(847) 485-0000
Find a





Lynne Featherstone Interrviewed about youth issues by Hornsey School Girl students

Photo Credit: Lynn Featherstone from Flickr

Oral history is the use of narratives, personal experiences, and storytelling from historical and everyday people to share about certain topics and time periods. These experiences are most often videotaped or audio recorded, but they can also be written down as a result of an interview or conversation. Many museums use this type of instruction to educate their visitors about all sorts of events and topics. It offers people from all walks of life the opportunity to learn from someone else’s point of view just by listening. But how can it be brought to life in the classroom?

Instead of reading about WWII in a book and doing a worksheet about it, oral histories allow students to personally connect with those who experienced it firsthand. They hear the emotion in the voices they listen to, see expressions on their faces, and are, therefore, far more moved. These stories and experiences let them feel as though they are part of the story somehow and, in turn, may put life into a different perspective.

More than just allowing students to hear about these experiences, many teachers have found that getting them to conduct their own oral history research forms a far greater connection to the subject. In the classroom, teachers can give each student a specific topic for which they must conduct research for. This research is gathered in the form of interviews and conversations with members of their family and community, as well as their peers, about experience or point of view based on that topic.

The key is to make the topic something that is interesting to the student, something that is important to them or that they know someone who has an opinion about it. This allows them to become even more interested and learn to care about other’s experiences.

Indian Youth

Photo Credit: David Brewer from Flickr

However, don’t limit this type of instruction to just history class. Oral history can be used in just about any type of classroom and for any age group. For example, in math class, a teacher could ask students to interview members of their family or community about how they use math on a daily basis. This can help those students relate to the subject a bit more, realizing its importance and its use in their lives now and in the future.

Younger children can also learn to participate in such projects, though on a much lesser scale of course. While second and third graders may not be up to the challenge of writing a paper about their oral history research, they can certainly be sent home with the homework to ask their family members or even close neighbors about certain experiences or topics. Even just one question or two could suffice. You would be surprised at how a child’s opinion or connection to learning could be influenced just by participating in oral histories.

Read More



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.

Read More


Trivial Pursuit

Photo Credit: Letica Ayuso from Flickr

You know all that seemingly useless information in your head that never gets used or you think no one else cares about? Today is the day to finally use it. January 4th is Trivia Day. They may be silly insignificant facts, little-known oddities, or just random information but on Trivia day they can be used to impress your family and friends and possibly even cause a few laughs.

The History of Trivia Day

The history of Trivia Day begins with a few missing pieces to a scrabble board game. In Montreal, Canada in 1979, friends Scott Abbott and Chris Haney were getting frustrated with their scrabble game that had some missing pieces. However, it did not stop them from having a bit of fun.

These two fellows decided to create a new game with the pieces they had. The game became an instantaneous hit and its popularity is spread worldwide. The game is Trivial Pursuit and it is thought to have sparked a seemingly endless fascination with odd or little-known facts on a wide variety of topics.

Since that day, many more trivia inspired games have been dreamed up and made their way into homes throughout the world. This day was created to remember that day and the efforts of the two men determined to have some fun. It’s also a day to make use of that random information in your head that usually has no specific purpose.

Trivial Pursuit Game

Photo Credit: Paolo Soro from Flickr

How to Celebrate Trivia Day

Trivia Day is best spent playing trivia games with your favorite comrades and family. There are a great number of trivia games to choose from in this day and age. Some are comprised of large boards, many pieces, and quite a few complex rules, whiles others are much simpler and can be played on a computer or smartphone. The subjects these tidbits of knowledge come from span every concept imaginable from the shoes on your feet to the stars in the sky. If you can think of it, there is a question about it.

However, don’t assume that prior knowledge of these subjects is required. Half of the fun is not knowing and learning tons of new information and trivia along the way. These are games young kids and adults alike can really get into. And if you don’t have any trivia games at home or the place you will be spending most of today, try making up your own. Continue the legacy of this day by having some fun and using all that knowledge in your head to make the world a happier place.

