Monthly Archives: May 2012

Some Old Ruins in Ingersoll

I went for a trail run in Ingersoll the other day and I came across this. I wasn’t sure what it was at first glance so I decided to take a closer look.

I’ve come across some old cement foundations in quite a few of my trail runs, but I usually don’t stop to explore them, for some reason I felt compelled to this time.

I knew that this structure was at the edge of a river right where it met this pond and that gave me my first hint of what these ruins were.

I could see a couple remnants of what must have been walls at some point in history

I’m not exactly sure what this contraption is but it made me think that this structure must have been an old mill of some sort. My class had been studying earlier settlers and I thought it would be a great idea to snap a few pictures to see if they could identify this.

It’s interesting to come across a historical ruin such as this one, right here in South Western, Ontario. And thanks to the magic of the Internet, I was quickly able to identify it and share with you this image of the entire building back in its heyday.

This is a picture of the Waterhouse Woolen Mill as it used to look in the late 1800s. The Oxford County Library has a historical photo page that gives some further information about it, “Formerly located on the north side of Charles Street, 1 east of Mutual Street at the narrows of Carroll’s Mill Pond. Courtesy of Mr. George Wood.”

Music For Skaters (Free Skateboard Mixtape Download)

I love skateboarding and I love mixtapes, so I decided to bring both things together and craft “Music for Skaters”

I hope you enjoy the mix!

You can stream it with the player below or you can download the album version with skippable tracks.

Most of the songs are actually about skateboarding as you can see from the tracklist. They span the gamut from hip-hop to rock to ska to skate-punk. I guarantee that you will have a great skating session with these tunes blaring. Plus they are all professional mixed and blended together.

I hope you enjoy these skateboard songs and how they flow together.

01. Lupe Fiasco – Kick Push
02. MCBC & React – Thrasher
03. Black Eyed Peas – Fallin’ Up
04. Mission 5 – They Gave Chase
05. Pharrel – When Skateboard Came
06. OPM – Heaven is a Halfpipe
07. Goldfinger – King for a Day
08. The Faction – Skate & Destroy
09. Against All Authority – Grinding My Life Away
10. Aggression – Intense Energy
11. Beatnik Termites – Skateboard
12. Reshot – Father & Son
13. superGARAGE – Post Teen Crisis
14. Eddie Rap Life – Push My Wood
15. Murs – Transitions Az a Ridah
16. ANTHM & Blu – Polaris
17. Kayne West – Touch the Sky
18. MCBC & React – Skatelife
19. Beatnuts – Hit Me With That
20. Super Deluxe – All I Wanted was a Skateboard
21. Bones Bridgade – Thrashin’ USA
22. Suicidal Tendencies – Go Skate
23. The Aquabats – My Skateboard
24. Sublime – What I Got
25. Fugees – Vocab
26. Brodie – Skate, Rap, Sleep, Repeat
27. Ganga Lee – Not 4 Free
28. bAD Productions – Making a Beat with a Skateboard

If you want to burn this mix to a CD, it is best to do it on iTunes and set it to “no gap” between the songs. Here’s a quick tutorial on how to do it.

Download Music for Skaters tracked album

Enjoy the mix!

If you cannot see the audio controls, listen/download the audio file here

Teaching Tip – Character Education

Welcome to Teaching Tip Tuesday!

Every week I share with you a tip that I hope you will find useful in your teaching.

You can visit the Teaching Tips Archive to see all of the tips in the order I have posted them over the years. Please check that page as I will continue to update it every week with the latest Teaching Tip.

This page is all about Character Education. It will include tips and lessons that you can use to help students understand the importance of working together as a group and community. These social skills are just as imperative as the literacy and numeracy we teach every single day.

Please bookmark this page and come back often. I will update it with any new tip I publish that has to do with Character Education.

You might also want to check my Pinterest page and, specifically, my Character Education Board for more great ideas.

I hope you enjoy these Teaching Tips.

