Very wise words from Hunter S. Thompson,
Go write about it!
Bubble Bobble is back!
And it’s on my iPhone.
The game is exactly the same as the arcade version I used to love.
I really miss the joystick and the physical buttons. It takes a little more finesse to control the character on the touch screen.
I so wish I could have a stand-up arcade. I’d pay good money to have one of these.
This game system was homemade. If you have any idea of how to do this, it would be the best Christmas present ever!
For now, my app version will have to do.
It comes with a new version of the game as well.
In it, our character remains static and enemies come at you from all angles. It’s a tougher game and I haven’t quite figured out how to get passed the bosses yet.
This double version of Bubble Bobble is $4.99 from the App Store.
Bust-a-Move Islands is the iPhone version of Puzzle Bobble and the best part of it is that it’s free.
There are all sorts of things that you can buy to customize your playing experience. If you want to play for free, you only get 5 lives per half hour. I have done just fine without paying anything extra. I’m up to Level 65 right now and really enjoying it.
I really love the Bubble Bobble franchise!
I have quite a bit of Christmas music written specifically for the concert band. The problem is that many of my students don’t like the sheet music that I have purchased. And when I look at the individual parts, I can see why.
The pieces sound great when played in a large ensemble but when played individually, they don’t sound like the tunes we all know and love. I know that if I were a student, I would want to play the main melody and not some back-up bass line or harmony part.
That is why I love what Chad Criswell has done for all of us music lovers out there. He has written simple versions of all of the Christmas Carols for every instrument of the concert band. There are no tricky two part melodies or harmony parts. Every instrument plays the same tune in unison. It is absolutely perfect for beginning musicians in middle school. And best of all, it is free.
He has even given us the original SIbelius notation files so we can customize the pieces further if we want to. This is such a great Christmas gift that I had to share it all with you.
So head on over to his site, and leave a comment that I sent you. I am sure he would love to know that his work is being used and appreciated by all us musicians.
Teaching Tip Tuesday Archive – your weekly source for classroom tips, tricks, lessons, and resources.
Amerigo Gazaway is our special guest for the latest edition of Access. It is our special way of expanding a live radio interview into the realm of video and offering fans some behind the scene footage and conversation.
Amerigo Gazaway is an incredible artist who has dropped some classic projects. His specialty is creating cohesive projects between artists who never had the chance to work together.
He calls it the “Soul Mates” series, and it moves way beyond mash-ups. He doesn’t simply take an instrumental and throw an accapella over it. He reconstruct beats, layers sounds on top of each other, and makes sure that it sounds like something both artists would have released.
If you haven’t heard of this guy, do yourself a favour and click play on the video above. Then go to his bandcamp page and download all of the goodness!
Access Interview Archive – over a dozen great in-depth interviews from hip-hop’s finest!
Daily Zen Doodles: 365 Tangle Creations for Inspiration, Relaxation, and Mindfulness by Meera Lee Patel
This is a commonplace book with a twist. Or maybe it’s a sketch book with quotations. Or it could be a individualized puzzle for you to complete every single day for a year.
Whatever it is, it is pretty cool!
Here is an example of what you will find in this book.
I love the quotation here . . .
“We are like children building a sand castle. We’re willing to attack if others threaten to hurt it. Yet…we know that the tide will inevitable come in and sweep the sand castle away. The trick is to enjoy it fully without clinging, and when the time comes, let it dissolve back into the sea.”
– Pema Chodron
But this book is not merely a commonplace book. It is meant to “isnpire you to lose yourself in the contemplative act of drawing. Each page is an invitation to sketch, relax, focus, and reach toward inner peace.”
Here is my first attempt at it . . .
That was kind of fun. I bet you can tell a lot about me from that simple sketch as well. I let my mind wander as I thought about the quotation.
There are a few other pages I am eager to complete. It is a nice kind of meditation to do this exercise. I have never been much of a doodler. I often write poetry when my mind wanders and I have a pencil and paper in my hand. In fact, it could be cool to write words inside of the shapes and images that are provided as a starting point. Hmm, maybe I will try that tomorrow.
