Friday, June 29, 2012

10 Ways Working Moms Can Volunteer at School

When children are young there is a lot of parent participation that’s encouraged through classroom parties and events because kids are still learning how to be away from home. Most kids want their moms to be able to volunteer at the school for these events so that they can still see their mom in the hallway or at the class party. However it’s not always feasible for working moms to volunteer onsite regularly. Fear not, there are ways that you can volunteer, even if you work full-time.

Check out these 10 ways that working moms can volunteer at school:

  1. Coordinate class parties through e-mail. Technology makes it much easier to plan events these days. The teacher may send home flyers asking for snacks and craft supply donations. Consider volunteering to coordinate these donations; this is an easy task to accomplish over e-mail or phone, and allows you to still participate in some way with the party.
  2. Cut out or prepare things at home. Many times the teacher will have a need for different shapes to be cut out or packets to be put together for a party or upcoming project. These types of activities can be sent home with your child and you can do them in the evening when you have time so that you can still be involved.
  3. Send money to help with a project. With the cut-backs that the government is making, oftentimes the teachers don’t have enough funds to do creative projects with the kids. By sending in money for a special project you can help the teacher explain a concept in a new and fun way.
  4. Make calls at night. Many activities happen at the school and there may be times when there’s a need to call parents and remind them of an event. For example, if the choir is going on a field trip on Friday and the kids need to remember to wear their choir shirts and to bring their permission slips, then working parents can make these kinds of calls from their cell phone while they are waiting at soccer practice or during the evening when they are home.
  5. Provide extra school supplies. Throughout the year, the classroom supplies may start to dwindle. Contact the teacher in January and ask her what items she is running low on and send in additional classroom supplies.
  6. Ask your nanny to stand in for you. If you have a nanny you could have her volunteer at the school in your place. She may also be able to attend class parties or other daytime events when you are unable to attend. Your child will be happy because they have someone there that’s cheering or clapping just for them.
  7. Join the PTA or PTO at your child’s school. You may not have time to join the board of the PTA, but by supporting the PTA, your money goes towards a lot of projects that will benefit every child in the school. Funding these programs for the students allows the school to concentrate their funds on other things, like teacher salaries.
  8. Chaperone a field trip. A field trip is a one time commitment that you may be able to take off work for, if you plan far enough in advance. If your child is going to the museum or aquarium with his class and you can take a personal day, you will be able to share that experience with him. Unlike being a room mom or lunch mom, this is a one-time deal and something you can commit to and plan for ahead of time.
  9. Help with set up for an evening event. Many times music or sporting events are held during the evenings. Offer to help with set up or clean-up for one of these events after you get off work.
  10. Volunteer to work at the concession stand. Sometimes events like the school carnival will be held on a weekend. Volunteer at a booth or concession stand if you can. The shift is usually only an hour or so and when it is over, you can enjoy the event with your child.

The next time your child asks why you can’t come to the class party, explain to him that you have to go to work, but that you are still trying to be involved regardless. Remind them of the phone calls you made or the 30 hearts that you cut out for their class project. Your child will appreciate that you are making the effort to be involved.

Taken From National Nannies

5 Summer Backyard Dangers for Toddlers and Preschoolers

Summer brings a lot of opportunities for outdoor play, but with that it also brings opportunities for a lot of injuries. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, each summer 2.3 million children visit the emergency room due to accidents around the grill, pool, and play set. As parents and caregivers plan to spend time outdoors with toddlers and preschoolers, they should be aware of these 5 summer backyard dangers.

1. Wading pools. While some parents and nannies may think less water means less danger, according to research from Nationwide Children’s Hospital in the United States every five days a child drowns from being submerged in a portable pool during the summer months. In addition to closely supervising children when they are in a portable pool, parents and caregivers must be vigilant about avoiding distractions, like answering the phone or socializing with neighbors, when the children are playing in and around wading pools. Most of the children who drowned were under the age of five.

2. The sun. To avoid sunburn or too much sun exposure, be sure to apply sunscreen to the children anytime they are playing outdoors. While it can be tempting to only put on sunscreen when the children are at the beach, in the pool, or only on sunny days, make putting sunscreen on a priority anytime the children are playing outdoors. Waterproof sunscreen with an SPF of at least 15 should be applied before heading outdoors and reapplied every 90 minutes for the best coverage. Dressing children in hats, swim suits, and clothes that offer UPF protection can also prevent sunburn. Preventing sunburns is the key to preventing skin cancer.

3. Play structures. Backyard play structures can pose many hazards, especially if they aren’t age-appropriate for the children who are playing on them. Be sure that the play structures are designed for the ages of the children using them. Parents and caregivers should also regularly inspect the equipment for dangers, including loose or protruding bolts, broken parts, and any stability issues. Many home play structures are placed directly on the grass, rather than on an impact-absorbing surface like shredded rubber or wood chips. Parents should opt for proper ground surface covering when installing new play structures.

4. Bug bites and bee stings. For young children, getting a bug bite or a bee sting can be a traumatic experience. Unlike adults, toddlers and preschoolers don’t have the self-control needed to not itch or touch the damaged and irritated skin. As a result, infections can occur. When outside, consider applying insect repellent on children to prevent bug bites. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that DEET based repellents (with no more than 30% DEET) be applied to children aged 2 months and over once per day. Avoid putting repellent on the children’s hands and close to their eyes, ears, and mouths. Insect repellent should also only be used on exposed skin and it should be washed off with soap and water once indoors.

5. Garden hoses. Many garden hoses, especially older ones or ones with brass fittings can contain high levels of lead. Lead in any amount is unsafe for children. Lead ingestion can lead to brain damage and developmental problems. Avoid allowing children to drink from hoses that say “do not drink” on them. Since children often drink the water in kiddie pools, it’s a good idea for parents and caregivers to only use water from hoses that are safe to drink out of to fill them.

With the proper precautions, parents and nannies can reduce the risk of summer backyard injuries. And less summer injuries means more summer fun for everyone.

