Learn To Live With Low Back Pain

If you have a lower back pain condition your primary objective should be to make your pain decrease. Your time is valuable and it's important not to waste it on dogma, attempting to get valuable information from other people ideas. And that is why I wrote this article to give factual information to those who desire facts and not beliefs or guesses.

I know of only two ways you can fail, if you decide to do nothing, or if you decide to listen to no one's advice and make your condition worse.There is nothing that can not be achieved with determination, but to understand how to cope with this painful condition it's important to understand the symptoms of low back pain. Generally this condition is thought to be stiffness in the small of the back and also include pain in the buttocks or legs.

The primary reason why some suffers continue to live their normal lives, must be accredited to the fact that many suffers refuse to let their back conditions be an end. Do not listen to people who tell you what you can not do, the use of lower back pain exercises and good posture can improve many conditions associated with back problems, also some conditions may require medications, physical therapy and surgery. It is important to note, if your pain is acute no exercises are recommended.

Do not be a victim of back pain, some causes are overstretched or injured muscles that have the primary function of supporting the lower back. Many times the condition arises from lifting or carrying heavy weights improperly, the lack of exercise, bad posture, sitting or standing for long periods of time, when a disk between the vertebrae presses against a nerve, obesity, osteoporosis, osteoarthritis, fibromyalgia, and illnesses (cancer, or infection).

Suffers will find strength in holding fast to a routine of regular back pain exercises, using good back posture, learning to properly bend and lift, and dieting if overweight. Remember see your doctor before beginning any plan for back pain relief, for some types of back pains require special back treatment and exercise is not recommended.

To help cope with a chronic pain condition while standing, here I'll include some tips for nothing is mightier than knowledge: rest one foot on a low stool when it required to stand for a long period of time, or when in the kitchen instead of a stool rest your foot on the inside of the cabinet. Ideally change feet every 5 to 15 minutes. Also remember to stand with your head up, shoulders straight, chest forward, weight balanced evenly on both feet, and hips tucked in.

Learn to be innovative, some ideas for sitting include use a chair that has proper lower back support, a foot rest or stool should be used to keep your knees higher than your hips, your chair should curve to give support where the small of the back meets the chair, avoid twisting at the waist when in the seated position instead turn your whole body. Also make a conscious effort to correct your posture.

Your life will take on meaning when you become motivated, make sleeping part of your recovery plan. Try sleeping on your side and bending your knees. Also try sleeping with a pillow between your knees. Avoid sleeping on your stomach. When sleeping on your back, use pillows under your knees plus place a small pillow under the small of your back.

Your goal should be to completely understand your condition. When lifting a heavy object, ensure you use firm footing, bend your knees to lower yourself and lift with your legs, never try jerking an object, never bend from the waist with your knees straight, also never lift with your back. When lifting an object from a table, do so with your purpose in mind: slide the object to the edge of the table and hold it close to your body, slightly bend your knees so that you are close to the object then use your legs to lift and come to a standing position. Never lift heavy objects above waist level. Remember to hold packages close to the body with arms bent.

We have just had a discussion on low back pain, the causes, symptoms, and tips on preventing further injuries. Your philosophy as a suffer should be with determination you can take control of your life and by working hard toward your goal you can not fail. I wish to discuss more about back pains with you in future articles, so be sure to look for more articles written by me on this sometimes confusing subject.

Basic Qualifications of a General Contractor

Different types of contractors are available for various activities relating to home improvement such as general maintenance, home remodeling, upgrading, exterior work, etc. Besides these are the general contractors, who take up construction projects as a whole. Before you want to establish yourself as an independent professional or hire the services of such a professional, you need to check out the basic qualifications and requirements. The following is a list of license and other essential specifications for contractors, especially those belonging to the general category.

1. Possess a degree or basic qualification in construction or related subjects and a minimum of 2 years work experience in home construction, improvement, or related activities.
2. Submit a credit report form, which provides details of your ability to repay debts and other long-term expenditures that are bound to occur in the course of the work.
3. Provide articles of incorporation and a certificate of the good standing from the local or regional Assessment & Taxation Department, especially if you are representing any company.
4. Check the state's regulations regarding licensing and use of a trade name and its availability. You will need to register the name with the assessment and taxation department of the concerned state, and submit a registration certificate for the trade name along with the license application.
5. You should possess a $ 50,000 liability insurance that is valid and active.
6. You need to renew your license every 2 years.
7. To work as a general contractor legitimately in the United States, you must:
a. Be minimum 18 years of age
b. Have valid citizenship or legal residency document proofs
c. Have valid and active liability and worker's compensation insurance
d. Possess a valid certificate of insurance that includes policy limitations, validity date, etc.

A general contractor is one who takes up entire construction work and therefore should accept complete responsibility for the entire process and the ultimate result. He can hire subcontractors to take care of various aspects of the project. Generally, he signs an agreement that is legally binding to complete the project. This contract can be signed in the capacity as an individual or as a representative of the construction company. He hires subcontractors for specialty areas such as plumbing, electrical work, roofing, etc. and directly deals with these workers, including their payments.

Although there are different types of construction specialists with vast experience in their field, they can not claim to be a contractor until they satisfy certain basic criteria. Every professional has to satisfy certain qualifications and requirements to work as contractor, legally.

