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Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Who is Hans Christian Andersen and What Is International Children's Book Day?

The other day, I was on email or conducting a search or some sort of online activity, and came across the term, "international Children's Book Day!" I wondered, what is this? I was not aware there was an International day for this. Though, I was aware there was a National Children's Book Week. So, I began my search.

I discovered, that it is in honor of the fairy tale writer, Hans Christian Andersen. The author wrote many stories that I just have taken for granted as being childhood stories that I imagine I must have thought just poofed out of the air because I never really stopped to consider who wrote them - Or, at least who wrote the original story.

Here's some great links to find out more about Hans Christian Anderson:

10 Facts Your Child Should Know About Hans Christian Anderson

A Free Download of The Ugly Duckling

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

International Children Book Day

International Children Book Day is April 2, 2011. Have you ever heard of International Children Book Day? I hadn't. But, it looks like a great idea. Every year around Hans Christian Andersen's birthday, the big event is celebrated. Who is Hans Christian Andersen?

Hans Christian Andersen is a Danish author and poet. He is well known for his writing of children's stories such as The Ugly Duckling, Thumbelina, The Little Mermaid and others.

So, if nothing else, pick up a copy of one or all of these children books and read it to your child to celebrate reading on International Children Book Day, April 2!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Learning About Japan For Kids

What do you know about Japan? With all the recent events in Japan, I started thinking about Japan. What do I actually know about the country and what my kids know? Or, I should say what they don't know. Geography has never been my strong point, so teaching it to my children is - well, interesting. Without a globe, your guess is as good as mine on many regions of this world. But, I found there are some things I know. And, what I don't know I can learn and teach my kids. In case you're like me and want to know more about Japan, here's some sites I found helpful:

5 Facts About Japan For Children

Kids Web Japan

Time For Kids - Japan

Enjoy the new discoveries you'll learn from these sites. And, Sayonara (Goodbye)

Friday, March 18, 2011

Eliana Enjoys Her First Circus Elephant Ride

The very reason I have this blog named the way it is, is because of my daughter's love for elephants. Today, she got to actually enjoy her very first circus and her very first elephant ride!

My daughter, Eliana, LOVES, and I mean LOVES elephants. The girl is just 4 years old and cannot yet read, but can spell very succinctly E-L-E-P-H-A-N-T. She can also spell Disney's version of the blue little elephant, D-U-M-B-O. And, she has a little stuffed blue elephant she named Dumbo. So, when my family was given tickets to the circus, we couldn't say no. Especially, we couldn't say now when we found out there would be elephant rides.

So, we told the kids yesterday that the circus would be today and that we wanted to arrive early. We did not mention the elephant rides! Last night was the fastest bed time in the Scott family household history. I set my alarm to make sure I woke up at 7:45 so we could arrive at the circus in time to beat the crowd for the elephant rides. Well.....I didn't need an alarm. I woke up to what I thought was my alarm, but found out fairly quickly that my alarm had not yet sounded. The sound I heard was my two girls in their room giggling and talking. It was 7:25 a.m., but my daughter had been awake since 6:06 a.m. We had no difficultly getting them ready and out the door to arrive before the doors even opened. We were the second family in line.

Once inside, we headed for the circus main arena floor to ride the elephants. My husband went for the ticket booth not knowing if our elephant-loving daughter would change her mind or not once she was face-to-face with an actual real-life elephant. As he stood deciding how many tickets to purchase, I was getting a feel for whether or not my 4 year old elephant lover was ready for the big time. I asked if she wanted to ride an elephant and she promptly said, "No!" Not wanting a scene of screams and tears and not wanting to traumatize her into fearing elephants forever, I waited and asked again. She promptly replied, "No!" So, I backed off not wanting to upset the happy family scene which now included my two oldest children all but jumping up and down at the thought that they might actually get to ride a real-life elephant. My husband made a quick decision as he pulled out his wallet emptying it of almost his entire cash contents as he decidedly said, "Three tickets, please." He then looked at me and said it would be o.k., that he would ride with the other two if Eliana didn't want to ride. But, before we knew it, I made some unwitting comment to my 4 year old which changed her mind. Apparently, in the commotion of making a decision as to how many tickets to purchase, my daughter had asked if she could just pet the elephant and not ride it to which I apparently snapped back quickly in a natural-mom style God filled me with for the moment, "You can only touch the elephants if you ride them!" A that, she was pulling away from my hand and up the ladder to get on the elephant before I could hardly blink. Before I knew it, she was happily atop a 34-year old female Asian elephant making her way around the circle twice before stopping back at the ladder stairs for the children to step off the elephant. Ride over! As she came down the steps, this is the look I was - Thank you, God! - able to capture on film.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Happy Pi Day (3.14)...A Little Late!

