Cleaning Mission: Impossible?


Greetings, fellow operatives. Agent Headquarters have assigned me a secret Swiffer Spy Kit to employ in Operation: Enduring Clean. The video below contains my mission details.

The mission dossier revealed that I would be going head-to-head with an insidious enemy: dirt. My job was to find hidden perpetrators in a room thought to be enemy-free. My mission’s location, The Living Room, seemed normal.

Even after my inspection, I could find no evidence of our cunning foe; and after a thorough raid with both a broom and vacuum, one might presume the room to be safe. But I knew the enemy was on the loose.

I chose a section of the floor to plant my staining agent. This top secret substance (Jelly) would signal when my mission was complete by disappearing after the successful removal of our adversaries.

Next, I utilized a gadget straight from Q Branch – the Swiffer Wetjet.

The Swiffer Wetjet has been upgraded especially for this mission. Its durable build will withstand the most aggressive attacks from enemy dirt, and its new and improved pads give agents the upper hand on their opponent. The Swiffer performed a shakedown on a seedy underground ring of filth – look at these suspects that had cleverly camouflaged themselves on a so-called “Clean floor”.

The Living Room has been freed from enemy infiltration and made safe once more.

Mission: Complete.

TOP SECRET MISSION DETAILS: This product review was based on using a complimentary Swiffer WetJet provided by P&G. P&G does not represent or warrant the accuracy of any statements or product claims made here, nor does it endorse any opinions expressed within this blogsite.
Special thanks to the agents at Blogger HeadQuarters, Swiffer and MyBlogSpark, for providing me with the tools to fight the threat of enemy dirt.

Ouchies Gift Pack Winners

And the winners of the Ouchies Gift Packs are…

Winner #1 is comment number 156, Swtlilchick, who said: “Following your blog (Charlene)”

Winner #2 is comment number 42, panicxduh, who said: “The tropical design!”

Winner #3 is comment number 73, ilovemy5kids, who said: “I ♥ the surfer girl…too cute!”

Congratulations to the lucky winners! If you’re tired of the same old boring bandaids, be sure to check out Ouchies Online!

18 x 24 Rolled Poster Print Winner

Happy Monday, everyone! And thank you very much for all the sweet birthday wishes this weekend. I thoroughly enjoyed my days off and had a very nice time!

And now, on to our winner announcement! The winner of the 18 x 24 Rolled Poster Print giveaway is…

Comment number 45, degood, who said: “I now follow your blog with google friend connect”. Congratulations!

If you’d like to make your own custom poster from family photos, artwork, or another design that’s special to you, check out the posters at!

Educating Esme Blog Tour: Book Review, Author Interview, and Special Book Giveaway!

Educating Esmé: Diary of a Teacher’s First Year by Esmé Raji Codell is a funny, touching memoir of an unorthodox teacher and the children who thrive in her classroom. “Madame Esmé” (as her students call her) recounts her journey as a new teacher who challenges the ineffective school bureaucracy and inspires her students through her off-beat – and highly effective – teaching methods. And you could win a copy of this uproarious memoir or another great educational book, so read on!

About the Author

A nationally renowned advocate for literacy and literature-based instruction, ESMÉ RAJI CODELL is today “one of the nation’s most sought-after voices for empowering teachers” (People Magazine) and a “Superstar of Education” (Scholastic Instructor). She is the recipient of a prestigious Patterson Pageturner Award for spreading the excitement of books in an effective and original way and has been a keynote speaker for the International Reading Association, The Society of Children’s Books Writers and Illustrators, and the American Library Association, and a featured speaker at the National Museum for Women in the Arts. Esme has been interviewed on CBS This Morning, CNN, CSPAN’s Book Talk, and NPR. The author of “How to Get Your Child to Love Reading” as well as numerous award-winning books for children, Esmé lives with her husband and son in Chicago, where she spent many years as an educator in Chicago public schools and now runs the popular children’s literature web site PlanetEsme, and the unique literary salon, The PlanetEsme Bookroom.

