National Canoe Day

National Canoe Day- June 26



Have you ever heard of National Canoe Day? Well, it is a real holiday that is celebrated all over the world.

A radio station in Canada conducted a national poll and the canoe was voted one of the seven wonders of Canada. So, The Canadian Canoe Museum in Peterborough, Ontario decided to host a huge event on June 26th. Everyone was invited, they had music, food and everyone could ride canoes through the historic Peterborough Lift Lock. People had such a great time that the Mayor of Peterborough declared June 26th National Canoe Day. It doesn’t matter what you do or where you go on that day, just do it in a canoe!


The first canoe was called the Pesse canoe. It was constructed sometime between 8200-7600 BC and found in the Netherlands. The canoe was made from a pine tree that was dug out by hand using flint and stone tools. This canoe is still on exhibit today in the Drents Museum in Assen, Netherlands.




Canoes were originally used for transportation, fur trading, and catching food. A canoe is a narrow vessel, usually pointed at both ends and open on top. The hull design of a canoe differs depending on its use. Through the years, canoes have been made from tree trunks, birch bark, and synthetic materials such as fiberglass and aluminum.



Do you know the difference between a canoe and kayak? Most people think that they are pretty much the same thing, but they are not. In a canoe, the person either kneels on the bottom of the boat or sits on a raised seat/bench, the sides are higher, they have open tops, and the canoe paddle has a blade on one end. Kayaks seats are at the bottom of the Kayak, the tops are closed in and the are blades on both ends of the paddle.



Make sure to check your local community calendar, on June 26, 2019, to see where all the awesome canoe activities are taking place!



Celebrating National Canoe Day is easy, just get in your canoe and paddle! You will feel the freedom and love the adventure. Enjoy the scenery, relax, and let the water take you away.

Media Souces: Pixabay
Media Sources: wikimedia

The History Behind Valentine’s Day and Why We Celebrate it!

The History Behind Valentine’s Day!

The Roman’s had a festival called The Feast of Lupercalia that was celebrated in the middle of February.

An Emperor named Claudius II executed two men with the same name, Valentine, in different years, on the same day February 14th.

The first Valentine was a Roman Priest and was caught and thrown in prison for marrying. Later he was executed.

The second Valentine was a Temple Priest who helped Christians marry.

They were honored by the Catholic Church in which became Valentine’s Day on February 14th.


 The Reason We Celebrate Valentine’s Day!

Since legend has it that both the Valentines were romantic, and both became Saints, St. Valentine’s Day became known to be

the romantic holiday for couples, a time to celebrate romance and love.


Even children love making Valentine’s Day cards.

In this video it shows children and parents how to make some neat Valentine’s Day cards of their own at home!

Sources: Pixabay

May is National BBQ Month – Grilling Around the World

National BBQ Month is an unofficial holiday and an exciting way to kick off the start to summer! In this article we will take a look at some of the ways American’s celebrate during the warm summer months. We will also look at some of the ways cultures from around the world use grills and the different foods they use to barbecue!

Barbecuing in the United States is national past time during those hot summer months! In a 2013 study conducted by the Hearth, Patio & Barbecue Association (HPBA) showed that 80 percent of all U.S. households own a grill. Families in the United States, fire up their grills for all sorts of foods, but mostly for hot dogs, hamburgers, and chicken.

Satay - Image Source:

In a recent info graphic by Kalamazoo Gourmet, they set out a list of 15 countries and their grilling habits. The huge variety in grilled foods around the world means that what we eat is all about where we live. Even grills in other countries look quite different from our charcoal or propane powered grills in the U.S.

Turkey is the birthplace of the shish kebob! In Turkish “shish” means “the skewer”. Typically, the shish kebob will have lamb, beef, poultry or fish. Unlike how kebobs are usually made in the United States, with vegetables placed between the meat on the same skewer. In Turkey the vegetables are grilled separately, normally not on the same skewer.

Grilling in Southeast Asia and Indonesia is very similar to grilling in the United States and Turkey. They use small portable charcoal grills to make a dish called “satay”. Satay is a dish of seasoned, skewered and grilled meat, served with a sauce.

