Sunday, July 24, 2016

Three Tips For Deep Breathing

Three Tips For Deep Breathing...
That's all you need:

1)  Get a good guide.  A life-changing guide.  
The M.D. who informs you from experience that deep breathing might cure most anything-- 'cept a cloudy day.  Stress, high blood pressure, pain, athsma, copd, insomnia, fatigue, eating disorders, diabetes, even cancer are affected because the healing air finds a way into every cell.

The first time I heard Andrew Weil, healing guru, talk about the medicine angle, I was impressed.  When I did all 8 of his breathing exercises back-to-back I was transformed.

I love 'em all, but maybe my favorite of Dr. Weil's tricks is to lay down and be utterly passive.  Don't try to breathe.  Imagine a cosmic being gently breathing into you, and inflating and out, slowly and deeply, over and over.  It's an instant, pervasive calm.

2)  Start young.  Teach kids how to breath deeply and properly.  Not by posturing or exaggerating, but with simple, full, deep breathing.  

I teach my students to let all the air out first.  Put their hands on their waist so they can see and feel it expand.  Then take a good, long, deep breath and hold it for a few seconds.  Repeat as necessary.  

It's a perfect brain break--quiet, calming and focusing.  ADHD kids love it.  You're not telling them to sit still and focus.  You're showing them how to do it.

3)  Don't forget to breathe!   It's OK, we all forget.  We become mesmerized by our computer, our dozens of to-do list items, or the stress of the day. 

So, kindly remind yourself.  Ask yourself every so often during the day...and ask your friends and family, and maybe even your enemies, too...

Did you remember to breathe?

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Millionaire Teacher

Want be a millionaire teacher? 

It’s not pie in the sky.  It’s math.  I’ll show you.

It’s a time-honored tradition: teachers who’ve been around the block more than a few times will tell a tale—like the grizzled old Robert Shaw in Jaws—a somber tale of the monster maw that mistreats money.

We’ll say: save yourself.  Start saving early, even if it’s just a little.  We’ll talk in a hushed reverence about…Compound Interest.

It’s a little bit magical, but it’s real.   
Look here, if you save just $100 a month, let’s just say, and you start saving at age 25, every month for 40 years.  At age 65, at the average stock market rate of return of 8%, you’ll have a princely sum of $333.7K. 

Time is your best friend.  That’s because over time, the interest you earn on your money will itself earn interest.  

Contrast that with a shorter period of time.  Let's say you start saving at age 45.  $100 a month over just 20 years yields $59K.  Nice, but…more time yields far more money.

Let’s play money crunching.  My favorite website for a compound interest calculator is  

Can you save $200 a month?  After 40 years you’ll have approximately $671K.
 But after 20 years it’s only $118.6K.
Want to be a millionaire?  Save 300 a month for 40 years, and do the math.

True, the stock market fluctuates, worlds collide and finances crash, but if you find a good, reliable investment and keep your money in over the long term, this is what you’re likely to see.

One of best investments is in a Roth IRA, because when you take the money out, it is tax-free.  Also, you may take out any funds you've put into your Roth at any time, which is good to know in case of an emergency.

"Yes," say young teachers, "but I don’t have a penny extra."  I know.  I’ve been there, said that, and it was true.

Still, older teachers who’ve been there will ask you to look closer.  Not at your needs, but at your wants.  I’m not saying to do without, simply to become a do-it-yer-selfer, and to find snazzy substitutes. 

What’s sweeter than a Louis Vuitton bag, a dazzling nail design, a jumbo mocha Frappuccino from the corner store, premium movie tix, and your 5 fav mags?  Two words:

Millionaire Teacher.

Mathphobic? Go Figure!

Are you a Mathphobic?

Go Figure with Scipi is a wonderful website, dedicated to “curing one mathphobic at a time.”

This month, Scipi (for Science-Pi, her nom de plume)  features ways to use dominoes to teach math concepts—not just adding the two sides but also multiplying, reading them as fractions, or laying them horizontally to read off the 2-digit number; or laying two dominoes side by side and reading off a 4-digit number, then rounding it off.  Fun!

