(847) 485-0000
Find a
Center
 

Success

Error

Blogs

http://image.bestbrains.com/blog/best-gifts-for-teacher/homemade-gifts.jpg

Homemade Gifts for Teachers

Many children want to give their teacher a gift for the holidays. While this is a great idea and one that should be encouraged, a “World’s Best Teacher” mug or glass is not always the best choice. Just about every teacher will tell you that they already have several of these. So, what should you give them to show your appreciation for all their hard work? The options may be a little closer to the heart for most.

Gift cards

Starbucks Gift Card

It's hard to go wrong with a gift card. These can be purchased at local grocery stores for just about dollar amount imaginable. And getting one from their favorite stores, coffee shops, or teacher supply outlets will go a long way to show that you care.

Homemade gifts and cards

We have found that many teachers love to receive anything homemade or crafted by their students. Your child’s artwork, a handwritten card, or a crafted Christmas ornament with your child’s name and the year on it are items that teachers can keep year after year to remember their students and all the lives they have touched along the way.

School supplies for all

Another great idea is to get them much-needed school supplies. Many teachers pay for classroom materials like lined paper, pencils, sticky notes, pens, erasers, and much more themselves. So, gifts of this nature are often much needed and will always be appreciated. If you don’t know what to get exactly a gift card to bookstores and teacher supply stores is a great place to start.

Donations in their name

For schools or teachers who aren’t in need of such items for their classrooms, they often suggest giving donations in their name instead. Find out what causes your teacher supports or cares about and donate either time, money, or specific items to that cause using your teacher’s name. This will show your teacher that you care and are willing to help others who may be less fortunate and also gives that teacher an opportunity to be a part of that giving.

Thank you letters or notes

Sometimes the simplest of gifts can be the most precious. The job of a teacher can often be a thankless one that is taken for granted. Writing a letter or short note can be just the thing to brighten their day and make all their hard work this year worth it. A heartfelt “thank you” can say much more even the most expensive gift.

Ask just about any experienced teacher what their favorite gifts over the years have been and they will tell you about ones that came from the heart. The ones that really mean something are ones that were well thought out, painstakingly constructed by little hands, and given out of honor and a heart of appreciation, not from obligation. This year, instead of another coffee mug, give your teacher something that matters a little more.

Read More

http://image.bestbrains.com/blog/wright-brothers-day/wright-brother-s-patented-aircraft-the-wright-flyer.jpg

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.

Read More

http://image.bestbrains.com/blog/christmas-card-day/christmas-card.jpg

Christmas card day

Sending festive Christmas cards of season’s greeting is an age-old tradition amongst millions of families worldwide. We make a list and check it twice, ensuring that no one is forgotten or left out. Whether it’s the classic jingles of Christmas past or modern electronically sent messages, we want to make sure they receive it before Christmas Day.

History of Christmas Card Day

However, this unofficial holiday is not celebrated on this day just make sure you get your cards out to the mailbox on time. On December 9, 1843, Sir Henry Cole of England designed the first commercial Christmas Card. It showed a family raising a toast together. It was produced by J. C. Horsley, who went on to produce many more of Cole and other’s holiday cards. From there, a lithograph firm, Prang and Mayer, started creating and selling Christmas cards by the masses. By 1880, they were producing over five million cards a year.

Many of those first cards are now collector’s items and are sold for thousands of dollars at auctions. The British Museum houses Queen Mary’s early 1900s collection of them. Today, Christmas cards are made in millions of designs and themes. Some are more traditional and include the popular “Merry Christmas” messages with an image of jolly old Saint Nicolas. While others may steer in a more religious direction, quoting bible verses or blessings with wise men standing around a holy child in a manger. Still others, for those who may not celebrate Christmas, are sent wishing season’s greetings and best wishes for a new year.

How to Celebrate Christmas Card Day

Happy Holiday Card

Whatever your preference, today is the day to remember your Christmas card list and work on getting them out to your loved ones. It's always nice to be able to make handmade cards if you have the time. Grab your glue stick, markers, and glitter and get to creating. This can be an amazingly fun activity for your children as well. Maybe start a family tradition of making cards.

