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Category: Stuff for Your Brain

The Dark and Scary Side – of SNEEZING

Kids History

Sneezing. We all do it. It seems so simple. You get an itch in your nose, a tickle in your head and then: HAH-CHEW! You don’t decide to sneeze. It just happens. A sneeze can be funny, but it can also be dangerous. In fact, sneezing has a dark and frightening history.

People have sneezed since the beginning of time. And all over the world people have responded to a sneeze by wishing the sneezer good health.

In ancient Rome people would say “Jupiter preserve you.” Ancient Greeks would say “good health to you.” Even though these people didn’t know about germs, they knew that sneezing was a bad sign.

Some thought that the soul left the body when a person sneezed. Wishing good health helped keep the devil away from that soul. Other people thought that sneezing was how a person got rid of a demon. A blessing was to help keep the devil from re-entering the person’s body.

The phrase, “God bless you” is believed to come from Pope Gregory The Great during the sixth century. This was when a deadly bubonic plague ran wild through Europe. The blessing was uttered after a sneeze in the hope of preventing the spread of the illness. Of course, it didn’t.

Probably the most familiar response to sneezing is: gesundheit. This is a German word that means “health.” In Punjabi, people say “Glorious Lord.” Latvians say, “To your health.” Albanians simply say, “Health.” While some cultures have different ways to answer the blessing, the usual thing to say back is: “Thank you.”

Sneezing is also thought to have inspired a famous old children’s rhythm: Ring around the Rosie. In the 1800s, people thought that the poem was a playful description of the plague. The words, “A-shew-A-shew we all fall down” was thought to describe sneezing then getting sick and falling.

History experts don’t think that the nursery rhythm was written because of the plague, but people still believe the story.

Of course, now we know that sneezing is one way our bodies get rid of germs. Years ago, people were told to sneeze into handkerchiefs. This wasn’t a good idea, because the germs still lived in the cloth.

Now people are told to use tissues then throw the tissues away and wash their hands. If you sneeze and do not have a tissue, doctors say that you should to sneeze into the elbow of your sleeve.

We know that sneezing isn’t caused by demons, but we do know that germs are dangerous. You can still say “God bless you,” but to be safe, use a tissue and wash your

Sneezing. We all do it. It seems so simple. You get an itch in your nose, a tickle in your head and then: HAH-CHEW! You don’t decide to sneeze. It just happens. A sneeze can be funny, but it can also be dangerous. In fact, sneezing has a dark and frightening history.

People have sneezed since the beginning of time. And all over the world people have responded to a sneeze by wishing the sneezer good health.

In ancient Rome people would say “Jupiter preserve you.” Ancient Greeks would say “good health to you.” Even though these people didn’t know about germs, they knew that sneezing was a bad sign.

Some thought that the soul left the body when a person sneezed. Wishing good health helped keep the devil away from that soul. Other people thought that sneezing was how a person got rid of a demon. A blessing was to help keep the devil from re-entering the person’s body.

The phrase, “God bless you” is believed to come from Pope Gregory The Great during the sixth century. This was when a deadly bubonic plague ran wild through Europe. The blessing was uttered after a sneeze in the hope of preventing the spread of the illness. Of course, it didn’t.

Probably the most familiar response to sneezing is: gesundheit. This is a German word that means “health.” In Punjabi, people say “Glorious Lord.” Latvians say, “To your health.” Albanians simply say, “Health.” While some cultures have different ways to answer the blessing, the usual thing to say back is: “Thank you.”

Sneezing is also thought to have inspired a famous old children’s rhythm: Ring around the Rosie. In the 1800s, people thought that the poem was a playful description of the plague. The words, “A-shew-A-shew we all fall down” was thought to describe sneezing then getting sick and falling.

History experts don’t think that the nursery rhythm was written because of the plague, but people still believe the story.

Of course, now we know that sneezing is one way our bodies get rid of germs. Years ago, people were told to sneeze into handkerchiefs. This wasn’t a good idea, because the germs still lived in the cloth.

Now people are told to use tissues then throw the tissues away and wash their hands. If you sneeze and do not have a tissue, doctors say that you should to sneeze into the elbow of your sleeve.

