Who Invented the Cell Phone & the Remarkable History of It

Most of us have them; previous generations like to tell us how well they got along without them; but millions of us can hardly remember living life without them! The cell phone is, perhaps, one of the most influential developments in technology to the mass consumer in the last 50 years. The luxury of having a fully functional computer and communication device that fits in your pocket is undeniably convenient, and it’s made all of our lives easier (even grandma’s as she checks up on the tennis scores, the weather, and her grandchildren on social media).

While most of us use them everyday, many of us perhaps do not know the extent of their humble beginnings, and how the modern-day cell phone came to exist. Well, that’s exactly what we are going to discuss in this post.

Who Invented the Cell Phone

As most of us are aware, the first telephone was invented by Alexander Graham Bell in 1876; and he could not have imagined that his already remarkable invention would be the foundation upon which one of the most competitive and evolving industries would be built.

In the early 1900s, a man named Reginald Fessenden (a brilliant Canadian who was the founding father of radio communications) made the first voice transmission, via radio waves, across the Atlantic Ocean. This limited but exciting leap in technology would serve as the inspiration for the modern, wireless communication we take for granted today!

Almost half a century later (1947), an engineer named William Rae Young suggested that if radio broadcast towers were arranged into the shape of a hexagon, they could potentially support a wireless telephone network!

Not too long after that, a company called Bell Laboratories (known today as AT&T) offered their customers “Radio Telephones”. Whilst exciting to think about, the technology was very limited. The prehistoric network was unable to handle more than a handful of calls at a time, which meant that customers often had to wait for other conversations to end before being able to make their own calls. Not to mention, this ‘portable’ telephone weighed a jaw-dropping 80 lbs! Certainly not the convenient, hand-held super computers we are accustomed to today.

In the swinging 60s, two engineers working for Bell Laboratories (AT&T) named Richard H Frenkiel & Joel S Engel, were in charge of developing the tech to support and surpass William Young’s original cellular network concept. However, while Bell Labs was patiently awaiting permission to move forward with their design from the FCC, a man named Martin Cooper (an executive with rival company: Motorola) beat them to the punch in the early seventies.

The person who invented the cell phone was Martin Cooper and was in charge of the team that designed the great grandpa of cell phones. The device which most of us recognize from 80s movies and television. It was called the DynaTAC 8000x, and was released by Motorola in 1983. It cost $4000, and this “portable device” was a not-so-convenient 9 inches long, and weighed almost as much as a toaster! (2.5 lbs, to be exact). Hefty, but definitely better than an 80-lb behemoth!

As one final jab between competitors, one of the first cellular calls from the person who invented the cell phone, Martin Cooper, made on this ground-breaking device was to rival, Joel Engel (one of the engineers from Bell Laboratories) for some good-natured heckling- Harsh!

Cell phones continued to evolve through the next few decades by leaps and bounds, and more and more consumers realized the benefit of owning one of these little mobile phones! Let’s delve now into a few of the more major cell phone advancements, and the popular releases, over the past 3 decades!

The Evolution of the Cell Phone

Motorola’s initial DynaTAC 8000x was the modern cell phones ancient ancestor, and for a couple of decades, Motorola and Nokia would become the titans of the cellular market, producing mobile phones with almost constant advancements in technology. Here are some of the milestone devices that have lead to where we are today.

The Motorola International 3200 was released in 1992 with an 8 hour battery life, and was a great deal more compact than its predecessor. This size alteration would be just the beginning of cellular companies striving for sleeker and sleeker designs throughout the years.

In 1993, a company called Bellsouth released the IBM Simon Personal Communicator, which was the first PDA device to incorporate mobile communication capabilities! It also had a touch-screen! Sadly, the device’s battery life was barely an hour. But, hey, that’s still a LOT of tech crammed into such a tiny machine!

Motorola came back with another innovator in the form of their StarTAC! Released in 1996, this was the first mobile flip phone ever, and it was one of the first phones with a digital display screen! Talk about compact and futuristic!

In the same year, the Nokia 8110 arrived on the scene with its eye-catching curves! This uniquely designed phone (called the ‘banana phone’) was made famous by being used in the Matrix movie!

1996 seemed to be a big year for cell phone tech, and the 9000i Communicator was Nokia’s very first smartphone. It sported a CPU from Intel 386, clamshell design, a full keyboard, digital display, and was the first phone capable of sending short SMS messages (AKA, texting had been born!)

