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A Day to be Thankful

November 28, 1621, was the very first celebration of Thanksgiving. In 1620, a ship by the name of the Mayflower traveled from Plymouth England carrying with it over one-hundred separatists seeking to find a new world where they could practice their religion freely. After 66 days of traveling, they landed near a town called Cape Cod. After a month of sailing, the Pilgrims found Massachusetts, where they established a home for themselves.

The history of Thanksgiving is not far removed from what we celebrate today. In today’s culture, Thanksgiving is about gathering, harvesting, and feasting. When the Pilgrims arrived in Massachusetts, they gathered as a family and feasted, celebrating the blessing of that year. Thanksgiving is mainly celebrated in the U.S. and Canada; however, countries like Liberia, Japan, and Germany all celebrate a similar holiday around the month of October and early November.

Liberia, a country in West Africa, celebrates Thanksgiving for the blessing of slaves being freed. They eat lots of spicy food infused with cayenne pepper. Japan celebrates its Thanksgiving to commemorate labor and production and to give thanks with each other. They feast on their Thanksgiving meal Japanese-style, seated on the floor at low tables.

Even though different countries have different traditions and ways that they celebrate Thanksgiving, they are still celebrating for the same purpose, which is to be thankful and to gather in fellowship.

Written by Princess 

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Using Sources Effectively

Finding a good topic to write about and establishing a strong thesis statement is challenging. Realizing that you must come up with 15 different sources and manage to use all of them in your paper, however, can be anxiety-inducing. You start to panic, so you begin to pick random quotes and stick them in the middle of a paragraph hoping they’re relevant. In the end, you end up with a mediocre grade for something that took you so long and caused you so much stress. Don’t fret. There is a method to this madness. Below are some tips and tricks to help you navigate the seemingly mountainous task of using your sources effectively.

Plan Ahead

If your assignment requires you to use a great number of sources, make sure you start working on gathering them ahead of time. Find all of your references and list them out in order of relevance to your topic and/or thesis statement. Then, begin reading from the most relevant sources. Some may seem like they’re a mile long, but you don’t have to read everything. Read the first few pages, the middle few pages, and the last few pages of the source. Most articles also have headings and subheadings that help guide you to the most useful information for your specific topic.

Prepare your best choice of weapons, such as pens and highlighters, and brace yourself to tackle the giant beast! Highlight keywords or phrases as well as statistics. Then, in your own words, summarize research studies and expert testimonies. Before you know it, you have condensed your source into digestible bits of information you actually understand.

You Did Not Plan Ahead; You Need a Plan B

If you did not plan ahead and are in a crunch for time, all hope is not lost. Flip through the Psalms for some encouragement and prepare to win the race against time. Choose a few sources you think you would be able to use with the ticking clock in mind. Don’t forget, you have to actually write the paper too. It is better to use fewer sources well rather than to use multiple sources poorly.

It is better to use fewer sources well rather than to use multiple sources poorly.

Once you’ve picked the sources you want to use, start applying the methods described above. If you need extra speed, read and highlight the first sentence of every paragraph. This gives you a general understanding of the sources’ claims about your topic. You can summarize and paraphrase these claims and put them to use!

Making It Make Sense

Using direct quotes, statistics, and other facts can make your paper seem choppy if it lacks organization. The key to using sources effectively is asking yourself a simple question: why? Why did you choose that particular source in this particular part of the paper? Once you are able to answer this question, you can be sure you are using the quotes and paraphrases correctly. Connect all the dots for the reader, reiterate implied ideas for clarification, and make sure it all agrees with your thesis statement. It is also extremely important that you alternate between direct quotes and paraphrases throughout your paper.

Connect all the dots for the reader, reiterate implied ideas for clarification, and make sure it all agrees with your thesis statement.

Conclusion

Condensing and digesting the information found within sources might look a little different for each student; however, the overall goal should be gaining a clear understanding of the reason for the use of that particular source. It is also important that the reader can discern your own thoughts from a mere summarization of the sources. Practice evoking the question or prompt and your answer to it, also known as the thesis statement. And don’t forget, cite your sources!

Written by Kenean 

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The Mysterious Creature

In Lenape, Deleware, the native people believe that if they dream of an owl it means it will become their guardian. The Dakota Hidatsa Indians believe the owls are protectors; even in Greek mythology, owls symbolized wisdom. These theories aren’t true, but owls have something very special and unique about them.

Owls can be found in all parts of the world, including North America, which is home to almost 20 different owl species. The only place you will not find one of these beloved creatures is in Antarctica because the climate is simply too cold. These creatures are unique in many ways: one being that they have 14 cervical vertebrae. Which means they can rotate their necks 270 degrees! An owl’s eyes are completely immobile, giving it binocular vision to focus in on its prey. Did you know they hunt each other? Great horned owls are at the top of the species’ food chain and prey on smaller barn owls.

Owls and humans have been friends for a long time. Hieroglyphs in Ancient Egypt show our relationship with these stunning creatures going back over 30,000 years ago. However, we can’t get too friendly with these birds; it is illegal to keep an owl as a pet in the United States. This is for a good reason though; they attack humans if they feel threatened anyway.  The relation between owls and writing centers is that Purdue OWL was the first-ever writing center to create an online writing lab and email services. Ever since then, owls have been the face of writing centers across the nation.

Written by Princess

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