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Karen K. Brees Ph.D.


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Volunteer Tutor Tips - Page Three

by Debra Sea


Page Four
Martin Luther King Birthday PEZ Candy
The Origin of Phrases (a few anyway) Happy Valentines Day
Everyday is Valentines Day! What a Common Cold Is

Martin Luther King Birthday

Martin Luther King, Jr. was born on January 15, 1929 in Atlanta Georgia. His father was the minister of the Ebenezer Baptist Church, as was his father before him.

"M.L.," as he was called, lived with his parents, his sister and brother in Atlanta Ga. Their home was not far from the church his father preached at. 

M.L.'s mother and father taught their children what would become an important part of M.L.'s life - to treat all people with respect. Martin's father worked hard to break down the barriers between the races. His father believed African-Americans should register their complaints by voting. 

As M.L. grew up he found that not everyone followed his parents principles. He noticed that "black" people and white people where treated differently. He saw that he and his white friends could not drink from the same water fountains and could not use the same restrooms. 

M.L.'s best friend as a child was a white boy and as children they played happily together. But when they reached school age the friends found that even though they lived in the same neighborhood, they could not go to the same school. M.L.'s friend would go to a school for white children only and M.L. was sent to a school for "black" children. After the first day of school M.L. and his friend were never allowed to play together again. 

When M.L. was ready for college he decided to follow his father and become a minister. While attending the Crozer Theological seminary in Pennsylvania he became familiar with Mahatma Gandhi, who had struggled to free the people of India from British rule by "peaceful revolution" . 

M.L. was also inspired by the work of Henry David Thoreau, particularly his essay called "Civil Disobedience." It stated that if enough people would follow their conscience and disobey unjust laws, they could bring about a peaceful revolution. 

It was also at college that M.L. met a young woman named Coretta Scott and they would eventually marry. In 1954 M.L. received his PhD. and accepted the job of pastor of the Dexter Avenue Baptist Church in Montgomery, Alabama. 

Martin Luther King, Jr. would now be addressed as "Dr. King" 

Dr. King's involvement with the civil rights movement began with the arrest of Mrs. Rosa Parks on December 1st , 1955. Mrs. Parks, a African-American seamstress on her way home from work, was arrested for not giving a white bus rider her seat. Mrs. Parks was not the first African-American to be arrested for this "crime", but she was well known in the Montgomery African-American community. 

Dr. King and the other African-American community leaders felt a protest was needed. The African-American residents of the city were asked to boycott the bus company by walking and driving instead. The United States Supreme Court would end the boycott, which lasted 381 days, by declaring that Alabama's state and local laws requiring segregation on buses were illegal. The boycott was a success and Dr. King had showed that peaceful mass action could bring about change. 

In January 1957 the Souther Christian Leadership Conference (SCLSC) was formed with Dr. King as their president. The following May 17, Dr. King would lead a mass march of 37,000 people to the front of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC. 

Dr. King had become the undisputed leader of the civil rights movement.

Partly in response to the march, on September 9, 1957, the US Congress created the Civil Rights Commission and the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice, an official body with the authority to investigate voting irregularities.

Dr. King and the SCLC organized drives for African-American voter registration, desegregation, and better education and housing throughout the South. Dr. King continued to speak. He went to many cities and towns. He was greeted by crowds of people who wanted to hear him speak. He said all people have the right to equal treatment under the law. Many people believed in these civil rights and worked hard for them.

Dr. King was asked constantly to speak. So in order to spend more time with his family he wrote his first book, Stride Toward Freedom which was a success. While signing copies of his book in Harlem, NY an African-American woman stepped forward and plunged a letter opener into Dr. King's chest. Dr. King recovered from his wound and the woman was eventually declared insane. 

In February 1959 Dr. and Mrs. King went to India, the homeland of Mahatma Ghandi,. In India Dr. King studied Satyagraha, Gandhi's principle of nonviolent persuasion. Dr. King was determined to use Satyagraha as his main instrument of social protest. 

After his return to America, Dr. King returned home to Atlanta, Ga. where he shared the ministerial duties of the Ebenezer Baptist Church with his father. The move also brought Dr. King closer to the center of the growing civil rights movement. 

In January 1963 Dr. King announced he and the Freedom Fighters would go to Birmingham to fight the segregation laws. An injunction was issued forbidding any demonstrations and Dr. King and the others were arrested. 

Upon his release there were more peaceful demonstrations. The police retaliated with water hoses, tear gas and dogs. All this happened in the presence of television news cameras. It would be the first time the world would see the brutality that the southern African-Americans endured. The news coverage would help bring about changes as many Americans were disgusted and ashamed by the cruelty and hatred. 