How to Read a Balance Sheet

Reading or analyzing your balance sheet may sound a bit intimidating, like it's something stock analysts and bank managers do. I'd like to bring it much closer to you and help you become familiar with it so you can use it as one of your business tools.

Preparing Accurate Financial Statements
To begin, we have to get accurate financial statements for your business. It's not always as easy or as obvious as it sounds. Many small business owners, when they first come to me, complain about not having a correct balance sheet. They had a family member take care of their books and that person had just the very basic knowledge of QuickBooks and knew how to input invoices and pay bills.

In order to prepare accurate financial statements for a business, a bit more accounting knowledge is needed. So, let's make sure we have that first.

Reading a Balance Sheet
Now we can start by understanding its main categories – assets, liabilities and equity. It's really all very logical and intuitive. Assets are simply things your business owns, liabilities are the company's debts and obligations and the equity is the residual value. Your balance sheet must always balance and the equation is:

Assets = Liabilities + Equity

Assets and Liabilities are further divided into short-term and long-term categories. Everything which comes due within 12 months or the operating cycle is considered short-term.

Examples of current (short-term) assets are: cash, marketable securities, accounts receivable and inventory.

Long-term assets can be items such as: property, plant & equipment (land, buildings, equipment and vehicles) and intangible assets (ex. Goodwill and trademarks).

On the liabilities side, we have the current category typically composed of: accounts payable, current portion of long-term debt, unearned revenues, taxes payable and accrued wages.

And here are examples of long-term liabilities: long-term notes payable and bonds payable.

The equity section usually contains the following: common stock, retained earnings and net income for the period. The equity section will be different depending on the legal structure of the business.

Balance Sheet Analysis
If you are looking at only one period, you analyze it vertically, as opposed to comparative analysis when you are looking at two or more periods.

The best way to read and analyze a balance sheet is using ratios, because absolute numbers do not tell the whole story and do not capture the important relationships between the different components of the balance sheet and therefore the business.

Ratios, on the other hand, are like barometers, helping you stay on track and warning you when things start going in the wrong direction.

The most important ratios are:

Current ratio = Current Assets / Current Liabilities
Quick Ratio = Current Assets less Inventory / Current Liabilities
Net Working Capital = Current Assets less Current Liabilities
Debt to Asset Ratio = Total liabilities / Total Assets
Debt to Equity Ratio = Total liabilities / Shareholders Equity

The Teeter Hang Ups Inversion Table Offers Ideal Help

Almost one-half of Americans regularly suffer from back pain that comes in varying degrees of severity. Underlying causes of stiffness, pain, and muscular and nerve-related discomforts are so diverse that no single cure-all currently exists for all patients’ back pain. An inversion table is an innovative remedy that is effective for alleviating all types of back discomfort.

The device utilizes gravitational force to as a form of natural traction to align the body’s skeletal frame. Unive inversion treatments work by gradually stretching the body to permit free oxygen flow to the skull. This stimulates blood circulation that in turn decompresses the patient’s spinal column. Novice inversion users typically begin with 20 to 30 degree angle rotations for brief sessions before progressing to full inversion workouts during extended time periods.

The Teeter Hang Ups EP-550 Inversion Table is a device that is specially designed to assist with joint health restoration and back pain. Its adjustable headrest maintains user comfort while their body is inverted. A patented ergonomic design allows easy mobility in harmony with the user’s own movements. This scheme permits sufficient overall mobility throughout the entire regimen.

Movement during in-progress inversion improves overall organ realignment in addition to relaxing the muscles. The level table surface also promotes a gentle sliding motion by the body to result in exceptional decompression stretching.

An injected plastic molded construction makes the unit durable enough for reliable multi-year support of body weights up to 300 pounds. Its sleek surface is also very easily cleaned and lasts for many years. Ankle clamp attachments feature adjustable platforms that fit any size feet with ease. Precision engineering gives inversion table users the ability to achieve a full 180-degree inversion with ease and comfort. A leather strap support helps with selecting the best setting for each individual’s ideal inversion angle.

You can feel comfortable and safe while using this table. Heat-treated steel components, automatic locking hinges and an ultra-stable frame make this structure ready-made for providing the ultimate level of user comfort and safety during an effective pain-alleviation routine. This specialized assembly offers a relatively smooth and silent rotation regimen. A full-length instructional DVD is included with each unit that illustrates all proper methods for maximizing workout efficiency and effectiveness. A set of strong rubber hand grips also help inversion efforts and facilitate easy device conversion into a compact, easy-to-store package.

A variety of inversion workout phases within a secure, safe, and comfortable environment are assured by using this quality inversion table. The fact that EP-550 exceeds all applicable structural standards of four major competitors should come as no surprise.

How to Clean Vinyl Linoleum Flooring

Vinyl linoleum flooring is used by many homeowners looking for an affordable and stylish way to decorate their properties – and it is very easy to keep clean, too.

This type of flooring tends to be mainly used in kitchens and bathrooms, and the cleaning process for both rooms is largely the same.

Firstly, you should take steps to prevent your vinyl floors from getting overly dirty from the moment you install them in your home – wipe grime off your shoes before entering the house and try not to spill anything on the floor while cooking or showering.

If dry dirt does get onto the floor, sweep it away as soon as you can so it doesn’t get trodden deep into the vinyl flooring.

Use protectors between the bottoms of your appliances and other furniture items and your floor to avoid indentations and scuff marks, and ensure hot objects are kept well away from vinyl flooring so that it does not get scorched.

