Monthly Archives: September 2011

Kitchener’s DJ Whitegold

Chase: “We’ve got DJ Whitegold from Kitchener here at the 2011 Stylus Awards. So where are you spinning in Kitchener?”

DJ Whitegold: “I play at Phil’s, in Waterloo. I play at the University of Waterloo, Cameo, Ceaser Martini’s, a lot of places in London, and a lot of different cities too.”

Chase: “Do you notice a big student crowd? Is it a different type of crowd every year?”

DJ Whitegold: “Every year. New faces, new vibe. People from different countries, different cities.”

Chase: “What kind of tunes to do spin?”

DJ Whitegold: “I play everything. Mostly hip-hop, R&B, and reggae, but you know, everything is moving to house and Top 40, and electro. So, it’s all over the map.”

Chase: “I see you got a trophy there. They handed out some awards last night?”

DJ Whitegold: “Yeah, they handed out 9 awards last night. My category was one of them. I was honoured enough and lucky to be able to take Central DJ of the Year again this year.”

Chase: “You do mixtapes as well, don’t you? I’ve seen your name all over the Internet.”

DJ Whitegold: “Yes. I haven’t put one out in a little bit, but I got one coming out in another month. So go to djwhitegold.com. You can get all my mixtapes and stuff there.”

Chase: “Congratulations on your award!”

DJ Whitegold: “Thanks! Nice to meet you guys!”

Spicebush Trail at Rondeau Provincial Park

Let’s go to Rondeau Provincial Park in Southern Ontario today for another edition of My Visual Running Tours!

I spent a week of my holidays this summer camping at this beautiful park.

You can go there for a day trip if you’d like. Just make sure to pack a lunch, plan to go swimming, and spend an entire day there. After all, you’ll want to get your money’s worth out of the day-use fee they will charge you at the gate.

Today, let’s explore the Spicebush Trail.

It is one of the shorter hiking trails at Rondeau and a good place to start on a nice leisurely stroll through the woods.

They had these signs at the start of every trail, and I must admit, it made me a bit nervous.

Poison Ivy is a three-leafed plant that you definitely do not want to come into contact with.

I know what it looks like and I kept my eye out for it. I didn’t see any along this trail. I’m sure the staff here maintain the trails so that it wouldn’t be an issue unless you were to stray from the main path.

The trail “winds through a southern hardwood forest.” (Ontario Trails Website)

You can see how accessible this trail is. Every boardwalk or bridge has low railings so that someone in a wheelchair could easily manage this trail with little or no assistance.

We didn’t have any trouble with the “potentially hazardous insects” the sign warned us about either.

Nonetheless, it is important to check yourself after a trail run to see if any ticks have attached themselves to you. If you don’t remove a tick promptly, you can end up with Lyme Disease.

For more information about ticks, go to The Public Health Agency of Canada’s website.

I hope I didn’t scare any of you away from hiking or running the beautiful trails we have here. You just need to take some precaution. Use insect repellent, wear long pants, and check yourself afterwards, and you have nothing to worry about.

Photography by Dana Kathryn

More Great Trails

Teaching Tip – Use Lego To Teach Science

Lego is amazing. I hesitate calling it a toy because it is so much more than that.

I have used it in my classroon in a variety of different ways and I know that its educational benefits are pretty much limitless.

I have yet to see a kid who doesn’t like playing with Lego. But as teachers, we can move beyond simply having a Lego bin available for free time play.

We can use Lego to let our students explore scientific concepts, to build working simple machine models, and to be totally engaged in their work.

Lego Gears

My school purchased 8 of these educational Lego kits. This kit focuses on gears and nothing else.
 

You can teach an entire unit on simple machines using Lego. I just have the students work in groups of three when using these kits.

Each kit has about a dozen models that the students can build.

There are easy to follow instructions and they highlight the scientific principles involved in each model.

I photocopied the instructions and whited-out the scientific explanations so that the students could make predictions before testing out their creation.

Here is an example.

How fast do you think the small wheel will turn when you turn the large driver?

I covered every aspect of the Grade 4 Science Unit on Gears and Pulleys just by using these Lego kits.

Lego Pulleys

The pulley kits work pretty much the same way.

The students work through building models, forming predictions, and then testing out their creations to make observations about the scientific principles involved. 
There are even some puzzles that students need to figure out how to solve. These allow for level four thinking and can be used to challenge students who easily understand the material. 
You can learn more about each model and the science behind them from Ali Sanjaya’s website. There are some great diagrams and animations there to help students understand what they have built. 



