Monthly Archives: May 2013

Daredevil Ends with Shadowland

Daredevil is my all-time favourite superhero.

The work Frank Miller did in the first run of the comic book series completely revolutionized the entire medium of comics.

The second run of the comic series began in 1998 and the title continued to soar. I never thought it would come to an end but it has with these titles.

Lady Bullseye is a dangerous new foe. She leads the ninja assassin gang known as The Hand and targets both Daredevil and his not-too-secret identity of Matthew Murdoch.

The Kingpin and Daredevil shaking hands? What’s going on here? It basically the-enemy-of-my-enemy is my friend deal. They need to work together to help clean up the messy situation that The Hand has brought to the city.

It turns out that The Hand was trying to recruit Daredevil to lead them. Feeling really guilty of all the harm that has come to his neighbourhood and his friends, Daredevil actually agrees. He thinks he can change the direction of the evil organization and use them as a force for good. Of course, things aren’t that easy.

I don’t want to give away what happens in the final story of the series. I will say that The Hand, under the leadership of Daredevil, builds a super-prison right in the middle of Hell’s Kitchen. The fortress is called Shadowland and the rest of the heroes in the Marvel Universe are not happy with the state of Martial Law that Daredevil has declared.

The one thing I didn’t like about these two hardcover editions of Shadowland is that the stories intertwine. They would be better served in one collection. As far as reading order goes, it makes more sense to read one issue of Shadowland and the issue # 1 of Shadowland: Daredevil and then to continue that pattern. Otherwise the story is a little fractured.

The story was a good one but it didn’t bring closure to the character or the series. That is why I am glad to see that Daredevil lives on in comic form. A Third Volume of the comic is currently in production.

I am collecting that series as well but so far I’ve only read Issue #1. I much prefer the hardcover collections and have Volume 1 sitting on my bookshelf. I will read it soon and blog about it here.

Explore More of My Daredevil Collection

Teaching Tip – Guest Posts

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 dedicated to the guest teachers who have contributed a post to my Teaching Tip Tuesday series. If you have a great tip, lesson, or idea you would like to share, please contact me to submit a guest post.

Please bookmark this page and come back often. I will update it with any new guest post I publish.

You might also want to check my Pinterest page for more great ideas.

I hope you enjoy these Teaching Tips.

4 Ways to Sustain Your Enthusiasm
5 Tips To Motivate Reluctant Students
9 Tips for an Eco-Friendly Classroom
A Day in the Life of a Supply Teacher 
Benefits of Extra-Curricular Activities ,
Elementary Oragami
First Time Teacher Tips
Healthy Lunches Kids Will Love
How to Use Blogging in Your Teaching
Inspiring Classroom Story – A Student’s Resiliency
Literacy Strategy A.P.E. 
Quieting Down a Rowdy Class
There are No Grades in First Grade
What Teachers expect from a Supply 
Why Are You Learning

The TARDIS Console Room Mega Set

What’s better than Doctor Who and Lego?

How about combining them both together to get a model kit of the TARDIS complete with four mini-figures including the Eleventh Doctor, Amy Pond, Rory Williams, and River Song.
Doctor Who character building set

Here is the completed model. It looks so cool!

building toy compatible with Lego blocks

I like the alien landscape and the fact that the TARDIS is completely removable. You can fly it around, land on the planet, and then have the door open so the mini-figs can walk right into the console room.

Lgo-type Doctor Who kit

The console room feels just like the one from the TV show. There are two levels to it and it is detailed with wires, clear pieces, switches, and dials. There is even a place to store the Doctor’s sonic screwdriver.

Doctor Who Console Room Character Building Toy

This is a really cool set and I’m glad I bought it.

It’s not Lego brand but the blocks are compatible. I am thinking about building other connecting rooms to make this set even more magical.

There are other sets to collect as well. I could go broke buying all the Doctor Who stuff I’d like.

More Doctor Who Posts

Chasing Content – May 2007

It’s time for a second edition of Chasing Content. Let’s dip back into the archive and explore what was happening here on the blog six years ago.

Read all of the posts from May 2007

or just these gems

What Happened to Respect?

It seems not much has changed in the past six years. This is what I wrote, “It’s frustrating being a teacher in this day and age. I was disrespected in a handful of ways today. And I couldn’t really do anything about it. I try to do my job to the best of my ability and I treat the students with respect. But it doesn’t get returned.”