Continuing the fight for civil rights and to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation, on August 28, 1963 200,000 people gathered in the front to the Lincoln Memorial. It was a peaceful protest, made up of African-Americans and whites, young and old. Most had come to hear Dr. King deliver his famous "I have a dream" speech. 

1964 would be a good year for Dr. King and the civil rights movement. Dr. King was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize as someone who "had contributed the most to the furtherance of peace among men." Dr. King would divide the prize money, $54,000, among various civil rights organizations. 

President Lyndon Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act into law. It guaranteed that "No person in the United States shall, on the ground of race, color, or national origin, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination" 

In the winter of 1965 Dr. King lead a march from Selma, Alabama to the state capital in Montgomery to demand voting reforms. 600 marchers would begin the march but after 6 blocks the marchers were met by a wall of state troupers. When the troopers with clubs, whips and tear gas advanced on the marchers it was described "as a battle zone." The marchers were driven back while on the sidewalks whites cheered. 2 ministers, 1 white and 1 African-American, were killed and over 70 were injured with 17 hospitalized. It was the most violent confrontation Dr. King had experienced. 

A court order overturning the injunction against the march was issued and the marchers were allowed to proceed. When they arrived in Montgomery the marchers were greeted by 25,00 supporters singing 'We Shall Overcome." On August 6, 1965 a voting rights bill was passed allowing African-Americans to vote. 

Dr. King believed that poverty caused much of the unrest in America. Not only poverty for African-Americans, but poor whites, Hispanics and Asians. Dr. King believed that the United States involvement in Vietnam was also a factor and that the war poisoned the atmosphere of the whole country and made the solution of local problems of human relations unrealistic. 

This caused friction between King and the African-American leaders who felt that their problems deserved priority and that the African-American leadership should concentrate on fighting racial injustice at home. But by early 1967 Dr. King had become associated with the antiwar movement. 

Dr. King continued his campaign for world peace. He traveled across America to support and speak out about civil rights and the rights of the underprivileged. 

In April 1968 Dr. King went to Memphis, Tennessee to help the sanitation workers who were on strike. On April 3rd Dr. King would give what would be his last speech: 

"We've got some difficult days ahead. But it doesn't matter with me now. Because I have been to the mountaintop. And I don't mind. 
Like anybody, I would like to live a long life. Longevity has its place. But I'm not concerned about that now. 

I just want to do God's will. And He's allowed me to go up to the mountain. And I've looked over. And I've seen the promised land. 

I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight, that we, as a people will get to the promised land. And I'm not fearing any man. 

Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord"

The following day, April 4 1968, as he was leaving his motel room Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was shot and killed. 

15 years after Dr. King's death President Ronald Reagan signed a bill into law making the third Monday of January a national holiday celebrating the birth and life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. 

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Happy New Year - PEZ Candy

I had a wonderful holiday vacation and hope that you all did too!  This tutor tip is just for fun - from Have you every wondered about PEZ candy?  Read on to find out more.  Buy a PEZ dispenser for your student and look at the patent number on the side to figure out when the dispenser was issued.  Then eat the candy together!


I have been eating PEZ candy since I was a kid. What does PEZ mean? Where did the kooky dispenser come from?


Most people have had PEZ candy at one time or another as kids, and a surprising number of adults are hooked on the stuff! As it turns out, PEZ was originally intended to adults and didn't move into the kids market until 25 years after its creation.

PEZ candy was invented in 1927 by an Austrian food company executive named Edward Haas III. The original candy, basically a compressed sugar tablet flavored with peppermint oil, was marketed as an alternative to smoking. The name came from the first, middle and last letters of the German word for peppermint:


Originally, PEZ came in small tins, but in 1948, Haas' company introduced the first PEZ dispenser. The original dispenser was designed to resemble a cigarette lighter, to make it appeal to the intended market of adult smokers. The company introduced the character heads and fruit-flavored candy in 1952, when it brought PEZ to the United States. The appeal to kids was obvious: candy that's also a toy!

Over the years, hundreds of different character dispensers have been introduced and then discontinued. The dispenser body, or "stem," has also changed slightly. In 1987, for example, supportive "feet" were added to the base.

One way to roughly date a particular dispenser is to check the patent number molded on its side. The main numbers on U.S. dispensers are:

  • Patent 2,620,061, issued in 1952
  • Patent 3,410,455, issued in 1968
  • Patent 3,845,882, issued in 1974
  • Patent 3,942,683, issued in 1976
  • Patent 4,966,305, issued in 1990

PEZ dispensers are a major collector's item today, most likely because of a combination of personal nostalgia, the connection to pop culture characters and the limited run on individual dispenser designs. On any particular day, ebay has hundreds, sometimes even thousands of PEZ-related listings. Many individual dispensers sell for hundreds of dollars, and a few sell upwards of $1,000!

