in the mud or with their glue. Actually, it is an
interesting OHIO story! The inventors, Joe McVicker and Bill Rhodenbaugh,
used this compound as a 1930’s wallpaper cleaner. Some parent who worked
with it, let their child play with it making it a modeling compound. In
the 1950’s, the “recipe” was reworked to make it safe for children, it
was then marketed to Cincinnati Schools. I used to love this as a way to
calm children after they played outside, using all kinds of cookie cutters
and letting them use cups to mix the colors, etc. When I was a special
education preschool teacher, the Occupational Therapist and OT Assistant,
would use this again, as a way to calm a child or get some hands actively
working making “snakes” and other things. It would be something that
children with Autism and on the ‘spectrum’ would resist, due to the ‘feel’
of it.

3. Gumby was originally the supple, green and friendly face going to be
used for an animated jazz video! Imagine that! Art Clokey was picturing
him as such, but once presented to studio heads, the ones in charge of
the whole operation, saw this creation as they knew kids would love him.
Art Clokey made these clay humanoids into a popular toy, also the clay
animation for “David and Goliath.”

Check out more of the origins of toys and fun facts in the book, “Toy
Time!” by Christopher Bymes!

The Value of an Education


Do you remember when you would rush out of school in June, fairly

bouncing with joy and enthusiam, feeling “free” to spend your summer

in bliss and have loads of fun? Then, by August (or September), you

would be getting “bored” and miss your friends? You would get excited

to choose some school supplies, get a few new clothes (or yard sale

purchases,) and return once more to school!

Melvin and I talked about home schooling due to a family he knows who

has chosen this form of education on Thursday at first break. We have

some doubts about the authenticity of his friends’ (who are parents)

concerns about public schools. I have had some sincere, recent worries

about my coworker, Keith’s daughter, Ashley and her poor Fall report

card from her internet studies. (All D’s and a couple of F’s, too.)

Both Melvin and I  tend to wonder about how anyone would want to stay

at home to learn, while there are so many exciting learning opportunities

within the schools, with friends there, too. Even though I was a teacher

and am trained to know about the state content standards, have supervised

home-schooled children’s Fourth Grade, Eighth Grade and GED testings

and proficiencies:

I would not have wanted the total responsibility of writing and conducting

their home sch0oling program for my own children or my present

grandchildren now.

I tried to make my children’s early years encompass as many variations of

learning experiences on a “shoestring budget” and definitely stayed home,

helping them and my babysitting crew of five extra kids in those nine years.

But I would not recommend a full home schooling project based solely on one

person carrying out the role of “teacher.” ‘It takes a village’ to help raise the

students passing through the halls at school. One person, without a network

or team approach, *I believe* will not be able to handle the complete

responsibility and diversity that a public or private school offers in their


I have made a new friend who is in her late thirties/early forties, Theresa,

who recently started working at Advance Auto D.C. #23. She has become

close fairly quickly due to a dilemma or problem with her teenaged son.

He has developed an “attitude” towards school and a “bad habit” of walking

through the high school and out of it on a fairly regular basis.

Since Theresa started, she ends up telling me often, lamenting actually,

about Thomas. We find it to be a daily topic as we enter or leave work.

Also, sometimes when she comes in from the brisk weather, having

had a cigarette with other coworkers, she will stop at my friendly table

of coworkers.

Somehow, one of those people outside, let her in on the fact that I once

was a middle school teacher. She also knows from me, now, that my

mother was a high school teacher.

Theresa often asks, plaintively,

“Would you please talk to my son about the value of an education?”

I hesitate, often deflecting the question, putting it to the group for

a consensus, or asking if anyone has a new suggestion to motivate

Theresa’s son?

My feelings are that if you would like to have your child love school

and education, start very young. Be enthusiastic about new things

in nature, in your neighborhood, in your community and spread

the learning to all kinds of museums, parks, historical sights and

the summer library programs. I liked our Delaware County District

Library’s toddler reading program. I liked all the contests and other

programs that were available to take my children and babysitting

clients to during the summer so they would not fall behind. Now,

the programs are so much more encompassing in their subject


At public libraries,  there are lots of entertaining, along with learning,

programs. On this past Thurs. November 14, they had great attendance

at their ages 6-8 year old Legos program for boys. I saw a few Dads in

there, helping out. They had a lively male folk singer earlier in the

month for all ages, singing and getting the parents to participate with

the program, too. I had totally forgotten about the song, “Jimmy

Cracked Corn (and I don’t care!)”

I feel if you missed the early years of getting your child hooked on

learning, due to a busy work schedule, then try to add any extra

activities, with adult participation, as soon as possible! Becoming

acquainted with the school, finding out how to help out at home,

baking on weekends, making cut-outs for bulletin boards, reading

to your child’s classn (use a personal day) or just being there by the

side of the computers in the computer lab will show you are concerned

and interested. By showing a respect for the teachers and schools, you

will be reinforcing your children’s learning.

Most of all, acting interested in every piece of paper that comes home

will be a good start. That backpack is a great source of information!

Lastly, I place a value on education by showing my family different

ways to contribute to society. There is no “right” way to go down the

path of learning. There are all kinds of avenues, they don’t have to be

straight paths from high school to college. Trade schools, joint vocational

schools, classes online, coursework that your boss or others suggest,

business school and computer work through JVS’ can serve their

purpose to further your career or your child’s future, too.

As far as home schooling, this takes a lot of joint effort with others

who have chosen this educational avenue.

