Monthly Archives: March 2013

The Sweathearts of the Galaxy Need Your Help

Tallest Silver and Kit Quinn are the Sweathearts of the Galaxy.

If you’ve followed me on the blog or on Tumblr, you already know that I am a big fan of their cosplay. I especially love Tallest Silver as Power Girl.

They are trying to finance a web series and they need your help. Watch the video below and you’ll be sold on the project.

Support Sweathearts of the Galaxy!

Go to their Kickstarter page and make a pledge to get this series off the ground. I’ve already backed the project.

As I type this, they are at 89% of their goal. The time is counting down as well. In 32 hours the pledge drive will be over. So head over to the site today and lend your support. They have all sorts of incentives.

Check out my Tallest Silver posts here on Silent Cacophony!

James Bond in Space and A Super-Hero Family

Here are the latest graphic novels that I have read this year.

Star Wars, comic book, graphic novel

Star Wars: Agent of the Empire – Iron Eclipse

James Bond in space, that’s basically what this story is, but it goes a little deeper than that.

Jahan Cross is the secret agent in this series and he works for the Empire. He truly believes in King and Country, even if it is run by the evil forces of The Emperor and Darth Vader.

The coolest thing about this story is that Han Solo appears in it. It takes place just before the events in Episode IV: A New Hope and it works quite well.

I would like to read more of this series, especially to see if Jahan ever realizes the corruption of the Empire. It would be cool to see him join the Rebel Alliance and fight the good fight from inside a position of power in the Empire.

Animal Man, graphic novel, new 52, comic book

Animal Man – The Hunt

Animal Man is a super-hero who is able to channel the abilities and strength of any animal he calls upon.

One of the most interesting things about this story is that he is able to hold down a regular domestic life. He has a wife and two children. The story starts out with a slice of life that gave me high hopes that a super-hero comic could be centred around a family.

The sweet story gets a little horrific early on. You can tell from the cover art that this might be the case. I don’t normally go for horror as genre, but this story has enough hope and real-life characters that it pulled me in and kept me reading.

The story actually centres around his young daughter. It seems that she has inherited some of his powers but the way she exhibits them is quite scary. And it attracts attention from an evil force that begins to hunt them.

I really want to see where the story goes from here. It was an interesting read.

Writing Rap Songs With Students

This is the fourth lesson in my unit on Rap Music.

In this lesson, I set the parameters of the rap songwriting assignment, I share a few examples of rap songs, and then I put the students into groups and have them start writing.

You can download the Smartboard file of this lesson for free to use in your classroom.

rap songwriting assignment

In the last lesson, I shared a song from Run-DMC so the students could see how the two rappers in that group took turns saying rhymes and lines of their songs.

I have another example of this to share with them today.

Rap Songwriting Assessment Criteria

Right up front, I let the students know the five elements I will be focusing on when I mark their performances. I want them to speak clearly, to have creative lyrics, to adhere to the four bar structure of rap, to stay on beat with their lyrical delivery, and to be a good audience member for all of the performances.

Audience etiquette is something that we should teach and reinforce in class. Making it part of the mark stresses its importance.

A Simple Diagram of Rap Song Structure

This slide was part of the last lesson but I included it here again to help students remember to stay on beat.

To show them a good way to find and keep the beat, have them use both hands to tap their lap on beat 1, to clap on beat 2, and then repeat these two steps for beat 3 and beat 4.

The rhyming words should fall on the claps.

Mission 5 Write About Now

I then share with them one of the songs I did with my rap group Mission 5.

Mission 5 band members

I used to go by the name of DJ Unconventional and I shortened it down to Uncon. I was the lead rapper in the group.

Abomination was our DJ.

Rime-On is my younger brother and he and I trade rhymes back and forth in this song. My lyrics are in red and his are in blue.

Mission 5 Lyrics Explained

I display the lyrics to the first verse as the students listen to the song. I then stop the MP3 and break down what those lyrics mean.

When I say “Kill that noise,” I really am telling people to stop all of the negative talk and to just listen to the music.

We then see that the 5 in our group name doesn’t refer to the number of group members. It shows that we were trying our best to get a 5-star rating in magazines.

We all like football and include that interest in our rhyme.

When Rime-On says “You see me you say, ‘Uh-oh!'” It shows that we are tough to compete against.