I can't believe it! I forgot to wish everyone Happy Pi Day! March 14 (3/14) is Pi Day. I completely missed it this year. But, one of my friends posted this video on my Facebook which I found today.

Better late than never, as they say! Enjoy this musical interpretation of Pi (3.14).

Monday, March 14, 2011

Japan's Nuclear Power Plant Explosion Raises Questions

Japan's Fukushima nuclear power plant explosion has made me wonder many things. For starters, I didn't even understand how nuclear energy was created. I have heard the term nuclear fission, but never knew what it meant. I knew an atom had a nucleus, but didn't realize that's where the term "nuclear" was derived.

So, I did a little searching, and found a couple sites that really explain the process well. One is How Stuff Works. This is an excellent resource for just about anything on learning how something works. The other site is Kids Korner about energy. This site explains the process of fusion and fission so well my 10 year old completely understood it when I showed him the site.

I still am not a nuclear physicist by any means, but I was very excited to discover that there are resources out there that explain quite difficult terms on a level even I can understand.

Nuclear Power Explained

The cooling system has just failed inside a third reactor. This is the news I'm hearing from Fox News as I type this. They say it's still within legal limits and the explosion was caused from hydrogen and oxygen. Watching all the news coverage on Japan's catastrophic disasters that started with the 8.9 earthquake that has now been upgraded to a 9.0, followed by a tsunami, followed by more than one explosion at a nuclear facility. They have been worried about meltdown or a Chernobyl level disaster.

To date, in addition to over 1 million without water or electricity, the rating of the plant's explosions have been rated a 4. Chernobyl was a 7. But, 160 workers have been reported with radiation-related sickness which includes intense sickness with potentially lingering affects, thousands evacuated and more told to stay in their houses. Those exposed to radiation can later develop cancers, especially thyroid cancer.

It made me wonder how these plants even work.

How Stuff Works

This is a great resource site for starters.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Must Watch Video: Animated Crab Teaches Children Tsunami Safety Facts

With the 8.9 earthquake occurring offshore Japan early this morning causing tsunamis and tsunami warnings to be issued in Hawaii and the California coast, it doesn't hurt to educate ourselves about tsunami safety. Even if you live inland, as I do, it's good to know what to do and how to help those affected.

Here's information about the earthquake.

With spring break, the islands of Hawaii are more populated than a typical day. So, the potential catastrophe could be great. Here's the animated crab teaching about tsunamis:

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Time for St. Pat's Day Fun!

Do you celebrate St. Pat's Day? Not being raised Catholic or Irish, I only enjoyed the skirt tails of the holiday growing up. All I knew about it was that I was to wear green or be pinched, that some people went very wild on the day, and that it was about a guy who chased snakes out of Ireland.

Well, some of that is true. The more I learned as I grew, about St. Pat, the more I thought the world of him. I understand he used the clover, a simple piece of nature - God's creation - to tell the account of the trinity with each leaf representing one part of the trinity - The Father, The Son and The Holy Spirit.

I still don't know as much about the history of St. Pat's Day as I would like, but today when we were driving home, I had to laugh. We live near a town that celebrates Irish Catholic holidays. They are ready for a St. Pat's Day run this weekend, so they painted green 4-leaf clovers on the street. As I drove, I pointed this out to my children to which my son quick-wittingly replied: "Hey, let's go this way - It's lucky!"