5 Tips To Motivate Reluctant Students (guest post)
Character Education
Classroom Rules (Expectations)
How to Listen
Leadership Activity
Rules to Live By
Teachable Moments
Three Choices You Always Have
Three Choices (reworked)
The Way You Speak Depends on the Situation
The What-If Activity
Work To Learn

Women in Hip-Hop (Complete Broadcast Download)

DOPEfm celebrates International Women’s Day every year by dedicating our entire overnight’s programming to the Women in Hip-Hop.

Here is the easiest way to download DOPEfm’s Second Annual Women in Hip-Hop Special.

This zipped file will give you all 7 parts of the show as they aired on 93.3 CFMU. You can click on each part below to read the transcript and download the individual files as well.

1) Introduction and Mini-mix
2) Women in Hip-Hop Roundtable Discussion
3) Mix Set 1
4) Know Your History: Episode 27 – Michie Mee
5) An interview with DJ Betti Forde
6) Mix Set 2
7) An interview with Money Stax

Download the complete on-air broadcast

and just in case you missed it

Download the inaugural Women in Hip-Hop Spectacular from last year.

Michie Mee, Canada’s First Lady of Hip-Hop (Know Your History Podcast)

In 1984, a legendary music club reopened up in Times Square. Under its original name of Latin Quarter, the nightclub became the place to go for live hip-hop music. Afrika Bambaataa, Big Daddy Kane, Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five, Eric B & Rakim, The Jungle Brothers, and Queen Latifah are just a few of the notable acts you could catch there back in the mid to late 1980s.

Toronto was just starting to develop a hip-hop scene at this time as well. Up and coming rapper, Michie Mee knew she needed to go to the birth place of hip-hop culture to learn more about the music and establish some connections. She was only thirteen at the time.

“I got some fake ID, went to Latin Quarters to learn about hip-hop. That was the big place for everybody who wanted to know about hip-hop. There was KRS-One there. There was Scott La Rock, that’s who I really met and I was trying to prove to him that we were from Canada and there was some hip-hop in Canada. It’s like, ‘Shut up, there’s no hip-hop in Canada. You don’t rap in Canada. And you’re a female, you really gonna?’ And I was like, ‘Yeah!’ and I started spitting in front of Latin Quarters. He was like, ‘Ayo Kris!’ and he called people over and that’s how I met BDP at Latin Quarters. That was when my career really took off.”

And take-off it did. Michie Mee was the first Canadian hip-hop artist to be signed to a major label in the United States. She was a huge influence to the young rappers in Toronto at the time and helped establish the Canadian hip-hop scene that continues to flourish today.

Maestro Fresh Wes, one of Canada’s earliest and biggest hip-hop stars has nothing but praise and admiration for her. He put it this way, “Without Michie, there’d be no me. Understand what I’m saying? That’s Michie Mee.”

Welcome to Know Your History, I’m your host Chase March and, for the next half hour, we are going to celebrate the career and influence of Canada’s first rapper, Michie Mee. Stay tuned to DOPEfm all night long as we bring you exclusive interviews and mixsets from the Women in Hip-Hop as we celebrate International Women’s Day, DOPEfm style.

Download this episode of Know Your History for free, stream it with the player below, or continue reading.

Let’s start off today’s show with Jamaican Funk, Canadian Style. This is the title track of Michie Mee and LA Luv’s debut album from 1991.

That was Jamaican Funk, Canadian Style by Michie Mee and La Luv. It was the first major label release from a Canadian hip-hop artist. It’s interesting to see how she celebrates her heritage with not only her musical style, but also with the title of her album. There aren’t a lot of MCs that are comfortable doing that in this day and age. Some rappers hide their Canadian identity in seeking out international audiences.

