Brings parks, aviation, and civil rights into your summer classroom!


Lessons that Make Cents.

Lesson Plans.
Illustration relating to the lesson plans section.

National Park and Recreation Month

Celebrate National Park and Recreation Month with our free America the Beautiful Quarters Program Lesson Plans.  Use the “share this lesson” link to share lesson plans with your colleagues.

Civil Rights Act of 1964 (July 2)

  • Dedication on Display (Teacher Feature, 2 through 8):  Researching a famous African-American who received a Congressional Gold Medal.
  • Flames of Freedom (Teacher Feature, 2 through 8):  Delving into the Civil Rights Act of 1964, events of the time, and the Act’s commemorative coin.

Independence Day (July 4)

  • Through My Eyes (Teacher Feature, 3, 4, 5, 6):  Exploring the 1986 Statue of Liberty commemorative half dollar.
  • Key to the National Anthem (9 through 12):  Describing how the events of the Battle of Baltimore inspired the lyrics of “The Star-Spangled Banner.”
  • Oh Say! What a Big Flag! (4, 5, 6):  Exercising measurement skills and analyzing the national anthem.

Battle of Gettysburg (July 1–3, 1863)

  • A Day in the Life (2, 3):  Comparing how soldiers lived during the Civil War to current life.
  • What Do I Wear? (starter for 7, 8):  Researching the style of clothing or uniform worn by soldiers during the Civil War.
  • Gettysburg Twist (starter for 9 through 12):  Analyzing the Gettysburg Address and summarizing main points.

First Women’s Rights Convention
(July 19–20, 1848)

  • It’s Not JUST A Man’s World (Teacher Feature, 2 through 6):  Learning about famous historical women featured on coins.
  • Voting for Change (4, 5, 6):  Identifying events in the history of voting rights and the importance of amendments to the Constitution.

Time for Space

John Glenn (July 18, 1921)
First Moon Landing (July 20, 1969)
Apollo 11 Returns (July 24, 1969)

  • Pioneers in Space (K, 1):  Learning about the word “pioneer” and aviation pioneers from Ohio.
  • Flying High in Ohio (2, 3):  Using a graphic organizer to compare two sets of aviation pioneers.
  • A Life Without Flight (4, 5, 6):  Exploring the impact of Ohio’s aviation pioneers on life in America.
  • Many Happy Returns (4, 5, 6):  Connecting the past and the present and comparing the Lewis and Clark Expedition with the flight of Apollo 11.
  • Exploration Across Eras (9 through 12):  Chronicling events of Lewis and Clark and the space program of the 1960s.

View more lessons.


Activities illustrated.

Coin of the Month

Introduce your students to the Civil Rights Act of 1964 Silver Dollar.  Read the July Coin of the Month to learn about honoring the 50th anniversary of the passing into law of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 with this commemorative coin.

Incorporate the companion Teacher Feature, Flames of Freedom, which uses Social Studies and Language Arts standards.

Learn more.

Making Cents

The summer issue of Making Cents, the quarterly e-newsletter, has arrived!  Have your students see what’s new and solve the summer puzzle using issue-specific vocabulary.

Celebrate Our Parks

July is National Park and Recreation Month.  Visit our kids’ America the Beautiful Quarters® Program page to find out more about the chosen national parks.

Independence Day (July 4)

Invite your students to visit our Independence Day page to learn more about the holiday and the Declaration of Independence.  Have them test their knowledge with the trivia quiz!

First American Passport (July 8, 1796)

  • Coins of the World: This interactive activity prompts students to create a passport and virtually travel to different countries, where they compare cultures, cuisines, and coins.

Looking Ahead.

Illustrations relating to the next issue.

August Events

William Clark (August 1, 1770) Meriwether Lewis (August 18, 1774)

Teach your students about Lewis and Clark with our Westward Journey Nickel Series lesson plans.

Lincoln Cent (issued August 2, 1909)

Story Hour with Lincoln (K, 1):  Learning about major accomplishments of Abraham Lincoln.

Celebration of Aviation Day (August 19)

When Pigs Fly (game):  Students learn about the Wright Brothers’ famous flight and the basics of how a plane flies, then build and fly their own plane.