Taken From Nanny Classifieds

10 Simple Gifts Women Can Love More Than Diamonds

Sparkling advice from Marilyn Monroe aside, there are things that some women treasure far more than costly jewels. In many cases, the things she’d love to receive the most from her significant other are simple, thoughtful gifts that show how much you care. These ten unpretentious gifts often sweep women off their feet in a way that diamonds simply can’t compete with:

  1. A Love Letter – In today’s electronic age, the handwritten love letter is a dying art. A heartfelt epistle extolling her virtues and declaring your steadfast affection is a surefire way to melt her heart far more than any jewel ever could.
  2. Handmade Gifts – Even sloppy or clumsy efforts will almost always be greeted with delight, because a handmade gift requires an investment of time and creative energy. Strolling through a jewelry store and peering into display cases might seem like a tedious effort to you, but she’s certain to be much more charmed by a gift you made solely for her with your own two hands.
  3. Something Specifically Tailored to Her – Even the most exquisite and extravagant pieces of jewelry are slightly impersonal. By presenting a gift that speaks exclusively to her and her interests, you can show the lady in your life that you’re listening when she speaks and that you know exactly who she is.
  4. A Weekend Getaway – Harried moms will be thrilled at the prospect of a quick, kid-free jaunt. With today’s prices, you can often secure accommodations at a nearby point of interest for the entire weekend for what you’d spend on one pricey trinket, and she’ll treasure the relaxed one-on-one time with you more than any piece of jewelry she can only wear on special occasions.
  5. A Scrapbook – Collecting photographs, ticket stubs and other mementos from your lives together and collating them into a scrapbook serves a dual purpose of showing her that you treasure your life spent together and condensing those tiny scraps into one book, where they’re less likely to create clutter or be lost.
  6. Her Birthstone – If you’re absolutely determined to give a gift of jewelry, choosing a piece that features your partner’s birthstone is one surefire way to ensure that it has the personal touch that she’ll appreciate.
  7. Honesty – One of the most important gifts you can give a partner is absolute honesty; it’s also a gift that can and should be given every day. The strongest relationships are those built upon a foundation of truth, so avoid the temptation to be less than honest in sticky situations.
  8. Your Undivided Attention – The fast pace and demanding nature of professional life today often leaves couples greeting each other largely in passing. Setting aside a special day to devote all of your attention to her is a gift that she’ll treasure for years to come.
  9. Something Personal to Your Relationship – A mix CD filled with songs that have special meaning to the two of you, a trip to the place where you first met, or other gifts that reference something specific to the two of you and your relationship are never-fail gifts for any woman.
  10. A Sincere Apology – If your gift-giving occasion is the result of a major misstep, a sincere apology will go much farther than a hastily-purchased gift encrusted with jewels. Acknowledging that you’ve done wrong and vowing to make every effort not to repeat it is the most important post-argument gift out there.

Of course, there is one diamond that truly is forever: the one in an engagement ring. If you and your honey have reached this level of commitment, there’s no gift that can compare to the one that symbolizes your love for her and your unwavering faith in your future together.

Taken From Top Dating Sites

10 Reasons Your Site Needs to Be Obvious for Users

There’s a fine line many web developers walk when designing their sites that toggles between coyness and pushiness. We don’t want to beat people over the head with our pitch, yet we fear losing visitors if we don’t make that pitch effectively. By pitch, of course, we’re talking about the message or intent of your website – telling the visitor what you want them to know. Answering the question your site is meant to answer. There are very good reasons why your site needs to be obvious to users, and we’re going to look at ten of them here:

  1. First Impressions – We all know the old adage about them, and it holds true as much online as anywhere else. If your visitor doesn’t get their question answered right away, or isn’t clear on what your site is about, they likely won’t come back to find out later.
  2. Distractions Lead to Detours – If there’s a lot going on all over your website, your visitor can easily overlook its import. You need to guide them to do what you want them to do and go where you want them to go before they get lost on a tangent that takes them someplace else.
  3. They Can’t Say Yes If You Don’t Ask – Visitors need to know what it is they need to do when they land on your page in order to get what they came for. Your site should be easy to navigate, and action buttons or windows should be prominently displayed above the fold.
  4. Short Attention Spans – Remember, more often than not your visitors will be coming from a search engine link. This means your site will be one among many options they have to find what they’re searching for so you need to tell them quickly and clearly why your site is the one they should use.
  5. Web Surfing = Channel Surfing – There’s a reason the terminology has been carried over to internet browsing: the psychology and methodology of the two are very similar. Web surfers are looking for a reason to stay put. If they don’t see one right away, you’re history.
  6. If You Lead, They Will Follow – People respond to clear instruction, and even prefer it. If you tell them exactly what to do, visitors are more likely to do just that and will appreciate the uncluttered, direct approach.
  7. Too Many Options = Too Many Wrong Choices – One of the wrong choices we’ve mentioned already is that they will leave your website. However, it’s also confusing and unnecessarily complicating your purpose to offer a visitor too many options. Provide the shortest path possible to your objective.
  8. Inspire Confidence – A website that asserts its message and establishes itself as a concise source of whatever the visitor is searching for tells them that they’re in the right place. They are less likely to continue their search if you make it plain that it isn’t necessary.
  9. Keep It Simple – Don’t put a lot of speed bumps or roadblocks in your visitor’s path. Have them click as few buttons and follow as few links as possible to arrive at their destination and your objective. Any extraneous action is just another opportunity to leave before they arrive.
  10. Page Ranking – When your content is relevant, high quality, and answers the visitor’s search query, your website will rank more highly in search results. That means more traffic coming to your pages, instead of turning them away.
Taken From Longhorn Leads

Thursday, June 28, 2012

7 Gas Saving Tips for the Summer

Summer is just around the corner, and temperatures aren’t the only things rising this time of year. High gas prices can really cramp your vacation plans and make tooling around town extra expensive. Thankfully, there are plenty of ways to cut back on your gas usage and make your fuel go further without having to avoid driving altogether. Check out these seven gas-saving tips for the summer:

  1. Walk/take public transportation:

    What better way to save gas than to limit your driving altogether? Cut back on driving as much as possible this summer by taking public transportation, biking, or walking to your destination. You’ll be amazed by all the things you can do and the places you can go without a car. Your wallet will thank you.