Kardinal Offishall is currently signed to an American label and he has a lot in common with Michie Mee.
“I remember her coming to Flemington Park on time and we were all little kids . . . We didn’t even look at her like she was a female MC, she was just dope period. Michie Mee is probably one of the biggest influences in terms of my style of music.”
Canadian urban-music mogul, Ivan Berry had this to say about Kardinal, “He had this thing, like Michie, the perfect blend of what a Caribbean immigrant was living in Canada.”

Toronto celebrates the Carribbean make up of its city every year with a festival known as Caribana. People from all over the world come to this event but most importantly for us, it established a strong connection between the birthplace of hip-hop, New York, and its new home in the north, Toronto.

Michie Mee described it this way on OTA live. . .

“A lot of people in The Bronx, a lot of people in Brooklyn, gravitated to Toronto, mainly because we had Caribana. Caribana was on University Street so a lot of people from Eastern parkway would come here and celebrate the Caribana because ours was just a little bit more interesting than theirs.”

“Following that Caribbean trail came hip-hop. Kool Herc is a West-Indian man and when he formed it in The Bronx, he brought in that dancehall element and of all the sound systems setting up, which became block parties. When he was setting up the block parties, the only thing that would come out and make the difference was, people would come out and rap instead of deejaying. And everything just changed. And those same people gravitated toward Caribana when it was on University Street back in 1984-85.”

Michie Mee was born in St. Andrew, Kingston, Jamaica and her family moved to Toronto, Ontario, Canada when she was young. By the age of 13, Michie was crafting her unique style by combining rap with Jamaican Creole or Patois. She quickly gained attention from both American and Canadian audiences. During rap battles, she would switch from rapping to reggae. It was completely fresh and original at the time and it would leave her competitors stunned and the audience in an uproar.

Since Toronto was relatively close to the birthplace of hip-hop culture, Michie Mee would travel to New York frequently. It was there that she would meet legendary Scott La Rock and KRS-One of Boogie Down Productions. They came up to Toronto for a concert and introduced her to the crowd, which was huge for a Canadian artist to have these hip-hop heavyweights in her corner.

“I was actually part of getting them into Canada and introducing them to Ron Nelson. I said, ‘There’s these two guys out there that really do hip-hop. They had a deal with Bill Blast and were Boogie Down Productions. They wanted to come to Canada. So I made the call and Ron was like, ‘Boogie Down Productions! Okay, we’re gonna have Canada versus . . . and they had no idea who they were going to put me against. I just wanted to be a part of it.

At that age, you didn’t know you were promoting or connecting the dots so to speak. You didn’t know that history was going to be written. You didn’t know Boogie Down Productions was gonna be huge and Scott La Rock was gonna pass. All I knew was that I had a dream and they were helping that dream come alive from The Bronx, from Manhattan, right here in Canada. Before hip-hop went down south, to them, they knew they had to come to Canada to really place that foundation. They really came North before they went south.”
That’s pretty amazing right there. The legendary, BDP came to Canada early in their career. They were, in fact, influenced by the first lady of Canadian Hip-hop. Lead rapper, KRS-One regularly blends reggae with his rap style and it’s really interesting to know that he picked up this style from Michie Mee. You can hear the influence in the hit song, “The Bridge is Over.”

