Differentiation 101 – A Basic Guide to Differentiated Instruction

Differentiation. Differentiated Curriculum. Differentiated Instructional Strategies. At conferences, parent gatherings, and curriculum planning meetings, the term differentiation is thrown around like a Frisbee. As a newly hired teacher, I recall nodding my head and blinking blankly whenever the term was whizzed at me. The definition of differentiation is taken for granted; thus, no one ever pauses to tell what differentiation means. This article will do just that.

In a nutshell, differentiation–which is sometimes called differentiated instruction–refers to a method of curriculum planning and instruction that offers learners a wide variety of ways to acquire understanding. The following bullet points offer a quick and dirty guide to differentiated instruction. These bullets outline the three elements of the curriculum that can be differentiated as well as the three learner characteristics that can be taken into account while differentiating your instruction.

The following elements of your curriculum can be differentiated

CONTENT: Content is considered the “stuff” of the curriculum. This “stuff” includes what the instructor plans for learners to understand as well as the ways the learner will gain access to the desired knowledge and skills. To differentiate according to Content, an instructor can do the following:

  • Provide text on multiple levels of difficulty
  • Use part-to-whole or whole-to-part instruction
  • Use manipulatives, Internet resources, audio recordings, and other non-conventional “text”

PROCESS: Process refers to the activities in which learners engage in order to gain understanding of the subject. A conventional way to think about Process is to consider it as the things learners do in the class and for homework. To differentiate according to Process, the instructor can do the following:

  • Vary amount of support given by the instructor
  • Give learners choices about how they express what they learn
  • Provide varied assignment options at differing levels of difficulty or based on learner interests

PRODUCT: Products are the end result, the things learners create to demonstrate what they understand and/or are able to do after they have moved through the curriculum. Some examples of learning products are essays, poems, quiz/test answers, presentations, blogs, websites, skits, videos, plays, and other dramatizations. To differentiate according to Product, the instructor can do the following:

  • Provide rubrics (a grid showing how learners will be assessed) for assignments
  • Vary types of resources learners can use in preparing products (text, Internet resources, books, encyclopedias, interviews, tours, pamphlets, etc)
  • Allow learners to design a product around essential learning goals-to express what they know in varied ways (e.g. speaking, writing, drawing)

The following are three learner characteristics instructors can take into account when planning to differentiate:

READINESS: Readiness refers to the understanding and preparedness learners have at the start of study. Because learners vary in preparation and knowledge (in other words, what they bring to the classroom and to specific assignments), they require different levels of difficulty. To differentiate according to Readiness, instructors can do the following:

  • Add student teach-backs to assignments
  • Add or remove peer conferencing, instruction, and models for a task
  • Make the task more or less familiar (e.g. by adding or removing information and resources)

INTERESTS: Interests, in terms of differentiation, can be thought of as the learner’s “academic taste buds.” Because learners have different taste buds, instructors can align curriculum with topics or pursuits that satisfy the palate of each learner. To differentiate according to Interest, instructors can do the following

  • Provide a wide variety of choices for topics and products
  • Provide a variety of avenues for learner exploration of a topic
  • Give learners a choice of tasks and products, including learner-designed options

LEARNING PROFILE: Just as the height and shape of students vary (even within the same grade), so do their learner profiles. No matter how students are grouped, each group will have learners with different interests, levels of readiness, learning styles, talents, and standardized test scores. One understanding of learning styles is Howard Gardner’s theory of multiple intelligences. Gardner’s theory delineates the following categories: Bodily-kinesthetic, Interpersonal, Verbal-linguistic, Logical-mathematical, Naturalistic, Intrapersonal, Visual-spatial, and Musical. To differentiate according to Learning Profile, instructors can do the following:

  • Provide choice of spaces for activities (e.g. desks, couches, and floor seating)
  • Present information in a variety of ways (video, handout, lecture, peer-to-peer talks)
  • Provide learning opportunities in various modes (musical, visual display, movement and manipulatives)

Differentiation helps instructors engineer curriculum that reaches the widest number of learners possible. With the above guide highlighting the primary tenets of differentiation, you can approach your curriculum-and the next faculty meeting-with a basket full of knowledge and tools to differentiate in all of your curriculum.

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Boosting Your Brain Power

The old theory that DNA could not be changed and that you would be stuck with what you were born with has now been disproved. Researchers found that your DNA actually changes continuously based on your experiences, emotions, and environment.

Our views of the brain have also altered in a similar way as our views of DNA. Science has now provided more and more evidence that your brain is malleable and adapts continuously in response to your lifestyle, physiology, and environment. This concept is called neuroplasticity or brain plasticity, meaning you are literally reforming your brain with each passing day. Your brain possesses the remarkable ability to reorganize pathways, create new connections, as well as neurons (nerve cells) throughout your entire lifetime.

For example, your brain has the ability to move functions from a damaged area to undamaged areas. It also has the ability to change its physical structure as a result of learning. When you acquire a new skill, the more you focus and practice it, the better you become. This is the result of new neural pathways that form in response to your learning efforts.

In the meantime, your brain also undergoes “synaptic pruning”, the elimination of pathways that you no longer use. This phenomenon even applies to emotional states. For instance, if you have a history of anxiety, your neural pathways will become wired for anxiety. However, if you develop tools to feel calm, relaxed, and peaceful, those anxiety pathways will be pruned away from lack of activity.