  2. Carpool:

    One of the best ways to save gas is to share the responsibility of driving. Not only does carpooling take the load off because you don’t have to drive every day, but you can also get to your destination quicker by taking the HOV lanes. Carpooling makes your fuel go further and is better for the environment. What could be better?

  3. Take cover:

    Did you know that gasoline can evaporate from your car’s gas task when it’s hot outside? And parking in direct sunlight on a hot day makes the gas evaporate even faster. Don’t let the high summer temps burn off your precious gas; opt for shaded parking spots and covered garages to keep your car cool and reduce gasoline waste from evaporation and a/c usage.

  4. Run your errands in one trip:

    Reduce your fuel consumption by running errands in one efficient outing. On your way home from the beach, baseball game, or museum, make a point to pick up your dry cleaning, go to the bank, stop at the grocery store, and take care of as many errands as possible before you call it a day. Grouping your errands together will prevent unnecessary trips and help you conserve your gas.

  5. Roll down/up the windows:

    Take in the sunshine and save a little gas by rolling down your car windows and turning off the a/c this summer. According to the experts at Popular Mechanics, if you’re driving below 55 mph, you can save fuel by opening the windows and turning off the a/c. If you’re driving 60 mph or higher, keep the windows closed and let the a/c run so you burn less fuel.

  6. Keep your tires inflated:

    Believe it or not, but your tire pressure actually plays an important role in your overall fuel economy. Underinflated tires can cause the vehicle to drag and waste gas. Keeping your tires properly inflated and monitoring the pressure several times a month can help you save precious gas and keep you safe on the road.

  7. Know where you’re going beforehand:

    Don’t just hop in the car and drive around aimlessly looking for the zoo or amusement park this summer. Know where you’re going before you get in the car, or plug it into your navigation system before you start driving so you don’t waste gas. Not only will you get to your destination faster, but you’ll also be less of a danger on the road because you’ll know where you’re going.

Taken From Auto Insurance Quotes

Throwing Down the Gauntlet History's 7 Most Famous Duels

In the modern world, we’re taught to apologize when we hurt someone’s feelings and be the bigger person when we are wronged. It’s really no fun at all. Remember the good old days when you could challenge someone to a duel with guns or swords over the smallest insult? “Are you insinuating that I’m fat? Duel!” You never knew when you entered a duel whether either of you would end up dead, which is what made it so exciting. These seven famous duels will get your blood pumping and, even though they sound pretty cool, maybe make you glad we don’t exchange gunfire anymore over Yo Mama jokes and stupid arguments.

  1. Alexander Hamilton vs. Aaron Burr:

    Politics in the U.S. used to get a lot dirtier than a few mud-slinging campaign ads. Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr had long been political rivals back in the days of early America. They’d had run-ins in the past, with Burr beating a Hamilton supporter for a Senate seat and Hamilton making sure Burr didn’t win the presidency. But in 1804, the two had had enough. Burr was running as an independent (rather than a Republican) in the New York governor’s race, and Hamilton kept him from taking needed Federalist votes. Burr lost the election and, after some insults were published, challenged Hamilton to a duel. Hamilton was shot and died the next day.

  2. Abraham Lincoln vs. James Shields:

    A petty duel seems like it’d be beneath good old Honest Abe, but in 1842, backing down from a challenge just wasn’t an option. Lincoln and James Shields had been in the Illinois state legislature together and gotten along fairly well despite being from opposing parties. But when Shields became State Auditor and started making controversial decisions, Lincoln reacted by writing letters to the editor of the newspaper full of satire and mean words. Shields challenged Lincoln to a duel in 1842, and the rest is history … that you probably never learned in history class. Since Lincoln had been challenged by Shields, he got to decide the terms of the duel and arranged a totally ridiculous scenario that would allow him to disarm Shields without killing him. They were to use broadswords on an island in a pit where they couldn’t cross onto the opponents side. Shields realized just how bad of a situation this was for him, with Lincoln being much taller with longer limbs, and the two settled things peacefully instead just before the fight was supposed to occur. Lincoln agreed to write an apologetic letter to Shields and all was forgiven.

  3. Stephen Decatur vs. James Barron:

    Stephen Decatur was an American naval hero, famous for protecting U.S. waters from pirates in the early 1800s. He fought alongside James Barron, who was later court martialed (by a board Decatur was a part of) and suspended from the navy for allowing his ship to be taken over by the British. Barron hung out overseas to wait out his expulsion, but even though it ended during the War of 1812, he didn’t try to return to his post until after the war. Decatur, in the meantime, had become a war hero again, and criticized Barron for his selfishness. Barron answered the criticism with a challenge to a duel, and the two ended up shooting each other. Barron was able to live with his wound, but Decatur died the following day.

  4. Lady Almeria Braddock vs. Mrs. Elphinstone:

    Duels are almost exclusively the game of prideful men, but this duel, known as The Petticoat Duel, was an exception. And boy, was it a pointless one. Back in 1792, Mrs. Elphinstone visited Lady Almeria Braddock at her home and insinuated that she was much older than she claimed to be. Those 18th century ladies don’t mess around, so they arranged a duel. They first used guns at 10 paces, but both of them missed so they moved on to swords. Braddock slightly injured Elphinstone’s arm, and they called it a day with very lady-like curtsies.

  5. Andrew Jackson vs. Charles Dickinson:

    Listen, guys, it is never cool to insult someone’s wife. In some cases, doing so can end in death. Andrew Jackson, before he was president, had a bit of a reputation for being a hot head and, according to some estimates, may have been involved in as many as 100 duels. Charles Dickinson, not to be confused with Charles Dickens, was an attorney and a rival horse breeder to Jackson. Dickinson accused Jackson of welshing on a horse-racing bet and then called his wife a bigamist (she had married Jackson unaware that her first husband hadn’t finalized the divorce). Jackson wasn’t going to take this lying down. He challenged Dickinson to a duel, Dickinson shot him in the chest, but Jackson was able to shoot and kill Dickinson. Jackson lived with the bullet in his chest for the rest of his life.

