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Today In History

Digital Learning Day – February 28th

Feb-25, 2019

Laptops

Photo Credit: Sean Freese from Flickr

Every fourth Thursday in the month of February is Digital Learning Day. This year it falls on the 28th. Before you get carried away thinking this day is meant to drown out the need for teachers and educational personnel in our school systems, just know that you are jumping to the wrong conclusion.

What is Digital Learning?

Digital learning is any kind of instruction given that uses technology for educational purposes. With digital learning, teachers and educators are able to give more individualized instruction, feedback, provide better assessments, access challenging information, and provide opportunities for learning anywhere or anytime.

This type of instruction is not limited by any one kind of technology either. It may incorporate digital, content, blended or hybrid learning, online courses, digital resources, and more. This is high-quality instruction to ensure that each child is able to reach their full potential.

Digital learning is not just beneficial for the student though. It also provides tremendous support and assistance to teachers and educational personnel across the board. Using different technologies, professional educators are able to increase productivity and effectiveness which allows for more time to devote to their students.

The History and Purpose of Digital Learning Day

Digital Learning

Photo Credit: Dee & Tula monstah from Flickr

In this day and age, it can be difficult to keep up with the latest form of technologies available and to make sure they are effective as learning tools. Technology gives us the opportunity to do some pretty amazing things for education. However, only a handful of schools and teachers typically have access to some of these technological advances.

This day was started in 2012 as a way to share these new innovations and technologies with teachers and educators to make sure that all children are given access to digital learning opportunities.

Every year teachers and educators from all over the country get together to celebrate this day. Thousands of events take place nationwide to participate. Classrooms, schools, districts, and states all host these events with the sole purpose of sharing ideas and learning new ones. These pooled resources, lessons, and digital innovations make it possible for students’ education to improve and for teachers to become better at their jobs.

Many educational websites, schools, and companies also host webinars, online classes, and video-conferences on this day to help promote the sharing of these ideas. This day is not about replacing a teacher with a screen or any other form of technology. It's about creating the most effective learning environment for all students with tools that are used everywhere else besides the education industry. Let’s create better classrooms for America by spreading innovation and effective technology. Our children’s education depends on it.


World Thinking Day

Feb-18, 2019

Thinking Day

Photo Credit: Jesper Sehested from Flickr

Upon first glance, you might think this day is one that requires some deep thinking, something very intellectual and brainy. However, you might be surprised to find out that it may be a little more closely related to the heart than the mind. While your thoughts may lead to educational innovations and leading-edge technology, this day is meant for thinking of others and what we can do to help them.

The History of World Thinking Day

In 1926, the Girl Scouts of the United States held their fourth Girl Guide/Girl Scout International Conference. It was decided that they needed a day to highlight important international issues and make an extra effort to bring awareness and support to those issues. It was called “Thinking Day.

Originally, the date, February 22nd, was chosen to honor the birthdays of Scouting and Guiding founder Lord Robert Baden-Powell and his wife, Lady Olave Baden-Powell. However, it is much more than a birthday celebration, although it does typically involve parties and “gifts”.

At the seventh World Conference, delegates agreed verbal support would not always be enough and therefore, created the Thinking Day Fund. The movement asks that every member of the association donate at least one penny in support. These funds go directly to the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts (WAGGS) to contribute to the spreading of their organization and worldwide causes.

The 30th World Conference, the name of the day and its fund was changed to World Thinking Day as a way to point out the need for global effort. Since then Guides, Scouts, their sister and even brother organizations around the world seek to change the world for the better by thinking of others and their needs, as well as giving monetary and time donations.

How to Celebrate World Thinking Day

School Children

Photo Credit: Dan Wright from Flickr

On a global scale, the organization selects a theme each year for the day. The theme for 2019 is Leadership. An activity guide and many events worldwide are then organized to go along with that theme and bring support to issues that affect over 10 million young women in over 150 countries.

Many local Guide and Scout branches hold parties and events to aid in this effort and to celebrate their organization and its history. They may find ways to connect with “sisters” overseas through radio, video chat, etc. or they may raise funds for community projects. In Auckland, New Zealand, girls hike to the top of Maungawhau (Mount Eden) where they make camp, hoist the Guide World Flag, and watch the sunrise while singing the World Song. They also make a point to discuss big and important issues and what they can do make a positive change.

Many Guides and Scouts hold a tradition of sending postcards to sisters around the world with the purpose to let them know they are not alone and are positively thought of. Another tradition is to light a candle in their window at dusk that evening. This is to remind them that they can be a positive light and bring change to the darkness in the world.