Summer Planning Aids

Let us help you with your planning this summer. Use our searchable lesson plan collection.  Download lessons for math, science, social studies, language arts, and more as you look ahead to the new school year and fall’s curricular needs.

Learn more.

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Here’s Proof Selfies Have Been Popular Since 1839

Source: Readers Digest –

Flip through a brief history of America’s favorite photo trend.


Philadelphia photographer Robert Cornelius takes one of the first photographic self-portraits.

Robert Cornelius/Getty Images

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Make Snowflakes Out of Words

Source: –  By

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Turn Words Into Beautiful Snowflakes
Words turned into snowflakes.

The word Snow (twice), Winter,, and the name Brian were used to create these snowflakes. Can you see the words? Do you recognize any of the fonts?

© J. Bear

All you need is a vector graphics program, some fonts, and imagination. Create graphic snowflakes or icons using words. You could think of it as secret writing because the word is hidden in the snowflake. Or use non-sense words simply because they create beautiful shapes and patterns.You’ll need:

If you aren’t familiar with using an illustration program, the primary tasks you’ll need to know are:

  • How to type a word, change the font, change the size.
  • How to convert text to a path.
  • How to copy and paste an object.
  • How to rotate an object.
  • How to group objects.
  • How to change fill and stroke colors.
  • Optional: How to combine objects, manipulate paths, and apply other special effects.

Brush up on your graphics basics at Graphics Software:

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Pachyderm Perfection: Recycled Robotic Elephant | Gadgets, Science & Technology

elephant, Machines on the Isle of Nantes, metal, reclaimed building materials, recycled building materials, reuse design, robot, wood

The Reclamation Administration

It took 45 tons of recycled steel and wood to put this beast together. Overall, the elephant is about 39 feet high and 26 feet wide. It was meant to be an approximate replica of The Sultan’s Elephant, a huge elephant sculpture created for the traveling French public art show of the same name.

via Pachyderm Perfection: Recycled Robotic Elephant | Gadgets, Science & Technology.

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How I make animated GIFs

Movies Silently

This is probably the number one question that I receive from fellow bloggers so I thought I would do a quick post on the topic.

1. I use Corel WinDVD to capture the GIF.

The software allows you to press a button and capture up to 15 seconds of imagery in GIF form. (It is also what I use for my review screen caps.)

As of this writing, the software has a 30 day free trial period.

2. I edit the GIF in Photoshop

I edit the speed of the GIF, the size and other features using Photoshop. The much-much-cheaper Photoshop Elements is also capable of editing GIFs. I have also heard of folks using GIMP (a freeeware image editor) successfully for their GIFs.

There are tons of tutorials available online for you GIF-makers. I am just a hobbyest so if you have any tech support issues, please contact…

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Ultimate Guide to Memorial Day Weekend App Sales

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Useful Websites

• – video lectures on just about any subject
• – lectures by smart people
• – classroom lectures
• – expand your vocabulary while feeding the hungry
• – a collection of geography quizzes
• – timed math quizzes
• – the best short stories
• – learn about drugs
• – turn a Wikipedia article into a video
• – a collection of intellectually stimulating videos
• – a place to learn amazing and unusual historical and scientific facts

Learn Skills
• – learn to program in C
• – a bunch of chess tactics, tutorials, and puzzles
• – learn html
• – learn to code through interactive lessons
• – learn to cook
• – learn photography
• – learn a foreign language
• – guitar video tutorials
• – a language learning community
• – learn music theory
• – learn and practice investing