Wow, I could have wrote that today just as easily. It’s sad.

River of Distraction

I can barely remember not having the Internet at home. Back in those days, I still blogged but I wrote all of my material offline, saved it to a thumb drive and uploaded whenever I could get the chance.

I have to admit that the Internet still distracts me but it also helps me. I’ve been working on the radio show and podcast and would have had a hard time doing so offline. I use it for research all the time. It’s a great tool . . . but it still takes me away from writing some times. The more things change, the more they stay the same.

Positive Hip-Hop Promotion

This is what I am all about. It could be my mission statement. I love the cutture of hip-hop and try to promote it and show everyone how positive it can actually be.

It’s cool to see how I used the example from this post in my teaching this year too.

Who Am I?

Still trying to figure this one out. It’ s been a good journey so far though.

You Can’t Do Anything You Want

We always tell our youth that they can do anything, that they can become anything they want to. Is this the right message to give them?


Please click on the links in this post and leave comments. I’d love to hear from you.

10 More Embarrassing Things Star Trek Into Darkness

We are going through Star Trek Into Darkness to illustrate just how dark a day this is for Star Trek fans everywhere. I cannot believe that they’ve made two horrible films in a row. And as bad as the 2009 reboot was, this sequel is even worse. It is practically unwatchable. Here’s why . . .

30 Things Wrong with Star Trek Into Darkness

Read #1-10 and #11-20

21) Future Spock

Future Spock’s cameo in the last film made sense. This scene really served no purpose and didn’t need to be included. More gimmicks for a weak film. Very disappointing.

22) The Real Enemy

Just past the halfway mark of the film, we find out that the real enemy was a Starfleet big wig. The admiral alone could have been the main villain here. His accomplice could have been anybody and really didn’t need to be Khan.

The fact that Khan was in this film without any of his backstory or history really cheapens the original character and how well it was played by Ricardo Montalban.

23) The Starfleet Supership

This ship is more powerful that Enterprise D in The Next Generation. It can follow a ship through Warp and fire at those ridiculous speeds. This makes no sense in the Star Trek universe. This technology is at least 300 years ahead of its time. It doesn’t mesh in this timeline at all.

24) Scotty sabotages the supership

He did this before in the original run of movies. Once again, Star Trek writers repeating the past. It was just gimmicky here too.

25) Diving from ship to ship

This is highly improbable and unrealistic even in this new and crazy world of Star Trek. That being said, Data did the same thing in Star Trek: Nemesis. Star Trek writers can’t seem to come up with anything new, can they?

26) Kirk and Spock’s death scene reversal

The writers tried to be cute with this one.

The scene was near identical to the one in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan but this time Kirk dies instead of Spock.

The bad thing here is that we were never given a chance to mourn Kirk. We truly believed Spock was dead in the original film and we cried. It was a beautiful scene.

27) Kirk’s resurrection

This was so painfully obvious and unbelievable. It made no sense. At least in Wrath of Khan we thought Spock was dead and had no idea how he’d come back. In The Search for Spock, we are given a good reason for his revival. One that makes sense.

Khan’s blood – come on, that makes no sense.

28) Fight Scene on Space Cars

I don’t think it’s possible to have a fist fight on top of cars on the highway so it’s even more improbable to have one on top of Space Cars zooming through the air.

29) Uhura saves Spock

This relationship makes no sense. Now there are three people on top of a space car too.

30) Spock’s humanity

Spock says, “You are welcome, Jim.” In the original series, Spock was cold and emotionless for quite some time. He never called Kirk by his first name, not until many years later. It seems like they’ve rushed this whole thing. Especially since he lost his planet in the last movie. You figure he’d hold onto his heritage a little more stubbornly than this.

Those are my thoughts on the film. Agree with me or disagree?

Please leave a comment below.

30 Disappointing Moments from Star Trek Into Darkness

Why is the Enterprise in the Ocean? See #  2

We are going through Star Trek Into Darkness and looking at the 30 Disappointing moments in the film.

Here are the 30 Things Wrong With Star Trek Into Darkness.

11) Weird Photon Torpedoes 

Scotty didn’t want these new weapons being loaded onto the ship. He refused to sign for them and Kirk fired him over it. There was obvious foreshadowing here but it could have been much better done.

