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Historic Places and Sites to See in Washington DC That Are Off The Beaten Path

Posted: April 1st, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: Educational Resources | No Comments »

Washington DC Travel Guide
The DC Travel Guide by TFR and Digby & Rose Luxury Invitations in Washington DC.

Steel Resource Print Out For Teachers and Students

Posted: February 14th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: Educational Resources | No Comments »

Ever wonder how steel is made or what it’s used for? The graphic below answers those questions and has tons of other facts about steel.

steel guide infographic
Infographic by, a steel building and metal building kit resource.

LinchpinSEO Offers Free Websites For Elementary and High School Teachers

Posted: January 15th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: Educational Resources | No Comments »

Linchpinseo is giving teachers and students free websites to help make it easy for students and teachers in elementary or high school settings to embrace the online world and build the knowledge that the young minds of tomorrow want to embrace.

Having been immersed (through stories from teachers in our families) in the constant struggle that educational facilities face when it comes to budgets and resources we feel we can offer something to help. We want to help the educational community by offering free website design for schools and classrooms. These can include websites for elementary school classrooms, high school classrooms, teachers, students, school districts or administrative staff of the schools. -Bill Ross, Linchpinseo

LinchpinSEO envisions the primary goals of these free websites to be the follow:

  1. Give teachers a central location to post assignments.
  2. Give teachers and schools an area to add trusted resources that help guide students.
  3. Give teachers a platform to start educational conversations that helps foster interactive and compelling conversations.
  4. Give students a central location that is both safe and trusted, in which they can interact with their fellow classmates.
  5. Create an online area where both teachers and parents can build relationships and share tips and concerns.

What the teachers or administrators will need to provide to LinchpinSEO to get a free website.

  1. A URL where they can put the site
  2. A logo if they have one
  3. Some basic information about the school or the classroom to be added to the website

What they will give back to the classrooms.

  1. Website design
  2. Building of the website
  3. Free content updates to the website

For Students and Parents

If you’re a student or parent and want to start a blog so that you can start writing we will gladly set one up for you and help you get started.

To get started please contact LinchpinSEO Here

Tips for Dealing with Bullies For Students, Parents, and Kids

Posted: January 13th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: Parent Corner | No Comments »

Bullying is a big problem in our schools today. However, bullying has always been a problem. The main differences between bullying today from the past are the nature of the bullying and the violence that occurs in the aftermath. Cyberbullying is becoming a popular and more destructive form of bullying than traditional bullying. More children today are bringing guns to school to seek revenge on others. Bullying has been around and will probably remain for years to come. Not only was I bullied as a child, but I continue to get bullied today as an adult. I do not believe that we have the power to rid the world of bullying. I believe the answer to the issue of bullying rests with all of us, especially the victims of bullying. I am not suggesting that victims of bullying are responsible for bullying. On the contrary, what I am suggesting is that victims of bullying have the power in themselves to think, behave, and react in ways that limits or eradicates bullying. As a society, we spend too much of our energy identifying and punishing the bully that we fail to spend enough time empowering the victims of bullying. We should spend more of our energy on the things that we can control rather than the things we have limited or no control over. We need to teach children about the power that they already possess. Let me elaborate on a few issues that parents should teach their children regarding the issue of bullying.

Let’s first talk about the characteristics of bullying. Typically, bullies and their victims share the same characteristic – low self-esteem. It just depends on whether they internalize or externalize their feelings that will determine if they will become a bully or a victim of bullying. Typically, negative situations and events in the child’s life can trigger low self-esteem. Externalizing feelings can cause some children to become bullies as they attempt to control their environment to compensate for their lack of control in their family. For instance, if a child’s parents are divorcing and the child is very upset about the divorce, he or she might feel powerless in their ability to keep their parents together. As a result, the child might take out his or her rage on others for purposes of seeking control to compensate for his or her lack of control over their parents’ impending divorce.

Given the same scenario, some children internalize their feelings by not talking or acting out how they feel. Instead, they become depressed and withdrawn feeling like a failure. Often, they develop a negative image of themselves and their physical appearance. They look at others and the world around them with shaded lens. When a bully validates this child’s feelings about themselves, this child often reacts negatively to the validation because he or she feels the bully is correct in their interpretation.

Often times, children with high self-esteem do not respond negatively to bullies because they already know that whatever the bully says negatively about them is untrue and therefore they do not feel the need to defend themselves against the foolishness of others.