Consequently, you can see that your brain’s plasticity is highly affected by your way of life. The foods you eat, how much physical activity you have, your emotional states, and sleep patterns all have an influence over how your brain functions. Therefore, there is much that you can do to preserve or even boost your brain power. The following are key factors that will greatly affect your brain’s performance:

1. Link Between Gut Inflammation And Brain Inflammation

The fundamental mechanism that underlies chronic diseases, including the ones related to the brain like autism, Alzheimer’s, anxiety, depression, multiple sclerosis, and Parkinson’s, is the process of inflammation. Current science is strongly supporting that this process of inflammation actually begins in the gastrointestinal tract, which subsequently spreads to affect the brain.

What are the instigators behind gut inflammation? To the surprise of many, it is predominantly dietary -

The mistake of eating too many carbs resulting in chronic high blood sugar levels. Blood sugar elevation raises the binding of glucose to protein. This process, known as glycation profoundly increases the amount of inflammation in the body.
Opting for a low-fat diet, eating the wrong types of processed, rancid fats, or too few healthy fats.
Insufficient intake of antioxidants, which are mostly found in fruits, vegetables, and herbs.
Consuming too much foods loaded with irritants and toxins, such as chemicals, preservatives, pesticides, GMOs, and heavy metals.
Having undiagnosed sensitivity to gluten (a protein found in wheat, rye, and barley) and other foods such as dairy, eggs, and corn.
Candida yeast overgrowth, small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO), and intestinal parasites all trigger the immune response and lead to gut inflammation.
Inflammation is the body’s natural defense against something it believes to be potentially harmful. For instance, if you sprain your ankle, the body will sense some kind of stress going on. The natural response is to create swelling and pain to reduce movement and promote healing. These are the hallmarks of the inflammatory process; in small doses, it is not a negative thing.

It only turns bad when inflammation gets out of control and becomes chronic. Chronic inflammation is typically low-grade, silent, and produce no symptoms. When the body is constantly under assault, the inflammation response stays on and it spreads to every part of the body through the bloodstream. The brain is particularly susceptible as it is also connected to the gut via the vagus nerve.

Unchecked inflammation results in the production of a variety of inflammatory chemicals called cytokines which are toxic to the cells. The cytokines travel throughout the body causing oxidative stress, leading to a reduction of cellular function and even cellular destruction, and resulting in actual loss of function in the body. Studies using new imaging technology showed dramatic elevation of inflammatory cytokines in the brains of Alzheimer’s patients and individuals with other brain disorders. Hence, to prevent brain inflammation, the foremost is to maintain a healthy gut.

2. Foods That Feed The Gut And The Brain

The reason why inflammation is so rampant in western civilization is the modern diet. It is high in foods that provoke inflammation, such as refined flour, excess sugar, oxidized or rancid fats, trans fats, plus a wide range of chemicals and preservatives. And it is low in foods that reduce inflammation, like long-chain omega-3 fats, fermented foods, and fermentable fiber.

The following are some foods that are particularly beneficial to the gut and the brain:

Avocados
Beets
Blueberries
Bone broth (used for healing the gut lining damaged by inflammation)
Broccoli
Coconut oil (used as an alternative fuel for the brain, other than glucose)
Celery
Chocolate, dark only
Egg Yolks
Fermented foods (rich in beneficial bacteria to keep the gut healthy, e.g. kimchee, sauerkraut, pickled vegetables, yogurt, and fermented drinks like kefir and kombucha)
Fermentable fiber (used as food for the good gut bacteria, e.g. asparagus, artichokes, garlic, jicama leeks, and onions)
Olive oil, extra virgin
Green, leafy vegetables
Rosemary (anti-inflammatory)
Wild caught Alaskan salmon
Sardines
Turmeric (anti-inflammatory)
3. Exercise To Reduce Inflammation

While bouts of exercise tend to promote acute inflammation, when done regularly over the long term, it actually decreases chronic inflammation. The oxidative stress from the exercise forces your body to build up your antioxidant defenses. This is indicated in studies showing extended exercise programs help reduce inflammatory markers, such as insulin resistance (a risk factor for diabetes) and high sensitivity C-Reactive Protein (an indicator of cardiovascular disease).

However, some people tend to over exercise and it is extremely important to allow for sufficient recovery, especially when doing High Intensity Interval Training (repeated sprints interspersed by recovery). If you over-train, as in marathons, you may do more harm than good since your body needs to recuperate from the damage (acute inflammation) incurred during your workout.

The average American adult spends about 10 hours each day sitting. Research shows that this level of inactivity cannot even be counteracted with a 60-minute workout at the end of each day. So, what do you do if you have a desk job?

Know that the body needs near-continuous movement throughout the day. At the bare minimum, you should get out of the chair every 50 minutes or so and walk around.
One way to increase activity is to simply walk more. It is recommended that you aim for 7,000 to 10,000 steps a day. A fitness tracker will be a useful tool to help you meet your daily goal.
4. Lack Of Sleep Impairs Brain Function

Sleep deprivation is really bad for brain function. Many studies show that sleep loss impairs various cognitive functions and behavior, including arousal, attention, cognitive speed, memory, emotional intelligence, and decision making.

Using brain imaging technology, like functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), scientists compared the brain of someone who was sleep-deprived to the brain of someone who had slept normally. They found reduced metabolism and blood flow in multiple brain regions which indicated impaired cognitive function and behavior.