Here are a few random trivia facts to get you in the mood:

  • On Venus, it snows metal.
  • Spain means “the land of rabbits.”
  • Only female mosquitoes bite.
  • Saudi Arabia has no rivers.
  • The only Caribbean island with a railroad is Cuba.

Read More



Disney Unveils “Slinky Dog Dash Roller Coaster” — to Celebrate National Slinky Day

Disney — I can imagine what comes to everyone’s mind when we hear someone say, Disney. Toys… more fantasy…. the beautiful world for all ages… While most of the toys or our imagination will fade out sometimes, as new things start pop up so often.

Here comes the Slinky, the pre flattened coil of wire or plastic; which can walk on its own and has entertained children and adults for over 70 years. Therefore, it is not surprising to hear that every month on August 30th, people across the United States celebrate this iconic toy with a National Slinky Day.

However, this year the people at Disney have made this event more special by introducing the new Slinky Dog Dash roller coaster at the Hollywood Studios theme park at Florida’s Walt Disney World Resort. While the family ride has been added with two new attractions and themed by Andy Davis, it was inspired by one of the main characters Slinky from the Toy Story movies, he created it in his backyard using his Mega Coaster Play Kit. This is all set to open in Summer 2018. Main attraction draws creativeness from the film’s dachshund, who has a metal Slinky for a body. Though, it is designed to take full advantage of the coils, assuring riders a thrilling journey, which completes with sharp drops and sudden turns. The Slinky Dog Dash will be one of two new rides to excite the park visitors that are looking forward to the newly expanded Toy Story Land. If you do not know anything about the second attraction, it is inspired by the Alien Swirling Saucers, this attraction is themed to a Pizza Planet toy play set with Aliens circling around in their flying saucers with rocket ships.


Like many great creations, the Slinky was invented accidentally. In 1943, Richard James, a naval mechanical engineer who was trying to create a spring that would keep gentle ship equipment stable at sea. One day, he unsuspectingly dropped some samples off of a shelf and watched them in astonishment that they landed gracefully, with a “spring” in their own steps, instead of crashing directly on the ground.

Trusting the spring’s action, he thought it would make a great toy, then he and his wife Betty came up with the name and borrowed $500 USD to manufacture the first Slinkys. While this took some time and in the year 1945, the inventors were allowed to demonstrate the toy at Gimbels department store in Philadelphia. To their glee, the entire inventory of 400 was sold within 90 minutes, and the rest, as we see is a History until today… An estimated 250 million units of the classic toy, which was inaugurated into the “National Toy Hall of Fame” in 2000, then been so, and the numbers continue to rise. While Richard made the Slinky by winding 80-feet of wire into a 2-inch spiral, and the toy now comes in many different sizes, color and colors. Some even make sounds while others light up, and one lucky Slinky even gets to go on escapades with his Toy Story friends...

Read More



It’s National Potato Day! We all love to eat potatoes and potatoes have been a popular parts of diets around the world for centuries.

Did you know that more than 45 billion pounds of potatoes are harvested in the U.S. each year? We can bake them, mash them, turn them into hash browns, fry, and everyone's all time favorite French fries — the list is endless!

The potato is an unusual little tuber which played an important role in the history of the world and was, in fact, the primary food crop for an entire nation. Celebrate this Potato Day and give a tribute to this wonderful vegetable. Potatoes are not only tasty— but they’re good for our health too. Did you know that they contain high levels of important vitamins and minerals, such as vitamin C, potassium and iron?

History of Potato Day

Did you know that potatoes were first cultivated by man in Southern Peru and the Northwest regions of Bolivia sometime between 5000 and 8000 BC? From then on forward it has; spread all over the world to become one of the primary staple crops of many cultures. While potatoes are the favorite part of American cuisine, with millions of different forms of preparationto be found. You can also use potatoes to make bread, rolls and pancakes.

