Nov 202012
 

Happy Thanksgiving!

Thanksgiving is a national holiday that mixes European and Native traditions.  The first Thanksgiving was held in 1621 by Plymouth colonists and Wampanoag Indians, creating our tradition of giving thanks for future generations.  Thanksgiving was made an official holiday in 1863 by President Abraham Lincoln.  Thanksgiving is a celebration of thanks and a celebration of family.  We are thankful for you, our community members, and for the bounty of books and materials so we may continue to learn and enjoy literature, movies and media, and gaming.

Learn more about Thanksgiving at these two links:

Thanksgiving at History.Com

Thanksgiving on Wikipedia

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Apr 012012
 

So have you played a prank on someone today?  Or had one played on you?

Today is April Fools’ Day, a day when people play practical jokes and pranks on one another.  In this day and age, the Internet is great, great fun on April Fools!  There’s always some amusing prank that some company or group is doing.  For example, check out this likely April Fools joke by Google – Google Motion – which suggests that you can now use motions with your webcam to organize your emails.  Pretty funny!

April Fools’ Day is not a new day.  It’s actually pretty old, having been mentioned as far back as the 1300’s in Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales.  Lots of people think that April Fools’ Day came about when the calendar was switched from April 1st to January 1st, although that change didn’t occur until the 16th Century.  Either way, it’s a day of fun, and I hope you enjoy some safe and good natured pranking!

For more info:

Wikipedia

Mar 202012
 

Delicate (2)

photo taken by Roger Lynn, in Moscow, Idaho.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/rogerlynn/470765168/

Happy first day of spring!

Today marks the first day of Spring, while marking the first day of Fall down in the Southern Hemisphere.  Today, the sun is directly over the Earth’s equator, and day and night are an equal 12 hours.  Also, from here on out it’s only going to get warmer and longer!  That means it’s time to clean up the campers and tents, and get the fishing gear out, because pretty soon we’ll all be outside a whole lot more.  Yaaay!

For More Info:

Answers.USA.gov

Wikipedia

Mar 172012
 

Happy St Patrick’s Day!  Are you wearing green?  You better hope so, or you’ll be pinched to pieces!

St Patrick’s Day is always celebrated on the 17th of March, which is the anniversary of St Patrick’s death.  St Patrick was a patron saint of Ireland, and was one of the most significant preachers who brought Christianity to Ireland.  He used the shamrock to explain the concept of the Trinity to the native Irish, and worked hard for nearly thirty years to bring Christianity to the small country.

The celebration of St Patrick’s Day came to America from the Irish immigrants who settled in this country from its inception, and is now a nationally recognized holiday.  Feasting and merry making are common themes, as is wearing the color green.  But, did you know, St Patrick’s original color was blue?

What other neat facts can you learn about St Patrick’s Day?

References:

Wikipedia

History.com

Mar 142012
 

It’s Pi Day!  You know, 3.141592653589793238492643383….

What is Pi?  Pi is probably the most famous mathematical constant, since we all learn about pi while in grade school in order to determine the circumference of a circle.  Pi never ends; the number continues forever after the decimal point.  With today’s computers, pi has been calculated to one trillion spaces after the decimal point.  It also continues indefinitely without ever repeating!

Pi day was first created and celebrated by a famous physicist in San Fransisco, and was made a real, national holiday when, on March 12, 2009, the US House of Representatives passed a resolution (HRES 224) making March 14th National Pi Day.  Why March 14th?  Why, 3/14, of course!!!!

Learn some really neat things about Pi at the official Pi Day website, linked below!

References:

Official Pi Day Website

Wikipedia

 

Dec 092011
 

 

 

This is a very interesting article that came across my email a few days ago.  Good food for thought, but I do think that any act of reading is a good place to start.  You dont have to begin with a heavy classic, as long as you and your loved ones are reading SOMETHING.

 

 

 

http://www.thedailybeast.com/newsweek/2011/09/11/how-will-today-s-texting-teenagers-compete.html

Texting Makes U Stupid

The U.S. is producing civilizational illiterates. How will they compete against America’s global rivals?

by Niall Ferguson | September 11, 2011

The good news is that today’s teenagers are avid readers and prolific writers. The bad news is that what they are reading and writing are text messages.

According to a survey carried out last year by Nielsen, Americans between the ages of 13 and 17 send and receive an average of 3,339 texts per month. Teenage girls send and receive more than 4,000.

It’s an unmissable trend. Even if you don’t have teenage kids, you’ll see other people’s offspring slouching around, eyes averted, tapping away, oblivious to their surroundings. Take a group of teenagers to see the seven wonders of the world. They’ll be texting all the way. Show a teenager Botticelli’s Adoration of the Magi. You might get a cursory glance before a buzz signals the arrival of the latest SMS. Seconds before the earth is hit by a gigantic asteroid or engulfed by a super tsunami, millions of lithe young fingers will be typing the human race’s last inane words to itself:

C u later NOT :(

Now, before I am accused of throwing stones in a glass house, let me confess. I probably send about 50 emails a day, and I receive what seem like 200. But there’s a difference. I also read books. It’s a quaint old habit I picked up as a kid, in the days before cellphones began nesting, cuckoolike, in the palms of the young.