A Canadian connection to the classic battle Bridge Wars. How about that?
Boogie Down Productions were an early supporter of the Canadian hip-hop scene. They even produced and released a Canadian compilation album entitled “Break’n Out.” The lead single of this project was Michie Mee and LA Luv’s track “Elements of Style” in which KRS-One introduces the track.
That was “Elements of Style” by Michie Mee and LA Luv. It was their first single ever and was released in 1987 as part of compilation album “Break’n Out.” The entire project was produced by BDP and that song garnered a lot of attention both in the United States and Canada. The Canadian duo then appeared on a few other compilation albums before landing their major label debut album in 1991.
Michie Mee was riding high and it looked like she would rule the Canadian Hip-hop scene for some time. But fate had other plans for her and it would be nine years before we’d see a second album from her. Instead, she took some time away from the microphone to have a family. It must’ve been a tough decision for her.
“Becoming a mother is for real. If you have this baby, is this baby going to ruin your chances from what you started out and left university for? Is this the way to go? You leave university to do music, and then you have a baby, and that interferes with your music, so I just had to get my priorities straight.”
“My first love, and my true love, is the music. And then I had my son. He’s the greatest love of my life, and I’m glad I didn’t take his.”
When she did come back to the music, what she was doing on the microphone didn’t change but the music behind it did.
“My bass player / engineer who did all my hip-hop records, Walter, called me down to Wellesley Studio. They said they had a track for me to go on. When I heard it, that had guitars like crazy. When they heard me on that track, I was in. When we took it on its feet, the audience and the crowd we drew was crazy.”
“It was a whole new ball game across Canada and there was a lot of love. I was still spitting. I was still doing reggae. To me, the music was different, but the fact that they understood me, and when I said certain things, they jumped with me. I was like, ‘It doesn’t matter about the music, it is the writing and it is what I’m saying. And you do relate because you jump the same times I want you to jump. They’d never seen it. They never heard it before. Imagine seeing it for the first time. I did more rock records in terms of albums and toured more with rock than I did with hip-hop.”

Michie Mee also went into show business. She’s starred in movies such as “In Too Deep” alongside LL Cool J and Omar Epps. He was also in “My Baby’s Daddy” with Eddy Griffin, and in “Chicks With Sticks” with Jason Priestly. She’s appeared in several TV shows and had the starring role in the CBC series “Drop the Beat.”

Her first love is the music and she returns to it again and again. In 2004 she joined forces with a group of local artists including Maestro Fresh Wes, Thrust, and several R&B singers to form the Peace Prophets. The group released this single for charity entitled “Drop the Chrome.”

Michie Mee was the first Canadian rapper to get signed. You just heard her on that posse cut for charity. I hope you’ve been with us for this entire episode as we have celebrated the career of the first lady of Canadian hip-hop, Michie Mee.

We’re celebrating International Women’s Day all night here on DOPEfm and we’ll be featuring exclusive interviews, mixsets, and a roundtable discussion focusing on the Women in Hip-Hop.

This is Chase March signing off on another edition of Know Your History. Thanks for tuning in!

Download Know Your History: Episode 27 – A Spotlight on Michie Mee

Music Playlist at

Visual Tour of The Scenic Trails of Ingersoll

Let’s head over to the Thomas Ingersoll Scenic Trail for a photographic tour of the area.

Thomas Ingersoll was an early settler to Upper Canada. He was originally from Massachusetts but moved to what is now Ingersoll, Ontario in 1793. He named the area Oxford-on-the-Thames but it was his son, Charles, who renamed the town to what we know it as today.

Another interesting historical fact is that he was the father of Laura Secord. She was a hero of the War of 1812 as she took it upon herself to deliver a warning to the British of an impending American attack. Without her heroic actions, this area we are exploring today might not have remained Canadian territory. It’s hard to believe that we are currently observing the 200th anniversary of this event.

I started my trail run today at the Harris Street entrance of Smith’s Pond Park.

The trail is relatively flat and completely paved so it is very accessible to anyone wanting to have a nice leisurely walk or a quick run through a few different parks and one tourist attraction.

Of course, being the trail runner that I am, I ran across the grass and found myself on the opposite side of the river. Fortunately, there was this bridge to get me back to the main trail.

The Ingersoll Cheese and Agricultural Museum is “dedicated to the collection, preservation, documentation, exhibition and interpretation of objects that reflect the unique history, growth and development of the Town of Ingersoll and surrounding area from pre-pioneer settlement to the present. The Museum brings the past to life through demonstrations, interaction between staff/volunteers and the general public, tours, educational programs, workshops, special events and hands-on activities.”

The site consists of a series of five unique buildings, which include a replica 20th century Cheese Factory, the Sherbrooke Barn, Sports Hall of Fame that features locally inducted athletes.