My 2014 Reading Log – with links to every title (over 70 books so far)
I have never been a fan of using rewards systems in the classroom. I’ve tried them out but have found that they are just simply too much work. It’s difficult to keep tabs on every student in the class and assign points effectively.
This year, I changed my stance a little. I started a reward system for three students in my class who could really use the extra motivation. And so far, it is working wonders. I like the fact that I don’t have to track every student. It makes it much more manageable for me and meaningful for the few students who need it.
I am currently reading
Will My Kid Grow Out of It? by Bonny J. Forrest.
This is what she has to say about using reward systems.
It works for some students
Children with ADHD tend to respond well to reward systems, but only if they are well designed in the ways I will describe.
The reward can be anything
The reward can be anything—within reason—that will motivate her in the short term, such as allowing an extra half hour of TV or playing a video game.
Tailor the reward to the student
Rewards should always be keyed to what your child likes. Be creative. You can rotate different types of rewards and tailor them to your child.
Here are some other tips for designing a rewards system:
How parents can help . . .
Parents should also be on the lookout for physical activities—such as tennis or swimming or martial arts—that hold their attention and don’t provide downtime for the mind to wander.
What I am doing this year
I am using a reward system with three of my students. They earn stars in their planner for each block of the day. They can earn two stars in each block for a total of six stars a day. The parents are being supportive and offering rewards and consequences at home. These are keyed to the specific interests of the child too. It is working quite well so far.
What reward system do you use?
Please leave a comment below. Thanks for visiting!
Teaching Tip Tuesday – free resources for teachers every week!
In just a few hours, 94.9 CHRW is kicking off All Women’s Voices 2014.
Starting at midnight TONIGHT, CHRW will be taken over by women for 24 hours! We have some great programming featuring music, talk, documentary, discussion, and of course hip-hop!
I have produced a special for this radio event that airs from 6:00 to 6:30 a.m. It features Skulastic, an MC and producer from British Columbia. She tells her story in her own words and I spin some of her great tunes.
So, please tune in and let people know that we will no longer accept violence against women. Mark this day – December 6th, the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women in Canada.
The Walking Dead: Volume 18 – What Comes Next
Rick had high hopes that society was starting to rebuild in a way that could actually work. But Negan is not a fair or kind ruler. We already knew that from the past volume, but things get even more intense and unbearable this issue.
The Walking Dead: Volume 19 – March to War
An unlikely alliance starts to come together and training for war begins. But Negan seems to be two steps ahead of them. It looks like they have quite the battle on their hands.
I am trying not to give away much of the plot with these reviews. I know several people that are at different stages in the series, whether they are reading them or watching them on TV.
No matter what medium you consume these stories in, there is do doubt that it is a compelling story that is very well done.
My 2014 Reading Log (over 70 titles and counting)
It’s time for another edition of Chasing Content.
This gives us the chance to look back at the blog entries I posted the previous year at this time and highlight some of my favourites. So, let’s dig through the old posts and unearth some gems that might otherwise get buried in the archives.
or just these favs . . .
The second installment of Christmas-themed rap music mixed by yours truly. Enjoy the sounds of the season all month long!
The story is very well done. I didn’t want to put it down. It is inspiring and tells a superhero story that is grounded in the real-life heroes we don’t seem to celebrate as much as the fictional ones in this culture.
I love this book so much. Who cares if it is out of print? It is an amazing book for young musicians and a great part of my music program at school. That is why I have made it available for you to download for free. Enjoy!
One of the most brilliant pieces of television fiction ever was written by a pantser. If that’s not an endorsement for writing without a complete outline or plan, I don’t know what is.
Another great comic book read and an animated film that does it justice. We live in a golden-age of superheroes. I love it!
I moved from Blogger to WordPress last year at this time. I enjoy the freedom of having the blog hosted on my own domain. I hope you have been enjoying the new digs.
Thanks for reading, exploring these links, and for Chasing Content with me!
Marvel Knights # 1 – 15 (2000)
I am counting this one as a graphic novel when it comes to my reading log even though it was never collected as such.
In fact, much like this title, these heroes were probably not meant to come together either. They certainly aren’t the X-men, Avengers, or Justice League. They are an unlikely combination but they manage to make the team work. For a little while anyway.
