Tax-Time Identity Theft

As taxpayers rush to get their tax documents in by the April 15th deadline, the IRS is once again warning thieves may be targeting them as ID theft victims. Hundreds of thousands of Americans find out every year that someone has used their Social Security Number to claim false refunds.

The Insurance Information Institue reported that about 3 million consumer complaints of ID theft and fraud happen each year during tax season.

Here are some tips to have lower your risk of tax identity theft and make sure you stay protected.

Don’t give out your personal information

Identity thieves may try and get you to disclose your personal information over the phone, by text, social media, or by email. The IRS will not reach out to you for this information via electronic media unless you contact them first.

If you receive a scam email forward it to the IRS at

File your returns as early as possible

Once you have all of your documents, go file. If you hesitate an identity thief with access to your information could have extra time to tile a fraudulent tax return on your behalf.

Use a trusted tax preparer

Non-certified tax preparers may bump their rates based on your refund by giving you deductions you aren’t entitled to and leaving you at fault if the IRS chooses to audit you. Scammers can also pose as tax preparers to steal your personal information and your refund. Do your homework and make sure you are going to a certified professional.

Anyone who prepares tax returns for compensation is required to have a tax preparer identification number or PTIN. You can look up any licensed tax preparer on the IRS’s Directory of Federal Tax Return Prepares.

Keep an eye on your accounts

As a rule of thumb, you should actively monitor your credit on websites that won’t hurt your score, like Credit Karma. You can also monitor your tax documents online on the IRS website.

Place a credit freeze or fraud alert on your credit file

If you see something uncommon on your reports or have reason to believe your personal information has been compromised you can place a credit freeze or fraud alert on your account.

You can place a credit freeze or fraud alert on your file by contacting Equifax, Experian, or TransUnion.

For more information about tax-time identity theft, visit

California Casualty wants to make sure that all customers receive identity theft resolution services at no charge and to make the process as simple as possible. That’s why our customers offers free ID theft resolution services with every policy through CyberScout.

CyberScout assigns a personal fraud specialist who works with our customers until the fraud problem is resolved. That means you have unlimited one-on-one access to a dedicated fraud specialist who will assist you in understanding credit reports, gathering evidence against the fraudsters, working to limit damages, and following up to make sure the problem has been cleared up.

With insurance from California Casualty, if you or a loved one’s personal information is compromised, you can rest assured that a CyberScout fraud specialist will get in the trenches to help speed the recovery process – as long as it takes to restore your good credit.


This article is furnished by California Casualty, providing auto and home insurance to educators, law enforcement officers, firefighters, and nurses. Get a quote at 1.866.704.8614 or

20 Attention-Getters to Quiet Any Noisy Classroom

20 Attention-Getters to Quiet Any Noisy Classroom

Our Education Blogger is a public school teacher with over a decade of experience. She’s an active NEA member and enjoys writing about her experiences in the classroom.


20 Attention-Getters to Quiet Any Noisy Classroom

Part of a good classroom management system includes a way to get the attention of students. When it is time for students to stop, focus, and be ready to listen and learn, an attention-getter should be in a teacher’s magic bag of management tricks.  Attention-getters should do the job quickly and efficiently.  Grabbing the focus of students will be a snap with some tried and true attention-getters.


Call and Response

  1. Teacher says “Hey Hey!” and students respond with “Ho Ho!”  I’ve been using this one in my classroom ever since I began teaching.
  2. Teacher: “Let’s Go Tigers!”  Students reply by clapping: clap, clap, clap, clap, clap.  Insert your favorite sports team or even your school mascot.
  3. Teacher says “Flat Tire!”  Students say: “sssshhhhhhhh.”  Put a limit on how long the “ssshhh” should be.  Some jokesters may drag it out a bit too long.
  4. Teacher says: “Class, class.”  Students say: “Yes, yes.”
  5. Paying homage to a Disney classic, the teacher says “Hakuna!” while students call out “Matata!”
  6. Teacher says: “Meanwhile” Students say: “Back at the ranch.”
  7. Teacher says: “Hocus Pocus!”  Students say: “Everybody Focus!”
  8. Teacher says: “Alright, stop!”  Students say: “Collaborate and listen.”
  9. Teacher says: “Macaroni and cheese.”  Students say: “Everybody freeze!”
  10. Teacher says: “All set.”  Students say: “You bet!”