Several nights of poor sleep or one night of no sleep will start to disrupt your hormonal balance. According to a study from Stanford University, your body’s ghrelin levels, which stimulate feelings of hunger, can jump nearly 15 percent. It also lowers your levels of leptin, a hormone that regulates energy balance, which explains why you tend to feel sluggish when you are sleep-deprived.

Your brain also struggles to curate and sort new memories. You are able to absorb new information but your brain has problems accessing that information and putting it to good use. You may feel distracted, while your reaction time plummets. This makes tasks like driving more difficult and dangerous.

A CDC survey shows that half of Americans (48%) do not get enough sleep. So if you want your brain to stay at tip-top shape, you need to place sleep high on your priority list. In the event that you just cannot get enough nocturnal sleep, a 30-minute nap at lunch time is still helpful although it cannot fully eliminate the negative consequences of sleep deprivation.

5. Vitamin D May Save Your Brain

Much has been learned about the health benefits of vitamin D over the past decade. While it has long been recognized that vitamin D supports strong and healthy bones, its role in brain-related disorders is becoming increasingly evident.

A new study that collaborated multiple highly respected institutions around the world found a profound correlation of low vitamin D level and increased risk of developing dementia. Even having a moderate deficiency of vitamin D was associated with a 53% increased risk of dementia. Those who were severely deficient had a 122% increased risk!

Many people are not aware that vitamin D deficiency is associated with increased inflammation. There are about 30,000 genes in the body, and vitamin D affects nearly 3,000 of them. Your brain has vitamin D receptors too. Therefore, unless you get 20 minutes of sun exposure daily (without using sunscreen on face, arms, and legs), you may want to consider supplementation.

Most people need around 5,000 I.U. a day to reach the optimal level of 50-70 ng/ml as determined by a blood test. If you supplement, opt for vitamin D3, which is the natural form, and take it with vitamin K2, with at least 100 mcg of menaquinone-7 (MK-7). The combination of D3 and K2 will make sure that calcium is deposited in the bones instead of the arteries.

6. Think Positive And Stimulate Your Brain

Stress and anxiety kill existing brain neurons and stop new neurons from being created. Research has shown that positive thinking speeds up the formation of cells and dramatically reduces stress and anxiety. Hence, catch yourself when your negative thoughts surface, discard them, and replace them with positive ones.

When you learn or do new things, new neural pathways are developed. As a result, you want to stimulate your brain on a continuous basis. Remember the phrase – use it or lose it?

Carol Chuang is a Certified Nutrition Specialist and a Metabolic Typing Advisor. She has a Masters degree in Nutrition and is the founder of CC Health Counseling, LLC. Her passion in life is to stay healthy and to help others become healthy. She believes that a key ingredient to optimal health is to eat a diet that is right for one’s specific body type. Eating organic or eating healthy is not enough to guarantee good health. The truth is that there is no one diet that is right for everyone. Our metabolisms are different, so should our diets. Carol specializes in Metabolic Typing, helping her clients find the right diet for their Metabolic Type.

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Fun Games to Play With Children, 10 Spontaneous Games to Enrich Their Lives

1. NATURE BRACELETS

For Ages: 1-5

You can start your little one’s exploration and appreciation of nature with this game of making a masking tape nature bracelet. They’ll notice all the lovely color and shape variations there are in petals and leaves and adorn their wrists with beauty.

MATERIALS:

Masking tape

Leaves and flower petals

DIRECTIONS:

Wrap a piece of masking tape around your child’s wrist, sticky side up, and then go exploring to find wonderful leaves, beautiful flower petals and other interesting things to attach to the bracelet.

Before bedtime, snip the bracelet off and attach it next to his bed or somewhere in view so he can admire his work and remember his fun time.

2. RING OF STRING

For Ages:3-10 years

In this game, children are encouraged to really look closely at one spot and see all there is to see. There is a lot of pleasure to be had from noticing the tiny wonders of nature that are in our own back yard.

MATERIALS:

String

Magnifying glass or jar with water in it (optional)

DIRECTIONS:

Make a small circle on the ground with the string. Look carefully at the enclosed area with your child and notice what is growing there. Pull out a weed or blade of grass and see what the roots looks like. Is there a seedpod in the area? What’s inside?

Poke a hole and see if there are any insects around. What are they? What are they doing? Use a magnifying glass or a jar with water in it and look at different things up close.

Gather small things to examine and collect such as pinecones, acorns, petals, seeds, bark, leaves and pretty pebbles.

3. A SPOTLIGHT IN THE DARK

For Ages 1-5 years

Babies are fascinated with anything new. It’s fun for us to be with a little one when she discovers something for the first time. In this game it’s the delight of a flashlight in the dark

MATERIALS:

One or two flashlights

DIRECTIONS:

Keep the lights off in the room that you are in and scan the room with a flashlight, spotlighting different familiar things. “Look there’s the television. Here is the table and there is your high chair.”

You know your little one is going to want a chance to hold the flashlight. Let her. She can shine it wherever she wants or she has to find, with her flashlight, an object you name.

As she gets older and more coordinated, continue this game, but this time you both have flashlights and you encourage her to “catch” your spotlight. You move your spotlight around the room and she has to move hers so it “catches” yours by covering your spotlight with hers.

Your turn to chase next.

