Friday, March 13, 2015

Holidays and Observances for Mar 13 2015

Digital Learning Day


Digital learning is any instructional practice that effectively uses technology to strengthen a student’s learning experience. It emphasizes high-quality instruction and provides access to challenging content, feedback through formative assessment, opportunities for learning anytime and anywhere, and individualized instruction to ensure all students reach their full potential to succeed in college and a career.

Digital learning encompasses many different facets, tools, and applications to support and empower teachers and students, including online courses, blended or hybrid learning, or digital content and resources. Additionally, digital learning can be used for professional learning opportunities for teachers and to provide personalized learning experiences for students.

Digital learning advances school reform by increasing equity and access to educational opportunities, improving effectiveness and productivity of teachers and administrators, providing student-centered learning to ensure college and career readiness for all students, and recognizing teachers as education designers.

With so many new types of digital devices, educational software and mobile apps continuously developed, it’s hard to keep up with the latest and greatest advancements in educational technology. In some classrooms and out-of-school programs across the country, educators are doing some pretty amazing things with technology. Yet, these pockets of innovation are confined to a small number of schools and communities. Digital Learning Day was started as a way to actively spread innovative practices and ensure that all youth have access to high-quality digital learning opportunities no matter where they live.

Started in 2012, Digital Learning Day has provided a powerful venue for education leaders to highlight great teaching practice and showcase innovative teachers, leaders, and instructional technology programs that are improving student outcomes. This grassroots effort blossomed into a massive nationwide celebration as teachers realized that Digital Learning Day is not about technology, it’s about learning. It’s not about laying off teachers for laptops, it’s about enhancing the role of the teacher in America’s classrooms. Digital Learning Day promotes the effective use of modern day tools afforded to every other industry to improve the learning experience in K-12 public schools.

Donald Duck Day


Donald Duck Day is observed on June 09, 2014. It's the official birthday of Donald Duck, the funny animal cartoon character of Walt Disney. Donald Duck first appeared in the 1934 cartoon "The Wise Little Hen" which was part of the Silly Symphonies series of theatrical cartoon shorts. The film's release date of June 9 is officially recognized by the Walt Disney Company as Donald's birthday despite a couple in-universe contradictions. In The Three Caballeros (1944) Donald's birthday is Friday the 13th, a reference to his seemingly congenital bad luck. In Donald's Happy Birthday (1949) Donald's birthday is March 13 which was a Friday in 1931.

Donald is one of the most popular Disney characters. He is an anthropomorphic white duck with a yellow-orange bill, legs, and feet. He typically wears a sailor suit with a cap and a black or red bow tie. Donald is most famous for his semi-intelligible speech and his mischievous and irritable personality. Donald's two dominant personality traits are his short temper and his positive outlook on life. Many Donald shorts start with Donald in a happy mood, without a care in the world until something comes along and spoils his day.

The origins of Donald Duck's name was said to have been inspired by Australian cricket legend Donald Bradman. In 1932 Bradman and the Australian team were touring North America and he made the news after being dismissed for a duck against New York West Indians. Walt Disney was in the process of creating a "friend" for Mickey Mouse when he read about Bradman's dismissal in the papers and decided to name the new character "Donald Duck".

Earmuff Day


It all started with ears, Chester Greenwood’s ears. Chester’s ears got cold. They got so cold something had to be done. That something was an invention by a fifteen-year-old boy that would support him for the rest of his life. The invention? Earmuffs. Later, when Chester Greenwood had become a legend, newspaper writers started the story that his ears turned weird colors in the cold.

According to The Wall Street Journal, "Chester Greenwood’s ears were so sensitive that they turned chalky white, beet red, and deep blue (in that order) when the mercury dipped." Talk to the Greenwood descendants and the facts of the matter are different. What was wrong with Chester’s ears? "Just cold," says grandson George Greenwood. "Big and cold."
The neighbors in Farmington, Maine, had always been impressed by Chester’s drive and initiative. As one of. six kids in a farm family on the back Falls Road struggling to make ends meet, Chester did his best to help out. The family kept several laying hens, and Chester walked an eight-mile route from house to house selling eggs. Sometimes he sold fudge or other candies such as peppermints and drop sweets that he himself had made.

