Archive for: December 2014

The Dream of Girls’ Education

By Michael K. Smith, Ph.D.



“What have I done wrong that I should be afraid? All I want to do is go to school and that is not a crime. That is my right.” Those remarkable words are written by Malala Yousafzai in her recent memoir I am Malala: How One Girl Stood Up for Education and Changed the World (Young Readers Edition written with Patricia McCormick). As a teenager, Malala spoke out for girls’ education in her native Pakistan. Her efforts brought international attention and led to her being awarded the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize, the youngest recipient ever at age seventeen. More astounding is what she had to endure. At the age of fifteen, a Taliban gunman entered her school bus and shot her three times. Read more →

‘Tis A Gift To Be Simple

By Sedonna Prater, Director, Curriculum and Instruction for the Knoxville Diocese Catholic Schools


Untitled-9As we enter the holiday season, we enter into a period of expectancy, longing, and preparation. This season is a journey of faith and hope that asks for our patience, as we await the arrival of that which we so dearly long for: The Christ child, the arrival of the lamp oil, the purification of the temple, or just that one morning where family members, once scattered to the four corners can all be together, sharing in the warmth of their love for one another. Read more →

Can You Guess The Origin Of “In A Nutshell”

By Michael K. Smith, Ph.D.



I just recently published a book entitled Playing Fast and Loose: Match Wits with the Author and Guess the Origin of Common Idioms. My book invites the reader to guess the correct origin of common idioms. For each idiom, I constructed three scenarios. One scenario contains a short description of the likely origin of the phrase with some selected historical context that illustrates its usage. The other two scenarios also present short vignettes with factually correct historical citations; however, these two descriptions are not considered the likely origin of the phrase. Can you guess the origin of the common phrase “in a nutshell”? Read the three scenarios below and try to select the one that is commonly considered the origin of this term. The answer is below. (Note: Dr. Smith’s print and ebook can be ordered through Read more →

The High Value Of Low Tech

By Mike O’Hern, Center Director of Mathnasium of West Knoxville


Untitled-2I may have written here before that I’m old. I’ve got three kids scattered just about as far across the country as they could get, I’m a grandfather, and I remember when we used sliderules instead of calculators (okay, maybe not that old, because I barely remember using sliderules). The point is that I grew up without all of the high-tech gadgets, and even my kids did, too, for the most part. Now, that I own a math learning center, I think I can see that the absence of those gadgets was a good thing. Read more →

The “Gift” Of Life Skills

By Tracey Matthews, Supervisor of the Knox County Schools Family and Community Engagement Department and Tamekia Jackson, Director of the Knox County Schools Family Resource Center Contributing Writer: Eliza Norrell, Family and Community Engagement Department Communications Intern         

Season’s Greetings! This holiday season, even if your children’s “wish lists” include tangible items such as bikes, dolls, and the latest video games, don’t forget that gifts come in different forms. Some of the most valuable gifts are not tangible and are given over time in the form of priceless lessons, though the “value” may not be recognized until later in life. One of the most prized gifts that a parent can give a child is the gift of life skills that teach children smart ways to tackle aspects of everyday life. Read on to discover some practical skills that children should learn now and that will last a lifetime. Read more →

Help Protect Yourself And The Ones You Love From The Flu

By Jennifer Valentine, MSN, RN




Sixteen times! That’s how many times some of us touch our faces in just one hour. Touching our eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands is how many germs are spread. It’s a busy time of year, especially for those of us with children. As you prepare for the holiday season and the many gatherings with friends and family, it’s important to also prepare for flu season. Read more →