4. THE KNOCKING GAME

For: All Ages

Listening to and identifying the different sounds objects make when you knock on them is a game that can be played at any time. When you want to change the focus of fussing children, try saying: “Hey, let’s play a game. Close your eyes and see if you can tell what I’m knocking on. No peeking”

MATERIALS:

Common objects found around the house

DIRECTIONS:

Ask your player to close her eyes and turn her back to you. Then see if she can guess the object you are knocking on with your fist (or a spoon). Start with easy things such as a table and a window, and work towards sounds that are harder to identify, such as knocking on a book or lamp.

Take turns being the identifier and the “knocker”.

5. TOOTHPICK ART

For: All Ages

There are many ways to teach the hands to have more finesse. This is one of them that you can play together.

MATERIALS:

Toothpicks, plain or colored

DIRECTIONS:

Make an abstract design by laying toothpicks out on a table or floor, with each player adding their toothpick to the design. The first player puts down one toothpick. The next player adds his at just the angle that seems pleasing to him. The next person then adds theirs to that design and so on and so on until an interesting design is formed.

Instead of an abstract design, you can make a specific scene. For example, make a house with a picket fence and trees.

!It takes concentration to pick up a skinny toothpick and decide the best place to put it. Placing each toothpick down carefully and trying not to jiggle the design encourages awareness of hand movements.

It also develops the pincer grasp, the small muscles that control the index finger and thumb.

But mainly, it’s fun to make art together.

6. TOE STEPPING

For: All Ages

Here’s a fun and silly game that requires concentration and quick movement. Try it sometime at a birthday party gathering, when you want to redirect excess energy, or when the kids are bored and want something quick and new to do.

MATERIALS:

None but fancy footwork

DIRECTIONS:

Two people, both barefoot or in stocking feet, face each other and hold hands. Each person tries to step on the others toes while at the same time keep their toes from being stepped on.

You might remind the players to step lightly on each other’s toes so that others will do the same to you. In other words, follow this game’s Golden Rule: Step on others as you would want to be stepped on.

Concentrating on both keeping out of the way and going for the goal is a kind of trial by fire. Pressure on their foot lets them know when they weren’t paying close enough attention!

7. BALLOON BASEBALL

For Ages: 1-5

Baseball may be fun but those balls can hurt and are hard to hit. For young ones, use a balloon!

MATERIALS:

Balloon

Bat: Make a bat out of anything handy, such as the inside cardboard tube of a paper towel roll or a rolled up section of yesterdays newspaper secured with tape

DIRECTIONS:

. Give the bat to your player and toss the balloon to her. The slow movements of a balloon floating towards her gives her plenty of time to line up her bat, swing at the ‘ball” and get the satisfaction of “connecting.”

If there is just the two of you, take turns being the pitcher/catcher and the batter.

If there are other players, their job is catching the “ball” as it leisurely floats down. Who ever catches it can have the next turn at batting or give it to someone who hasn’t had enough turns.

After everyone gets all the turns they want, you can change the game to “Golf”. Use boxes turned on their sides as “holes” and players see how many strokes it takes to hit the balloon in the box.

8. BACK WRITING

For Ages: 5-12 years

Writing invisible letters on a child’s back a fun way to write a secret message.

MATERIALS:

Paper

Pencil

DIRECTIONS:

One person sits with his back to another and a pad of paper and pencil in front of him.

The other person, using his finger, “draws” a letter on the person’s back.

At the same time, that person draws on the paper what he thinks is being drawn on his back.

Keep writing letter by letter until a whole message is given. The message could be a clue to where a treat is hidden!

Take turns so both the writer and the person written on get to experience what it feels like.

Have an older child play this game with a younger sibling as a fun way to help him learn his letters.

9. SELF PORTRAITS

For Ages: Teens

Many teenagers go through a phase where they become fascinated with their reflection in the mirror, especially during the period when their faces make that change from a child’s to a young adult’s.

In this activity, you and your changing child can take advantage of this fascination by drawing your mirror reflection

MATERIALS:

Mirror

Felt tip marker

Paper (optional)

DIRECTIONS:

Both of you sit facing a mirror and draw your reflection directly on the mirror using a felt-tip marker.

You can also draw each other’s on paper but don’t look at the paper until the drawing is done. This often gives a kind of Picasso look to the work

10. SHOE MOUNTAIN

For: All Ages

When the kids are bored but antsy with energy, here is a quickie that is guaranteed to win the hearts of all ages. Your twelve year old will l be just as excited to play this game as your two year old.

MATERIALS:

Shoes

DIRECTIONS

Pile all the shoes you can readily find in a pile in a large cleared out space in the room. Tell the kids that this is not a pile of shoes (silly them to think that!) but is actually a huge mountain and they have to start from a distance away and run towards the mountain and then with one gigantic leap, make it over the top of the mountain to the other side.

It adds to the thrill if the others provide a drum roll–slapping their hands on the floor or on a table or on their knees as the next Leaper makes her run and then when that person is in the air, call out her name!

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Top 5 Types of Entertainment for Parties

When choosing the most memorable entertainment for parties, first take a look at what kind of party or event it is. Depending on the event, such as weddings, there are wedding entertainment ideas and for corporate events, there are corporate event ideas.

To make it simpler, you can divide the types of entertainment into a group. Remember, entertainment for parties and events can be considered an amusing type of activity from very passive to very interactive. For instance, group classifications are: children, group, public, private or corporate. You want to find the right entertainment for the specific group you would like to entertain for the event.