Useful Web Apps
• – for budgeting your money
• – compare cell phone and credit card plans
• – a search engine that isn’t following you
• – maps out possible apartments/homes that fit your criteria
• – make any webpage print friendly
• – print precisely what you want from any webpage
• – write a note to someone that will self-destruct after they read it
• – a network of people giving away free stuff in their towns
• – crash on someone’s couch anywhere in the world
• – search for recipes based on the ingredients you have
• – a search engine for finding people
• – donate to a classroom in need
• – evaluates various charities
• – find cheap stuff the government is getting rid of
• – popular news headlines
• – listen to radio channels across the nation
• – link aggregator
• – Reddit in Microsoft Word form
• – like paypal but less scummy
• – a more profane look at the weather
• – a computational knowledge engine
• – follow satellites and constellations
• – figure out you I.P. address
• – improve reading speed and comprehension
• – listen to white noise
• – tracks prices for any product
• – an interactive periodic table
• – find coupons for just about anything
• – search all of craigslist with one search
• – peek in on somebody’s computer screen
• – find out the best way to glue this to that
• – find out what your website is missing, how you can improve it, and how to make Google recognize it better
• – draw on maps then share them with friends
• – video email
• – online rhyming dictionary
• – design your dream home
• – an easy way to send big files
• – shows places around you to help you survive the zombie apocalypse
• – a place to paste text
• – make it sound like you’re hard at work
• – find somewhere to get a drink in your area
• – backup your sensitive document online
• – find out where the best seats are on your plane flight
• – find out which websites store data about you, and tell them to unlist your info
• – a collection of lost cameras
• – check the size of items you buy online
• – plan out your sleep schedule better
• – download all the free software you want at the same time
• – find out when certain fruits are ripe
• – talk out your problems with others, or help others yourself
• – swap books with others
• – a look at Reddit’s favorite pictures
• – plan out your meals better
• – a graphical look at the weather
• – network tools
• – the best place to buy things online

Entertainment – Music, Movies, Sports, Books

• – Reddit’s favorite music
• – great place to listen to tunes
• – find out when your favorite television shows come back on air
• – type in an author and they will show you others of a similar style
• – find out the best time to run to the bathroom during any movie
• – searches your music library and tells you when your favorite musicians play in your area
• – sing or hum a song you don’t the name of and it will identify it for you
• – the best movie news blog on the internet
• – find out what movie you should watch next
• – read page 99 of a book
• – talk to an actual person instead of a machine when you call customer service
• – get recommendations for your next read
• – awesome community of sports blogs
• – just the first frame of today’s webcomics

Other Interesting Blogs
• – cool stuff every man should own
• – learn man stuff
• – daily tips, DIYs, ane more
• – personal finance advice
• – seduction tips
• – a human-powered discovery engine
• – a look at politics through the numbers
• – a new DIY project every day
• – old and interesting pictures
• – amazing pictures covering the latest news around the world
• – science news
• – a place for stuff men love
• – pictures of delicious food
• – take a breath and read this blog
• – more pictures of delicious food
• – a blog cataloging which possessions people choose to save from a burning home
• – check out how amazing the inside of some homes look
• – more personal finance advice
• – world news and analysis
• – where knowledge junkies get their fix
• – financial advice through badassity
• – study tips
• – personal letters written by famous people

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Tech gear you shouldn’t buy this Christmas

Source: – by Kim Komando


–>”You’ll shoot your eye out kid!”

One of my favorite movies is A Christmas Story. There are so many truly funny scenes.

What would Ralphie want to see under the Christmas tree in 2012 – a new smartphone loaded with a copy of Angry Birds Star Wars? Hard to say. There are so many great games and gadgets out there.

With all that gear, it’s also easy to buy a tech dud. No one wants to waste money or give someone something they don’t really want.

You may recall the bulletin I put out last Christmas about tech gear you shouldn’t buy. It included feature phones, GPS units, netbooks, portable media players and point-and-shoot cameras.

Those are still on the no-buy list, but this year I have a whole new list of things you’ll want to avoid.

Budget Android gadgets While I still prefer my iPhone and iPad, Android gadgets are now a good option for any tech buyer. Of course, not all Android gadgets are created equal.

Older and budget Android gadgets are best to be avoided. And when I say budget, I’m not talking about low-cost, 7-inch tablets like the Nexus 7 or Kindle Fire. I mean $100, off-brand tablets and low-powered, free smartphones.

For both phones and tablets, make sure they’re running Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich) or higher. A budget phone that runs Android 2.3 (Gingerbread), or a budget tablet that runs Android 3.2 (Honeycomb), will stagger when running the latest games and productivity apps.

A $0 to $50 Android phone that was a $200 to $300 dazzler on contract a year ago can be a good value. But a $0 to $50 Android with an outdated processor and last-generation Android version is no bargain.