  6. Ben Jonson vs. Gabriel Spenser:

    We might think of Shakespearean times as a more gentle, romantic era, but that doesn’t stop men from wanting to defend their honor. Ben Jonson was an actor and playwright. He even featured William Shakespeare in the cast of his plays, and was lauded as a great writer by the renowned playwright. But early in his career, he got into a scuffle with fellow theater company member Gabriel Spenser. No one knows the exact cause of the fight, but the two dueled, and Spenser was killed. Jonson was charged with murder, but escaped death by using his knowledge of Latin to appear to be a clergyman, who under the law of the time couldn’t be punished in secular courts.

  7. Henry Clay vs. John Randolph:

    U.S. Senator John Randolph was well known for his insults, which he seemed to fling at anyone he didn’t agree with. In 1826, Secretary of State Henry Clay became the target of one of these remarks on the Senate floor. Randolph accused Clay of bargaining for his current position by allowing John Quincy Adams to have the presidency, and then made some confusing statement Clay took as an insult. Randolph wouldn’t explain what he meant exactly by his statement, so Clay challenged him to a duel. The first shots of both men missed their targets, and Clay’s second shot also missed. Instead of aiming at Clay, Randolph fired his second shot in the air, the two made up, and became good friends. Now why don’t more macho battles end that way?

Taken From Top 10 Online Universities

50 Important Links for Common Core Educators

Educators across the nation are working hard this summer to begin developing updated curricula that will fit into the new Common Core State Standards, which will be fully applied in 45 U.S. states (Texas, Alaska, Nebraska, Virginia, and Minnesota have opted out of statewide participation) by 2015. Yet despite the hubbub about the new standards, which were created as a means of better equipping students with the knowledge they need to be competitive in the modern world, many teachers still have a lot of unanswered questions about what Common Core will mean for them, their students, and their schools. Luckily, the Internet abounds with helpful resources that can explain the intricacies of Common Core, offer resources for curriculum development, and even let teachers keep up with the latest news on the subject. We’ve collected just a few of those great resources here, which are essential reads for any K-12 educator in a Common Core-adopting state.

Groups and Organizations

These links will take you to essential reading materials from the institutions and organizations behind Common Core.

  1. Common Core State Standards Initiative:

    This is the official site for the CCSSI, featuring information about the standards, news, resources, and answers to frequently asked questions.

  2. National Governors Association:

    The NGA played a major role in the development of Common Core, so their website is a great place to look for answers about the standards.

  3. Council of Chief State School Officers:

    The other major group behind Common Core is the CCSSO, an organization you can learn more about by visiting their site.

Useful Resources

Read up on Common Core, find out more about what it will mean for your classes, and get some help from educational providers and groups by following these links.

  1. CCSSI Wiki:

    One simple way to learn more about the CCSSI is to visit the program’s Wikipedia page, which is packed with useful information on the subject.

  2. Common Core 360:

    Common Core 360 is an educational network that offers webinars, training tools, news, and more to help teachers adapt to the new Common Core standards.

  3. MasteryConnect:

    Use the MasteryConnect site to track your students’ progress under the new Common Core system.

  4. Pearson Education Common Core State Standards:

    Pearson, a major educational publisher, offers access to numerous resources on Common Core. Visitors to the site will find everything from basic explanations to informative webinars.

  5. McGraw Hill Common Core Solutions:

    Educational publisher McGraw Hill is also reaching out to teachers when it comes to Common Core, loading up their website with tools for professional and curriculum development.

  6. Common Core Adoptions by State:

    The ASCD website offers up information on which states are adopting Common Core, along with links to each Common Core state website.

  7. The Common Core Institute:

    Teachers who are unsure about their expertise on Common Core should give the Common Core Institute a try. The organization offers Black Belt certification on Common Core, as well as a wealth of other conferences and professional development opportunities for teachers.

  8. Common Core Standards App:

    This iPhone application (it is also available for Android) lets teachers keep essential information about Common Core at their fingertips.

  9. ASCD Common Core Webinars:

    ASCD is working on new webinars on Common Core for this fall, but educators can take a look at their archived resources from earlier this year in the meantime.

  10. Common Core Workbook:

    Use this workbook from Achieve and the U.S. Education Delivery Institute to help guide the Common Core implementation process at your school.


    Here you’ll find an organization dedicated to ensuring that the Common Core is about more than just reading and math, instead promoting a well-rounded education that includes reading literature, studying culture, and engaging with the arts.

Curriculum Development

These sites offer a wealth of resources for helping you develop curricula that meets Common Core standards.

  1. The Mathematics Common Core Toolbox:

    Districts and teachers alike can find support for building better math lessons that fit into new Common Core guidelines through this helpful site.

  2. Khan Academy Common Core Map:

    Those who’ve been using Khan Academy videos and lessons in the classroom can see how each relates to new Common Core standards using this map.

  3. Literacy Design Collaborative:

    The LDC offers templates, modules, and guidebooks for teachers that make it simple to develop engaging literacy lessons under Common Core.

  4. Illustrative Mathematics:

    Get some guidance on the mathematics topics covered at every grade level under Common Core.

  5. Teaching Channel:

    The Teaching Channel site offers just over 100 videos on Common Core lessons, ideas, and more.

  6. Achieve the Core:

    This website encourages teachers to steal its tools for curriculum development.

  7. Lexile:

    Is that text at grade level? Use this handy online tool to measure a text for readability.

  8. AASL Lesson Plan Database:

    The American Association of School Librarians has loads of lesson plans and checklists for teachers that fall under Common Core standards.

  9. Surveys of Enacted Curriculum:

    Use reliable data to develop, plan, and compare your curriculum when you visit this site’s archive of PDF reports.


You can get regular reading material on the subject of CCSS by following any or all of these blogs.

  1. Common Core:

    Head to this blog to read updates about Common Core news and other educational topics on a regular basis.

  2. Pearson Common Core Blog:

    Part of the Common Core resources offered by Pearson is a blog, full of articles on a range of educational topics.

