Thursday, January 26, 2012

History of the Department of Homeland Security

The United State's Department of Homeland Security plays a vital role in protecting the citizens of the US against terrorist attacks and other areas or issues related to national security. The Department of Homeland Security is a cabinet department of the US federal government that was created correlating the 9/11 attacks that shook the world forever. The department's primary function is to protect the borders of the US and its colonies from and corresponding to terrorist attacks, man-made calamities, and natural disasters. During its fiscal year in 2011, the department was funded with a budgetary allowance of $98.8 billion and spent $66.4 billion by the government to support and facilitate its projects and further development.

While the Department of Defense is tasked at handling military operations overseas, the Department of Homeland Security operates within the civilian scope to safeguard the US within, at, and outside its jurisdictions. Its stated objectives are to prepare for, anticipate, and respond to homely or domestic emergency situations, mainly terrorism. Its primary missions are to impede terrorist attacks within the US borders, lowering the vulnerability of the country to terrorism and reducing the damage from potential threats and natural calamities. The department is given the power to unify past dispersed non-military government departments that are tasked for a variety of operations related to US security.

The Border and Transportation Security department, which is noted as the biggest department of DHS, consists of the Transportation Security Administration, the Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Bureau of Customs and Border Protection. The Science and Technology department involves the Environmental Measurements Laboratory and is tasked with studying and handling scientific, engineering and technological resources to safeguard the homeland. Meanwhile, the Information Analysis and Infrastructure Protection department overviews intelligence and data regarding potential danger to homeland security and evaluate the state's accountability in the national infrastructure. Aside from these divisions, the Department of Homeland Security also consists of the Coast Guard, Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration utilities and the Secret Service.

DHS was also developed by the Department of Homeland Security Act of 2002, and is a prominence of the Office of Homeland Security which was founded by the former US President George W. Bush succeeding the events of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. In terms of world-recognized seal which was released at the press during June 6, 2003, the seal embodies the Department's mission to block attacks and safeguard every American citizen on land, sea and air territories of the United States. In the seal's core, a graphically designed white American eagle is prominent in a circular blue area. The eagle's stretched wings break within an internal red circle and into a white external ring which depicts the word "US DEPARTMENT OF" in the above half portion and "HOMELAND SECURITY" in the bottom half portion in a circular position.

Since its foundation, the department has had its temporary base in Washington, DC, mainly at Nebraska Avenue Complex, which was utilized as a naval facility in the past. The 38-acre landscape has up to 32 facilities consisting of more than 500,000 square feet of administrative reserved area.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

How Student Life Prepares Us for the Future

Student life is one of the greatest moments in our lives that a lot of people take for granted. A lot of people see it as a means to an end, meaning, they're just there to get a diploma for them to get a good job. There's nothing wrong with this way of thinking; however, learning isn't confined to the classroom and a diploma doesn't necessarily translate into a successful life or career.

Living and Learning

As students, we are enrolled in an institution to learn what we need to survive on our own. We are expected to listen, understand and ask questions to ensure that we're actually learning something. This is the general idea of what a student should be doing, but student life isn't just about academics. In school, we learn to socialize, make friends, handle stressful situations and manage our time wisely. These are the tools we need to survive in the real world. The ups and downs we experience while we are in school mold us into the people we are today. We experience triumphs, which give us confidence and failures, which make us want to push harder in order to succeed. While being a straight-A student looks good in our transcripts and may give us a leg up over the others when looking for a job or trying to get into a good post graduate program; we should also remember that a lot of the most successful business leaders were average students. There's no doubt that these people are extraordinarily talented, which is why they are successful despite their academic standing, but one thing they all have in common is that they've learned a lot of things outside of the four walls of the classroom and they've been able to apply them to their respective careers.

The experiences we have in school, whether in or out of the classroom, contribute to the overall outcome of what we will be in the future. Students should not confine themselves to the four corners of the classroom. Instead, take each experience as an element to your success in the future.

Everything we learn in school prepares us for the rest of our lives and that includes things we learn from our peers and our selves. While we can never really know what life would be life after school, student life gives us a glimpse of what we can expect.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

The Numerous Benefits of Performing Arts Schools for Children and Young People

Perhaps you view Performing Arts Schools as places where they create the singing and dancing stars of tomorrow. Well that's part if the story for sure, but they also deliver a wealth of other tangible benefits that stimulate mind and body.

It's becoming increasingly recognized that there are numerous educational and social paybacks to taking part in musical, dancing and singing that can benefit youngsters of either gender and all age groups.