12) Sulu takes the Con

We all know that Sulu gets his own command in Star Trek VI so the joke about him sitting in the captains chair makes the Trekkie in all of us smile. But to me, it seemed like the first of many gimmicks in this film.

Star Trek, at its best, was never about gimmicks. It has smart writing. So far, this film has been completely lazy.

We are now up to the 40 minute mark of the film.

13) Spock and Uhura’s fight

I don’t understand why these two were given a love story in the first movie of this reboot. Their lovers’ tiff seems like a cheap way for the writers to explore Spock’s Vulcan heritage. Once again, this is rushed. It could have been much better served with a fleshed out opening sequence.

14) Khan beams himself to the Klingon homeworld after another act of terrorism

This wasn’t even possible in the time of The Next Generation. It is so completely absurd but I can actually give them this one since it was kind of set up in the 2009 film.

15) The Klingons wear face armor???

Klingons are a honor-bound and pride race of warriors. I cannot even fathom them wearing face armor. It goes against everything the Klingons have ever stood for in every other incarnation of Star Trek.

16) Uhura speaks Klingon???

Since when?

17) Khan kills an entire squad of armor-laden Klingons single-handedly.

Once again, these are Klingons. Khan might have been smarter and stronger than the average human but taking down so many Klingons alone, still doesn’t make any sense.

18) Klingons don’t look like Klingons.

We do see one of them remove the face armor and he doesn’t look anything like the Klingons we know from either old films or TNG series.

19) Khan surrenders when he learns how many photon torpedoes are on the Enterprise.

And no one on the ship or on the away team has the fainest clue why. Everyone with half a brain in the audience does though.

20) A Tribble. Really?

Let’s take iconic characters and moments from the original and throw them into this movie for no good reason.

That Tribble didn’t need to be there.

Read More

I have 10 more things that the creators of Star Trek Into Darkness just couldn’t get right.

How disappointing!

30 Things Wrong With Star Trek Into Darkness

The latest Star Trek film is a train-wreck from beginning to end. There were only a few moments in the film that were actually tolerable. I’ve already written about my disappointment with Star Trek Into Darkness, but I decided to shed a little more light on the situation. This truly is a dark day for Star Trek.

Here are 30 Things Wrong with Star Trek Into Darkness (Spoilers)

1) The Opening 5 Minutes

This sequence could have made a great original series episode. It could have been paced out a lot better and formatted into a hour-long show. Instead, the filmmakers compressed the entire thing and rushed through something that could have been so much more.

2) The Enterprise in the Ocean?

This made absolutely no sense. The Enterprise should have been in orbit above the planet. There was no practical reason for it to be submerged underwater.

3) The Prime Directive

Spock didn’t want Kirk to come save him because the natives would have seen the ship rise from the ocean. It’s great that Spock wanted to uphold Starfleet’s no-intereference order, but it wouldn’t have been an issue at all if the ship wasn’t pretending to be a submarine at that point (See #2)

4) Khan

I swear the movie makers thought they were making a comic book film. They must have sat around a table and said, “Who’s the main bad guy in Star Trek? Let’s get him.”

The problem is that in this altered timeline, Kirk and Khan have no history or rivalry. Khan’s origin isn’t explained and it’s assumed that we know who he is because of his previous appearances in Star Trek lore – appearances that are supposedly null and void in this new universe.

We aren’t given any backstory on him at any point in this film. We don’t even hear his name or a hint of who he is until halfway through the film and when we do find out who he is, it is insignificant in the story. Without the prior knowledge of the die-hard Trekkies, his name meant nothing.

5) London

Why is this movie set in London? Starfleet headquarters are in San Francisco.

6) The sick child

Khan has a superior intelligence and super-strength. He wouldn’t have needed to extort a desperate father into an act of terrorism. He would have preferred to do it himself and to be a little more clever with it.

7) Kirk gets demoted 

The first mission under his command and Kirk violates Starfleet highest commandment. He gets demoted for it. It seems like a pretty hefty consequence for a first time offence.

As viewers, we know he is not out of the picture at all. Like in cop movies when the characters lose their badge but continue doing their jobs. This time it’s even worse though because he gets reinstated to his command in only a few minutes of film time.