In 1999, the Nokia 7110 was released as the first mobile phone with a WEB BROWSER! That’s right, the power of the internet was not just at our fingertips… but could be kept in our pockets!

While this next phone was mostly sold in Europe, the Benefon ESC that was also released in 1999, and it was the first phone with GPS integration! For those of us who are directionally challenged, we thank you, Benefon!

Samsung made a name for itself in the cell phone industry by releasing it’s SPH-M100 Uproar. This fellow ‘99 mobile was the first cell phone to be MP3 compatible! Nothing like being able to listen to your favorite ‘90s hits and call your BFF all on the same device.

In 2001, the Nokia 5510 countered Samsung with their full QWERTY keyboard and 64MB capacity for music! Our taste for multi-featured devices was becoming clear, and the industry was listening.

The Ericsson T39 was released in 2001. Sporting a compact design and one of the fastest web browsing capabilities. It was also the first mobile phone with Bluetooth!

In 2002, the Nokia 7650 (featured in the film: Minority Report) and the Sanyo SCP-5300 were not just stylish little phones, but also the very first phones with a built-in camera! They might have been a lot more challenging back then, but the Selfie-craze could now commence! Capturing moments with your friends and family no longer needed to be missed because the big, clunky camera was forgotten at home!

2003 was the year the infamously popular Blackberry was released! It’s first iteration was the Quark 6210, and it had optimized the integration of PDA and Phone compatibility. Before the iPhone, Blackberries were the devices everyone wanted! You were quite the hot-shot if you pulled one of these out of your pocket!

A couple of popular 2000s phones most of us might recall, especially if you were a teenager at the time, were the Motorola Razors and the LG Chocolates! These phones were sleek, attractive and pretty reliable. The Razor had multiple iterations, one of which was released later on with metal parts, which made it even more durable.

And now, we have arrived… the beginning of what modern consumers would recognize as the smartphone. The company and the device that pretty much everyone has heard of. That’s right, it’s 2007, and the first Apple iPhone was released. With a touchscreen display, 128Mb of RAM, 4GB of internal storage, MP3 compatibility (of course), and more… what most consider the Alpha and Omega of mobile communication devices was born. If only Martin Cooper- let alone Alexander Graham Bell– could have imagined what the modest dream of long-distance communication would become. Only a year later, in 2008, Apple would release a new iteration of its device, called the iPhone 3G. This smartphone won acclaim and popularity thanks to its introduction of the “APP STORE”!

A couple of years later, in 2010, Samsung would release its Galaxy S. A fantastic device with 16GB or storage, 0.3 megapixel camera, and the Android OS, developed by Google! As most of us know, the next decade would be dominated by Samsung and Apple when it came to the cell phone market; and devices like the Google Pixel would begin to gain modest traction and popularity due to its fantastic hardware, storage, and camera.

All the while, companies like Motorola and Nokia, once the behemoths of the industry, had faded in popularity.

Back to the Present and Into the Future

The potential of the mobile phone is one that continues to grow and advance at a record pace. Our modern tastes continue to favor sleek designs, while we’re beginning to distance ourselves from compact sizes. Where once it was “the smaller the better”, in a bit of an ironic twist, consumers have now begun to prefer a nice large screen, as our desire to view and record media becomes a highly desired feature in our devices.

Many of us are now able to conduct most of our daily business in the palm of our hand; whether it be sending business emails, buying movie tickets, recording videos for vlogs, or even blogging, itself! The humble beginning of the mobile phone was a technological advancement that has improved our day to day lives, and we can only imagine what the future holds.

Benefits of Kids Singing in Choirs and Benefits of Choral Singing for Adults

The enjoyment of music is a lifelong pleasure. Whether you’re a singer, instrumentalist, or simply a person who relishes moments of blissful listening, music can provide enriching experiences throughout your life.

Many children and adults participate in group musical activities for a variety of reasons. Amateur musicians join musical groups to relieve stress, to delight in the good company of other music-lovers, to maintain a high level of mental activity, and to continue a lifelong music-learning process. Participants derive these and other benefits through rehearsing and performing in groups. Whereas some might play instruments, other music lovers prefer to sing in groups with others. The opportunities and benefits are numerous.

