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Teaching Children about “The Ides of March”

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On March 15th many people say, “Beware the Ides of March!”
–Drawing from Jupiter Images

After the highly trafficked Leap Year post (especially from many of you educators and home-schooling parents), I figured I’d post a little something on The Ides of March. We know your children are asking “what is the Ides of March?” You’ll have all the answers ready to the following questions:

(1) What is the Ides of March?

(2) What does Beware the Ides of March mean?

(3) Where does the saying “Beware the Ides of March” come from?

(4) How do people use the expression “Beware the Ides of March” today?

(5) What is a proverb?

(6) What is a superstition?

What is “The Ideas of March?” The Romans called March 15th “The Ides of March.” Originally, the “ideas” referred to the full moon.

What does “Beware the Ides of March” mean? It means, be aware of impending danger.

Where did the saying come from? The saying, “Beware the Ides of March” came from William Shakespeare’s play, Julius Caesar. In the play, a soothsayer says “Beware the Ideas of March” to Julius Caesar to warn him that this was to be his assassination day.

Julius Caesar was assassinated on March 15, 44BC by Roman Senators who were concerned that he had too much power. Rome was a Republic and these Roman Senators did not want anyone to disrupt what they had built. However, after Julius Caesar’s assassination, Rome was saddened by his death. The senators were banished and the republic was never restored to its previous glory.

How do people use the expression now? “Beware the Ides of March” is now a proverb, superstition and a phrase that warns of impending danger and unfortunate events.

What’s a proverb? A proverb is a saying that contains advice or accepted truth. They are passed down through generations. Common proverbs are; “Look before you leap,” “don’t count your chickens before they hatch” and “don’t put all your eggs in one basket.”

What’s a superstition? A superstition is a belief that a particular thing, event or circumstance holds some kind of significance that something going to happen (bad or good) even though it’s not based on knowledge or reason. This belief can be based on fear, ignorance, trust in magic, coincidence, or a prior experience with a similar situation. Some common superstitions are; breaking a mirror can cause bad luck, finding a 4-leaf clover can bring good luck, stepping on a crack in the sidewalk can “break your mother’s back” or cause bad luck, the number 13 can bring you bad luck, and finding a string on your person means your going to get a letter.

Activities related to the Ides of March:

(1) Dust off the play, Julius Caesar, and act them out!

(2) Find out if any local theaters are performing Julius Caesar and take your older school-age children.

(3) Make an art project out of a proverb or superstition. For example, cut our of draw pictures from a magazine and make a collage (i.e. black cats, the number 13, salt shaker). You can draw a line down the center of the collage and put good luck superstitions on one side (i.e. find a penny, salt over your shoulder) and bad luck superstitions (break a mirror, steeping on sidewalk cracks) on the other.

(4) Make a list of superstitions and proverbs with your students or children. Then have them categorize these superstitions and proverbs into categories as suggested by the following website. What are the similarities and the differences? Where did these superstitions come from anyway?

(5) Talk about when you have all had “good-luck” or “bad luck.” What puts the odds in one’s favor for good luck or bad luck? Does attitude, gratitude, and goal-setting make a difference?

As a Powerful Parent or Educator who works with the Powerful Words Character System, we know that strong character and a positive attitude does indeed make a difference! We need to remind our children that it’s all how you look at a situation– superstitions make us feel “out of control” while positive thinking, strong character and goal-setting makes us feel “in-control.” Perhaps this is the best lesson you can teach a child on the Ides of March.

Have a fun day!

[digg=http://digg.com/educational/Teaching_Children_about_The_Ides_of_March]

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Teaching Children about Leap Year 2008

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We love Leap Year because it gives us just one more day to go to our favorite activities and one more day to use our POWerful Words! No matter what kind of POWerful Words school your child attends– have your child impress his/her instructors or teachers by saying; “I’m so glad it’s a Leap Year because it gives me another day to learn from you!”

Teaching Children about Leap Year 2008

Dr. Robyn J.A. Silverman

Parents have been asking about how to teach their children about leap year– so here are the answers to some of your child’s most frequently asked questions:

What is a leap year?

A leap year is a year that has a longer February than normal. In a leap year, February has 29 days in it instead of 28.

Why do we need a leap year?

Leap year began in order to align the earth’s rotation around the sun with our seasons. It takes approximately 365.2422 days for the earth to travel around the sun in one year. We know that a typical year has 365 days in it—but as you can see from the number 365.2422, a year is not exactly 365 days! So, in order to get “lined up”, almost every four years, we give one extra day to account for the additional time the earth takes to travel around the sun.

Trivia question: How long is 365.2444 days?

Answer: 365 days 5 hours 48 minutes 46 seconds

When is Leap Year?

This year, 2008, is a Leap Year. It occurs every 4 years (with some exceptions every few hundred years). It’s celebrated on February 29th– a day that only occurs in a Leap Year.

How do you calculate a Leap Year?

How do you calculate a leap year? According to the Gregorian calendar, there are 3 rules to calculate if it is leap year or not a leap year.

Rule 1: Leap year is divisible by 4

Rule 2: Exception to Rule 1, any year divisible by 100 such as 1900 or 1800

Rule 3: Exception to Rule 2, any year divisible by 400 is a leap year such as 2000

Fun for the Kids:

How many leap years old am I?

How many leap years old is Grandma/Grandpa/Mom/Dad?

How many leap years old is my school?

Did you know? Leap Year Traditions

In Ireland, every February 29th, women were allowed to ask for a man in marriage. A man was fined if he refused the proposal.

Leap Year has been the traditional time that women can propose marriage. In many of today’s cultures, it is okay for a woman to propose marriage to a man. Society doesn’t look down on such women. However, that hasn’t always been the case. When the rules of courtship were stricter, women were only allowed to pop the question on one day every four years. That day was February 29th.” Read more about it.

Leap Year Activities for Kids

Making a leap year frog out of a paper plate:

Pin the Crown on the Frog Prince :

Musical Lilly Pads:

Frog Hunt and other Frog Games:

Make a Frog Bean Bag

Paper Frog Puppet alternative:

Frog CupCakes

Cullin’s Video on leap year for young children:

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZmBOI5yCCRw&NR=1]

[digg=http://digg.com/educational/Teaching_Children_about_Leap_Year_2008]

Have a POWerful Extra Leap Year Day!

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