8) Kirk becomes First Officer

Captain Pike regains command of the Enterprise, Spock asks for a transfer to another ship, and Kirk gets his job as First Officer.

9) Pike dies. 

In the original series, Captain Pike gets paralyzed. I was hoping for that to happen in this movie. He didn’t have to die.

10) Kirk regains command and reinstates Spock as his First Officer.

This all happens within the first 30 minutes of the film. It is way too rushed. The filmnakers must have known the story was bad but hoped that noone would notice if they kept up a breakneck pace to the entire thing.

There is a lot more wrong with this film. 

Continue Reading #11 – 20

My Classroom is a Laser Field

“My kids have been getting really stir crazy the past few weeks… between bad weather, a muddy playground, and spring break jitters, they’re all too bored of the classroom. So I had to get creative.
My TA and I took red streamer paper and made the room into a laser field.”

How cool is that?

“The kids loved it, especially the boys (and with four times as many boys as girls in my class, their opinion, unfortunately, usually takes precedence!). They had to jump and crawl and climb and above all, be CAREFUL to not touch the ‘lasers’. Kept them busy for an entire afternoon as we worked through our lessons.”

What a great idea!

It comes from a semi-anonymous preschool teacher who blogs under the name Blue and Grey. Her Tumblr has some great ideas.

She even admits that this idea wasn’t completely unique. But like all good teachers, she took it, ran with it, made it her own, and inspired her students in the process.

“I had seen something similar on Pinterest done in a hallway with string… But lets face it, who has a classroom that narrow?! And though this was a little bit of a distraction here and there, it definitely shook the ‘I’m bored’ out of them.

You can’t be afraid to change up your classroom every once in a while! :)”

Very wise words from a fellow teacher!

Teaching Tip Tuesday is a weekly series here on Silent Cacophony that offers tips, tricks, lessons, and other great ideas to use in your classroom.

There are close to 200 Teaching Tips in the archive and more get added every week.

Doctor Who Lego?

When I saw this fan-made Lego creation of the interior of the TARDIS, I was completely blown away. It was an incredible piece of art and something that I wished had come in a set. I would have bought it without a moment’s hesitation.

fanmade TARDIS Lego creation

You can find out about the construction of this wonder from Mr. Xenomurphy’s wesbite. His Doctor Who Lego creation is so detailed and breathtaking. I can’t say enough about it.

Doctor Who Lego kit

I just bought this kit. It’s not an official Lego product but it the blocks are compatible.

It also comes with mini-figures of the Eleventh Doctor, Amy Pond, Rory, and River Song.

I absolutely love that it comes with a mini-TARDIS as well.

When I have put together the console room, I will take a picture of it and share it with you as well.

Time to go play!

Star Trek Into Disappointment

Star Trek Into DisappointmentI was really hoping that the second film in the Star Trek reboot could capture the essence of the original movie franchise. I also wanted to enjoy a new Star Trek adventure.

As such, I avoided all spoilers and promotion for Star Trek Into Darkness and watched the movie tonight with an open mind.

My efforts were shut down with weak storytelling that lacked any sort of emotional depth.

There was only one moment in the film where I exclaimed, “Woah” and it had nothing to do with the massive special effects. It had to do with the name of a character.

Even though, I did my best to avoid spoilers, I came across this image and thought I knew who this character would be in the film. I thought the writers of this second movie were retelling the original series episode “Where No Man Has Gone Before”

Carol MarcusBut I was wrong.

I won’t give away exactly who she is. I think it’s the one thing that could surprise you in this film.

If you don’t want any SPOILERS, read no further.

I need to speak my piece on this movie that failed on so many different levels. Quite frankly, I’m shocked that the writers and producers learned nothing from their first lackluster effort.

I am also upset that so many Star Trek writers mine old stories for new adventures. It’s lazy storytelling that adds nothing to the Star Trek universe.

This second Star Trek movie blatantly rips off Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan. And if that wasn’t bad enough, Star Trek: Nemesis already did that several years back. This movie has now been made three times. And the original was an amazing film that should have been left alone.

This movie copied scenes directly from The Wrath of Khan and tried to get cute with it by reversing Spock and Kirk’s roles in the story. In this one, Kirk dies saving the ship instead of Spock. But we don’t have to wait for the next film to get him back. Bones brings him back to life almost immediately.