Half of today’s teenagers don’t read books—except when they’re made to. According to the most recent survey by the National Endowment for the Arts, the proportion of Americans between the ages of 18 and 24 who read a book not required at school or at work is now 50.7 percent, the lowest for any adult age group younger than 75, and down from 59 percent 20 years ago.

Back in 2004, when the NEA last looked at younger readers’ habits, it was already the case that fewer than one in three 13-year-olds read for pleasure every day. Especially terrifying to me as a professor is the fact that two thirds of college freshmen read for pleasure for less than an hour per week. A third of seniors don’t read for pleasure at all.

Why does this matter? For two reasons. First, we are falling behind more-literate societies. According to the results of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development’s most recent Program for International Student Assessment, the gap in reading ability between the 15-year-olds in the Shanghai district of China and those in the United States is now as big as the gap between the U.S. and Serbia or Chile.

But the more important reason is that children who don’t read are cut off from the civilization of their ancestors.

So take a look at your bookshelves. Do you have all—better make that any—of the books on the Columbia University undergraduate core curriculum? It’s not perfect, but it’s as good a list of the canon of Western civilization as I know of. Let’s take the 11 books on the syllabus for the spring 2012 semester: (1) Virgil’s Aeneid; (2) Ovid’s Metamorphoses; (3) Saint Augustine’s Confessions; (4) Dante’s The Divine Comedy; (5) Montaigne’s Essays; (6) Shakespeare’s King Lear; (7) Cervantes’s Don Quixote; (8) Goethe’s Faust; (9) Austen’s Pride and Prejudice; (10) Dostoevsky’s Crime and Punishment; (11) Woolf’s To the Lighthouse.

Step one: Order the ones you haven’t got today. (And get War and Peace, Great Expectations, and Moby-Dick while you’re at it.)

Step two: When vacation time comes around, tell the teenagers in your life you are taking them to a party. Or to camp. They won’t resist.

Step three: Drive to a remote rural location where there is no cell-phone reception whatsoever.

Step four: Reveal that this is in fact a reading party and that for the next two weeks reading is all you are proposing to do—apart from eating, sleeping, and talking about the books.

Welcome to Book Camp, kids.

Aug 192011
 

Ten skills every student should learn
Posted By Meris Stansbury On August 11, 2011 (4:34 pm) In Curriculum, Top News, eClassroom News

We recently asked our readers: “If you could choose only one, what’s the skill you’d like every student to learn?” Here are the top responses.

Article taken from eSchoolNews.com – http://www.eschoolnews.com
URL to article: http://www.eschoolnews.com/2011/08/11/ten-skills-every-student-should-learn/

“Perhaps surprisingly, while many readers did cite critical thinking as a skill every student needs, another skill was listed nearly twice as much as all other responses combined.

Need a hint? It’s a skill every student has needed since the days of the one-room schoolhouse: the ability to read.

Being able to read, though the most popular response, was certainly not the only one.”

So how do you stack up to these ten skills?  Check out the article to see!

May 182011
 

You love your library, right?  Technorati posted a great article detailing ten reasons why you should love your library.  How many make sense to you?

Here’s some of our favorites –

“1. You’re surrounded by some of the greatest minds in history – at your fingertips. Walk in. The sheer amount of material is enough to inspire. Any subject, any question, and idea you may want to explore – it’s all right there. And not just the latest bestsellers; you’ll find volumes there that Barnes & Noble could never carry. Ages of wisdom! For instance, on the self-help shelves, you’ll find advice from great minds from years, decades, even centuries ago. All sounds remarkably the same as recent stuff, too. Hmmm.

4. You can take books home. For free. Uh. Yeah. You knew that, right? And not only books – CDs, back issues of magazines, DVDs (the educational ones are usually free), even artwork. For years, when my children were small, we had a special picture hook in the living room for a piece of art we’d choose together in the library, and enjoy until it was due back. Rotating art. Still free.

10. Expertise. Your librarians know a lot. Try them. Research librarians are amazing resources. Ask them questions; it’ll save time and frustration, and the answers come with a smile too.”

See all ten reasons and the full article from this link, below!  And do take advantage of all your local library has to offer.  We are here for you!

Read more: http://technorati.com/lifestyle/article/ten-reasons-to-love-your-library/#ixzz1MeHJMgrE

May 142011
 

We always have our hard working overseas troops at the back of our minds, and we always think of ways we can help them through their difficult job of protecting our freedoms.  One way you can help is to send books to our troops so they’ve got something to read!  Here are several ways to share books with our troops!