The Marvel Knights team consists of my favourite super-hero, Daredevil, along with Dagger, Black Widow, Shang Chi, and the Punisher.
They are several story arcs in this collection. Some are better than others. But there is something about this team that has me yearning for more. I was disappointed when I came to the end of this limited series.
Dark Reign: Elektra
Elektra returns after the Secret Invasion and people aren’t too happy to have her back. There is a price or her head even though she is innocent of the wrong-doings committed in her name and image by the Skrulls.
This was a great book and I enjoyed it more so than any of the other titles in the Marvel Event. Elektra is a really interesting character. I haven’t read much of her journeys outside of the Daredevil title, however. Maybe I should rectify that.
It’s always great to see female super-heroes. I especially love the idea of an all-female team. Even though I knew very little about these characters, I really enjoyed this read. It ties into the Shadowland story but it also manages to stand on its own.
At three single comic issues however, the story comes to an end too quickly. I would love to see more from these ladies.
My 2014 Reading Log – I’m smashing records this year!
I just wrote my Progress Reports and I had a hard time coming up with personalized comments for each student in my class.
I looked at what I had written in the past and I searched online for comments I could use. I then began writing, but I was pretty much making it up as I went along. I don’t know why but I seem to do the same thing every year. I decided that there had to be a better way.
I spent an hour today, making these tracking sheets that should make the job of writing learning skills comments a lot easier for the Term 1 reports later in the year.
There are six learning skill categories; Responsibility, Organization, Independent Work, Collaboration, Initiative, and Self-Regulation. Each one of these heading has anywhere from three to five look-fors.
I made these charts that I plan on attaching to a clipboard in the classroom. There will be one set of these per student in my class. I will make sure to take a few notes every week for the rest of the year. That way, when it comes time to writing report cards again, I will have very specific things to say and I will only have to look in this one spot.
Here are some of the comments I wrote in the Progress Reports this year. I wrote these for my Grade 2 / 3 students, I hope you will find them useful. Of course, the names have been changed.
Learning Skills Comments . . .
Brian follows the classroom expectations and school rules without needing reminders. He demonstrates responsibility by coming into the classroom after recess and going directly to his desk, ready for the next lesson. He organizes his workspace and materials to keep track of academic work. He shares his thoughts, and respectfully listens to the opinions of others when trying to solve problems in groups. Brian establishes positive relationships with peers and adults. He accepts responsibility for his own behaviour. He often takes an active role when problem solving in a group setting, and works well with his peers. He is beginning to take risks in his learning, but should continue to make this a goal for himself. He needs to continue to work on his willingness to seek out necessary teacher assistance so that he better understands the concepts under study. He is a respectful student who demonstrates tolerance and consideration for others. He usually listens attentively and follows instructions throughout the school day. Brian is a trustworthy and reliable student who demonstrates honesty in our classroom. Brian treats his peers fairly and equally in his interactions with others. He is encouraged to use classroom resources to help him during his work, such as dictionaries, textbooks, and classroom charts. Brian is also encouraged to set short-term goals (daily and weekly) and strive to achieve them consistently.
Olivia demonstrates responsibility by fulfilling classroom obligations on a daily basis. She comes to class appropriately prepared with her learning materials and agenda. She frequently completes and submits class work according to agreed upon timelines. Olivia keeps her desk neat and tidy and has no trouble locating and accessing any of the tools she needs to complete her work. She takes great care in her tasks and assignments and works well without supervision. Olivia is able to accurately keep track of assignments and is prepared for class each morning and ready to be dismissed at the end of each school day. She is encouraged to make use of the daily agenda board to stay organized on the tasks that are planned for the day. Olivia regularly collaborates with classmates by providing and accepting new roles, while usually taking on an equitable share of work in a group setting. She enjoys working in small group activities. Olivia often encourages those in her colour house to do their work and to listen attentively. She participates in class by asking and responding to questions during the lessons. She is usually the first one in class to raise her hand and always has something relevant to add to the discussion. Olivia demonstrates initiative in class when studying all subjects by showing a positive interest in the activities presented. She has a natural curiosity when presented with new learning material that is refreshing to see. She frequently monitors her learning and regularly asks questions for clarification and to deepen her understanding. Olivia is encouraged to set short-term goals while striving daily to achieve them.