But for all Chester's industry, the flash of inspiration for his famous kid invention came to him at a moment when he had decided to relax and have some fun. One day in the winter of 1873, Chester walked to nearby Abbot Pond to try out a pair of new skates. The nip in the air sent him racing home. He found "Gram" in the farmhouse kitchen and asked her to help him fashion something to shield his ears. Chester s ears itched fiercely at the touch of wool, so the everyday muffler most kids wrapped about their heads was out of the question.
The Greenwood Champion Ear Protector, as he later called the device, didn't take much time to put together. Chester supplied the idea and the material; his grandmother's fingers contributed the sewing skill. It was breathtakingly simple. The muff required bending some wire, cutting soft insulating material, and then sewing a few stitches.

To shield his ears, Chester decided on a combination of beaver fur on the outside and black velvet for the surface against the ear. For the headband, he chose a soft wire known as farm wire, a precursor of baling wire. Some accounts say the contraption was then attached to his cap. The Ear Protector proved an instant hit. All over Farmington and in the surrounding community, kids started to pester their parents and grandparents to make the thing.

Despite his friends' enthusiasm, Chester wasn't satisfied. The first model didn't work so well. "The ears flapped too much," according to his granddaughter Jackie. Like many inventions, the Greenwood earmuff was a great idea that needed some refinements. The first step was a change in materials. Chester decided to try flat spring steel, three-eighths of an inch wide, for the band. Two improvements resulted: the

new band enabled him to attach a tiny hinge to each ear flap so the muff could fit snugly against his ears. And the springy steel allowed him, when he was finished using the muff, to coil it flat and stuff the contraption in his pocket.

The result? Greenwood had an invention that took on a life of its own. Everyone, not 'just kids or people allergic to wool, had to have the Ear Protector. In the beginning, the popular muff sold in one style. "Like Henry Ford's auto, the Ear Protector came in any color you wanted as long as it was black," says grandson George. Chester seemed pretty satisfied with it. "I believe perfection has been reached," he stated in advertising his earmuff.

On March 13, 1877, the United States Patent Office awarded him patent #188,292. Greenwood was just eighteen years old at the time. Soon after, he established a factory in a brick building in West Farmington, a place he called The Shop. Later, Chester expanded to Front Street in downtown Farmington and had more than twenty full time employees turning out Ear Protectors on the second floor. In 1883, his factory was producing 30,000 muffs a year, and by 1936 the annual output had risen to 400,000.

When he died in 1937 at the age of seventy-nine, Greenwood was a Maine celebrity. In addition to running the muff business, Greenwood had been granted more than 130 patents. They included improvements on the spark plug, a decoy mouse trap called the Mechanical Cat, Chester's version of the shock absorber, a hook for pulling doughnuts from boiling oil, the Rubberless Rubber Band, and the Greenwood Tempered Steel Rake.

Curiously, even after Greenwood automated most of "The Shop", his muff business could not do without hands that could sew. There was only one way to attach fabric to the hinged flap, the way Gram had done it in the farm kitchen when they made the first model. Women and men in the area took the piecework home, and it spread as a cottage industry, an industry whose labor force is made up of people working at home. Chester’s kid invention, in its heyday, "supported half of Franklin County," according to one resident.

Good Samaritan Involvement Day


March 13 is a day that celebrates kindness and helping others in need. It's Good Samaritan Day, also referred to as Good Samaritan Involvement Day, an annual event that honors the death of a beautiful 28-year-old woman.

Catherine “Kitty” Genovese
On March 13, 1964, Catherine “Kitty” Genovese was brutally stabbed to death near her home in New York City. While senseless murders are far too common, this case was especially disturbing because nearly 40 bystanders allegedly did nothing while Genovese screamed for help. It took about half an hour before a neighbor finally called the police. But it was too late.

The Parable of the Good Samaritan
According to Luke 10:25-37, Jesus Christ told His disciples about a selfless person who assisted a man who had been stripped of his clothing, robbed of his money, beaten and left for dead. A Jewish priest walked by the victim, but went to the other side of the street and did nothing. Another person also walked by and did nothing.

But this original Good Samaritan saw the man, kneeled next to him, cleaned and bandaged his wounds. He then put the man on his donkey and took him to an inn. He gave the innkeeper money to care for the victim and told him if the bill exceeded the amount, he would pay the difference the next time he stays at the inn. Jesus instructed His disciples to “Go and do likewise.”