Use What You Have


If you don’t have the budget to buy these specialized kits, you probably have some pulleys and gears in the bin of Lego you already have. Or perhaps you could scrounge some from the other classrooms at your school. 
More Teaching Tips

4 Things I Learned at a Wedding

I went to a really nice wedding on the weekend. I’ve been to quite a few of them over the past ten years and, believe it or not, I still learned a few new things this time around.

Here are the 4 Things I Learned at a Wedding this weekend.

1) Unless you like your food rare, don’t order the beef.

I checked off the beef dinner on the wedding invitation several months ago. That turned out to be a mistake. The beef that came to the table this weekend was noticeably pink. I always order my meal to be well-done. I pretty much burn it when I cook it myself, and that’s how I like it. I asked one of the servers if all of the beef was prepared the same way. She told me that it was. I cut into it, hoping to find a section of it that was more thoroughly cooked, but was disappointed. This huge cut of beef was rare. I asked if I could switch my meal for the chicken. Thankfully, they had an extra one for me. I just couldn’t bring myself to eat something that was noticeably pink.

2) No matter what you do, you can’t escape the dance floor.

I have absolutely no rhythm when it comes to dancing. I don’t even have a move or two that I can fall back on. That’s why, I try to avoid the dance floor at all costs.

However, when the bride comes over and drags you to the dance floor, you have to go.

So I did. It was a fast song. I felt uncomfortable and awkward. I survived the song, but was glad when it was over.

I think I’ll need to learn a dance move or two before attending another wedding. That way, I’ll be prepared for the inevitable trip to the dance floor. I’ll probably feel better if I have a move I can actually pull off.

3) The DJ can’t please everyone.

I am often critical of wedding deejays. Most of the weddings I have been to, the DJ has been less than stellar. I look for a few things when evaluating the DJ.

Can the DJ mix? – I don’t want to hear songs fading out or a little bit of dead-air between them. The songs should blend together.

Does the DJ play to the crowd? – Good wedding deejays will play modern pop songs, classic rock, songs, a nice mix of slow songs, a country song or two, some dance numbers, and at least two or three rap songs.

Does the DJ keep people on the floor? – If people are dancing, then the DJ is doing his job.

I heard some people criticizing the DJ this weekend. In my humble opinion, he succeeded in doing all of those three things. He was a good DJ and he still couldn’t please everyone.

4) Things will go wrong (but most people won’t notice)

It was a great wedding. I know that not everything went according to plan. I know the bride and her family stressed about some of those details, but things worked out. And I can guarantee you that most people didn’t even notice those hiccups.

People will remember that the couple looked beautiful and happy, that everyone seemed to have fun, and that the day was a success. And that’s what’s important.

Trixx (Red Carpet Interview)

DOPEfm caught up with stand-up comedian, Trixx for a quick interview on the red carpet of the 2011 Stylus DJ Awards, the show that he has hosted for the past two years straight.

Chase: “Hey Trixx, what’s up? DOPEfm radio, Hamilton.”

Trixx: “Steel City! What’s up, man?”

Chase: “We’re doing good man. Who are you here to support?”

Trixx: “I’m actually hosting the show tonight. So, I’m supporting everybody. I’m for the DJ ’cause I’m a guy who used to be a DJ. Any time I get to mess with the Stylus people, I don’t miss out. Shout out to all the DJs nominated. Shout out to all the artists nominated as well.”

Chase: “You held it down last year as host.”

Trixx: “Yeah, and they called me back to do it again. This year the show is going to be very interesting. A lot of surprises, a lot of surprise guests are in the house, a lot of star power this year too. We got Russell Peters, some New York Rangers in the house, some Toronto Maple Leafs in the house, Jully Black is here, Glen Lewis. We got a lot of people here and the awards get bigger every year. You don’t want mess with it.”

Chase: “You’re still going strong with your stand-up and comedy.”

Trixx: “My new DVD, Iceman comes out tomorrow. HMV, iTunes, Netflix. So it’s a big day for me today and tomorrow

Chase: “Best of luck with your hosting duties and with your DVD. Hope it sells like crazy.”

Trixx: “Thanks. Appreciate it!”

Here’s a funny video to wrap things up. Warning: Explicit language.

The Marsh Trail at Rondeau Provincial Park

Rondeau Provincial Park is located in Southern Ontario and it is a great destination for camping, boating, fishing, hanging out at the beach, and of course, trail running.

When you are on site, it almost feels as if you are on an island since the beach runs along Lake Erie on one side and there is a bay on the other.

Let’s go on a Visual Running Tour of The Marsh Trail that runs alongside Rondeau Bay.

While there are some trees along this route, it is mostly open and sunny.

You really need to watch your footing when running this trail.

I was afraid I was going to step on one of the many frogs that I saw hopping across it.