Joan routinely fulfills responsibilities and commitments within the learning environment. She regularly takes on the responsibility of cleaning up the classroom by sweeping the floor and tidying up around the room. She actively participates in class by asking and responding to questions. She is encouraged to raise her hand and wait to be called upon before speaking out. She has some difficulty resolving conflicts in socially acceptable ways. She is encouraged to develop strategies for resolving conflicts appropriately with her peers. Joan generally keeps a neat workspace and organizes her academic resources throughout the day and across subjects. She works consistently throughout the school day on all academic tasks. She contributes meaningfully to the group work and collaborative tasks that we complete in class. She is usually very interested in taking academic risks in her learning pursuits. She regularly seeks assistance when needed so that she fully understands challenging curriculum concepts. Joan is encouraged to work on cooperating with her peers and demonstrating a more respectful tone while interacting with others, especially during recess and unstructured times. She should continue working on being more empathetic towards her peers in social situations and cooperative activities as well. She should continue using classroom resources to help her during her work, such as dictionaries, textbooks, and classroom charts. Joan is encouraged to set short-term goals (daily and weekly) and strive to achieve them consistently.
Teaching Tip Tuesday Archive – Over 200 great, free resources for teachers
The Car Thief by Theodore Weesner
Publishers offer to send me books every single week since I have this great platform in which to share them with you. This story sounded like it would be right up my alley. I love literary fiction and I like classics. This one seemed like it combined both of those.
I have to admit that I trudged my way through this one. It simply didn’t work for me on a few different levels. I didn’t identify the main character and the story moved a little too slowly for me.
Maybe it has something to do with the fact it was written forty years ago. It came out before I was born and apparently was quite popular. I’ve read heaps of praise for Weesner’s debut novel, but it looks like I won’t be adding to that pile.
It’s not that it’s a bad story or that it’s poorly written. It just didn’t grab my attention the way I wanted it to. I put it down and never felt like picking it back up. I managed to finish it, however, but it was a chore.
I’ve been told by several people that it’s okay to abandon a book. I pretty much never do that. I like to see things through to their conclusion. Maybe that’s a character fault.
If you’ve ever wanted to read this book, if you’d like to have it on your bookshelf, please email me, contact me on Twitter, or leave a comment below and I will gladly send you my copy for free.
My 2014 Reading Log - it’s getting down to the wire. I wonder what the final total will be.
I came into this story knowing nothing about this character. I had heard her name before and even seen her in some of The Avenger books I have read, but I didn’t have a grasp on who she was prior to picking up this book.
Brian Michael Bendis is one of my all-time favourite authors. He has penned another great tale, and along with the help of Brian Reed and Luna Brothers, they have created a great book.
It even ties into what is happened in Marvel: Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. right now as it shows a family within the Hydra organization. Jessica Drew’s father was very committed to the terrorist group. He was so committed to it that even his family wasn’t safe from his experiments.
The book follows Jessica Drew’s tragic childhood through to her brainwashing by Hydra to her joining S.H.I.E.L.D. and then eventually becoming an Avenger.
I have a new respect and admiration for the character after reading this. I am looking forward to the Netflix television series that will be focusing on her as well. We are in a golden-age of comic book film, television, and books. I’m glad to experience great stories in all three mediums.
My 2014 Reading Log – 70 books and counting!
How Successful People Lead by John C. Maxwell
Teachers are a special kind of leader. We have to lead a classroom full of students who have very diverse needs and attitudes.
I thought reading this book might help me develop further as a leader in education. While it wasn’t written with teachers in mind, I think we can still learn a lot from the wisdom of leaders in business settings too.
Maxwell believes that there are 5 levels of leadership and that successful leaders work their way up to the top echelon.
First Level – Position
Every leader starts in a position that relies solely on their job title. Every time, we start over in a new school, we start all over again on this bottom rung.
Second Level – Permission
After you have proved yourself somewhat, people will follow you because they like who you are and what you do. You have gained respect and earned their permission to lead.