We then compare ourselves to the Wright Brothers. The line is even more effective since we are actually brothers.

Our tracks are so explosive you get hit with debris. This is an effective image since we can shorten down our deejays name to A-bomb so we are talking about a bomb or an atomic bomb.

What Rappers Do in Their Rhymes

As you can see, we did a lot in that short rhyme. We traded lines back and forth. We used multi-syllable rhymes.

We used slant rhyme by rhyming “afternoon” and “game or two.” This works because of the ‘er’ and ‘oo’ sounds in both rhyming words .

We used internal rhyme. “gusto” and “trio” were said in the middle of the line. “uh-oh” was said in an end rhyme but all these rhymes fell on the snares.

We use simile – “taking off like the brothers from Ohio”

And we use metaphor by suggesting our tracks fly like airplanes.

In the chorus, we repeat the title of the song on every snare. It’s a catchy hook that is memorable and helps set the mood for the piece. It helped us write the lyrics for the entire song.

Some rappers start with the chorus just for that reason.

Ngajuana Writing A Chorus

I love the chorus to this song. It really sounds like the words are falling down. It’s brilliant!

This song also starts out with the chorus.

How to Write a Rap Chorus

NGA is a friend of mine and a very talented musician. I was also to share some of his creative process with my students.

Inspiration for the song "Time is the Fire"

I have rapped my song “Time is the Fire” to the class a few different times this year. Now, I get to share with them the inspiration behind it.

Song Ideas (Write Your Own Rap)

Of course, some students will have no idea where to start writing so I gave them a few basic themes here and ideas on how they could write something about those themes.

Have Fun and Write Something

I close with this doctored Calvin and Hobbes comic. I can just imagine Hobbes being the beatboxer and Calvin kicking some rhymes.

This almost makes we want to write a rhyme about comic strip characters becoming rappers. Hmmmm! Maybe I’ll do just that.

Inspiration can come from anywhere after all.

GROUP WORK

I wanted this to be a group assignment because I know some students will be too shy or nervous to perform raps by themselves.

I decided to partner up students instead of letting them choose their own groups. This way I was certain everyone would end up in a group.

I did give them a little bit of choice with the groups though because I then let them join with another partner group to make a group of 4.

For the most part, this strategy worked well.

Download the Smartboard file of this lesson for free.

Little Women and Me – My New Favourite Book

novel, Little Women, Little Women and Me

I was at the library and this book called to me.

It was sitting on the top of a bookcase, proudly on display. It seemed to be saying, “Hey, Chase! This is just the book you want to read.”

Who am I to argue with a book?

I really loved the story of Little Women and especially the 1994 film version starring Winona Ryder, Trini Alvarado, Kirsten Dunce, and Claire Danes as the March sisters.

The 1994 movie and this 2012 book are based on the original novel by Lousia May Alcott of the same name. It was a great story and I really enjoyed reading it and its sequels after seeing the Hollywood version.

I think that is the reason why I gravitated to this book. It is about a middle sister named Emily March. She just happens to have the same name as the fictional family in Little Women.

Her teacher give her an assignment in which she is to chose any book and talk about something she would have changed in the story. She immediately thinks of two things in Little Women that never sat right with her.

She picks up the book and somehow gets sucked into the story. She has become the middle sister of the fictional March family. Everyone treats her as if she has always been part of the family.

Emily thought that she was merely dreaming, but when she doesn’t wake up and return to 2012, she realizes that she is indeed trapped in the novel. She then remembers the two things she wanted to change in the original story and tries to make things right.

The story follows the plot of the original novel very well with the only change being that Emily is along for the ride. She is able to change a few things here and there but she can’t figure out  how to leave the fictional world and rejoin her regular life.

She wonders what will happen to her when she runs out of story and the novel ends. She tries her best to exist in the fictional world and to change the two things she didn’t think were right with the story.

I won’t tell you anymore about the story because I don’t want to spoil it for you. Suffice it to say that I didn’t want to put this book down. It was an amazing read and I highly recommend it. Although, it might be best to watch the movie or read the original book first.

Still Collecting Daredevil Toys

Daredevil is my favourite superhero and I’ve managed to build up a pretty nice collection of merchandise.

Here are my latest additions to the collection.

