John Trumbull


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Did you know that John Trumbull was born today in 1756? He was an artist and painted more than 250 portraits, miniatures, and paintings that portrayed historical events such as the American Revolution. His portrait of Alexander Hamilton is the source for the image of Hamilton on the $10 bill. His painting “Declaration of Independence” was the inspiration for the image on the back of the $2 bill; the painting was purchased by Congress and is one of 4 of Trumbull’s paintings displayed in the Rotunda of the U.S. Capitol.

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

Bonus Facts:
John Trumbull is known as “The Painter of the Revolution”

In 1965 His birthplace in Lebanon, Connecticut was designated a National Historical Landmark.

Yale University has one of the largest collections of John Trumbull’s work. He sold 28 paintings and 60 miniature portraits to the University for an annuity of $1000. The collection was initially displayed in an art gallery designed by Trumbull. Trumbull and is wife were initially buried beneath the art gallery. In 1867 his collection was moved toe Street Hall and he was reinterred there along with his wife’s remains. The Trumbull Gallery was razed.

Declaration of Independence” is 12 feet by 18 feet.

During the American Revolutionary War, John Trumbull served as a soldier. When he was in Boston, he helped by sketching pictures of British fortifications. He was second personal aide to General George Washington and deputy adjutant-general to General Horatio Gates.

In 1780, while he was studying with Benjamin West, the hanging of a British officer accused of being a spy caused great unrest in England. John Trumbull was arrested and imprisoned for seven months.

After the war in 1794, John Trumbull acted as secretary for John Jay.

Richard Scarry


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Did you know that Richard Scarry was born today in 1919? He was an author and illustrator. He wrote and illustrated more than 300 children’s books, which have been translated into many different languages. His books are known for their anthropomorphic animals such as cats, rabbits, worms, pigs, and mice that live in a town called “Busytown”. Anthropomorphic means giving non-human things, such as animals or weather, human-like qualities like wearing clothing. His books helped children build their vocabulary and learn about the world around them.

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

Bonus Facts:
I Am a Bunny was first published in 1963. It is still in print.

Revised editions of Richard Scarry’s books have been edited to match modern values. For example, pictures or phrases that might be seen insensitive or offensive due to gender, race, or religion have been modified or removed.

The main inhabitants of Busytown are Huckle Cat, Lowly Worm, Mr. Frumble, police Sergeant Murphy, Mr. Fixit, Bananas Gorilla and Hilda Hippo.

Richard Scarry’s works have been adapted into animated videos, television shows, and toys.

The Greatest Show on Earth


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Did you know that P.T. Barnum started his first show in 1835? In 1870 he started a circus, which eventually became “Barnum & Bailey’s Greatest Show On Earth”. It was a travelling circus and featured exotic animals, acrobats, a traveling museum and curiosity show, and music. In 1919, the circus merged with another circus owned by the Ringling Brothers, and became the “Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus”. Sadly, interest in the circus decreased after World War II. On May 21, 2017, the circus performed its last show and closed after 140 years of performances.

We hope that you find wonder and amazement at school today. Remember to think kind thoughts, use kind words, and do kind things. We Love You.

Bonus Facts:
Phineas Taylor Barnum was an American businessman, showman, and politician. He was born on July 5, 1810. Although it is what he is usually associated with, Barnum did not enter the circus business until he was 60 years old. Before this he operated a curiosities museum, “Barnum’s American Museum”; and organized concerts, theater plays, flower shows, contests, aquariums, and more. Barnum also wrote books on his life and his business strategies. He served as the mayor of Bridgeport, Connecticut as well as in the Connecticut legislature.

P.T. Barnum tried to change public opinion about theater and entertainment. At the time theaters were usually viewed as places of ill-repute or sin. Barnum built modern theaters and created entertainment that would appeal to respectable middle-class families.

Barnum was one of the first circus owners to own and use his own train to move the circus from place to place. Since there were very few paved highways between cities and states, this decision helped to secure the popularity of Barnum & Bailiey’s Circus, since it could travel to more locations throughout the United States.

In modern times, the circus had 2 trains, one for each show. The trains were about 1 mile long with 60 cars. There were 40 passenger cars and 20 freight cars.

Frank Whittle


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Did you know that Frank Whittle was born today in 1907? He was an engineer, pilot, and inventor. Starting at an early age, Frank Whittle had an interest and talent for flying and engineering. Throughout his career he encountered many obstacles, such as being told he was not healthy or strong enough to become a pilot in the air force or being told his ideas for a new kind of airplane engine would not work. He persevered and became an extremely skilled pilot and flying instructor as well as the inventor of the turbojet engine.

We hope that you persevere in your studies at school today. Remember to think kind thoughts, use kind words, and do kind things. We Love You.

Bonus Facts:
Although he had won a scholarship to a secondary school, when his father’s business failed Frank Whittle could not finish his schooling. However, he continued his education by spending his spare time at the library studying astronomy, engineering, and the theory of flight. He also practices his engineering skills while helping in his father’s workshop.