If you aren’t that crafty or don’t feel you have the time, there are always pre-made cards to send and even e-cards. These are sent electronically and take hardly any time at all. Plus, you don’t have to worry about missing the mailman or not making it to its recipient on time. However, nothing beats the real thing and this day is the perfect time to get those cards ready and in the mail before the last day of mail service arrives.

Read More

http://image.bestbrains.com/blog/thanksgiving-games/thanksgiving-games.jpg

Thanksgiving Games

Thanksgiving is a fabulous holiday. It’s an excuse to get together with your family and friends to eat, spend time with all that you are thankful for. However, most family Thanksgiving dinners are, well, just that. They are dinners and sometimes a little on the boring side. And for those of us with children, it can seem even more boring. This year, why not make it a little different? Here are some family-friendly activities and games for every age and to put a fun spin on your large gatherings.

Traffic Yam

Supplies: metal spoons, uncooked yams, and painter’ tape (or anything to make a straight line on the floor)

Each player is given a yam and a metal spoon. The yam is placed on the floor on one end of the room. The players must then race to get their yam across the room to your tape line and back to the starting line. The yam can only be moved with the spoon. No hands. Whoever gets across the finish line first wins. Players can play defense as well and push other people’s yams.

The Feather Float

Supplies: Small, light feathers

This one is super simple and can be played individually or on teams. Each player gets a feather. Players must blow their feather in the air, keeping it afloat for as long as possible. You could also give a time limit and the players have to keep their feather in the air for that amount of time.

The Mayflower

Thanksgiving Games

Supplies: small corks, fake flowers, Large under the bed containers, plastic straws (optional)

Fill the under the bed container with water. Attach a fake flower to the corks and give one to every player. To play, each person must place their cork in the water at one end of the container and then blow it to the other end. The first boat or cork to reach the other end wins. Players can use a plastic straw to blow if they would like.

Corn to the Copia

Supplies: empty cornucopia, small fake corn, blindfold

This is a team game with two players on each team. One player stands on one side of the room and gets blindfolded and the empty cornucopia. The other stands about ten or so feet away and has a bucket of the fake corn. The player with the corn must hike the corn like a football to their teammate with the cornucopia. The idea is for the blindfolded player to catch the corn as it is hiked.

Try out a few of these ideas for your Thanksgiving gathering this year to make things a little more fun and encouraging for all. From all of us here at Best Brains, Happy Thanksgiving.

Read More

http://image.bestbrains.com/blog/make-a-gift-day/make-a-gift-day.jpg

Make A Gift Day

In case you hadn’t realized, Christmas is almost here. A time spent with family and friends, eating your favorites dishes and exchanging gifts. When it comes to those exchanged gifts, the goal is usually to give something heartfelt, something that will be appreciated, and something that shows the recipient just how much they mean to you. Nothing does this quite like a handmade gift. It's also a great way to maybe save some money or make use of old and/or forgotten items. And then there is always that gift you forgot to get and now have to improvise for.

History of Make A Gift Day

This is an unofficial national holiday, which means that it is pretty much celebrated nationally on the same day every year but no one really knows who came up with the idea or when it came to be and no documentation of it can be found in presidential proclamations or congressional records. However, it makes sense for this holiday to be around this time, as Christmas is just around the corner and the gift-giving season is in full swing.

With that being said, handmade gifts have been a huge success for years, especially before the time of commercialized stores and ready-made products. For hundreds of years, people always made their own gifts, not to mention everything else. If you wanted to give your sister a new dress for Christmas or your brother a new toy, you had to make it yourself. This is a day to bring that back a bit and to get in touch with your creative side, even if you don’t think you have many crafting skills. After all, it’s the thought that counts right?

How to Celebrate

Homemade Gifts

There are so many countless ways to celebrate and enjoy this holiday. The idea is to just get out there and try. It doesn’t matter what you make or create. This is also the perfect opportunity to teach your children about the gift of giving to others and how much a heartfelt, homemade gift can mean. So, get together with your children and make something.

It could be as simple as a handwritten card or letter, a cupcake, or a batch of cookies for their teacher or grandparents. Start small and work your way up. Make a collage using some of their art projects from the past year or a personalized mug with their picture or artwork on it. There are so many options and ideas to choose from and the sky is really the limit. Even if it doesn’t turn out to be the most beautiful creation in the makers’ eyes, the recipient of such a gift will absolutely love it.

