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Did you know that the study of flags is known as ‘vexillology’? Flags are used as symbols to represent countries or other governments, groups, or ideas. Most flags are rectangular, but some are square, triangular, or swallow-tailed. Many flags also have the same design on the front and back of the flags, but some, like the State of Oregon, have different designs on the front and back. The main part of the flag is called the ‘field’. The upper corner is called the ‘canton’. The ‘hoist end’ attaches to the flag pole and opposite is the ‘fly end’.

We hope that you ‘pass with flying colors’ in all you do today. Remember to think kind thoughts, use kind words, and do kind things. We Love You.

Bonus Facts:
Vexillology comes from the Latin word vexillum, which means flag or banner.

Flags can also be used for communication. One form is called semaphore and is used to visually communicate over long distances, for example in maritime situations.

There are also international maritime signal flags that are used to communicate the status of a ship.

Early flags were used during warfare to identify groups of soldiers. It wasn’t until the 18th century that countries started using flags outside of military purposes. By the 19th century it was common place for sovereigns or governments to create a flag for their country.

One of the more unusual flags belongs to the country of Nepal. It is shaped like two triangles stacked on top of each other.

The phrase ‘pass with flying colors’ comes from nautical history. If after a battle, a ship was victorious, it would return to port with their flags on display. If they lost the battle, they would ‘strike her colors’ and come back to port with the flags down.


Great Chinese New Year Migration


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Did you know that largest human ‘migration’ happens during Chinese New Year as people travel from the cities in China to go back home for the holiday? Each year, the number of people travelling by car, bus, train, airplane, or other methods increases. In 2018 it is estimated that 385 million people will travel from the cities in China to visit their families in the countryside. To give you an idea of how enormous that is… as of January 2018 the population of the entire United States is about 327 million people.

Happy Lunar New Year! Best wishes for another great, healthy, and prosperous year to come. Remember to think kind thoughts, use kind words, and do kind things. We Love You.

Bonus Facts:
There are similar ‘migrations’ in other countries that celebrate the Lunar New Year, such as Taiwan and South Korea.

In the United States, one of the big travel holidays is Thanksgiving. In 2017 an estimated 51 million people travelled during the holiday.

In 2017, about 2 million people made the pilgrimage to the Hajj.

In 2017, about 40 million people made the Arba’een Pilgrimage in Iraq.

Norman Bridwell


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Did you know that Normal Bridwell was born today in 1928? He was an author and illustrator of children’s books. Initially Norman Bridwell wanted to only illustrate children’s books. He applied for a job as a children’s book illustrator with 15 different book publishing companies and was rejected by every one. An editor at one of the publishing houses suggested that Norman try to create a story based on one of the drawings. The drawing was of a young girl and a horse-sized dog and the story eventually became the beloved series of Clifford the Big Red Dog.

We hope that you keep trying you best and keep trying new things today. Remember to think kind thoughts, use kind words, and do kind things. We Love You.

Bonus Facts:
The girl in the Clifford stories was named after Norman Bridwell’s daughter, Emily Elizabeth. In the television series Clifford and his family live on Birdwell Island. The name of the island is inspired by Normal Bridwell’s name and is based on Martha’s Vineyard, where Bridwell lived.

There are about 80 books in the Clifford series. The books were also adapted into television shows, and a musical. There are more than 120 million copies of Norman Bridwell’s books in print. They have been translated into 13 languages.

The Clifford book series helped to establish the book publishing company, Scholastic. Clifford is now Scholastic’s official mascot.

word day – cor / cardi



Did you know that the word roots ‘cor’ and ‘cardi’ come from the Latin (cor / cordis) and Greek (καρδιά / kardia) words for ‘heart’? Some English words that use these roots include cordial, which means something sincere, heartfelt, or friendly. The core of something is the center, or the ‘heart’ of the object or idea. Something that is cordiform is heart-shaped. The cardiovascular system includes your heart and a cardiologist is a type of doctor that specializes in the health and treatment of the heart. Can you think of any other ‘cor’ or ‘cardi’ words?

We hope that you show great courage day at school today. Remember to think kind thoughts, use kind words, and do kind things. We Love You.

Bonus Facts:
Courage, comes from the older French word ‘cuer’ which came from the Latin cor. Like many other words for ‘heart’, it represents inner strength. An older definition of courage alluded to the heart as the source of emotion.

Another meaning for the Latin ‘cor’ is mind and soul, which brings us words like accord, concord, and discord.