Frank Whittle applied to the Royal Air Force and failed the medical exam twice. After failing the first exam, he started a training and diet regimen, and did improve his physique, but it was not enough. He also failed the second exam and was told that was the end. He was not deterred and applied again under an assumed name, and was accepted.

Frank Whittle’s aptitude for flying and his mathematical and engineering genius caught the eye of his commanding officers and he was nominated for officer training. The idea for a ‘turbo jet’ started as part of Frank Whittle’s thesis for graduation.

Julius Richard Petri


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Did you know that Julius Richard Petri was born today in 1852? He was a microbiologist and inventor. A microbiologist uses microscopes and magnifying lenses to study organisms that can’t be seen with just the human eye. Some of these organisms include bacteria, viruses, algae, and fungi. Julius Petri also invented the petri dish. A petri dish is a shallow glass or plastic dish filled with a special type of gelatin microorganisms can grow in. Scientists and doctors can inoculate or ‘plant’ microorganisms on a petri dish so they can cultivate, study, and identify them.

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

Bonus Facts:
Agar is a jelly-like material made from algae. Nutrients such as blood, carbohydrates, amino acids, dyes, or antibiotics are added depending on what microorganisms are being studied.

When adding microorganisms to a petri dish, scientists use a process called ‘streaking’. They take a sterilized stick, gather the microorganism, and then make a streak on the petri dish. Then they take a second sterilized stick and spread the planted microorganisms around the dish. This helps to prevent contamination.

Petri dishes can be reused if they are sterilized using an autoclave or exposed to very hot, dry air (about 160°C).

Memorial Day



Did you know that Memorial Day is observed every year on last Monday in May? Memorial Day is a holiday to remember and honor the soldiers that have died while protecting and serving our country. There are parades, concerts, and organized events at cemeteries to clean and place flags or flowers at soldiers’ graves. While the tradition to leave flowers or other mementos at soldiers’ graves is not new, formal ‘Memorial Day’ celebrations in the United States started after the Civil War in 1868 and were initially called “Decoration Day”.

We hope that you take a moment to remember the soldiers that have kept our country safe. Remember to think kind thoughts, use kind words, and do kind things. We Love You.

Bonus Facts:
From 1868-1971 Memorial Day was traditionally observed on May 30th.

In 1868 General John A, Logan of the Grand Army of the Republic set aside May 30th as a time to decorate the graves of soldiers with flowers. Initially it was just for soldiers of the Union Army, but gradually also included Confederate soldiers and then all Americans who died while in military service.

May 30th was selected because at that point it was not the anniversary of any particular battle It was also late enough in spring that there would be many flowers in bloom.

The change from May 30th to the last Monday in May was part of the 1968 Uniform Monday Holiday Act, which moved 4 holidays to Mondays instead of an annual calendar date. The other holidays affected were: Washington’s Birthday, Memorial Day, Veterans Day, and Columbus Day. Later, Veterans Day was re-established to its traditional date by an act of Congress in 1975.

Traditionally, on Memorial Day the flag of the United States is raised quickly to the top of the flag pole, and then slowly and respectfully lowered to the half-staff. At noon, the flag Is raised back to full-staff for the remainder of the day. The half-staff position honors the servicemen and women who have given their lives in the service of our country. The flag returning to the full-staff position signifies that the living will raise the memory of those who have fallen and resolve to not let their sacrifice be in vain and will rise up to continue to fight for liberty and justice for all.

In 2000 Congress passed the National Moment of Remembrance Act, asking people at 3:00 PM to stop and remember the purpose of Memorial Day, and those who have died in service to our country.

Sally Ride



Did you know that Sally Kristen Ride was born today in 1951? She was a physicist and astronaut. As part of the crew for the Space Shuttle Challenger, Sally Ride started her first space flight on June 18, 1983 and became the first American Woman in space. She completed two space flights on the Space Shuttle Challenger and helped to develop the Space Shuttle’s “Canadarm” robot arm. After the Space Shuttle Challenger exploded in 1986, Sally Ride was part of the group that investigated the accident and secretly provided the information needed to reveal the cause of the accident.

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

Bonus Facts:
Sally Ride is the third woman to travel to space from any country.

After leaving NASA, Sally Ride worked at Stanford University’s Center for International Security and Arms. Then she worked for the University of California, San Diego as a physics professor.

Sally Ride helped to create the company Sally Ride Science, which produces entertaining science programs and materials for elementary and middle school students.

After the Challenger and Columbia space shuttle accidents, she served on the investigation committees. She is the only person to have participated in both. After Sally Ride passed away, it was revealed that after the Challenger disaster, she was the one that gave General Donald Kutyna the information about the faulty O-Rings. He in turn found a way to obliquely give that information to Richard Feynman, who then presented his memorable O-ring demonstration.

Sally Ride attended Swarthmore College; University of California, Los Angeles; and Stanford University. She earned a master’s and PhD from Stanford. She studied astrophysics and electron lasers.