Read More

http://image.bestbrains.com/blog/universal-children-s-day/universal-children-s-day.jpg

Group of Children’s

Whether you have children or not, it's nearly impossible to see that they are our future. In just a few short years, those that are right now playing tag with their friends in the schoolyard or learning to tie their shoes and button up their shirts will be leading our nations, teaching in our schools, and tending the sick and dying. They will be in charge of making important decisions, leading their own children, and making the world a better place. So why shouldn’t we celebrate them? This day is made to honor all that they are right now and all they can be.

History of Universal Children’s Day

In 1954, the General Assembly of the United Nations first announced this day. They had two goals in mind. First, it is meant to encourage children to spend time together; learning from one another, getting to know each other, and understanding their differences, races, and religions. It is from this learning and understanding of each other that peace is built upon.

Secondly, this day is meant to bring awareness to the problems that face today’s children in governments worldwide. If we can change someone’s mind or allow them to see children who are struggling with certain issues, maybe changes can be made to better their future and the future of the world.

Since its inception, this holiday has served many honorable causes such as making sure children everywhere are given a good education and access to schools. It as also helped the commitment to stopping HIV/AIDS and other diseases that all too often affect children.

How to Celebrate This Day?

How to Celebrate Universal Children’s Day

While the United Nations has announced this day to be on November 20th every year, almost every nation celebrates this holiday on a different day. For example, in Cuba, it is held on the third Sunday of July, in South Sudan they celebrate “Children’s Day” on December 23rd, and in Poland on June 1st. Nearly every country has their own established day to celebrate the joys and gifts of children, however, the goal is same everywhere: to promote peace and concern for the future of our world through our children.

Some towns and areas may hold large festivals, while others celebrate in a much more informal and private way. Many simply spend the day with their children or the children who most influence their life.

If you have children of your own, this is a good day to spend with them, enjoying their presence, doing something they enjoy, and making memories together. It won’t be long before these young and care-free individuals will be grown and making independent choices without your help or guidance. Use this day to teach them of other cultures, environments, and different parts of the world, so they are better prepared for their future and all the wonders it may hold.

Read More

http://image.bestbrains.com/blog/i-love-to-write-day/writing-day.jpg

I Love to Write Day

Writing is a huge part of education. During your child’s academic career, they will have written tens of thousands of words. These may be simple answers to everyday questions. They may be poems, short stories, letters, essays, and/or and thesis papers. And for school purposes, most do not like the task of completing them.

However, if you can instill in your child a love of writing or even a mild tolerance, you will be amazed at what they can create. I Love to Write Day is to use this and expand it. While it's not every child’s dream to write for a living, everyone does have dreams they want to see unfold. Many times, writing them down helps to solidify those aspirations and make them come to life.

History of I Love to Write Day

This day was started in 2002 by John Riddle, a non-fiction and self-help, Delaware-based author. John has been writing for over thirty years, with a total of 34 published books in his name. As many authors do, he has a great love of writing and the creativity it creates. Also, like many authors and writing-lovers, John would like others to take part in and learn to enjoy his passion as well.

That is why he created this day. It is a call to action; however, it is not meant to be overwhelming or too audacious. John stated that his goal for this day is to simply get all peoples from all ages and walks of life writing. It can be any length, any genre, and anywhere. Just something that puts your thoughts onto paper or in a computer and gets you writing. Who knows, this could be the start of your New York Times bestseller.

How to Celebrate the Day?

History of I Love to Write Day

Many different organizations including community centers, churches, schools, and even stores celebrate this day and use it to strengthen a child’s skills in writing and putting their thoughts into words.

Celebrating this day for yourself and your children is just as simple as it sounds. Write something. Don’t put limitations on it, such as length, style, or genre. Don’t think too hard about it, just write. Start a journal, write a poem, a letter, or a simple greeting or thank you card for your child’s teacher.

And don’t worry if it doesn’t sound amazing. Everyone has to start somewhere. J.K. Rowling didn’t imagine everything in her Harry Potter series in one writing session. She didn’t submit her work and get immediate approval. And she didn’t become a world-renown writer overnight.

If you or your child has big dreams, they will take time and effort before they may come to light. But the time to start is now, with just a line or two. Get those creative juices flowing. Before you know it, you may just have a masterpiece in your hands.