  3. Tools for the Common Core Standards:

    This blog is an excellent resource for learning about new tools that help support Common Core implementation in schools.

  4. Common Core Blog:

    Offering links to Common Core tools, news, articles, and more, this blog is a great resource for learning about Common Core.

  5. The Core Knowledge Blog:

    Find a wealth of high-quality articles on teaching topics (especially Common Core) on this blog on the Core Knowledge Foundation’s site.

  6. Core Commons:

    Follow this blog to read more about emerging strategies and issues in implementing the Common Core standards.

  7. The Learning Network:

    The Learning Network blog, part of the New York Times‘ website, regularly publishes articles on Common Core.

  8. Common Core Facts:

    Get an opposing view on Common Core by reading this blog.

  9. All Things Common Core:

    Educators can learn from fellow teachers about the challenges of applying Common Core in their district from this blog.

State Tools

Some states have created helpful websites for teachers all about Common Core. Here, we share a few that can be useful to teachers all over the United States.

  1. Resources for Implementing the Common Core State Standards:

    The Indiana Department of Education offers a number of CCSS resources on their website, including a number of informative articles and videos.

  2. NC Common Core Support Tools:

    North Carolina is making it easier for teachers in the state (and in others) to apply Common Core by collecting this incredibly useful set of tools.

  3. NYC Common Core Library:

    Any lingering questions you have about Common Core will undoubtedly be answered by this comprehensive site from the NYC Department of Education.

  4. TNCore:

    Tennessee has built an entire website to help teachers with Common Core, with resources on Math, English, and other disciplines.

  5. CDE Implementation Toolkit:

    Here, the Colorado Department of Education has a number of design tools teachers can use to move into the new standards.

  6. Engage NY:

    From a Common Core toolkit to curriculum exemplars, the New York Common Core website has loads of great resources teachers can use.

  7. ODE Model Curriculum:

    Head to this Ohio Department of Education site to find model curriculum resources for all Common Core subjects.

Articles and Presentations

These articles and videos offer different perspectives on Common Core, some supporting it while others doubt it, essential reading for any educator looking for a well-rounded perspective on the matter.

  1. A First Look at the Common Core and College and Career Readiness:

    In this report, ACT takes a look at how Common Core standards will help to better prepare students for college and the working world.

  2. Common Core standards drive wedge in education circles:

    Not all teachers support Common Core, and as this article from USA Today points out, it’s creating a rift between some educators.

  3. Embracing the Common Core: Helping Students Thrive:

    Download this presentation by Stan Heffner and Michael Cohen on what Common Core means for today’s students.

  4. Putting a Price Tag on the Common Core: How Much Will Smart Implementation Cost?:

    With school districts already strapped for cash, it makes sense to consider the financial impact of Common Core, which you can learn more about from this Fordham Institute read.

  5. Why Common Core standards will fail:

    Well-known Washington Post education columnist Jay Matthews doesn’t think Common Core is the answer. Check out this editorial to see why.

  6. Research Finds 97% of Teachers are Now Favorable Towards Common Core Standards:

    Are you among the 97% of teachers who support Common Core? Learn about the battle to get teachers on board, here.

  7. For CCSS Math Education Some Problems are Elementary:

    Stuart Singer brings up some pretty important points when it comes to how Common Core will affect math education.

  8. Common Core won’t likely boost student achievement, analysis says:

    The Brookings Institution believes that Common Core won’t help students improve their achievement. Their study is discussed in detail here by Valerie Strauss.

  9. No Need to Fear the Common Core Standards:

    This New York Times article assures teachers that Common Core standards are nothing to fear, and are actually already having benefits in schools.

  10. Primer on Common Core State Standards:

    Head to this site for a helpful primer on the basics of Common Core Standards.

  11. The Impact of Common Core State Standards on Your Student:

    Have you had parents asking you about Common Core? Not sure what to tell them? This article can help, by explaining the new system in an easily understandable way.

Taken From Online Colleges

7 Tips for Turning Your Home Into a Vacation Rental

Do you have an amazing beachfront property, romantic cabin in the woods, or a quaint house in the ‘burbs, but don’t want to stay all year round? Instead of moving out or continuing to pay top dollar for a home you barely use, why not turn your humble abode into an awesome vacation rental and make some serious money? But it’s not all fun and games. Turning your home into a successful vacation rental takes a lot of work and effort on your part. Get started by checking out these seven tips for turning your home into a vacation rental below.

  1. Make it uniquely special:

    When people go on vacation, they want a place that’s cozy and warm, but not just like home. They want different amenities they can’t get at home like a pool, hot tub, and amazing views of the beach, mountains, golf course, etc. Before you put your home on the vacation rental market, you’ll want to make sure your home is uniquely special or offers something you can’t get just anywhere. Be sure to accentuate these special features and promote them proudly in your description.

  2. Get a good house cleaning service:

    If you’re going to turn your home into a vacation rental, you’d better be prepared to deal with trash and messes or hire someone who is. Even if your guests clean up afterwards and take out the trash, you, or someone else, will still need to wash the linens, put away the dishes, clean the floors, sanitize the bathroom, and much more. Your property should always be spick-and-span before each guest arrives.

  3. Give a detailed description:

    If you want your vacation rental to be a big success, you should give a detailed description of your home, amenities, and local attractions. Just as a hotel would describe their accommodations, you should also inform potential guests about the property’s furnishings, appliances, linens, towels, pool, gym, etc. The more specific, the better.

  4. Decide who will manage the property:

    Before you start renting your home out to vacationers, you need to decide who will manage the property. If you live in the area or will be a short drive away, you may find it easier to manage the property yourself, or have a family member or close friend do the work. Whoever manages the property will need to oversee all repairs, maintenance, landscaping, mortgages, and paperwork.

  5. Set up ground rules:

    If you’re going to rent out your home for vacationers, you need to set up ground rules to make sure your place and all of your belongings are taken care of. Think about these ground rules carefully and make sure you are very clear about pets, smoking, cleaning policies, maximum occupancy, and other important issues. It may take a few trials to see what works and what doesn’t work.

