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July 12 – 18

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July 12

1817: Henry David Thoreau is born.


“An early-morning walk is a blessing for the whole day.”

~Henry David Thoreau

In order to live out his beliefs and to allow himself to be in nature, Thoreau built himself a cabin near Walden Pond, where he lived from 1845-1847. He wrote Walden about his experiences and reasons for choosing to live apart from society. A summary of his reasons can be found in one of the most quoted section of Walden:

“I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, to discover that I had not lived. I did not wish to live what was not life, living is so dear; nor did I wish to practice resignation, unless it was quite necessary. I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life, to live so sturdily and Spartan-like as to put to rout all that was not life, to cut a broad swath and shave close, to drive life into a corner, and reduce it to its lowest terms, and, if it proved to be mean, why then to get the whole and genuine meanness of it, and publish its meanness to the world; or if it were sublime, to know it by experience, and to be able to give a true account of it in my next excursion.”

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This Week in History exposes your child to new ideas and areas of learning.


He found the key to success in life during his adventure at Walden Pond.

“I have learned this at least by my experiment: that if one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours.” (Walden)

Thoreau’s most famous essay, “Civil Disobedience” was written to explain his reason for spending a night in jail rather than support the Mexican War (1846-1848) by paying his poll tax. This essay describes the use of passive resistance, a philosophy later adopted by Mohandas Gandhi and Martin Luther King, Jr. [Source]


Activity for Writing and Discussion:

  • Thoreau was a great lover of natural wilderness, and believed it was a resource to be treasured, protected and preserved, rather than plundered. What are your feelings about wilderness vs. civilization?
  • Can we have both?
  • Are there any wilderness areas near your home?
  • What can you do to improve your effort to care for natural resources?

It might be fun to find your own Walden Pond where you can sit and ponder these thoughts of Thoreau:

guy writing

  • “I would rather sit on a pumpkin and have it all to myself, than be crowded on a velvet cushion.”
  • “Let us first be as simple and well as Nature ourselves, dispel the clouds which hang over our brows, and take up a little life into our pores.”
  • “Do not stay to be an overseer of the poor, but endeavor to become one of the worthies of the world.”
  • “I have a great deal of company in my house; especially in the morning, when nobody calls.”

Also on this date in history…

1854: George Eastman, inventor of the Kodak camera, was born in Waterville, New York



This week in history instigates discussions and projects that expand your child’s wisdom and understanding.


Photography Activity:

  • A pinhole camera is a small, light-tight can or box with a black interior and a tiny hole in the center of one end. By using common household materials, you can make a camera that will produce pictures.


  • Making and using a pinhole camera will acquaint you with the basic elements of photography while providing an inexpensive and interesting way to take pictures. You can design it to accept roll or sheet film. The two ends of the camera are parallel. The end opposite the pinhole is flat so that the film is held in a flat plane. The pinhole has a cover to prevent light from entering the camera when you aren’t taking a picture.400px-Pinhole-camera.svg

Also on this date in history…

1865: African American scientist George Washington Carver was born

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“All my life I have risen regularly at four o’clock and have gone into the woods and talked to God. There He gives me my orders for the day.”

~George Washington Carver

Carver’s early life sounds like the sort of make-believe melodrama that my little girls make up in the pretend games–orphans and kidnappings, deathly illness, etc. But it really happened to George! This gifted man took his troubled beginnings and became a great leader, scientist and renaissance man.


Printables Source: Garden of Praise

This Week in History helps you make connections between the subject areas–from music to math, from geography to world religions, from hobbies to science projects, and more.


Ideas for Writing or Discussion:

  • Isn’t it interesting to see the image above of Carver in his laboratory, and yet – he sounds more like Thoreau in the quote that accompanies it! Do you think it’s rare for a great scientific mind to be so in tune with nature?
  • Does your family have any stories of overcoming great odds?
  • Does your family have any stories of discrimination or prejudice?
  • What do you think about his philosophy about throwing things away?
  • Have you ever set about to earn money yourself for something that was important to you? How does your experience compare with George’s?
  • Why did George stay at Tuskegee instead of going to work with the great Thomas Edison? Do you agree with his choice?
  • What was George’s idea of a successful person? What is your idea of a successful person?
  • Click here to download a printable activity book >>

One of George Washington Carver’s greatest influences in the world of science was his introduction of the importance of crop rotation.

 July 12   July 18: Climb a Mountain, Storm a Palace, Turn a Cartwheel...

In my garden this summer we are struggling with this little squash bug.

Squash Bug

So, I’ve been doing my research on how to squash them BEFORE they get my plants. In my research I was interested to find the amazing benefits of diatomaceous earth as both an organic pesticide and a food supplement. It is 80% silica – which is the mineral our bodies need to build healthy bones, skin, nails, teeth, etc.