  1. Teacher claps once, students respond with two claps.  You could even use patterns.
  2. Teacher silently raises one hand in the air with two fingers up like the peace signal.  Students will mimic teacher until the entire class is silent while giving the peace signal.
  3. Use a bell, timer, or doorbell.  When students hear the audio signal, they stop to listen.
  4. Find an item, like a hat or glasses, to put on when you need students to focus on you.
  5. Use a quiet instrument, such as a triangle, wind chime, drum, or sound block.
  6. Flick the lights off and on until students are ready to learn.
  7. Create a paddle with a stop sign on it.  Hold it up when you need the attention of students.
  8. Play a song, or part of a song.  When the song is over, students must be quiet and focused.
  9. Teacher raises hand in the air while silently counting down with fingers.  When no fingers are left, the class should be ready to learn.
  10. Wave a flag, or wand, in the air for all students to see.  Students must be silent and listening by the time you lower the flag.


Find at least one attention-getter with which you are comfortable, or create your own.  Practice your intended attention-getter with your students often to get desired results.  Are students not responding to your usual attention-getter?  Switch it up!  Change your attention-getter altogether, or mix up what you usually use.  Don’t be afraid to get a little silly, only if your students can handle it.  Say it in a different accent, or stretch it out in slo-mo.


We’d love to hear from you!  Do you have a preferred attention-getter?  Please share your favorite attention-getter in the comments below!


This article is furnished by California Casualty, providing auto and home insurance to educators, law enforcement officers, firefighters, and nurses. Get a quote at 1.866.704.8614 or


Kid-Friendly Search Engines

Kid-Friendly Search Engines

Teaching students how to properly research on the internet is a difficult task.  With the right tools, teachers can help students find reliable, meaningful information. Help your students conduct online research using these safe, effective search engines and websites.

Kidtopia – Kidtopia is a Google custom student safe search engine for preschool and elementary students, indexing only educator-approved websites.

SafeSearchKids – Safe Search for Kids is a powerful, safe search tool that filters search results to enhance your students’ safe search experience. Powered by Google.

KidsClick! – Annotated searchable directory of websites created for kids by librarians. Searchable by subject, reading level and degree of picture content.

SweetSearch – SweetSearch is a search engine for students. It searches only credible websites approved by Internet research experts.

KidRex – Fun and safe search for kids, by kids.

Famhoo – Kid and family-friendly search engine, filtered search results that remove adult content. Great for all ages.

OneKey – OneKey has partnered with Google to keep kids safe on the Internet.

KidzSearch – Family-friendly safe search engine for children.

Primary School Safe Search – Primary School Safe Search is a great place to start internet sessions for children and teachers. Internet searches are filtered.

FactMonster – Fact Monster is a free reference site for students, teachers, and parents.

Kiddle – Kiddle is a visual search engine for kids powered by Google, offering safe kids web, image, and video search.

GoogleScholar – Google Scholar is a search engine designed to search scholarly journals, Supreme Court records, and patent records. In some cases, the results will link to abstracts of books and articles that you will then have to obtain from a library or book retailer. In other cases, results will link to fully viewable documents.

refseek – Academic search engine for students and researchers. Locates relevant academic search results from web pages, books, encyclopedias, and journals.

WolframAlpha – WolframAlpha is a computational search engine. If students have any questions involving numbers, Wolfram Alpha is the place to go. Wolfram Alpha can be used for other searches, but it’s not nearly as useful for general inquiries as it is for computational questions.