Be a Good Samaritan
Unfortunately, this type of scenario occurs far too often. People often ignore someone in desperate need, many times in broad daylight. While getting involved during an actual crime may not be advisable, the advancement of technology makes it easy for just about anyone to pick up the phone and call 9-1-1 for assistance from emergency responders.

One only has to remember the September 11th attacks. Despite knowing the danger, those courageous heroes aboard United Flight 93 took matters into their own hands on September 11, 2001, and saved countless lives and further destruction by their selfless acts.

Good Samaritan Day serves as an important reminder to help others in need. Whether it’s an elderly neighbor who needs a little help or a complete stranger in need, helping someone not only helps them, it sets a good example and makes you feel good too. And don’t forget the neglected and abused four-legged friends that need our help and compassion as well!

In honor of Good Samaritan Day, plan on doing something for another today. Remember, “No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted.”

K9 Veterans Day


On this day in 1942, the Quartermaster Corps (QMC) of the United States Army begins training dogs for the newly established War Dog Program, or "K-9 Corps."

Well over a million dogs served on both sides during World War I, carrying messages along the complex network of trenches and providing some measure of psychological comfort to the soldiers. The most famous dog to emerge from the war was Rin Tin Tin, an abandoned puppy of German war dogs found in France in 1918 and taken to the United States, where he made his film debut in the 1922 silent film The Man from Hell's River. As the first bona fide animal movie star, Rin Tin Tin made the little-known German Shepherd breed famous across the country.  

In the United States, the practice of training dogs for military purposes was largely abandoned after World War I. When the country entered World War II in December 1941, the American Kennel Association and a group called Dogs for Defense began a movement to mobilize dog owners to donate healthy and capable animals to the Quartermaster Corps of the U.S. Army. Training began in March 1942, and that fall the QMC was given the task of training dogs for the U.S. Navy, Marines and Coast Guard as well.

The K-9 Corps initially accepted over 30 breeds of dogs, but the list was soon narrowed to seven: German Shepherds, Belgian sheep dogs, Doberman Pincers, collies, Siberian Huskies, Malamutes and Eskimo dogs. Members of the K-9 Corps were trained for a total of 8 to 12 weeks. After basic obedience training, they were sent through one of four specialized programs to prepare them for work as sentry dogs, scout or patrol dogs, messenger dogs or mine-detection dogs. In active combat duty, scout dogs proved especially essential by alerting patrols to the approach of the enemy and preventing surprise attacks.  

The top canine hero of World War II was Chips, a German Shepherd who served with the Army's 3rd Infantry Division. Trained as a sentry dog, Chips broke away from his handlers and attacked an enemy machine gun nest in Italy, forcing the entire crew to surrender. The wounded Chips was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross, Silver Star and the Purple Heart--all of which were later revoked due to an Army policy preventing official commendation of animals.

Because of the attacks on our homeland, many more dogs than are normally associated with the term “war dogs” are in the fight, and this campaign will not discriminate against them. The war came to us, and so it has become seriously important to us as a Nation to have our borders, transportation centers, ports, bases, fuel dumps, energy compounds, and many more places, as well guarded as is possible, and for the most part they are guarded by dogs that are not in the military. Police K9s, Customs K9s, Border Patrol K9s, Secret Service K9s, Airport Police K9s, F.B.I. K9s, and others are working daily to protect the homeland, and they should be honored accordingly. Some of those very dogs died at Ground Zero. They have all served to save, and they all deserve to be remembered.

Privately handled dogs are also a part of the war effort in ways that have never been done before. Search and Rescue dog teams worked tirelessly at Ground Zero, and at the Pentagon. Private bomb dog and security dog teams are in Iraq and Afghanistan, and other sites as needed; and they are very much needed, and sincerely appreciated by our troops. And private Therapy dogs are in the hospitals both here and abroad, helping to heal our hero’s. Service dogs are now assisting those who are handicapped by the war to have a more meaningful life. And may we never forget as well the service of those privately handled dogs who search for the remains that are so important to their families. And of course many of our troops will readily tell you of how an unofficial war dog, a mascot, helped in keeping one’s spirits high as the horrors of war worked to depress them.