For those not directly involved in Girl Guides/Scouts, today is a good day to show your support. Offer a donation to their organization or local chapter. Buy some cookies or find a way to volunteer your time for a great cause. We can all help make a difference in the world, we just have to be willing to think of others.


President’s Day – February 18th

Feb-15, 2019

Photo of the four massive heads sculpted into Mount Rushmore look out under a blue sky.

Photo Credit: Andrew_Carter786 from Flickr

Every third Monday in the month of February is a federally observed holiday known to many as President’s Day. This day was created in memory and honor of the very first president of the United States, George Washington. His birthday is actually on February 22nd.

The History of President’s Day

This national holiday came about as a result of President Lyndon B. Johnson signing the Uniform Holiday Bill in 1968. The bill created three separate holidays to be celebrated nationally each year on Mondays, allowing federal employees an extra day off work and a three-day weekend for each. These are Washington’s Birthday, Memorial Day (every last Monday in the month of May), and Veterans Day (every fourth Monday in October).

The bill also attempted to change the name of “Washington’s Birthday” to Presidents Day. However, this portion of the bill was not accepted. Therefore, the day most of us know as Presidents Day is still legally called “Washington’s Birthday.”

The term “Presidents Day” was brought about as a marketing campaign for many businesses nationwide and the idea caught on quickly. It is used by retail stores, car dealerships, various other industries as a way to draw customers in with discounts and sales.

The term Presidents Day also sticks well due to the fact that President Abraham Lincoln’s birthday is also in the month of February, on the 12th. His birthday and George Washington’s were, in fact, celebrated separately as individual holidays up until 1971 when President Richard Nixon gave an executive order that all presidents’ birthdays should be celebrated on one day. This meant Lincoln’s birthday would no longer be celebrated individually nationwide and only Washington’s Birthday would be a holiday.

How to Celebrate President’s Day

Washington's Mount Vernon Mansion

Photo Credit: Troy from Flickr

While this is a federal holiday, each state remains in control of the which holidays they will choose to observe or not observe. For example, before 1971, when Lincoln’s birthday was celebrated on its own, many southern states chose to not observe this day as a result of the civil war. Instead, they memorialized a day for Jefferson Davis, the President of the Confederate State of America during that war.

Most states now choose to honor President’s Day with local government and schools being closed for the day. In states that do not observe the day with school closings, most teachers still recognize the importance of the day and dedicate a lesson, discussion, or class activity to our presidents and the great things they accomplished for the nation.

To celebrate the day for yourself, check out a book about the life and events of George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, or another president of the United States. There are also many movies or documentaries created on these great men.

You could also choose to take a road trip to one of their homes, such as Lincoln’s childhood home in Illinois or Washington’s estate in Virginia. A trip to such historical places will teach you a lot about the life and times of the some of our early and greatest leaders.


Martin Luther King Day

Jan-17, 2019

martin-luther-king-jr-day

Photo Credit: U.S. Department of Agriculture by Flickr

The third Monday of every January in the United States is Martin Luther King Jr Day. This year it falls on the 21st of January. The day is meant to celebrate the life and works of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Throughout most of his adult life, he fought for the rights and equality of African Americans in the U.S. His methods for freedom and peace throughout the nation consisted of peaceful protests and the service of his communities. He has often been compared to Gandhi, as they both had a profound impact on their people and the struggle to gain equality and freedom.

History of Martin Luther King Jr Day

This national holiday was officially created by President Ronald Reagan in 1983. It marks the day and a memorial of the life and assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr in 1968. However, it was not until 2000 that it became a nationally recognized holiday and celebrated in every state. This is due to the fact that many of the struggles and issues that Martin Luther King Jr. sought to destroy were still very much in play at the time of his assassination and nearly twenty years later when the holiday was created.

Movements are being made to make the day an official federal holiday, requiring that government offices would be closed to celebrate the day. However, because Martin Luther King Jr. never held an official public office, as is the usual requirement for such a day, many would say that this shouldn’t be allowed.

How to Celebrate Martin Luther King Jr Day

martin luther king jr

Photo Credit: The Library of Congress by Flickr

As we are honoring a man who served his community and helped his fellow man at every turn and in so many different ways, we think that continuing his legacy is the best way to celebrate him and his life. Find ways that you and your children can serve your local community and neighborhood. There are many events held monthly, weekly, and even daily that facilitate change our nation for the better, making it a place where everyone is equal and peace abounds.

Many communities hold parades and festivals in honor of this man who lived for others. Attend one and learn more about how he made dreams a reality. Visit a museum and see first hand what he accomplished. Or you could simply read one of the hundreds of books written on the life and legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. No matter your station, background, lineage, or even the place where you live, we all deserve freedom and a chance to live out our dreams. Today is the day to celebrate and honor that.


