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Yesterday I Won A Game of Mexican Train

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I had one last piece, an orange number eight, and it was my turn to place. I looked at my husband who gently nodded to my train of dominoes and I then knew that I could place my last piece. There it was, a double orange eight, at the top of the train… a place I had forgotten about and the spot I could lay down my last domino. I cheered, it was Laurie’s turn, and with that squeal the group had known they lost, I put my piece down and WON! I was proud, my friends cheered and my husband laughed as this was our 9th time playing, and I had finally won my first round of Mexican Train. We played a few more rounds after my first victory, but as the title states, “I won A game of Mexican Train” (I did joke with my girlfriends that I would be Blogging about this the next day and here I am).

I joked with those around me, that I am not a winner of games. I actually, pretty much, loose every game I play (accept this one time last week, I totally killed everyone in Bowling on the Wii, who knew). I am a super good sport about it because even it I try to engulf my competitive side, I still loose, and then I am grumpy. Yet, as I basked in the glory of my won win, I thought about the quote, “I try to make all my failures seem like small triumphs”.

I was researching different keywords on Google, for my company, and found that the words “online marketing, moms, work from home, home based business, small business” were very popular terms (with a million plus hits a day) and seemed to represent what our society is trying to achieve. Everyone wants to be that ONE company who WINS their turn on the World Wide Web by having their keywords placed #1 on the Google or any Search Engine (or SEO as those geeks like to call it). We still have to remember that maybe just having one of our keywords placed is just as great as having all of them. So play the game of SEO, but remember that your time will come when you are #1 in the Search Engines (and it might not last J).


The Debbie Cluff Show is Helping Parents and Teachers in the NCLB crunch

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nited States of America (Press Release) May 26, 2008 — May 18, 2008- Pasadena, California- “The Debbie Cluff Show”, which gives power to parents by helping them find the missing link in their child’s education, streams only on Planetary Streams,, is proud to announce there support to both parents and educators in helping to achieve the NCLB proficiency goals.

The Center on Education Policy released the following statement in which, school districts are going to “make nearly impossible improvements in student’s performance to reach the federal law’s target of 100 percent proficiency by the 2013-2014 school year”. In order to support the student trajectories, “The Debbie Cluff Show” will be providing tips and programs for both parents and school districts every Friday from 1-2 EST, LIVE on Planetary Streams. While there are many different supplemental educational services offering at school or in corporate centers, this show will provided a LIVE call-in segment, 1-866-535-0840, where parents and educators can ask direct questions to the hosts, Debbie Cluff and Melanie Roberts. Both hosts hope this will help educate parents and teachers on what to do and what to expect with the upcoming NCLB deadline.

Parents and Educators are not educated in the terms and conditions of the NCLB law and the hosts of “The Debbie Cluff Show” want to bring awareness to how achievement goals are set in each district. “Education is the key to success for NCLB”, explains Debbie Cluff, host, “and we want everyone to simply understand what is going on both nationally and locally”. The show hosts are asking both parents and educators to call in and ask what they can do to support this educational law.

For additional questions about this program, listen to The Debbie Cluff Show stream LIVE every Friday 1-2 EST only on or call 1-866-535-0840. For information on the news in this press release, please contact Tyler Cluff at Additional products available for parents are educational products for infants, toddlers, preschool students, and elementary aged students.

Debbie Cluff is an author and the CEO and owner of Links for Learning,, an online tutoring and instant homework help site.She has her B.A. in child development and her Master’s in Education. She has 3 children and is currently in a preschool classroom. Debbie Cluff was raised in South Pasadena, California. Her mother a special education teacher inspired her to become a teacher.

Planetary Talk Radio is 24/7 Internet talk radio network which gives power to the people by letting you hear what you want to hear and talk back 24/7 with talk radio shows from real people around the planet. Planetary Talk Radio is powered by Planetary Streams International, an internet Radio & Talk TV communications company created to meet the growing demands of audio and visual delivery on the internet. PSI operates globally from the “Broadcast BARN” in Woodland Hills using proprietary technology to deliver marketing messages from individuals and companies. Planetary Streams provides inexpensive Talk TV and Talk Radio to businesses and persons who need a way to effectively marketing on the internet.