First and foremost are the military dogs of all our wars, as their service and sacrifice paved the way for the creation of all the other uses for dogs. And we are certainly honored to have current handlers voicing their support for this campaign. Dogs have bled, suffered, and died while serving in all our wars, to include this war on terror, and they have done so in ways that do us all proud. Dogs were there in the trenches of France in WW I, and the slopes of Iwo Jima in WW II, and though many were pure breeds, some others were mixed breeds, and our troops didn't care either way. They were simply grateful to have one, and they treated them with respect as a fellow soldier. Of course dogs also served with honor in Korea, and Vietnam, and wherever our Country has called them to serve. And unlike other so called weapons, dogs served not to take a life, but to save them. They served to save, and they deserve to be remembered.

Ken Day


Hi, I’m Ken Carson, better known as Ken. You might know me as arm candy, Prince Charming or the guy-in-waiting, but my friends know the real me: confident, considerate, and of course, handsome!  While Barbie is known for traveling the world and for her glamorous adventures, I've been quietly leading a very active Ken-tastic life of my own. Over the past five decades, I've tried on many hats– businessman, Olympian, pilot, and most recently, actor. In fact, I even landed a starring role in my first feature film Toy Story 3.  A total blast!

A few other fun tidbits:

LIFE AS A PISCES: I was born on March 11, 1961 so I’m a Pisces. True to form, I’m loyal, supportive, compassionate and a DREAMER. I can also sense when something is askew long before anything is said, making me the ultimate boyfriend for any occasion. I think dolls like that sort of thing!

WHAT'S IN A NAME?: As you know, my name is Ken Carson (I’m named after Ken Handler, son of my creator Ruth Handler). As for a middle name, who needs one?

KEN + BARBIE: Talk about a total doll! Barbie and I met in 1961 on the set of our first television commercial together. It was love at first sight. I was thrust into the limelight, becoming America’s most fashionable “first man” alongside my leading lady. We lasted a long time– more than four decades. Although I tried unsuccessfully to win Barbie back on numerous occasions, it wasn’t until February 14, 2011 my dream finally came true. After a series of grand gestures that included everything from personalized cupcakes from Magnolia Bakery to billboards professing my love, Barbie finally said “yes!”. We are once again a happy couple.

ONE-OF-A-KIND STYLE: Over the years, my fashion choices have reflected the style of the times.  With Barbie’s help of course, I sported some jaw-dropping styles like Mod Hair Ken in the ‘60s, Disco in the ‘70s, Exercise and Rappin’ Rockin’ Ken in the ‘80s, Baywatch and Harley Davidson Ken in the ‘90s and still to this day I am always on trend.

  • Signature Hair: Staying in tune with the world’s most fashionable doll is no easy task but I manage to “own” something of my own– my hair! My trademark locks have been flocked, molded and dyed nine different colors over the years including auburn, black, blond, brown, brunette, light brown, red, two-tone and yellow (yes, yellow).

KEN-TERTAINMENT: Have I mentioned that I’m an actor? Over the past 50 years, I've been a stand-in for some of the most memorable leading men including: James Bond 007 from Die Another Day, Mulder from the X-Files, Gomez from The Addams Family, Tin Man from the Wizard of Oz, Captain Kirk and Mr. Spock from Star Trek and Edward from the Twilight saga.  Also, I recently starred as myself in Toy Story 3.  What an experience.  I've been told I stole the show!

KEN-TOURAGE: I’m a lucky guy– solid hair, solid abs and most importantly, a solid group of friends! These guys have been there for me through thick and thin over the years– Brad, Curtis and Steven, Todd, Derek, Darren, Alan (who’s been my best and longest friend) and Ryan.

There you have it.  Just like Barbie, my life in plastic is fantastic and all about having fun!

National Jewel Day


When it comes to holidays, March 13 is a real gem! It's National Jewel Day, an annual holiday that celebrates magnificent sparklers of all shapes, sizes, cuts and colors. While the origins of this holiday are unknown, chances are pretty good a jeweler or gal came up with the idea. After all, diamonds are a girl's best friend, right?

