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November 28, 2011 The Best Things in Life are Free By Brent Vasicek
Grades PreK–K, 1–2, 3–5, 6–8, 9–12


    I was recently at the Detroit Area Council of Teachers of Mathematics conference looking through my free tote bag for a free pad of paper to match my free pen. I was listening to some giddy teachers at a neighboring table raving about all the free items they had received from one of the workshops. You would have honestly thought they were teenagers backstage at a Bieber concert. Giving up on my search for the free pad of paper, I had to chuckle to myself at how teachers get so excited about free items. Often free stuff can be junk, but truly the best things in life are free. And, just to clarify, by free, I mean you can’t buy it in a store. Here are the free things I am thankful for, in no particular order.




    For those of you from The Brady Bunch era, I’d like you to think about the homage the Brady kids paid to the sun with their hit “It's a Sunshine Day.” Go ahead, click the link. It will bring a cheesy grin to your face. Those Brady kids were on to something. Perhaps the most taken-for-granted object around is the sun. Kind of ironic since it is one of the biggest objects around. The power of the sun is amazing. Without it, we simply would not exist. I challenge you to be sunshine in somebody’s life each day.




    America has its share of problems, but freedom is still a core value that makes America what it is today. I am proud to be an American and am thankful for all the men and women who help defend freedom and provide a ray of sunshine to others in countries around the world.


    TED Talks


    Have you checked out TED Talks? These short talks can be real inspirational. I encourage you to take some time this month to watch a few. Realize that each person delivering his or her message had to have the help of a teacher along the way. Teachers may not get the press of Hollywood actors, but they do lay the foundation for many others to step into the spotlight. Here are a few of my favorite TED Talks:


    Ability to Read


    I would not be where I am today without my parents, my teachers, and the government's providing me the gift of education, and more specifically, with the ability to read. It is a skill that has afforded me great opportunities and provided me hours of pleasure with series like The Hunger Games.


    Supportive People  


    I am thankful for the genuine connections I have in my life. People that care enough to be honest. People who have positive intentions and act with integrity. People who live at the 212th degree. It's these people that inspire me to try to be that ray of sunshine for my students.

    Now, go join the Bradys for a walk outside. The sun is calling your name.


    What free things do you appreciate in life?










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