There were lots of them.

I love a trail that takes you alongside some water. Here the water is Rondeau Bay (it is on the left side of the map above)

This boardwalk takes you to an observation tower, only about a kilometer or so down the trail.

It allows some absolutely beautiful views.

Apparently, this is one of the best bird-watching areas in the spring.

There are benches at the top of this observation tower. There are also some plaques about the birds and wildlife that you can see from here.

This trail is over 7 kilometers long and while it winds a little, it is pretty much a straight path alongside the bay. I didn’t want to run the entire thing because 14 kilometers is a bit long for my liking.

I turned around after running about half of it and judging from my time, I ran roughly 6 kilometers. It was a great run.

There are some other great running spots at this park. Stay tuned, next week for another Visual Running Tour from Rondeau.

Photography by Dana Kathryn

More Running Tours

Bandwidth Exceeded

'Will work for bandwidth' avatarImage via WikipediaWell, this is a first. I’ve exceeded my bandwidth traffic allowance for my domain name.

The short-cut link – chasemarch.com won’t work right now.

In the meantime, make sure you type in the long form address to get to my blog.

http://chasemarch.blogspot.com

It’s like chasemarch.com except you need to add “.blogspot” before the “.com”

Sorry for the inconvenience. It seems that people have really took to downloading my mixtapes and teaching documents this month, which is awesome by the way.

If you need a resource and can’t download it, please email me  (my name at gmail dot com) or get at me on Twitter and I’ll be happy to send you whatever you need.

The domain name should be operational again soon.

Thanks for your continued support!

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Free Teaching Resources

BERLIN, GERMANY - DECEMBER 28:  A participant ...Image by Getty Images via @daylifeFree Technology For Teachers is an amazing website that is updated so frequently, it is often hard to keep on top of all the great, free resources they highlight.

Here are just a few of the tools you will find at this amazing site. Click on the links to read more about each one.

Get More out of PDFs

PDF to Word – This online tool will convert PDF documents to a file that you can then edit on MS Word.

Page Flip-Flap – This resource helps you turn your multiple page PDF files into an online book with page turning effects.

Convert Articles to PDFs – This is a great tool for bookmarking and saving those useful articles you happen to come across when you simply don’t have the time to read them. They get emailed to you, so you can review them at your convenience.

Primary Education

Make Online Flashcards – These would be great for basic review, sight word lists, vocabulary, etc.

Kids Should See This – This blog features short online videos that are both educational and entertaining. There are plenty of great ways to use short videos in the classroom.

Reading

Children’s Books Forever – Free ebooks for kids. These are great for using in your guided reading program and could be projected onto your Smartboard.

Lesson Plans for Children’s Books – A good place to look before you go to the library to choose reading material for your class.

Math

Math Pickle – Use videos to teach math concepts. It also includes links to PowerPoint presentations and worksheets.

And much, much more.

I haven’t had the chance to incorporate all of these free tools into my instruction. I am writing this post, in part, as a personal note to self, and to show you how great a resource FreeTech4Teachers.com actually is.

More Teaching Tips

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On The Red Carpet at The Stylus DJ Awards

The Stylus DJ Awards are a big event for Toronto. The event seems to get bigger and bigger every year. 

Last year, Daddy J and I were set up in the green room of the Queen Elizabeth Theatre and had the chance to speak with several award winners as soon as they stepped off the stage. 
This year, we tried something new. We were stationed outside of the venue on the red carpet. It was my first red carpet experience. 
A red carpet interview has its unique challenges. First off, you never really know who you are going to get. Every interview needs to be done on the fly. They need to be short and to the point, and there is no take-two. 
It was an interesting night and quite the experience. 

We were able to get short interviews from . . .

I have transcribed these interviews and will be posting them here on Silent Cacophony over the next several weeks. Stay tuned!

Everyday People Interview

Everyday People are a dope hip-hop group from Hamilton, Ontario. We caught up with them at Hess Village before they took to the stage for this interview. You can download the show for free, stream it with the player below, or just continue reading.

Chase:  “All right everybody, this is Chase March in the heart of Hess Village with hip-hop group, Everyday People. How many people are in the group?”