Resources for Parents

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An educational phenomenon has begun in the world of learning for students in K-12th Grade who are seeking additional resources in reading, math, and writing. Online Tutoring, virtual tutoring sessions where the students are instructed from the comfort of their own home, are becoming more mainstream as an alternate learning tool. Once informed about resource, parents are grasping onto this technologic capability of enhancing their students learning levels and demanding further attention be brought to the importance of this online tutoring ingenuity. Tutoring sessions are now not just available to those that can afford private training, but to anybody who has access to a computer in their own home. Online Tutoring makes sense and parents need to become aware of the positive effectiveness this convenient tool can have on their child’s education. Online Tutoring is the key to the future of our children’s education because the sessions are presented in a non-threatening situation. “Online Tutoring allows students to learn in their home setting rather than a public institutional setting. Students learn best in this non-commercial, familiar, stress-free environment” explains Debbie Cluff, CEO of Links for Learning, an online tutoring site. She goes on to say, “Parents need to become aware of the positive educational resources available to them right in their own home”. Parents have the ability to be present during all tutoring sessions and reinforce the ideas presented during the sessions. Parents can then discuss the online tutoring session during a private chat with their online tutor or via email. This builds the necessary tools to create a structured learning environment for students because it involves the three aspects of gaining an education. These three aspects are the co-relation of the parent, the student, and the teacher.

During the online tutoring sessions, the students are in the comfort of their own home, learning in a positive atmosphere. The tutoring session have unlimited access because in the online sessions, “the world is your oyster”. Students gain confidence and a better understanding of their problem area because of the unique style of learning the sessions present. Online tutors are able to plan each lesson around the individual students needs and are not limited on the resources they have because of working online. Online students feel certain about what they are learning and how they are learning. Learning in the home is the ultimate learning experience.

Online tutoring is available at many different sites. It is important to find an affordable and convenient site that has specific teaching credentials. Some companies offer online tutoring for a low price, but are not really willing to work with both the parents and the students. Also, some sites offer tutoring sessions that do not have credentialed teachers working as their tutors. Some sites do hire tutors that do not live in the same country that the students live in, which is hard to tutor because of the different language barriers. Make sure that you feel comfortable with the tutor that you are going to have your most priced possession dealing with. Homework Help is offered at some sites which is another great resource to enforce the online learning setting. This is a great resource for working parents because it enables their student to have access to a tutor 24/7, a tutor who can help with homework questions.

Online tutoring is the new phenomenon that is sweeping through the educational world. Colleges have invested in this idea and use online tutoring in most of their beginning English courses. Parents need to now invest in this idea and help it to become more mainstream in the educational society.

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May 20, 2008 at 4:10 am

Emotional Development and Self Esteem

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Many theorists have suggested the emotional development of a child, or the core of one’s self esteem needs to be understood and fostered at home and in the classroom. Teachers and parents should focus on children’s emotional development or the “feelings that generally have both physiological and cognitive elements which influence behavior” (Feldman, 2000, p. 329), at a young age. These feelings need to be positively reinforced to develop a high self-esteem through out the child’s life. Most theorists agree that there is a link between a child’s development and their respective emotional levels. The views of the theorists also clarify the most influential stages in a child’s life when emotional development is necessary and how this development reinforces a child’s self esteem. A child’s emotional development needs to be built at home and school in order to develop a high self-image.

By the time a child is three years old, he or she is an emotionally complex person who has experienced a wide range of emotions. As parents, teachers, and caregivers we need to help promote our children’s emotional development so that they will be able to develop healthy relationships with their peers and learn how to manage their emotions effectively. This will help them get the most benefit out of their learning and eventually adulthood development. A child’s emotional development begins with the relationship with their caregiver. The type of responses that a child receives from their first caregivers (i.e. parents, daycare providers) will determine how that child will learn to deal with their emotions later on in their live (Ashiabi, 2000). A child who has a secure relationship with their caregiver will initiate positive interactions and respond positively to initiations with others (Ashiabi, 2000). Conversely, a child who has an insecure relationship with his or her caregiver will show more negative emotions while interacting with others (Ashiabi, 2000).