Also on this date in history…

1895: Broadway lyricist Oscar Hammerstein II was born in New York City

Oscar Hammerstein II

“A bell’s not a bell ’til you ring it
A song’s not a song ’til you sing it
Love in your heart wasn’t put there to stay
Love isn’t love ’til you give it away!”

~Oscar Hammerstein


You really just must watch a Hammerstein musical this week! Here are some great ones: (you can click on the title for a sample from it…)

and, of course:

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Would you like to join in a Sound of Music Sing-along? Here are the lyrics to get you going.

You can even go so far as getting dressed up if you like! icon wink July 12   July 18: Climb a Mountain, Storm a Palace, Turn a Cartwheel...

Also on this date in history…

1908: Comedian Milton Berle was born Mendel Berlinger in New York City


“I live to laugh, and I laugh to live.”

~Milton Berle


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This Week in History helps you meet your state or provincial requirements.


July 13

1787: The Northwest Ordinance Became Law


The Northwest Ordinance, adopted by the Second Continental Congress, chartered a government for the Northwest Territory, provided a method for admitting new states to the Union from the territory, and listed a bill of rights guaranteed in the territory: it guaranteed freedom of worship, the right to trial by jury, and it prohibited slavery.

Following the principles outlined by Thomas Jefferson in the Ordinance of 1784, the authors of the Northwest Ordinance spelled out a plan that was subsequently used as the country expanded to the Pacific.


A fantastic scholar phase activity is to study governing documents. Why not study the Northwest Ordinance?

Document Study Pointers:

  • Obtain a hard copy of the document. (you can print one out here)
  • Spend some time researching the historical context
  • With a great dictionary as a resource (I recommend Webster’s 1828–here’s an online version) look up all the words that are unfamiliar.
  • List the rights granted.
  • To whom is power granted? Are there checks on that power?
  • Consider the effect that this document has had on history.

Also on this date in history…

1944: Birthdate of Erno Rubik.

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Can you guess what he invented?

The Rubik’s Cube!

220px Rubiks cube.svg  July 12   July 18: Climb a Mountain, Storm a Palace, Turn a Cartwheel...

Hungarian mathematician, educator and inventor of Rubik’s Cube (1974), which became a popular toy of the 1980s. Rubik’s Cube consists of 26 small cubes that rotate on a central axis; nine colored cube faces, in three rows of three each, form each side of the cube. When the cube arrangement is randomized, the player must then return it to the original condition of faces with matching colors, which is one among 43 quintillion possible configurations.


pick1 math July 12   July 18: Climb a Mountain, Storm a Palace, Turn a Cartwheel...

So I got thinking about math, and sort of got on a roll. I LOVE math! I found a couple of math resources I just had to share with you:

And check out our Math suggestions on TJEd.org :

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July 14

1789: Bastille Day

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Today is Bastille Day in France. On this date, citizens of Paris stormed the royal prison, the Bastille, where political enemies of the king were imprisoned. The prison had become the hated symbol of the king’s absolute power. The French were emulating the struggle of American colonists who had achieved independence from Britain in 1776, and the taking of the Bastille signaled the beginning of the French Revolution.

Today in France, Bastille Day is celebrated with mammoth parades, the display of the tricolor flag and the singing of “La Marseillaise,” the national anthem.


Activity for Writing and Discussion:

  • Do you think that liberty is a culturally unique value, or do you think that all people everywhere desire freedom?
  • Research current struggles for freedom around the world.
  • Draw a picture of the storming of the Bastille.
  • Learn the words to “La Marsellaise

This Week in History relieves stress and burnout.


What better way to celebrate this day than with a treat of yummy French Crepes.


Also on this date in history…

1913: Birthdate of Gerald Rudolph Ford, Thirty-eighth president of the United States of America


“A government big enough to give you everything you want is a government big enough to take from you everything you have.”

~Gerald Ford

Born in: Omaha, Nebraska
Occupation: Lawyer
President: 1974 – 1977, Republican

About Ford

  • Name changed from Leslie King, Jr., to Gerald Rudolph Ford when his mother remarried.
  • Football player; linebacker and center on the University of Michigan team; offered professional contract in 1932 – 1933
  • Conservative Republican congressman
  • Member of Warren Commission that investigated the assassination of President Kennedy
  • Chosen as vice president-designate by Nixon after resignation of Agnew. First appointed vice president in history, October 1973.

During his Term

  • Became president when Nixon resigned on August 10, 1974 because of his Watergate involvement and certain impeachment.


President Ford was unique as he was never elected. How did that happen? It might be worthwhile to review the electoral process today and the actual wording in the Constitution.

