What is an almanac?

An almanac is an annual publication that includes all sorts of important dates and statistical information such as astronomical data and tide tables. Flipping through an almanac, you’ll be amazed to find tons of interesting information, such as weather predictions, the best dates for planting crops, when the sun will rise and set, the dates of eclipses and the times of tides. Almanacs even include such miscellaneous information as world records, population statistics, recipes, holiday trivia and predictions about trends in fashion, food, home decoration, technology and lifestyle for the upcoming year.

Banneker almanac title page

The oldest almanac in North America — The Old Farmer’s Almanac — has been published annually since 1792.  However, that wasn’t the only almanac printed in 1792. In that same year, Benjamin Banneker published his first of six annual Farmers’ Almanacs. Banneker’s almanacs included information on medicines and medical treatment, and listed tides, astronomical information, and eclipses, all calculated by Banneker himself.

 

Imagine: Nearly 100 years before Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation, Benjamin Banneker was publishing an almanac full of data and statistics based on his own calculations! Absolutely remarkable!!! Banneker’s Almanac’s were compared favorable with Benjamin Franklin’s Poor Richards’s Almanac. However, in 1802 he stopped publishing his Almanac due to poor sales.

 

Banneker lived for four years after his almanacs discontinued. He published a treatise on bees, did a mathematical study on the cycle of the seventeen-year locust, and became a pamphleteer for the anti-slavery movement. He continued scientific studies by night and walked his land by day…keeping his garden along the way. He hosted many distinguished scientists and artists of his day, and his visitors commented on his intelligence and on his knowledge of everything of importance that was happening in the country. As always, he remained precise and reflective in his conversations with others.

 

His last walk (with a friend) came on October 9, 1806, when he complained of being ill and went home to rest on his couch. He died later that day.

Did you celebrate Digital Citizenship Week??? If you didn’t, it’s never too late…

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Last week was DIGITAL CITIZENSHIP WEEK!!!

Digital Citizenship is a concept that helps parents and educators understand what children should know and understand in order to use technology appropriately. Not only is it a way to prepare children for a society full of technology, but digital citizenship can also insure that your child creates a digital footprint that can be leveraged for college and career success.

Common Sense is a non-profit organization that is dedicated to helping kids thrive in a world of media and technology. They provide unbiased information, trusted advice, and innovative tools to help them harness the power of media and technology as a positive force in all kids’ lives. The organization has three web portals depending on your point of view: Common Sense for Parents; Common Sense for Educators; and Common Sense for Advocates. Below is just a sampling of some of the tools you can find on these sites. Try them…they are great resources to help our scholars become responsible digital citizens!

 

Device-Free-Dinner Toolkit. Here are some great tools that you can use to get those devices turned off during dinner so you can have some quality family time.

 

Social Media Primer. Here is a great resource for learning how to navigate…and how to help your child navigate….social media platforms.

 

Digital Dilemmas. Here are some fictitious scenarios, based on real-life stories, to spark a conversation at home with your children about digital citizenship.

 

Parent Q&As. Here is a site that contains some wonderful Q&As from parents–providing guidance and advice about how to manage your child’s digital citizenship.

 

Video Game Reviews. This is one of the best resources I’ve seen on how to determine if the video game your child wants to play is right for him/her.

 

Family Media Agreements. Below are links to grade-level agreements you can use to raise good digital citizens.

Family Media Agreements Grades K-5

Family Media Agreement Grades 6-8

Family Media Agreement Grades 9-12

 

Glossary. Here’s a link to a glossary of digital media terms that parents can use to get more familiar with the digital tools their children might be using.