The Cheese Factory building was the first structure to be erected in 1977 to commemorate the importance of the dairy and cheese industry. It was the dairy and cheese industry that went on to establish the town of Ingersoll as a thriving commercial and industrial base during the later half of the 19th century.

There is also “a working blacksmith shop and the Ingersoll Community Museum.”

The scenic trail comes to an end at this point. I continued to run across the street and through a new subdivision that is currently being built before turning around and heading back down the trail.

There are several baseball diamonds, a community arts centre, a playground, and a splash pad at Victoria Park. I love how accessible these things are and how all of these community buildings and attractions are connected through a trail system.

I ran passed the Harris Street entrance to this trail and it actually connected to another park.

Yvonne Holmes Mott Memorial Park has a beautiful gazebo and a nice playground structure.

Well, that’s my tour for today. I hope you enjoyed accompanying me on my run. If you’d like to take some more photographic tours click on the tab at the top of this page. There are several dozen other tours there waiting for you.

If I Won the Lottery, I Wouldn’t Quit My Job

After winning the lottery to the tune of $50 million dollars, a 34 year-old electrician told the media that he had no plans to quit his job. That seems unusual. Most people dream of winning the lottery so they can have a permanent vacation. 

If I won, I wouldn’t quit my job either. Here’s why.

I love teaching and I have regularly poured my own money into my classroom. Imagine what I could do with just a fraction of that jackpot.

I would turn my classroom into a completely paperless zone. I would buy every student in my class a laptop or a tablet computer. I would also get them a stylus pad so they could still do some handwriting right on their computers.

I would give them tools such as video cameras, digital cameras, electronic drums, musical instruments, samplers and drum machines, and, of course, a full DJ set.

I would have them creating short movies, podcasts, songs, stories, photo essays, and much more.

I would give them private and secure websites so they could create an online portfolio of all of their work over the course of the year.

It would be an amazing school year and one that my students surely would never forget.

I wish I had the budget to do all those things right now, but I don’t. I wish I could win the lottery so I could put some of these plans into action,. The only problem is that I never play. To me, the odds of winning seem to be so slim that it never seemed worth it to actually play regularly.
I bet last week’s winner felt the same way. He only reluctantly bought a quick-pick ticket (one where the computer randomly picks the numbers for you) after the cashier suggested he should. What a stroke of luck!
I often dream about my perfect classroom but I really don’t have any way to make it a reality, not without a bit of luck and a sudden windfall. So, perhaps I should run out and buy a ticket. After all, I can’t win if I don’t play.

How to Care for Students

I found this on The Canadian Cave of Cool and immediately thought about how it could be applied to the classroom.

So let’s just rewrite these 12 rules for teaching students.

1) Respect their need for privacy. 

I don’t think we need to see everything that our students write. We could encourage them to write whatever they want and to even keep a personal journal in the classroom. Not all of their writing can be private though. As teachers we need to evaluate their writing, just not all their writing. We can allow students to chose what they will share with us.

2) Never Embarrass Them in Public

Instead of berating students in public, we can take them aside and speak to them personally. I tell my students during the first week of school that if I am talking to a student, they are to respect that and not try to overhear what is being said, or talk about it with the student afterwards.

3) Let Them Observe First in New Situations

It’s important that we model and even allow other students to model certain tasks and ways of doing things. Everyone can use an example before jumping headlong into space.

4) Give Them Time to Think, Don’t Demand Instant Answers

We can do this by asking a question of the class, letting the students talk with their neighbours about it, calling attention back, and then asking for someone to share. It’s a simple strategy but one that definitely has merit.

5) Don’t Interrupt Them

Our students deserve to be heard. We might not always have time for it during a lesson but we should make time to ensure that each student has a voice within our classrooms.

6) Give Them Advance Notice – 7) Give Notices of Time Left

I do this all the time. I post up the weekly timetable by the classroom door. I also write the schedule for the day on the board every morning. When the students are working, I give them a two-minute warning before we pack up and move on to the next task.