If stains and spills do occur, it is very easy to wipe them off as long as you get there quickly. Use a normal household cleaner that is suitable for vinyl floors or mix up a paste of water and bicarbonate of soda for specific bits of dirt.

Sweep the floor before you mop and use warm, soapy water with a high-quality mop to get the best results.

When it comes to bathroom vinyl flooring in particular, you might want to purchase a spray that can tackle mould and mildew, especially if your bathroom tends not to get the ventilation it needs.

Mould and mildew crop up regularly in bathrooms if they are not cleaned enough and can occur on the floor.

Bleach is suitable to use on many vinyl floors but make sure you take precautions by diluting it with water first and covering exposed areas of skin – such as by using rubber gloves – before applying it to the floor.

It should also not come into contact with other materials and fabrics, as they may become discoloured.

Important Issues When Purchasing A Ladder

You might have realized that for doing certain handy works at home like hanging a picture on the wall, changing a broken glass pane, painting the wall, fixing a light shade and a lot of activities as such you need a ladder. It is obvious that you want a stable, secure, reliable, cost effective user-friendly multipurpose ladder. A wise man will always spend in a ladder that will satisfy any challenge he takes on. If you are looking for the best one, the little giant ladder is the only answer. No other ladder in this planet can be so useful as the little giant ladder.

Are you aware which little giant ladder will suit you the most? Little giant ladder is a multipurpose ladder, a combination of 24 ladders in one. It has different models with the varying needs of the users. One thing you must decide that which type of work you will perform. Is it normal housework, professionals' work or the industrial work? Hare are few things that may be helpful for you while purchasing a ladder.

Safety and stability: Select a little giant ladder system with the 'flared footings' to enable you remain safe and stable when you climb high on the topmost rung of the ladder.

Built: Select the little giant ladders that are most durable with a longer life span and offer the best value for your hard earned money.

Versatility: Out of different models, chose your little giant ladder that should serve flexible tasks that you need to do.

Weight: You have to think that a 'professional grade aluminum' ladder weighs between '25 -45 'pounds whereas a fiberglass model will weigh between '35 -50' pounds. Any ladder lighter than this range will not be as durable or trustworthy.

Value: Go for a ladder that will prove valuable to you. Little giant ladders have many models. Get your little giant ladder in accordance to the height that you want to reach for and fits your needs.

Little giant ladder will not only save your money, one little giant ladder will save you so much space in your office or home. It is a wonderful product and you any one will feel proud to possess it.

Importance of Stairs

Stairs, in a unique way, are like bridge. They connect certain location to opposite ones, enabling people to go from one place to another and back. They make two ends meet, being a series of steps between one level to another, or from one floor to another. We simply walk or run unto them every day of our lives, but do we know how important stairs are? Well I think it’s time for us to know and appreciate that stairs are one of the many things that should be given importance not just because it gives great visual in our house’ interior but let us discover much more of stairs.

Stairs makes the construction of sky scrapers and multiple story houses and dwellings possible, saving real property space on the ground and creating enormous room- space upward, even until the top floors “soar” above the clouds. Elevators may take the place of stairways but they cannot quite replace them in purpose and utility, Emergency stairs, for instance, are indispensable and requirement of any building code anywhere in the world, having been rendered necessary by threats of electrical power outages fires, earthquakes, and other natural calamities or emergencies. Notwithstanding their common function of providing the means on which to walk, or run, up and down elevated structures in case problems and for safety.

Stairs take on varied designs and forms, depending on their specific purposes. A staircase, for instance that comes from exotic lumbers or rare woods are trappings of wealth and luxury. But in order for you to have the most in your stairway, you need to design and decide the specific stairs parts in order for one to have the most beautiful and stunning staircase at home. Another type of stairs is Stairwells that take on vertical shafts containing stairways that usually spiral up to the higher level, commonly used for structures conserving space, an example of which is the stair of a lighthouse. Still, others are made not traditionally; sometimes contemporary and a bit weird just to take on the forms and design that best suit today’s technologically influenced modern living.

Whether stairs is arranged as a single- flight stairway or as a series of flight, they serve their function in whatever materials they are designed. Stairs might be made of wood, concrete or steel etc. It will be sure to serve its purpose. So if you’re planning to build or design one, the best qualities of a stair to be considered would be beauty and utility, paying close attention to specially to stair treads.

The 4 Best Guitar Solos Of All Time

The following is a list of the 4 best guitar solos ever to be played … well, at least in my opinion anyways.

I had the hardest time writing this because with all of the amazing music in the world, how the heck do you pick the top 4? What was even harder for me was to put them in order!

I have been working on this for days now and even though I have whittled the list down to 4, I still could not decide on the order to place each song in. So instead of numbering them from 1 to 4, I decided just to tell you my favorite and leave the rest of them un-numbered. I know, I know … I wussed out! But sit down and try it yourself someday and then see how hard it is.

You probably wont agree with my choices and that's OK because we all have different tastes. In fact, if everyone agreed with my picks, I would be worried. That's the beauty of music … we love what we think sounds good, what makes us feel good and what makes us jump out of our chair and play some air guitar.

Could you imagine if we all felt the same, liked the same music and had the same opinions? How boring would that be?

So here are my choices, the songs and guitar solos that send shivers up and down my spine every time I hear them. If you do not agree, that's ok. These are my picks … go make your own ;-).