Kid Inventors’ Day

Jan-11, 2019

Kid Inventors’ Day

Every January 17th we have the opportunity to celebrate the children in our lives and the accomplishments they have and will make. This includes inventions and extraordinary innovations. Children, unlike adults, have a unique ability to look at the world differently. They do not understand many aspects of life and the difficulty it holds.

Some would believe this makes them ineligible for such tasks. On the contrary, the fact that they are not bogged down by life’s complexities and hardships most often allows them to create without limitations or boundaries. They are able to see solutions on a different level than most adults.

There are many things we use on a daily basis that were, in fact, created by children or teenagers, such as the trampoline, popsicles, ear muffs.

The History of Kid Inventors’ Day

One of the first known child inventors was Benjamin Franklin. Most of us are familiar with his creations of all sorts of useful items such as bifocals, the lightning rod, the Franklin stove, and the glass harmonica just to name a few. However, he started inventing when he was just a child. At age 12 he created the first swim flippers. It for this reason that we celebrate Kid Inventors’ Day on his birthday, January 17th.

History continues to prove that children can and do invent some very impressive and helpful things. Some are born from mere accidents, such as the popsicle, while others take several years to create and are much more complex. One of the most extensive creations of a child is the language of the blind, yes, Braille. It was created by a French child in Paris named Louis Braille after he was involved in a serious accident that took his sight from him.

American Sign Language also has a great contribution made by a child. Ryan Patterson, a teenager, invented special gloves with sensors to translate hand motions of ASL into written words for children and adults alike with various disabilities.

Kid Inventors’ Day

Photo Credit: Internet Archive Book Images by Flickr

How to Celebrate Kid Inventors’ Day

This day is proof that children of any age are living, breathing inventors with extraordinary minds. Never take those precious thoughts for granted, even if they seem a little unsophisticated and silly to you. after all, these children are our future. Today is a day for no limits, to believe the impossible. Sometimes that is what it takes to makes dreams and inventions of the future come to life.

Take a child to a museum, a park, or even the kitchen. Create an environment where they can learn about inventions from the past and experience inspiration. It can come from just about anywhere, from simple crafts and games to large airplanes and spaceships. No matter what you do, make sure to encourage their dreams, even if seems outrageous and impossible. You never know when the next Benjamin Franklin could be sitting in your living room.


Wright Flyer Aircraft model

Dec-11, 2018

Wright Flyer Aircraft model

On this day, December 17, 1903, Wilbur and Orville Wright took their first or maiden flight in an aircraft they had designed together. And while it is unknown if this was the first actual flight ever made in history, it was done in the first ever patented aircraft, the Wright Flyer. The brothers went on to make further inventions and additions to aviation technology, leading the way for all future aviators.

History of Wright Brothers’ Day

President Dwight D. Eisenhower is the one responsible for creating this codified holiday. As such, it is commemorated each year and marked on government calendars but is not classified an actual government holiday. President Eisenhower declared on September 24, 1959, that December 17th should forevermore be celebrated, honoring the experiments of the Wright brothers and all others who have contributed to aviation history and technology.

How to Celebrate Wright Brothers’ Day

Wright Brother’s inventions

Since that time, every U. S. President has made an annual proclamation, honoring the Wright brothers and their endeavors in flight as well as inviting all Americans to do the same. Furthermore, Washington D. C. holds the Wright Brothers Dinner each year where the Wright Brothers Memorial Trophy is awarded

Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, where that maiden flight was taken also celebrates the day with similar festivities, as does Dayton, Ohio, the brothers’ hometown. Many schools are known are to hold special activities that focus on aviation and its history, some even take field trips to the closest aviation museums. Other institutions or programs hold various luncheons and dinners to honor these pioneers of flight.

Individually, many decide to celebrate in their own way by going to museums that focus on aviation, going to the airport, attending air shows, taking a flight, or even taking flight lessons. It may seem to you that this old looking plane the Wright brothers flew wasn’t all that great, especially compared to what airplanes and crafts that are flown nowadays. However, you have to remember that at the time, there was nothing else like this. This was the cutting edge of technology, a dream of the future at the time.

Can you imagine what aviation would look like today if these two brothers hadn’t created the Wright Flyer and made that flight? While their craft is not the only kind that was manufactured, nor were they the only ones experimenting with such technology, their efforts led the way for inventions and aviation leaders all over the globe. This day is meant to remember and honor those efforts, understanding that actions and discoveries made today will someday be a part of history.