Monthly Archives: August 2010

Teaching Tip Tuesdays Are Back!

Classroom at Port Charlotte High School where ...Image via Wikipedia

Teaching Tip Tuesdays are back.

Every Tuesday, during the school year, I share with you tips, ideas, and resources that you can use in your classroom.

I hope you’ve enjoyed your summer holidays. I know the students don’t start back up until next week but most teachers will be in their classrooms all week long, getting ready for that first day.

The first day of school holds so much potential. If you start it on a good note, it can set the tone for the entire year.

Make sure you have a detailed day plan for the first day with plenty of back-up activities. It is always best to have too many activities for the first day.

I plan on making this craft with my kids on that first day. I found this foam airplane craft kit at the dollar store. The best thing about it is that it makes ten planes so I only have to spend three dollars to have a class set.

It comes with foam stickers so that we can spell our names on the planes as well.

I tried launching it off my balcony. These things don’t fly as good as the old styrofoam ones I used to buy at the corner store when I was a kid. I so loved those.

I was thinking that I could attach a string to the top of each plane and suspend them from the ceiling. It could serve as a nice metaphor for the year about how we will soar to new heights academically and socially. 
I think having a craft on the first day is a great idea. Last year, I had the students colour a hot-air balloon and made a bulletin board displaying all our work. I think I like this foam airplane idea a lot more. 
I’m sure you can find a similar craft at your local dollar store (if not this same one)

If you are a teacher and want to find more tips, click on the ‘Teaching Tips’ tab at the stop of the page. There are over 60 tips there and I will be adding a new one each week. 


I believe teachers should help teachers. I hope you will find this series useful. Also, if you have a teaching tip, you’d like to share, please contact me about writing a guest post. 

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Carolinian Trail – Pinery Provincial Park

Pinery Provincial Park is simply breathtaking. It is located on the shore of Lake Huron just south of Grand Bend.

“The Oak Savanna and Freshwater Coastal Dune ecosystems which make up the park are extremely rare and fragile and are home to many equally rare or endangered plants, animals, and insects.”

I really should have taken more pictures of my camping trip to share with you. I was having so much fun that I almost completely forgot to bring out my camera. I did take it along with me when I went for a trail run though. So here is the latest installment of my Visual Running Tours. Enjoy!

“This trail is located in a rich forest dominated by southern species common to the Carolinian forest.  Stairways, benches and viewing platforms make observing nature easy.”

Here’s some more information on the trail. It says it takes an hour to walk and enjoy the nature.

Maybe I should have slowed down and not run through it so quickly. Nah!

I often don’t get the chance to run up so many stairs while doing a trail run. This was a nice challenge.

The trail is quite nice to run through. It was really quiet. I actually didn’t bump into anyone else on this run.

Which way do I go?

Oh yeah. Just follow the arrow.

Wow. This staircase is huge.

And it keeps going and going. Whew! This is a work-out.

Here is a nice viewing platform. But I can’t rest. Must keep running!

I have never been on a trail that has so many stairs. But I’m not complaining. It was a nice quiet run through some amazing woods.

At the side of the trail I noticed a caged in area. I went over to see why a small section of the woods was closed off by a fence.

It was one of several “Deer Enclosures” which allow “researchers to monitor plant growth that is undisturbed by deer browse.”

This park really puts nature first. Many trees have fallen and they are just left there.

You aren’t even allowed to gather firewood.

This is part of the Old Ausable Channel that leads to the Ausable River.

And that was just one of the ten nature trails that Pinery Park has to offer. They even do guided tours and demonstrations there as well.

I definitely recommend going. Book your campsite early since it often fills up. Or just go for a nice day trip. Hope you’ve enjoyed this photographic tour. Check out all the different running tours here.

– text quoted from Pinery 2010 Information Guide

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Get Ready For School With 1 Word – Sleep

Students need sleep in order to study.Image via Wikipedia

Going back to school is a big adjustment after having two months off.