Third Level – Production
People follow you because of what you have been able to accomplish at your school. This is a great one for coaches, music teachers, and anyone who runs an extra-curricular club. These accomplishments are quite visible in the school and people take notice.
Fourth Level – People Development
People follow you because of what you have done for them. Teaching is all about building relationships with students and parents. It is a tough job to get to this level as it takes time and personal attention to the student body (and not just the kids in your own class)
Fifth Level – The Pinnacle
According to the author, some people never reach this level. You can fall down at any level because of poor decisions, moving locations, and small failures. It is a constant building process to make your way up this ladder.
Assessment, Feedback, and Communication
Here’s a quote from the book about relates to feedback and purposeful assessment in the classroom. I have paraphrased it slightly to fit educational purposes.
“Our students should understand their mission. Good teacher never assume that their students understand the mission. Don’t take for granted that they know what you know or believe what you believe. Don’t assume they understand how their talents and efforts are supposed to contribute to the mission of the class and their own learning. Communicate it often.
Students, and their parents, should receive feedback about their performance. People always want to know how they are doing. If they are not succeeding, most of the time, they want to know how to make adjustments to improve and are willing to change if they are convinced it will help them win.”
I love the wording “win” here. Students of all ages want to win. What a great way to think about learning!
Learn All the Time
I constantly learn how to improve my own teaching by trying new methods, reading professional books, and even from books outside of education practice. I hope you have found this post useful. Come back next Tuesday for another dose of inspiration.
Teaching Tip Tuesday Archive – Over 200 great idea, tips, tricks, lessons, and inspiration for classroom teachers.
I found myself near Warwick, Ontario so I decided to see what the conservation area had to offer.
I started my run on The Blue Flag trail, not knowing exactly what to expect. But that is half of the fun!
It wasn’t long before this trail reached the perimeter fence.
There is camping at this park as well. It’s way out of season though. It definitely was a cold day to be running.
I didn’t want my run to be over so I continued to run down the main road.
There were two nice viewing platforms by the lake.
This would be a great place for a picnic (on a much warmer day, of course)
The White Pine Trail was more of what I was expecting when I decided to come visit this place. But unfortunately, it was less than a kilometer in length as well.
I had to go back and run the first trail again today to get my 5 kilometers in today. But when you explore trails at random like this, you never know what you are going to get.
Want more trails?
Explore my collection here! (70 trails and counting)
I posted this to Facebook last week
because I truly was excited about the new Taylor Swift album dropping.
I am not ashamed to admit that I love music of all different sorts of genres. I know that certain people know me as a hip-hop DJ and radio personality and would be surprised to learn that I also love some country and pop music.
I used to be a huge Tiffany fan back in the day and I have loved Taylor Swift since the first time I heard her. But until right now, I never really saw the connection between them.
When I opened the album, I was immediately struck by the packaging and presentation. It is an absolutely beautiful release.
But I thought back to Jeff’s comment on my post, “It’s Tiffany all over again”
And it really is. Tiffany was already a popular singer in 1989, the very year that Taylor Swift was born. In fact, in the liner notes to this album, Taylor writes . . .
“I listened to a lot of music from the decade in which I was born and I listened to my intuition that it was a good thing to follow this gut feeling.”
So, Taylor Swift was influenced by Tiffany. It makes sense!
I’m really enjoying this new album that is a throwback to the original debut album by my favourite pop princess from the late 1980s. It’s the best of both worlds.
I don’t know if I could have done what Taylor has done here. Channeling the music of the year you were born, and doing it in an authentic way that doesn’t detract from the current body of work. ‘
Taylor Swift truly is amazing!
Ten years ago this week, I had to get some gas on the way to work. As I went in the store to pay, I noticed this brilliant photo on the front page of the newspaper. I was immediately inspired by this gorgeous image.
First, we don’t normally get to see the Northern Lights in my part of South Western Ontario, Canada. Secondly, I was scheduled to teach visual arts that day and thought this would be a great a timely piece to recreate.
Since then, I have done this lesson several times with many different classes in different cities. And it has always been a hit.
I even purchased an 8×10 photo of the image and have it framed in my living room. Did you know that newspapers provide that service?
Here is how we recreate the photo in my visual arts classes.