As human beings, our behavior, thoughts, and feelings are never dictated or controlled by others, situations, and events unless we allow this to occur. Simply said, others, situations, and events can trigger a reaction based on what we are thinking. In other words, if I really didn’t want to go to work today and my car has a flat tire, I might experience happiness because I didn’t want to go to work. On the other hand given the same event (flat tire), I might want to go to work today to take care of some undone business. Because the flat tire might delay or eliminate my chances of getting to work, this situation might cause me anger. How could the same event in both situations cause two different feelings? It wasn’t the event at all that triggered the feelings. It was what I was thinking about the event that triggered my feelings. Therefore, manipulating the way we think can alter how we feel. We all have the ability to take ownership and control over our thoughts. We however have limited or no control over specific events, situations, and the behavior of others. Sometimes, we attempt to control events, situations, and others but become frustrated when our attempts fail.

Now, how does the paragraph above apply to the issue of bullying? The main goal of bullies is to attempt to get their victims to experience fear, anger, or sadness. Once their victim demonstrates signs of these emotions via the words he or she uses and/or their body language, the bully has complete and total control over them. The bully will continue to bully their victim until the victim no longer verbally and/or physically displays fear, anger, or sadness in response to the bullying. The bullying will end once the victim responds the opposite of what the bully expects.

How do we get children to react the opposite of what the bully expects? This is where role-playing comes in handy. Parents should regularly sit down with their children helping them learn to react the opposite of what bullies expect. Often times, this task is much easier when the parent knows what hurtful words or phrases bullies say that makes their children feel fearful, angry, or sad. Using these hurtful words and/or phrases in role-plays will emotionally prepare children when they are approached by bullies.

It is also important to teach children that they have the power to change or affect the agenda of bullies by the words they use. For instance, if a bully calls a child ‘stupid’, the child could defuse the bullying by stating to the bully, That’s nice, How about that, Oh, well, and so forth. The worst thing that the child could do is respond by telling the bully that he or she is stupid or make any other negative statement. A negative response will only inflame the situation encouraging further bullying.

In addition, parents should teach and role-play with their children specified forms of body language that reflects a child with high self-esteem from a child with low self-esteem. Body language communicates feelings more so than spoken words. If a child yells at a bully that he or she is not bothered by their behavior, the bully knows that the child is bothered because of the yelling. Lack of eye contact, looking down, slouched posture, lack of hygiene, and low tone of voice can be viewed as symptoms of low self-esteem.

Parents need to teach their children that bullies rarely get angry with them. Bullies are typically angry at themselves and/or events that are or have occurred in their own life for which they have limited or no control. Bullies indirectly take out their anger on the ones they could easily control.

Parents should never teach their children to physically fight back when approached by a bully. The problem with fighting back is that children will get themselves into trouble for engaging in physically assaulting behavior. Think of it this way – bullies rarely ever throw the first punch. They always entice their victim into throwing the first punch. This way, when they are asked who started the fight, the bully could easily and truthfully state that their victim started it. In addition, there are significant legal ramifications that can arise as a result of physically assaulting behavior.

It is important to remember that physical violence typically occurs after a negative verbal interaction. Violence typically is provoked and rarely unprovoked. Therefore to avoid violence, the conflict can and should be defused during the verbal exchange. This is why the words victims say and their body language are so significant and detrimental to the outcome of bullying. Recent school shootings suggest that the shooters were bullied by their classmates. The bullying subsequently provoked the school violence.

Parents should be cautious when teaching their children to ignore bullies. The problem with ignoring is that the bully knows that their behavior is irritating, annoying, and controlling their victim. Therefore, the bullying will continue.

Parents should be cautious when teaching their children to constantly report bullying to an adult. Parents should encourage their children to first attempt to resolve the bullying on their own with the skills taught above. If their children are unsuccessful resolving these issues on their own, they should be encouraged to report the bullying. If their children automatically report the bullying without attempting to defuse the situation on their own, they will be perceived and labeled as a tattle-tale which will encourage more bullying.

Parents need to teach their children the correct definition of the word ‘tattling’. Some children feel that reporting misbehavior to adults is considered tattling. Parents need to teach their children that reporting on others just to see them get into trouble is considered tattling. A child that reports to his or her parents that their brother is picking his nose is tattling. Children always need to report to an adult if they were physically, sexually, or verbally harmed by others or if they witnessed others engaging in destructive or illegal behaviors.

It is very easy to feel sorry and sympathy toward victims of bullying. However, it would be more helpful to the victim if we are more empathic to their needs by empowering them to diffuse bullying on their own. As a result, their ability to defuse the bullying would ultimately raise their level of self-esteem and self-worth.