We know that sneezing isn’t caused by demons, but we do know that germs are dangerous. You can still say “God bless you,” but to be safe, use a tissue and wash your

Let’s Talk Fashion!

Fashion for Kids

What’s hot in fashion this season? What outfits are all the cool kids wearing? Can you show the world who you are by what shirt you put on? Let’s talk about it. First, there’s something very important that you need to know.

When you grow up you will look at what you are wearing now and roll your eyes or burst out laughing. Sure, you can wear loose pants that threaten to fall off, but when you get older, you’ll wonder why you did.

But don’t dress to please an older, wiser version of you. Dress for now. Wear what fits the day you are living. But always think about these points:

  • Your clothes should let you live your life. You run, jump, sit, catch balls, eat, walk. Your clothes should let you do those activities. When you try on pants, walk around in them. Sit down in them. Do you still feel comfortable? If you don’t, try on a different pair. Does your new shirt let you reach over your head? If so, you’ve picked the right shirt. Fashion doesn’t matter when it won’t let you be you.
  • Your clothes need to fit the weather. Face it, you would look pretty silly wearing a windbreaker in a snow storm. You could also get sick. If you wear a big puffy coat on a hot day, you’ll be sticky and sweaty and might even get weak from the heat. When you dress to fit Mother Nature, you can enjoy the world. Check weather reports or listen to what your parents say about weather conditions.
  • Really think about the heroes and statements you wear on your t-shirts. When you wear a famous face, you tell the world that you admire this person. Beware. Many people whose faces are printed on shirts are not all that admirable. A good example is Lance Armstrong. For many, many years Lance was a hero to people. He won international bicycle races and an Olympic medal. He also fought cancer and won, which is admirable. In time, the truth came out. Lance had cheated to win his races and medals. He is no longer considered a hero or role model. So what should you do? Read up on people before wearing them on your body. Talk to your parents. Look for real heroes.
  • Always wear shoes you can run in. Color doesn’t matter. Style is up to you. They don’t even have to be officially running shoes. The important fact is this: If you can run in your shoes, you will have more fun and be safer. If you can run in your shoes, you can dance, play ball, quickly help a friend, carry grocery bags and move! Good shoes give you freedom.
  • Dress for the occasion. You wouldn’t shovel snow in a bathing suit. You wouldn’t wear a snow suit to play basketball. When you visit your grandparents or open your first bank account or visit a friend in the hospital, some fashion will make others feel uncomfortable. When you dress for the event, people won’t be staring at the funny fashion you have on. They’ll be looking at you.

What is fashion? Is it what your favorite rapper wears or what you see on the cover of magazines? Yes, but fashion is also what you put on every morning. Don’t let fashion rule you. Rock fashion yourself.

What’s hot in fashion this season? What outfits are all the cool kids wearing? Can you show the world who you are by what shirt you put on? Let’s talk about it. First, there’s something very important that you need to know.

When you grow up you will look at what you are wearing now and roll your eyes or burst out laughing. Sure, you can wear loose pants that threaten to fall off, but when you get older, you’ll wonder why you did.

But don’t dress to please an older, wiser version of you. Dress for now. Wear what fits the day you are living. But always think about these points:

  • Your clothes should let you live your life. You run, jump, sit, catch balls, eat, walk. Your clothes should let you do those activities. When you try on pants, walk around in them. Sit down in them. Do you still feel comfortable? If you don’t, try on a different pair. Does your new shirt let you reach over your head? If so, you’ve picked the right shirt. Fashion doesn’t matter when it won’t let you be you.
  • Your clothes need to fit the weather. Face it, you would look pretty silly wearing a windbreaker in a snow storm. You could also get sick. If you wear a big puffy coat on a hot day, you’ll be sticky and sweaty and might even get weak from the heat. When you dress to fit Mother Nature, you can enjoy the world. Check weather reports or listen to what your parents say about weather conditions.
  • Really think about the heroes and statements you wear on your t-shirts. When you wear a famous face, you tell the world that you admire this person. Beware. Many people whose faces are printed on shirts are not all that admirable. A good example is Lance Armstrong. For many, many years Lance was a hero to people. He won international bicycle races and an Olympic medal. He also fought cancer and won, which is admirable. In time, the truth came out. Lance had cheated to win his races and medals. He is no longer considered a hero or role model. So what should you do? Read up on people before wearing them on your body. Talk to your parents. Look for real heroes.
  • Always wear shoes you can run in. Color doesn’t matter. Style is up to you. They don’t even have to be officially running shoes. The important fact is this: If you can run in your shoes, you will have more fun and be safer. If you can run in your shoes, you can dance, play ball, quickly help a friend, carry grocery bags and move! Good shoes give you freedom.
  • Dress for the occasion. You wouldn’t shovel snow in a bathing suit. You wouldn’t wear a snow suit to play basketball. When you visit your grandparents or open your first bank account or visit a friend in the hospital, some fashion will make others feel uncomfortable. When you dress for the event, people won’t be staring at the funny fashion you have on. They’ll be looking at you.