Last month, Scipi wrote about the difference between drilling and practicing (a single math concept done thoroughly with tasks and experiences).  Yes, there’s a place for both—which is music to my ears, literally.    
My own “Rap Your Math” is a math drill in a song, which allows the teacher to change the verse daily according to the class needs.  My kids looove vamping to it—and yeah, sunglasses are optional, but...highly recommended.

Which brings me to the next point:

Scipi has a monthly feature on fellow teacher-preneurs.  She celebrates a teacher-seller from TeachersPayTeachers, revealing interesting facts about their personal and teaching life, and the resources they’ve created.

This month, I’m honored to be featured on the Go Figure website.  Take a look, and you’ll find out things I’ve not mentioned anywhere else.  

I’m thrilled to join Scipi in the cure against Mathphobics.  I hope you’ll join in the cure, too—and I'd love to see any positive observations or comments you might have at Go Figure with Scipi.   See you there!

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Adobe Acrobat Pro DC - Flatten and Secure Files

How to flatten and secure your PDF files using Adobe Acrobat Pro DC?
This is one of my most popular blog posts, so I've turned it into a convenient PDF.  It's right here, and it's free.

Check out Adobe Acrobat Pro DC:

 Adobe Acrobat Pro is the gold standard to flatten and secure files, and if you are an educator, homeschooler, or student, you can buy it at a deep discount.

Simply follow the Learn More link on the product page, to find out about the verification process.  You can download Adobe Acrobat Pro instantly and use it for one month before you need to verify that you are an educator or student.  

IMPORTANT: Please read the verification process carefully before you purchase.  If you do not qualify for Teacher or Student status, you will be obligated to pay the full price.

If you create products for TeachersPayTeachers, you must flatten and secure your files.  I hope my Free PDF makes it easier.

The original blog post:
How to Flatten and Secure PDF Files with Adobe Acrobat Pro DC

Sunday, July 3, 2016

Wrist Pain Prevention

Are you spending more time on your computer?  Of course you are!

  Please try my favorite tips to prevent wrist pain. 
1)    Be cool.  Literally.  Tie a cool freezer pack to your wrist for 20 minutes on, 20 minutes off.  Use a rubber band or two to secure it, and be sure it is not too tight.  Solid ice packs should be lined with a thin cloth or paper towel to prevent frost bite.  No freezer packs on hand?  A bag of frozen vegetables stands in fine.  My favorite pack for gentle cooling is this one, the Thera Pearl Wrist Wrap with a handy wrist strap:

2)   Stop moving.  Wear a wrist brace to prevent your wrist from twisting.  You can wear this all day and night, and look rather stylish, too.  My favorite is Futuro brand.

Or, for copper-infused arthritis-fighting bliss, these are slim, high tech wonders!

3)   Straight ahead.  Place a wrist cushion under your wrist to insure your wrist is on a straight line.  A low cost alternative is to fold one or two plush velour socks under your wrist. 

4)   Teamwork, guys.  Use two hands to work your mouse; push, pull and click using left and right hands; and try to use your non-dominant hand more.

5)   Let go.  Take your hand off that mouse often, and twist ‘n squeeze it, preferably to some rock ‘n roll music.  Tell me this doesn't look like fun!

6)   Massage therapy.  Rub slowly and gently from your fingertips to the shoulder, following the contours of your muscles and bone, with your favorite lotion or oil if you’d like.  I like to use organic oils because they feel more healing.  I use this one all the time.

7)   Take a shortcut.  This is a biggie. I’m not just talking about the workhorse keyboard shortcuts like:

Print and highlight your most-used shortcut from the keyboard shortcut list.  This is a game-changer, and not so hard once you get used to it.

Easier said than done, I know, but please cut down on salt which can swell the joints, and do see a doctor if your wrist pain is severe.

Make it easier for your be a pure joy!