How Singing in Choirs Benefits Children

Music is a language unto itself, but the area of the brain that is active in music perception is closely related to the area involved in language learning. Therefore, music and language are related from infancy. When children sing in a choir, you add the language component of learning and memorizing word to songs, thus creating a unique educational opportunity for children.

Here are some further benefits for children who sing in choirs:

  • Teamwork – Singing in a choir involves teamwork. Children learn to contribute their best efforts as members of the group.
  • Self-discipline – Rehearsing and performing require dedication and self-discipline. These qualities can be transferred to other areas of children’s lives, such as schoolwork and sports.
  • Focused attention – Children learn to listen in a focused way during choir rehearsals, and they develop the ability to maintain attention toward their goals.
  • Self-confidence – Performing in front of audiences can be frightening at first. But children who sing in choirs learn self-confidence and begin to feel more comfortable in public situations.
  • Music learning – Progressive musicianship is a benefit of singing in choirs. Children in singing groups gradually increase their knowledge and abilities to read music notation and to comprehend music concepts.

How Singing in Choirs Benefits Adults

For many adults, choral singing is a pleasant and rewarding pastime that is savored over a lifetime. Community choirs, church choirs, college choirs that welcome local citizens, and local symphony choirs all provide opportunities for adults to gather and sing together.

The numerous ways in which choral singing benefits children are also applicable to adults. From the adult perspective, singing in choirs can promote well-being in several ways:

  • Social – Because it involves teamwork, singing in a choir provides a great opportunity to make friends and become a valued member of a group. Adult choirs typically include members of varying ages with various careers, interests, and personalities. Singing in a choir is a fun way to meet people and develop rewarding relationships.
  • Artistic – Through choral singing, adults are introduced to exhilarating music handed down by great composers throughout history. Or, perhaps, they perform in a pop-music choir that specializes in lighter fare. Whatever the choral genre might be, singers in choirs combine their individual efforts to achieve artistic excellence together.
  • Love of language and poetry – In many cases, songs are poems set to music. By singing in choirs, adults can indulge their love of beautiful words, thoughts, and ideas set to music. This component of choral singing is a meaningful source of inspiration for many adult singers.
  • Amateurs Welcome! – For most local choirs, you don’t need to be a talented singer or have the ability to read music. Many amateur singers follow the music without really knowing how to read the notes. As for vocal quality, most local choirs welcome anyone who makes a “joyful noise” and brings a willing spirit.

Singing in choirs can benefit children and adults in ways too numerous to mention here. You might start in childhood, or you might pick up this hobby as an adult. It’s never too late to join a choir and experience the fun of making music while you make friends.

Fun Indoor Activity for Kids on Hot Summer Days | Simple, Cheap and Quick Idea | African Safari

The temperature is rising, the heat index is well over a 100 and the kids cannot go outside.  But of course since they can’t be outside on a hot summer day they are board and have some extra energy to burn.  I encountered that same problem not too long ago so we came up with a cool idea that kept the kids busy all day.  The cool thing is that the idea below can also be used outdoors once the temperature decreases.

Create an Indoor Safari to Beat the Heat

First, set the tone.  While you are setting up the ‘safari’ have the kids watch a background video about the animals found in Africa.  A good example is below. Its only 5 minutes long but it’s a nice overview.

Next provide the kids with a copy of these blank coloring sheets and have them color them in.  They can color one or all depending on level and time.


Print out a few more animals (in color if you can), multiple copies if you wish.



While the kids are coloring the blanks ones, cut out and hide these animals around the house.  Hide them all over (behind doors, on chairs, behind cereal boxes on the counter, etc) and be creative.  I generally hide them where they are visible to the kids and tell them that they are not in drawers, cabinets or under couches.  This rule does help out.  Try not to let the kids see where you hide them and keep a count of the number you hid so you can make sure they find them all before they move on. 

After the kids finish coloring the sheets from earlier cut them and hide those as well.  The kids love when they find the one(s) that they worked on earlier. 

Let’s Go on a Safari

Once everything is hidden, tell the kids they need to ‘document’ the animals in the desert.  This is the part that can vary and the sky is the limit to how you proceed.  When I do this I give the kids a notepad so when they find the animals they can write down their name.  You can also have them document where they found it.  If you printed multiple copies of the same animal you can have them tally the number of each species they found also.