What is fashion? Is it what your favorite rapper wears or what you see on the cover of magazines? Yes, but fashion is also what you put on every morning. Don’t let fashion rule you. Rock fashion yourself.

The Best Place in the World to Live

Kids Living Around the World

People are always grumbling about the weather. Many think that life would be so much better to live if only they moved to a better place. The fact is, every place is both the best place to live and the worst place to be, depending on the time of year. Let’s take a little trip. Grab your globe or a map of the world and buckle up.

Many people in northern climates dream of living on the equator. After all, they say, life would be so much better without cold and snow. Rainy season in Mexico can last from May to November. That’s seven months where outdoor activity is sloppy and wet. When the rain stops, the world blooms in green and flowers that would shame a rainbow. The lush growth makes places like this a wonderful place to live—after rain season, that is.

All up and down the southern Atlantic coast (check your map) is where you find hurricanes. They are the wicked monsters of weather, blowing cars and homes and even chunks of bridges up in the air. Millions of people have to live with damage caused by hurricanes each year. Most of the damage is in places known for hot, pleasant weather, like Florida, Puerto Rico, Haiti, Central America and the east coast of Africa.

Maybe you’ve longed to live in someplace known for easy, comfortable climate, like, say, California or Switzerland. Okay. But be warned that these are places known for mudslides. Mudslides occur when large amounts of water flow down steep slopes. The mud can be so thick, it can wash away whole towns.

Mudslides and landslides happen all over the world, from Nepal to Peru to Southeast Asia and back to Venezuela. There are gorgeous mountains and lush vegetation—but a good rain can send a mountain sliding down.

Some of the most sunniest places in North America are in winter climates. The temperature is cold and well below freezing, but seeing the bright sun every day can be uplifting. People who live along the Pacific coast enjoy warmer winters, but during the winter the it’s mostly cloudy. In certain areas it can rain continuously for 3 or 4 months straight. In those cases, the sky can be very dark on a daily basis.

Many hot countries are too hot to go out and play during the middle of the day. Lovely island countries like Japan can face tsunamis, which are huge, powerful waves. The wide prairies have to deal with tornadoes. No matter where you live in the world, the weather can be wonderful or it can unpleasant.

The planet is a dynamic place with changing seasons and weather conditions. Luckily, human beings are smart. We are adaptable. We can live happily almost anywhere. The trick is to understand that no place is perfect and every place has its magic and beauty.

When bad weather comes, you have the power to get through it. You don’t have to move to enjoy the world. Just listen to your parents and put on that scarf!

People are always grumbling about the weather. Many think that life would be so much better to live if only they moved to a better place. The fact is, every place is both the best place to live and the worst place to be, depending on the time of year. Let’s take a little trip. Grab your globe or a map of the world and buckle up.

Many people in northern climates dream of living on the equator. After all, they say, life would be so much better without cold and snow. Rainy season in Mexico can last from May to November. That’s seven months where outdoor activity is sloppy and wet. When the rain stops, the world blooms in green and flowers that would shame a rainbow. The lush growth makes places like this a wonderful place to live—after rain season, that is.

All up and down the southern Atlantic coast (check your map) is where you find hurricanes. They are the wicked monsters of weather, blowing cars and homes and even chunks of bridges up in the air. Millions of people have to live with damage caused by hurricanes each year. Most of the damage is in places known for hot, pleasant weather, like Florida, Puerto Rico, Haiti, Central America and the east coast of Africa.