Many students have been staying up later than usual. They’ve also been sleeping in.

So when it comes to having to wake up early, many kids just aren’t prepared for the first and subsequent days of school.

Having a good night’s sleep is absolutely essential. I cannot stress this enough.

Students who are tired, simply don’t do as well in their studies. I’ve seen it time and time again in my class. I actually teach a health lesson on the importance of sleep every year. I hope it sinks in.

So here’s my advice for all the parents out there.

School starts soon.

1) Start getting your kids ready for it now by enforcing a reasonable bedtime.
2) Don’t let them sleep in too long.
3) Start now.

If you slowly get your child back into a regular sleeping pattern now, school won’t be such a shock to them in a few weeks.

This sounds like a little thing but like Bruce Barton says,

“Sometimes when I consider what tremendous consequences come from little things . . . I am tempted to think . . . there are no little things.” 

Now, go get some sleep!

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Stop the Back to School Madness!

I hate how the end of summer turns into a “Back to School” season. It has somehow become entrenched in our culture that our kids need new things to go back to school.

Why?

We have a public school system that ensures that all of our children can get a quality education. (Stop laughing)

I’m a teacher and I am dedicated to my job and the students in my class. I provide for them the best I can with the small budget I am allowed from the school board.

I don’t want parents buying their kids any school materials. This includes,

pencils,
pencil crayons,
markers,
binders,
pencil cases,
rulers,
calculators,
workbooks,
planners,
etc.

These things should simply be provided. All of the students in my school receive an Agenda / Planner book that becomes a great communication tool between the school and home. Most schools seem to do this nowadays.

I use my small classroom budget every year to buy each student in my class a pencil case. I fill each pencil case with a box of crayons, a pencil, an eraser, and a small pencil sharpener. I also provide each student with a full-sized ruler.

Of course, textbooks and notebooks are also provided. I also provide a new pencil for each student on a weekly basis.

Here are a few things that parents can invest in however,

a backpack,
a reusable lunch bag,
a reusable water bottle,
indoor running shoes (a must for class time and gym)

I don’t want any of my parents to get sucked into the “Back to School” madness that seems to be taking hold of the media airwaves and store displays.

Kids in elementary school don’t need high-tech toys (learning materials) or flashy stationary items.

Personal story – A kid comes to class with a lot of the back to school paraphernalia. The kid beams with pride at having all this stuff. He looks around and sees that many kids don’t have the same stuff. This immediately distances him from others. Some students feel bad that they don’t have such luxuries. They make fun of him and purposely don’t include him in their recess play or class chatter. After a while, the kid hides or stops bringing out the new material because it feels like he is showing off.

This happens every year in my class. In spite of everything I try to do. Let’s try to avoid that this year. Stop the back to school madness. Please!

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More Lovely Ladies of Silent Cacophony

Here are more lovely ladies that will forever be welcome here at Silent Cacophony.

Amy Adams

My new love. 
I’ve seen her in two films recently 
and she has captured my heart. 

Ellen Page

I think she would be just as cool as her characters usually are.
I can’t help but love her every time I see her on the screen.

Stacey Dash

She was the best thing about “Clueless”
and she’s still got it.

Yeah, I know I’m still dreaming but having dreams is healthy, right? 

Photo credits:
Amy Adams – http://www.amy-adams.org/
Ellen Page – http://www.ellenpages.com/gallery/displayimage.php?album=332&pos=49
Stacey Dash – http://www.eurweb.com/?p=21946 

The Podcast Is Fading Away

I started The Chase March Show way back in June of 2009 when I had the opportunity to interview The New Cities. 

Since then, I have posted 18 episodes that have featured interviews from rappers and Olympic athletes. I even featured a mixtape that I made.

I had planned to release monthly episodes but I simply don’t have the time to do so. I am quite busy producing segments for DOPEfm. I don’t have the time to carry a separate show as well.