Whatever your belief, whether it lines up with the original St. Pat or not, I wish you the "luck of the Irish" on St. Paddy's Day! May your day be filled with learning and expanding your knowledge of these historically fictional and non-fictional events.

Melinda Gates talks about working moms and education

I came across some wonderful interview videos today that I found on Yahoo News. They share interviews with Melinda Gates about being a working mom and about her views on education cuts and more.

You can see the interviews here!

I found the interviews to be interesting, as I know very little about the wife of Bill Gates. What did you think?

House Committee Votes For Voucher Program

The House of Representatives today voted to approve $60 million for a voucher program. This program is described, by a news release today, as a "failed District of Columbia private school voucher program (H.R. 471)." So far, $700 million in funding from Title I and over $1 billion from Head Start programs have been cut. While some believe vouchers are the answer, others believe they are a waste of funds. According to a News Press Release, research by the Government Accounting Office shows that vouchers do not reform or improve schools.

While some believe more funds should be poured into our public education system, I believe the funds that are already there need to better used. Our nation is in dire trauma. This is the time when parents and educators need to pull together and get creative.

82% Of Schools Are On Course To Fail According To Arne Duncan

In an article released today from Education Week which can be viewed here:

Read article here!

Arne Duncan warned Congress that 82% of the United State's schools are on a path of failure.

He referred to the assessments made with the No Child Left Behind Act. But, this is coming also in the wake of potential educational budget cuts.

How can American schools improve? And, how can they improve if there is no funding? But, how can the nation move forward if there are no cuts whatsoever?

Funding public education is a simple idea that turns complicated when put into practice. The idea is simple: Tax residence - Pay for education of their children. In the process of all this, Teacher Unions and individual school districts and individual families begin to speak their mind, and not everyone agrees. Arguments, Board members threatened and even students upset to the point of tragedies occur. We all need to come to some form of agreement if our schools are going to succeed and compete with global issues.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Big Universe Learning Is A Great Place To Read And Learn To Write

I just found out about a site I'm very excited about. I'm planning on signing up for the 14 day free trial period for sure. After that, I'm sure I'm going to love it. I showed it to my 10 year old son who recently wrote his own book. He's very excited about the ability the site offers to write and illustrate his own books.

As the mom, I'm very excited about the opportunity of all the books that can be read right there on line. Science? no problem! History - They've got you covered. English, reading, etc. It's all there. It looks like there are tons of books from which to choose.

I'm very excited about this, and it seems to be affordable too. There are different plans depending on whether it is for a school, a classroom or personal/home use. I'm looking at the home use, and hope to report that I've had a great experience and have purchased it after 14 days.

Here's the link - Check it out and see what you think!

Obama Warns Against Educational Budget Cuts

After a Pennsylvania Republican called for educational budget cuts, President Obama has warned against educational cuts. He has reportedly associated the nation's education with the economy.

You can read more about the cuts and Obama's response here!

What do you think? Our nation is in trouble financially. We have to cut something. But, if we do not educate our citizens, the future of our ability to compete successfully globally is at stake.

What is the answer? What is your solution to cutting where it needs to be cut and keeping what needs to be kept while supporting and keeping intact the future of our children?

Friday, March 4, 2011

Educate Yourself About Carbon Monoxide

If you could avoid losing your child or family member to carbon monoxide poisoning, you would not miss a beat at doing so. Nobody wants to suffer the tragedy carbon monoxide an bring.

The way to avoid such a tragedy is to educate yourself and find out how to avoid such a horrible scene. Find out how to recognize, avoid and treat carbon monoxide poisoning.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Free Learning/Teaching Video Site WatchKnow From The Co-Founder of Wikipedia

You can now have access to over 20,000 free learning through videos! That's right - Absolutely free! Take the ceiling off of your learning and teaching opportunities by this non-profit site. The co-founder of Wikipedia has launched a brand new site called

Every subject and every age group is covered for K-12.

I explored this Website today and found it to be so exciting. I have placed a permanent link to the site on this blog. You can enjoy all the learning videos at any time with no commitment and no expense. It's all free!