This article is furnished by California Casualty, providing auto and home insurance to educators, law enforcement officers, firefighters, and nurses. Get a quote at 1.866.704.8614 or



10 Kindness Week Ideas for Schools

10 Kindness Week Ideas for Schools

Random Acts of Kindness Week is the third full week of February, with February 17 designated as Random Acts of Kindness Day. Here are 10 ideas for teachers and students that are not only fun but help students learn to spread kindness:

Create a kindness wall or bulletin board where students, teachers, and staff can write various acts of kindness on sticky notes

Kindness Wall


Fill a kindness jar with various random acts of kindness and have students and staff take one to do

kindness week ideas for teachers


Put positive sticky notes on cubbies or lockers

Kindness week ideas


Start a bulletin board dedicated to acknowledging kindness students and staff have seen in the class and around the school

Kindness Week ideas


Create and share a kindness calendar with a different act of kindness for every day of the month

kindness calendar


Start staff meetings or the school day with an inspiring video such as this one featuring ALS patient Chris Rosati

kindness ideas


Have students play a kindness game

kindness week ideas


Start a class or school fundraiser for a charity

kindness week ideas


Remember to show appreciation to custodians and other support staff

kindness week ideas


Paint kindness rocks with kind messages and then to place them back on the ground for someone else to find.

kindness week ideas


Being kind is infectious; it will spread. Find all sorts of ideas for random acts of kindness you can incorporate into your classroom, school and your community at or visit our “Kindness” board on Pinterest!

Don’t forget to give us a follow at California Casualty to stay up to date on every new kindness idea we discover! Scan our Pincode with your Pinterest camera to follow:


This article is furnished by California Casualty, providing auto and home insurance to educators, law enforcement officers, firefighters, and nurses. California Casualty does not own any of the photos in this post, all are sources by to their original owners. Get a quote at 1.866.704.8614 or


What You Need to Know About Classroom Quiet Zones

What You Need to Know About Classroom Quiet Zones

Have you ever heard of a classroom quiet zone?  Want to learn more?  Read on…

We’ve outlined some important elements about using quiet zones in the classroom.


What is a Quiet Zone?

This is an area in the classroom dedicated to providing a calming, quiet, distraction-free zone. Students can use the quiet zone to work, read, or think. It can be a place for students to get caught up on work, take a test, draw, calm down, manage emotions, or just to be alone. Ultimately, the idea is to provide an area where students can get their emotions in check and return to the classroom ready to work.


What Does a Classroom Quiet Zone Look Like?

The quiet zone space should be well-defined. Use study carrels, curtains, tent, or shelves to keep visual distractions to a minimum. Provide a table or desk with a chair. Or, make it a more comfortable and inviting space with a small couch or large pillows. A rug completes the area and provides a clear outline for the space.


What Else Should Be In The Quiet Zone?

You can provide basic supplies, like books, pencils, paper, coloring utensils, clipboard, etc. Stress-relieving tools like squishy balls, fidget toys, stuffed animals. Additionally, to block out noise distraction, offer headphones, or noise-canceling headphones.


What Rules Should The Quiet Zone Have?

Only one student at a time in the quiet zone. A time limit should be implemented; 5 minutes is the suggested time for a student taking a mental health break. Keep a timer in the quiet zone and teach students to operate it.  When time is up, students should rejoin the class. If more time is needed, it may be a good idea to process with the student after their stay as there might be a deeper issue that needs to be addressed. A quiet zone is not a punishment and should not be treated as such. The quiet zone should not be a place for students to avoid work.


When Should A Student Go To The Quiet Zone?

When a student: feels overwhelmed, seems distracted, has trouble with a classmate, feels upset, or just needs a quick break from work. The reasons are truly endless. Don’t we all need a short break from time to time?


What Are The Benefits To Having A Quiet Zone in the Classroom?

The most obvious benefit of having a quiet zone is helping students learn to manage emotions. When students recognize something isn’t right, they can comfort themselves using the quiet zone. Also, a quiet zone helps students control their behavior and emotions rather than acting out during class.


Check out some of these calming, classroom quiet zones:


By Lisa Mongold – from the blog “On The Sunny Side





By Kayla Marston from the blog “The School Counselor Kind





Our Education Blogger is a public school teacher with over a decade of experience. She’s an active NEA member and enjoys writing about her experiences in the classroom.

Click here to learn more about how California Casualty supports Education Professionals.


This article is furnished by California Casualty, providing auto and home insurance to educators, law enforcement officers, firefighters, and nurses. Get a quote at 1.866.704.8614 or

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