Monday, May 30, 2016

What does the "Pledge of Allegiance" mean?

I pledge Allegiance to the flag of the United States of America and to the Republic for which it stands, one nation under God, indivisible, with Liberty and Justice for all. 

I pledge allegiance(I promise to be true) to the flag(to the symbol of our country)
of the United States of America(each state that has joined to make our country)
and to the Republic(a republic is a country where the people choose others to make laws for them -- the government is “of, by and for” the people)
for which it stands,” (the flag means the country)
one nation(a single country)
under God,” (the people believe in a supreme being)
indivisible,” (the country cannot be split into parts)
with Liberty and Justice(with freedom and fairness)
for all.(for each person in the country...YOU and ME!)  

The pledge says you are promising to be true to the
United States of America! 

~The original Pledge of Allegiance was written by Francis Bellamy.

"The colors in the flag of the United States of America; 

White signifies purity and innocence,

Red, hardiness & valour,

Blue the color of the Chief (the broad band above the stripes) signifies vigilance, perseverance & justice." 

The flag should be displayed on all days, especially on

• New Year's Day - January 1
• Inauguration Day - January 20
• Martin Luther King Jr's Birthday - third Monday in January
• Lincoln's Birthday - February 12
• Washington's Birthday - third Monday in February
• Easter Sunday - (variable)
• Mother's Day - second Sunday in May
• Armed Forces Day - third Saturday in May
• Memorial Day (half-staff until noon) - last Monday in May

• Flag Day - June 14
• Independence Day - July 4
• Labor Day - first Monday - September 1 - 7 
• Columbus Day - second Monday in October
• Navy Day - October 27
• Veterans Day - November 11

• Thanksgiving Day - fourth Thursday in November
• Christmas Day - December 25
• Other days as may be proclaimed by the President of

   the United States
• Birthdays of States (date of admission) • State holidays

Sunday, August 23, 2015

I Trust You'll Treat her Well!

Dear World:

I bequeath to you today one little a crispy dress...with two blue eyes...and a happy laugh that ripples all day long.. and a flash of light strawberry-blond hair that bounces in the sun when she runs.

I trust you'll treat her well.

She's slipping out of the backyard of my heart this morning...and skipping off down the street to her first day of school. And never again will she be completely mine.

Prim and proud she'll wave her young and independent hand this morning and say "Goodbye" and walk with little lady steps to the schoolhouse.

Now she'll learn to stand in lines...and wait by the alphabet for her name to be called. She'll learn to tune her ears for the sounds of school-bells...and deadlines...and she'll learn to giggle...and gossip...and look at the ceiling in a disinterested way when the little boy 'cross the aisle sticks out his tongue at her. And now she'll learn to be jealous. And now she'll learn how it is to feel hurt inside. And now she'll learn how not to cry.

No longer will she have time to sit on the front porch on a summer day and watch an ant scurry across the crack in the sidewalk. Nor will she have time to pop out of bed with the dawn and kiss lilac blooms in the morning dew. No, now she'll worry about those important grades and which dress to wear and whose best friends is whose. And the magic of books and learning will replace the magic of her blocks and dolls. And now she'll find new heroes.

For five full years now I've been her sage and Santa Claus and pal and playmate and mother and friend. Now she'll learn to share her worship with her teachers ...which is only right. But no longer will I be the smartest woman in the whole world. Today when that school bell rings for the first time...she'll learn what it means to be a member of the group...with all its privileges and its disadvantages too.
She'll learn in time that proper young ladies do not laugh out loud...or kiss dogs...or keep frogs in pickle jars in bedrooms...or even watch ants scurry across cracks in sidewalks in the summer.

Today she'll learn for the first time that all who smile at her are not her friends. And I'll stand on the front porch and watch her start out on the long, lonely journey to becoming a woman.

So, world, I bequeath to you today one little a crispy dress...with two blue eyes...and a flash of light strawberry blonde hair that bounces in the sunlight when she runs.

I trust you'll treat her well.

Author: Victor Buono

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Escape to Timeless Elegance and Exquisite Fine Dining

Nestled at the foot of the rolling Catoctin Mountains in Central Maryland there is a 24-acre Mansion and estate buildings built in 1844. Antrim 1844 is a wonderful getaway for all occasions!
We began dinner by the fireplace with hand-passed hors d'oeuvres, a remarkable selection of entrees, and a Panache of desserts by the award winning Executive Chef Spencer Wolff

We chose a bottle of wine from the award-winning wine cellar containing over 20,000 bottles representing 2,900 selections of renowned and undiscovered selections from famed wine regions around the world! Yes! You can say we are multi-culture! 
We went back to our room to find a delicate rose and chocolates on the pillow. 
Hors d'oeuvres to wet your appetite!