Asado - Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

Much like the Turkish shish kebob and the Indonesian satay, the Japanese prepare their own type of skewered grilled meat called Yakitori. Traditional Japanese yakitori is skewered chicken that is typically seasoned with tare sauce (a sweetened, thickened soy sauce) and grilled on a tabletop grill called a hibachi.

The way of grilling in South America is quite a bit different in style then the traditional barbecue. A fire is made on the ground or in a fire pit and surrounded by metal crosses (asadores) that hold the entire carcass of an animal splayed open to receive the heat from the fire. This way of grilling in South American countries is called Asado, the standard word for “barbecue”.

Tandoor - Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

In India, grilling is done by using a Tandoor which is a 5-foot-high round sided clay oven. Typically, naan bread is grilled by pressing the dough against the side of the tandoor. Tandoori chicken and grilled pineapples are also popular items to be grilled in this method





What you may not know is that there are even more distinct — and delicious! — grilling styles all over the world! Check out the info graphic below from Kalamazoo Gourmet to see other types of grilling in other countries from around the world! Let us know which style is most intriguing to you!

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King Penguins Image Source:

April 25 is World Penguin Day while January 20th is Penguin Awareness Day. When you are that cute, you deserve to have two whole days to celebrate!

World Penguin Day originated to celebrate the time when penguins would start their migration back towards the ocean after spending the harsh winter months inland in Antarctica.

How will you be celebrating #WorldPenguinDay?

Maybe try a couple of these at home experiments!

Hats Off to Dr. Seuss’s Birthday!

Image Source: ©2014

Wishing Dr. Seuss a very Happy Birthday today! 

Theodore Seuss Geisel was famous for his work in children’s literature, most notably for The Cat in the Hat, Green Eggs and Ham, How the Grinch Stole Christmas and many others. 

Quite possibly Dr. Seuss’ most influential book was The Lorax. It quickly became an icon for environmental conservation. Dr. Seuss states “It’s a book about going easy on what we’ve got. It’s anti-pollution and anti-greed.” The Lorax the movie was released on March 2, 2012, the last of 4 major motion pictures released based on his books. 

Here is a related activity for teaching your students about the environment and Dr. Seuss:

Leap Year Day 2016

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In case you have not heard, today is Leap Year Day! Almost every 4 years we get the chance to celebrate this day! Why do you ask? It takes some understanding of our solar system and time to figure out why a leap day exists.

The way we measure time on Earth is a bit complicated. Years are measured by the length of time it takes our planet to orbit the sun. We call this a “solar”  year.  The precise measure of a solar year is 365.24219 days. Those numbers at the end of the decimal point add up. Without any sort of adjustment for the extra quarter of a day, seasons as we know them would eventually become very different. Winter would feel like summer and Summer would feel like Winter! 

In 1582, Pope Gregory XIII established the Gregorian calendar and introduced the century rule.

“If a leap year falls on a century, a year ending in double zeroes, you only add a leap day if it’s divisible by 400,” physicist Judah Levine, a man the Washington Post once dubbed “the nation’s timekeeper” says. “For that reason 1900 wasn’t a leap year but 2000 was.” 

In 2100, we’ll skip it again, forcing leap babies to wait a total of eight years to celebrate their birthday. 

According to the rules set forth in the Gregorian calendar leap years have occurred or will occur during the following years:

Notice that 2000 was a leap year because it is divisible 400, but that 1900 was not a leap year.

One of the biggest debates among leap babies is which date they celebrate their birthdays during off years!  Some opt for Feb. 28, saying the last day of February is most accurate, while others insist March 1 is more correct because they were born the day following Feb. 28. Then there’s the camp that believes time of day is the determining factor—if you were born in the morning, the 28th is yours, but if you were delivered past noon, it’s the 1st. 
Hope all you Leap Babies have a wonderful day today!

Celebrating Martin Luther King Jr. Day!

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Martin Luther King, Jr. Day  is observed on the third Monday of January each year, which is around King’s actual birthday of January 15. Martin Luther King Jr. was best known for his leadership during the Civil Rights Movement as well as delivering one of the most famous speeches in American History. The “I Have A Dream” speech was delivered at the March on Washington on August 28, 1963.