There is no beautiful death scene like in the original second film. We aren’t given time to mourn him because it is so obvious how he will be revived (even if it is ridiculously unbelievable)

This is a lackluster movie for lack of a term but it doesn’t need to sound the death knell on the franchise.

Star Trek has always been able to bounce back from a lackluster movie. Star Trek II, Star Trek IV, and Star Trek VI are incredible stories that are well told, while Star Trek: The Motion Picture, Star Trek III, and Star Trek V left much to be desired but they weren’t merely chopped full of flashy effects, rushed storytelling, and a reliance of past history to help move the story along.

I wanted to like this movie. I tried my best to give it a chance but it’s all flash and no substance. And definitely a dark day for Star Trek. I guess the title speaks volumes. The filmmakers have truly thrown this franchise into a deep, dark pit of despair.

Star Trek Into Darkness – that is exactly what this movie is. I just hope someone new can come in and reanimate the franchise like Bones reanimated Kirk or like the Genesis Planet reanimated Spock.

Genesis Planet Star Trek III

30 Things Wrong With Star Trek Into Darkness (More thoughts)

Sifton Bog Boardwalk Nature Trail

It’s time for another photographic tour.

This time we are going to explore the broardwalk nature trail at Sifton Bog in London, Ontario, Canada.

This portion of the trail starts on Oxford Drive.

This trail is nice for a short stroll. If you want to go for a trail run, you really need to run the back trails of Sifton Bog. 

The boardwalk is over a kilometer long.

It bends and it weaves throughout a forest

and then comes out at this bog.

This is the viewing platform.

It really is a nice natural area. And it’s right in the middle of the city. It’s great for a short walk but not really suited for a run.

If you want to go for a run, click on the link below and find a nice trail near you.

More Photographic Tours and Running Trails

Teaching Tip – Drama

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.

The Arts are a very important part of education and teachers should not be afraid of the four strands; visual arts, music, drama, and dance.

This page is all about the Dramatic Arts strand of the curriculum and will give you practical tips, tricks, and lessons that you can use in your Drama instruction.

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

You might also want to check my Pinterest page for more great teaching ideas.

I hope you enjoy these Teaching Tips.

A Great Drama Rubric 
Comic Strip Drama
Improvisational Stories 
Radio Theatre 
Scaredy Squirrel Drama Lesson

The TARDIS is Complete

I put the finishing touches on my homemade TARDIS today.

I’ve been blogging about the process for the past several weeks. You can see how I constructed the frame, attached the walls, added wood trim, attached a roof, and painted it.

The next thing I needed to to do was add the signage.

First, I found a printable file of the Police Public Call box sign. I formatted it into MS Word and printed off five copies of it onto Ledger Paper (11×17 inches)

I then cut the two portions of the sign and glued them together. I did this five times even though I only needed four copies to go along the top of the TARDIS. I figured that I might need an extra one for some reason.

It turns out that I did. I laminated them and one of them didn’t take. The plastic didn’t seal properly on it and since it was an extra one, I was able to throw it out.

I also laminated the two door signs and affixed them with spray adhesive.

The coolest thing about the plastic wall construction is that these windows are translucent. I will be putting a light inside and adding one for the top light so this thing will really shine.

So here is the completed TARDIS.

I plan on adding an interior light so the windows will glow, a separate light for the top lantern, and an MP3 player with a small speaker inside so the time machine will make authentic sounds.

I also plan on making a fan film. After those last details are added, I’ll start working on the script.

A Hip-Hop Tribute for Mother’s Day

Listen to this special Mother’s Day edition of Know Your History with the player at the bottom of the post. Download the podcast for free. Or continue reading.

Happy Mother’s Day!

“One of the most important things you can give in life is love. The first thing I knew from my mother was love. Love that came in a pure way. Love that came in a disciplinary way. Love that came, just from a mother loving her son.

At one point, in the first seven and a half years in my life, it was just she and I. That love was really strong and it taught me how to love. It taught me to love myself and gave me a great foundation. And along with that, I got to see my mother as an educator and a teacher.

She tried to help out her students on an extra level. She helped out my friends who didn’t have mothers, who had lost their mothers, mothers who’d been on drugs – she’d help them too.