My favorite guitar solo of all time:

Eruption by Van Halen:

Written and performed by Eddie Van Halen on the Van Halen album. I picked this as my favorite of all because it's the one that I always, no matter where and when I hear it, have this urge to play some serious air guitar. I remember being blown away the first time that I heard this because a sound like that was never heard before. That one song inspired myself and many other young kids to pick up the guitar.

The strangest part of this track was that it was not even supposed to be on the album. Eddie was in the studio practicing one of the solos that he liked to do live because he had a gig on the weekend. His producer walked in and heard him playing and told him that he wanted to put it on the album. They recorded one take of the solo and that's what you hear on the album.

Honorable mentions:

Freebird by Lynyrd Skynyrd:

Starting off as a ballad, Freebird then turns into an up-tempo guitar boogie. My favorite parts of the song are the slide guitar solo at the beginning and the 3 guitars that solo for nearly a full 5 minutes at the end of the song.

Another cool fact about this song is the lyrics at the start of the song. "If I leave here tomorrow would you still remember me?" was a question that a girlfriend of Skynrd guitarist Allen Collins asked him when she realized that music would always come before her in his life. Allen wrote those lyrics down and then were used in Freebird and recorded on their Pronounced Leh-nerd Skin-nerd album.

All Along The Watchtower by Jimi Hendrix Experience:

Jimi took a tape of the Bob Dylan song into the studio one day and immediately started recording a bunch of takes. Becoming more dissatisfied as the song went on, Jimi kept overdubbing more and more guitar parts. When you sit down and listen to the finished version, which is on the Electric Ladyland album, it's hard to imagine that this song started out as an acoustic ballad.

Stairway To Heaven by Led Zeppelin:

From the famous Led Zeppelin IV album, this is the song that you usually see at the top of all of the "best guitar solos" lists. When you see videos of this song being played, you will see Jimmy Page playing a double neck Gibson guitar during the song. When recording the song for the album, Jimmy actually used a 1958 Fender Telecaster, Harmony acoustic guitar and Fender Electric 12-string.

Another interesting fact about "Stairway" was that it never was released as a single, which turned out to be a great marketing move. Just to get their own copy of "Stairway", fans were more than willing to shell out the cash for the whole album. It was a great investment anyways because the entire album is amazing.

There you have it, in my humble opinion, the 4 best guitar solos of all time. I have a much bigger list that I could have revealed here but because this is an article and not a book, I have kept it down to 4. Plus it really does not matter what my choices are, anything that I would have picked wouldn 't be able to do justice to all of the great guitar players in the history of modern music. I'm just grateful that I've had the chance to experience all of their music.

How to Uncork Creative Instruction

My intention with this article is to equip educators with three easy to implement strategies. I've used them and so have thousands of other successful teachers. But, putting them into service without laying the foundation fundamentals will not do much good.

I've journeyed in successful careers covering business and education. Both endeavors have unique and specific foundation characteristics; those qualities that can make or break success. Let's take a minute to review what must be put into practice to have learning opportunities show up – no matter where your classroom is located or what subject is being discussed. To review current research on the ideas being covered here you can browse the resources at Education Reporting (TM).

Foundation Characteristic # 1

An OAR is the essential tool for teaching . It's the tool that allows you to guide your lesson, measure knowledge transfer – learning, and make adjustments along the way. It's true that every educator has their style of an OAR, but all teachers, new and experienced, must use an OAR every day. Let's define the its' characteristics.

Objectives: this is derived from the curriculum standards set forth by your District. The learning objective needs to be clearly visible to students during class.

Activities and Assessments: The activity is students collaborating, in small groups, on specific tasks with the necessary materials. The assessment is presented using a rubric and reviewed with the class before task work of activity is begun.

Resources: These are the materials needed to carry out an activity.

Foundation Characteristic # 2

An effective teacher harnesses the undeniable power of student collaboration: students participating in well defined activities, which are actively monitored by the teacher using structured classroom management techniques. This collaboration is the perfect vehicle for learning because students can apply or practice what they are studying. For example, talking about how to add specific measurements is less meaningful than using a student collaboration activity to determine how much paint is required to cover classroom walls. Another example, reading about history engages less student attention than using an activity to design a radio show or play to act out certain segments of historic events. Class activities require students to pay attention and participate in order to be successful.

Foundation Characteristic # 3

Effective teachers excel at the right effort (s) to build lessons, communicate, direct, and listen while they also make a sincere effort to contemplate their teaching practices. It's easy to get caught up in the drama of a class session. However, taking a few minutes during lunch or at the end of class period to jot down some words, or phrases, can be enough to capture poignant reminders that help you decipher what worked and what did not work. This kinda effort: applying wisdom gleaned from today's lesson to tomorrow's lesson demonstrates a blue-ribbon practice that Fortune 100 companies pay big-dollar consultants to teach their employees. In the education world, it's "active teacher research" and looks very good on your professional development plan.

I have talked to hundreds of teachers who are bored with what they are doing, but that's no surprise to me. They will not stop regurgitating dusty lessons. All over the internet you can find lesson sites; they're sprouting like weeds. They boast tons of free lessons on every subject under the moon. Personally, I think they're just a waste of time. I'm a big fan of local teachers helping each other. If your school does not have a Professional Learning Community (PLC) then start one. I think the brightest lighting rod to improving student performance is teachers sharing their wisdom with each other. You'll find some comprehensive PLC information here. After all, if we want students to collaborate then we must collaborate too.