1) We use pencil crayons to create ribbons of colour across the entire page.
2) Make sure that there is absolutely no white space. Once the entire background is drawn to show the colourful night-time sky, you are ready to colour the foreground.
3) Use a black crayon to draw a hill, tree, and any other thing you might want to add.
I never want to simply recreate an image in art class. I want my students to use their own imagination and create however they see fit (that is the point of art after all)
The key here is to press down on the black crayon to so that the foreground is solid and dark. The bottom right image above did the best job.
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Fanshawe Conservation Area is located in London, Ontario and it is a great place to come for a picnic, to visit a working Pioneer Village, and to experience all that natural beauty of the area.
Today, we will be exploring The Lake Trail.
The Lake Trail runs through several types of terrain. It goes through the bush a few times, but keeps coming back to the shore line.
There are a few hills along the route but there is fair warning for cyclists to slow down as they approach them.
I absolutely loved running this trail on the weekend.
The Doug Wells Control Tower is used to watch rowers as they train and compete on the water. This is one of the main training grounds in the area and has produced quite a few athletes.
The Lake Trail is 21 kilometers long. I only ran 3 kilometers of it today before turning around. There is a lot more to explore and I hope to go back soon.
Photographic Tour Archive – over 5 dozen trails to explore
This one-off story was originally published in Italy and has never been presented to North American audiences until now.
The villain in this one is Death Stalker, who first appeared in Frank Miller’s legendary run on the Daredevil title. The story was translated into English for this edition but it seems to work just fine. It’s standard super-hero team-up fair but a nice read nonetheless.
Matt Murdock was blinded as a young boy. The rest of his senses became so acute that he can function perfectly fine without sight. He has a radar sense that basically allows him to see in 360 degrees. He uses these powers for good and fights crime as Daredevil.
So, when given the chance to actually see with real eyes again, will it change his life for the better, or is it better to remain as he is. It’s a tough decision considering that Bullseye is back in town and a gang war seems to be wreaking havoc in the city as well.
This one-shot title is in black and white and tells a great story!
Carlos LaMuerto is the Black Tarantula and he has gone through a lot in his lifetime. He is trying to do the right thing by fighting crime with the powers that have been en-gifted to him. His cousin tries to steal this power. Daredevil helps foil the plans but doesn’t like Tarantula’s methods that often go a tad overboard.
I didn’t know much about this character but did enjoy this short tale featuring my favourite super-hero, Daredevil.
This is an origin story of the relationship between Luke Cage and Daredevil. Typical guys who are not above knocking each other around to prove something to themselves and one another.
I don’t often seek out these one-offs to read but couldn’t help myself since I had the Marvel Unlimited App on my phone for a trial subscription. I really enjoyed reading all of the comics I have been posting about for the past two months. This app is a great tool to have. It’s so nice being able to carry around digital comic books that live in my phone. I can read whenever I get a spare moment. It’s awesome!
My 2014 Reading Log – pretty impressive list so far too!
Today is Stacy’s birthday. I was hoping that I would be celebrating it with her. Instead, I am feeling a familiar pang of heartbreak. I really thought she was the one.
I watched a movie on DVD the other day, and one of the characters said a line that has really stuck with me. The character was talking to an ex, she walked away, and then turned back to him and said, “You will always be my favourite ex-boyfriend.”
I feel the same way about Stacy. So, I dedicated this edition of Word is Bond Rap Radio to her.
MKV and Adamatic – Joy and Pian
Frankie Payne – Give Thanks
Skulastic – What Yoou’ve Got
Chris Green – Just Know
Muneshine – Venus and Mars
Part-Time Cooks – Nowhere But Up
Grimace Love – Chances
Relic and Soul – Good Enough
Typewriters – Heaven
Soundminds – 3 MCs 1 DJ
The Nicest – Still Going Nowhere
Ngajuana – B.R.A.I.L.L.E.
Dustin Moore – Go Get What You Deserve
Branded Moore – Admire the Belt
Mad Hattr – Who’s Next
It’s amazing how music can help you get over a break-up. So, if you are going through the same thing I am right now, I hope these tunes can give you some perspective.
Tune in live
Thanks for listening!