Wednesday, March 18, 2015

United Way

Our campaign was a success! We are proud to support United Way of Metropolitan Nashville annually as one of their corporate fundraisers.

http://www.unitedwaynashville.org/


Thursday, April 3, 2014

Megan Baker: Why I use Southwestern Advantage books in my classroom

As an alumna of their sales & leadership program, I obviously loved the Southwestern Advantage products and believed in their effectiveness in reaching students.  Now, as an educator, I am even more convicted in the Southwestern Advantage products.

I currently teach third and fourth grade students in a small school in the Sand Hills of Nebraska.  Most of my students have never been past a two hour radius of their home.  I try to incorporate as many “real-world” experiences to my students as possible while still reaching all the standards that are required.  I have found in my years of teaching that kids LOVE non-fiction books.  As a teacher, so do I.  Books about animals, space, and our Earth are so interesting to kids who love learning.  My students choose to use their free-time in the classroom reading the Explore and Learn and Ask Me books from Southwestern Advantage.  They are always quick to tell me the new facts they learned, as well as the cool new experiments they want to try next.   When my students are excited about something they learned, well that makes makes me extra happy, and the smiles on their parents' faces are just as rewarding.

So what about the students who don’t love learning/reading?  In my first year of teaching it broke my heart (and still does) when a child told me he hated school or hated reading.  Unfortunately, I've seen a few of those attitudes in my classroom.  I tried so many incentives/rewards to get those few students excited about reading.  Nothing worked until I introduced the Explore and Learns to my students.  To them, it wasn’t reading.  They just found the facts and pictures interesting.  To me, I knew they were learning and were still reading; that was all that mattered.   I will never forget the day when the one student who disliked school the most spoke the words, “School is fun!"  Now, the Explore and Learns may not have been the only reason he began to like school (I like to think it was my great teaching skills *wink*), but there's no doubt that these books played a major role.

I will always continue to use Southwestern Advantage books in my classroom.  They offer a fun way for students to learn more about topics they are already interested in, and they allow students to share what they are learning before the teacher even covers it (always a high point in a student’s day).  Most importantly though, they show kids that school, and learning, can be fun. Thank you, Southwestern Advantage.


Megan Baker
3rd & 4th Grade Teacher
McPherson County Schools, Nebraska

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Kate's Kitchen featured on News 2

A big thank you to Nashville's ABC affiliate WKRN-TV Nashville & WKRN Heather Jensen for an amazing segment spotlighting our new cooking show 'Kate's Kitchen'!

Watch the segment here.














About Kate's Kitchen
One day your kids will be your age. They will either know how to cook healthy meals from scratch or they will live at the drive through and on unhealthy frozen foods. So get your “Kids In the Kitchen” and teach them the importance of healthy cooking.

Kate's Kitchen is featured on our parenting site Advantage4parents.com - part of the Southwestern Advantage suite of web services. 








Monday, February 10, 2014

Get Out of The Rut

You have probably heard the saying – If you always think the way you’ve always thought, you will always do what you have always done, and you will always get what you always gotten – and quite frankly sometimes that’s not good enough for us.

To illustrate the point, let me share some information with you about why train tracks in the United States areas wide as they are. See if you think it has applicability.

The United States standard railroad gauge (distance between rails) is 4 feet, 8.5 inches. That’s an exceedingly odd number. Why was that gauge used? Because that’s the way they built them inEngland, and English expatriates built the American railroads.

Why did the English people build them like that? Because the first rail lines were built by the same people who built the pre-railroad tramways, and that’s the gauge they used.

Why did they use that gauge then? Because the people who built the tramways used the same jugs and tools that they used for building wagons, which used that wheel spacing.

Okay! Why did the wagons use the odd wheel spacing? Well, if they tried to use any other spacing the wagons would break on some of the old, long distance roads, because that’s the spacing of the old wheel ruts.

So who built these old rutted roads? Imperial Rome built the first long-distance roads in Europe for the benefit of their legions, and the roads have been used ever since.

And the ruts? Roman war chariots first made the initial ruts, which everyone else had to match for fear of destroying their wagons. Since the chariots were made by Imperial Rome they were all alike in the matter of wheel spacing.


Thus, we have the answer to the original questions. The United States standard railroad gauge of 4 feet, 8.5 inches derives from the original specification for a Roman army chariot. The Roman chariots were made to be just wide enough to accommodate the back-ends of two warhorses.

If we don’t take proactive steps to get out of the rut, to do things differently, even if we are currently successful, our future might be limited to past practices, which no longer have any applicability to meeting today’s needs and meeting today’s goals.

Is it good enough for you to simply get what you've always got?