In 2007, researchers at the University of Maryland found that activities such as music and acting had a positive impact on children's emotional development and behaviour. Whereas kids who did not participate in these types of activities had lower self-esteem and were more found to be socially-immature. Indeed ongoing research proves that performing arts activities play a key role in cognitive, motor, language and social emotional development.

Dancing has always been considered a great all round exercise for improving muscle strength, balance and co-ordination and reducing obesity. But now the psychological benefits to the child's development such as improved critical thinking skills and problem solving are increasingly being acknowledged too.

Allowing children to express 'feeling' through the power of song and dance is a proven way of helping young people manage their emotions and not be confused or frightened by them. Children who take part are more likely to be tolerant of others and more open to diversity. They are also likely to be more self-disciplined than their non-performing peers.

The performing arts provide a wealth of benefits both mental and physical to youngsters of either gender. If your child currently shows an interest in dancing or singing, then why not contact your local performing arts venue and see what classes are available for that particular age group. Many schools offer 'taster' sessions where youngsters can come along and see what it's all about and often try out the activities for themselves.

Acting and drama courses provide a great foundation for the potential performers of tomorrow. Drama also offers a platform for self-fulfilment and emotional stability, promoting diligence, self-confidence and calmness. As well as developing these 'performance' attributes, you are more likely to find that youngsters who take part in these kinds of activities perform better than average academically too.

These courses have so much to offer a young budding performer in terms of artistic and academic potential, why not see for yourself what your local performing arts school has to offer.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Using Pre-Reading Activities

As professionals, we all realize how important it is to encourage pre-readers and make their introduction to reading as smooth as possible. The best way to do this is to make the pre-reading experience as much fun as possible, yet giving children the opportunity to learn in small, easy segments, information that will help speed them on their way to becoming good readers. Devising and using pre-reading activities in the classroom can be beneficial in producing a love of reading that will last their entire lives.

Here are some pre-reading activities that might work in your classroom:

1) Have each child choose a book and give them time to study it. When they have had time to formulate a story in their minds according to the pictures, instruct each child to "read" their book to the rest of the class. This works best if each day a different child or two takes a turn and the teacher then reads the book afterward. It is fun and interesting to the children to see how close their stories come to the original...or how different they might be.

2) Plant some items around the classroom with names that rhyme, and announce that you will be conducting a rhyming scavenger hunt. Instruct each child to search until they find 2 items with rhyming names. The name of each item may be written on the board as they are found and the class can repeat the rhyming names.

3) Take the class outside with some sidewalk chalk. Ask each child to look around and spot something with a certain beginning letter. Ask them to repeat the beginning sound of each item, then write the first letter on the sidewalk with the chalk. See how many beginning letters and sounds they can come up with.

4) Bring items into the classroom, such as cereal boxes, cookie packages etc. and point to the words on each and ask the class what they think that word is. They will guess many of the words by the type of package it is, and they will feel a sense of pride and accomplishment by getting many of the words correct, yet they will be learning basic sounds and relating the appearance of the word to the object.

5) Have children choose pictures from magazines and talk about what they think is happening in the picture, has just happened, or is about to happen. In this way, pre-readers can learn about the sequnce of events and better enable them, later on, as readers, to understand and follow plots in stories. This will certainly help to make their future reading skills stronger.

6) Label all of the objects around the classroom, including separate areas such as reading area and play area. By viewing the written words for everything found in the classroom environment, they will be learning the words without even realizing it.

7) Have each child bring in a favorite toy or object. The child may then relate the story of how they got the item, where they got it, and who got it for them. Attention may be given to sounding out the name of the item and it might be written out for them to see.

8) Make a chart of colors. Beside each color, write the name of the color and go over this chart with students a few times a week. The children will eventually learn how the written word for each color looks. In time, you can show the class just the name of the color and ask them which color it is. Eventually, they will be able to correctly link the name of the color and the color itself with it.

9) Practice forming letters of the alphabet with different types of materials. Some fun materials to use are rope, yarn, cloth, pasta, twigs, dried beans or stones.

10) Ask each child to stand in front of the class and recite his or her name. Write the name on the board and concentrate on the beginning letters and sounds of both the first name and the last name. This is effective not only as a pre-reading activity, but as a way for the children to get to know each other better.

These are just a few pre-reading activities that you might find useful. There are many suggestions available online for finding other effective pre-reading activities or might prefer to create your own. Time spent using these and similar pre-reading activities in the classroom is certainly time well spent. Having fun with learning the basics of reading is a great way for children to form good reading habits at an early age. Fostering a love of learning and reading in your students is a gift that will last them forever.