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July 15


Saint Swithin’s Day

An British saying goes:

Saint Swithin’s Day, if thou dost rain,
For forty-days it will remain;

Saint Swithin’s Day, if thou be fair,
For forty-days ‘twill rain nae mair.

Saint Swithin was buried, so legend tells, by his own request in the churchyard of Winchester Cathedral in England. When he was made a saint, the monks decided to move his body into the cathedral. This event took place on July 15, a day when it rained heavily. The rain kept falling for the next 40 days, leading many people to believe that Saint Swithin would have preferred to be out in the open.

Look out for rain today!


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July 16

1945: First atom bomb detonation

Manhattan Project

The first atom bomb exploded at Alamogordo Air Force Base in a desolate portion of New Mexico. After Germany’s surrender in early May 1945, the allies still faced a long, arduous war against Japan. To shorten the conflict they issued an ultimatum telling the Japanese “the alternative to surrender is prompt and utter destruction.” When this peace initiative was rejected, President Harry S. Truman authorized the use of the new weapon.

On August 6, 1945 at 8:15 a.m., an atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima; more than 160,000 people were killed or injured. Three days later the city of Nagasaki was similarly destroyed. The Japanese surrendered on August 14. World War II was ended by using the most devastating weapon ever developed by humankind.


Activity for Writing and Discussion:

Also on this day…

Fresh Spinach Day!
spinach July 12   July 18: Climb a Mountain, Storm a Palace, Turn a Cartwheel...

This a great day for all things having to do with spinach. Planting, harvesting (only if it’s ready), and eating.



This Week in History helps you mentor your students in the classics.


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July 17

1717: George Frideric Handel’s Water Music is premiered.

Handel Water Music

King George I of Great Britain sails down the River Thames with a barge of 50 musicians, where George Frideric Handel’s Water Music is premiered.


Learning Activity:

  • Find the River Thames on a map.
  • What is Barroque music?
  • What did fireworks have to do with the premier of Handel’s Water Music?
  • How did 50 musicians play while floating down the Thames?

Also on this date in history…

1955: Disneyland, America’s first theme park, opened at Anaheim, CA.

Disneyland Cinderella_Castle_Magic_Kingdom_07_Edited

And it all started with a picture of a mouse!

This would be a great time to practice your drawing skills.

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Here are the steps for drawing Mickey Mouse.

How about Minnie?

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Click here for instructions on drawing Minnie Mouse >>

And Goofy.


Click here for graphic and video instruction on how to draw Goofy! >>

Who is your favorite Disney Character?

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This Week in History motivates you and your students to greater excellence.


July 18

1976: The Perfect Ten


At the age of 14, Nadia Comaneci became the first gymnast to receive a perfect score in the Olympic Games. At the Games held in Montreal, Canada, Comaneci received perfect scores of 10 on the uneven bars and balance beam.



  • Get on some mats, or out on the lawn, and practice some basic tumbling skills today!

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Also on this date in history…


Creative Ice Cream Flavor Day

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Here are some interesting flavors I rounded up on the web:

Seven in 10 consumers buy vanilla, chocolate or strawberry, says Howard Waxman, editor of Ice Cream Reporter, but the remaining three in 10 are “where the real battle for profitability is fought.”

Some summer ice cream oddities:

French Toast. Later this summer, Baskin-Robbins will roll out the ice cream with bits of French toast and maple. “Customers love knowing they can get a sample, then get their favorites,” executive chef Stan Frankenthaler says.

Buttered Popcorn. In August, MaggieMoo’s debuts a flavor with butter pecan and caramel popcorn. “This gets people in the door,” says Hilliard Creath, R&D manager.

Strawberry Basil. It’s the first time Cold Stone has put an herb into an ice cream, taste master Ray Karam says.

Late Night Snack. The Late Night With Jimmy Fallon host helped develop Ben & Jerry’s flavor made with chocolate-covered potato chips and caramel. “He suggested pizza, but we thought that sounded gross,” says Alison Gilbert, brand manager.

Mojito Sorbet. There’s no rum in it, but the new Cold Stone flavor, due in August, is made with mint and lime.

Firehouse 31. Anyone who has felt the heat of an Atomic Fireball will appreciate this Baskin-Robbins flavor that crushes a fiery candy into its ice cream.

Creole Cream Cheese. Made with a cream-cheese-like base and a spicy kick, it hits Baskin-Robbins this summer.

Maple Bacon Sundae. Denny’s is selling the sundae made with vanilla ice cream, maple syrup and bacon bits. Alas, a side of pancakes doesn’t come with it. [Source]


What ice cream flavors can you come up with? Try tinkering with the recipe to see what other variations you can come up with (different sweeteners, alternate milks or chunky add-ins; and don’t be afraid to try little savory bits, like toffee, pretzels, roasted nuts, add-in herbs, or what-have-you!)…

See you next week!



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