Elizabeth Cady Stanton once said, “Self-development is a higher duty than self-sacrifice” (Quote, 2004). Having a good self worth or attitude about oneself can define self-esteem. Children with a “healthy” self-esteem feel, “that the important adults in their lives accept them, care about them, and would go out of their way to ensure that they are safe and well” (KidSource, 2004). In younger children, self-esteem is not measured by their self worth, but by how well the loved ones in their lives respect and respond to their particular needs. For example, children with a lack of role models or a lack of parental support tend to have a lower self-esteem because they feel that these adults do not accept or care about them. This is the main factor which children base their level of self-esteem on through out their childhood and then on into adulthood. An example of this can be seen in early childhood development of infants who respond and attach themselves to the adults who love and are responsible for them. In the magazine American Baby it states, “What’s usually the fastest way to soothe a crying baby? Snuggle together while gently stroking him. Your touch has an amazing power to communicate love” (Wu, 2004). What this is pointing out is that the infant is responding to the trusted adult’s touch basing its emotional development on this form of communication and overall establishing the child’s future trust and self-esteem.

One big question about self-esteem is, “The more you praise your child, and the more self esteem your child will have. This is correct, isn’t it?” (Cyperparent, 2004). The answer to this question is not as simple it seems. It has been said that if you continuously praise a child, it may make the child question the sincerity of that adult, causing them to soon dismiss these praises as “fake” and eventually hindering their self esteem. Even young children can see through excessive praise and flattery (KidSource, 2004). This is very important in today’s classroom. Research suggests that we should praise, but also challenge and encourage the student to take risks. Praising your children and your students should be only one aspect of raising self-esteem. The main aspect of this development should focus on how, “Helping children develop self-esteem involves listening, accepting, and praising. Self-esteem comes from acceptance. Provide positive self-esteem. Help your children grow self-esteem” (KidSource, 2004). A child’s self-esteem is not something imprinted in their DNA when born, self esteem is established and planted by parents and teachers through a lot of time, dedication, and positive reinforcement. Remember that a child, also, does not and really cannot develop self-esteem over night. Self-Esteem is something that is trail and error for each child and with the positive help and influence of parents or teachers, a proper and high self esteem can be established, building upon each event through out their life, representing their emotional development.

It has been established for a long time that emotion does play a role in learning (Gewertz, 2003). Recent research has also shown that a deliberate approach to teaching social and emotional skills in the classroom increases test scores and grades, increases students’ enthusiasm and motivation to learn and reduces behavior problems. Children who are distracted by emotional issues do not learn effectively (Gewertz, 2003). By focusing on developing emotional and social skills, teachers and parents can help students to maximize their learning potential.

There are many ways a teacher can establish a child’s emotional development. As we have stated previously, children build their self-esteem and emotional development based of the adults who they are close to and whom they spend a lot of time with. Teachers need to encourage children by building upon their self-esteem in their lesson plans so that their students will feel comfortable and confident with themselves. A teacher can make their students feel more confident by giving each child a specific responsibility. This is not only exciting for the child, but it also provides an opportunity for the student to gain some ownership of the classroom. A teacher can also show the students to how to learn from past failed attempts (Research and Children, 2004). In order to make this work, a teacher needs to let go of their instinct to overprotect the students and allow them to be creative and encourage any questioning. Building or growing a child’s emotional development is different than teaching it. Teachers also have to keep in mind that they might be the sole provider for this form of development if the child is not receiving it at home. Thoroughly planning lessons around positive thinking will help to reinforce this theory.