Here are some examples:

Public Entertainment

When you walk through the park or subway station in any big city, you can probably see a large range of public entertainers amusing the city’s bystanders and passers-by for any amount of money. There are all sorts of public entertainers from Jazz musicians, a violin soloist to mimes. Public entertainers flock to bigger cities because there are a large number of concentrated people in an area to hopefully make some kind of wage. On the other hand, once you make your nominal donation, you can enjoy the gifts these talented public entertainers have to offer.

Corporate Entertainment

Corporate entertainment is aimed specifically at corporate events, award ceremonies and product launches, and is usually private and by invite only. Corporate events can run the gambit scale-wise, from very intimate to thousands of people. Forcorporate event ideas, think about including live speakers or even consider booking live music for corporate picnics and charity functions.

Adult Entertainment

Adult Entertainment is not only referring to the sex industry but can involve entertainment that adults might enjoy, like live concerts, sports, theater and even other activities that might be also appealing and appropriate for kids such aswedding entertainment ideas.

Live Entertainment

Live entertainment can be broad-including all ages and encompassing many varieties of entertainment. For example, music concerts, arena sports, musical theater, plays, live talk shows and seminars-practically any other activity that are aimed to bring large groups of people together and be amused. They can be for wedding entertainment ideas to corporate event ideas.

Child Entertainment

Entertaining kids is a fine balance between mental stimulation and physical activities. That’s why clowns, magicians and puppets are usually the most popular, coupled with games and races. They can be quite enjoyable for adults as well. Live music is also a hit at children’s parties for both young and old alike.

So when considering what kind of entertainment for parties or events, it is simply a matter of matching up the type of entertainment, with the type of audience or group to suit their tastes! Drawing people together with live music is almost always a sure hit! Book your live music today. Call an entertainment professional to help you choose what type of band or DJ you’d like to feature at your party or event!

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Coffee Shop On Wheels – How About Parking At a Rest Stop for Weary Travelers?

One thing us retired entrepreneurial company founders like to do is think up new potential start-ups. Luckily for me, I’ve started a little think tank that has several of us on board. Lucky also for you, if you want to start a business, we don’t mind sharing our ideas with you, heck maybe you can get some funding and make a go of it, do something great, fill a niche and be the next successful start-up entrepreneur out there. I wish you well.

Okay so here is a recent idea we came up with, actually it is an old idea, rehashed. There have actually been some franchises that do this. This has a different twist. Do you know how rest stops along the highway sometimes have vendors selling food? Usually, someone has a deal with the state and gets a license to do business there? How about a mobile food truck that serves up Lattes, Mochas and Espresso – high-end coffee?

One of our think tankers suggested we call it “R and R” and try to get it licensed in all states.

Indeed, there are mobile restaurants in every state almost – some have purposely made it tough on the sector due to restaurant industry lobbyists. I like the name idea, and I had once prepared a business plan for my brother’s company – the potential company would have been named Jumping Java – with on-site corporate parking lot delivery. The runners would take the orders and deliver the coffee inside the company. R&R might be a good name, but some people drink coffee to pep-up and not to rest or relax, so that might not be the right name. Unless you told them the name was for “Ramp-up and Race-Forward” or something. Well, it would be a huge logistic nightmare, you’d need commissaries for the mobile units, home bases, required by law.

You’d need permission where to park, licenses in every city, most cities have ordinances for what they might deem street vendors thus, controlling when and where you can set up. Each state is required by law to send it out to bid, and then the lowest common denominator, minority company paying ridiculously low wages would be competing with you while their employees lives 10 people to a house, and they got a 15% bid advantage for being a minority or woman owned business, and an SBA loan, that others could not get.

Then the government would PR the crap out of it telling everyone how some Bozo Congressman was providing jobs. It would be a nightmare to deal with the state. Worse, they often close the rest stops for no reason, and you’d be out of business for that time period. Then there is the crime issue, and angry people that the bathrooms are not cleaned, even though that isn’t your fault. You should see the stuff that goes on at rest stops. Although having someone there selling something does add a level of safety, because people are there.

One think tanker noted; “Sometimes there are people giving free coffee at rest areas trying to make their roads safer.”

Yes, I’ve seen that, and I am in favor of it. Maybe the state would pay for just plain “free black coffee” and you could sell the higher-end coffee drinks or, the state gives you free rent, if you give the cheap black coffee out for free and then are free to sell the expensive stuff. Be Great, Don’t Hesitate.

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Cellular Or Mobile Phones: How Are They Affecting Children And Us?

I am sure you are using one of them, like almost everyone else doe’s including me. As you become aware about some things, most likely you will be making changes the way you use a cellular phone from the information and awareness you be reading about.

There are as many as over 7 billion mobile phone subscriptions worldwide. Continued research to clarify any health risks coming from cell or mobile phones is ongoing. The first thing to come to mind is electronic radiation such as changes to sleep patterns and brain activity. Lots of evidence demonstrates that radiation from cell phones is a real danger.

Many different researches over years have confirmed that long-term exposure to cell phone radiation is a significant risk to health. Such findings of course are strongly denied by the other side of that argument, depending on which side of the argument you listen to. Debates like this have been ongoing for years and most likely will never be settled. After all, why would designers and manufacturers admit to any danger coming from phone usage? This would certainly kill the goose that lays the golden eggs!

The international agency for research, which is part of the world health organization released a statement over five years ago and declared cell phones a class B Carcinogen.