I got to see my mother being a giving person, be someone who was able to reach out to others, and somewhere in my life that shaped me to want to give, just seeing that example.”

That was rapper / actor / Common, talking about his mother. It’s a great quote and a fitting way to start off the Mother’s Day Tribute episode of Know Your History. It really does say a lot.

Common wrote a memoir entitled “One Day It’ll All Make Sense” which is a nice little play on words. He originally came out as Common Sense but got into some legal troubles because another band already had that name, so he had to drop the “Sense” and just became Common. That is why we know him as Common these days.

Common Releasing One Day It'll All Make Sense ...

His mother actually writes part of the book as well. In one section, she retells a time when she was on the phone speaking to someone from the university. As she talked, her son looked at her a little strangely. When she hung up, Common asked her, “Why were you speaking white?” She explained that you talk differently to different people depending upon who you were talking to. She related it like this – you don’t talk to me the same way you talk to your cousin or your best friend, right? She was basically saying, ‘The words you choose matter.’

It’s really cool to see that he had so much respect for her that she is actually a co-author of his memoir and that he could talk about her like that in front of an audience. Especially in hip-hop, a music form that can be really demeaning to women. I don’t know why this is the case, but one woman in particular is held up above all others in this culture and that is mom.

Today, I want to pay tribute to mothers everywhere. Happy Mother’s Day to everyone out there doing their thing. Much respect to you. We are going to play some songs that are celebrating motherhood today and we have to start out with this one – the quintessential hip-hop Mother’s Day song. This is 2Pac “Dear Mama”

That’s an amazing track. 2Pac is one of my favourite rappers ever. He is talking about motherhood there and it is not always a good thing. He shows some of the downsides, some of the mistakes his mother has made, but he still is able to say – I appreciate everything you’ve done! I love you. This track is for you!

It’s really cool to see a rapper being able to do that because you really have to put yourself out there. You have to open yourself up there and you have to show some kind of vulnerability to be able to do that. I know that in rap, we often stand up, pump our chest and boast. That’s why I love 2Pac, he is able to speak some truth and illustrate some great points.

Here is a clip from an interview he did where he is talking about this song.

“My mother taught me three things – respect, knowledge – the search for knowledge is an eternal journey, and she taught me to not be quiet. If there is something on my mind, speak it. But also to listen.

She told me that God gave you two ears to listen and one mouth to speak. Two ears and one mouth. Common sense. You should speak but you should also listen. That’s where the knowledge comes from. It comes from listening. And once you get the knowledge, then you can speak. It helps you.

So, she taught me respect, knowledge, and understanding mostly.”

Rap isn’t always demeaning. There are a lot of good things happening in this music and a celebration of motherhood today in this special edition of Know Your History. I’m your host, Chase March, and we are going to keep it moving with more tracks that pay tribute to mom. When you think of hip-hop and when you think of Mother’s Day, two tracks probably come to mind. “Dear Mama” that we just played and this next one I’m going to play “Hey Mama”

This is Kanye West from his Late Registration Album “Hey Mama”

Kanye West wrote that song years before releasing it on an album. He even premiered the song in front of his mom on the Oprah Winfrey Show. As I did my research for this show, I came across a lot of footage of him performing the song for his mom and even with her performing it with him on stage. She’s since passed away but it’s really nice to see that he was able to share this with her while she was still here.

She was one of his biggest supporters and she even memorized some of his rhymes and would rap along with him. Very cool to see that kind of support. Kanye’s track “Hey Mama” is one of the best salutes to motherhood that we have in hip-hop along with 2Pac’s “Dear Mama.” Very nice tracks!

Another artist that did a nice job of celebrating motherhood is Masta Ace. In fact, he even took it a step further by dedicating an entire album to his mother. It’s called “Son of Yvonne.” Here is what he had to say about it . . .

“I decided to use the memory of my mother as the backdrop and as the catalyst to carry the album. I dedicated the album to my mother, I put her name in it, ‘Son of Yvonne,’ and just decided that the album was going to be more than a free mixtape of raps. It was going to be an album that had some meaning to me personally as an MC, as a person, as a man. I feel that I’d delivered to the fans more than what they originally expected.”