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The Origin of Phrases (a few anyway)

Today's tutor tip explores the meaning and possible origin of a few common phrases.  Read through the examples with your student.  Can you think of other phrases and what they mean?  The phrases and origin are copied from


Rub it in


Do or say something intended to make one feel worse.


I know I paid too much for the car, you don't have to rub it in.


Short version of "Rub salt in the wound". Salt in an open wound causes it to sting.


Refers to the action of rubbing a fluid onto an object to make the fluid penetrate. As in rubbing a lotion into skin.

Stink to high heaven


To have a very strong odor.


There is a road kill on 101 that stinks to high heaven.


Heaven as referenced in the bible is presumably quite a long distance away, and anything here that could be smelled in heaven would be a powerful odor indeed.

Shakespeare may have originated the phrase (or at least made it famous) in "Hamlet" when Hamlet's uncle, the king of Denmark says: "O, my offense is rank, it smells to heaven; It hath the primal eldest curse upon it, A brother's murder."

Thanks to Ron Akers

Heavens also refers to the planets and stars. Also a fair distance away.

Interesting that Shakespeare's reference was not an actually an odor, but a deed that was observable from heaven.

Going South


On a path to failure, failing.


Revenue has been going South every since we hired the new Sales Manger.


South is associated with the downward direction, because that is how it is depicted on maps. North is up, south is down. Hence going south is going down. And down is pretty universally associated with poor performance (falling apart) as in airplanes, swimmers, bicycles, and revenue.

Dot your "i"s and cross your "t"s


Complete the job paying attention to the details.


Your instructor is a tough grader, be sure to dot your "i"s and cross your "t"s on your research.


When writing, many people complete a word before returning to dot the "i"s and cross the "t"s. Someone in a rush might neglect to complete the task. The phrase has been extended to any job, not just writing.

Crossing the T has also become a naval term. A naval engagement fought in the Surigao Straight during the Battle of Leyte Gulf, which is in the Philippines, illustrates crossing the T. That battle (Leyte Gulf) marked the end of the Japanese navy.

It was also the strangest naval battle in the war. Both sides were totally confused as to the disposition of enemy forces and both commanders made mistakes that seriously jeopardized their objectives. Admirals Kincaid and Halsey had the advantage of numbers and luck and won out.

Warships of the era had guns mounted in turrets distributed over the ship. Their ability to fire in the direction the ship is pointed is limited to the front most turrets, rendering the remaining guns useless for firing forward. However when firing perpendicular to the ship, all turrets can be rotated and used.

The Japanese ships were caught in a single file line. The United States ships were positioned at the head of the line in a T fashion. This formation is known as crossing the T in military circles.

Having crossed the T, the US ships could point all the ship's guns towards the Japanese ships making it easy to fire on them. The Japanese ships had the considerable disadvantage of having to fire straight ahead.

Thanks to Steven Walker and RB Stevenson


Happy Valentines Day!

According to the Greeting Card Association, an estimated one billion valentine cards are sent each year, making Valentine's Day the second largest card-sending holiday of the year. (An estimated 2.6 billion cards are sent for Christmas.) Approximately 85 percent of all valentines are purchased by women. In addition to the United States, Valentine's Day is celebrated in Canada, Mexico, the United Kingdom, France, and Australia. Wow, that's a lot of valentines! 

To celebrate valentine's day - I thought a little craftwork might be fun. Today's activity involves making a paper valentine wreath with your student. Get the materials and follow the directions together to create this really corny (but fun!) looking wreath. 

Have a Happy Valentine's day! 


  • Ring of cardboard (empty cereal boxes work wonderfully) 
  • construction paper (pink, purple, red and/or white) 
  • scissors 
  • glue 
  • Trace a small plate and a large plate onto a piece of old cardboard. 
  • Empty cereal boxes or frozen dinner boxes work well as a source of recycled cardboard.


  • It doesn't matter if you go over the folds of the cardboard 
  • Cut a small strip of cardboard and glue or tape it onto the back of the ring over any folds in the cardboard.
  • This will reinforce the ring.
  • Cut strips of construction paper (about 1 1/2 inches by 4 inches)
  • glue the strips into rolls (like making a paper chain) 
  • Glue the rolls of construction paper onto the wreath. Alternate colors. 
For the Center heart decoration:
  • cut two long strips of red, 
  • cut two medium strips of white 
  • cut two short strips of pink 
  • Lay the pieces one on top of the other in the pattern pink, white, red, red, white, pink 
  • One of the ends of all these pieces should be flush with each other. Staple that end.
  • fold back all the pieces and staple at the other end. when you hold them up it forms a heart.
  • When we made ours, the heart shape wasn't as nice as we wanted so we stapled another short piece of red to "anchor" the dip of the heart to the point of the heart. If our construction paper had been a bit less flimsy we wouldn't have needed to do this. 
  • Take a piece of string and tape it to the wreath and to the heart so the heart hangs in the center of the wreath.
  • Hang on the wall.
  • We made a wreath with only one row of construction paper loops this time, but two rows looks great too! 


copied from:

Wow what a cool site - there are games and interactive jigsaw puzzles. Check this out with your student.