Watch the “I Have A Dream” speech here:

The best way to honor Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. is to take part in the National Day of Service in his name.  The MLK Day of Service challenges Americans to transform into volunteers for a day. This day of service was signed into law by President Bill Clinton on August 23, 1994.

For more information and lesson plans to teach about Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. please visit these links from TeacherVision.

Celebrating Louis Braille’s 206th Birthday!

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Louis Braille was born on January 4th, 1809 in a small town near Paris, France. After an accident with a sharp tool in his father’s workshop, Louis injured one of his eyes. Later the wound became infected, resulting in loss of vision in both of his eyes at the age of 3 years old. Louis quickly realized he needed an easier way to learn other than just listening to his professors speak. So he took a military 12 dot code and ironed out the system into 6 dots all by the time he was 15 years old. Braille wasn’t fully taught to blind students until after Louis death in 1852. It finally began to spread worldwide in 1968. 

Louis Braille first discovered a military communication system devised by Captain Charles Barbier of the French Army in 1821. Barbier willingly shared his invention called “night writing” which was a code of dots and dashes impressed into thick paper. These impressions could be interpreted entirely by the fingers, letting soldiers share information on the battlefield without having light or needing to speak. However, the “night writing” turned out to be  too complex to use. But it inspired Braille to develop a system of his own.


So how does Braille work? 

First any students learning to read Braille must start with learning the alphabet, just like any sighted person learning to read.

, via Wikimedia Commons”]According to Amber Pearcy, a proofreader at the National Braille Press in Boston, there are two levels of braille — grade 1 braille or uncontracted braille, which is where every letter is written by itself. Or there is grade 2 braille also known as contracted braille. That’s where there is a series of signs or short forms to help condense braille. So, for example, if you take her name, Amber, you would write A M B and then there’s a sign for ER.

Braille Is Not Stuck In the Past

Despite the ease and convenience that technological advancements afford, braille isn’t going anywhere. Pearcy says that audio “won’t ever replace braille because…you can’t tell anything about grammar by listening, you can’t learn how to spell words.… There’s always going to be a place for braille.”  

However, the blind can still use modern technology. There are devices called Refreshable Braille Displays that pair up with e-readers, iPhones, iPads, and computers. They are made up of a bunch of little pins that pop up and form the different dots.

, via Wikimedia Commons”] 


December 6-12 – Hand Washing Awareness Week

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The goal of National Handwashing Awareness Week is to decrease the spread of infectious diseases by empowering individuals to educate and help protect their communities. Working together we can make a difference!

Here are some resources on teaching Handwashing with your students:

When should you wash your hands?

  • Before, during, and after preparing food
  • Before eating food
  • Before and after caring for someone who is sick
  • Before and after treating a cut or wound
  • After using the toilet
  • After changing diapers or cleaning up a child who has used the toilet
  • After blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing
  • After touching an animal, animal feed, or animal waste
  • After touching garbage

What is the right way to wash your hands?

  • Wet your hands with clean, running water (warm or cold), turn off the tap, and apply soap.
    • Lather your hands by rubbing them together with the soap. Be sure to lather the backs of your hands, between your fingers, and under your nails.
    • Scrub your hands for at least 20 seconds. Need a timer? Hum the “Happy Birthday” song from beginning to end twice.
    • Rinse your hands well under clean, running water.
    • Dry your hands using a clean towel or air dry them

For More Handwashing Awareness Week resources please visit:

December 27 – Louis Pasteur’s Birthday

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Louis Pasteur was a French chemist and microbiologist renowned for his discoveries of the principles of pasteurization, vaccination, and microbial fermentation. Notably, he created the first vaccines for the rabies virus and anthrax. However, Louis is best known for his invention of the technique of treating milk and wine to stop bacterial contamination, a process now called pasteurization. 

The original method of pasteurization was vat pasteurization, which heats milk or other liquid ingredients in a large tank for at least 30 minutes. 

The most common method of pasteurization in the United States today is High Temperature Short Time (HTST) pasteurization, which uses metal plates and hot water to raise milk temperatures to at least 161° F for not less than 15 seconds, followed by rapid cooling.