Daredevil, comics, toys, Marvel super-hero

It’s hard to see the newest piece here. It is small and my camera doesn’t have a macro focus.

Daredevil, comics, toys, Marvel super-hero

This toy is called a Bonkazonk and it is quite similar to a Mighty Bean. To me, it looks like half a bean. It is weighted just like those toys and you can flick it around and play all sorts of games with them too.

It came in a pack with three other figures. I got a Spiderman, Ghost Rider, and Deathlok.

Daredevil, comics, toys, Marvel super-hero

I also got this mini hauler. It’s a really nice looking car-carrier truck.

Explore More of My Collection

Making Rap Beats with Students

This is the third lesson in my unit on rap music.

Today, we are looking at creating a drum beat using a simple and free drum machine that can be easily downloaded.

There are several of these programs that you can use. I used Hammerhead simply because it was already installed on our school computers.

This drum machine is really easy to use.

All you need to do is select an instrument from the drop down panel in Channel 1. Then, you colour in the beats you want that instrument to sound. The yellow buttons are for Beat 1.

Here is a handy trick for making a nice backing track for you to rap to.

  1. Set the tempo as low as it will go – 50 bpm
  2. In Channel 1, select a closed hi-hat cymbal and set it to sound on every beat.
  3. In Channel 2, select a bass drum (BD) and have it sound on every yellow button (Beat 1)
  4. In Channel 2, select a snare drum and have it sound on Beat 3. 
That gives you a typical drum pattern that is easy to rap to. 
You can switch the pattern up a little by having the kick drum sound on Beat 1 and Beat 2. This will give you a nice double kick sound. 
You can do the same thing with the snare at one point in your pattern by having it sound on Beat 3 and Beat 4. 
You can also change some of the hi-hat sounds to an open hi-hat or a crash cymbal. 
If the students don’t like the tempo, they can speed it up. In the above picture, it is set to 135 bpm. 
I prepared an instruction sheet that you can give to your students. 
Rap Instrumental Assignment MS Word (you can edit this one however you like)
I had every student create two different beats and then save their creations in Audacity. 
In the first lesson of the rap unit. we simply looked at a television show and analyzed a song.
In the second lesson, we looked at the structure of rap songs and started writing a four bar lyric.
In this lesson, we are creating instrumental tracks that we could rap to. 
In the next lesson, the students will form into small groups and begin writing a song that they will perform in front of the class. When the groups come together, they will already have a few beats to chose from for their final project. 
I did give the students one more time to go back to the computer lab after they had written some rhymes in their groups. 
SAVE PAPER
I didn’t photocopy the instructions for this assignment either. Since the students would be working in the computer lab, I uploaded the instructions to my website and had them all open the file right away. It was a nice way to save paper and still have the instructions readily available.

NEXT UP 

Writing lyrics and forming rap groups.

See you next week for another hip-hop edition of Teaching Tip Tuesday!

London was a Buzz with Skaters

world figure skating london

The World Figure Skating Championships were held in London, Ontario, Canada this past week. The whole city was abuzz with energy. The downtown core was certainly the place to be, even if you didn’t have tickets.

tree of light

Every night, there was a special light show projected right onto the side of the Budweiser Gardens.

tree of light london 2013

The show focused on a fictional skater made up of light. She glided through different scenes with beauty and grace.

World Figure Skating Championships

At times during the show, the building seemed to transform. It was an impressive illusion. I almost forgot that it was merely a projected light show and that the building itself was not moving.

London put on a good show. There was an outdoor bar tent displaying footage from inside the arena and plenty of things to do for those of us not fortunate enough to get tickets.

It would have been perfect if our hometown heroes of Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir had managed to capture the world title.

Silver championship ice dancing pair Tessa and Scott

Even though they had to settle for the silver, this image says it all. They certainly are the champions of our hearts!

Chasing Content – March 2009

It’s time for another edition of Chasing Content.

Let’s glide through the clouds and find some of the great posts of the past.

Read all of the posts from March 2009 . . . 

or just these extra special ones.

The Internet Should Be Free

“I think the Internet is to this generation what the library and downtown core was to the previous. Times are changing. People shop and get their information in different ways now. The Internet has changed everything. It is time we embrace it and use it more productively in our city.”