If the kids have a digital camera have them take pictures to document the animal ‘habitat’. It also serves as a way for the kids to find the animal again should they need it.  If they do not have a cheap digital camera I highly recommend them getting one.  You can grab one for fewer than 40 bucks.  It’s truly amazing what they can do even at a young age with a camera.

If the kids are old enough they can even create a map of the house with the location that each animal was found.  After they find all of them you can have the animals ‘migrate’ to different parts of the house and the kids can document their locations.  I typically do this 3-4 times.  The kids are that excited about it!

Before you send them on their way you can have them gather all of their ‘tools’ into a bag or backpack.  It adds to the excitement of what they are about to embark on.  Some tools they can bring if they have are binoculars, bug nets, hats, cameras, books, pens, compasses, etc.

Once the kids are done you can have them research each animal they found or you can show them videos about each unique animal.   

Have Fun and Stay Cool

If it’s too hot to be outside play into the theme of the heat by pretending to be on an African Safari while letting the kids imagination take them to an exciting place.   Let the kids have some fun, learn a few things and stay cool all while pretending to be someplace hot.  Once the weather cools you can easily adapt this to outside to make it even more realistic. Enjoy!

New Ways to Keep the Holidays Integrated into Lessons without Mentioning Religion

Planning lessons around the holidays can be a challenge. It’s important to understand the difference between teaching the religious origins of a holiday and celebrating it in the classroom. The line can easily be blurred and students can easily come to feel excluded. One way around this is by viewing December as an opportunity to plan cross-curricular lessons with a winter theme that are both engaging and fun.

Have you read aloud T he Shortest Day: Celebrating the Winter Solstice by Wendy Pfeffer? It’s a charming picture book that explores the shortest day of the year. Your students will learn how various cultures have come to celebrate the solstice throughout the ages. They will also gain an understanding of why it is such a short day from a scientific perspective. A must read is T he Mitten by Jan Brett. This winter classic features a parade of various critters taking up refuge in a mitten left behind in the snow by the protagonist. It’s a heartwarming retelling of an old Ukranian folktale that won’t leave any of your students feeling left out. Use the story as an opportunity to teach your students how animals really survive the cold winter months from a scientific perspective.

Over and Under the Snow by Kate Messner teaches how various animals make it through the winter. Your students will learn about burrowers, hibernators and avian migrators. This is a great way to tap into their interest in the changing seasons and also animals.

You can pair activities to the suggested read alouds to provide a hands-on extension to their learning experience. Let your students help the birds in transit by making a bird feeder out of a pinecone. You don’t need many supplies at all! Just get a pine cone, some peanut butter (or a nut butter substitute if you have a student with an allergy), birdseed, and yarn. Simply cover the pine cone in peanut butter, roll it in birdseed, and hang it in a nearby tree. It won’t take long for the stars of Over and Under the Snow to stop by for a snack.

A wonderful way to incorporate the facts a student has learned and to showcase their comprehension is with creative writing. Have your students choose an animal that either migrates or hibernates. Then instruct them to write a short story from that animal’s perspective. Have them include how the animal prepares for winter and also have them draw a picture of that process.

These are only a few of the ways that you can make it through your holiday lessons without ever mentioning religion. If you implement them, you will help to ensure that none of your students are left out of the fun, and you will also avoid any uncomfortable parent-teacher conversations.

Don’t Be That Parent | Some Things to Think about During Kid Sporting Events

Have you been to your child’s sporting events recently?  WOW!  The things one sees and hears at a game or match will leave you speechless.  Let’s discuss the things you SHOULDN’T do at your child’s games.

Throw in the towel

The last thing a parent wants to see or hear is a coach telling the kids on the team to purposely lose.  Yes!  I said it!  Purposely lose so that another team can’t advance in tournament play.  If you frequent the baseball fields you’ve seen or heard about this happening!  Let’s dispel the myth….it really does happen.  Don’t be that parent or coach.  Play sports to your best ability whether your team has a shot to advance or not.  It should seem like the obvious thing to some but it really isn’t.  Parents and coaches act crazy.  They can get vindictive towards other teams.  What parents forget is that they are setting an example to their child.  Don’t be that parent that allows this.  Don’t be the parent that makes excuses for the adults to allow that to happen.  Speak with your child about sportsmanship and not throwing in the towel.  Play the best until the end and always finish never giving up.  These are obvious lessons to some people and should be common sense.  An adult shouldn’t tell a player on any team to purposely lose.  Don’t be that parent or coach!

