School and Students:: How to Be and Remain a Good Student

Are you a good student? Do you want to be a good or a better student? Here is an article about how to accomplish that goal… or some good pointers at least.

1. The Phrase “dress for success” Really Does Have Meaning… and here is how it does.

What influences the manner in which you dress, in which you get ready for each day in choosing what to wear? Naturally the seasons of the year have bearing on what you wear; if it is warm you might wear shorts, lighter -colored socks and pants, and light -material and lighter -colored shirts and blouses. If the conditions are cold, you go for thicker socks, heavier pants, and coats, mittens, and thick hats and earmuffs.

What else has to do with what you wear? One factor is what you have that is clean and pressed. If you need to do laundry then do it; if the codes of your school require that your clothes are properly pressed and your shoes polished then do that or have someone teach you how to iron and how to keep your shoes clean and neat. Clothing also must be appropriate for the situations you are going into. Many schools have dress codes and uniforms, and it is suggested that no fuss is made when you encounter those rules. Rules are made for a reason and should be followed. If you are not sure of something, please ask a trusted teacher or other authority figure and listen to them carefully.

If your school does not have a dress code and what to wear is under your discretion, play it safe. If you put something on and you have ANY doubts at all about how you look in it or whether or not the clothes will cause trouble or attract undesirable attention or makes you look funny, then take it off and save it for the weekend or the beach or vacation. Refuse to follow trends if they do not make you feel comfortable; after all you are the one who for hours a day will wear that shirt, those pants or shorts, those shoes and socks and belts and jewels. Opt for simple clothes without a lot of graphics or loud colors that will definitely attract attention and distract you from your studies or will distract others from their studies.

Remember that there are other people around; the school is not just you alone.

2. Be Respectful and Punctual as Possible

Respect is not only a manner of behavior, it is essentially a duty of every citizen one towards the other. To “respect” simply means to look at again. You can certainly respect yourself in a healthy way and thus you are able to respect others as easily as you breathe and walk and eat. In any public setting, respect of others is just essential and vital to remember, simple as that. How do you respect others, or how can you learn the ways to do that?

One way is to wait your turn to speak, especially if those who are talking are older than you. It is just proper to respect your elders, including teachers, professors, and all school personnel, no matter what position they hold. They are your elders and experienced in what they do, and can provide you with direction and knowledge, so listen carefully to what they say.

Never shout down a hallway or on a street corner or in a quiet room or library or other places where people are reading and studying. Shouting and screaming in public is a vulgar habit and is not necessary. If you cannot reach someone right away, you can call them or text them or send electronic mail any time. If you contact someone electronically, remember to use the rules of proper electronic etiquette. There are plenty of resources that teach those habits.

Endeavor to be as on time as possible. Get up earlier for the bus if you have to, so you have time to dress, have breakfast and not rush through it, gather your supplies and head off to school. Do not keep the bus driver waiting, and do not keep the class waiting. Being on time is a life skill that you will always have and need to work on, no matter if you are going to school, going on a vacation, going out to dinner, or meeting someone. Punctuality is a good quality.

3. When You Have a Problem, Ask Questions.

Every once in a while we run into situations we do not understand, something about which we need clarification. At that point we need help… we need to ask questions. We need to gain understanding and problem solving.  This is where teachers and other trusted people enter the picture. These are folks who have the experience you need to get to the root of the problem and find out the answers. If there is a problem with the mathematics homework, ask your parents, or get onto a homework hotline, or ask your professor. Do not be afraid to ask for help; that is what these people are there to help with, solving problems. Be patient and learn the steps that will help in the future when you encounter other odd situations. Problem -solving is a life skill as well; you will need to learn to do this as you go through school, no matter what subjects you study. You will problem -solve in the workplace as well, so learn that skill and polish it every chance you have. Helping others to solve problems or get through concerns is a fine way to polish your own skills and such leadership is desirable. When you teach others you should get a good feeling and want to do more teaching.

4. Branch Out: Grow Out of Your Neighborhood and Into the Global Setting

Many people think that sticking to being in “the neighborhood” is a good thing. It is to a point, that point being that once you have seen everything, know everyone, know the habits and sights and sounds, you are probably ready to go to other places and see new things.

Branching out is a good thing and a vital element of growing up. Being social is just a part of what we do; it is why we are a “society”. You have to have the courage to say, “There are others out there who are different, and I want to get to know them. Sure others say to stick with people who look like me or talk like I do… but no one does that.”