I Joined the Darkside

It’s hard to believe that I held out for so long. It wasn’t until three years ago that I actually got Internet service at home. It costs too much money though (right?)

Growing Character

This is one of my favourite teaching-related books I’ve ever read. It’s hard to find a copy of it. I got it from the professional library our school board keeps. If you can’t find it online, go check yours.

Running Season Starts

The first run of the year is always tough. Here is some advice for first time runners or those of us who are just getting back into it after a seasonal break.

What Teacher’s Make

This is a great video from Slam Poet and teacher, Taylor Mali. One of the teachers at my school showed this to me today. I knew right away that I had to share it with you.

Thanks for Chasing Content with me.

Visit the Chasing Content Archive for monthly “Best of” posts just like this one.

Shad Autograph

Shad, autograph, rapper, underground

Shad is an incredible rapper. In fact, I think he’s one of the best that Canada has ever seen.

I had the chance to interview him a few years back and he gave me this autograph.

You can listen to the hour-long interview with the player below, download the podcast for free, or read the transcript now.

And make sure you check for his awesome albums and EPs. He is a talented lyricist and makes great music. I love having this autograph in my collection.

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

A Lesson Plan on the Structure of Rap Songs

This lesson looks at the structure of rap songs and gets the students writing their first rhymes.

You can download this Smartboard lesson for free and have some fun in your music class.

Rap is pretty much based around groups of 4. Here you see a basic drum pattern with the kick, snare, kick, snare.

The rhyming words in a rap normally fall on beat 4 (the second snare)

Here’s a rhyme I wrote just for this exercise.

The end rhymes all come on the final snare. Here you see that I rhymed “snares” with “there” and “care”

I also placed another rhyme in the middle of the third line. “Square” lands on the first snare (the second beat)

and then I rhymed “not” with “spot”

I want to get the students writing and performing songs in small groups. Today’s lesson will hopefully inspire them on how they can divvy up the verses and words when they form their own rap groups later on in this unit.

I start with some old-school Run-DMC since the rhymes are easy to follow along with and to show how the two MCs trade lyrics back and forth.

Run’s lyrics are printed in red. DMC’s lyrics are printed in blue. Jam Master Jay is the DJ of the group.

Rappers were originally called emcees and not rappers. Sometimes emcee is spelled MC as in DMC.  The term stands for “master of ceremonies”

Play the song for the students to hear and then stop it after the chorus,

Discuss the origin of the song. It came out in 1983 when there were quite a few commercials saying “And if you’re not completely satisfied, return in 30 days for a full refund.

In this song, they are saying you don’t need money or anything to rap. They are also putting out a guarantee that their music is amazing. It’s quite the clever song.

END RHYMES

Point out the end rhymes, “man” and “again” don’t rhyme unless you pronounce them a certain way. That is called a slant rhyme. Run made it rhyme in this lyric.

“call” and “all”
“hard” and “card”
“away” and “today”

are all end rhymes and land directly on the snare.

KEEP THE BEAT

In this part of the lesson, I have all of the students slap their desks as we start a beat. We count out loud “1, 2, 3, 4” as we count.

Make sure they keep a steady beat and don’t speed up or slow down.

Once the class has the beat down, have them rap the first line.

RAP THE FIRST LINE

“Heard that the said that it’s raining, man”

Emphasize how the end rhyme “man” came on the fourth beat (slap of the desks)

DIVIDE THE CLASS IN TWO

Have half to the class slap their desks and keep the beat.

The other half of the class will rap the first stanza.

Count them in when the beat is steady. “1, 2, 3, 4”

Then have them switch roles so both groups have a chance to rap.


RAP ALONG WITH THE MP3

Keep the two groups you created. Assign one of them to rap Run’s parts (Red Lyrics) and the other half will perform DMC’s part Blue Lyrics)

Point to each group to cue them. When it comes to the chorus, point with your left hand to cue Run, the right hand to cue DMC, and then both hands for the shared line “send me back in 30 days”\

When the students get the hang of it, share another example of a more modern rap with them.

Blue Scholars consist of Geologic, the MC, and DJ Sabzi.

This is a really positive song and I point that out to the students.

In the chorus it says,

“You might have owed me cash” – I’d probably not be happy about that
“Or put my hit on blast” – I’d be happy that you’re playing my songs
“And talk behind my back” – rumours and gossip are not welcomed at all
“But I still got love” – shows how they are positive people and don’t need to react negatively.

