Monday, August 20, 2012

Improving Study Skills In Middle Schools

If you have children, you may not have given enough thought to the value of improving study skills in middle schools. Many educators believe it's a critical time in a student's life. Things are beginning to ramp up in school and homework assignments with grades are suddenly becoming a written record for the future. Within the classroom, children are asked to use their brains in ways that will hopefully challenge them as they hadn't been previously. The need for the best study skills possible is crucial.
While it seems as if there are always those students who never appear to have to study much, there are others who struggle repeatedly with effective studying. Innovative middle schools are working harder than before to improve those skills so each student can benefit. It's not just about learning, but it's also about retaining the learned information as the school years progress.
Here are a few tips that will help to improve memory and speed up the act of studying:
- Have a set place to study. It can't be stated enough how important this is. It eliminates frustration, disorganization, and lack of motivation.
- Have the right study tools. A desk or table, waste can, a good light, paper, and lots of pens and pencils are mandatory. What is not mandatory are any outside distraction such as music, television, or even snack food.
- Have a set time to study. A good rule of thumb is either immediately after returning from school before dinner or immddiately after dinner. Don't wait until the late evening before bed as this teaches the student the bad habit of procrastination.
- Encourage note taking in class. Statistically, it's been proven that pen and paper help you remember more of what you're hearing. If your child is struggling to get everything he or she hears down on paper, you might want to teach them some writing tricks such as using abbreviations and pictures.
- Teach memorization. Most middle schools don't require students to memorize to the extent they do in high school, but it's a great idea to teach them now for later. Again, there are some effective memorization techniques easily found online. Word association is an excellent method.
- Focus on areas of need. Middle schools have a way of letting parents know what the areas of need are - it's called the report card. If they are receiving A's in English but C's in Geography, help your child to focus on the weaker subject for a while until grades improve.
Nowadays, with peer pressure and adverse dynamics, middle schools are tough enough to get through. But helping your child to learn and improve study skills is a win/win proposition. It's a way to begin to prepare him or her for the future and get more enjoyment out of the present

Monday, August 13, 2012

Qin Dynasty - Chinese History for Kids

In Chinese history for kids, kids will be learning about the Qin Dynasty. The Qin Dynasty was between 207 B.C. and 221 B.C. The emperors of this time were Ying Zheng, Fushi and Zi Ying. During this period, many ruthless things happened.
The kings at the beginning of this period were either banished or put to death. The kings' books were burned to make sure that nobody could use them. The expansionism of Qin was helped by the military by pushing out the frontiers of both the north and south.
In Chinese history for kids, kids will also learn that during the Qin Dynasty is when the Great Wall's construction began. It was created to block off barbarians intrusions. The Great Wall was a great protector during this period in history.
The Great Wall is not actually a single wall; it is actually four different walls. The Great Wall was created by connecting the walls that different states built, which created the 3,107 miles of the Great Wall. The Great Wall was either added onto or rebuilt from the various dynasties over different periods. The periods that added onto the Great Wall or rebuilt the Wall were the Western Han (206 B.C. - 220 B.C.) Sui (581 - 907) Jin (220 A.D. - 589 A.D.) and Ming Dynasty (1368 - 1644). The Great Wall reaches between the northeastern parts of the Heilongjiang Province to the northwestern parts of Gasui.
When Qin Shi Huang died, Zhao Gao Hu Hai and Ji Shi killed Qin Shi Huang's oldest son. After that act, they turned and let Hui Hai become emperor. He did not have any type of prevention from the rebels of his opposition.
The reason why the Qin Dynasty was going down was the cruel laws, inhumane treatment and high taxation of the peasants. Even though Qin had a strong army with strict laws, it could not stand up to the peasants becoming rebellious towards them. The peasants fought against the government under Qin's power. They fought against the government by using agricultural tools that they turned into weapons. With these weapons, the peasants broke the cloth that was the flag from Qin's power.
The Chinese culture for kids was created by the Chinese history for kids that they will be learning. There are so many actions that happened in Chinese history for kids to learn about that they will benefit from its teachings for the rest of their lives. They will also be able to place the actions from what happened in history into their own lives.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