Part Mada: “Well, we got two primary members, which is me and Sin Yung. And then we have Pranks, Brandon, and we have some other members as well. Me and Sin Yung are the front men, more or less.”
Chase: “And you’re representing Hamilton?”
Sin Yung: “Steel City! We’re repping the world, man. We don’t just seclude ourselves to Hamilton. This is Everyday People. This is for everybody. We repping the world!
With Galvanized, the mixtape, we starting with where we’re from, Steel City. This is where I grew up. This is where he grew up. We’re just showing the world where we’re from and trying to get worldwide.”
Chase: “So that is where the title of the current mixtape comes from then?”
Sin Yung: “Yes. Steel City, Galvanized!”
Chase: “How about your name? Why are you Everyday People?”
Part Mada: “You know what? We’re Everyday People just for that reason, because we’re everyday people. I’m not a rock star. I wake up and go to work in the morning. This man goes to work. We all go to work. We’re just normal. We are all trying to do what we love to do.”
Chase: “So how did you get started?”
Sin Yung: “I’ve been doing this for a while. High school, just beatboxing, ciphering, hanging with some friends that influenced me to Mobb Deep and a bunch of other groups, and just took it from there.”
Chase: “Okay, that is Sin Yung, how about Part Mada?”
Part Mada: “Me and the other producer,  Brandon, started out years and years ago. Brandon was departed for a few years and I kind of took a break, then me and Corwin (Sin Yung) ending up linking up and bing, bang, boom. You got what you got.”
Sin Yung: “A couple years ago, I was in a group, New North.  We were a Hamilton, local group, started in 2003. It fell apart and now it’s been reincarnated to Everyday People. It’s been going good for about a year now.”
Chase: “In the late 1990s, I was trying to get a rap career started and Hamilton was not a hip-hop town by any means back then. It was hard to get gigs anywhere in the city. I’m not sure what it was, either the audience or the club owners weren’t receptive to local rap acts. But that seems to have changed a lot on the past few years, hasn’t it?”
Sin Yung: “There was a good scene for hip-hop a few years ago when Circadelic was running the scene, my boy Raiz, about five or six years ago. We’re trying to bring it back.
There ‘s a lot of good people coming out right now. This summer has been a good one for hip-hop. We got Slur, FCM, Indi Feenz, and a lot of people doing their thing. This summer and forward, it’s gonna be pretty good. We’re gonna play our part to bring the scene back to where it should be.”
Chase: “Also, in this day and age, it’s important to have a web presence. I went online, I could find you right away, found a little bio, and that is good to have. I just went to a festival in Toronto, and I had a hard time finding bios from some of the acts. So how important is it to have a web presence and where can we find you online?”
Sin Yung: “We’ve only been together a year and we’re still trying to put a lot of things together. We got our manager, Steph Kelly,on board. Beatbinjaz! She’s really made us what we are right now. She got Ghettosocks to come out for our first big show.
The one thing I try and stress to the group is that we have to be active in social media. We’re on YouTube – Everyday People 1, we’re on Reverb, Facebook, everywhere we can try and be. We’re trying to network and make everything happen. I think it’s really important because that is where everyone puts their time to. It’s good for music.
Soon, there won’t be any CDs. They’ll just be downloads, mixtapes, and whatnot.”
Part Mada: “Hope not, man.”
Chase: “Yeah, I think it’s going to be totally on The Internet, streaming. There isn’t going to be downloads. You’ll just stream stuff and have everything online. It’s kind of scary though,because how do you as an artist make a living these days?”
Sin Yung: “Like Everyday People. That sums it all up. That’s what we say for everything.”
Chase: “That’s cool, because you both have day jobs, so do I. We do hip-hop for fun here at DOPEfm. We’re not getting paid for it. Hopefully, you’re getting paid for this.”
Sin Yung: “We’re not getting paid? We get to come to the show for free at least. 
I’m a dad now. I grew up. I work my 9 to 5 – it’s better to earn.
I try to stress to people, do what you do. You gotta do what you do to get by, right? We’re trying to do this music thing. Hopefully we can get paid off it one day, but to me it’s just like a by-product of what we really love, which is music. So, money ain’t a thing – on that level.”
Chase: “Can you tell us a little bit about your writing process, how you go about writing your songs?”
Part Mada: “It just depends.”
Sin Yung: (fake coughs) “I do all the work! I write all his rhymes. Excuse me. My allergies.”
Part Mada: “For the mixtape, it’s a little more lax. The content is a little more free to be whatever it wants to be.  As for our self-titled album that will be coming out soon, the content on that will be much more focused and specific. But it didn’t take us to long to put together this project.”
Sin Yung: “There were a few tracks that I had from before and when we got together as a group, we made them bigger that what they were. They were tracks that I had written verses to, and then we got together and wrote a hook, he wrote a rhyme to it, and then bang!
Galvanized was more of a showcase to show people what we can do. Have fun with music. We are really going to put our heart into the self-titled.”
Chase: “Do you guys freestyle?”
Sin Yung: “No, not on DOPEfm – Just kidding! Of course we do, man. You got beats? You gonna beatbox for us?”
Chase:  “I can beatbox.”
LISTEN to the beatbox session starting at the 7:36 mark on the podcast or with the player below.
Chase: “That was wicked. I was just asking that question as a question, because some MCs can’t do it. I wasn’t trying to put you on the spot, but that was cool. I haven’t done that in a while either.”
Sin Yung: “That was pretty good.”
Gamma Krush: “I have a question about Galvanized, how many are original beats and how many are borrowed beats?”
Part Mada: “We only have about four original beats on that album. Sin Yung has another project coming soon that is going to have all original beats on it, produced by our good man, Pranx. Shortly after that, I will have a project with all original beats too.
For the mixtape, we did a little bit of variety, just to get out feet wet. But for all of the projects in the future, they will be all our own beats.”
Gamma Krush: “Good, cause Galvanized is all we got right now, and I’m really choosey with what I play. It’s good when you have someone rhyming over someone else’s beats, but I’d rather hear it from the original person. The new artists also come into their own with their original stuff.”
Sin Yung: “We got Black Anonymous, Pranx, just be on the lookout for local producers on the new stuff coming out. My project, Year of the Hair is gonna be good. I put some time into that. I’m gonna do some videos this summer.”
Chase: “In this day and age, you gotta have original tracks. It’s cool to have a mixtape before an album. A lot of people are doing that.
But it’s so easy to connect with people now, as opposes to 15 years ago when I was trying to do this. It’s more open with the social networks. I mean, I have people on Twitter trying to sell me beats everyday. So I think it’s probably easier to find original beats now that it was back in the 90s. I’m dating myself now, eh?”
Sin Yung: “Dude, I wasn’t even rapping then. I was in grade school. But, I hear what you’re saying. There are a lot more producers now, I think. Everyone and their grandma makes beats.”
Part Mada: “But does everyone and their grandma make good beats?”
Sin Yung: “That’s what we got Pranx for. Really they should be playing Pranx’ beats in the background.”
Gamma Krush: “We’ve played Pranx, Beat Doctors beats when I first joined the show.”
Sin Yung: “That was New North days. It’s all about Everyday People now, man. It’s gonna be a good year.”