We woke up to a tray of fresh fruits, homemade muffins, and a hot drink outside our door. This prepared us for the hearty homemade country breakfast with fresh squeezed orange juice waiting for us at the Smokehouse.
Try this beet and goat cheese salad!
I could wake up to this every morning!

If you want to experience food, wine, culture, and meet new people, this Bed & Breakfast is the place to be!

Our favorite room is the LOFT!

Antrim 1844

Meet the Award-Winning Executive Chef: Spencer Wolff

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Bloom Where You Are Planted

Plants adapt to the environment by modifying their leaves, stem and roots. Desert plants such as the cactus modify their leaves into thorns to prevent loss of moisture through transpiration. Plants such as the lotus grow in water, have modified stems with pores and have short roots.

Plants growing in dry, arid regions have long tap roots that allow them to search deep underground for moisture. In very cold regions, the leaves of plants are needle-shaped. Plants that grow in tropical rainforests have broad leaves to allow more transpiration to take place, as the humidity levels are very high. Plants grow deep roots to adapt to their environment.

What would happen if you took a rooted plant and replanted it into a foreign soil?

In many ways people are like plants. The longer people stay and live in one place they grow deep roots. They live with or near their families and extended families. They have jobs, activities, and hobbies. They meet friends at school, on the job, and at social gatherings. The longer they live in the same environment; their roots grow longer and stronger. They become deeply rooted into their culture.

What would happen if you took a person deeply rooted into their home country, language and culture and replanted him/her into a foreign culture?

According to Wikipedia, Culture Shock is the personal disorientation a person may feel when experiencing an unfamiliar way of life due to immigration or a visit to a new country, a move between social environments, or simply travel to another type of life. One of the most common causes of culture shock involves individuals in a foreign environment. Culture shock can be described as consisting of at least one of four distinct phases: Honeymoon, Frustration, Adjustment, and Mastery.

The most common problems include: information overload, language barrier, generation gap, technology gap, skill interdependence, formulation dependency, homesickness (cultural), infinite regress (homesickness), boredom (job dependency), response ability (cultural skill set) There is no true way to entirely prevent culture shock, as individuals in any society are personally affected by cultural contrasts differently.

My students were excited on their first day of 4th grade in a new school, in a new country! They just smiled and nodded their heads. They were eager to read, write or shall I say copy from the board and from their “assigned buddy” that sat next to them.

Weeks passed and the excitement slowly dissipated. They became agitated, withdrawn and isolated themselves from classroom activities, recess and lunch.

During science they observed graphic organizers of plants adapting to their environment. During their ESOL time I drew these pictures:

 I began my lesson.

“We are like plants!”
I drew a picture of a sunflower with deep roots. I had a World Map and the students showed me their home countries. I asked what they liked about their native countries. I recorded their responses on the roots of the flower. Next, I drew the 2nd picture.
“This happy sunflower was taken from his soil and repotted to a new soil. How is the sunflower feeling? Happy or sad?”

The students’ facial expressions showed me that they were quickly making personal connections.

“How can we make this sunflower adapt to his new environment?” One student, replied, “Water!”

“What will the water do to the plant? The roots?”

Another student shouted out, “Plant grow! Root!

“Yes! Plants need water to grow roots! How are we like plants? What can help grow roots? How can we adapt to our new environment here at school?”

As I allowed the students to think I extended the root below the plant and wrote the word, “Learn English.”

The students were becoming more engaged as they thought of one to three word phrases. I recorded their responses.

Months later the students became more involved in their daily school activities. Some of the students were playing soccer, Girls on the Run, and learning to play a string instrument for the school band. The students began to bloom where they were planted!

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

The Twelve Days of Catmas

"On the first day of Catmas, my sweet cat gave to me…"

A Mega-Size Cuddly Purr

"On the second day of Catmas, my sweet cat gave to me…"

Two Legless Spiders

"On the third day of Catmas, my sweet cat gave to me…"

Three Whisker Kisses

"On the fourth day of Catmas, my sweet cat gave to me…"

Four Pounds of Hairballs 

"On the fifth day of Catmas, my sweet cat gave to me…"

Five Catnip Mice

"On the sixth day of Catmas, my sweet cat gave to me…"

Six Slapping Tail Wags

"On the seventh day of Catmas, my sweet cat gave to me…"

Seven Paw Massages

"On the eighth day of Catmas, my sweet cat gave to me…"

Eight Crumpled Papers

"On the ninth day of Catmas, my sweet cat gave to me..."