The Concept of Digital Technology in the Field of Education

Are you new to the profession of teacher? Are you finding it difficult to get the attention of your students? Do not worry anymore! The concept of digital classroom has now become a reality. This will aid you in your teaching activities at the same time attract the attention of your students.
The digital classroom has brought in a lot of changes to the traditional system of education. The digital technology such as laptops, smart phones, tablets etc are today being used in the classrooms; they are replacing notebooks, textbooks, pens, pencils etc. Today, both the students and teachers have access to a much wider source of information. At a click of a button any information, data, image etc can be downloaded and stored very easily. At times students also get the opportunity to communicate with the experts in their field of learning. Digital classroom enable learning in a very easy manner. In the traditional system, a student had to hand over his paper to his teacher, who would rate the same and hand it over to the student. In the digital classrooms all the writings, blogs, posting etc put by the students can be viewed by a wider audience, who can also review it and give their comments. These to a great extend encourages students. It is strongly supported by a class website that extends leaning opportunities beyond the four walls of the classroom. The website generally contains information such as; general information, assignment dates and details, important events and announcements and so on.
Another feather in the cap of digital technology is the Smartboard. It is essentially a presentation device that interfaces with a computer. With the use of a projector, the images from the computer screen can be displayed on the board. The Smart Board is thus an interactive whiteboard that uses touch detection for user input - e.g. scrolling, right mouse-click - in the same way normal PC input devices, such as a mouse or keyboard etc works. It is used for teaching, during training programs, conducting meetings and delivering presentations. Smart Board helps to get the attention of listeners and encourages their involvement in the subject. It also aids the teachers in making the class more colorful and interesting by using multimedia resources; it helps to bring the class come alive.
Apart from these uses Smart board interactive whiteboards also help students who have learning difficulties, mobility limitations. The Smartboard is of great importance to children who have problems such dyslexia, autism and also hearing impaired problems. Due to all these advantages there is a huge demand for same. Today there are numerous whiteboard suppliers who supply all the required materials. They range from very expensive ones to affordable ones. By conducting a detailed analysis of each of the whiteboard supplier, you will be able to find the one that matches your requirement and fits well within your budget.
Another attracting feature about today's education system is the Smart Class technology. It is an effective way of teaching, where the traditional system of writing on the black board and copying the same onto the notebooks is being replaced. With the advent of Smart Class students are able to see the experiments, incidents and thereby they are in a better position to understand the concept. Smartclass uses digital technologies such as laptops, LCD etc to foster the learning process.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Ghana Life: Soap in the Seventies

In most of the Western World in the 1970s, almost every household owned a washing machine or put their dirty linen into a machine at a launderette. Expatriates assigned to work in Third World countries on long-term contracts usually included their washing machine in the advanced shipment of essential household appliances. These Westerners had been assailed for decades by advertisements praising the miraculous cleaning and stain-removing properties of the latest washing powders, and many may have included copious quantities of these products in their advanced shipment. To these people who attributed the whiteness and brightness of their clothes to the wonders of modern technology it came as a shock to find that the locals were achieving equal or better results using traditional bar soap and hand washing.
One thing that impressed foreign visitors to Ghana in the 1970s was that from the meanest and most dilapidated houses people emerged every morning in clothes that were spotlessly clean and colour bright. Most expatriates employed a house-girl or boy to help with their household chores, including clothes washing, and it came as a surprise to many that their helper preferred hand washing to the use of a machine. It came as a further shock to realise that through the propaganda of the washing machine manufacturers and the detergent producers, people had been persuaded to accept a decline in quality of performance as an advance.
In Ghana in the 1970s, the popular laundry soap was made in country from locally produced palm oil and imported caustic soda and perfume. It was supplied unwrapped in bars roughly 5 cm x 7 cm in section and 35 cm long. The bar could be purchased whole or cut to a length to suit the buyer's resources, and was cheap enough to be within the reach of most people. Valued and trusted, with a long shelf life, it was used nationwide by rural streams and in urban basins and buckets.
As the 1970s progressed, soap became very scarce in the local markets, largely due to Ghana's inability to import the basic raw materials. People complained about the difficulty in obtaining soap almost as much as they complained about the shortage of beer caused by the restricted import of barley. The meagre supply of one locally-produced soap powder also dried up and expatriates who succeeded in finding some locally-made bar soap, grated it to use in their washing machines with excellent results. There were times, however, when there was no electricity and all washing machines became redundant.
As the Ghanaian economy under the Acheampong Regime continued to decline in the mid and late 1970s, many opportunities arose for local small-scale soap manufacture that has been documented elsewhere. The soap crisis only came to an end in 1985 when a deal with the IMF by the Rawlings government provided credit to flood local markets with imports. No doubt, the new middle class of Ghanaians emerging in the twenty-first century take pride in owning a washing machine, but in a country where a former Vice President proclaimed, 'We still have slaves in our houses,' the advantages of clothes washing by hand should not be lightly cast aside.