JUST A NOTE

I censored the song because in the chorus it says “sh*t” instead of “hit.” As rappers, we call our songs that. It’s just part of the culture and doesn’t feel like a swear word when used in that context.

END RHYMES

The rapper still uses end rhymes in this song and they fall on the snares.

“problem” and “solve them” is a nice end rhyme

“laundry” doesn’t really rhyme with anything except “probably” a few word earlier and then he doesn’t have an end rhyme for a while.

He then skips a line to rhyme “you” and “bamboo”

It just goes to show you how creative you can be with when and where you place the rhymes in a rap.

At this point in the lesson, the students will start writing their own rap verse.

Download the Write a Rap Verse Worksheet as a PDF file.

Some students will have a really hard time starting from a blank page. If this is the case, give them a starting line.

“Music class is really cool” and slap or clap to show that “cool” lands on beat 4.

Lots of things rhyme with cool so hopefully this will get them started just fine.

Give them ten or 15 minutes to write a verse or two and to brainstorm some rhyming words.

That is the first lesson of my rap unit. I will be posting the other lessons here as well.

Remember you can download this lesson to use on your Smartboard. If you don’t have a Smartboard you can always use the images in this post and a computer projector to share them with your class.

NEXT UP 

Thank you for joining me on Teaching Tip Tuesday. The archive is full of great lesson plans, tricks, tips, and ideas you can use in your classroom.

Women in Hip-Hop 3 Mixset

This weekend, we celebrated International Women’s Day by dedicating our entire night’s worth of programming on DOPEfm to the Women in Hip-Hop.

It was our 3rd Annual Women in Hip-Hop Spectacular and it was a lot of fun delivering great content to you all night long.

This is the mixset that kicked off the show this year and it features a great line-up of female emcees.

You can download this underground hip-hop mix for free or stream it with the player below.

Red Shaydez – Give Me More
L’il London – Pecolating
Signif – Make Moves
The Reminders – Recollect
J-Sass – Whisper
Akua-Naru – Listening
Kelly Maize – 2012
Kadyelle – A Good Life
Apani B Fly ft. Jean Grae – Epidemic
Gavlyn – Survive
Dutch Rebelle – Sunday Morning
Tiff the Gift – Dear You
Harmony Muzik – Raise Hell
Lyric Jones ft. Phene – Reasons Why
Nina B ft. Torae – No Regrets
Tiye Pheonix – 48 Bars of Progression
Bahamadia – Do What I Believe

Enjoy the tunes!

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

3rd Annual Women in Hip-Hop Spectacular

women in hip-hop 2013

DOPEfm’s 3rd Annual Women in Hip-Hop Spectacular runs tonight on 93.3 CFMU on your radio dial with live streaming from the radio station’s website.

You can also listen to us on Cogeco Cable Channel 288, on Shaw Cable 93.9 fm, through your phone by dialing 704-702-7627 and inputting station ID 10042, and with the Tune In App by searching “DOPEfm.”

Tune in tonight starting at 12:00 midnight and keep the dial locked straight through to 7:00 a.m. Sunday morning.

We have some really exciting programming planned for the evening as we celebrate International Women’s Day by dedicated all seven hours of our overnight radio show to the Women in Hip-Hop.

HOUR 1 – A mixset featuring nothing but female emcees.
HOUR 2 – Part 1 of an extensive Know Your History episode focusing on the important moments in hip-hop history that had women in the forefront (1912 – 2000)
HOUR 3 – A roundtable discussion with Dominque Larue, Miss.She.Ill, K from Class of 93, and Ash Knuckles.
HOUR 4 – Part 2 of Know Your History covering the important moments in female hip-hop from 2000 – 2013.
HOUR 5 – A mixset and interview with female deejay L’oqenz.
HOUR 6 – An interview with Steph Clark of Beatbinjaz and a music mix by Chase March.
HOUR 7 – An interview with graduate student Marquitta Smith and a music mix by Daddy J.

Enjoy the show!

Celebrating International Women’s Day – Women in Hip-Hop 3

Beautiful poster done by one of my students

DOPEfm celebrates International Women’s Day every year by dedicating the entire overnight program to the Women in Hip-Hop. This year marks the third annual special presentation.