I would like to see my podcast stay up forever. I would like to update it whenever I feel like it and not have to worry about producing monthly episodes. However, mypodcast is cleaning up sites that aren’t updated regularly and have warned me that I need to keep a monthly schedule of updates to avoid deletion.

I don’t want to splinter my time any further than it already is. As such, The Chase March Show podcast will be shut down soon. I will try to move the shows so you can still catch them but in the meantime, if you want them, please go an download them before they are gone.

Thanks for all your support.

Females Are Killing It

In a recent interview, I asked Eternia why there aren’t more women in rap. This is what she had to say,

“I don’t believe that there is actually a lack of females in hip-hop. I think there’s a lack of coverage, oftentimes. I think that getting ourselves out there with multiple full-length albums, there is a lack of that with female MCs. But when it comes to every city, when it comes to every place I go, I find a multitude of females MCs everywhere I go who are doing their thing, holding it down, throwing events, on the radio, and actually doing things that MCs do to promote themselves in every city that I go to. So I know a lot of female MCs globally.”

The truth is that there are a lot of women in rap. We just don’t hear them. They simply don’t get the media attention. Hip-hop seems to be a male dominated art form, which is a shame because there are some amazingly talented female rappers out there.

I’m in the process of putting together a Ladies Night Spectacular for DOPEfm. Our goal is to do an entire overnight show that puts the focus entirely on the women who are making and performing hip-hop music.

I have a fair amount of female hip-hop that I can play during the show but not enough to fill the entire 7 hours of programming we do each and every week here at DOPEfm. So I started researching and looking for female rappers and what I found surprised me.

Eternia was right, there are tons of females in hip-hop.

A reader commented on one of my posts and suggested I check out Dessa. Thank you Adam!

I had never heard of this amazing artist before that. I searched her out because of Adam’s comment and was simply blown away by what I heard.

Dessa’s A Badly Broken Code is an amazing album.

I would be doing Dessa a diservice by comparing her to any other artist. She spits great underground hip-hop with witty and clever lyrics. She also sings on tracks that have a neo-hip-hop-soul-jazz sound. In this aspect she reminds me of Lauryn Hill.

The album is sonically beautiful and captivates from start to finish. I will definitely being playing her music on the show and I won’t wait for the Ladies Night Special either. She deserves to be in constant rotation of any respectable hip-hop show.

Here’s the video for “Dixon Girl” Check it out, and then go support this amazing artist.

Muneshine Interview

I was really excited to go to the Shad / D-sisive / Ngajuana concert last month.

I had already interviewed everyone on the bill that night but the D-sisive interview I did was nearly ten years ago and it was for the university newspaper. I was really looking forward to interviewing him again for the DOPEfm radio show.

During that interview, D-sisive introduced me to his producer Muneshine. I had the chance to interview him as well before they both took to the stage. Any fan of Canadian hip-hop has heard the name Muneshine again and again. He has produced some great tunes over the years.
Muneshine told a hilarious story about how he and D-sisive first met. “It was about ten years ago when he was on tour with DJ Serious and Nish Rawks. They came through Saskatoon, which is where I’m from originally. I was already a fan of their music at that time.
So they came through and they had a show. I remember it was at Louis’ on the University of Saskatoon campus. It was a campus show that they did in the middle of the summer when there were no students. There was me and three or four of my friends and maybe four other people there to see them. And I remember being pissed too because I wanted him to play the ‘Lost Sight’ remix and he’s like, ‘Nah, son. I don’t know what you are talking about.’”
D-sivive started laughing at this point of the story.

Muneshine just continued, “So he didn’t play that song and I was kind of hurt because that was my jam back in the day.”