Jewelry
While various trends come and go, people have been wearing jewelry for centuries. Early pieces of jewelry were made from stones, bones, teeth and shells. Over the years, jewelry has been worn for functional purposes, protection against various dangers, signs of political strength, decorations and as status symbols.

Whether it's precious or semi-precious, ladies love jewelry. Today is the perfect excuse to get your bling on!

How to Celebrate National Jewel Day
  • Whether it's a necklace, ring, bracelet, pin or earring, buy a new piece of jewelry - duh!
  • Learn all about your favorite gemstone.
  • What are the 4 C's?
  • Do you know what your birthstone is?
  • Whether its your wife, mom, daughter or BFF, purchase a piece of jewelry for that special lady in your life.
  • Wear that sparkly gem you save for special occasions.
  • If you are the creative type, why not design or make your own jewelry?
  • Visit a museum and head straight for the jewelry section.
  • Why buy new when you can have a piece of history? Pick up a sparkling gem at a local antique shop.
  • If you are in London, why not check out the Crown Jewels?
National Coconut Torte Day


Do you love cakes? Do you love coconut cakes? March 13 is National Coconut Torte Day.

Of course, you know what coconut is, but do you know what a torte is?

A torte is a rich, usually multi-layered cake that is filled with whipped cream, butter creams, mousses, jams, or fruits. Ordinarily, the cooled torte is glazed and garnished. A torte may be made with little or no flour. Instead, it is made with ground nuts or breadcrumbs or ground nuts for the base, along with sugar, eggs, and flavorings.

A torte is a creamy layered cake for any dessert lover. Since it is National Coconut Torte Day, sweet coconut is put on top of the cake.

Icing makes a good torte even better especially icing on the coconut cake. Icing goes in between the layers and heavily garnished on top and sides with coconut.

Serve your family coconut torte with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Coconut and vanilla taste good together.

Are you aware of the difference between a torte and a tart? A torte has minimal to no flour, whereas a tart generally has a flour based crust.

National Open An Umbrella Indoors Day


National Open an Umbrella Indoors Day celebrates the superstition that it's bad luck to open an umbrella indoors and happens to fall on the 13th which is said to be a bad luck number.

Do you dread Friday the 13th? Does it freak you out if a black cat crosses your path? Will you pick up a coin on the sidewalk if you find it tails-side up? If you open an umbrella indoors, will everyone in the house experience bad luck?

If you put stock in any of these popular ideas, you may be a bit superstitious. A superstition is usually defined as an irrational  practice or belief that stems from ignorance, fear, belief in the supernatural or a mistaken understanding of the cause of an event. Superstitions typically take the form of a belief that doing something—or not doing something—will result in particularly good or bad luck.

For example, many people believe that finding a four-leaf clover will lead to a streak of good luck for the finder. On the other hand, many people believe that walking under a stepladder or breaking a mirror will lead to bad luck.

Superstitions have been around for thousands of years. In fact, most superstitions can be traced back to ancient times, before science had developed to the point where people could find reasonable, scientific explanations for what they saw in the world.

Without the benefit of science and more advanced technology, ancient peoples would develop stories and beliefs to help them make sense of the world around them. Even though many superstitions have been refuted — or are just too strange to be believed — millions of people all over the world still follow them.

Take the umbrella, for example. If you were to carry one with you and open it indoors at random times over the course of a week, you’d probably be surprised by how many people mention that it’s bad luck to do so! Why is that?

The humble umbrella — also known in various locales as a parasol, brolly, rainshade, sunshade, gamp or bumbershoot — takes its name from the Latin word umbra, which means shade or shadow. People have believed for hundreds of years that opening an umbrella indoors will result in bad luck “raining” down on you. There are a couple of theories about how this belief got started…

Some people believe the umbrella superstition comes from ancient Egypt, where the umbrella was primarily used for protection from the hot rays of the sun. Legend has it that ancient Egyptians believed that opening an umbrella indoors — away from the sun — was a disrespectful act that would anger the sun god, who would then take out his anger on everyone in the house in which the umbrella had been opened.

Others believe the umbrella superstition has a more modern — and practical — source. The first modern umbrellas were not all that safe. Built with hard metal spokes and spring triggers, they could be dangerous to open. In fact, opening one indoors could pose a danger to people and fragile objects nearby.