Which is why you must take the lead and talk to others at your school. Is there someone who does not make friends easily? Talk with them. Is there someone who seems alone? Talk with them. Invite them to your lunch table or to sit outside on the school grounds and have a bag lunch out there and just talk about things. You will feel good, someone else will feel better, and both of you might become fast friends for life. Everyone is unique and individual and special, and because of that we must respect everyone.

You are the one who must take the first step away from the streets you find familiar, to reach towards that part of town you have not explored before but have heard about. Go there and look around, ask about what interests you and learn from the people in that area.

And when you have the chance, travel. When I had the chance for international travel I took the opportunity. Because I had the courage, the world was as an open book, but instead of looking at someone else’s photos, the pictures became living and colorful and alive and vibrant. In China there were people doing Tai Chi in the morning. In Japan there were people exercising and walking about and doing business. In Europe people went about their daily lives, playing and working and maintaining the home life. Some were there to take care of the tourists, and thanks to them my times in these areas was made pleasant and comfortable. Travel is essential in the growth process, even if it is just to another part of your city, and favorably if to another part of America and the world.

5. Growing Up, Have Fun!

No matter what you do, be your real self, learn what that means, and have fun exploring what that means. When you are sitting at the desk at home, burning the studying oil after dinner or late into the night to get that term paper ready, you are preparing for a lifetime of work and fun. You are the one who will grow out, make the changes, and learn to help others while helping yourself as well.

Enjoy your life!

Downtown Chicago

Photos taken with a Leica V -LUX -4 “bridge” style camera.

Communication is the Answer

Divi Logan, Chicago, 2014.

 

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Photography, not Demography: The Arts Bring Us Together

PHOTOGRAPHY… NOT “DEMOGRAPHY”: Art Brings Everyone Together

Sometimes we like to say or think, “Wouldn’t the world be a better place if we could get along, if we could communicate easily all we say and think, our hopes and dreams and plans?” We can communicate in spoken and written words and in other ways as well.

ChiCOMMU

 

Communication Manhole Cover”. Divi Logan, Chicago. 2013.

There are those who cannot speak, and those who cannot write, at least in the conventional methods most people understand, with the computer or with pen and ink and pencil and paper. When language is a barrier, when we cannot understand the standards of Sign Language, and when music appears as foreign as a tongue with which we are not familiar, we can use other ways to get our message across.

One way is art, and what a broad range of expression that covers! We think of painting, dance and music; we think of sculpture, architecture, bronze casting, batik, and skywriting. We see people in the studios dreaming up ways to hack into the marble block or figure out which line to put in next on a drawing; we think of designers of cars and planes looking to the future, and we can envision the astronomer pondering ways to use the space telescopes to image distant galaxies and stars. We can follow the lead of that astronomer and, in our own special ways, “write with light”, which is the fine art of photography.

The arts transcend every barrier humans can create, any of the nonsense of demographics, of census bureaus, of departments of commerce and of those who wish to lead our nation in Congress by those very examples of separation and division, which in the long run do much more harm than good.

Why would anyone want to do more harm than good, or any harm at all? Those are subjects for another time; for now we want to concentrate on the good that “the arts” can do for us and for our nation and our world.

“The Arts” are so elemental, so basic to us that we wonder how schools can cut such programs even in the most budget -strapped of situations. We need our artistic forms of expression in order to release stress, in order to focus on the special gifts we have, in order to share our talents and our unique natures. Those arts listed above are fine ways to tell others what we think and how we feel when words escape us.

 Writing with light is a special art form; photography has been around for more than one hundred years and it is an art in which anyone can participate. In photography, all the demographic lines are erased; the person holding the camera is not “black”, or “white” or “man” or “woman” or “ethnic” or “income”. The person is a photographer, and they have something to say.

With that camera in your hands- be it a SLR, a DSLR, or a rangefinder, with whatever film format you choose, or with memory cards ready for video or for a few hundred photos of special occasions, you are prepared to tell the stories of others or your own special tale. You have the means of helping others speak. You can express thoughts and plans in your mind that you might not be able to put words to but which the image, which what you see can tell. The person on the street, the landing plane, the dragonfly on the tree or over a pond, the incoming storm and the building being constructed speak to people in different ways, and anything can be used to help express something in the brain.

What do you want to say that perhaps cannot be said with ordinary words, but which a photo can say? The picture is worth a thousand words, goes the proverb, and by taking one simple photo you can look at it and write about what it says to you.

Look at the photo – what are the elements in it?