Nine Happy Lives

"On the tenth day of Catmas, my sweet cat gave to me…"

 Ten Goldfish Bones

 "On the eleventh day of Catmas, my sweet cat gave to me…"

  Eleven Feline Selfies

  "On the twelfth day of Catmas, my sweet cat gave to me…"

  Twelve Hours of Loving Lap Time

   “On the 12 days of Catmas!”

Have yourself a Meowy little Purrr-fect Catmas!

Monday, July 7, 2014

Bounce This Along!

My mail carrier told me that the US Postal service sent out a message to all letter carriers to put a sheet of Bounce in their uniform pockets to keep yellow-jackets away. I use them all the time when playing baseball and soccer. I use it when I am working outside. It really works. The insects just veer around you.
All this time you've just been putting Bounce in the dryer!

  1. It will chase ants away when you lay a sheet near them. It also repels mice.
  2. Spread sheets around foundation areas, or in trailers, or cars that are sitting and it keeps mice from entering your vehicle.
  3. It takes the odor out of books and photo albums that don't get opened too often.
  4. It repels mosquitoes. Tie a sheet of Bounce through a belt loop when outdoors during mosquito season.
  5. Eliminate static electricity from your television (or computer) screen.
  6. Since Bounce is designed to help eliminate static cling, wipe your television screen with a used sheet of Bounce to keep dust from resettling.
  7. Dissolve soap scum from shower doors. Clean with a sheet of Bounce.
  8. To freshen the air in your home - Place an individual sheet of Bounce in a drawer or hang in the closet.
  9. Put Bounce sheet in vacuum cleaner.
  10. Prevent thread from tangling. Run a threaded needle through a sheet of Bounce before beginning to sew.
  11. Prevent musty suitcases. Place an individual sheet of Bounce inside empty luggage before storing.
  12. To freshen the air in your car - Place a sheet of Bounce under the front seat.
  13. Clean baked-on foods from a cooking pan. Put a sheet in a pan, fill with water, let sit overnight, and sponge clean. The anti-static agent apparently weakens the bond between the food and the pan.
  14. Eliminate odors in wastebaskets. Place a sheet of Bounce at the bottom of the wastebasket.
  15. Collect cat hair. Rubbing the area with a sheet of Bounce will magnetically attract all the lose hairs.
  16. Eliminate static electricity from Venetian blinds. Wipe the blinds with a sheet of Bounce to prevent dust from resettling.
  17. Wipe up sawdust from drilling or sand papering. A used sheet of Bounce will collect sawdust like a tack cloth.
  18. Eliminate odors in dirty laundry. Place an individual sheet of Bounce at the bottom of a laundry bag or hamper.
  19. Deodorize shoes or sneakers. Place a sheet of Bounce in your shoes or sneakers overnight.
  20. Golfers put a Bounce sheet in their back pocket to keep the bees away.
  21. Put a Bounce sheet in your sleeping bag and tent before folding and storing them. It will keep them smelling fresh.
  22. Wet a Bounce sheet, hose down your car, and wipe lovebugs off easily with the wet Bounce.
By TheBonster from MD

Friday, May 30, 2014

The Language of Soccer

By Tricia McCarthy, Assistant Principal, Howard County Public Schools
& Laurel Conran, ESOL Team Leader, Howard County Public Schools,
Elementary IS Co-Chair

Published in MDTESOL, Summer 2009

It was a hazy, humid May spring afternoon and the 5th graders were enjoying a game of soccer during their afternoon recess. This particular afternoon, the recess monitor brought the students to the front office to help settle a dispute that had arisen during recess. The students were having a physical altercation during a recess time soccer match. The disagreement primarily involved newly arrived limited English speaking students and the English speaking boys during the soccer game. Administration, ESOL teacher, and parent liaison listened to each boy’s side of the story. After listening to their stories, administration and staff realized that while both groups said they were playing soccer, it was clear that the students were playing by two different set of rules. 

For example, the American English-speaking boys were playing “street soccer.” Street soccer is simply what the name implies, a disorganized hodgepodge of running, kicking, and passing that somewhat imitates soccer. The game was not organized, rules were not set, and behavioral expectations were not clarified. While some students had a high level of understanding related to soccer rules, others had only a basic comprehension of the appropriate rules. The conflict arose when those who understood soccer, its rules and its outcomes were met by those students who played a disorganized game.  The outcome was FRUSTRATION for the players that knew how to play the game and for the students that do know how to play the game. One thing that became apparent to students, and staff alike was that recess soccer was not being played by a set of rules that both groups understood and could follow.