My Take

I sat down with this book before going to bed, thinking I’d read a few pages before falling asleep; but this hilarious diary was so compelling that I ended up reading it into the wee hours of the morning. Codell recounts her trials and triumphs during her first year as a teacher, documenting the innovative methods she employs to instill her students with a love for learning. The school administration balks at her modus operandi – which includes mastering multiplication tables by dancing the cha-cha and building a “Time machine” filled with books – but Codell refuses to budge. And her students thrive: in one entry, Codell recounts her principal looking in at her class, who were laughing as they colored in life-sized cutouts for a class project about Greek mythology. “There’s no control!” he says. Codell counters that there is, sticking her thumb in the air (Her signal for “Listen up”). Within seconds, the whole class became silent and rapt with attention. While her classroom may have been alternative, it was highly disciplined and helped her students to not only learn reading, writing, and arithmetic, but good behavior. I loved the story she told about a disruptive student who constantly swore and talked back. As punishment, she made him swap places with her – he had to teach the class for a full day, while Codell sat at his desk and imitated him mouthing off.
I really enjoyed this book and was left wishing that every school could have their own Madame Esmé.


I also had the pleasure of interviewing Esmé Codell for this blog tour. We spoke about how her life has changed since the release of the book, becoming a parent, and what she’s learned since that famous first year.

Contest Corner: It’s been ten years since “Educating Esmé” was first published. How has your perspective on teaching changed?

Esmé Codell: I don’t know if my perspective has changed that much—I still think of being a teacher as being a professional “sharer”—but I think the climate for teaching has changed dramatically since the book was published, with an emphasis on teaching to the test and sharing what other people decide you should share. I appreciate to a new degree that teaching is a precarious balancing act, meeting mandates so you can keep your job and meeting the individual needs of the children in front of you so you can keep looking at yourself in the mirror. My perspective is that teachers need renewed advocacy, and the spirit to advocate for themselves and the children we serve. I hope the book can help to light that fire.

CC: If you could go back in time and give yourself one piece of advice, what would it be?

EC: Great question! There’s a saying in education I wish I had known from the outset: “move from being the sage on the stage to the guide on the side.” As a new teacher, I don’t think I fully appreciated how capable children are of taking an active role in their own learning. I took a lot of responsibility for the children’s engagement that they could have taken themselves, and probably wanted to take. That’s okay. The great thing about teaching is that you can do better every day and every year. I have included twenty five pieces of advice for teachers in the new guide included in the latest printing of Educating Esme, so teachers don’t have to go back in time to bring their best to the classroom!

CC: Has becoming a parent changed your perspective on teaching?

EC: I’d have to say yes to that. I’m definitely more forgiving when parents say they have family functions that get in the way of homework, I recognize things like children being hungry or exhausted more readily, and a tantrum might impress me but will never move me. The biggest change? I knew in my head that the children were precious, but after becoming a parent, I had a visceral epiphany that every child is a heartbeat that lived in someone else, and is always part of them…now when I have a child in front of me, I feel the mother and father and all the people that love that child. I think I appreciate all the more that I am the caretaker and guardian of the equivalent of a roomful of Hope Diamonds whenever I teach a class, with an accent on the “hope.” That said, I consider myself very lucky to have a child of my own, I never take that for granted, and I don’t believe a teacher becoming a parent necessarily makes that person a better teacher. I’m sure many compassionate teachers reach the same conclusions I have without giving birth.

Giveaway Time!

Every reader who comments on a post from the Educating Esmé Blog Tour will be entered to win one of the following books:

Educating Esmé: Diary of a Teacher’s First Year

The Children in Room E4: American Education on Trial

Work Hard. Be Nice. How Two Inspired Teachers Created the Most Promising Schools in America

In Code: A Mathematical Journey

Here’s how to enter:

1. Leave a comment on this post. That’s it! Be sure to leave an email address so that we may contact you if you win!

Giveaway ends on October 5th at 11:59 PM, PST. Four winners will be chosen from all eligible comments left on every Educating Esmé Blog Tour participating post. Although you are welcome to visit each blog, your name will only be entered into the drawing once, even if you comment on multiple blogs. As this contest is being run across many blogs, the winners will be determined by the Educating Esmé Blog Tour team. I am not involved in the winner selection process, but will re-post the winner’s list once announced. Giveaway is open to US residents.

Also, the blogger who receives the most comments on their post will win a gift card – so I would love to hear from all of you! If you leave a comment, maybe we’ll BOTH win!

You Say It’s Your Birthday?

My birthday cake from last year!

Today is my birthday, so I have decided to start the weekend early by taking today off! I still have plenty of fun posts scheduled to run for the rest of the week, and if you email me or leave a comment, I will get back to you on Monday. I hope everyone has a fabulous weekend!