 

redwingbird

Here is a photo I took at the Lincoln Park Zoo. The dominant feature is the Red- winged Blackbird, a standout with its distinctive colors. It is on a rail over a bridge that overlooks a pond where other birds feed and nest. But there are other things you see in the photo besides the bird. What about those flagstones, or the metal of the rail, or the grass, or the branches? Might those things say something to your audience?

interiorcolor2

Here is an interior I photographed. There are many things here, and what might the picture say? What is special about the room- the chandelier, the furnishings, the drapes, the lighting, the way items are placed on tables, or the dividing column on the right? If you photograph a home, inside or out, professionally or casually, some element you see might just speak to you in a way you did not expect, and it could be very pleasant and enlightening.

Use your camera to help someone else tell their story or stories. Is there someone in your home or community that cannot speak or walk, an older or disabled person that wants you to take pictures of memories in their home or business, a person that is unable to take photographs? Offer them the use of your hands and eyes and camera gear; tell them you can help out and will gladly photograph for them. Perhaps they want to make an album to share with relatives or others that will factor in their later lives. Offer to use any artistic talents you have to help them create an album or scrapbook.

Naturally you can use your photographic skills to branch out and start your own business or work for a media company. You can do events such as weddings and holiday parties; you can become a field photographer for a news corporation… there are so many things you can do, including photographing sports, working for transportation companies, and working for interior design magazines or architects. Combine the skills of photography with other lines of work, such as going into the military or the fire department or astronomy, and the horizons will expand.

As you take your camera up today and think about how to use it, consider the good you can do with that specialized equipment.  How will you “write with light?”

Divi Logan for ®EDUSHIRTS, Chicago, ©2013.

Wisdom of the Magi: The Crown of Wisdom

This is the season of Christmas, and depending on how you view the meaning of the holiday (or, holy day as it originally was meant to be and proclaim), the time can be one of great joy and compassion and exuberance in many levels, or it can be a time of expriencing depression, SAD, and thoughts that bring the person low and into a rut of trying to tune out the bustling and the constant music.

Christmas in America (pronounced in this case, kriss- miss and not CHRIST- mas), has become much more than the holy day that has its foundation over two thousand years ago. These days, “the holidays” begin with Thanksgiving, and stores break out the holiday decorations to excess. It has people thinking, “Gee whiz all ready, it’s barely Thanksgiving and all ready they are putting out Christmas junk.” No telling how many times I have heard that when visiting some of the stores that specialize in home furnishings and other goods for the house, for guests, for cooking and drinking and yard care. Sure, Christmas is a time for being festive and colorful, light and merry, thoughtful, charitable, bustling about the house and kitchen and singing and decorating trees and mantels and the like. But it is also a time to reflect, to sit back and think, to consider the origins of the holy day and the significance that goes far beyond the giving of presents, of pushing about at the malls, of trying hard to find parking spaces and of adding thousands of lights to one’s yard and house.

THE ATTRIBUTES OF KINGS

crown jewels of Serbia, with Karađorđević crown

crown jewels of Serbia, with Karađorđević crown (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

For the most part, those of royal persuasion have some things in common. I have always been fascinated with the idea of rulers and those who have power over peoples and nations; being an Anglophile I have found the British Royal Family a subject of study. I visited England and had the honor to see some of the places and things associated deeply with royalty, such as Buckingham Palace, the White Tower, the Crown Jewels, St. Paul’s Cathedral, and the House of Parliament.  Many of the pictures (in painting and in photographic form) show these august people in settings of splendor and elegance. They wear uniforms, robes, crowns, tiaras, gloves, golden jewels, sparkling jewels, and come complete with orb and scepter and rings. The jewels are splendid, full of diamonds and rubies and pearls, sparkling with color in their gold or platinum settings. The people stand in palatial rooms, full of columns and fine furnishings, books and tapestries.Royalty around the world have splendor as a common bond. Japanese imperial families attire themselves in wonderful robes; African kings wear ornaments of gold and garb themselves in precious fabrics, and the old maharajahs of India were indeed magnificently dressed. Speaking to the latter, the exhibit at the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago gives a superb insight into the court life of those rulers and their households. But read deeply into what is said about the rulers and you find other facets of them and the lifestyle they were expected to lead, beyond dressing in pounds of gems, heavy robes, fine swords and such outward trappings of authority and displays of wealth. There was more than showing them as supposed descendants of the sun or the gods.