For this year’s show I have produced two hours of Know Your History detailing the important moments in female-fronted hip-hop from 1912 all the way up to 2013.

We have a female deejay, L’oqenz, providing us with a dope hour of music and we talk to her about her craft.

I spin an hours worth of music where every single track is by a female emcee.

We also have a roundtable discussion with some very talented artists including Miss.She.Ill, K from Class of 93, Dominique Larue, and Ash Knuckles.

I also talk to a graduate student about the issues surrounding women in hip-hop culture.

We get everything started at 12:00 midnight and run straight through to 7:00 a.m. Sunday morning.

There are some great voices in hip-hop music and culture. We need to recognize and celebrate them every day, but especially once a year on International Women’s Day.

If you missed the last two years of our special programming, don’t worry. You can download them for free anytime you like.

Women in Hip-Hop I (2011)
Women in Hip-Hop II (2012)

Please tune in live this Saturday night to hear our third annual Women in Hip-Hop Spectacular.

Celebrating International Women’s Day on DOPEfm and Silent Cacophony.

How Did I Get Here? (The Power of a Good Story)

Here are the latest books that I have read.

I am continuing to catalog every title here on Silent Cacophony. This is part of my 2013 reading log.

tony hawk, skateboard, book

How Did I Get Here: The Ascent of an Unlikely CEO by Tony Hawk

Tony Hawk is probably the most recognized name when it comes to extreme sports. He is a gifted athlete and a talented skateboarder who champions this great sport.

This isn’t a typical memoir. It only deals with his business interests, but we can learn a lot from his experiences, mistakes, and triumphs.

Tony Hawk has probably made more money from his side interests than from actually practising his craft. But that doesn’t stop him from skating. He makes it a point to get on his skateboard every day, even if he is busy with his radio show, video game development, film and video production, writing, and everything else he does. That is inspiring.

I sometimes think I am getting a little bit old to still be skating, but he’s a bit older than me and he doesn’t plan on stopping any time soon.

Tony Hawk has worked hard to get to where he is and he knows it’s a blessing to have built a life around skateboarding. Very cool story!

Gayle Forman, novel, If I Stay

If I Stay by Gayle Forman

I wasn’t sure what to expect when I picked up this novel. I thought it was a story about a young musician and her decision about pursuing her classical music career while balancing teenage life and her family.

At the start of the story, she is excited about a snow day. School is cancelled and her parents both decide to take the day off of work as well to have a special family day. But then they do the one thing that you should never do on a snow day. They get into the car and drive somewhere.

If school gets cancelled due to weather, it is always best to stay home. That’s what I do. Unless you really need to be somewhere, it is best to stay off the roads. This family learns that lesson the hard way and suffers a terribly accident on the road.

The lead character spends the entire story outside of her broken body that is in critical condition in the ICU of a hospital. Throughout the course of the story, she recounts her life and what lead her to where she is right now.

One nurse tells her that it is her decision on whether to stay in the world of the living or to move on to the next world. She encourages her to stay. It’s a tough decision and one she struggles with.

It wasn’t the best book I’ve read and there were times when I thought about putting it down, but some of the passages about the power of music were quite illuminating.

My 2013 Reading List

Ice T’s Rap School (Lesson Plan)

Ice T went to a prestigious prep school in New York and taught a group of kids who literally knew nothing about rap music and hip-hop culture, how to write and perform their own rap song.

The best thing about the whole experience is that it was filmed for a television series on VH1 back in 2006. 
Having one of hip-hop’s pioneers as a teacher at school would have been an amazing opportunity.

Ice T is far from your typical teacher. But he manages to show a kind and soft side to the students. He shares his passion for rap music with the kids and even brings in other artists to help him. I loved seeing MC Lyte mentoring the would be girl emcees. 

I wanted to share this series with my music classes this year. I thought it would be a good introduction to the unit on rap I was planning on teaching later in the year.

For the first viewing, I showed 22 minutes of the program to the class. I then played them an edited version of an Ice T song so the students could compare and contrast what they saw from Ice T the teacher to that of Ice T the gangsta rapper. 
We looked at the lyrics of “Power” and what Ice T was doing with his rhymes and content.

Ask the class,

What can you tell me about the rhyme structure of this song? 