8) Reprimand Them Privately

Singling out students is never a good idea. Do it privately whenever possible.

9) Teach Them New Skills Privately

This is a tough one for the classroom teacher. We don’t have time to instruct students individually. We just don’t. But we can do it occasionally for students who really need it. We can also use small group instruction whenever possible.

10) Enable Them to Find One Best Friend

You can do this for students who really need it by working with another teacher from a different class to set up a mentor / study buddy. It takes some coordination but can really pay off in the long run.

11) Don’t Push Them to Make Lots of Friends

I think it is important to have our students work with a variety of partners and to experience working with different members of their classroom and student body. However, some students will want to work independently and keep to themselves more often than not. And for the most part, we don’t need to see that as a problem we need to fix as teachers.

12) Respect Their Introversion

We need to respect the quirks and character traits of all our students. We can enocuarge them to learn and try new experiences but we don’t need to “fix” who they are.

More Teaching Tips

My List of 2012 Reads

I read a lot, but I have never really kept track of it in any sort of reading log. Also, since I don’t buy books very often, I don’t have a bookcase to display what I have read. As such, I’ve decided to keep track of everything I read over the course of this year right here on this blog.

I’ve written several posts about what I’ve read  but thought it would be nice to have my 2012 Reads list all in one place. I will continue to update this post with my new additions as well.
Here goes,

What Happened to Goodbye
Winter Town


Daredevil – 1 title (Born Again)
Doctor Who – 2 titles (Fugitive, The Ripper)
Ender’s Game – 1 title (Formic Wars)
Fables – 1 title (Rose Red)
Fantastic Four – 1 title (Fantastic Four)
Foiled – 1 title (Foiled)
Jack of Fables – 2 titles (Vol. 1 The Great EscapeVol. 2 Jack of Hearts)
Kill Shakespeare – 1 title (Vol. 2: The Blast of War)
Marvel 1985 – 1 title (1985)
Midnight Nationcomplete series
Star Trek – 3 titles (Assignment Earth, Year 4, The Ashes of Eden)
Superman – 1 title (Red Son)
Transformers – 2 title (For All Mankind, Classic UK Vol. 2)
The Hip-Hop Wars


I Suck at Girls
The Band Plays On
What I Talk About When I Talk About Running


The Tipping Point
Tribes: We Need You to Lead Us


Enhancing the Professional Practice of Music Teachers: 101 Tips
The Book Whisperer
The Complete Idiots Guide to Conducting Music
The Write Start: Nurturing Writing at Every Stage


A Year of Writing Dangerously: 365 Days of Inspiration and Encouragement

Total Books Read in 2012: 65

Chasing Content – May 2008

I’m still working on making “Best of” posts for every month that I’ve blogged. That’s why I am hitting you up with a second edition of Chasing Content this month.

Let’s look at what we were doing four years ago about this time.

Read all of the posts from May 2008. . .

or just these extra-special shiny ones.

A New Cereal on the Bookshelf – Here’s a creative project you can do with your students that will have them designing cereal boxes based upon something they have read. It’s a great idea for book reports and my students really enjoyed it.

A Visual Tour of My Run – I had the crazy idea of taking a camera along with me on a trail run one day. Who knew that it would spark an entire series of posts? There are now several dozen Photographic Tours you can accompany me on, including this very first one. Enjoy!

Nothing – There is really nothing I can say about this post. You just need to see it for yourself, and then you’ll know why it’s a crowd favourite.

The Best Comic Books – Here’s a list of some amazing graphic novels. It’s part of my Recommended Reads series. If you’ve never read a comic book before, you could start with one of these titles. I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised at what they have to offer.

Why We Should Look at Story – We all organize events and situations into stories. We all tell stories. We all consume stories by our choice of entertainment mediums. That’s why story should be studied in detail. and why I started this small series of posts.

Thanks for Chasing Content with me!