These rulers were people endowed with intellectual and religious pursuits as part of their daily lives. They were supposed to be people of poetry, art and the support of the arts, civil and dignified behavior, patrons of architecture and gardening and hunting. The splendid figures of the maharajahs were people of wisdom, the use of knowledge for, what we might see as ideal purposes, for the improvement of society and culture, for spreading intellectual pursuits and that which is connected to the idea of ruling a civilization.

WE THREE FRIENDS

Pieter Bruegel the Elder - The Adoration of th...

Biblical kings are described in such ways as well, taking Solomon as an example as he is supposed to be known for wisdom and wealth. Descriptions of his court and his pursuits in the Old Testament give us pictures of an exotic collection of people and material goods and curiosities of the natural world; Solomon’s encounter with the fabulous Queen of Sheba is well known. Now there is the example of Solomon, the example of David, and that also of Saul, but there are the three notables around whom this article revolves, the three “wise men” of the Christmas story’s foundation and signal event.

It would be safe to say that for these three nobles to meet on and take such a journey, a lot of preparation had to go into making it possible. One might speculate that, as their court scientists were ascertaining the time of the star’s appearance and its significance, they were making ready for the journey across the land to Jerusalem. When it was time, then, they set out with their parties, provisions, animals, and the gifts to present to the new king. The lands of these kings surely would be at peace and prosperous as well, for them to have such leisure to make such a journey and bring such precious gifts as gold, frankincense and myrrh. It would not have been diplomatic for a ruler to leave his land if there was war or some other problem that required correction. The wise person would correct the difficulties before taking leisure.

In the meanwhile their households, courtiers gathered around them in daily business, and retainers sewed robes and leggings and shoes for travel, and tended the animals and made the food and drink. The guards drilled and exercised and protected the gates and the palace so business could be properly conducted. These were the behind the scenes folks without whom the journey would not have been possible. The sages studied the records regarding the appearance of the heavenly object.

When at last these men met for their ride across the desert, they appear to have met as friends with a common goal. Paintings show them as three different looking men, not all light or dark, but with a couple of them as light in color and one as very dark, but all with the demeanor of kings. They did not meet to waste time discussing diversity or neighborhoods with their separation -mindedness, or anything else it seems save for accomplishing this mission and how important it was. It did not matter to those traveling with them what color anyone was – those details are not important in the slightest. They wanted to see where this incredible astronomical vision (star, comet, conjunction, supernova, gamma ray burst) would lead and what it meant; they wanted to know what they would find under its rays. They had to go through the obstacle of meeting Herod and his court, but they were warned not to deal with Herod and took another way.

When after this dusty, long, hard, dry journey concluded at the place over which the “star” stopped, the kings lit from their camels, they took their gifts and went in to see what they would find. In that humble place they saw, bathed in divine light and with an atmosphere of royal divinity all around them and the Holy Family, the new king, before whom without hesitation they presented their gifts, the best they had to offer. Paintings of this event are many and wondrous in their color and presentation.

The three friends accomplished their mission.

We can learn a lot from them.

Vincenzo Foppa - The Adoration of the Kings - ...

Vincenzo Foppa – The Adoration of the Kings – WGA7999 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Divi Logan, Nashville and Chicago, ©2012.

Neil Armstrong: Among America’s Best, the Spirit of What Makes Us Explore

On hearing only a few minutes ago that Mercury-era and X-15 Program pilot and astronaut Neil Armstrong had passed, I was struck with only one sentiment: this is a loss of national tragic proportions, indeed a national loss.

Flag of the United States on American astronau...

Flag of the United States on American astronaut Neil Armstrong’s space suit (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Let us not forget the millions of mathematical calculations, the hours of scientific achievement, the weeks and months and years of testing the equipment that would eventually place the great, the legendary, the brave, the courageous Neil Armstrong, among America‘s finest pilots and astronauts, on our Satellite.

We must not let the dream of, the love of, the romance of space exploration and astronomy pass from the halls of our educational institutions. We must not let the hard work and diligence that placed Armstrong and others on the Moon, go to waste when there is so much up and coming, so much potential out there in our young students who want to explore, to do more than remain earth-bound and stare at the stars and planets.

They want to step on those worlds, to gather the data, to touch the dust and rocks as Armstrong and his colleagues did.

As we consider the shock of this loss, let all politicians and officials who read this and who think of Pilot-Astronaut Armstrong, remember that it is the love of learning, the want and need of mankind to explore, to reach out, to yearn to visit other worlds and exotic places, that inspires students to get up, go to school, and spend hours learning, reading, doing those math calculations, the science and the designing.