Read More

http://image.bestbrains.com/blog/education-support-professionals-day/education-support-professionals-day.jpg

Education support Professionals

No, this is not another day to celebrate teachers and all the hard work they do for you or your students. This is a day to honor those who work in or for public schools but whose jobs may be overlooked for the most part. These people make up over 40 percent of most school’s staff.

They are your bus drivers, cafeteria personnel, school nurses, maintenance and janitorial staff, teacher’s aids, and paraprofessionals. This day is made to thank them for the work and support they offer to students, teachers, and parents throughout the school year.

How it Came to Be?

This day takes places every year as part of American Education Week. This week and all of its days were created by the National Education Association or NEA in 1987. That year the NEA Representative Assembly decided there needed to be a way to honor all the contributions of school support staff.

It was originally called “Educational Support Personnel” day. In 2002, the name was changed to “Education Support Professionals” as a way to better represent the people who take on this role in education and show pride for them. Since then, this day has been celebrated as a way to remind us just how important these people are and to show our appreciation of all their efforts.

Many of these education support professionals or ESPs put in very long and taxing hours doing the jobs no one else wants to do and contributing their own personal finances to make their school succeed. Whether it is giving your child a bandage for their scraped knee, making sure they get to the bus safely, serving them food, cleaning up after your child, or adding supplies to the classroom, these people are essential to public and private schools’ daily operations. And it’s time they were rewarded for it.

How to Celebrate ESP Day

Nurse with student

The simplest way to honor your education support professionals is to simply say “thank you.” Let them know they are appreciated and how critical their job and support are to your child’s well-being while at school. Give them a card or gift card. Explain to your child the importance ESPs play in their lives and have them make a card or note to one or more of them. Make them cookies or something you know they will appreciate to let them know you care.

You can also post on social media to support them using #EducationSupportProfessionalsDay. Or write to a state or Federal elected official asking for a proclamation for National ESP Day. Invite your local newspaper, radio station, or news channel to honor and take part in the day.

No matter what line of work you are involved in or what age your children are, you are sure to know a few ESPs who deserve at least a pat on the back or a simple thank you. Think of all the education support professionals you know and show them your support today.

Read More

http://image.bestbrains.com/blog/flashcards/kid-playing-with-flash-card.jpg

Flash Cards

Not many people think of study aids as a source of fun and creativity. However, flash cards are one of the most effective tools students can use to remember material. And they can also be lots of fun to make and use. By encouraging your student to personalize and be creative with these study tools, you can improve their engagement with the material they are trying to master.

First, let’s think about the basic idea of a flash card. You might be thinking of an index card with a word or phrase on one side and a definition on the other side. Or you could be thinking of a card with the name of an important person or event at the top, and a few key details underneath it. If you visualize these cards in your mind, you’ll see there are lots of ways to be creative and make them a reflection of the person using them.

Student with Flash Cards

One simple way to make flash cards more fun and effective is to add color. If your student is a visual learner, adding color gives them another way to remember material. If they’re studying material that has different categories, they can use a different color for the cards in each category. For example, a student studying French vocabulary might make flash cards with feminine words in one color and masculine words in another color. This way, visualizing the card can help them remember the gender of the word. It also gives the student the opportunity to mark, color, highlight, or otherwise personalize their study aids to make them more fun.

Another option is that students who like to draw can take advantage of their skills by drawing out illustrations instead of writing out traditional details and definitions. There may be students who remember the definition of “mirth” better by drawing out a smiling face than by writing out the definition from the dictionary. For some students, an elaborate drawing, bordering on an art portrait, may be the most satisfying reference point. For these students, the time they spend creating their cards is just as important as the time they spend studying them. The experience and memory of creating something can be just as powerful a reminder as reviewing it later.

Finally, don’t think that flash cards have to be limited to writing and drawing. We’ve all heard of study aids that involve singing songs and doing physical activities to help students remember material. Flash cards can be multi-dimensional, too. Students can use paint, ribbon, decorative tape, photographs, or anything else that makes the cards more interesting and helps them engage with the material. If they need ideas, social media sites like Pinterest and Instagram are a great source of inspiration. There are lots of users who share their creative homemade study guides online.

Wherever students get their ideas, the point is to allow them to express themselves in a way that makes studying more personal. This is one way to help them stay connected to material they might otherwise find challenging.

Read More