Strategy # 1: Always and often associate learning with quality of life.

Successful teachers have a lesson that facilitates creativity .

There is a rhythm to teaching that must be followed. It's comparable to a map. First you have to pique student curiosity and then you must provide opportunities for them to quench that curiosity. When that happens, students become confident with finding solutions – quenching their own thirst. That confidence is necessary for two reasons: 1) it naturally builds student interest and 2) its building the scaffolding to reach the learning objective. Listen as creativity expert Ken Robinson discusses, "Are schools killing student creativity?" As teachers we need to demonstrate our own creativity to students because, like it or not, we're role models. To understand this in a 21st century context watch Will Richardson talk about social media use in classrooms and education. This article in a Manila newspaper is perfect for simply detailing the important leadership qualities for teachers. Divulge connections between community, school, and living. Engaged students understand the connection between what is studied in class and the world outside of school. Help them connect those dots by constantly articulating connections between class and life. There are a couple of ways to do this: 1) talk about how every situation in life has proper procedures and / or behaviors and 2) relate a specific idea you are discussing in class to how that idea is used to be successful in life. A couple of ideas for you to explore to substantiate those points:

A. Explore the dimensions of social and emotional variables in learning at CASEL.

B. Check out Robert Lang as he discusses using origami to teach math.

C. Consider integrating service learning because it's taking root in schools across the USA. Right or wrong, the president is seriously discussing mandatory service for high school students. You can find six excellent teachers resources, packed with ideas, at Tuft University.

Extol the virtue of perseverance.

All students struggle at one time or another. There is nothing wrong with discussing how to be more motivated individually. At the very least, when students are getting discouraged, point out how that happens in life too. You may want to show this video clip or just watch it yourself; it's Elizabeth Gilbert (author of Eat, Pray, Love) musing on nurturing creativity. More than once I've had a student ask me, "What can I do?" Now you have a five star resource for that answer, just take a look at the Giraffe House Project.

Fine tune a lesson by installing one or more character education ideas. Good character simply means being ethical, responsible, and caring. Those are values ​​all people in countries around the world share. In education it can address issues of student absenteeism, discipline problems, drug abuse, gang violence, and teen pregnancy. You can easily post these eleven character education principals in your class. Another good resources is Partnerships in Character Education; a government sponsored web site.

Strategy # 2: Purposefully forge critical thinking skills in your students.

Acknowledge quality thinking strategies when students express' em. Before school starts, on a sticky note write 2 or 3 words about thinking behavior (s) you want to recognize today. Then, place it where you can glance at it often. Make a point to verbally acknowledge students in each class when they do that behavior. Post why? This sets a tone for learning. It builds mutual respect. I think that most importantly it shows you are paying attention. To learn more about what critical thinking is and understand doable strategies you can explore the K12 resources at the Critical Thinking Organization.

Induce student responsibility to fuel lessons.

There are two types of responsibility opportunities. One is social responsibility and the other is individual responsibility. Behavior in class is clearly an individual responsibility and that needs to be dealt with using consistent and equitable classroom management techniques. As your teaching skills evolve, you'll use more student activities instead of long lectures, worksheets, or individual reading. In group work the dynamic of responsibility is cogent. Students want everyone to pull their load of the work, so students begin to actively support all group members in participating, which is reinforced that with your active monitoring of groups.

Extend the boundaries of your teaching skills.

Tackle new teaching tools and methods to improve your pedagogy. In the Journal of Experiential Education you can connect with organizations and get hands-on teaching ideas. I like the Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement (CIRCLE) site because it has research and contacts dealing with service learning. When you explore the Integrative Learning site, you'll get ideas on improving student with cross curriculum lessons that connect academic, personal, and community life. The Carnegie Foundation funded several projects, resulting in Inside Teaching – a web site offering teacher perspectives and resources about the art of teaching.

Strategy # 3: Foster curiosity in every lesson.

Incite student participation.

Here are two quick techniques I've used hundreds of times to improve participation. First, start a class discussion by asking a question or two. Next, give students a chance to talk the question amongst themselves in pairs for two minutes. Congratulations, you have purposefully setup each student with something to share, so now call on students -one at a time – to share. Be sure to acknowledge each answer as a contribution – there are no wrong responses. There is a potent site for learning about teaching with inquiry here. On Edutopia you'll find an informative article about cooperative learning.

Etch a minimum of one activity in class per lesson.

A definite skill for any career choice students make is being able to work and communicate with other people. I consider my class activities, where students work in small groups, as precious time in preparing students with lifelong learner skills. Project based learning is an excellent method for invoking collaborative (aka cooperative) learning. To see a real example of active, applied, participative, and collaborative learning in action visit the Gever Tulley TED presentation.

Students today are the leaders of tomorrow, make sure they get some peeks at what is coming.

Bring the future into your class today. Reminding students that they'll be inventing and leading the future brings the power of "being all you can be" to everyone's front door. One simple way to accomplish this is current events. What will _______ (fill in the blank from what you're studying) be like in the future? Seriously, twenty or even ten years ago, who would have guessed that technology will play such an important role in education? Today, the Swiss are designing new technology just for schools – read about it here. Stephen Hawking, one of the great scientists of our time, says humans are beginning a new phase of evolution. Maybe students will improve performance using their genes, since picture perfect memory is inherently in every person according to recent news. In closing, if everything else I've mentioned does not work for you then I have one last suggestion to blast creativity into your lessons. Read Richard Louv. He compellingly writes and speaks about the dilemma facing digital students, whose lives – he has corroborated with research – are being electronically hijacked. Yes, if all else fails then reconnect your students with being outdoors. I can attest to the power of his ideas from the club sponsorship I completed with volunteering high school students.