Everyday is Valentines Day

When you are with the right person - every day is Valentine's Day!  This weeks tutor tip includes two exercises.  The first exercise involves making a mosaic heart from old magazines.  Remember that that smaller the pieces, the longer it will take to assemble the mosaic!  Scroll way down to the end for the second game is Valentine's Concentration.  As a kid, my brothers and I would play "concentration" for hours.  Have fun and Happy Valentine's Day to you! 

Mosaic Valentine Heart


Photo Copyright 2001, Magazine, Inc. Click here for a larger view.

It's completely up to the creator in this craft. You decide how easy or challenging it will be, and how long it will take. All you need are some old magazines, construction paper, and glue and you can make these fun Valentine hearts!

You will need

poster board
construction paper
old magazines or catalogs
glue stick

Note: poster board can be replaced with construction paper, but construction paper is not as sturdy and will not hold up as well.

Cut a piece of poster board to the size you want to work with, we used a square foot piece (12" x 12"). Draw a heart near the center of your poster board. To get a perfect heart, fold a piece of paper in half lengthwise, then cut out half of a heart OR print this. Unfold and you have a complete heart shape, trim if needed. Trace around your pattern with pencil onto the poster board. Draw 4 lines from the edge of the heart extended outward to the edge of the posterboard to divide the background into sections.

Tear out magazine or catalog pages that have mostly color and not much text, laundry and cereal ads are usually great for this! Tear pages into small squares by tearing into strips first, then into small pieces from the strips. Keep colors separated. We used goldenrod, green, blue, and pink for the background, and red for the heart.

Begin with background colors first. Using the glue stick, apply squares in a tile fashion (next to one another) in one of the quartered sections of the background. Complete the color. Do this for each section until background is complete. Remember, the beauty of this project is that perfection is not required! Once the background colors are in place, fill in your heart with red squares.

To make the frame, cut four 1"-wide strips of construction paper in your choice of colors. We duplicated our background colors and set th em in contrast with the background. For example, we started with a green frame strip on the left side because the green mosaic tiles were on the right side, and so on. Glue in place and over lap at each corner as shown in photo.

 The project involving small squares took approximately 45 minutes for an adult.

Concentration game

For this game, print the cards out, glue them to a piece of construction paper and cut them apart.  Use them like a deck of cards - mix them up and deal them out face down.  Then pick up the cards in matching pairs.  It takes a great deal of concentration to find a match.  Good luck. 

What a Common Cold Is

Finally it happened!  I have been struck down by the common cold!  For your info as well as my own, this week's tutor tip includes information about the common cold and a recipe for Goody's Hot Buttered Cider.  Check out for even more information.

A common cold is an illness caused by a virus infection located in the nose. Colds also involve the sinuses, ears, and bronchial tubes.

The symptoms of a common cold include sneezing, runny nose, nasal obstruction, sore or scratchy throat, cough, hoarseness, and mild general symptoms like headache, feverishness, chilliness, and not feeling well in general.

Colds last on average for one week. Mild colds may last only 2 or 3 days while severe colds may last for up to 2 weeks.

A cold is a milder illness than influenza. Influenza typically causes fever, muscle aches, and a more severe cough. However, mild cases of influenza are similar to colds.

Adults average 2 to 3 colds per year and children 6 to 10, depending on their age and exposure. Children's noses are the major source of cold viruses.

There are over 100 different cold viruses. Rhinoviruses are the most important and cause at least one-half of colds.

Cold viruses can only multiply when they are inside of living cells. When on an environmental surface, cold viruses cannot multiply. However, they are still infectious if they are transported from an environmental site into the nose.

Cold viruses live only in the noses of humans and not in animals except chimpanzees and other higher primates.


 "Feed a Cold" Recipe


Goody's Hot Buttered Cider

Mull (heat) for 10-15 minutes:

1 pint of sweet apple cider
2 cinnamon sticks

Place In a Mug and Stir:

1 tsp powdered sugar
3/4 mug of hot cider (above)
1/4 mug of boiling water


pat of butter
sprinkle of nutmeg
A jigger of rum was added in the old days.

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