Thank a tradesman & an English teacher (P.S. Happy birthday, Clifford!)

Okay, so obviously there’s a lot going on today.

First, it’s National Tradesmen Day. In case you don’t know what a tradesman is, they’re the guys and gals keeping our country running. They build roads, cars, homes, schools, businesses and any other thing you can think of that would need to be professionally built, and they keep our electricity and water on. If you know anyone in a trade job, thank them today. If you don’t personally know anyone, just send out a general thank-you tweet with the hashtag #TradesmenDay.

It’s also National Punctuation Day! (To discuss on Twitter, use #punctuationday.) This is super exciting for me because I am in love with grammar and punctuation and the English language. I give most of the credit to Mrs. Thompson, my fifth grade English teacher. She was such an inspiration to my writing (which is awesome, since as a ten-year-old, most of my writing consisted of the required five-paragraph essays about things like my least favorite chore or how to build a PB&J).

The thing I remember most vividly was her color-coordinated sentence diagramming. I know most people hated sentence diagramming, but it was probably my favorite part of the day (at least it’s my favorite memory of that year). Mrs. Thompson would give us a sentence each morning to diagram. We would use our crayons to underline words according to which part of speech they were. Nouns were underlined with a blue crayon, conjunctions were underlined with a green crayon, verbs were underlined with a black crayon, adjectives were underlined with an orange crayon and prepositions were underlined with a purple crayon. Even now, when I’m editing things at work or looking over my own personal writing, I seen those colors as I read the words I would have underlined–true story. (I so wish I could remember all the colors we  used, but that’s all I know anymore–not bad, seeing as how it’s been more than ten years, right?)

Anyway, when my dad told me today is National Punctuation Day, I told him I had no idea how I would celebrate. But I think the best way is to thank an English teacher. I doubt Mrs. Thompson will see this, but just in case…

Thank you, Mrs. Thompson, for inspiring my love of punctuation!

And, finally, something I think a lot of you will get excited about: Clifford turns 50 today! That’s right; the big red dog has been around for 50 years now. (Thanks to my friend, Mike, I started thinking about how old he is in dog years… and he’s 350! That’s old, right?)

Scholastic is celebrating Clifford’s 50th all year long. The publishing company is hosting a sweepstakes to bring Clifford’s birthday celebration in the winner’s hometown, teachers can use Clifford-related lesson plans and kids can play games, print coloring sheets and send Clifford a birthday e-card (actually, that’s great for everyone). There’s even a birthday app (available for $0.99 for the iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch)! You can also see photos of today’s big birthday celebration at Scholastic’s headquarters in the company’s “Happy birthday, Clifford!” Facebook album.

So, yeah, lots of awesome things are happening today. If I find any other interesting tidbits about today, I’ll be sure to tweet them! Tell me in the comments (or on Facebook or Twitter) if you know any more fun facts about today.

(Photo creds: National Tradesmen Day, National Punctuation Day, Clifford)

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