Star Wars Release


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Did you know that the movie Star Wars had its first theatrical release today in 1977? George Lucas started writing the script for Star Wars in 1973. After editing and rewriting 4 drafts, the final script was finished in 1976. Star Wars was not anticipated to be a very popular or successful movie, so on the first day it was shown in less than 40 theaters in the entire United States. Star Wars’ popularity unexpectedly rocketed, and it became the first blockbuster movie. By August, 1,096 theaters were showing the movie; at least 60 theaters played Star Wars for a whole year!

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

Bonus Facts:
Even George Lucas was surprised by the popularity of the movie. He was working on the day of release and had planned to be in Hawaii. He did not realize how popular his movie was until he watched a news report on the enormous crowds waiting at Mann’s Chinese Theater for a chance to watch the movie.

Steven Spielberg was directing Close Encounters of the Third Kind, when Star Wars was released. George Lucas felt that Spielberg’s movie would perform much better in theaters. Spielberg disagreed. Lucas suggested that they trade 2.5% of the profits from their respective movies. Spielberg, supposedly still receives 2.5% of the profits from the Star Wars movie.

Initially, Tatooine was supposed to be a ‘jungle’ planet, but George Lucas did not like the idea of spending months filming in the Philippine jungle, so the planet was revised and changed into a desert world.

Star Wars has been nominated, and won many awards for the sound and soundtrack, technological advances, acting, and more. Star Wars is often included on ‘most popular’ or ‘greatest film’ lists.

Star Wars was one of the first films to be included in the Library of Congress’ National Film Registry for being “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant”. The soundtrack for Star Wars has also been added to the National Recording Registry.

Star Wars changed the movie industry. It showcased new technologies and special effects. Star Wars also changed how and what kind of films film studios were interested in producing.

Daniel Gabriel Fahrenheit


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Did you know that Daniel Gabriel Fahrenheit was born in 1686? He was a physicist and inventor. In 1714, Daniel Gabriel Fahrenheit invented the ‘mercury-in-glass’ thermometer. That type of thermometer has a glass ‘bulb’ filled with mercury attached to a glass tube. As the temperature increases the mercury expands and rises up the tube. In 1724, he proposed a temperature scale, which was named after him. In the Fahrenheit scale, water freezes at 32°F and boils at 212°F. Most countries have moved to using Celsius as the temperature scale, with one exception – the United States.

We hope that you keep your cool at school today. Remember to think kind thoughts, use kind words, and do kind things. We Love You.

Bonus Facts:
Originally, the Fahrenheit temperature scale was calibrated to 0°F being the temperature of a brine mixture made from water, ammonium chloride, and ice (this mixture is ‘frigorific’, it reaches a certain temperature automatically). Other reference points include the melting/freezing point of water (32°F), normal body temperature (96°F) and the boiling point of water 212°F.

The Fahrenheit temperature scale was set to have 180 Fahrenheit degrees between freezing and boiling points. 180 degrees was selected since 180 is a number that can be easily split into fractions.

There are a few other nations in the Caribbean that also use Fahrenheit. In the United States and these countries, Fahrenheit is used for everyday purposes such as weather reports and cooking. Celsius or other temperature scales are used in scientific applications.

Ambrose Burnside


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Did you know that Ambrose Burnside was born today in 1824? He was an inventor, soldier, politician, and more. During the Civil War, he served as a general in the Union Army, but was not a very effective military leader. Afterwards, he served as a governor for Rhode Island and a US Senator. He was known for his distinctive facial hair style: two strips of hair in front of his ears that joined with his mustache. The style came to be known as ‘burnsides’ (after his name); eventually the syllables were revered to become the phrase we know today “sideburns”.

We hope that you do not have a hair-raising day at school today. Remember to think kind thoughts, use kind words, and do kind things. We Love You.

Bonus Facts:
In 1853 Ambrose Burnside resigned his United States Army commission. He worked on designing and manufacturing firearms. The carbine he designed was used during the Civil War and is known as the Burnside Carbine.

In 1871, Ambrose Burnside was chosen as the first president of the National Rifle Association.

After leaving the military, Ambrose Burnside worked in the railroad industry as a director or part of the presidency. Some of the railroad companies he was involved with include: Cincinnati and Martinsville Road, Rhode Island Locomotive Works, Indianapolis and Vincennes Railroad, and others.

In 1876, Ambrose Burnside was elected as the commander of the New England Battalion of the Centennial Legion, a group of 13 militia units from the 13 original states which participated in a 4th of July parade in Philadelphia to mark the centennial of the signing of the Declaration of Independence.

I love this Bruce Catton’s description of Ambrose Burnside: “Physically he was impressive: tall, just a little stout, wearing what was probably the most artistic and awe-inspiring set of whiskers in all that bewhiskered Army.”

Ambrose Burnside is buried in Swan Point Cemetery, Providence Rhode Island.