I agree with Muneshine. That is an amazing song. You can find it on the Yesterday Mixtape if you want a copy of it. I also spun it in the mixset following the D-sisive interview. Muneshine is partial to the video though which is a lot harder to find.
Muneshine continued to joke with all of us when he admitted to meeting D-sisive at that campus show. “His show was lackluster. I’ll say it was DJ Serious’s show.”
D-sisive responded to that, but you can’t quite hear what he said. Muneshine continued the story by telling us that he had a show the following night and D-sisive came through that one as well. This time, he jokes, the show was a success. “There were a lot of people there. We brought D up on stage to show him some love. Anyway, six or seven years passed. I moved to Toronto when I finished school. I hit him up when I got here and we just started hanging out and started working right away.” Since then Muneshine had produced a lot of D-sisive’s music.
Muneshine got into production after deejaying in high school. He was inspired by producers such as Pete Rock and DJ Premier. As a fan, he wanted to learn how his favourite producers were able to do what they did. So he bought an MPC and started making beats. And the rest, as they say, is history.
We got into a discussion about sample-based production and the legal problems that producers can get into. “As a producer, I would like to have the freedom to sample without having to worry about it. But at the end of the day, if someone is just taking big loops of someone else’s music and not really doing anything too creative with it, then it is just sort of piggybacking that person’s talent.” In that instance, Muneshine admits that the original artist “should be cut a little bit of the money.”
In addition to all the tracks he has produced for other artists, Muneshine put out his own album last fall entitled “Status Symbol” and has just finished an EP with Ghettosocks. Together these two form the group “Twin Peaks” and you can get The Perfect Strangers EP now while you wait for the full length album “Kissing Hands and Shaking Babies.”
You can listen to the interview with the player below or you can download it for free. After the interview and two Muneshine tracks, Gamma Krush spins some tunes for you to nod your head to. DOPEfm always represents the real hip-hop. Check us out by subscribing to our two podcast feeds and catching us live Saturday overnight on 93.3 CFMU. Thanks again to Muneshine and D-sisive for the great interviews.

Give The Roots Their Due

So I’m rolling in the car with a friend who is not a fan of rap music.


My MP3 player is hooked up to the car stereo and we’re listening to some country music. Tim McGraw’s Southern Voice is an amazing album. Love it!

Anyway, she feels like listening to something else and starts scrolling though the lists of albums. I’m impressed that she is looking at “albums” and not “artists.”

So she comes across an album entitled “do you want more?!!!??!” and hits play.

I hadn’t listened to this album in a while. I congratulate her on an excellent selection.

She says, “It sounded  interesting.”

As we listen to the album, she tells me how much she likes it. This girl has good taste.
“do you want more?!!!??!” is the second album from The Roots and it was my first introduction to them. During the course of the album, they refer to their sound as “organic hip-hop jazz,” a fitting label if there can be one for this diverse musical group.

That was a great trip.

The next time we are in the car together, I put on their latest album, “How I Got Over,“ which has been in heavy rotation for me since it came out. It really is an amazing album.

The Roots organic hip-hop jazz sound has grown and developed over the course of nine studio albums. This is one group that invents a brand new sound each and every time they release a record.

However, after having listened to both of these albums closely this week, I notice that they are very similar in tone and feel. This latest album might seem a bit sparse at first listen with piano on every track. But it really grows on on.

My friend could recognized it was same group before I even told her. I`m not sure she would have done that had I played one of their other records.

We had another excellent trip.

Hopefully, this post will convert some other people to The Roots. It really is a shame that they aren`t more popular and well-known. It`s time to give them their due. They make great music and have an amazing body of work. Go check them out.


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Green Army Men Skateboard

I don’t reblog often. Instead I usually share cool images that I find online using Twitpic. However, I really wanted to share this image with all of you.

A green army dude figure is doing a kickflip with his flat plastic base.

That is just golden there. Much props to the artist. I so want this t-shirt. Early Christmas present hint, just in case you weren’t sure of what to get me and you didn’t want to let that torture you over the next four months. I’m just saying. 🙂