Blame others on the team

Can we be honest for a minute? Parents make excuses for their children and often times put their child on a pedestal.  Don’t be that parent.  Team sports take a team to win.  Individuals have to pull and work together to achieve the common goal of winning.  Don’t be that parent that blames a child for not pitching a perfect game.  Don’t be the mother that says her kid would’ve done better if the others on the team would contribute more.  Don’t be the father that thinks their child is perfect.  Believe it or not, this exists in youth sports today.  Walk around a field or court and you hear parents on the sidelines talking.  Don’t be that parent that everyone talks about behind their back.  Believe it or not, they really do!  If you feel the need to have to “Talk up your child”, do it at home where you can brag about their accolades in private.  Just don’t be that parent!

Arguing and Fighting

The last thing anyone wants to see are adults arguing over a call or finish.  Parents need to remember the proper channels and procedures for handling bad calls.  Yelling rarely accomplishes anything.  Know where the lead umpires and game moderators are located.  Seek them out when there is a decision that is disagreeable.  That is their job and so many times they are overlooked.  Coaches end up fighting with each other.  The children are watching this and seeing what is allowed and acceptable behavior.  Many times the parents in the stands even get involved in the yelling and fighting with each other.  Don’t be that parent!  If you didn’t like the call during the game, don’t make a spectacle of yourself.  Seek out the correct people and make your complaint known to them.  Sometimes it even means having to write a letter to the league and those in charge.  Take care of the controversial situation in a proper manner.  Children are watching how adults handle themselves in hard situations.  Be a positive model for your child.

When attending your child’s sports events, it’s important to remember a few key pieces of advice.  Remember that children are watching the adults in charge.  These are impressionable children who will become adults before too long.  Don’t be that parent or coach that models poorly.  Take the high road…it’s not easy but well worth it.  Just don’t be THAT parent!

Holiday Arts and Crafts With a Preschooler

Every parent loves the arts and crafts their preschoolers bring home around the holidays. Not every parent wants to sit down and do them with a preschooler, because they tend to make a mess, or don’t follow the exact direction given. Preschool teachers are brave and patient when taking on any arts and crafts projects with a group of preschoolers, you have double the mess, but you also have double the fun.

Arts and Crafts are good for preschoolers in many ways. They often work on motor skills, coordination and sometimes pre math skills like patterning, counting, and sorting. Preschoolers also enjoy the social interaction as well as the creativity of the project. Seeing a preschoolers face light up with joy and pride looking at the end result of the project is heartwarming.

Holiday Crafts For Preschoolers

While you can always find a holiday art or craft project to do with preschoolers you will I want to share with you a few of my favorite Christmas and Thanksgiving arts and crafts that I have done with my preschool classes in age ranges from 1 year olds to 5 year olds ready for kindergarten.

  • Coffee Filter Turkey
  • Cheerio Corn on the Cob
  • Mistletoes Clayboard
  • Fork Painted Christmas Tree
  • Pipe Cleaner Snowflakes

These are all very good for children of all ages, some older children will still enjoy a few of these as well as the preschooler.

Coffee Filter Turkey

This is a great project for kids of all ages. I have done this with children as young as two years old. For young children I precut the turkey bodies, beaks and feet.  This craft project is a fairly clean yet fun project. They still get to make a little mess when they swirl the colors around the filter after spraying. They also enjoy making the turkey body. I do open ended art with my preschoolers a lot so their turkeys are always going to be unique as they learn where the body parts go.

Cheerio Corn on the Cob

Children can create their own idea of corn on the cob for Thanksgiving with this project. They can also work on their pre math skills by counting and sorting their cheerios and patterning for their design. The hardest part about this project is keeping them from eating the cheerios as they glue them to the paper so due to food allergies if you are unsure of any I recommend using regular cheerios and not the honey nut ones.

Mistletoes Clayboard

This project is better suited for small groups of children, or doing it individually with one child at a time. You are painting their feet and putting them on a clayboard or stretched canvas to make mistletoe t can become really messy if you have several children that are doing it all at one time. Make sure have wipes to clean their feet off with before you let them get up and run around the room with paint on their feet. Most preschoolers will have ticklish feet so painting them can be difficult sometimes but it’s good for sensory and their senses.