  6. Draft a detailed contract:

    Drafting a detailed contract is one of the trickiest and most necessary parts of turning your home into a vacation rental. Contracts lay out all the rules and regulations of renting your property. It is the binding agreement between you and your guests, in which you’ll both sign and date. You can make your contract as short or long as you see fit, but you might want to include details on minimum and maximum stay, maximum occupancy, rental rules, access, rental rates and fees, insurance, cancellation policy, and so on.

  7. Take quality pictures of your property:

    In addition to a very thorough description of the home and accommodations, you’ll also want to take good quality photos of your property. Be sure to take photos of the bedrooms, bathrooms, kitchen, living room, and especially the exterior. You want to capture the essence of your home and make it look as inviting and homey as possible.

Taken From Home Insurance

10 Tweets that Summarize the Book the Hobbit

The Hobbit, the first published work by J.R.R. Tolkien, spawned the intricately detailed world that would give rise to his epic Lord of the Rings trilogy by establishing the world and creatures of Middle Earth. Introducing the world to Bilbo Baggins, The Hobbit is among the most beloved books ever published. And if Twitter had been around when the Hobbit was first published, these are the 10 tweets that would effectively summarize the story before Frodo’s journey begins:

  1. “The wizard @Gandalf invited me on an adventure today! I assured him that I don’t have the #Took adventurous streak.” – As the story opens, readers discover that Bilbo Baggins is quite fond of living quietly, unlike his Took ancestors who exhibited a shocking love of adventure. Gandalf appears and asks Bilbo if he’d like to go on an adventure, and he quickly states that he would not. In the interest of being polite, he extends Gandalf an invitation to come over for tea sometime, but secretly hopes that he’ll do no such thing. Bilbo is shocked to find a troupe of dwarves at his door the next afternoon; he lets them in reluctantly and is bewildered until he discovers that Gandalf has volunteered his services as a burglar for their upcoming adventure. Bilbo protests that this is certainly not the case, and the dwarves are skeptical about Gandalf’s claims that he’d be an asset to the group. After talk of treasure, dragons and battles, the Took side of him overrides his respectable Hobbit fondness for staying home.
  2. “During the skirmish with the #Goblins at the Misty Mountains I found a small ring and a creature called @Gollum.” – Setting the stage for the events of The Lord of the Rings, Bilbo is separated from Gandalf and the group of dwarves at the Misty Mountains. Sneaking through the goblin halls, he happens upon a golden ring that he places in his pocket and subsequently forgets about. As he approaches an underground lake with an island in the middle he spies Gollum. After a series of riddles, Bilbo slips on the ring and follows Gollum out of the tunnels with the aid of the invisibility granted by the ring.
  3. “We entered #Mirkwood without @Gandalf, who warned us not to leave the forest path.” – Despite Gandalf’s advice to stray from the path under no circumstances, Bilbo and the dwarves run out of food and wander into the forest. Stumbling onto the Wood elves, Thorin is taken prisoner as the rest of the retinue takes cover.
  4. “Finally, #DurinsDay has arrived! A keyhole appeared in the door, which led into the #LonelyMountain.” – Taking advantage of the invisibility granted by the power of the ring, Bilbo steals from the dragon, Smaug. He takes note of a weak point in the dragon’s scales and relates it to the dwarves; a nearby bird hears this information as well.
  5. “I found the #ArkenstoneOfThrain that @Thorin wants. My instincts tell me to keep this acquisition to myself.” – The dwarf Thorin wants the Arkenstone of Thrain desperately; Bilbo finds it immediately upon creeping into Smaug’s store of treasures. Though he doesn’t have a solid reason to feel as he does, Bilbo follows his hunch to keep the Arkenstone and its discovery a secret.
  6. “Heated debate has broken out between @Bard, the @ElvenkingOfMirkwood and @Thorin about the #Treasure!” – When news of Smaug’s defeat spreads, a bitter dispute breaks out regarding his stores of treasure. Though Bard killed the dragon and his friends with the Elvenking of Mirkwood, who also hopes to gain a share of the riches, Thorin refuses to allow Bard access to the treasure. In the interest of preventing a war, Bilbo secretly gives Bard the Arkenstone as a bargaining tool.
  7. “Before negotiations could commence, @Gandalf returned with news of an alliance between the #goblins and the #Wargs.” – Banding together against the goblins and the Wargs, the humans, elves and dwarves march into battle.
  8. “@Beorn the bear-man and a flock of #eagles appeared and offered their assistance in battle against the #Wargs and #goblins.” – As the battle rages, the combined efforts of the elves, dwarves and humans don’t seem to be enough to defeat the Wargs and goblins. Beorn the bear-man and a flock of giant eagles offer their assistance, helping the group achieve a victory over the alliance.
  9. “@Thorin is wounded!” – In the skirmish with the goblins and Wargs, Thorin is mortally wounded. His last wish is to repair his friendship with Bilbo, realizing that friendship is more valuable than gold. Bitterly grieving Thorin’s death, Bilbo finds himself tired of adventures and longing for home.
  10. “I’ve returned to my home under #TheHill, with @Gandalf as my escort. #TheresNoPlaceLikeHome” – At the end of his adventure, Bilbo is escorted back to the Hill by Gandalf and presented with his portion of the treasure. With the respect of those that he shared his encounters with and the Ring that would shape the next chapter in Middle Earth’s history, Bilbo ends the story safe in his home.

When readers encounter Bilbo again at the beginning of The Fellowship of the Ring, he’s been changed from the endearing, eccentric character that Gandalf first approached with offers of adventure. The power of the ring that would later become “The Ring” takes its toll on the little Hobbit, leaving his cousin and ward Frodo to continue the legacy of adventuring began by Bilbo in this tale.

Taken From Internet Service

8 College Sports That Don't Get Enough Love

There’s no doubt about it — college football and men’s basketball dominate the collegiate sports arena. These sports draw in the biggest crowds and the most money from ticket sales, alumni donations, and advertising, forcing all other college sports to take a backseat. College football and men’s college basketball will never lose their popularity, but don’t you think we could make a little room for the other sports that are just as tough and demanding? Here are eight college sports that don’t get enough love.