Where does Ice T place his rhymes?

Why does he say negative things about the police?

Discuss how Ice T mentioned that he was involved with gangs in the portion of the TV show we just saw. He was writing about his own life. This was an autobiographical rhyme.

That was lesson one of the rap unit. You can download the Smartboard file and stream the entire series with the video player above.

Here is a screen cap of the Smartboard file. If you click on the paperclip symbol you will see that I have attached an edited version of Ice T’s “Power.” You can play this file with your preferred player. I like to use VLC.

Just a note on the editing of the track. I removed an entire verse and one line that would have been inappropriate for school. So rest assured, even though this is a gangsta rap song, you can play it in class with no worries.

I hope your students will enjoy entering the world of rap music and hip-hop culture.

Stay tuned to this blog for the other lessons in this unit that will have your students writing and performing their own rap songs in small groups. Much like what Ice T did with the students in his rap school.

Mr. March’s Rap School is now is session. 

Revert Skatepark (London, Ontario)

This is quite possibly the strangest skatepark you will ever see.

indoor skatepark, skateboarding, wooden ramps

It’s set inside a church. You can see the stage that is used as The Altar for Sunday Service.

indoor skatepark, skateboarding, wooden ramps

The floor we are skating on is where the congregation sits. You can see all of the chairs stacked up along the wall.

indoor skatepark, skateboarding, wooden ramps

It’s called Revert: Indoor Skatepark and it is located at Gateway Church in London, Ontario, Canada.

indoor skatepark, skateboarding, wooden ramps

Since it is set inside a church, it has fairly limiting hours. It’s always best to check the calendar on their website to see when they are open before heading out with your board and helmet.

indoor skatepark, skateboarding, wooden ramps

The ramps are moveable and customizable.

indoor skatepark, skateboarding, wooden ramps

My only beef with the set-up of this indoor skateboarding facility is that the quarter pipes have this lip at the bottom of them. You need to ollie up on them instead of just rolling up. That is not a trick I am particularly good at.

The ramps are designed this way so they can fit together to form the mini-ramp half pipe. When I first got to this facility, most of the skaters were using the quarter pipers to gain speed to do tricks on the other ramps and obstacles.

I asked them to build the mini-ramp and spent most of my time on it.

I love half pipes and this one is low enough that I could do some nice tricks on it.

indoor skatepark, skateboarding, wooden ramps

More Skatepark Tours

 

 

 

 

Chasing Content – March 2012

It’s the first of the month.

Time for a little feature we call Chasing Content . . .

A feature that lets us shine a light through the many blog posts that get planted here.

So, let’s go back in time and look at the best posts of last March.

You can read all of the posts from March 2012 . . .

or just these favs!

Friday Night Lights: A Mixtape Tribute to the TV Series 

I never watched this show during its original run on television. But I fell in love with it on DVD. I raced through every single episode and was sad to see it come to an end.

I wanted to make a tribute mixtape to acknowledge this incredible series. This music mix might be a bit weird but I think it sums up the feel of high school football quite nicely.

Enjoy the tunes!

The Book Whisperer 

I love this book. It’s something I think all homeroom teachers should read.

It’s important to instill a love of reading in our students. I’m not sure we do that with the way we have traditionally taught reading in the classroom.

Donalyn Miller has great ideas to turn that all around. This book is well worth your time. Please read it.

Join WoMEn on the Radio 

Every year, we celebrate International Women’s Day by dedicating our entire overnight radio show to the Women in Hip-hop.

Last year’s show was incredible and by the power of the Internet, it lives on. Gotta love it!

This year’s show will be on March 9th. Tune in live to hear seven hours of great content!

40 Teaching Blunders (Or Opportunities) 

Every mistake can be a learning opportunity. I think it’s important for our students to realize that mistakes are simply a part of life and nothing to be ashamed of. I have made plenty of mistakes over the course of my career and I haven’t tried to hide that from my students. There is value in that.

The Word is Bond Podcast 

I can’t believe a year has passed since we launched The Word is Bond Podcast.

It has been quite the ride and I have enjoyed writing and producing weekly episodes of the show.

We have big things planned for the wesbite and the podcast this year.

Thanks for Chasing Content with me!

Visit the Chasing Content Archive for the best posts of every single month.