Monday, July 23, 2012

5 Ways to Fail in Applying for Grad School

The process of applying to grad school can be tricky if you don't careful steps. You should be thinking about the decision just as seriously as the decision to get married or buy your first home. The effects of the graduate program choice will be long-lasting and life-altering. Now that you're sufficiently spooked, let's discuss the five things you want to avoid when beginning the grad school application process.
1. Taking the Easy Road
As humans our natural inclination is to seek the path of least resistance in much of what we do. There are some trailblazers among us but they are certainly in the minority. This thought process can't carry over into your grad school application process.
Are you sdarching for an easy graduate school curriculum? If so, you're searching for failure. Don't get caught up in the wordy descriptions of courses or the esoteric topics that the faculty researches. Work to identify what areas of specialty the program offers and whether any of them match what you're searching for. Increased difficulty will only be an advantage to you when you emerge as a graduate of the program.
2. No Plan for Application Fees
Applying to grad school can become quite expensive in a hurry. While every university will not take you to the cleaners, be prepared to invest a significant amount of money (>$50) into each grad school application.
If you have financial hardship, call the graduate admissions office for the university or program and ask about fee waivers or other options for individuals who are facing difficulty paying application fees. Sometimes waivers are not possible but if you don't ask, you won't find out.
3. Deciding on A University Before Selecting A Program
Never pick a university before selecting the graduate program. This is a doomed strategy. There is little harm involved in being drawn to the name brand laundry detergent at Walmart but it's a huge mistake to assume that a prominent university will offer the type of graduate program that you need in your field. This poor strategy might lead you to settle on a program without the correct specialization to match your interests or, worse, you might settle for an entirely different program than you originally intended just to say you attended Big Name University.
Yes, you can find things to reassure you that Big Name University is right for you (rock star professors, D-1 athletics, and famous alumni) but you might also learn that your faculty is too busy out of the classroom to adequately advise you, student aid is pretty low in the list of financial priorities, or that none of the alumni from your program have gone on to do anything significant in the field.
4. Forgetting Faculty Fit
Faculty fit is perhaps the most important part of selecting a graduate program. The concept is simple. If you get admitted to a graduate program where the faculty does not teach anything that you're interested in, you will fail and/or waste precious money and time.
The admissions process is the time when most faculties assess applicants' fit for the program and weed out misguided individuals. But, you might get lucky and strike the right tone in your personal statement to fly under the faculty fit radar. Insurgents don't thrive in most graduate programs so don't celebrate if this happens to you. Choose the program where you share interests with the faculty.
5. Ignoring Your Goals
Your ultimate enrollment decision should be aligned with your medium and long term career goals. Finishing a graduate program is a great accomplishment but if you regret committing the time afterward, you didn't do yourself any favors. Identify where you would like to be professionally five years from now and then identify which programs have the potential to get you there based upon alumni success, areas of specialization, faculty fit, and financial reasons. Using this approach, you can virtually guarantee that you are making a wise choice. Think Grad School can help. Subscribe today!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