1. E-Books for Troops will help you share your used Kindle with our troops overseas.

2. Operation Warrior Library connects writers with military personnel.

3. Books for Soldiers mails books to troops.

4. Operation Paperback sends paperbacks overseas.

5. Books-a-Million will let you select and purchase Books for Troops in a special program.

6. Operation eBook Drop focuses on eBooks.

7. Follow this Google search to find many more options for sharing books with soldiers.

 

May 072011
 

Happy Mother’s Day!!!!

Tomorrow is a very special day, a day when we thank the women who are our Mothers, or who have played significant roles in our lives Mothering us and helping us to grow into who we are.  So go make sure you hug your Mom physically and spiritually, and thank her for all the hard work she did to help you and care for you.  Thank those women, the teachers, the neighbors, your Grammas and Aunties, and all the other women who made an impact in your life.  We can’t do it without our families and communities!

Thank you, all you wonderful Moms!  We appreciate all you do!

May 052011
 

Happy Cinco de Mayo!  What are your plans for today?

Cinco de Mayo has a very interesting history, but if you ask people on the street, they’ll usually guess or think wrong.  The 5th of May does not signify Mexican Independence from Spain, which is a common mis-perception.  That date is actually is September 16th.  The 5th of May actually commemorates the unlikely victory of the Mexican Army over French forces at the Battle of Puebla in 1862.  The holiday is celebrated mainly in the Mexican state of Puebla and in the United States.  Here, it’s the day we celebrate Mexican heritage and pride.

Typically, today is spent by friends and families endulging in merry making and fun, so kick up your heels with some friends and loved ones, and celebrate the impact of Mexican culture on our lives by enjoying your community, some yummy Mexican food, salsa, and some lively mariachi music!

For more info:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cinco_de_Mayo

http://www.history.com/topics/cinco-de-mayo

May 022011
 

April showers brings May flowers!  So how many of you remember gathering bouquets of flowers to leave on doorsteps or hanging from doorknobs?  Traditionally, the first day of May is known as May Day, but it means signifies different things to different people.

May Day is related to the old Celtic festival of Beltane, which is falls half the year from November first, which was traditionally the first day of the new year way back when.  Beltane was the day that marked the end of winter and the turning of spring into the warmer days leading to summer.  In days of yesteryear, it was common practice to leave flowers for friends and loved ones, and weave ribbons on a maypole.

May Day is also known as International Worker’s Day, commemorating the fight for the eight hour work day and other worker’s rights.  People across the world will still hold political protests on May Day, fighting for economic and social achievements.

So how did you spend your May Day?  We hope with friends and family, enjoying the warm sun Idaho had to offer.  : )

For more info:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/May_Day

 

Mar 102011
 

Don’t forget to set your clocks ahead one hour tonight!  Yes, it’s daylight savings time again!

Daylight Savings Time came into existence officially on March 19, 1918, although it was repealed a year later, where it became a local matter.  During World War II, it was re-established nationally and observed from 1942 through 1945.  After that, it again became a local matter, typically observed between the last Sunday in April till the last Sunday in October.

The dates have not always been the same, however.  During the energy crisis of the 70’s, Daylight Savings began in January, in 1974, and February, in 1975.  In 1986, a law was passed making the first Sunday in April to be daylight savings.  The last national change occurred in 2007, starting daylight savings the second Sunday in March and ending the first Sunday in November.

One of the biggest reasons we change our clocks to Daylight Saving Time (DST) is that it reportedly saves electricity.  The theory is that we ‘make’ the sun set an hour later, spending more time outside and less inside running electrical appliances, therefore saving energy.  However, newer studies are showing the savings to be a nominal change.  Some studies show that we actually use more energy cooling our homes because of the extra hour.  See the California Energy Commission website below for some really interesting data on the controversy!

So what do you think?  Does it really save energy?  Should we have Daylight Savings or not?

For more info:

USNO Navy Site

The California Energy Commission

Feb 142011
 

Contrary to popular belief, Valentine’s Day wasn’t created by candy and card companies trying to turn a profit.  In fact, it is a church sanctioned holiday, deemed as such on February 14, c.498 AD by Pope Gelasius.

Actually, there are at least three different church martyrs named Valentine or Valentinius.  The most famous was a priest from third century Rome.  Emperor Claudius II felt that single men made better soldiers, and he outlawed marriage for young men during his reign.  The priest Valentine did not think this was just, and he married young lovers in secret.  Unfortunately, he was discovered and inprisoned.

Legend has it that the first valentine was sent by this martyr himself.  From History.com we read, “While in prison, it is believed that Valentine fell in love with a young girl — who may have been his jailor’s daughter — who visited him during his confinement. Before his death, it is alleged that he wrote her a letter, which he signed “From your Valentine,” an expression that is still in use today.”

Valentine’s Day has been celebrated heavily since the middle ages, but it wasn’t until the 18th century that it became popular to send gifts and tokens of affection to dear friends, lovers, and family.  The first mass produced Valentine’s Day card was first sold in the 1840’s by Esther A. Howland.

Read and learn more from our sources below!

Sources:

History.com

http://www.history.com/topics/valentines-day

Huffington Post

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/02/14/history-of-valentines-day_n_822911.html