Maybe you’ve longed to live in someplace known for easy, comfortable climate, like, say, California or Switzerland. Okay. But be warned that these are places known for mudslides. Mudslides occur when large amounts of water flow down steep slopes. The mud can be so thick, it can wash away whole towns.

Mudslides and landslides happen all over the world, from Nepal to Peru to Southeast Asia and back to Venezuela. There are gorgeous mountains and lush vegetation—but a good rain can send a mountain sliding down.

Some of the most sunniest places in North America are in winter climates. The temperature is cold and well below freezing, but seeing the bright sun every day can be uplifting. People who live along the Pacific coast enjoy warmer winters, but during the winter the it’s mostly cloudy. In certain areas it can rain continuously for 3 or 4 months straight. In those cases, the sky can be very dark on a daily basis.

Many hot countries are too hot to go out and play during the middle of the day. Lovely island countries like Japan can face tsunamis, which are huge, powerful waves. The wide prairies have to deal with tornadoes. No matter where you live in the world, the weather can be wonderful or it can unpleasant.

The planet is a dynamic place with changing seasons and weather conditions. Luckily, human beings are smart. We are adaptable. We can live happily almost anywhere. The trick is to understand that no place is perfect and every place has its magic and beauty.

When bad weather comes, you have the power to get through it. You don’t have to move to enjoy the world. Just listen to your parents and put on that scarf!

How UK Schools Deal with Cell Phones

Cell Phones in UK Schools

Teachers have always had to fight for the attention of their students. Not long ago they would only be dealing with gossip, note passing, and the occasional trading card. The latest distraction of the mobile phone in the classroom can often be much more difficult to control.

Some teachers have even reported children watching Netflix in the middle of class. There a varying opinions on what should be done regarding the use of mobiles phones by students.

How UK Schools Approach Mobile Phones

Some countries – notably France – have strict laws against cell phone use in schools. There are no laws in the UK that prohibit children from using them. The decision on how to deal with phones is left to individual schools. It can get confusing and certainly far from consistent. Some schools do ban them outright, and then there are other schools that embrace phones as a teaching aid and encourage kids to use them as part of their schoolwork.

In Shiplake College in Henley-on-Thames for example, children that use their mobile phones between 8:15 and 5:45 are given a detention. The headmaster of the school, Gregg Davies, admits that phones can be a great tool, but he found children were being distracted and even losing their ability to communicate in person. The use of cell phones in school was therefore dropped since the policy was introduced.

Then there is Brighton College, where students are encouraged to play games like Monopoly and Trivial Pursuit during free periods, instead of using their cell phones. The move is an effort to encourage pupils to socialize with each other more without having to use mobile devices. There are also varying bans on phones where certain pupils are allowed them on certain days of the week; effectively weaning students off their phones over time.

How Phones can Help

The reality is that phones aren’t all bad and studies have shown that banning mobile phones can help in education. Students say that having their phones on hand can improve their engagement, motivation, productivity, and creativity. Some teachers also believe that mobile phones can help, and there have been successful integrations into the classroom.

Mobile phones can give students all the information that they could ever need. A phone by itself can educate students and there lots of phone apps that are even encouraged by schools, particularly those that build relaxation skills and help students find resources. The potential for phones as a learning tool is practically endless.

The Law on Confiscating Mobile Phones

One thing to consider is this; who is responsible if a phone is confiscated and then gets lost or damaged? Would it be the teacher who confiscated the phone, the student who brought it to the school, or the school itself?

Legally, the school has indeed taken possession of the phone. However, in the UK, Section 94 of the Education and Inspections Act 2006 says that neither the teacher or the school is responsible for loss or damage of items confiscated as a form of punishment. It also provides no statutory liability for items that are lost in other ways.

There are a few caveats though. The disciplinary penalty has to be lawful; it has to be reasonable and proportionate to the “crime”. Schools must also clearly communicate their policy on mobile phones to students. The school can get in trouble if the pupil who has their phone confiscated was not aware this could happen. Also, teachers are expected to take reasonable care to ensure that items they confiscate are safe, such as storing them securely in the staff room. At the end of the day, unfortunately for the students – the law is ultimately on the side of the teachers and schools.