A quick review of cultural norms for the newly arriving students allowed staff to better understand soccer’s significance in the lives of these students. The limited English speaking students were very experienced soccer players. They understood the rules, played by them, and expressed frustration at trying to get their new English speaking peers to understand. As is the case for many new arrivals to our school, soccer is part of their culture. In other countries, students can go to any open field, and play. The game needs minimal equipment and is therefore easily accessible regardless of country or individual resources.
In contrast, youth sports in the US, are organized, and often cost money to play. Children must sign up for a sport or team, practice at a designated location, and more importantly, pay fees that are often prohibitive for newly arriving families. An interesting similarity among the majority of the students who played soccer at recess at our school was that most of them came from similar socio-economic backgrounds. In other words, the organized nature and monetary requirements kept both groups of students from participating in the local soccer clubs. 
The  (AP) assistant principal, a former PE teacher, school counselor and a soccer player with the help of the school counselor and teachers, facilitated a soccer tournament for the students during their recess. The students that were interested in playing soccer, signed up for the tournaments. The AP brought the children together and explained the basic soccer rules, chief among them was sportsmanship and an adherence to safety during play. Basic soccer vocabulary was taught to the students and demonstrated. For example, a throw in was defined, explained and demonstrated so that the level of understanding and comprehension was the same regardless of language.  Expectations were established and students were expected to follow the rules during their recess games. When the rules were explained, teams were formed and the tournament began.  The rules were followed and demonstrated when needed. The students played their soccer tournaments 2-3 times a week for 2 weeks. The students ended their games with a handshake. As the students learned to play together, referrals decreased!
Soccer Rules:
Only the goalkeeper may use their hands to catch or touch the ball.
No pushing will be allowed. Pushing another player will equal a warning, if you get two warnings, you have to sit out for five minutes and your team plays with one less player.

  • There are no corner kicks in our games.
  • There are throw ins in our games.
  • To score a goal, the ball must be kicked through the cones not over the cones.
  • Each game will begin with one team kicking off (i.e. passing the ball to a teammate from the center of the field).
  • Rock, Paper, Scissors to decide which team kicked off first.
  • Games are played during recess time ONLY.
Teams should play 6 players vs. 6 players; extra players are subs.
All teams MUST have a goalkeeper.
One team on each field MUST wear the colored vests.
Each team should have one captain and come up with an appropriate name for their team.
Good sportsmanship is important. Players should shake hands with the other team at the end of every game.

Team Composition:
Six teams were chosen (48 total students; 8 students per team)
Teams were placed into two groups (A group, B Group)
Two games played at a time. The school soccer field was divided into two smaller fields for the games.
Games were officiated by staff members (AP, Band Teacher, Guidance Counselor):
 A win is worth 2pts, a tie is worth 1pt. A team receives no points for a loss.
Top team from each group will meet in the final.

Soccer Vocabulary:

Goal: The space or opening that a soccer ball must go through to score a point. Also, the score gained by getting the ball through the cones.

Throw-In: returning a soccer ball to play from the sideline by propelling it from behind the head with both hands.

Hand Ball:  When a player, other than the goal-keeper, touches or “hands” the soccer ball during a game. When this happens, the other team is awarded a free kick.

Foul: Behaving in a way that is unfair or unacceptable (ie. Pushing or kicking an opponent)

Sportsmanship:  Showing respect for others and the rules of the game. Being gracious in victory and defeat.
What we learned:

Some amazing outcomes presented themselves both during and after the recess soccer tournament.  First, student behavior during recess improved. With the majority of our fifth graders involved in the organized soccer tournament, discipline issues and subsequent referrals decreased. Those students who didn’t play in the tournament, often watched from the sidelines, cheering on or supporting friends. Behavior during the matches was appropriate and each match ended with the requisite handshake.
Secondly, students began to share their soccer background with their peers. Teams were strategically comprised of students from many different backgrounds and cultures to help facilitate the building of friendships that continued in the community.
Third, staff began to see a connection between improved classroom behavior and a increased sense of class unity. Our fifth grade staff shared examples of how students who might otherwise not have spent time with one another began to work together, talk more frequently, and develop respect for each other.
Finally, it wasn’t just about the soccer anymore. It was about building relationships with our students, assisting them in working through conflict, respecting the cultural diversity of one another, and playing a little soccer too. Clearly, the lessons learned for both staff and students far and away exceeded the dimensions of the soccer field.