There are many lesson plans teachers have access to via the internet. Most of these can easily be adapted to fit a teacher’s specific situation. The K-5 lessons range from a “Who am I Collage,” by Linda Bauck, which teaching the child who they are, to a “self esteem/class pride chain,” by Kimberlee Woodward, which teaches them teamwork and self worth. The collage allows the students to create and present a piece of work about them. This allows the students not only to talk about their interests and characteristics, but also to work on presentation skills with peers. The chain lesson plan allows the student to list five talents on separate strips of construction paper. Then with the teachers help they will be linked to form a chain. The students each present their talents to the class, then link the entire chain together. This serves as a reference point and a reminder throughout the year. A student can always look up and see that he does possess talents, and so do his peers. Lesson plans building child development can be found on the internet at sites such as, which these lesson plans were located at. Another route the teacher can look into is character education which is a theory based on teaching children character. Really the focus of the teacher should be to learn about emotional development then implement it into the classroom.

There are outlining stages for emotional development and children. Parents and by teachers need to understand these stages so that they can aid in building their children’s emotional development and positively mold children’s self esteem. Emotional Development is important to understand because it can really help the child all the way into adulthood. Amos Alcott once said, “The true teacher defends his pupils against his own personal influence” (Quote, 2004). Teachers and parents are responsible for the emotional development of the children and the influence they share with these children can affect the children’s lives forever.

Debbie Cluff is the founder and owner of Links for Learning, Links for Learning is the online tutoring and instant homework help site for students in Reading, Writing, and Math. Debbie is the mother of 2, with one on the way, and has been married for 5 years. She has her BA in Liberal Studies, her Master’s in Education, and is currently in the 1st grade classroom. She can be reached at

Reading is Fun

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The Importance of “Reading is Fun” Week

I can bet that you don’t know what the second week in May is?. This week is simply “Reading is Fun” week; dubbed by the non-profit organization Reading is Fundamental. “Reading is Fun” week gives parents and students an opportunity to spend time together reading. Whether you are 90 or 9, reading is fun week provides the perfect excuse to stop what you are doing and read a book with a loved one. The most important aspect of this week is to make sure that your children understand that reading is a great experience.

I can remember growing up and watching my mother read her books. My father would get upset because once she picked up a book, she didn’t put it down until it was complete. This meant that she would sit in her room and read, ignoring all the other household duties (to some extent). This was really a great learning experience for me because it taught me the value of reading and that it should play an important aspect in my life. I am a great reader and now my children watch me sit and read all weekend knowing that I am completely absorbed in this book and experience. I am proud to say that my children are fantastic readers because I set the example of reading being fun.

The key to “Reading is Fun” week is to make the reading experience fun and truly take the time to plan activities that your children will look forward to. Reading and reading activities should not been seen as one of the chores that have to be done during the day. Instead parents should foster the concept of love of reading through “fun” reading activities. The most important principle to remember during this week is that teaching your child to have fun while reading needs to become a part of your daily life.

I do lots of public speaking through out the United States about “How Ordinary Parents can Raise Extraordinary Students”. Parents are always so surprised when they come to the seminars and find out the simple three steps in educational success in the home. And while there are two other steps, the most important aspect of “raising an extraordinary student” is reading in the home. By reading regularly to your children you can improve your speaking, listening, writing, and vocabulary.

Although the life of a parent is very hectic, you should try to read with your child a least once a day. Don’t worry if you miss a day or don’t always keep the scheduled reading time; just try to read with your child as often as possible and when you can.

Parents, please just encourage reading in your home by starting the second week of May and celebrating “Reading is Fun”. Take this week to get your reading schedule and activities planned for the rest of the month, or even better, the year. So what are some reading experiences you can have with your child during this week and year round?

· Take advantage of having a night time routine by reading with your child. I will ask my kids to get in their pajama’s and pick their favorite book. My husband and I will read with a child, while the other ones are getting ready for bed. It is very simple to have your children grab a book and spend 5 minutes reading with them every night.

· Enjoy the weather by planning a family picnic which involves your favorite book. Every Monday, my husband and I (weather permitting) take our children to the park and read a book then let them play. Be bold and be carefree with reading and your children. Don’t let them think reading is a chore, but a privilege.

· Consider reading a series with your entire family. Who read the “Sweet Valley High Series”? I remember my mother would take me to the book store when a new book in this series would be coming out and we would buy the book, and then get ice cream. It was one of my favorite things to do with my mom. What a simple way to teach me that reading is fun. So start any series with your entire family and read every night, one chapter. The big kids can help the little kids with questions and answers! This is a great bonding reading/family activity.

