Pencils Down! has been forty-five years in the making. It is hoped that by sharing classroom experiences, the reader will be entertained, enlightened, and educated. The ideas presented are written for all educators: veteran, novice, substitute and student teachers, parents who homeschool, college and university professors, as well as for anyone who has a child in his or her care. The guide offers the fruit of my experiences, gleaned from a lifetime in the classroom. Writing this book has been a labor of love, and it is my sincere hope that all educators reading this book will find some fresh insight into the wonderful profession of teaching. Pencils Down! will take you on a journey whose itinerary begins in elementary school and spans more than four decades. I have taken that journey at the head of the class. Many an author has written a book on education without ever having stepped into a real classroom. I have stepped into many classrooms, many times, over many years, and now feel qualified to write my first book. Having successfully survived as a teacher forty-five years in the public and private sectors of both the New York and Nevada school systems prompted me to write this book, a book packed with lessons that work, school humor, enrichment activities, and sage advice ready to be used by anyone who desires to instill a love of learning in a child. You may wish to do many of the lessons with your students. Most of the text deals with activities based on beloved children’s books. I have selected more than fifty children’s books I most enjoyed reading and teaching my students. Although some of these books never achieved Newbery Medal award status, each book teaches something of life’s lessons, and each is a gem. My first priority was selecting excellent children’s books. I have selected a broad and diverse collection of children’s books with the hope that by using these books daily with all elementary school children, each child can learn to love books and appreciate the extended benefits of lifelong literacy. To give you a true flavor of what is covered, a summary of each part follows. Welcome to Pencils Down! Part One: School Humor You are reading this either because you are contemplating a career in teaching or are curious to find out whether a veteran teacher can still be sane after spending forty-five years in the classroom. Part One presents the humorous side to an otherwise serious profession. You will get a glimpse of nineteenth and early twentieth century rules for teachers and peruse a copy of the contract teachers were made to sign. Both will make you wonder why anyone would consider a career in education. You will find out what teachers make and be privy to the public’s low opinion of teachers’ salaries. If you survive the reality show for educators, you may continue reading the book. School anecdotal incidents, accrued from many years in the classroom, will be shared. You will learn why God created the teacher and will be introduced to the new school policy. A test designed for preschoolers will challenge you. Answers from kindergartners and first graders as to why we read and write will be sure to surprise and amuse you. Actual student test answers and parental notes are included, both good for a chuckle. The difference between an educator and a teacher will be clarified. Today’s schools, vs. schools in the 50’s and 60’s, will make you wish you were teaching in a simpler era and make you wonder if schools are still teaching math. An Australian school’s answering machine will make you smile, as will the eleven things you did not and will not learn in school. Part Two: Getting to Know You “Getting to know you, Getting to know all about you.