It is those students who will join NASA, who will work at JPL, who will test spacecraft at Vandenburg and on the Space Coast, and who will join scientists and pilots in other countries in exploration, testing, flying and designing. Those students will do the astronomy, will explore the planets, will document the movements of asteroids, stars, moons, and galaxies. They will chart future courses to the Moon for bases and to Mars as well… provided we never lose sight of how important… how essential it is, that we keep focused on the STEM areas of education.

STEM: Sciences, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics- and when you think about it, what much of our education system relates to and our economy is built on. It is not complicated to consider. It is not “hard” or “difficult” or “complex” or for the “rocket scientists” only. It is for everyone who wants to do what is challenging, what is hard, what will require hours in the lab, late nights in the corridors of learning, and who will wait to see the test results of the latest booster craft, the capsules for space flight, the robotic rockets that will go where Viking, Mariner, and others have visited.

They will have the sense of curiosity that inspired us to send the Curiosity Rover to Mars only this month.

Neil Armstrong, we remember you and we hope others will follow in your flight path.

This article written in memory of Mr. Armstrong, Gus Grissom, Ed White, and Roger Chaffee(the crew of Apollo 1), and all who have perished in the name of space exploration.

English: Astronauts (left to right) Gus Grisso...

English: Astronauts (left to right) Gus Grissom, Ed White, and Roger Chaffee, pose in front of Launch Complex 34 which is housing their Saturn 1 launch vehicle. The astronauts died ten days later in a fire on the launch pad. Polski: Od lewej: astronauci Gus Grissom, Ed White i Roger Chaffee pozują na tle Kompleksu startowego nr 34 w którym znajduje się ich rakieta nośna Saturn 1. Astronauci zginęli tragicznie 10 dni później w pożarze na stanowisku startowym (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Congressional Space Medal of Honor

Congressional Space Medal of Honor (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Divi Logan for EDUSHIRTS, Nashville and Chicago, 2012.

Chicago: Dark Skies For a Healthier Community

The Healthy Benefits of Dark-sky Programs in the United States: What Astronomy Can do for You.
 

Stellar-class star watching: free of charge in dark-sky America!

 
Wars come in all kinds: there are drug wars, germ and chemical wars, conventional and digital wars fought on physical battlefields and television screens. There are wars against obesity and battles against childhood cancer.
 
And then there are other wars, such as those we wage against the heavy pollutants that cloud our cities and put thousands of tons of metals, chemicals, and dust into our air. There is also another war- against that product of “progress”; we call it LIGHT POLLUTION. In fact light pollution is ranked now among hazards such as tobacco smoke and other carcinogens as being a factor in the poor health we now face.
 
Light pollution disrupts our circadian rhythm, can be a factor in breast cancer, diabetes, hypertension, and sleep disorders. We think ourselves safer with so much artificial lights around our homes and apartments, lining our streets and shining from office buildings and skyscrpers every night, but we are just the opposite. We are not safe at all, and because of too much artificial light we are putting our health at risk. Not only are we putting human health at risk, but too much light, urban sprawl, and otherconstruction activity disrupts migration patterns for birds and butterflies, and destroys the habitat of animals such as foxes, coyotes, and deer.
 
We need to stop bickering and start acting for the good of our citizens, as our very health and all that is built on it- indeed the strength of this nation, depends on having the most healthy environment possible.
 
Officials of America, we elected you to improve things, not make the situation worse. You can begin by putting party lines and dogma aside, settling down, putting politics aside, and taking a look at the benefits of programs such as the dark -sky observing events offered by many organizations. You can do the best thing for your constituents by seeing what is needed to make us healthier and get the ball rolling for real improvements.
 
Challenge the industries in your state, the schools and technical institutes too, to design and test better light fixtures for streets and buildings. Not only do we need better designs for them but perhaps through better design we can have fewer invasive lights to throw any kind of light pollution into the viewing atmosphere. Shade the beams downward instead of around and up, where the light is no loger used to give safety to the road but is then wasted. Reduce carbon emissions by turning off lights or dimming them where there is little or no use for them.
 
It will not be long before you start to see the healthy benefits of dark -sky programs and the promotion of them. Get outside sometime, to an area of this country… your country… and take a look at what you have been missing. The stars, the moon, the galaxies and the planets are waiting for you!
 

Deep field images- our wonderful night skies full of color and natural light!

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Divi Logan and ® EDUSHIRTS, © 2004 – 2011, Nashville and Chicago. Please e-mail the author at d308gtb289@aol.com for permission to use any part of these articles, my blogs, or illustrations contained therein. Courtesy counts. Thank you.