Long Term Exposure: How Long Is Too Long?

Whatever the brand name, I Phone, blackberry, android, tablets, Smartphone’s or just a basic flip phone has revolutionized communication in the 21st century. Some people spend as much as 2 ½ hours or more on the phone daily. Because cell phones are providing an efficient and easy way to communicate, but at the same time this can also take a toll on health.

The possible effect of a long-term heavy use of any mobile phone and the length of each call matters. The amounts of time people use cell phones are important factors which enhance the health related risk. The amount of radio frequency energy from a mobile phone use being released depends on different factors, such as distance from face and ear, the type of phone used, and the distance between cell phone towers.

What these findings are telling us: Make your conversation on a cell phone as short as possible or better still use a hand free device which places more distance between your head and the phone. Turn off the phone when not in use. Use the speaker phone when possible. Keep your phone away from your body as much as you can. Never use your phone while driving or even worse texting; this puts you and others in a potentially dangerous situation.

Children Are More Vulnerable

Children have the potential being at greater risk and affected in different ways. The brain of a child is not fully developed until the age of around 20. This makes any exposure to electronic radiation and radio frequency more dangerous for children than for adults. The other issue which affects a big percentage of children as well as teenagers is eye vision. Looking at mobile screens, what is it doing to kids’ eyes? Almost at any age children love playing with smart phones but what are the long-term effects?

Unfortunately some people are using such gadgets as baby sitters for the children without being aware of the damage it does. Children like to watch things close up on screen which is contributing to spike in becoming short-sighted. Studies have shown there is an alarming increase that affects many children between 10 and 12 years old and the amount has doubled over the last decade. The fact is: The more kids watch things close up on screen, the more they put their eyes in danger.

It is most common for children to develop myopia which gives a blurry long-distance vision. Myopia can also increase the risk of other eye problems in adulthood as well, including cataracts and blindness. However, most of the myopia cases are as young as six and 15 to 18, of course genetics play a role in severity in this.

As a guide, reduce screen time to as little of 2 hours per day from 2 to 5 year olds. There should only be a small increase of time allowed for older ones. Actually in Taiwan, if a child under the age of 2 has been found with a tablet or playing with any cell phone the parents will get a heavy fine.

Children who spent more time outdoors in fresh air and sunshine have a far lower rate of myopia. Limit the screen time, encourage kids to spend more “green time” hours in nature outdoors for better health. Make sure to include a colorful veggie diet from leafy greens which contain lutein, this is known to help eye sight and vision.

In General Common Sense Applies

A cell or mobile phone for most people has been one of the most revolutionary developments in time. It is a great communication tool being able to carry it with you wherever you go. It is a good security and emergency device that can save lives. So, what is wrong with all of those gadgets?

Could it be just the one who is using it creating that problem?

There are too many people going to the extreme and don’t know what is any longer normal or reasonable. That also applies to our food intake, beverages, including alcohol, and tobacco etc. All of those are not, or less harmful if used in moderation. If only used for short time this also can apply to cellar or mobile phones, and can reduce the risk factor as much as eighty percent.

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How to Get Inspired Online When Everybody Is Criticizing You

In a world full bashers and trolls, it’s quite easy to succumb to negativity. The internet is creative for people who seek a thriving environment but it can also be destructive to those who are subjected to public shaming.

Staying positive online can be challenging but here are a few thoughts to inspire you:

Everyone has imperfections.
The term “Facebook envy” is true for the majority who think highly of others because of what they see and read on social media like Facebook. Some individuals belittle themselves because their lives are not as good as what others portray online.

However, according to experts, people tend to always show their best side, so whatever posts or pictures we see is only the nice aspects of their lives. Everybody has deep dark secrets too so when someone criticizes you online, just remember that they also have unpleasant realities.

Most have fake identities.
A lot of those who are online are crass because they can easily hide their identity. They aren’t worried about real-life repercussions so they can be rude to their heart’s content. When someone online confronts you, remember that these are mere virtual components who only muster courage from word war. Maintain your decorum and ignore them.

You are worth the attention.
Negative criticism stems from the personal emotions of the person giving it. Bullies hate being topped by others that’s why they bring people down. When you are criticized, just remember that these people are interested about your life or personality and bullying is a means to get close to you. They won’t waste their time on someone not worth it.

People criticize because they don’t understand.
Closed-minded people cannot accept changes, thus they tend to oppose people who are open to it. When you receive criticism from them, just think that they are only manifesting their fears and it has nothing to do with your actions.

You are better than them.
Most of those who criticize people online are bored individuals with no accomplishments so they get envious of those who are much better than them. Look at the bright side and tell yourself that they hate you because they hate themselves.

Staying Positive

There are simple ways to boost your enthusiasm and optimism despite being surrounded by negative energy so read on.

Do what makes you happy.
Keep doing the things you love and feed your passion. Inspiration comes from personal fulfillment.

Think of inner kindness.
Think that everyone possesses innate kindness. Despite their insensitivity, people are always receptive of goodness.

Be grateful.
Always express your gratitude for the little things. Be thankful for even the bad experiences because these teach you valuable life lessons.

Rewards Yourself.
Give yourself a good massage or buy something you like. An incentive for working hard makes you feel valued.

Spend time outdoors.
The influx of technology declined people’s longing for soulful connection. Break the habit and take a vacation to rest your mind. Go on a short trip to rejuvenate and disconnect from your gadgets. Regular breaks prevent burnouts and improve mental health.

