Thanksgiving Break for Students: What to Do?

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Thankful for a little more time left in the term?

College students nationwide particularly appreciate the lovely holiday of Thanksgiving: not only do they enjoy a festive home-cooked meal and a small family reunion, but they’re able to take a short break from school, as well.

The dilemma always is whether to set aside time to study during this several-day (or in some cases, week-long) vacation. Of course this is an individual decision, but the striking thing about Thanksgiving break is its proximity to semester’s end, where major project and exam deadlines loom. After Thanksgiving, your time seems to shift into warp speed.

So if you’ve procrastinated on those projects, consider Thanksgiving break your valuable last chance to catch up; even if you’re staying on track, consider using at least some time during break to stay sharp and on top of your classes.

One tip you may find useful: add together how many hours you would be spending in the classroom during vacation; then, spend that much time over break in focused study.

Related links around the web:

“Minimize the tryptophan naps to maximize preparation for finals” from the Texas State U Blog.

“College Thanksgiving Break: Study for Final Exams or Rest?” from

Image via / taliesin

Presidents’ Day on the Web: Four Fascinating Sites

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April 30: George Washington becomes the first ...

April 30: George Washington becomes the first President of the United States (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Here in the United States, Presidents’ Day is upon us, at least according to popular conception; actually, the legal name for the holiday is Washington’s Birthday (though George Washington’s birthday is February 22). For more fun facts and enjoyable enlightenment, read on:

The blog of the American Historical Association, AHA Today, brings you “Celebrating Presidents’ Day,” a page of exciting links including Presidential Libraries on YouTube and resources on presidential debates:

Test your presidential smarts at the President’s Day Quiz courtesy of (Christian Science Monitor online):

Read a bit about each of the presidents at the History Channel’s Presidents’ Day feature; you can also watch videos and browse photo slideshows:

An informative birthday tribute to George Washington, this page from the Library of Congress’ American Memory site has plenty of interesting links within:

Image via Wikimedia Commons

New Year’s Links

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Celebrating the New YearHappy New Year, everyone! Enjoy these sources of interest:
“Top 10 Stories of 2011” from (university research news website).
“New Year’s History: Festive Facts” from the History Channel.
“New Year’s Resolution Week: Fun Facts and Figures” from Learn about the holiday’s history, how to say “Happy New Year” in a variety of languages, and more. Linked from the Internet Public Library (ipl2) website.

In addition, a quick web search will turn up articles about new words added to the dictionary (e.g., Merriam-Webster, Oxford English Dictionary) in 2011 . . . always an interesting read and sign of the times.

Image via / matthew_hull

Web Voyage for Columbus History

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A replica of the Santa María, Columbus’ flagsh...

Image via Wikipedia

I post this just after midnight of Columbus Day: a U.S. national holiday since 1934 (read this year’s Presidential Proclamation here). In recent years, the holiday has become a quiet one; it is not easy to find much positive web chatter about Christopher Columbus himself – though notably, some do mark Columbus Day as a celebration of Italian heritage.

While recognizing and respecting the controversy over the man and the holiday, I thought I would set out for some scholarly web sources on Columbus and related history. After all, every holiday is an opportunity for learning; and below, you can learn a little about maritime navigation and the famous ships, listen to a historian’s interview, watch relevant videos, and read about the voyage in Columbus’ own words.
Learn about Columbus Day on the Library of Congress’ American Memory site.
The History Channel’s pages on Columbus include videos and a series of articles.
“Think You Know The Real Christopher Columbus?” from National Public Radio: an interview with historian William Fowler of Northeastern University, hosted by Tony Cox. Listen to the audio or read the transcript.
Here you can read The Columbus 1493 Letter about his voyage: “a key document in the social and intellectual histories of both Europe and the Americas” and a best seller, at the time, in Europe. From The Osher Map Library and Smith Center for Cartographic Education at the University of Southern Maine.
Click “1400” in the yellow box to find several Columbus documents, including excerpts from his voyaging journal. From AMDOCS: Documents for the Study of American History, WWW Virtual Library.
Learn some basic information at “1492: An Ongoing Voyage,” an online exhibit originating from the Library of Congress and now housed at (University of North Carolina Chapel Hill).
“The Columbus Navigation Homepage: Examining the History, Navigation, and Landfall of Christopher Columbus.” From historian Keith A. Pickering.

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