Philosophy Resources For Students, Teachers, and Kids

Posted: January 13th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: Educational Resources | No Comments »

Philosophy is the general term used to describe the study of human existence. It offers specific questions and then seeks to answer those questions through reasoned arguments. Philosophy first made an appearance around 600 BC and grew from there. Aristotle and Plato were two of the major philosophers working in ancient times. Any work done in this field since 1900 is considered contemporary philosophy. Philosophy is a highly complex and intricate field of study and involves a high level of thought. Two people reading the same piece of work can easily come up with their own ideas about what it means and what the writer thought. Journals and academic papers in this area often focus on the reinterpretation of older ideas brought forth by past philosophers.


Rene Descartes : offers a biography and a look into his work.
Aristotle : contains a lengthy biography, with more information on his thoughts and writings.

Philosophy Education

Samples of Philosophy for Educators : gives examples on the philosophy of education and why it’s important for teachers.
The Philosophical Gourmet : ranks the top graduate programs from around the world based on a variety of factors.

Philosophy Guides and Encyclopedias

The Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy : searchable database containing entries on ideas and topics as well as philosophers.
Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy : encyclopedia covering topics and ideas relating to philosophy.

Philosophical Topics

Philosophical Topics : covers academic topics in the field.
Philosophy Ideas : database containing over 8,000 topics relating to philosophy.

Philosophy Journals

The Philosopher : provides access to the Journal of the Philosophical Society of England.
Think : education journal for philosophy students.

Philosophical Associations and Societies

Radical Philosophy Association : association devoted to extreme and radical topics in philosophy.
American Philosophical Society : Philadelphia based organization that hosts conferences and runs its own museum.
The American Philosophical Association : educational organization with a focus on philosophy.

Earth Science Resources For Students, Teachers, and Kids

Posted: January 13th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: Educational Resources | No Comments »

The realm of earth science includes a wide range of studies related to our planet. Some of the topics that fall under the heading of earth science are: geology, geography, ocean life, and climate. Also, there are many interesting facts relating to earth science. At Earth Science Facts you’ll find that there is a west to east pattern of weather at work in the United States. Furthermore, when a low pressure system is dominant, the result is rainy weather. If there is a high pressure system at work, the weather will end up being cooler and dry. Weather pattern data is just the beginning of the information found within the expansive subject of earth science.

Earth Science Resources

There are several helpful online resources for anyone who wants to learn more about the earth science topics of climate, oceanography, and geology.

Information on Climate Change : Read about the history of climate change and its affect on agriculture, the environment, and our water resources. Also, learn what steps you can take to help improve the situation.

Geological History of the Earth : Learn some facts about the earth’s history and its stages of geological development.

Oceans and Earth Science : Discover the different levels of an ocean’s waters and the various forms of life that an ocean supports.

Environmental Resources

Elements that disrupt the state of the environment are also a subject of interest in the field of earth science.

Topics in the Environment : Read from a wide variety of information on environmental issues such as biodiversity, climate change, and the effects of the rising population rate.

Challenges in the Environment : A variety of environmental problems are explained, including the problems of global warming, acid rain, and desertification.

A Discussion of Deforestation : Learn the facts on deforestation, its influence on the population, and other problems it creates in our environment.

Environmental Information Resource : Discover information on almost every aspect of the environment such as climate and our oceans.

Weather Resources

The weather is also an important branch in the study of earth science.

Current Weather Conditions : Select the name of the state or country whose weather report you are interested in and it is delivered to you in detail.

Hurricanes in Motion : View a variety of hurricanes and thunderstorms growing and in motion.

Tornado facts and information graphic.

Information about Climate : Learn the trends in climate conditions in almost any area. The charts include temperature averages and amounts of rainfall recorded by month.

Geography Resources

Geography is a very important component of earth science.

GIS and How it Works : An online GIS activity accompanied by an explanation of how geographic informational systems work.

The Use of Remote Sensing : An intriguing lesson on remote sensing using a view of the earth that observes changes in the environment.

Facts on the Use of Remote Sensing in Geography : Explains the process of remote sensing along with information on mapping and the other tools of geography.

Rock and Mineral Resources

The study of rocks and minerals is significant for a complete understanding of earth science.

Rock Information : Discover the origins of sedimentary, igneous, and metamorphic rock formations through the use of descriptions and illustrations.

Minerals and Their Characteristics : Learn to identify a particular mineral by evaluating its characteristics. Also offered are answers to common questions relating to minerals.

Minerals and Stones : Colorful descriptions and information about diamonds, turquoise, and other precious materials found in the earth.