Chase: “Pranx, is here. How’s it going Pranx?

Pranx: “Good, just chilling, waiting for the show to start.”
Chase: “Can you tell us about your production, what kind of gear you use, stuff like that?”
Pranx: “I pretty much use an M-audio trigger finger, I got a 2500 Akai MPC,  and I also use Fruity Loops. It’s more convenient for me when you’re laying down your beats.”
Gamma Krush: “I know you started with the Beat Doctors with Visions. Are you guys still working on beats?”
Pranx: “Oh yeah. We’re coming out with a new Beat CD soon.”
Sin Yung: “Visions, what’s up?” 
Gamma Krush: “Yeah, shout out to Vision. He’s a crazy comic book head too. I love you’re MySpace display pic where you’re Luke Cage. Old school Luke Cage, Powerman.”
Sin Yung: “Weren’t they going to make a Luke Cage movie with Tyresse? Tell me, they couldn’t pick Michael J. White?”
Gamma Krush: “I guess because of Black Dynamite and Spawn.”
Sin Yung: “All the listeners, can you agree with me? Write in to DOPEfm.”
Chase: “Comic book movies are off the hook right now. I love what they are doing with them. I still think they should take Black Widow from Iron Man 2. She was awesome. They should give her, her own movie-”
Sin Yung: “I agree.”
Pranx:  “Good call.”
Chase: “- and since Black Widow had a thing with Daredevil, they should have a Daredevil cameo and then reboot Daredevil.”
Pranx: “They should scrap all the Hulks and make a new Hulk.”
Gamma Krush: “I like Incredible Hulk with the French director, the one with Ed Norton.”
Sin Yung: “I think they should make a Sin Yung comic book. What’s up with that?”
Chase: “Yeah, Everyday People comic. Krs-One had a comic back in the day. It came with a tape. What was that guys name?”
Gamma Krush:  “Big Joe Crash.”
Chase: “Public Enemy had a comic, Wu-Tang had one.”
Part Mada: “So keep an eye out for the EDP comic coming out soon.”
Sin Yung: “That’s our next project. You already know.”
Gamma Krush: “One more question. Who came up with the logo? It has a key in it, what’s the whole meaning behind it?”
Part Mada: “We have a great artist working with us. His name is Joel. Sin came up with the original idea of the key. EDP is the key. Simple as that.”
Sin Yung: “That’s basically what it means. The people are the key. When we come together, we can make anything happen. It’s just like hip-hop, if we all come together – Bam! There’s endless things we can do.”
Chase: “Well, it’s been awesome talking to you.”
Sin Yung: “And remember to check out us, Reverbnation – Everyday People 1, You Tube – Everyday PPL 1, we’re on Facebook. Just look for us!”
Part Mada: “Download the Galvanized mixtape from Beatbinjaz
Sin Yung: “And show love to DOPEfm. Thanks for having us!”