Ivan Krylov



Did you know that Ivan Krylov was born today in 1769? He was a Russian fabulist, someone who writes fables. A fable is a fictional story, that teaches a lesson. The characters in the story are often animals, plants, or other aspects of nature. Ivan Krylov wrote about 200 fables, which are known for being very well-written and humorous. He started by translating fables from other authors, such as Aesop, but always reimagined the tales to fit Russian culture and life. His later works were influenced by historical events, such as wars and politics.

We hope that you have a story-worthy day at school today. Remember to think kind thoughts, use kind words, and do kind things. We Love You.

Bonus Facts:
Initially Ivan Krylov was a journalist and also wrote dramas. He was 40 years old when he switched to writing fables.

Unlike other famous Russian authors, Ivan Krylov’s works were epigrammatic – witty and short.

From 1812-1841 Ivan Krylov served as the head of the Russian Books Department I the Imperial Public Library. In 1838 by imperial sanction, a festival was held in Krylov’s honor and a pension was granted by Emperor Nicholas, who was on friendly terms with Krylov.

Some of Ivan Krylov’s works were censored due to the topic or tone – unless the work was presented to the Emperor, who found it amusing. Other works were not published until long after Krylov’s death.

Many of Ivan Krylov’s works became idioms. One example is “the elephant in the room” which came from Krylov’s story “The Inquisitive Man”.

by the seat of your pants


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Did you know that the phrase “fly by the seat of your pants” means to do something by instinct instead of following a plan; or to figure it out as you go? The origin for this phrase may come from early airplanes. They did not have tools and devices to tell the pilot how fast they were flying, how much fuel they had left, or how close to the ground they were. These early pilots flew using their senses and how the plane ‘felt’, including the vibrations they detected from their chair … through the seat of their pants.

We hope that you trust your instincts but also plan well at school today. Remember to think kind thoughts, use kind words, and do kind things. We Love You.

Bonus Facts:
Some say that the phrase originated in Great Britain, where it was “by the seat of your trousers”. Somewhere in the 1930s it was changed to “by the seat of your pants” in America.

This phrase can have a negative or positive connotation depending on how it is used. It can either emphasize someone’s good instinct and mental agility, or it can highlight a poorly-planned and ramshackle situation.

This phrase is an example of an idiom. An idiom is a phrase or collection of words that expresses an idea. The words or phrase are not related to the idea that they express. Think, ‘raining cats and dogs’ or ‘kicking the bucket’.

Great Meteor Procession of 1913


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Did you know that the Great Meteor Procession occurred in 1913? This phenomenon was visible from northeastern Canada all the way to Brazil! Most meteor showers appear to radiate from a point, like a firework, and are only visible for a second or two. The meteors or ‘fireballs’ in the Great Meteor Procession appeared to follow an arc across the sky, were visible for minutes, and in some areas were accompanied by a rumbling sound! Scientists hypothesize that instead of dust from a comet, the source for the Great Meteor Procession of 1913 was a temporary second moon that disintegrated.

We hope that something sparks your curiosity at school today. Remember to think kind thoughts, use kind words, and do kind things. We Love You.

Bonus Facts:
Unfortunately, on the evening of February 9, 1913 much of the northeastern US was cloudy, so there were not too many sightings from that area. Those that did see the meteor procession called it ‘stately’ or ‘measured’.

A meteor is sometimes called a ‘shooting star’ or ‘falling star’. We see meteors when a piece of space debris burns up in the atmosphere. The word meteor comes from the Greek word ‘meteōros’, which means ‘high in the air’.

Although a meteor seems to fall very close to Earth, most are actually in the Earth’s mesosphere (about 76-100 km above the Earth’s surface). Most burn up in the atmosphere before they can every reach the ground.

The material for meteors comes from debris left by a comet or other patches of space debris left in the path of Earth’s orbit. That’s why some meteor showers are occur at the same time every year. That meteor shower occurs when the Earth passes through that patch of debris each year.

Many meteor showers are named for the constellation in which they appear to ‘radiate’ from.

The Earth does capture a temporary ‘minimoon’ every now and then. Usually the object does not have a very stable orbit around the Earth because of the competing gravitational pulls from the Earth, Sun, and Moon. The temporary moons’ orbits last a year or so before leaving Earth’s orbit and becoming asteroids orbiting the Sun.

word root – nov



Did you know that the English word root ‘nov’ comes from the Latin word ‘novus’, which means ‘new’? Some words that use this root include nova, which is an astronomical event that causes a bright ‘new’ star to appear in the sky. A novice is someone who is just starting out, such as someone who is starting a new job or a hobby. When used as an adjective, the word ‘novel’ is used to describe something new or different. Can you think of any other ‘nov’ words?