Teacher Resources

There are many teaching resources to be found relating to the study of the earth sciences.

Lesson Plan Concerning Rocks and Minerals : Guide your students in learning about rocks and minerals by making them into scientific detectives.

Earth Science Lessons : A collection of printable lesson plans for topics that fall under the study of earth science. One lesson plan shows students how they use minerals in their everyday lives. Also, there is a fun volcano building activity.

A Lesson on the Weather : Check out this gathering of lesson plans for the subject of meteorology that will help to guide your students in their study of the different types of weather.

Earthquake Project : An experiment for a student learning about the creation and effects of an earthquake using tasty materials.

Kid’s Earth Science Resources

Information designed for a child’s use that teaches the elements of earth science.

Facts about Earth Science Revealed : Several aspects of earth science are explained with illustrations and interesting facts.

A Look at the Earth : An informative look at the continents and how they were formed.

Study of the Earth : Check out the exhibits offering information about our environment, including a section on ocean creatures.

Rock Mysteries : Learn more about rocks and how they are formed as you help identify the mysterious findings in this earth science activity.

Glossary of Weather Terms For Teachers and Kids

Posted: January 13th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: Educational Resources | No Comments »

Weather Glossary

  • AC (Anticipated Convection): The convective outlook issued by the Norman, Oklahoma Storm Prediction Center for three consecutive days.
  • ACCAS: The acronym for Altocumulus Castellanus clouds. ACCAS are mid-level convective clouds with widespread vertical development that may precede rapidly developing thunderstorms. Almost entirely composed of water vapor, these clouds exist at around 6,500 to 23,000 feet.
  • Accessory Cloud: These clouds depend on larger cloud systems for sustainment. A wall cloud is an example of an accessory cloud.
  • Air-Mass Thunderstorm: Your garden-variety late summer day thunderstorm that develops due to the warm, humid summer air late in the afternoon.
  • Anvil Crawler: A slang term for the discharge of lightning within one or more channels crawling underside a thunderstorm’s anvil.
  • Anomalous Propogation: Radio wave transmission forward in space occurring in non-standard conditions in the atmosphere.
  • Arcus: A shelf cloud that is arched, dense, and occurs near the leading edge of a thunderstorm gust front due to warm, stable airflow..
  • AVN (Aviation model)– An obsolete forecast model, replaced by GFS or Global Forecast System, running at the National Centers for Environmental Prediction.
  • Back-building Thunderstorm: West or Southwest upwind development is the hallmark of this seemingly stationary or backward direction thunderstorm.
  • Backing Winds: Counterclockwise-shifting winds coming from a certain direction, like North to Northeast, or winds being shifted to a certain direction in a heightened counterclockwise fashion, East surface wind becoming westerly aloft.
  • Barber Pole: A slang term for pronounced cloud striations during a thunderstorm updraft that is similar to the appearance of a barber pole.
  • Baroclinic Zone: Regions where temperature grades are present on a pressure surface that is constant. Systems that are strengthening or weakening prefer this wind shear characteristic zone.
  • Barotropic System: Temperature and pressure surfaces are uniform in this weather system known for its lack of wind shear unfavorable for thunderstorm development.
  • Beavers Tail: A slang term for a type of inflow band that has the appearance of a beaver’s tail. Beavers tail bands are not attached to wall clouds and run roughly parallel to a pseudo-warm front.
  • Boundary Layer: The lowest one to two kilometers of atmosphere, this layer of air is adjacent to the planet or boundary surface.
  • Bulk Richardson Number: The CAPE ratio of a parcel lifted to the vertical wind shear of its environment that it was lifted. For CAPEs 1500 to 3000 J/kg, it the number sizes up well with the type of thunderstorm.
  • BWER: Stands for Bounded Weak Echo Region.
  • Cap: The cap measures the ability of a layer of warm air to restrain low-level parcel ascent. It separates the lower warm, moist air from the higher, colder, drier air, making it a very important measure of instability and the potential for severe thunderstorms.
  • Cell: Single or couplet up or downdraft convection seen in the cumulus cloud’s vertical tower. Typically, thunderstorms are multi-cellular. Cells can also be indicated by radar echo.
  • Chaff: Small metal foil strips dropped in great quantity from balloons or aircraft that produce radar echos that are similar to precipitation. Such drops are used for testing and calibrating radars, although the military formerly use them to confuse the enemy’s radar equipment.
  • Cirrus: Feather-like, thin ice-crystal clouds that form at around 16,500 to 45,000 feet.
  • Clear Slot: Higher-based, bright, dry area, a West or Southwest region of clearing skies and less cloud cover that may be a visual clue to a rear flank downdraft.
  • Cold Advection: Horizontal winds transporting colder air into a region.
  • Cold-air Funnel: A type of funnel cloud or small, weaker tornado developing from unusually cold air aloft in the atmosphere.
  • Collar Cloud: Although sometimes used incorrectly as a synonym for a wall cloud, this circular cloud ring rarely surrounds the upper regions of a wall cloud.
  • Comma Cloud: A large scale, comma-shaped cloud pattern associated with low-pressure systems that are large and intense.
  • Confluence: An inward wind flow pattern toward an axis parallel to the flow direction.
  • Convection: Used interchangeably with the term thunderstorm, convection is the vertical heat and moisture transported by liquid movement in up and downdrafts when the atmosphere is unstable. Thunderstorms are actually only one type of convection. Visible forms of convention also include cumulonimbus, towering cumulus and ACCAS clouds.