MusicPlaylist
Music Playlist at MixPod.com

Stupid Cell Phone

Steve Smith, dressed as Red Green, chatting wi...Image via Wikipedia
I’ve always enjoyed Steve Smith’s comedy. Even before he created the very cool, duct tape loving, character of Red Green.

When I found out that he was doing a one man show called “Red Green’s Wit and Wisdom Tour,” I thought, “Man, I’d love to go see that.”

Yesterday, as I was driving home, Red Green was being interviewed on the radio.

The host of the show said that they would be giving away Red Green tickets after the commercial break. That gave me plenty of time to pull over and have my cell phone out and ready.

The radio host came back on the air and invited people to call in.

I dialed.

The phone was actually ringing.

I was excited that I was going to get through and win the tickets.

The host kept on talking. He said that the phone lines were all lit up and that if it was ringing to just let it ring and he’d get to us shortly.

He was going to take the first two callers to answer one of two trivia questions.

I knew the answer to both questions. I knew I was going to win those tickets.

My cell phone had other plans though.

It has this stupid feature that won’t let it ring and ring and ring. Whenever I dial someone and it rings eight times with no answer, the phone automatically disconnects.

So, before the radio host got to the phones, mine just cut out.

I couldn’t believe it! I was so close! Arghhhh!

I dialed back but only got a busy signal.

I couldn’t do anything else but continue listening to the afternoon radio show.

The first caller didn’t know either answer. Callers two and three both won tickets.

I knew I would have been one of those first three callers.

I lost out on the tickets because of my stupid cell phone.

Very annoying!

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Skateboarding, Batman, and Photoshop

I found this image on Tumblr two weeks ago. I was impressed that Heath Ledger was skateboarding during a break from shooting. I found another image about Comics and Skateboarding and teamed them up together for a blog post.

At the time, I thought the skateboarding Joker image was so cool.

I also believed it was authentic.

Unfortunately one of my faithful readers, sent me an email with this picture from the WB photo gallery.

As you can tell, someone has added a skateboard to the original photograph.

Too bad!

The first image was amazing and brought together my love for Batman, comic books, and skateboarding.

So, I did some research and found out that Heath Ledger actually did skate. In fact, he was featured in Issue 6 of Skatebook.

That’s some redemption for the photoshopped image.

And that’s good enough for me.

That, plus Batman can skate!

Teaching Tip: Define Yourself – Word Collage

I found this image on Tumblr and I immediately thought of how I could use it in the classroom.

I am constantly doing this. I think it’s part of my creative process. I don’t want to be a boring teacher and just continue to use the same-old techniques and lessons over and over again.

Making a collage is not an unusual thing to see in a primary classroom. It can be a great activity for getting to know your students. Normally, you’d have them cut and paste images from catalogues or magazines to create a personal collage.

Whenever I have assigned this task, I always tell my students that I expect them to have a reason for each image they include. I go around and have discussions with each student during the creative process.

I like this new version a little better. It’s a fresh take on the old interest collage. Now, instead of using pictures, the students need to use words. They could cut up old dictionaries, words from flyers, or magazines, even passages from books.

I love this idea! Not only will it give you a chance to see what interests and hobbies your students have, it is also a word study exercise.

I was thinking that you could give your students some sticky-notes and a regular dictionary. This way they could mark each page that they would like to cut up for the word collage. You could then take the individual dictionaries, photocopy those pages, and then give the students the copies to work with.

You could also differentiate this activity by distributing dictionaries according to the students’ abilities. I have some very basic picture dictionaries in my classroom, but I also have a few different primary dictionaries, and a few more advanced ones as well.

Get your students working with words in creative ways. They could draw their name over top of everything like the Tumblr image and have an interesting word collage that means something.

More Teaching Tips

Not Impressed with Digital TV

TV signals switched from analog to digital last week.

I thought I was prepared. I bought an antenna capable of picking up both analog and digital signals and have been using it all summer long.

It turns out that older televisions, even when equipped with a digital antenna, cannot process a digital signal.

So I had to buy one of these.

This RCA digital convertor box was nearly $80.00 after all was said and done.

How does this little thing possible cost that much?

And why did they charge me $7.80 for an environmental fee?

TV used to be free.

So my older model of television now gets digital signals and guess what?