Plus, manufacturers tend to abandon support for Android duds. Less expensive or older smartphones often don’t get an operating system upgrade more than once, or even at all.

To find out what smartphones and tablets will thrill your family this year, visit my buying guides.

17-inch laptops Apple laid its 17-inch MacBook Pro to rest this year. Users just don’t want to lug those behemoths around airports and corporate campuses anymore. For that matter, a 15-inch laptop makes sense only for gamers or a graphics and video pro.

Most road warriors can work or kill time splendidly on a 10- to 13-inch Ultrabook or MacBook Air. Their solid-state drives and Intel Ivy Bridge chips make them lightning-fast tools, and their thin, lightweight form makes them a joy to use – and carry around.

Learn what goes into a killer laptop with my laptop buying guide. Then get step-by-step directions to set up your new PC or Mac in a flash.

Bridge cameras Designed to fill a niche between high-end DSLRs and budget point-and-shoots, bridge cameras don’t make as much sense as they used to.

Compared to point-and-shoots, bridge cameras give photographers more control over shutter speed and aperture. But they don’t offer much of an improvement in sensor size or quality. You’re also stuck with a permanent zoom lens that usually isn’t a world-beater.

Mirrorless hybrid cameras, on the other hand, are the fastest-growing digital category for good reason. They rival compact cameras in size and DSLRs in sensor and lens quality. They’re systems you can grow with and keep for many years.

Prices range from practical – Nikon 1 V1 ($500, with 10-30mm lens) – to painful – Fujifilm X Pro 1 ($1,700, body only).

Click here for more on buying a hybrid camera. If you’re interested in taking a larger step to a DSLR, I can help with that as well.

Once you have your camera, you need to learn how to use it. I can have you shooting like a pro in no time with my Essential Guides to Digital Photography.

Entry-level e-readers E-readers have really hit their stride this year. Display technology has improved, and so has the library of new and exciting e-books.

Not all e-readers are cutting edge, however. Amazon’s entry-level e-reader, the Kindle ($69), uses buttons for navigation and features a standard E-Ink Pearl display. It’s not a bad unit, but for a bit more you could have something much, much better.

The just-introduced Kindle Paperwhite ($119) offers a touch screen with amazing resolution and contrast. Plus, it has an innovative built-in light that makes nighttime reading very comfortable. See it in action in this video on my site.

The display on the Nook Simple Touch ($99) is touch-capable but otherwise a standard E-Ink Pearl display. Barnes & Noble’s solution to reading in the dark is the Nook Simple Touch with GlowLight ($139). The Nook Color ($149) features a nice multi-touch color LCD and runs a customized version of the Android operating system.

I go into more detail on what you need to look for when buying e-readers here.

Budget LCD TVs TV prices continue to drop, and there are bargains everywhere you look! Unfortunately, many of these deals are bargain basement.

Sure, you can buy an off-brand 50-inch LCD TV for less than $500. But you’ll be getting outdated technology and a poor viewing experience.

Budget LCDs have a refresh rate of 60 hertz, which can blur motion when you’re watching the big football game. Refresh rates of 120Hz and 240Hz are standard now. Many bargain-basement TVs also have a resolution of 720p, compared to the 1080p you want.

Bargain LCD TVs are still backlit by fluorescent lights. That looked great four years ago, but it pales in comparison to LCD TVs with an LED backlight.

LED TVs have gotten so good that they’re catching up to plasma screens for blackness level, color and contrast. That could also be a reason why sales of plasma TVs have dwindled to about 13 percent of the market.

For larger TVs, however, plasmas have the edge over LEDs on price. You’ll pay about $1,000 for Samsung’s 60-inch plasma; about $1,500 for its 60-inch LED TV.

If you’re going for a second TV, a bargain unit might be OK. But for your main home theater TV, you want something better.

I’ve got everything you need to know about buying a new HDTV in my HDTV buying guide. Click here to read it. Then learn how to set up your home theater for the best movie-watching experience.

Categories: Kim Komando, Must Read, Tech Savvy Parents, Techno Geeks | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Infographic: How LinkedIn Works

Source: – by johnkremer

LinkedIn, one of the largest social network services, has quickly grown to be the number one source for professionals to network within their industry. But how does it actually work and how many people are using it?





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