  • Cumulus: Characterized by mostly flat bases and domed tops, these clouds are formed in convective currents and do not form precipitation.
  • Cyclic Storm: These storms undergo cycles of intensity and weakening, called pulses, while sustaining itself as a storm.
  • Delta T: The Delta T represents the mean lapse rate within an atmospheric layer. This is calculated by the difference between observed temperatures at the bottom and top layer of the atmospheric layer between the pressures of 700 and 500 megabars.
  • Derecho: A derecho is a windstorm associated with convection that is widespread and a fast-mover. It can produce straight line winds that can damage property over regions that are hundreds of miles long and over 100 miles across.
  • Dew Point: Along with humidity, the dew point is a measure of moisture in the atmosphere. The dew point is a temperature reading of the air which must be cooled at constant pressure and moisture content so that saturation can happen.
  • Doppler Radar: The powerfully sensitive Doppler radar, also known as WSR-88D, was created in 1988 to obtain such meteorological readings as radial velocity, standard reflectivity echoes, wind speed and atmospheric pictures as well as timed storm total precipitation images.
  • Dry Line: Located typically north to south across the central and southern Plains states in the spring and early summer months as the boundary separates warm, moist Gulf Air from the colder, drier desert air. The dry line moves east during the afternoon and west during the night.
  • Elevated Convection- This is a thunderstorm occurring on the cold surface of a cold front. They form aloft a very stable atmospheric layer. Severe weather is possible with an elevated convection.
  • Energy Helicity Index: Used to forecast supercells, this index utilizes both vertical shear and instability. Its equation is- EHI = (CAPE x SRH)/160,000.
  • Equilibrium Level: In the upper troposphere, the temperature of a parcel of saturated air becomes equal to the environment.
  • Feeder Bands: Feeder bands are the same as inflow bands, lines of low clouds that feed into an updraft of a convection from east to south.
  • Front: The transition area between two different density air masses. Those two air masses will have different temperatures. Types of fronts are dependent on the advancing air cold, occluded, stationary and warm fronts.
  • Fujita Scale: The University of Chicago’s Dr. Theodore Fujita devised this older method of classifying tornadoes by strength from F0, the weakest, to F5, the most violent.
  • Gust Front: A gust front forms when a thunderstorm’s rain-cooled air and the down draft reaches the ground and spreads out. Also associated with a shelf cloud, gustnado, and downburst.
  • Gustnado or Gustinado: (slang) A gust front tornado, usually very weak and quickly dissipated. More associated with shelf than wall clouds. No storm-scale rotation.
  • Helicity: Corkscrew patterned property of a moving fluid proportional to flow strength, vertical wind shear, and vorticity, or turn in the air flow.
  • Hodograph: Vertical wind tip vectors in the lowest 7000 meters of the atmosphere is graphed in this polar coordinate plane.
  • HP Storm: Also known as a high-precipitation supercell in which the heavy precipitation falls on the trailing mesocyclone side making tornado identification very difficult and dangerous.
  • Humidity: Known as relative humidity, it is a measure of water vapor in the air, much like the dew point.
  • Inflow Bands: Moving toward or into a convection, these low bands of clouds are parallel to the low-level winds. A bowed inflow band may indicate tornadic rotation.
  • Insolation: Sunshine and its ensuing heat.
  • Instability: A prerequisite for severe weather, instability in the atmosphere is when the vertical temperature distribution allows warm air to rise and to accelerate.
  • Inversion: Temperature inversion, or an increase in temperature with height. Present in the lower cap.
  • Isobar: Barometric lines of pressure that are equal and depicted on a weather map.
  • Jet Stream: Strong winds that control the movement of high and low pressure systems and their front along a narrow band that can reach wind speeds of over 200 mph.
  • Knuckles: A slang tern describing lumpy cloud formations on the underside of a thunderstorm anvil; not Mammatus clouds. They indicate a very strong updraft.
  • Land Spout: (slang) A tornado that does not emanate from organized storm rotation.
  • Lifted Index: Determines thunderstorm potential. A lifted index < -5 means that air is very unstable and that there is a potential for heavy or strong thunderstorms. Thunderstorms are probable when the index reads -3 to -5, while 0 to -2 means that thunderstorms are possible as the air is only marginally unstable.
  • Longwave Trough: A trough in the prevailing westerly flow aloft which is characterized by large length and (usually) long duration.
  • LSR: The acronym for a Local Storm Report that the National Weather Service produces to inform of significant and severe weather events.
  • Mammatus Clouds: These smooth, round, sack-like clouds protrude from the underside of a cloud or thunderstorm anvil. They accompany, but do not produce severe weather.
  • Meridonial Flow- Large north to south, longitudinal atmospheric flow in which the zonal flow which runs east to west is weaker than normal.
  • Mesocyclone: A radar-indicated rotation in which there are three types of azimuthal shear patterns including the uncorrelated and 3D Correlated Shears. The 3D shear is indicated on the radar as a thin, yellow circle.
  • Moisture Convergence: Measure of the moisture converging into a region that takes converging winds and moisture advection into account. If persistent, the region is considered favorable for thunderstorms if instability is present.
  • Morning Glory: A long cloud band appearing during the early morning, atmospherically stable hours.
  • NCEP: Stands for the NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Prediction. Its mission is to mitigate economic loss and to protect life and property through providing accurate national weather forecasts for up to seven days. Climate predictions are created for two-week time frames up to one year.