  1. Tennis:

    Men’s and women’s tennis is adored by millions of people worldwide, but the love and support doesn’t seem to be the same for college tennis as it is for professional tennis. Anyone who’s ever played tennis knows it’s a very difficult sport and it takes a lot of technical skills and athleticism to play. Perhaps it’s the fact that tennis is not a team sport or maybe it’s the country club association that turns people away from the sport, but one thing’s for sure — tennis is a tough sport that deserves your attention!

  2. Wrestling:

    You’ve probably seen it depicted in TV and movies, but when was the last time you checked out a college wrestling match? Maybe your college doesn’t have a wrestling team, or maybe you have zero interest in watching sweaty guys grappling on a mat. Whatever the excuse, it’s pretty clear that college wrestling doesn’t have the strong following and popularity that football, basketball, and baseball have. Wrestling is an obscure sport and it’s not available at all high schools. When wrestling isn’t available at the middle or high school level, it’s much harder for athletes to get involved in the sport and compete in college.

  3. Volleyball:

    Volleyball might be popular in high school and played on beaches every summer, but the sport doesn’t get as much love at the college level as there should be. Maybe it has to do with the lack of professional volleyball options after college or the fact that it’s predominantly played by women, but college volleyball deserves way more support and respect.

  4. Women’s basketball:

    Traditionally, women’s sports don’t draw as much attention or have as big of a fan base as men’s sports, and a good example of this is women’s college basketball. Men’s college basketball is easily one of the most popular sports in college, but many schools couldn’t care less about their women’s basketball teams, and that’s a sad, sad fact. Women’s basketball may use a smaller ball and a slightly closer three-point line, but these ladies work and train just as hard as the men.

  5. Lacrosse:

    Lacrosse is a unique mix of several very popular sports like football, soccer, hockey, and even baseball. But despite its popular sport foundation, lacrosse is not nearly as popular as other major sports in college. Many people don’t understand or can’t relate to the game because it is so unique. After all, very few lacrosse games are televised, and the act of throwing and catching a lacrosse ball is a special skill that takes years of training to perfect. But lacrosse is just as fast paced, just as brutal, and just as thrilling as football, and it deserves more love than it gets.

  6. Gymnastics:

    With fewer than 100 colleges competing in gymnastics, it’s no surprise that this rare and physically demanding sport doesn’t get enough love from college sports fans. Gymnastics is an extremely tough sport that requires a great deal of flexibility, agility, balance, coordination, and physical strength. It shouldn’t take the 2012 Summer Olympics for the country to start taking notice of these hardworking athletes. Go support your college gymnastics team today!

  7. Soccer:

    For years, soccer has been treated like the red-headed stepchild of American sports, so it’s no real surprise that college soccer doesn’t get enough love either. Even though soccer is not America’s favorite pastime, there’s no reason why it can’t become a bigger part of our culture. If you’ve ever been to a college soccer match, then you know how incredibly fit and tough these players are. Not only do soccer players run an average of six miles per game, but they also get kicked, tripped, and hit all game long. College soccer players’ athleticism is quite a spectacle and deserves a lot more love from sports fans.

  8. Hockey:

    Hockey is a unique and challenging sport with a rabid following of players and fans, but most of them are rooting for the professionals and not college kids. Hockey is simply not as popular as other sports because it is a difficult sport to play. It requires elaborate and expensive equipment and the unique ability to ice skate. In addition, hockey generally requires either cold weather or specialty ice rinks, both of which are not as widely available as, say, a football field. Despite these hurdles, hockey is an incredibly exciting, often brutal, and extremely fun to watch sport. It simply doesn’t get the love it deserves.

Taken From Hat Toss

12 Reasons Community Service Should Be Required Schools

For most people, volunteering is an extra; something that's nice to do, but not absolutely necessary. Although plenty of students do community service, the number of students who volunteer is dropping at a rapid rate. Consider this: college student volunteerism peaked in 2004 at 31.2%, and in 2010, got down to 26.1%. Nearly three-fourths of students are missing out on an incredibly enriching experience that can benefit them not just personally, but professionally as well. Why is this such a big deal? Read on to understand 12 reasons why community service is so vital to student success, and why volunteering should be required in schools.

  1. Service learning has been associated with academic gain:

    Students who participate in community service learning tend to do better in school. It's believed that community service is somewhat of a missing link for students, giving them the chance to apply what they've learned in the classroom to real human needs. Volunteering is a great way to follow up on and supplement subjects that have been covered in the classroom.

  2. Students often experience an increased sense of self-efficacy:

    Students who do community service work learn that they can actually make a difference with what they do. This helps students better understand their own competence, leading to more self-confidence and a can-do attitude that can spread to their work and academic pursuits.

  3. Students who participate in community service are more likely to grow up to become voters:

    Youths who take part in volunteering activities become more involved in their communities, and as a result, tend to care more about what happens in those communities. Often, students who have participated in community service will grow up to become young voters and remain involved in their communities throughout their lives.

  4. Community service is a great problem-solving skill builder:

    Students participating in community service are often faced with challenges and tough problems to tackle. By working through them as a volunteer, they learn how to better solve problems, and enjoy the satisfaction of overcoming a hurdle.

  5. Volunteering has health benefits:

    Creating a lifelong habit of community service can help students become more healthy over the course of a lifetime. Research has shown that individuals who participate in volunteering have better physical and mental health than those who do not, especially among adults aged 65 or older.

  6. Volunteering makes students more attractive to potential employers:

    Taking part in community service teaches students skills that are valuable to employers, like problem solving, teamwork, and the ability to follow instructions. Volunteering is especially valuable when it is related to a student's future career.

  7. Students can enjoy excellent networking opportunities:

    Community service opens students up to a wealth of networking opportunities, allowing them to build new relationships within their community as they contribute. Students can meet new people, work with new organizations, and strengthen their ties to the community.

  8. Students find a sense of responsibility and pride:

    As students work within their community, they learn that they can be responsible for making great things happen. This helps to build a sense of responsibility in students, and a sense of pride when they see what they've done is actually helping others.