Fork Painted Christmas Tree

This is a fun and exciting project. Every Preschooler I have done this with has been so excited and curious. Children love to explore and create with new things and every day things all the time. Using plastic forks, some paint and some holiday table scatter are a great way for preschoolers to identify items, and use their developing skills and remain in the social setting.

Pipe Cleaner Snowflake

Every child loves to play with pipe cleaners and beads. They can create unique snowflakes with a few simple items that can be found in any preschool or home and a few of these items go a long way. I would not recommend this activity for children under 2 as their skills have not developed enough yet to string beads and they are still in the stage of putting things in their mouth. There is no glue or paint involved in this project so they get instant gratification of seeing the finished project and they can be used as tree ornaments when they are finished.


Preschool age children love arts and crafts. It is good for their developing skills and milestones. There is never a need to be fearful of the mess that will be made because it can all be cleaned up. So whether at home with one child or in preschool with several children you can keep them busy and entertained with arts and crafts projects. Some of the projects that you can make such as these holiday ones, can be displayed in the years to come as holiday decorations, they can be kept as keepsakes and passed on as children reach adulthood.

The joy and pride that children have when they finish their project is always exciting for parents. Preschoolers love to have a sense of accomplishment and what better way to give it to them than to set them up with some projects and let them complete their project to take home to mom and dad to display on the fridge or hang on the Christmas tree.

Christmas, Oh Wow! You Shouldn’t Have….

All I want for Christmas is ___________.

Can you fill in the blank? Take a second to think of what you would like for Christmas this year. I’m sure you can list off a few wants and needs that come to mind. It’s relatively easy to think about what we want and need because these things are on our mind 365 days a year.

Here is where it gets tricky. Christmas is obviously a holiday that centers around gift giving. Giving gifts is one of the biggest challenges we face next to finding the ugliest sweater possible to wear on December 25th. Why is this? If we are honest with ourselves, we may find that choosing a gift presents a challenge when we don’t know the person we’re giving the gift to. We may know them, but do we really know them?

There are about four things to consider when picking out a gift and with this in mind you can ensure that your Christmas joy will spread to all.

The Gift: The gift is very important, yet knowing the receiver is more important. The gift does not have to be expensive, after all it’s the thought that counts. You can give money, buy a gift or do something nice. Do some investigating. Ask their friends and family about what they need. Do a bit of cyber stalking and see what kind of interests they have. Many of us leave virtual footprints online, so follow them until you arrive at your golden gift.

The Packaging: In recent years this trend has gained momentum. If you search for “unboxing videos” on youtube you’ll find many people removing the packaging from their gifts. Unboxing is an experience. It stimulates your mind before you even see the gift. The way the outside looks influences you more than you may realize. If you can afford it, try to make the unboxing experience one to remember.

The Delivery: Handle it with care. Always hand the gift to the person because that makes it more personal. The words you choose when giving the gift are very important. Don’t be verbose, but be lively when giving the gift. A smile goes a long way too, so use those pearly whites to your advantage.

The Moment: The second you hand the gift to the person is important as well. Some people like to be surprised and they enjoy the unexpected. Others like to build up suspense, knowing a gift is waiting for them but not being able to get it until a certain point. Know the person, and find the appropriate moment.

This moment only comes once a year so let’s recap all that we’ve learned. Think about the person now in order to find a gift. Package the gift with love and hand it to them with a smile. Set your timer and countdown to reach the perfect moment to offer your gift. Day by day as Christmas nears, think of a gift, and bring good cheers.

Why Professional Development for Teachers Matters

As humans, one thing that we learn from our very first job is that we truly don’t know half of what we think we do when it comes to people, interactions and change. The age of our first job does make a bit of difference in the amount of learning but the unknown still lingers as we  assimilate.  Whether it is a babysitting job, a lifeguard, or even a cashier, the art of developing into a professional is a skill that defines itself with the company it sets in.

When we shift to adulthood, schooling has given us a few more tools in developing relationships key to job success. We learn what manipulation looks like, the role of leadership, and how collaboration feels with peers above and below our own age. We may even have home structures that strengthen this skill as we jump into workforces that carry a heavier load and larger pay grade.