Should Schools Ban Mobile Phones?

Matt Hancock – the Culture Secretary for the UK – says that more schools need to ban mobile phones. He admires headmasters who don’t allow students to use their phones and believes social media can facilitate bullying. He personally doesn’t allow his children to own their own phones and use social media, but doesn’t think it is the responsibility of the government to legislate against children using phones and technology. He believes it is up to parents and schools to do the right thing, rather than being told to do so by the government.

Schools are all handling cell phone use in their own way. Some are for them and some are against their use. The Culture secretary himself is against them, but doesn’t plan on attempting to introduce legislation to prohibit them.

Read more about kids and cell phones, including Cell Phone Safely Tips.

Teachers have always had to fight for the attention of their students. Not long ago they would only be dealing with gossip, note passing, and the occasional trading card. The latest distraction of the mobile phone in the classroom can often be much more difficult to control.

Some teachers have even reported children watching Netflix in the middle of class. There a varying opinions on what should be done regarding the use of mobiles phones by students.

How UK Schools Approach Mobile Phones

Some countries – notably France – have strict laws against cell phone use in schools. There are no laws in the UK that prohibit children from using them. The decision on how to deal with phones is left to individual schools. It can get confusing and certainly far from consistent. Some schools do ban them outright, and then there are other schools that embrace phones as a teaching aid and encourage kids to use them as part of their schoolwork.

In Shiplake College in Henley-on-Thames for example, children that use their mobile phones between 8:15 and 5:45 are given a detention. The headmaster of the school, Gregg Davies, admits that phones can be a great tool, but he found children were being distracted and even losing their ability to communicate in person. The use of cell phones in school was therefore dropped since the policy was introduced.

Then there is Brighton College, where students are encouraged to play games like Monopoly and Trivial Pursuit during free periods, instead of using their cell phones. The move is an effort to encourage pupils to socialize with each other more without having to use mobile devices. There are also varying bans on phones where certain pupils are allowed them on certain days of the week; effectively weaning students off their phones over time.

How Phones can Help

The reality is that phones aren’t all bad and studies have shown that banning mobile phones can help in education. Students say that having their phones on hand can improve their engagement, motivation, productivity, and creativity. Some teachers also believe that mobile phones can help, and there have been successful integrations into the classroom.

Mobile phones can give students all the information that they could ever need. A phone by itself can educate students and there lots of phone apps that are even encouraged by schools, particularly those that build relaxation skills and help students find resources. The potential for phones as a learning tool is practically endless.

The Law on Confiscating Mobile Phones

One thing to consider is this; who is responsible if a phone is confiscated and then gets lost or damaged? Would it be the teacher who confiscated the phone, the student who brought it to the school, or the school itself?

Legally, the school has indeed taken possession of the phone. However, in the UK, Section 94 of the Education and Inspections Act 2006 says that neither the teacher or the school is responsible for loss or damage of items confiscated as a form of punishment. It also provides no statutory liability for items that are lost in other ways.

There are a few caveats though. The disciplinary penalty has to be lawful; it has to be reasonable and proportionate to the “crime”. Schools must also clearly communicate their policy on mobile phones to students. The school can get in trouble if the pupil who has their phone confiscated was not aware this could happen. Also, teachers are expected to take reasonable care to ensure that items they confiscate are safe, such as storing them securely in the staff room. At the end of the day, unfortunately for the students – the law is ultimately on the side of the teachers and schools.

Should Schools Ban Mobile Phones?

Matt Hancock – the Culture Secretary for the UK – says that more schools need to ban mobile phones. He admires headmasters who don’t allow students to use their phones and believes social media can facilitate bullying. He personally doesn’t allow his children to own their own phones and use social media, but doesn’t think it is the responsibility of the government to legislate against children using phones and technology. He believes it is up to parents and schools to do the right thing, rather than being told to do so by the government.

Schools are all handling cell phone use in their own way. Some are for them and some are against their use. The Culture secretary himself is against them, but doesn’t plan on attempting to introduce legislation to prohibit them.

Read more about kids and cell phones, including Cell Phone Safely Tips.

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