The online world can be cruel and overwhelming at times and it can be hard to manage your emotions if you tend to dwell on them. Success online can be achieved by detaching yourself from feelings and expressing your individuality.

John Richards has many years of experience creating and developing books, eBooks, manuals, and videos, on a variety of subjects, including online wealth, pet care, Internet marketing, direct mail, health and wellness, and CD/DVD distribution service.

John’s website provides ideas and practical advice for people who want to enjoy the rewards of earning an income from home using simple websites.

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7 Reasons How Goa Will Blow Away Your Winter Blues

According to experts, the seasonal affective disorder (SAD) or winter blues affects millions of people around the globe. People of any age may get effected by it. If you have been suffering from winter blues, you are not alone. It’s said that traveling can help you deal with your SAD, and if you happen to be from India, you may get ready to leave for Goa. Here are 7 reasons how Goa will blow away your winter blues.

Amazing Natural Beauty

Goa has incredible natural beauty with a great deal of green forests and beautiful beaches. Some of the must-visit beaches include Baga beach, Anjuna beach, Calangute beach and Candolim beach, just to name a few.

In the majority of shacks, you can get umbrella and beds for free if you love to eat at beach shacks. Aside from this, most of these places offer different types of Indian, continental and seafood. You may also get to South Goa to take your time at the serene beaches.

Old Goa

Old Goa is a beautiful place to visit the popular places, such as churches of Francis of Assisi, St Augistine and Basilica of Bom Jesus, to name a few. In the evening, you have the option to visit Panjim. Old Goa also has some of the finest Casinos of the country. Just be careful, as you don’t want to spend all your money over there.

Electronic Music

If you love Electronic Music, Candolim and Vagator are your places. During the last 7 days of December, you can attend the popular Sunburn and Supersonic events. Usually, visiting Goa will cost you more money during New Year, but it will be worth the money. The crowd during the New Year makes an incredible atmosphere.

North Goa clubs

If you love to party, you may head to the dance clubs of the North Goa. The majority of the clubs are not that expensive. There you can enjoy music late at night. Clubs that are the most popular include Sinq, LPK, Club Cabana and Curlies.

Food Lovers

If you love to eat seafood, Goa is the best place. Throughout the state, you can find a variety of sea food as well as cheap alcohol. You can also eat alcohol Fenny, which is made from coconuts and Kaju.

Adventures

For adventure lovers, Baga beach, Calangute beach and Sequirem beach are your places. On these beaches, you can play a variety of sports, such as water scooters, Para sailing and scuba diving.

Biking and cycling

Throughout Goa, you can hire bikes or cycles at many of the rent shops. If you want, you can hire cheap Royal enfields and 4 wheelers for a couple of days to have fun. You can cruise along the streets of Goa and drink roadside tea or coconut water.

So, if you are having winter blues and would like to go somewhere for a few days, we suggest that you give a go to Goa. This beautiful state has a lot to offer. Hopefully, you will have a great time over there.

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Brainstorming To Start A Small Business – Questions To Answer

Hello readers and potential future entrepreneurs. I understand the feeling; desire to create, operate, and succeed. Throughout my professional career, I have learned that there are numerous steps that must be taken in order to organize opening and operating a small business. I have put together a few questions which aspiring entrepreneurs should, at the very least, consider reading over. There are many questions that may arise with opening a small business, and I will address a few of those questions briefly in the following list of questions one may ask while brainstorming.

What type of business do you want to open? There are various business endeavors an entrepreneur could involve themselves in. It all comes down to what knowledge one has, or is willing to obtain. Are you a restaurateur? Repairman? Plumber? Home health / assistance? Do you have experience managing or working at such establishments? Do you need formal education from an institution? Will you work as a sole proprietor, or a partner / member? Research limited liability corporations (LLCs) in addition to sole proprietorships and partnerships. S corporations are another option, but they are for business with stockholders, and may not be right for your particular business application.

What kinds of licensing and/or permits are required? Each business will have different licensing requirements; it all comes down to what the entrepreneur ultimately chooses to do. A restaurant would need food safety licensing in addition to basic business licensing, and if alcohol is on the menu – there is another permit the entrepreneur would need to legally sell alcohol on the premises. Repair oriented businesses would need at least the business license to repair, but if they sell parts as well, they would need to have “retail” listed on their business license in addition to “repair”. Health care services require at least formal education and licensing as an LPN, RN, or one of several other health care related licenses. Be sure to check your state’s laws to ensure what is necessary to operate your type of business.

What training / education / certifications are required to legally run this business? We touched upon this in licensing / permits, however there is much more involved than the required licensing. For example, one cannot operate a vehicle collision repair business without the knowledge of performing those types of repairs. There are schools that can be attended to learn what must be learned to effectively operate nearly any kind of business. However, there are also businesses where experience is enough to operate effectively without needing any formal education (lawn care, house cleaning just to name a couple). Also, there are certifications for training in nearly, if not all, care industries.

Does this business require a storefront? Retail establishments will undoubtedly need a storefront. Bear in mind, retail business will have a much larger initial investment than a service based operation. That initial investment is inventory. Some service businesses may not need a storefront to operate, as much of the service performed could very well be on-site. If a storefront is necessary, be sure to consider delivery or on-site service if it is feasible for your operation.