NOTE: to . Read this with the following article mentioned links intact visit Http://www.educationreporting.com/article-how-to-uncork-creative-instruction.php .

My Experience With Laminate Flooring

Are you wondering if laminate flooring is right for you? I have some experience with this type of flooring and can outline some of the pros and cons to help you make a more informed decision. The type I have used is the type that snaps together.

I have laminate flooring throughout my house and have installed it in my rental property. I have also helped a few friends and family members install this flooring in their homes. I have to say that in my experience it is the best bang for your buck if you don’t like carpet and don’t want to go to the expense of installing natural wood floor or tile. If you are at all handy and can do things for yourself you can install this yourself and save yourself the labor costs of hiring a contractor to do the work for you. The instructions are simple to follow and for the cost of a $30 kit and with a miter saw and maybe a jig saw if you have some outside corners to work around you will have all the tools you need to do the work (always use proper safety gear and follow manufacturer’s instructions). Many home improvement stores offer free workshops on how to install laminate flooring.

Being frugal, I opted to purchase my flooring at a local hardware clearinghouse and paid approximately $1 per square foot for the flooring for my rental property. It actually is prettier than what I installed in the house I live in. I paid approximately $2.49 per square foot for the flooring in my house 5 years ago but prices vary according to brand, color and where you live. Laminate floors are wildly popular now and are a really cost effective alternative to carpeting and are much healthier for people who suffer from allergies. There are many colors and textures available that range from a wood flooring look to slate to ceramic tile styles.

Besides price and beauty, laminate floors have the advantage of not trapping allergens the way carpet does. However, they do need to be swept daily and/or dustmopped because you would not believe how much dust and dirt accumulate on the floor.

I have found that even though they are hard to scratch occasionally they will scratch or chip and I usually am able to cover this with (of all things) either a matching crayon or marker rubbed into the spot then rubbed over with a cloth to remove the excess. Having a child in the house helps – there is always a variety of crayons and markers to match anything and everything!

Another disadvantage is that it is hard to keep them from looking dull. I have heard some people say that damp mopping with a solution of 1/4 cup white vinegar to 2 gallons of water will do the trick. I will occasionally shine my floors with a floor shine product from Holland House found at WalMart. The shine lasts until the floor is walked on a few times.

Although I love my laminate floors, I am very clumsy and have caused some damage to mine – I turned a bucket of water over while mopping (twice in one night I might add and by falling flat on my back just added insult to injury) and once that water is out of the bucket there is no getting it back in and the damage is done. You can see the floor blister almost before your eyes. You either have to live with it or replace the damaged parts, which involves cutting out the damaged pieces and gluing in replacement pieces – keep in mind this floor was originally snapped together. Also you might not want to put this floor in bathrooms or laundry rooms unless you are prepared to immediately wipe up water splashes. I will be replacing the floor in my laundry room with ceramic tile – hindsight is 20/20. Also if you have a pet that is…well, not so well trained…laminate floor does not stand up well to pet accidents. Not only will pet urine blister the laminate surface but the smell saturates the laminate flooring.

If you are preparing your house to sell and are going to replace the flooring I would definitely recommend using laminate flooring. Not only is it inexpensive and easy to install, the result is eye-pleasing and sure to attract buyers and it looks like a million bucks for the money you will spend. Just be sure to finish out the edges with trim. A note here…I have never purchased the expensive trim they sell with the flooring. We have always purchased just regular unfinished baseboard or other trim and stained it to match the floor or wall to cover the gaps between floor and wall. If you are going from laminate to a tile surface you may need to purchase the trim piece if there is no other alternative available.

I hope reading about my experience with laminate flooring has given you some things to consider in deciding if laminate flooring is right for you.

How Are CDs Made?

We take for granted a little plastic disk that slides in and out of our car compact disc player. Ever wonder where that came from, how it's made? No, me neither. But I'm going to try to touch on the main points of it anyhow.

Everything's Got To Start Somewhere

A hydraulic press is necessary for mass production of CDs. Even plastics go into the press and further into a metal mold cavity. The mold coming into contact with the disk surface stamps it out. After cooling and hardening a robotic arm removes the disc and a stacking whole is drilled into the center. All this is done in approximately 2 to 3 seconds. You now have a clear plastic blank compact disc to which a metallic layer is applied; after which the disk is subjected to a UV light for curing. In a device likened to a CD writer and a glass master is made by the use of a high-powered laser. This glass master will be the "positive" image for the CD. Once tested, it can be pressed against a metal disk to make a die.

Almost There, Do not Quit Now

Metal die 's is this now the "negative" image for the CD (think of the negatives you use to get when you Had Developed film-they 're were a reverse image of the actual pictures printed). This negative image die is pressed into a blank CD; the result, you guessed it; the positive (and final) image has been imprinted on the disk. A little bit of lacquer is applied and spun over the surface. A different lacquer protects the edges and the desk is ready to be printed and packaged.

The completed product is shrink wrapped for wholesale. We all know how fun getting that stuff off can be.