  9. Community service brings learning beyond the classroom:

    Volunteering allows students to take what they've learned and apply it beyond the classroom. This offers the opportunity for enrichment and a great way for them to see how concepts they've learned work in the real world.

  10. Volunteering offers an opportunity for skill building:

    Participating in community service allows students to build upon their existing skill sets. As students work in a real-life setting, they can use volunteering projects to explore and improve upon existing skills. Students can explore potential careers and find out what they need to develop in order to work in the field.

  11. Volunteering may lead to scholarships:

    Students who participate in volunteering opportunities may be able to find more scholarships than they would without such experience. As community service offers students a way to build their network, they'll be creating connections with more people who can write letters of recommendation, and often, certain community service organizations offer their own scholarship opportunities.

  12. Volunteering is one big team building opportunity:

    As students work in community service programs, they'll learn how to better work in teams. Often, students will also learn to develop leadership skills as well. This is valuable not just for schoolwork, but for higher education, careers, and further community involvement.

Taken From Online College

10 Old School Subjects Making a Big Comeback

It makes perfect sense that in an education system focused on readying students for standardized tests with a few particular categories, coupled with the need to prepare them for an increasingly digital world, some subjects that had been taught for decades faded out of fashion. And yet, if the current state of education in this country is any indication, we may have been a bit too quick to let some of those old subjects die. In the last few years, these dozen courses have been making a strong comeback at high schools and colleges in the U.S.

  1. Ethics:

    More than a decade of high-profile ethics abuses has created a surge in a subject that had largely fallen off the map. Business schools especially, like those at Philadelphia University and MIT, have revamped their MBA programs to make ethics a key component. Other colleges have offerings on ethics from different angles, from Harvard’s popular Ethical Reasoning 28: “Moral Inquiry in the Novels of Tolstoy and Dostoevsky,” to “Eat Your Values: The Ethics of Food” at Centre College in Kentucky.

  2. Technical:

    Once a staple of high schools across the country, vocational classes teaching technical skills like woodworking or automotive skills virtually disappeared as schools zeroed in on academics. But the classes are starting to reappear, and interest is surging. An April 2006 poll found 90% of 9th- and 10th-graders in California would find school more interesting if they could take vocational classes. That year, Gov. Schwarzenegger set aside $100 million for providing those classes. North Carolina and Florida also increased funding. Several Texas high schools offers the classes in topics like robotics, photojournalism, and welding.

  3. Latin:

    Ipsa scientia potestas est … knowledge itself is power. Education in Latin goes back to the Puritans, but it’s taken a recent surge in popularity to keep it from becoming a truly dead language in American schools. New York City educators from high schools like Maspeth High and Nightingale-Bamford recently testified to the current public mood that the study of Latin is beneficial for students. Three thousand miles away in Oregon, Latin has taken off at Portland High, serving almost twice the number of students it did a decade ago.

  4. Home economics:

    A recent The New York Times article calling for a return of home ec classes proved the subject is poised for a big comeback, if it hasn’t already begun. Now referred to as “Family and Consumer Sciences (FACS),” the classes can be found at high schools like Northglenn High in Denver, Hopkins in Minnesota, Cherokee High in New Jersey, and many other places around the country. Colorado State University , Kansas State, and Texas State University are three notable colleges offering degrees in teaching FACS.

  5. Agriculture:

    Until a few generations ago, agriculture was the backbone of the American economy, and ag education reflected that. But with the move to an information-driven economy, interest faded in many areas, until recently. A community-driven movement to have the FFA program brought back to the Independence Community School District in Iowa recently succeeded for the classes of 2013 and 2014. And the biggest school district in Nebraska recently made plans to dedicate nearly $300,000 to up to five ag classes over the next three years.

  6. Grammar:

    A few moments browsing the Internet should be enough to satisfy you that grammar instruction is a thing of the past. But a decision by the College Board — the group that administers the SAT — to include grammar questions by 2005 has since caused an uptick in the subject’s popularity. The National Council of Teachers subsequently reversed its stance against the teaching of grammar. Westfield High School in Virginia is one of the schools in the state that, with its neighbor Maryland and other states, is witnessing a return to grammar instruction.

  7. Abstinence-only sex ed:

    Teaching kids only about completely refraining from sexual activity in a sex ed class is definitely an old school way of handling the subject. And yet, abstinence-only education is enjoying a long day in the sun right now. This year, Wisconsin’s legislature passed an abstinence-only bill, while a Utah legislature bill banned the teaching of contraceptives altogether. Most recently, in Tennessee, the State Senate has gone so far as to define hand-holding as a “gateway sexual activity” in its abstinence-only curriculum.

  8. Philosophy:

    From 2001 to 2011, the number of philosophy graduates from four-year schools grew 46%. And despite what many may think about the degree’s usefulness, graduates say they are great to have in a weak economy because they prepare students to work virtually anywhere. The universities of Pittsburgh, Massachusetts, Texas A&M, and Notre Dame have all had twice as many philosophy majors in recent years as they did in the ’90s. Rutgers and Colorado State have also had big gains in the number of students entering the major recently.

  9. Yiddish:

    What’s more old school than a language created in the 10th century? Yiddish nearly disappeared when millions of speakers lost their lives in the Holocaust. Now, several colleges in the U.S. and Canada are working to preserve it by teaching it to students. At Atlanta’s Emory University, students learn Yiddish grammar and songs that they perform at area nursing homes. Rutgers offers courses in the language, the literature, and the culture of Yiddish and its native speakers. The University of Massachusetts offers Yiddish instruction as part of its Near Eastern Studies class.

  10. Personal Finance:

    Teaching kids how to handle money responsibly was once primarily a subject handled by parents or worked out through trial and error by students. However, tough economic times and huge amounts of student loan debt have made personal finance instruction a necessity, and colleges are stepping up in a big way. The NYU School of Continuing and Professional Studies offers several courses, and more students are starting to show interest in them. Similar courses can be had at Washington University, Drexel University, Kansas University, among other schools.

Taken From Best Colleges Online