The Story in Your Staircase: The History of Wood Balusters

Whether they are called balusters, spindles, or wood columns - it doesn't change the fact that they are a wood product you frequently see but seldom think about. Today, columns, balusters, and spindles (all names for the same thing) can be metal, stone, or wood - but for the purpose of this article, we will focus on wood. Regardless of material, the variation available when it comes to manufacturing balusters speaks to their widespread appeal and utility.
While balusters are popular wood products today, their story goes much deeper than that. They are also a piece of history. From the present day to antiquity, balusters, spindles, and wood columns have been molded and turned into the sleek and uniform shafts used for decoration, stability, and support in everything from the parapets of ancient fortresses to the stairways and porches of your own home.
The shape and style of balusters is rooted in the etymology of the word, which comes from the Italian word balaustra, meaning 'wild pomegranate flower'. Balusters were named this because of their resemblance to the half-open pomegranate flower.
While the etymology of the word points to Italian origins where balusters were eventually popularized in the Renaissance, they actually date all the way back to the early Assyrian Palaces of ancient Mesopotamia. Here, they were used as window balustrades (a row of balusters). As time passed, even though balusters were generally overlooked by the Greeks and the Romans, they were brought into architectural prominence in the early Renaissance where they were used in balconies of palaces in Venice and Verona, where they can still be found to this day.
Architectural historians can't credibly pinpoint an inventor of the modern baluster or column. However, much of the credit for the baluster's prominence goes to Giuliano da Sangallo, the architect of the Medici Villa in Tuscany. Because of the baluster's connection to the Medici family, it also received a great deal of exposure in the works of Michelangelo, whom the family patronized for many years. With time, balusters also came to be referred to as columns and spindles.
For years, wood columns and balusters of all sizes and complexities have been used as porch posts, cabinet accents, newels, spindles, and railing supports. Today, Balusters continue to be used in these applications and more, in both homes and commercial buildings alike - proving the utility, appeal, and timeless aesthetic of balusters in general. So make a point to look around, you may notice the smooth flower-like shape of the baluster somewhere you never even realized, a piece of history in your daily life.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Da Vinci's Last Supper

The next time you see Da Vinci's painting of the last supper; take a closer look. The shape and design of the table is Medieval and not correct for the time and culture of Messiah. It is no stretch of the imagination to detect all the people appear to be Caucasian. An observant eye will also notice that there are no prayer shawls or a tallit visible, or much of anything else that is Jewish in appearance.
According to the Bible, there could have been fifteen or more people present; (Mark 14:19, 20) but the painting only shows thirteen. Technically, it was not His last supper, it was the Passover meal. The gospels relay the Lord ate meals or suppers after His resurrection too.
Let's look at the most glaring discrepancies displayed in this famous painting. If it was the Passover meal, look at the food on the dishes. There should be roast lamb for the meal, but Da Vinci's artwork displays fish on the plates. If it was the Passover meal, the bread would have been unleavened, like a big flat saltine cracker. But the artist pictured puffy bread rolls made with yeast or leaven on the table.
The painting appears to have a nimbus or a halo around the Lord's head, which originates from a pagan symbol of sun-god worship. Da Vinci used these to identify holy people in many of his paintings.
It is probably true that Da Vinci used townspeople to pose for the different faces in the painting, which would be why they appear to be European and do not look Jewish. But it may be only a rumor that the person who posed for Jesus' face, was the same one who also posed for Judas' face.
I also noticed Da Vinci's paintings usually portray angels with wings. Most people think that angels have wings because of all the pictures, paintings, movies and Valentine cards we see today.
As I researched all the Bible references, they have angels appearing in male form, but never in a female form. They are spirit beings that take human form, have male names, but are never described with wings. Would a spirit need wings to fly?
Cherubim are not little fat babies with wings and a bow. They are described by Ezekiel as being ten cubits tall with four faces, four wings and a ten cubit wing span. (Eze. 10:1-22) They have a semblance of human hands, feet like a calf and a sparkling wheel within a wheel that seems to accompany them wherever they go. (Eze. 1:5-25) These creatures are not called angels.
Seraphim are beings described by Isaiah as having six wings and flying around the throne of the Lord saying, holy, holy, holy. (Is. 6:1-3) John describes six winged ones as covered with eyes and having four faces. (Rev. 4:6-10) These beings are not called angels either.
So, it turns out the common depiction of big fluffy feathery wings on angels comes more from imagination and artistic license than from any information the Bible actually provides.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Do You Have an Impractical Major? Never Fear!