CBN Sack of Bank CEO’s – Matters Arising

The chicken has come home to roost. This is the common phrase heard from commentators following the recent bombshell from the Central Bank of Nigeria that led to the sacking of chief executive officers of five commercial banks. The banks were adjudged to be financially unhealthy. For a while, the Nigerian banking and finance industry has been awash with rumors of ill-health, unfair de-marketing practices and the need to comprehensively sanitize the system.

While some informed commentators have argued that it is a welcome development that has long been overdue, it is my modest opinion that perhaps there are more equally serious issues to deal with beyond the change of guards at the top of these institutions. It is the single bold step that signifies that proactive risk management has taken centre stage in the Nigerian banking industry.

First and foremost, the action confirms in clear terms that the stories about the liquidity crises faced by certain banks have been true. If out of ten (10) banks examined so far, five (5) had to receive the sledgehammer, then we have a serious problem at hand as this represents fifty per cent (50%) of the sample size covered. What happens when the examination of the remaining fourteen (14) banks is concluded?

One can only imagine the run down the industry will face following these revelations. The assurance of the CBN Governor that no bank will be allowed to fail, is a strong reassuring measure. However, when it comes to money matters, I am certain that the average individual will not want to take chances.

Another worrisome development is the major reason advanced by the CBN as basis of the sack which may be summarized as poor corporate governance practices. In a nutshell, the global financial crisis has just succeeded in exposing the very poor corporate governance practices in our banking industry. I wish to state categorically that no institution anywhere in the world, with or without a financial crisis can survive for long with poor corporate governance practices. Poor corporate governance is reflected in weaknesses in internal controls hence the assets of institutions are not safe from abuse. And once the safety of depositor and shareholder fund is jeopardized, any system no matter how large and attractive it may look can eventually collapse.

This brings up the memory of a very vital lesson in business/corporate failure as it relates to financial management. Businesses do not usually fail for lack of profitability, but more as a result of lack of liquidity. The lesson here is simple; Cash Flow is as important as Profits. Understanding this sacred canon is at the heart of successful management of enterprises. It does not matter whether it is a public or private sector enterprise. The rule is universally applicable.

Other issues that beg for answers include:

1. What is the level of involvement of the non-executive directors, subsidiary companies and other key stakeholders in the financial positions of these banks?

2. Since Shareholder Funds have been significantly impaired, to what extent is the impairment and how long will it take for the institutions to be fully re-capitalized to an appropriate status following the CBN take-over?

3. What are the new corporate governance rules for the new management teams of these banks who are being entrusted with both public and private financial assets?

4. What recovery mechanisms are being put in place to ensure that all monies owed to these ailing institutions are fully recovered by the authorities?

5. For all financial institutions in Nigeria, what is the ratio of total margin loans to total deposits, ratio of total margin loans to shareholder funds and also the ratio of total margin loans to the total loans portfolio?

6. What is the structure of their margin loans like? There is need for a detailed breakdown based on industry, age and history of loan servicing.

7. If the affected institutions have been net borrowers of funds from the industry, how long has this been going on and what remedial actions were taken by those responsible prior to now?

8. What actions are necessary to forestall further crash of banks’ share prices on the Nigerian capital market as the industry prepares for yet another round of share price crises?

9. What is the legal, administrative and operational framework of these institutions following the CBN take-over?

10. Who takes ultimate responsibility and for what and to what extent, should these institutions fail to continue as going concerns in the near or far future under CBN watch?

It is my opinion that finding specific and valid answers in detailed terms to the above questions will help to allay depositor fears, build investor confidence and ultimately protect the Nigerian national economy.

Re-Roofing or A New Roof

Re-roofing is the process of making repairs or adding a second layer to a roof rather than replacing the current one present. It is an option for many homes. However, before you make the decision to go with this lower costing solution, consider whether it is the right option for your home. In many cases, over the short and the long-term, replacing the current system with a new one makes better sense. It could even save you a significant amount of money in the long-term.

What Factors Matter?

When considering whether or not re-roofing is an acceptable option for your needs, consider the current condition of the roof system. This system includes not only the shingles but also the decking and underlayment. These components add the structure and durability to this one system in your home that affects every other one. Without a quality roof, your home is at risk. It is best to have a professional inspect the current system to determine the actual condition and to look for signs of significant damage to the structure.

The biggest factors that will hold you back from making repairs instead of replacing the entire system include bad decking and a very poor condition to the overall shingles. Additionally, if it has too many layers already (usually only a few are acceptable) this may warrant replacement as well. If the structure is old, the new shingles may not be compatible with the existing ones. Replacement, then, may be the best option.

Getting an Estimate

To find out what your options are, talk to a local roofing company. The company should not give you an estimate or quote for service without getting a thorough investigation and inspection of the structure. It is critical to look at the decking and underlayment to ensure its condition overall. It is essential for the technician to climb up onto the structure, assuming it is safe to do so, and to look for any concerns or holes. Additionally, if there is access to the attic of the home, the technician should also inspect the underside of the roof for any concerns or signs of significant damage. Once this is done, an accurate estimate of the services necessary can be provided to you.

Re-roofing is often an option. However, without a thorough inspection, you can not know the actual condition of your home. It is best to turn to a professional to ask for guidance and information about the current condition of your home's most important structure. Then, make a decision based on facts about the actual steps you need to take to get your home's roof back in shape. Keep in mind that the roof's condition adds or takes away value from the home.