For instance Ireland was so conditional on the potato as a food crop; that a potato plague managed to starve the entire country. Make no fault, there was abundance of food being grown in Ireland at that time, and it is said that 5 ships full were being sailed out of the country each day, but the people of Ireland were being drained dry by the English who ruled them at the time, and potatoes and cabbage were all they had to live on. On the other hand, the Russians discovered quite a different use for the potatoes.

How to Celebrate this Day?

Potato Day is best celebrated by incorporating the noble potato into every dish you like to prepare on this day. You can add them for your breakfast, or simply bake them and add a pinch of salt and pepper, drowned in sausage gravy and cheese. For lunch, you can have a bag of potato chips, especially if you spread them across your sandwich to give it a nice crunch.

What’s Your favorite potato treat?

Read More



Saturday August 19th, 2017....will be National Honey bee awareness day! Have you ever heard about this day before?

This day is an idea to put together by beekeepers in the USA, who petitioned the USDA in 2009 for an official day to honor honey bees and the beekeeping. Honey Bee awareness enthusiasts will probably put a bee in your bonnet and say this is not so much a day to celebrate honey bees, as it is to encourage their involvement in sustainable farming.

Thus, on this day, bee lovers all over the world; decorate their gardens with lavender, marjoram, and borage, the bee’s knees in pollinator lure. If you want to make this day more interesting then have some patience and bake some honey chippers to make your own honey fruit cobbler. If you’ve been busy as a bee all day, sit back and watch Hitchcock’s ‘The Bees’. Count your blessings as honey bees are thankfully nothing like South American killer bees.


In the year of 2009, the Secretary of the United States Department of Agriculture, Thomas J. Vilsack, acknowledged the first official day called “Honey Bee Awareness Day".

honey-bee-day- best-brains-blog

According to its organizers, the National Honey Bee Day program was started with a simple idea - to bring together beekeepers, bee associations, as well as the bee enthusiasts and other interested groups to connect with other communities to advance beekeeping. However, by working together and harnessing the efforts that so many people look for will raise and accomplish by using a united effort one day a year, the rewards and messages are magnified many times over. While this association encourages the bee associates from all around the world, individuals, and other groups to get involved and do some initiatives to welcome everyone if you look to join them then the program is free and open to all.

The mission of the organization and the reason behind the creation of National Honey Bee Day is:

  • To promote and advance the beekeeping activities
  • To educate the public about the honey bees and beekeeping
  • To encourage the public and increase the awareness of environmental concerns affecting honey bees.


Since then the organizations and individuals have been gathering to celebrate every year on August 19th!

Read More


August 15th, is a day to take a day off from your daily routine and relax with your family. Just put your feet up and relax because it is Relaxation Day. However, the origin of this fun holiday is not known, though it is an idea that the holiday began as National Slacker Day in Britain.

In a hustle and bustle of their daily lives, most people often forget to slow down and take some time for themselves and their family. Though this creates stress and other stress-related health issues like high blood pressure and heart problems, people are not keen to take at least a small break for themselves.

Take a Break

Relax... and do whatever that you feel like doing on this day and what relaxes you more, even if it is for a short while.

  • Take a bath or go for a swim.
  • Stretch or meditate.
  • Utilize this day to do a digital detox. Stay away from the computer, put away your phone and stay away from all social media interactions. This will help you feel the stress melt away.
  • Go to a spa for a day full of pampering and have some me time. You can also gift Spa appointments for your parents as well.
  • Go for a leisurely walk in a park or through a garden, stop and smell the roses, walk barefoot on the grass or have a small picnic by yourself.
  • Read a book or a magazine while nature-watching; or go for a good drive with your peers.
  • Spend time with your family, friends and pets.
  • Learn a new skill like knitting or playing golf and continue it in your leisure's.