Warning people not to open an umbrella indoors served to protect the health and safety of people and property indoors. In this sense, the superstition might have stemmed from the “bad luck” — the injuries and broken objects — that often coincided with the umbrella’s opening. To the extent that injuries were avoided, this superstition wasn't necessarily all bad!

Interestingly, some people believe that it’s not always bad luck to open an umbrella indoors. Some people believe it’s only bad luck if the umbrella is black, was a gift, has never been used outdoors, or there’s a sick person in the house!

Smart & Sexy Day


Smart & Sexy Day is a joint effort between The Women's Alliance, a national organization of independent, community-based members who provide professional attire and career skills training to low income women and Ariela-Alpha International, one of the largest privately held lingerie companies in the country that sells over 60 million garments a year under numerous national brands.  

Smart & Sexy Day, named after Ariela-Alpha’s famous Smart & Sexy lingerie brand, will take place at four of The Women’s Alliance local agencies throughout March 2012.  These include:  Bottomless Closet in New York City and The Career Wardrobe in Philadelphia on March 13, 2012; at Jackets for Jobs in Detroit on March 20, 2012; and at Suited for Success in Oklahoma City on March 22, 2012. 

Smart & Sexy Day was created to help instill women with knowledge and confidence to achieve self-sufficiency through employment.  The local agencies will provide a full day of workforce training, professional image classes and individual support for 30 local women who attend.  The ultimate goal is to enable them to take action, secure employment and enhance the quality of their lives.  As a bonus, Ariela-Alpha will donate a selection of their Smart & Sexy garments to the attendees.

 “The Women’s Alliance is proud to have partnered with Ariela-Alpha International to bring Smart & Sexy Day to New York, Philadelphia, Detroit and Oklahoma City,” said Jeanne S. Flint, Chair of the Board of Directors for The Women’s Alliance.  “We are fortunate to have Ariela-Alpha’s passion, dedication and generous funding supporting The Women’s Alliance core mission:  to bring the essential training and services needed to motivate and propel women into the work force.” 

Clients who attend Smart & Sexy Day will receive professional clothing to to help them compete in the job market.  Once they have jobs, they will be taught how to shop and build their wardrobe for work. During the Smart & Sexy® Day training, women will get bra fittings and receive a beautiful Smart & Sexy® bra.  They will also be outfitted in apparel and accessories from Walmart to demonstrate how to build an affordable professional wardrobe that is both figure flattering and fashionable.

March is an important month for The Women’s Alliance because of several national events that include International Women’s Day, National Women’s History Month and Feminine Empowerment Month.

World Sleep Day


How many times do you hit the snooze button in the morning? Research shows if you’re hitting it at all, you could be doing damage to your health.

Sleep and stress specialist Kirsten Taylor says under normal circumstances, you should be able to wake up refreshed each day; if you’re not, you may need to make some lifestyle changes.

World Sleep Day is this Friday, 13 March, and this year, the World Association of Sleep Medicine is emphasizing awareness to insomnia with the slogan "When Sleep is Sound, Health and Happiness Abound".

Coinciding with this international celebration of sleep, SleepDrops is launching the 30 Day Sleep Better Challenge, so that when your alarm goes off in the morning, your head is clear, not foggy or heavy.

The challenge is designed to evaluate your current sleeping habits and health, and provide you with the assistance you need to improve your general well being.

"Pressing snooze wreaks havoc with your sleep patterns," says Kirsten, founder of SleepDrops. "The last hour or so before you wake up, you've typically moved out of your deep sleep into a light phase.

"Every time we fall asleep, we start our sleep cycle again, so if you hit the alarm and keep sleeping, you’re confusing your inner timer. This is often why we’re groggy, impacting on our performance during the day.

"A lack of sleep does no favors for your body - it can make it easier for illness to take hold, and even make it hard to lose weight.

"You should be able to have a good night’s sleep - getting to sleep quickly, and staying asleep without waking - so that when you wake up, you’re ready for the day. This is where our sleep challenge comes in."

The program has been designed to identify where you need help - in your sleeping habits and with your health - and provide you with expert guidance and our complete 24/7 sleep remedy system to help you finally get a good night sleep, and have a productive day.

"If you’re concerned about your sleeping habits, or are fatigued during the day, we recommend you give the challenge a try - you could have the best sleep of your life."