It’s not all that great!

Before the digital switch-over I was able to receive about seven stations. Although, I mostly relied on three; TVO, CBC, and A-channel.

When I first turned on my digital box, TVO wouldn’t tune in. It was like watching a scratched DVD. The picture and audio jumped and made the program literally unwatchable. A-channel was gone and instead replaced with CTV-2. And CBC completely disappeared.

CBC is the national public broadcaster in Canada. I knew that the network wouldn’t be making the switch to digital in my area. So I was really happy to hear that they would continue to broadcast their signal over the analog airwaves.
The only problem is that my brand new digital convertor, doesn’t pick up analog signals. 
ARGHHHHH!
I also still need to use this RF convertor box since my new RCA digital convertor does not have an input for my DVD player. 
So I have a digital antenna and a DVD player hooked up to this little box simply because my TV doesn’t have the yellow, red, and white video and audio connections. 
I then have this RF convertor plugged into my new digital convertor which is then plugged in to the television. 
Now when I want to watch the CBC, I have to unplug the antenna so that it does not go through the digital convertor. 
There doesn’t seem to be any way around this. I am going to have to switch wires around every time I want to switch between my new digital stations and the CBC (the only remaining analog station.)
What a hassle! 

I must admit that when the digital signal comes through, the picture is crystal clear. It’s like having cable television. But when the signal is a bit weak, instead of it being a little fuzzy, I get an error message on a black screen that reads, “Unable to tune the digital signal”

If I lived in an area with a stronger reception, things might be different. I might have actually enjoyed this. But so far, I am not impressed with digital TV.

Digital television is not all that great. It doesn’t seem worth the effort or the cost.

Chasing Content – September 2010


It’s always nice to look back at the trails we have taken to get to where we are today.

That is why at the start of every month, I dig through the archives to unearth some of the best posts from last year at this time.

You can read all of the posts from last September or just these favourites.

Know Your History: 16 Bars – Know Your History is a monthly radio segment I produce for DOPEfm. This episode serves as a comprehensive guide to the art of 16 bar raps. You will learn how to count bars, why they are important, and how they fit into the culture of hip-hop. You can read the transcript, stream the podcast, or download the show for free.

I Learned Something From a Comic Again – Here’s the answer to a pressing question that had baffled me for years, “How come boys have buttons on one side and girls have buttons on the other side?”

Water Refill Stations – They really should have these things all over the place.  I know I always bring a water bottle with me but there often isn’t any place to fill it up. There really should be.

Take Back The Night – I went to this event for the first time last year and I felt guilty for being a man. I know I shouldn’t have felt that way, but it was hard to hear about the harmful, hateful, and selfish things some people can do to the women in our society. I plan on going again this year to be supportive of the women who should never have to put up with this.

Thanks for Chasing Content with me.

2 Month Goal for Teachers: Know Your Students

A typical classroom in a Japanese junior high ...Image via WikipediaSchool starts today.

Teachers are preparing for a brand new bunch of students to enter their lives. They need to start the year off in such a way as to engage the students, set the tone of the classroom, establish classroom routines and procedures, enforce the school rules and policies, and collect data. All the while managing a million other little things that need to be done in the first month of school.

It’s tough being a teacher. That is why I run Teaching Tip Tuesdays on this blog. It’s a weekly feature that lets me share with you some ideas, lessons, tips, and practices that I have found useful in my own teaching for the last

Today’s Tip – Set a 2 Month Goal

We only have ten months with our students, and while that might sound like a long time right now, it will fly by. If you don’t set this 2 month goal right now, it might take you 8 months and you will be kicking yourself when you realize that you are just about out of time with this current crop of students.

Every class is different.

Every student is different.

But they are often different in similar ways.

Get to Know Your Students in 2 Months

With 25 students in your classroom, it is difficult to make time for each student individually. But, it is also very important that you do so.

The better you know your students, the more effectively you can teach them, reach them, and have them live up to their potential.

Use Writing Assignments

You can have your students make a mind map of their favourite things. It is an activity they will like to do and it gives you some information about their interests.


Journals

You can also learn a lot about your students from what they choose to write about in their morning journals.

Work One-on-One

Find some time to work one-on-one with every student. It’s best to do sight word testing, reading level testing, and other such things individually. This gives you a really clear idea as to where each student is at academically.

Use What You Know to Reach Every Student

By October, you should have a pretty good idea as to where each student is at in your class.

Not only will you have data about their reading ability, you should also know a little bit about their learning style.

This will allow you to group your students not only by ability but also by the way they respond to work.

And when you know your students this well, by October, you can spend the rest of the year speaking directly to each student in the class. That is the heart of differentiated instruction!