  • NGM: Pressure/precipitation forecast model that plots in 12-hour intervals up to 48 hours at a time.
  • NOAA: The acronym for the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration that is the umbrella for the NCEP.
  • Orographic: Physical geography-related information.
  • Outflow Boundary: Similar to a cold front, the outflow boundary separates thunderstorm cooled-air from the surrounding air.
  • Overhang: High reflectivity region of a radar at the mid and upper levels of a weak-echo region. Found on the inflow side of a convection.
  • Positive Area: The layer that a lifted parcel is warmer than its surrounding environment. The measure of convection energy that is available. Also see CAPE.
  • Potential Temperature: The temperature a dry air parcel would need if brought to a standard pressure of 1000 mb.
  • Pseudo-Cold Front: A form of gust front that is characterized by the advancement of the downdraft toward the inflow.
  • Pseudo-Warm Front: Boundary between supercell inflow and forward-flank downdraft region extending outward from a mesocyclonic center.
  • Pulse Storm: A convection where a brief updraft occurs during and immediately after a short bout of severe weather within a thunderstorm.
  • Radial Velocity: Also known as Doppler velocity, this motion is what the Doppler radar detects parallel to the radar beam.
  • Rain Foot: (slang) A horizontal bulge near the precipitation shaft, indicating a wet microburst.
  • Rear Flank Downdraft: Dry air region on the back of and wrapping around of a mesocyclone. May be indicated on radar as a hook.
  • Relative Humidity: Same as humidity, expressed as a percent of the amount of moisture in the air relative to the moisture that would be in the air if it were saturated.
  • Retrogression: A weather system moving in the opposite direction of the basic embedded flow. Usually a westward movement of air.
  • Rope Cloud: Also called a rope funnel, a narrow, string-like band of clouds often appearing along a front or boundary.
  • Scud: Associated with convection outflow and cool moist air, these small, ragged, clouds are fragmented and low, while unattached to a larger base cloud. Usually noted behind cold and convection gust fronts.
  • SELS: The acronym for the Severe Local Storms Unit which is the previous name of the Norman, Oklahoma’s Storm Prediction Center Operations Branch.
  • Severe Thunderstorm: A convection is considered severe is winds reach 58 mph or more which can result in property damage, and at least one inch hail, or a tornado.
  • Shelf Cloud: Attached to a parent cloud base, shelf clouds are low, horizontal, and wedge-shaped arcus clouds that exist with a convection gust front, cold front, or no thunderstorm at all.
  • Shortwave: Also called a shortwave trough, this is a mid or upper atmospheric disturbance inducing upward motion in advance of the disturbance.
  • Speed Shear: The change in wind speed and height. A speed shear is an important part of the wind shear that factors into severe weather development in the mid to upper atmospheric levels.
  • Splitting Storm: A convection splitting into two storms with diverging paths. The right sided storm is more likely to become a supercell as it moves slower than the left sided storm.
  • Stratiform: Clouds with much horizontal development that cover great areas but have little vertical development.
  • Stratocumulus: Globulous masses of clouds full of water vapor that form from stratus clouds as they are breaking with cumulus clouds. They exist up to 6,500 feet from the ground.
  • Stratus: A uniform, low, sheet cloud made up of mostly water vapor that is located up to 6,500 feet. Fog is a stratus cloud that has its foundation on the ground.
  • Supercell: A convection with an updraft that is rotating and persistent. They generally move right and are rare, but are responsible for most severe weather events like tornadoes, large hail and other damaging winds.
  • Tail Cloud: Not a funnel cloud, a tail cloud extends from the precipitation cascade supercell region toward the wall cloud at low levels.
  • Thermodynamics: Temperature and moisture distribution as related to instability in the atmosphere.
  • Tornado: Violent, rotating air column that connects with the ground and extends from a convection base.
  • Transverse Bands: Clouds perpendicular to the air flow where they are embedded.
  • Triple Point: The intersection between two boundaries or fronts. This is a focus for thunderstorm development.
  • Troposphere: Characterized by decreasing temperature, vertical wind motion and water vapor, the troposphere extended from the ground to the tropopause.
  • Trough: The opposite of a ridge, the trough is a long area of low atmospheric pressure.
  • Updraft: Vertical air currents.
  • Upper Level System: Umbrella term for any large mesoscale disturbance in the mid to upper atmosphere. Used interchangeably with shortwave.
  • Veering Winds: Indicative of warm air advection, veering winds change in a clockwise direction with time at a certain location or due to height.
  • Vertically-stacked System: A closed or cutoff low pressure system not tilted with height and that are less likely to produce severe weather.
  • Volume Scan- Successive sweeps at radar antenna elevations that are combined with three-dimensional echo structures.
  • Vorticity: Local rotation vector measure in a fluid flow, referring to rotation on a vertical axis that if are measured positively may indicate cyclonic rotation.
  • Wall Cloud: Formed during supercells, a wall cloud is localized, persistent, and abrupt. They range from hundreds of feet to almost five miles in diameter and are found on the inflow side of a convection.
  • Warning: Issued by the National Weather Service to indicate that severe weather is present in the local area and that action must be taken to protect life and property.
  • Waterspout: A rotating column of air over a body of water that is violent. Once on shore, they usually dissipate.
  • Wedge: (slang) A rare, large tornado that is as wide as it is tall and has a condensation funnel.
  • Zonal Flow: Latitudinal atmospheric or east-west flow of air. The accompanying meridian flow is usually weaker.