Regardless of age, education, and career, each day of experience provides an opportunity for learning. Perfect days could be better, and mistakes prove that improvement is necessary. We may not always be the boss, but we understand the functions and roles of bosses while we question interactions between employers and employees. Our brain is relentlessly taking information in and shaping our actions and reactions. We are constantly developing as professionals.

Careers and Learning

In almost any job, training serves as a springboard to independence in the workplace. This comes in different shapes and sizes and promotes a proactive success plan for each person joining the team. In teaching, some adults have a field experience like student teaching, where they get to practice the techniques and skills attained with a mentor. Doctors go through residencies, while internships support other professional tracks. Even restaurants partner servers to watch and learn from one another so that customers experience consistency in delivery. After we have mastered training, residency or student teaching, we are sent on our way to fly, but we are developing professionals.

Workshops, Workshops, Workshops!

The learning has only begun for the teacher, as they can count on workshops and professional development sessions for the rest of their teaching career. The learning never stops, there is always a new fad in education, a cool trick or some initiative that the principal is implementing to develop the culture of the school. A teacher’s brain is being challenged and transformed year after year and for some, this can be really overwhelming. Just when the teacher has developed one piece of their classroom puzzle, another dial is turned for advancement in another feature.

What is Meaningful and What is Overload?

Can the amount of professional development be too much for teachers crafting their field? Some teachers argue yes, that they just want to get better at the specific things that they are trying to do in their own classrooms. They believe that the tools and training are too much with the responsibility already consuming them in their own land of lesson delivery.  Teachers who have been in the field for a while may enjoy learning information that they attain in professional development because they have been out of school for some time.  The professinoal development models new ideas and enhances a strong foundation that the teacher has been sculpting. On the other hand, teachers who have twenty (or more) years of experience may truly need fresh information since education has made so many changes in the last two decades with the digital implosion of the one-to-one classroom.  Just like the variety of teachers in the building, the variety of professional development offerings make implementation and growth a problem-solving exercise for district leaders. This is when a one-size-fits-all approach can have negative repercussions.  Nonetheless, like any job, in order to be our best version, we have to be open to development and discovery.

Time to Redefine Professional Development

Just as education and curriculum spiral in and out of new reform, the idea of promoting new learning must spiral and change for its audience. Teachers know some of what they don’t know, and teachers will spend more time engaging in the information that they think they can use to become better teachers. With that, the idea of workshops, professional development, and learning platforms must deepen as well.  The coined term differentiation, where teachers are expected to employ unique ways of teaching and engagement for all of the different learners in their classroom should also mirror what professional development they are participating in a teacher-learners.

We are always developing professionals, no matter the field. Babysitters learn how to respond to different children through experience and time. Restaurant servers master the craft of communication, and doctors read and explore technology to cure patients each and every day. Professional Development does matter, but it can come in different sizes, shapes, deliveries, and options. Workshops can be a one-stop shop, but they don’t have to be. Teachers need to find comfort that learning never stops and that the newest trend shared at a staff meeting is simply that, something to be shared to help us be the best version of our teacher self that we can be.

3 Keys for a Hauntingly Happy Halloween

“Hey! What are you dressing up as for Halloween this year?”

The average person probably can’t answer this off the top of their head. Planning and preparing a costume takes a lot of time. There is an art to “Halloweening”. One that can be mastered if you are able to conjure up enough creativity. That’s one of the three C’s to properly Halloween (yes, this has been turned into a verb). Creativity, Costumes and Candy are the three comrades.

How can we pick out the best candy? Let’s first begin with a little rule. No one wants to accept apples on Halloween. Fruits and vegetables are a lot healthier, but let’s save those for any other day of the year. Halloween thrives off candy. At your local grocery store you will find a bunch of candy on sale. Keep in mind that if it’s on sale then everyone else in your neighborhood will probably buy the same candy. If you can afford it, try to buy the candy that no one else will buy. The kids will love it and you will feel great knowing that you have brought them joy. As they say, “the greatest gift is giving”. Halloween is a time to splurge. It only comes once a year, so why not treat the younglings to something special? Safety tip: Do not eat any candy that appears to have already been opened, especially when it comes from a stranger.