Let me first preface this post by saying that I am a Painting/Drawing Major, meaning I probably won't have a job when I graduate. This thought used to discourage me until I discovered some information that really showed me the light: There are practical things to do with an "impractical" degree.
First of all let me mention that I honestly believe that no degree can really be that impractical. Maybe you won't go down the path that you had intended, but you will get something. Often time's employers are looking for people with degrees because earning you degree is an arduous, expensive, and tiresome process. Having your degree shows determination and the ability to accomplish long term tasks. For me this means, that even if I don't have a job somewhere in the art field or just don't cut it as a painter, that I will have a degree that will look good on a resume that will get me a job.
Also, with every degree there are hundreds of possibilities. For instance you may get a degree in English and fall into a job that requires a lot of writing or reading that you never expected. Or you may find that you want to become a lawyer. English majors have a very nice base of education for becoming lawyers.
My advice: find what you truly love. For example with my art major I was able to get an internship at an art museum. I once thought that I might be interested in earning my doctorate and becoming a museum curator. Alas, when the internship was over I couldn't wait to get out of that museum. Then and there I decided that I wanted to paint.
I believe that if you follow your dreams you will find something that you love to do. Who knows what will happen, and who knows if I will ever be the self employed painter that I want to be. But I do think that following what you love is commendable and you can learn so much about yourself in the process.
I knew a girl once that was an art major like me that started working as an accountant to get through school and found that she absolutely loved it. You never know what will happen, the best you can do is to do what you love. I don't know about you but if I gave up painting for a degree for a job that I was sure to have financial security and good money I may be better off, but I wouldn't be completely happy. I think that is what is important.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Impressing the HR With Your Resume

Already graduated from a Paramedic to RN course and ready to find a new job? Well, the first thing to do is to come up with a resume that will make HR people take notice. With so many resumes and CVs they receive, it is hardly surprising that some resumes get thrown in the bin. Most HR staff simply skims through hundreds of resumes, so as to narrow down their choice of candidates. So, what do you do to make your application get noticed? Here are some useful and helpful tips.
1. Know the skills needed for the position you are applying for.
What position do you want to achieve? What skills should you have that are perfect for the position? Once you know the skills needed, make sure that you put them in them your resume. Of course, every single information that you put in your resume should be accurate and honest. So make sure that you only put skills and experiences that you really have.
2. State a career objective.
This should be placed below your name and contact details. You need to have a well-developed career objective. State the position you are vying for and your determination to fit the qualifications needed for the job.
3. Write a summary of your qualifications.
The summary does not need to be lengthy. HR people do not want to read a long narrative. Make sure that you include your career highlights, number of years of professional experience and unique skills and competencies. You only need to include qualifications that are relevant to the position.
4. If you are a fresh graduate, impress them with your educational background.
Highlight the awards and recognitions that you had in nursing school. Remember to state the year you graduated and the course that you took.
5. Impress them with your career highlights and professional experience.
Many career experts say that you should not censor you're your list of job experiences, as this will show your complete work history. If you have lapses in your professional experience, HR people would be left wondering what you had been doing during that time.
6. Remember to proofread.
Applicants always make the mistake of submitting their applications without proofreading them. There should be no typographical errors in your resume as this will show that you made it haphazardly. Also make sure that dates and punctuations are coherent and accurate.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Why My Cousin Went To Prison