We hope that you have an innovative day at school today. Remember to think kind thoughts, use kind words, and do kind things. We Love You.

Bonus Facts:
The noun ‘novel’, comes from novella, which is a ‘new kind of story’.

To renovate is to repair or restore something, so it is refreshed or made ‘new’ again.

Laura Ingalls Wilder


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Did you know that Laura Ingalls Wilder was born today in 1867? She was an author and pioneer. As a child and later as an adult her family travelled, farmed, and lived in various places in the Western Frontier. She lived in log cabins, dugouts, farmhouses, and frontier towns. Later she used her experiences living in the frontier in her writing. Her most popular works are the classic children’s books the “Little House” series, such as Little House on the Prairie. The beloved books have been adapted into television shows, musicals, and stage plays.

We hope that you have a tenacious day exploring and learning today! Remember to think kind thoughts, use kind words, and do kind things. We Love You.

Bonus Facts:
Laura Ingalls Wilder lived in many places including what is now Wisconsin Kansas, Minnesota, Iowa, and the Dakota Territories.

Laura Ingalls Wilder is a descendent of the Delano family. Another descendent of the Delano family is US President Franklin Delano Roosevelt.

As a young woman, Laura Ingalls worked as a teacher and dressmaker so she could help her family financially. She attended high school but did not graduate.

Laura Ingalls married Almanzo Wilder in 1885. Initially, their prospects seemed bright, but became difficult. Almanzo Wilder suffered a life-threatening bout of diphtheria; he was partially paralyzed, but eventually regained use of his legs and walked with the aid of a cane. In 1889, their newborn son died. Later their barn and all the hay and grain stored there was destroyed by a mysterious fire, and then they lost their house to another fire accidentally started by their daughter. Years of drought finally drove Laura and her husband from their farm in South Dakota.

In 1894, Laura Ingalls Wilder and her family settled in Mansfield, Missouri. They established a farm they called Rocky Ridge Farm. Initially, they lived in a rundown log cabin. Eventually, the log cabin and farm were improved and Laura and her family were living in a 10-room farmhouse and managed a poultry and dairy farm, apple orchard, and grew wheat.

There are eight original books in the Little House series. A ninth book, The First Four Years, was unfinished, but published posthumously. Simplified versions, such as picture books, have been published for younger children.

The Little House books were adapted into a Television series, animated series, musical, and theater stage.

Some of the homes that Laura Ingalls Wilder lived in have been preserved and readapted to museums. Some examples are:

Aaron Burr



Did you know that Aaron Burr was born today in 1756? During the American Revolution he served as an officer in the Continental Army. He served as the New York State Attorney General, U.S. Senator, and as the 3rd Vice President of the United States. However, what Aaron Burr is known for is for killing his rival, and former friend, Alexander Hamilton in an infamous duel in 1804. The duel ended Aaron Burr’s political career. In 1805 he left Washington DC and eventually left the country. He returned in 1812 and worked as a lawyer in New York City.

Remember to think kind thoughts, and especially use kind words with your friends. Do kind things. We Love You.

Bonus Facts:
During 1784-1785 and 1798-1799 Aaron Burr was elected to the New York State Assembly.

One of Aaron Burr’s official duties as vice president and president of the Senate was the first impeachment trial. It was the trial of Supreme Court justice Samuel Chase.

Aaron Burr is sometimes called the father of modern political campaigning. During the 1800 presidential election, he enlisted help from various social clubs to win the voting for selecting Electoral College delegates.

The fateful duel with Alexander Hamilton was not Aaron Burr’s first duel. In 1799, he fought a duel with John Barker Church. Both combatants fired at each other and missed and the disagreement was resolved. Incidentally, John Barker Church’s wife, Angelica, was Alexander Hamilton’s wife, Elizabeth’s sister.

While Aaron Burr was not tried for the illegal duel with Alexander Hamilton, the infamous event ended Aaron Burr’s political career. After completing his term as Vice President, he travelled west and then eventually to Europe in search for more opportunities, but returned to the United States in 1812. He practiced law in New York City until his death in 1836.

After leaving Washington, Aaron Burr travelled west to the land acquired by the Louisiana Purchase. His actions there led to his arrest on charges of treason in 1807. Supposedly Aaron Burr was trying to create an independent country. Burr’s statement say that he intended to farm the 40,000 acres leased to him by the Spanish Crown.