How to Select New Kitchen Countertops

Your kitchen countertops are not only functional, they add to the overall appeal and style of the room. Replacing them with a beautiful and functional material, like stone, will update the whole look of your room. With a variety of colors and materials available in a large range of prices, homeowners are sure to find a surface that will enhance one of the most important rooms in the home.

Even if you do not have money in your budget for a complete kitchen renovation, simply replacing your countertops can make a huge impact on your room. It is often the first thing that catches the eye of your visitors and can set the tone for your whole design scheme. Before you select new countertops for your kitchen, there are a few things that you need to consider in order to make sure that you are choosing the colors and materials that will best meet your needs.

Consider your budget. The amount of money that you are able to spend may dictate which countertop materials you choose. It is important to remember that your countertops receive a lot of use. Therefore, it is necessary that you install a high-quality product that will withstand daily use. While the initial cost of a product like stone is higher than most man-made materials, it is a much more durable product that will not need to be replaced as often, possibly saving you money in the long run.

Choose a color. If you are planning to replace your countertops, you will want to choose a color that will compliment your cabinets, flooring, paint, and any other design elements in your kitchen. Because of the wide array of colors available as well as the unique characteristics of each slab or tile, there is a stone countertop to match any color palette or style you may have. Since each stone has its own color specks and swirling designs, you will want to choose the exact piece to be used in your kitchen.

Take your lifestyle into account. If you love to cook and spend a lot of time in your kitchen will food preparation, you will want to choose a durable material that will not be easily damaged by knives or other utensils. Families with children will want a countertop that will be stain-resistant and scratch-resistant. Those who like to entertain may want a material that looks beautiful and is of the highest quality. No matter what your lifestyle, a stone countertop will be a positive asset to your kitchen. Whether you prefer granite, marble, or slate, your stone countertop will be as functional as it is appealing.

You may be surprised at how affordable replacing your old countertops with beautiful new stone surfaces can be. There is no material that is more durable or offers the beauty and sophistication of natural stone. With proper installation and very little maintenance, your stone countertops will transform the entire look of your kitchen.

The History and Science of House Painting

The purpose of house painting and decorating is to make a house, home or building look better or to protect it from damage by severe or ongoing weather, wind, sunshine, water, rust, corrosion, termites and other insects and/or mold. It feels good to have a good looking house, and it increases its value.

History of House Painting

Not much is known about house painting in the United Kingdom before the late 1200’s, when guilds began coming into existence. Two prominent guilds in particular were the Painters Company and the Stainers Company, which eventually merged with the permission of the Lord Mayor of the City of London in the early 16th century, forming the Worshipful Company of Painter-Stainers.

Tools of the Trade

In our modern era in which we live, paint composition consists mostly of latex formulations used for both exterior and interior use, greatly minimizing painting cleanup, as well as the strong and unhealthy smells normally associated with petroleum and polyester based paints.

Another common, modern house painting invention is the computerized paint scanner that precisely calculates how to get new paint color to match faded paint color on old walls, or to match fabric colors, flowers and other patterns. Paint in our day and age can also be made to smell nice and resist fading, chipping and bacterial growth. Paint can also be made to lay very flat on a surface, resulting in a very smooth look.

When and why should primer be applied? Why not just put paint on and get it over with? Wooden surfaces generally don’t take paint too well, resulting in flaking, due to excessive thickness of the paint. Primer is thinner and so soaks into wood much better, and since it allows the paint to adhere better, it saves you money in allowing for fewer layers of paint and primer to have to be applied.

Many professional house painters offer free consulting services, and additionally save you money by adding 5 to 20-year guarantees of adhesion and water resistance. Professionals are also very good at their use of time when applying tape, sanding surfaces, etc., before the house painting is started.

Another modern house painting tool is the foam brush, which is commonly used for precision work and smoother coats of paint that use less paint and less time to dry. And foam used on a roller can create beautiful patterns in the painted surface. Finally, the spray gun allows for the painting of extremely large surface areas in short amounts of time.

How to Clean and Store Brushes

An older style bristle brush is best to store in a box hanging from a wire within, allowing it to soak in a cleaning solution without being disfigured by having its bristles spread apart.

Paint Surface Preparation

Modern paint-tape prevents damaging the taped surface, having less than half of the adhesive power of masking tape, and thus being able to remain on a surface for up to 30-days without creating damage.

Then versus Now

In times past, a house painter was responsible for mixing his paint and maintaining a ready supply of pigments, oils, thinners and driers, and use his painting experience to determine an optimal combination. Today, he is primarily responsible for the entire house painting process, including cleaning the surface to be painted, scraping, sanding, wallpaper removal, caulking, drywall repair, wood repair, patching, stain removal, filling nail holes with putty, taping off areas not to be painted, drop cloth placement, priming, applying the paint and then finally cleaning up when he’s finished.

A professional house painter also needs to have a thorough knowledge of his tools of the trade, including sanders, scrapers, paint sprayers, brushes (foam, bristle, etc.), paint rollers, ladders, scaffolding, and the many different kinds of paint to choose from.

Exterior House Painting Tips

Do you like to save money when you need your house painted? You can do it yourself if you’re careful in your preparation and application, or you can pay a little more and have house painting experts worry for you and get the job done quickly, accurately and beautifully with results that will last a very long time.

Article submitted on behalf of co-author Dave Hofert.