The second C is a bit tricky. Costumes. This all depends on your age. By now we have seen just about every costume imaginable, from superheroes to politicians and from animals to ghosts. One key aspect to keep in mind is your age and your size. A costume should be age appropriate and it should fit well. Many people don’t get their costumes tailored, but if you ever get a costume fit to your body you will feel the difference. Halloween is the day when the spirit world and the physical world meet, so there are a wide variety of things to pick from both realms to dress up as. Safety tip: Walk around with something reflective to make yourself visible at night or walk with your flashlight on.

Halloween wouldn’t be Halloween without creativity. You can express your inner ghoul through home decorations. Remember that people trick-or-treat at night and therefor all of your decorations should glow in the dark or have lights. If possible, create a Halloween playlist and don’t forget to include the infamous song Thriller by Michael Jackson. That’s a hit! You can’t have a Halloween playlist unless you have a movie list to go along with it. If you are subscribed to a streaming service, search under “Horror” or “Thriller” to find a movie to enjoy with your friends. In order to properly enjoy the movie, all lights must be out. Safety tip: Don’t scream like a little girl during the film, your neighbors might call the cops.

Once you have mastered the three C’s you’ll be on you way to being able to celebrate Halloween in style. Let’s prepare ourselves now as October 31st draws near. Happy Halloween!

7 Actionable Tips to Help You Lower Your Power Bill during the Fall Season

Fall is without a doubt the most awaited season of the year among many people thanks to the refreshing breezes and vibrant leaves that come with it. It is also the time to switch on the heat and switch off the air conditioning. One aspect that most people dread about fall is the ridiculous amount of energy they spend to keep their homes warm. Fortunately, there are simple and inexpensive measures you can take to guarantee maximum savings throughout the fall. Here are 7 actionable tips to help you bring down your power bill in the fall season.

1. Schedule an Energy Audit

An energy audit is instrumental in enhancing the comfort and energy consumption in your home. The energy audit will identify areas that you need to target to conserve lots of energy in your home and types of improvements you should make to address energy efficiency and comfort problems in your home.  An energy audit in the fall will guide your decision to set up energy-efficient heating units in readiness for the cooler months.

2. Maintain Your Thermostat at or Under 68 °C

Adjusting the temperature in your home is essential and can prevent your energy bill from skyrocketing. According to the U.S. Energy Department, when you turn back your thermostat 10 °C to 15 °C when you are asleep or away from home, you can end up saving about 10 percent per year on your heating bills. Setting your thermostat at or under 68 °C, allows your HVAC system to work efficiently, leading to reduced energy use.

3. Identify and Seal Up Any Leaks and Cracks

Fall is the ideal season of the year to prepare for winter by identifying and sealing any leaks and crevices in your house that could be releasing heat and allowing cold in. Caulk and weather-stripping are cost-friendly and efficient ways of sealing leaks. If your home is a bit old, leaks might be present around windows or doorways. Other areas you are likely to find leaks and cracks include vents, outdoor faucets, air conditioners, and cable TV lines.

4. Make Use of natural Heat from the Sun

Leave the curtains of your south-facing windows open throughout the day to enable sunlight to heat your home naturally. Remember to close those windows at night to ease the chill that may arise from the cold windows.

5. Change your Filter Every Month

Changing the filter in your HVAC system on a monthly basis can go a long way in not only reducing your energy consumption but also extending the lifespan of the HVAC unit. Changing the filter on the first day of each month, marking each filter with the month’s name, and setting a reminder on your phone are some of the ideas to help you remember when you need to change the filter.

6. Wear Warmer Clothes

Instead of turning up the heat to counteract the cold weather, put on warmer clothes. Cover yourself with a blanket when you are watching TV.  While indoors, put on warmer clothes like jackets and maintain the thermostat lower at night. By setting the temperatures lower, you will end up reducing the amount of energy consumed and allow your body to adapt to cooler temperatures.

7. Minimize Your Water Heating Costs

Heating water consumes lots of energy, resulting in a huge power bill. Here are a few things to help you reduce your water heating expenses.

•If you are using an older water heater, cover it with a water heater blanket. This way, your water will remain hot without the water heater using energy to maintain it hot.

•Lower the water heater’s temperature to about 130 °C to 140 °C.

•When possible, use cold water to wash your clothes

Does your power bill send you into a feeling of budgetary panic? Not anymore. The above 7 actionable tips will help you lower your energy consumption as well as your power bill.