“Son of Yvonne” is a concept album based around the memory of his mother. I really like this album. There is a narrative in there about how, when he was young, he wanted to be a rapper and how his mom had quite an extensive record collection that she was quite protective of. So, he had to sneak out records if he wanted to rap over them. It’s a nice story, a nice concept album, and a nice tribute to his mom. Something we definitely had to highlight today for this special Mother’s Day edition of the show.

If you are mother, keep doing your thing because it’s a tough job. I have so much respect for you.

Happy Mother’s Day everyone!

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

Perfect Movie – Wreck-It Ralph

More often than not, movies let me down. It’s very rare for one to come along that just totally hits on every single level.

Wreck-It Ralph did just that. As the closing credits rolled, I said to myself, “Wow, that was perfect!”

Truth is, I wasn’t expecting much from this film. Almost every movie I’ve seen based on a video game has been substandard at best. I was a little reluctant to give this one a chance. I’d seen the commercials and was ready to write it off as simply children’s fare. I’m glad I didn’t.

The world created in this movie is absolutely incredible. It is set in an arcade and when it closes for the day, the video game characters interact with each other. It’s sort of like Toy Story that way – the rest of the world is oblivious to the lives of the characters outside of game time.

The brilliance of this story is that it is based on the bad guy. Wreck-It Ralph isn’t the title character of his game. He just gets to smash a building while Fix-It Felix Jr. uses his magic hammer to repair the damage.

I am glad that the writers of this film chose to create an original game for this film. They managed to capture the essence of two classic games in the process and they created something quite magical.

Wreck-It Ralph is pretty much the monster creature from Rampage. He climbs up buildings and destroys them. When the arcade closes, people run away from him. He gets picked on by security and treated as if he were a monster. But he’s not. He has a big heart and he just wants to enjoy the 30th anniversary of his game.

Fix-It Felix is pretty much the Mario character that we all know and love. He is treated as a hero by the other video game characters in the arcade.

Wreck-It Ralph wants to be a good guy for once. He wants to earn a medal like Felix does every day. He thinks if he can do that, he will be accepted and his life will greatly improve. So he hops over to a new generation game. He believes that he is bad enough to fight the alien bugs and earn a medal there.

The contrast between his innocent old-school single screen game and the gritty violent world of the new game is overwhelming. It’s terrifying for him and we really are along for the ride.

He hops over to another game that is a lot like MarioKart and meets an outcast character there as well.

I won’t give away anymore of the movie because I highly recommend it. It hits some emotional marks, has some interesting cameos from real video game characters, and it’s true to the old school games I used to love playing at the arcade.

Wreck-It Ralph is a perfect movie!

Middle Schools Should . . .

What Every Middle School Teacher Should Know by Trudy Knowles and Dave F. Brown

This book advocates for a change in the structure of learning in our schools. It’s time for us to have a serious discussion about this. The current way of learning in schools isn’t conductive to the modern world. It’s old-and-outdated and in need of change.

I like the idea of a student designed curriculum. There are some great ideas on how to make this a reality in the classroom. I’m not sure how practical these tips are though. We have ministry expectations we need to be covering in our lessons and we have a limited amount of time to do so.

The authors suggest that we change the structure of the school day to help facilitate this. Artificial timetables with 40 minute subject blocks probably aren’t the best way to reach every student. It would be really nice to have some fluidity there.

This book really does have some great ideas but the implication of them would be difficult for any individual teacher. These changes need to come in to place for an entire school or district to be effective.

I would love to see some of these changes come into effect. I think the students would respond well to the ideas presented in this book.

Unfortunately, after reading this book, I have no idea how to follow up on the authors’ suggestions. It’s a pie in the sky kind of ideal that more than likely won’t come to fruition. There are a few things we can take from this book to our classrooms as they are now. There are a few good ideas in it that will actually work without major restructuring. But overall, change needs to come from someone other than the regular classroom teacher.

My 2013 Reading List

Teaching Tip Tuesday List

TARDIS Build Part 5 – The Paint Job

Building my own TARDIS has been a lot of fun.

I started by constructing a frame. I then added corrugated plastic for the walls and wood trim to create the panelling effect of the time machine.

Last week, I shared with you the construction of the roof. Today, we will look at the paint job.

Since the walls are corrugated plastic, I had to get paint that would bond to plastic. I’d thought that any can of spray paint would work but when I was in the store, the paint clerk happened to overhear me hemming and hawing about what paint to get.