Take a Deep Breath

Relaxation Day is a reminder for all us that sometimes it is okay to take a deep breath, slow down and take it simple - not only does relaxation make us feel better about yourself, but it can also have long-term health benefits too.

Did You Know...

...that in physics and chemistry, relaxation is a perception which refers to the movement of a system or a procedure from a state of disorder or disturbance to equilibrium?

Happy National Relaxation Day!!!

Read More



This is the month to have great time with your family, friends, or anyone you like to go out and have a great picnic. While the local parks have finally come out from under the pall of cloud gray skies, and picnics can start in earnest.Select what you want to make or take with you... here are some of people's favorites; like fried chicken and sausage rolls, fresh fruit, cookies, chocolates,lemonade; and many more can be added to your list, while these are some of the keys to having agreat meal outdoors.

National Picnic Monthencourages you to get out of your houseand celebrate the warm summer days and find your love and surprise of the outdoors againwhile enjoying some great food.

History of Picnic Month

There has always been something special about leaving the stuffy confines of your home and eating your favorite things outdoors. Going out with family makes us happy and refreshed feeling and there’s abeautiful world out there waiting for us,and whenever summer comes around then we will come to know how much time we’ve been locked inside or being eager to come in from the cold.

However the word ‘picnic’ is thought to have first been used by Tony Willis a famous boxer in 1692, and from that point of time everyone forwarded from the working class to the upperhave been mesmerized with taking their meal outside under the sky.


Picnics have been used for many things throughout the centuries, and from a simply family meeting spent enjoying the outside, to being used as a quiet protest in the Pan-European Picnic.

Did you know?

That the most prominent, and largest picnic ever held spanned 600 miles, crossing France from coast to coast and renowned the millennium’s first Bastille Day in 2000.

Though we celebrate National Picnic Month this month, there is no specific day to celebrate your special day.  We should have such days to celebrate the history of this activity and the way it has been used to bring families, countries and all humanity collectively.

How to celebrate Picnic Month

Picnic month is remarkably easy to celebrate. You just need to have a great place to go outside into the world and enjoy all the wonderful sights and smells it has to offer us. Get your family and friends to gather there and bring your favorite foods that can be eaten cold for a traditional picnic, or take a small grill and cookthe warm yummy food on the spot!

Read More



Here is the day to enjoy the most popular campfire treat which hits every year on August 10th during National S’mores Day. This delicious and gooey treat day is loved by many across the United States.

Did you know that S’mores consist of a roasted marshmallow with a layer of a chocolate bar that is sandwiched between two pieces of graham crackers?


The s’more is the contraction of the phrase “some more”, which is not unusual allowing for how tasty they are. While the origin of this tasty bite is credited to a famous entrepreneur, Alec Barnum. However, the first recorded version of this recipe can be found in the 1927 publication of Tramping and Trail with the Girl Scouts. Even though the Girl Scouts were not the first ones to make s’mores, they describe them in their reports as early as 1925.  However, the earlier recipes used the name “Some Mores”. Being somewhat an unclear name, it was then shortened to S’mores.

S’mores Day was created several years ago to party this gooey delight and is sponsored by the National Confectioners Association.

While today we see many variations on the original s’more, you can try spreading peanut butter on the graham crackers and then add other ingredients you wish to. Alternate peanut butter cups in place of the chocolate bar, you can also replace the graham crackers with fudge-dipped cookies.


How to observe?

What better way is there to celebrate S’mores Day than enjoying this sweet treat? As always, it is the best to make your own snack or dessert, and S’mores are incredibly simple to make. Of course, it is traditional to make them around a campfire in the woods sitting with your family or friends while sharing some ghost stories, like the treat’s creators did almost 100 years ago. If you’re not going to be camping anytime soon, then there’s no other way for you to make some s’mores other than in the comfort of your own home.

Search for some different recipes online, or you give your personal touch and invent a new delicious dessert and share it with your family and friends on this special day.


Happy S'mores day!!!!!

Read More