Many years ago, my older cousin Billy volunteered to teach adult education classes to inmates at New York's Sing Sing Correctional Facility, not far from his home in the Hudson Valley.
A businessman and part-time teacher at a nearby community college, my cousin saw his efforts as giving a break to people who could use one. I thought it was an interesting thing to do, even if it made him the first of us cousins to go to prison.
Cancer took Billy much too soon, in the mid-1980s, but by then others were recognizing the value of prison education. Crime rates were much higher in those days, and as tougher sentencing laws took hold, prison populations soared. Far too many offenders ended up in a revolving door system, in which they would be convicted, incarcerated and released, only to re-offend and end up back behind bars. A scattering of volunteers like my cousin were gradually replaced by scores of formal programs offered through institutions of higher learning.
A lot changed after Congress eliminated inmate eligibility for Pell Grants in the late 1990s. Within three years of the decision, 350 prison higher education programs had become eight. Sing Sing lost its program, so once again the inmates there turned to volunteers. These philanthropic educational efforts coalesced in an organization known as Hudson Link.
One of my clients, a very successful man who is highly enthusiastic about the program, recently brought Hudson Link to my attention. Since 2001, it says it has delivered 260 college degrees and has had a recidivism rate of zero.
Obviously, the rate won't stay zero forever if the program continues, nor is it realistic to expect no repeat offenders at all if you consider similar programs for prisoners nationwide. Yet the difference in numbers between repeat offenders with and without education is still striking. A 2010 article in Corrections Today cited an Indiana study that placed the recidivism rate for prisoners who completed a GED at 20 percent less than the general population. The rate for inmates who earned a college degree was a full 44 percent less.
Hudson Link and programs like it have slowly gained ground in recent years, though many states still do not have prison education programs. New York is one of even fewer states offering multiple programs. Those that have performed best are often programs sustained by a particular college's strong commitment or by a centralized, state-organized effort.
An example of college commitment can be found in Boston University's Prison Education Program. The program has operated continuously since 1972, though it no longer offers master's degrees now that students cannot get Pell Grants. Boston's PEP also encourages research on prison education and offers resources for educators and journalists interested in the topic.
North Carolina effectively uses the centralized model. The state Department of Corrections works directly with North Carolina's community college system to organize and support educational offerings for inmates. The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill also partners with the department to offer correspondence and on-site courses that can be transferred for college credit upon an inmate's release.
It is a lot cheaper to educate someone than to incarcerate him. CBS recently reported on a study that put the average cost per inmate at $31,307 in fiscal 2010; at around the same time, the State University of New York spent less than $8,000 annually per full-time student. Educated ex-convicts have a better chance of getting better jobs - any jobs, really - and of staying out of prison.
Corrections officials also report that inmate conduct and discipline improve when a facility offers college classes. Inmates themselves have commented that the culture behind the walls changes for the better; racial divider that often permeate prisons can be bridged in the classroom. Chrisfino Kenyatta Leal, the 2011 valedictorian of the Prison University Project at California's San Quentin State Prison, discussed this in his commencement speech. "Normally prison culture forces men to divide themselves along strict racial likes and forbids socializing with other races," he observed. "It occurred to me that at San Quentin the power of education had actually changed the culture within the prison." (1)
The benefits of education can also filter down to a second generation. Hudson Link student Gregory Brown said, "My educational level can influence whether my twin sons aspire to be criminals or whether they have the self-confidence to pursue occupations that challenge their minds." Leal touched on the same point in his commencement address, pointing to education as a way to break the "cycle of incarceration" from one generation to the next. (1)
The expansion of online courses is providing more options for inmate learning. However, programs face funding cuts from financially strained state and local governments. It is easy for inmate education to become the victim of a politician's wish to appear "tough on crime."
"The biggest obstacle is the widespread sentiment, in the United States, that education is a private good, that in educating incarcerated people we are rewarding them, and that prisons should be uncomfortable, punitive sites of vengeance," 
This is not a new debate. We have long vacillated between seeing prison's primary goal as rehabilitation or punishment. The simple fact, however, is that most inmates are going to be released eventually. The only sensible option is to try to prepare them to successfully navigate life outside prison walls.
I suppose I am like most people who do not have a relative behind bars; we tend to think of prisons mainly as warehouses for those who have offended. There is another option, though, which offers a chance at self-improvement for inmates and at better long-term outcomes for all of us.