Those who read my first post on this subject will understand, I was very

concerned about young 10 year old Ashley, being bascially unsupervised

during the day in her online training, the school being ‘relieved’ I felt by

not having to deal with the ones who had been bullying her. I was not only

concerned about her education, but her social life. Her activities needed to

be ‘stepped up’ a notch. This did not happen, I am sorry to say, she fell

behind in her 4 H project and workbook. Keith responded by not allowing

her to go to the fair.

Once I saw that poor report card, I would have marched her right back

into the school at that point, with an already planned “intervention” with

not only the grade level teacher, social worker but including the principal!

I refrained from too much expression of my spiraling depression over the

whole subject. I am sorry but this single father got pages of my (and your)

suggestions written out and I especially told him he would have to “network”

with other home-schooling parents! (On weekends and this means a lot of

extra effort but well worth the repayment in the end.)

There are a lot of valuable resources out there in this area and I gave

my best effort. I have my own six grandchildren and diverse activities

to stay involved in. My very worn out oldest daughter weekly takes my

now 9 year old grandson to Boy Scouts, is the Pack’s co-leader and

the chairwoman of the Popcorn Sales, which provides their Camp

Lazarus funding for day camp next summer. It is not easy, been there,

done that three times, as a single parent with one father who was down

in Cincinnati, then over in Dayton. All three kids belonged to sports,

along with the five kids I babysat for almost nine years. No pity party

for me, no sympathy anymore, sorry, for Keith and his one and only


I don’t place a value on the education, my mother would agree, and would

have a different way to put this: I will ask her sometime soon!

What you put into effort with your children or teens, will repay you greatly.

I place a value on the PERSON! I believe in my children and their judgment.

I support their choices. You need to do this, follow through and give your

best to them.

What my Mom added, in her recent phone call, that being a high school

teacher was challenging in the seventies, especially. She taught 30 years

so has a lot of history in those years to share. I liked her words,

“The value of an education is knowledge (no one can take that away unless

you let them!) The other key rewards are success, learning, pride and self-

confidence. You may find it in a trade,  going to college, serving your country,

being a great parent, family member or a caretaker… All these are priceless

results of an education.”

I remember my Dad saying that,

“School is your job. You have a ‘boss,’ your teacher. That is your work as a

child. What you put into it, you will get vastly returned. Don’t use any

excuse to get out of something that you are interested in. Invest extra

time to learn all you can about what you love most. I did not get any free

passes out of my life, you will not be given any from your mother or me.”

I would not want or wish for anyone to “rest on their Laurels.” I would

expect personal growth and integrity. I would expect love and compassion.

I would definitely expect good or outstanding parenting! Because this is

another way to show who you love the most! Their future depends on how

you handle their childhood and teen years…

I will pass these words of wisdom on to Theresa and hope for the best.



I like to take one word and sometimes define it. Other times, I really like to

hear how others interpret the word. I enjoyed thoroughly reading my dear

young grandkids a story and asking them, “What does trust mean to you?”

I also have a compilation of the same question I asked my first year of

teaching sixth grade Language Arts in a little sweet school in Grand Rapids,

Ohio. This was about a twenty minute drive for me from my newlywed

apartment in Bowling Green, Ohio. I was usually traveling with a wonderful

sixth grade teacher, named Linda Root. I will never forget her grace, courage

and laughter that held me together through my first year of teaching that

ended up my first full term pregnancy, also!

Here are six versions of the word “trust” from my grandchildren, ages 9

years old, 8 years old,  a 7 year old, two 4 years old and a very “astute” two

and a half year old!

1.  “It means you need to be able to count on them.” (Lara, 9)

2.  “It means that even if you have a delicious snack in your lunch box,

that person won’t take it.” (Skyler, 8)

3.  “Trust is something you need to use when in school and at home.”

(I asked Landen, 7, to explain this a little more please!) “Well, you need to

be careful who you trust!”

4.  “Trust is being quiet.” (Marley, 4 who is in  her second year of preschool.)

5.  “Trust is not taking stuff.” (Micah, 4, who just started preschool.)

6.  When asked, “What does trust mean to you, Makyah?” My extra smart

granddaughter who colors inside the lines and is potty trained at age 2

answered:  “You, Nana!”

Below is the list my sixth graders agreed upon for “Trustworthiness:”

(The definition I wrote on the board using Webster’s, included these words:

“worthy of confidence” and “dependable.” I wrote them in all caps on the

board the first week of school. I mentioned a very cool “fact” that this

word trustworthiness was first used in 1714!)

I said, “Instead of  classroom rules, let’s define the word, “Trustworthiness.”

I would like to use it as our classroom behavior guidelines.”

1.  You follow what you say you will do, with your actions.

2.  You have to be honest.

3.  You have to tell the truth.

4.  You keep your promises.

5.  You will do what you say you will do.

6.  You show integrity.

7.  You are loyal.

8.  You support your friends, family and school.

9.  You don’t laugh or make fun of others.

10.  A student, Diana Hill, summed it up in these words:

“Trustworthiness is when your thoughts, words and actions

all agree with each other.”

I told them I would put their words on a poster. If there were

any other thoughts to add, I would leave room for them. These

would be the “rules” of our classroom.

Later in the year, I added a fun picture of the students all on the

rather tall slide on our playground. Some students were standing

at the top and some sitting at the bottom with the following words:

“Mrs. Crain’s class knows how to watch out for each other and

‘has each other’s back!'”

I would like to think, in these trying times, we would have added

this final thought,

“Trustworthiness means we would never bully or make another

friend or classmate feel badly.” Because if we cannot trust our

classroom environment, how are we ever going to trust the

world outside the classroom?