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Hip-Hop Night was Ill (Literally)

Friday night was hip-hop night at The CNE (Canadian National Exhibition)

K-os was the headliner of the concert. He is an amazingly talented singer, songwriter, rapper, and musician. I was very excited to finally get a chance to see him in concert.

The best hip-hop shows, in my humble opinion, include a DJ who can cut and scratch. K-os went a step further by not only having a dope DJ backing him up, but a live band as well. They sounded great together.

K-os announced to the crowd that his throat was killing him and that he had almost cancelled the show. “But that’s not rock and roll,” he exclaimed and then went directly into one of his songs.

A few songs later, he mentioned that his dad was in the audience, and that was another reason he didn’t want to cancel the show.

His management had already told us that he was under the weather and that we would not be able to interview him on site for the radio show. Seeing him on stage definitely confirmed that. He looked tired, but in true rock star fashion, he didn’t let that stop him from delivering an incredible set of music.

One of his biggest hits is “Crabbuckit” and the audience went wild when he started to perform it. As determined as K-os was to rock the crowd, his throat decided it was time to shut down. K-os started the song but had to stop. He motioned to the crowd and the kids in front of the stage dutifully took over and recited the lyrics.

You could tell that K-os was not pleased that his voice had given out. I know that he takes his music very seriously and was probably certain that he could manage this show, but it turned out to be too much for him.

He continued with the chorus and did the third verse of the song. He put the microphone back on the stand, said, “Peace” and left the stage. The band followed him after they finished playing the end of the song.

The crowd wasn’t pleased with the short set. I think it was roughly half an hour. But I understood that the show was over. I appreciated that K-os tried his best to deliver and that he simply needed to call it a night at that point.

I was hoping to hear some of his old-school joints. I really wanted to hear, “Rise Like the Sun.” I also wanted to hear “I Wish I Knew Natalie Portman” , “Man I Used to Be” , and his verse from the Rascalz’ “Top of the World.” Unfortunately, that was not to be the case and I had to accept that.

So, hip-hop night was ill – literally. Both he and his opening act seemed to be suffering from a summer cold or something like it. I got to give them both credit though, they soldiered on.

Hopefully we will be able to link up with K-os soon for one of our in-depth interviews we always deliver on DOPEfm.

I am a huge fan of what K-os has been able to accomplish since first hitting the scene way back in 1993. He was definitely ahead of his time back then and you can hear it in those early tracks. So let’s close off this post with his debut music video, “Musical Essence.”

Enjoy!

Camping Adventure Part 2: Determined Raccoons

Raccoons in a tree.Image via Wikipedia

I’m lucky to have a girlfriend who is such a great cook. She can even work her magic on an open fire. I know if it were left up to me, we would have eaten hotdogs, sausages, and simple stuff like that during our camping trip.

Dana cooked some amazing meals on that campfire last week. We had t-bone steaks for one meal and they were delicious. 
We ate fairly late that night because we’d spent a long afternoon on the beach. I cleaned the dishes and made sure that all of the food waste was put into a garbage bag. 
I thought I should take the garbage bag right to the bin, but it was a fair walk to the front gate to do so. Dana suggested that we just take it easy and make some smores for desert. That sounded like a great idea, so I left the bag beside the fire, and we enjoyed desert. 
It got dark really quick. I really didn’t want to go for a walk, but figured I’d better see to the garbage since it had been sitting there for about an hour.

I looked over to the garbage bag, which was only a foot away from my chair and pretty much right beside the fire. And I saw a raccoon right in the bag. I reached for the flashlight and quickly discovered that there were three raccoons right on our campsite.

I tried to light a stick on fire and wave it at the raccoons. I shouted, banged a stick on the ground, and shined the flashlight directly at the little critters. It didn’t phase them at all. I grabbed the garbage bag but they just looked at me like they weren’t going to leave without the scraps of meat that were in it.

Our site had brush on either side, and we had neighbours directly behind us. The raccoons were blocking my path to the road. I didn’t know what to do.

Dana was hiding in the tent, shining the flashlight back and forth like a lighthouse operator.  She suggested I just cut through the neighbour’s site to go and get rid of the garbage.

I cut through the site and ran to the front gate to throw the garbage bag in the bin. When I got back, I was sure that the raccoons were gone. Dana and I decided to walk to the washroom facilities and call it a night.

As we were about to leave our site, Dana shined the flashlight up in the tree. And sure enough, all three raccoons were up on a branch. They were very determined little critters. 

Your turn to add to the discussion.

Have you ever had uninvited guests to your campfire?

Have you had any encounters with raccoons?

Please leave a comment below.
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