Weather Resources

[Infographic] Recycling Tips and Stats for Teachers and Students

Posted: January 13th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: Educational Resources | No Comments »

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How are Funds Allocated for Public Schools?

Posted: January 9th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: Educational Resources | No Comments »

While the United States Constitution does not explicitly refer to education, the responsibility for it rests with state and local governments. The duty to provide an education is not a power that has either been granted to the federal government by the states or assumed by the national government. Indeed, every state constitution includes the guarantee of a right to education to the state’s citizens. However, the national government has a compelling interest in the quality of America’s public schools.

Recent figures revealed that state and local sources cover between 92 and 93 percent of the costs of primary school education. State and local governments spend more money on public education than on any other expenditure. Approximately 50 percent comes from state budgets, and a little more than 40 percent from local district sources. State funds are generally derived from sales tax and personal and corporate income taxes. Of the local sources of revenue for public schools, property taxes are by the far the most common.

The balance of the costs of the schools, 7 to 8 percent, is covered by the federal budget. The federal share has grown through the years. In fact, prior to the 1970s, there was almost no federal participation in school budgets. The roots of federal support for elementary and high school education are in 1965. That year, the Elementary and Secondary Act was enacted. ESEA provides grants for elementary and secondary school programs for children of low-income families, textbooks and other instructional materials, school library resources and supplemental education centers and services. It also provides funds for the professional development and training of teachers, for education research and for other vital purposes.

The decisions on how funds are allocated for schools are thus made by officials at the three levels of government – federal, state and local.

Decisions at the national level are made, as are all federal budgetary allocations, by Congress subject to veto by the president. Congress’ initial enactment of ESEA was for five years, but it has been reauthorized every five years since 1965. In 2001, when Congress renewed the act, the bill was called the No Child Left Behind Act. Congress and President George W. Bush increased the federal budget for elementary and secondary education. They approved new programs for the schools and massive hikes in spending on existing programs. Overall, federal funding for schools increased almost 60 percent from 2000 to 2003.