How much will it cost? This number will vary wildly based on the type and size of business you are planning. For smaller businesses, this number could be as low as $200 for a license and/or permit, or as high as a million dollars or more. Obviously, inventory is very expensive, and so are specialized tools for performing extremely precise work. Calculate the expected opening and operating expenses. Determine what size storefront is needed (if applicable), and research local commercial realty properties, locations, and prices. It is absolutely cheaper to rent in the short-term, although the thought of owning property that is paid off is very tempting. Prices on most things will vary based on your location. Employees are another cost, if your business warrants employees. When employees come into the equation as opposed to sole proprietors or partnerships, one must add extra insurance for the business (unemployment insurance comes to mind). Check with your selected insurance company for which types of additional coverage are required, and if offering health insurance can be done reasonably. Those employees will also need to have taxes paid on their wages – part from the employee’s paycheck and part from the company. Another potential cost is repayment of loans, if you don’t already have the capital needed to open your business. Basic operating expenses are not to be forgotten, as heating/cooling, Internet connectivity, and utilities will be regular expenditures for any storefront. On-site service operations cost very little when compared to a physical storefront.

How can an individual pay for this? If you do not have the funds available, which is very common, applying for loans is a way to attain funding. Be sure to have a business plan with projected expenses and revenues. There are other ways to gain funds for a business. Look into grants. While they are not very common, they are a potential source for assistance nonetheless. If many people believe in your dream, one could possibly acquire donations from those individuals.

What about accounting? Bookkeeping is a necessity – research which accounting/bookkeeping software would work best for the type of business you are planning. Point-of-sale (POS) systems are needed for “ringing up” and selling inventory or goods to the customer. POS systems keep track of sales, sales taxes, employee labor dollars spent, and many other items. If you are apt at creating spreadsheets, you may be able to keep track of your own inventory depending on your particular business model.

I hope this brief listing of questions and potential answers has been of assistance to aspiring entrepreneurs. Although there are countless successful entrepreneurs who have little or no formal education in business, it is never a bad idea to research courses regarding administration and management. Be sure to take a look at the Small Business Administration’s website at http://www.SBA.gov for more helpful information.

The author, Johnathan Baker, is an educated entrepreneur, with over ten years of experience in small business administration and management. Opening any type of business is no simple task, as many things must be considered. With experience opening, operating, and managing small businesses, the author aims to help aspiring entrepreneurs in realizing their dreams. While the questions are not all inclusive, they are, at the very least, a good bit of information to consider throughout the beginning processes of opening a small business. Take the information provided and begin or continue working on your business plan on the road to entrepreneurship.

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What is the Basic Difference Between Music Production and Sound Engineering?

Music production involves creating the music from scratch and sound engineering involves mixing the different instruments together so it sounds nice.

I will reveal both aspects as they relate to D.J.’ing but more so on the production side.

For most established D.J.’s, meaning those who have been D.J.’ing for a while whether it is in their bedroom or in the club, music production is the next logical step. Because D.J.’s play so many different types of music they come across a lot of beats and sounds. This inspires some D.J.’s to sample those beats and sounds and make up their own songs.

This is the beginning of the music production stage. There are 3 stages to music production: pre-production, music production and postproduction.

Stage 1 Pre-production

The music production stage is the crafting of the new song. I call this the pre- production stage because you are just experimenting with music. This is where music from the record or mp3 is sampled using a sampler or drum machine like an Akai MPC. But before you can sample and produce music you have to make sure your gear is properly connected:

So that I can sample sounds into my Akai drum machine I have my Technics turntable going into the phono input of my stereo unit. Then I take the phono out of my stereo unit to the input of my MPC 3000. My MPC gets connected to my Akai DPS 24.Then the DSP 24 is connected to the CD input of the stereo unit so I can hear what I produce.

In order to sample I have to make sure I select the phono option on my stereo unit. After I sample the sounds I have to switch to the CD option on my stereo unit so I can hear the playback from the drum machine. Once you’ve completed your musical arrangement and saved all of your work and you are satisfied with it you can move into the part two of the pre-production phase.

During this phase is when you bring in artists to perform on you track. This is where you begin to rearrange the track or music you created with the artists. This collaboration period enables you and the artists to make minor adjustments to the music and the lyrics. You may also add to or take away parts of the track such as adding additional drums or strings. The artists will practice their song using your track. Once this is very tight you move to the studio to lay the music and the vocals on separate recording tracks. The reason why you want to practice before you get to the studio is because studio time is very expensive and you don’t want to waste time practicing in. That is where you need to focus all of your time making sure the music and vocals are recorded cleanly without pops and clicks.

Stage 2 Music Production

When you get to the studio this is where the sound engineer comes into play. This person is responsible for making sure all of you music sounds excellent. These people have years of experience. Some D.J./Producers also like to engineer their own music because they know how they want their music to sound. If this is the case then the sound engineer simply assists the D.J. with mixing the music and using the studio equipment.

The mixing part of the music production phase is done in the studio where all of the music tracks and vocal tracks are blended together to give you what you hear on your CD.

Each musical instrument and vocal track is mixed and adjusted using what is called a mixing board like my Akai DPS24 only larger or software based mixing console like Pro Tools.

Stage 3 Postproduction

After the mixing is done the postproduction process begins. The final mix is taken to what is called a Mastering Studio where specialized equipment is used to bring out the best possible sound. When this process is completed the final results of the song are then pressed on CD or vinyl and sold to the customer.

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