· Plan a vacation around a book you are reading. Of course, my family has read the “Star Wars” series mainly because my son is a Stars Wars fanatic! So we are planning a trip to Disneyland this summer to coincide with his reading. Very simple reading activity that will tell my son that what he is reading is important to the family.

· Reading on the go sometimes is all parents have time to do. The simple solution is to have your child read on computer. This is a great start for some children and families. I know that my son loves to play games on the computer and also loves to read books on the computer. At Links for Learning,, parents can download free books for their children to read. There is an amazing reading CD available that you can have play in the car, which is a huge time saver! During the “Reading is Fun” week, Links for Learning is giving away their Reading Program for Free to parents who have logged reading hours with their younger child.

Reading is a fun experience and thanks to “Reading is Fundamentals” for reminding us parents of the importance of reading to our children. Find a way to implement reading in your life.

Debbie Cluff is the owner of Links for Learning,, the online tutoring and instant homework help site for k-12th grade and host of the talk radio show and television show, The Debbie Cluff Show streaming on Her current blogs can be read at and is the mother of 3 and wife to Tyler for the past 8 years residing in South Pasadena California.

Great day for Links on Planetary Streams!

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I am so excited to announce that I will be doing a talk radio show and a talk TV show from the Planetary Streams (  Please come and watch and listen to learn about online tutoring and online education helps for your kids!  

New Internet Communications Company Launches Offering Planetary Streams Radio & TV Company Delivers to World from BarnClassic Example of High Tech Flexibility New Company Produces Talk Shows from people’s home locations all over the world and then Streams the globe from Broadcast Barn February 22nd 2008 — Woodland Hills, UT —Planetary Streams International, an internet Radio & Talk TV communications company, announced their official opening, Tuesday February 26th 2008, to meet the growing demands of audio and visual delivery on the internet.  PSI operates globally from the “Broadcast BARN” in Woodland Hills using proprietary technology to deliver marketing messages from individuals and companies.  Planetary Streams provides inexpensive Talk TV and Talk Radio to businesses and persons who need a way to effectively marketing on the internet.   Planetary Streams will provide a series of solutions launching on a weekly basis from today and will include an expanded Grapevine Talk Radio Network, FREE Competitive Talk Radio Network, Website commercials, Talk TV, Snack TV, discounts to online services, commercials, marketing tools and more. According to founders of Planetary Streams, Kristen & Rob Lamb and Chad & Kim Stilson, they have been working to launch this internet communications company for almost a year and have spent tens of thousands of dollars finding the right equipment to record and stream quality projects for people from remote locations.  To prove their technology would work from even the most remote location the built their communication studios at a convenient location near their homes.   “Most of our clients have never stepped foot into our studios, which are in a converted garage in a rural setting, most of our talkers are in different states, countries and time zones, they can connect with us via the internet and using our proprietary technology create a cost-effective and beautiful communication tool for their site,” said Chad Stilson, president Planetary Stream. “Companies who don’t have the big bucks to advertise on major networks will find our services to be the most affordable avenue available when it comes to giving their products and services a voice.”   Kristen Lamb, author, TV and radio talk show host and Planetary Streams co-founder is pleased to bring more life to the internet.  She says that she feels hearing someone talk amidst the visuals is a stronger way to connect to your audience. “To be a talk show host or to introduce people to your solutions now you don’t have to have a big name and a title or loads of money,” said Kristen Lamb,  “You just need a personality and a product, if you talk about it and people like and need what you offer, you have a chance to sell.  We give people a chance to talk and we share their voice beautifully.” For more information about Planetary Streams visit, ABOUT PLANETARY STREAMS:Planetary Streams International provides internet Radio & TV communications solutions for companies and individuals around the globe.   Created in 2007 and officially launched February 22nd 2008 to meet the growing demands of audio and visual delivery on the internet, PSI operates globally from the “Broadcast BARN” in Woodland Hills using proprietary technology connects to deliver marketing messages from individuals and companies. Contact:                                                Chad StilsonPlanetary