At the state level, allocations for schools are made by state legislatures subject to veto by the governor. But because there are no mandates on state officials for how much must be spent on education, there are wide gaps in funding among the states. For example, New York spends more than $17,000 per student, New Jersey spends approximately $16,500, Utah spends $5,765 and Idaho about $7,000 per student. The national average for states is $10,259 per pupil.

Similarly, differences in spending among school districts are vast. A recent report by Congress’ General Accounting Office revealed ranges from as low as several thousand dollars per average on each pupil to almost $10,000. Spending decisions at the local level are generally made by members of local school boards. The GAO found that three primary factors influenced the level of spending at the local level: teacher salaries, the student-teacher ratio and the ratio of students to support staff. The most significant of these three factors was teacher salaries.

School taxes are not optional, and residents must pay them regardless of whether they have children in the school system. Conflicts on the level of spending can thus be highly charged matters. Spending at the local level has resulted in controversy and even litigation. A 2006 Arizona study found that the state’s public schools spent 50 percent more per student than did the state’s private schools. In 2008, officials in the Chicago public school system objected that the budget allocated them of $11,300 per student was insufficient, yet a local private school spent half that amount. There are instances where judges have ordered school districts to raise taxes in order to have more revenue for education.

Teaching Guide: Phases of the Moon

Posted: January 9th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: Educational Resources | No Comments »

The earth makes one full revolution on it axis every 24 hours. The moon takes a month to orbit the earth. During that time, it moves from between the earth and the sun around to the far side of the earth, and back to between the earth and the sun. Each phase appears different to someone viewing the moon from the earth. If you imagine the earth in the center of a clock face, the moon begins its monthly rotation at the three o’clock position and rotates counterclockwise.

Understanding the Moon Phases: A diagram of the orbit pattern, and explanations of the different phases of the moon, tides, and eclipses.

New Moon

At the time of the new moon, the moon is directly between the earth and the sun, thus the lit side of the moon is facing away from the earth and it appears there is no moon because we see only the dark side. The only time the moon is visible during this phase is during a solar eclipse.

See a picture of a new moon.

Waxing Crescent

As the moon begins to move slowly away from the sun, a small portion of the moon is illuminated in a crescent shape. At first it is just a sliver, and each night the sliver becomes a little larger until it reaches the first quarter.

See a picture of a waxing crescent moon.

First Quarter

When the moon reaches the first quarter of its cycle around the earth, the one-half of the moon is illuminated by the sun. This occurs about one week after a new moon.

See a picture of a first quarter moon.

Waxing Gibbous

As the moon passes the northernmost point of its rotation and heads toward the western side of the earth, more and more of the moon is illuminated. After several days, it reaches the opposite of the waxing crescent: nearly all the moon is lit and just a small crescent is still dark.

See a picture of a waxing gibbous moon.

Full Moon

Once the moon reaches the midpoint in its monthly orbit, it is directly opposite the sun and fully illuminated. At this time, it’s in the nine o’clock position.

See a picture of a full moon.

Waning Gibbous

As the moon rotates to the south (from nine o’clock to six o’clock), it begins to pass lower than the sun and again slowly develops a darkened crescent on one side. It begins as a small sliver and increases over several days until the three-quarter moon.

See a picture of a waning gibbous moon.

Last Quarter

The last quarter of the moon is also known as the third-quarter because it is about to enter the final one-fourth of its monthly orbit. It the last quarter (at six o’clock), the moon is once again half illuminated, but this time it is the side opposite that lit in the first quarter.

See a picture of a last quarter moon.

Waning Crescent

Finally, as the moon moves through its final phase back toward its original position directly between the earth and sun (moving from six o’clock back to three o’clock), it gets increasingly darker until finally there is just a small crescent-shaped sliver of illumination.

See a picture of a waning crescent moon.

The moon orbits the earth once every 29.53 days. A lunar month is the time it takes the moon to go from one new moon to the next. The term waxing means to increase in phase or intensity, thus the first half of the lunar month leading to a full moon is the waxing phase. The term waning means to diminish in phase or intensity, thus the second half of the lunar month leading to the next new moon is the waning phase.

The word lunacy means intermittent insanity once believed to be related to phases of the moon. Although insanity is now known to be the product of brain chemistry and other organic problems, it has been observed and documented that prisoners and hospital patients are more agitated and violent during the full moon. Usually, Emergency Rooms and Police Stations are busier during the full moon, as well.