She quickly pointed me towards Krylon: Fushion paint. It was the only product they carried that would work on plastic.

Three cans of paint later and it’s starting to look like the real TARDIS.

Here you can see that I covered the windows with painter’s tape.

It was still looking a little bit light in colour so I went back and bought two more cans of spray paint.

The TARDIS is really starting to come along now. Next I need to add a few details. The POLICE BOX sign, the door sign, the St. John’s Ambulance Logo, a handle and latch for the door, and a few extra details.

Stay tuned for one further TARDIS build update. I can’t wait to see the finished product. It is going to look amazing.

I Won a Skateboard Competition

I entered a skateboard competition yesterday. It was at the skatepark right beside my school so a lot of my students were there.

I’m not the best skateboarder but I try my best. I have a few old school flatland tricks that impressed the judges. I was also the oldest person in the competition. I think that impressed them as well.

All of the contestants were given a minute and a half to skate the park. It was a great freestyle session and I managed to pull off a few nice tricks. I had no illusion of winning whatsoever. I just entered to have fun.

I was really surprised to find out that I was in the Top 5 skaters.

We were then given 5 minutes to pull off the best tricks that we could.

They gave out three new boards to 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place. I didn’t win and I didn’t expect to. The top 3 skaters deserved their prize.

But a little later into the event, the organizer and MC of the event gave me this board.

Isn’t it gorgeous?

I needed a new board too. My old one is really banged up. It has a few cracks in it and a big chunk taken out of one end.

I can’t wait to get this thing put together with some grip tape. I’ll share pictures when I get it put together.

Free Comic Book Day Meets Star Wars Day

Free Comic Book Day

Today is Free Comic Book Day!

It’s an annual event where comic book stores all over the nation hold special events, author visits, book signings, contests, and more. And the best part is that you can get a free book or two in the process as well.

This year, the day just happens to fall on Star Wars Day as well, so it’s only fitting that one of the free comic you can get today is a Star Wars one.

star wars free comic book day 2013 photo:  free-comic-book-day-star-wars-2013.jpg

Star Wars Day was built around a simple pun. There really is no other reason to celebrate Star Wars today. The date doesn’t coincide with its original release or anniversary.

One of the catch phrases for the science fiction franchise is “May the Force Be With You!”

A clever wordsmith one day decided to tie that it to the calendar date and declared, “May the Fourth Be With You!” and it stuck.

There are a lot of great things happening today to celebrate both events.

Find out more about Star Wars Day

Find out more about Free Comic Book Day

Chasing Content – May 2012

At the start of every month I like to look back at what was happening on the blog last year at this time. 

It’s May, so construction season is well under way. Let’s jump in the excavator and see what we can dig up.

or these stand-out ones.
I love to explore nature trails. When I first discover a new one, I bring along my camera, lace up my running shoes, and hit the trail unsure of what I will find. 
On this particular run, I was compelled to stop at an old ruin and take a few pictures. When I got home, I took to the Internet and found out some interesting history about the modern ruin. 
I also love skateboarding and mixtapes. I combined my love for these two things and created a mixtape all about skateboarding. Not only are these good tunes to skate to but most of them are actually about skateboarding as well. Download or stream the tape for free!
We celebrate International Women’s Day every year by dedicating all seven hours of our overnight hip-hop radio program to the Women in Hip-Hop. Here is the easiest way to download last year’s broadcast. It was our 2nd annual special. 
Stay tuned to this blog for the 3rd annual download bundle. 
I wonder how many people would say that. 
Here’s why I’d keep teaching and what I’d do with the money. Now, to go buy a ticket!
Last year I kept a detailed reading log right here on Silent Cacophony. I surprised myself with the sheer number of books and the variety of things that I read over the course of the year. 
You can see every title here broken down by genre and then click on the links to learn more about each one. 
I’m having a friendly competition with myself to see if I can top 65 books read for the 2013 Reading Year. 
I wear a lot of hats as an elementary school teacher. There are so many things that I need to juggle on a daily basis. I give it my all and try my best to motivate and inspire my students. 
But it feels like not too many people understand my chosen profession. If that includes you, please click through and explore this post in detail. Thank you!
Click Around
I hope you’ve enjoyed this trip through the archives. Please click on any link that piques your interest and leave comments on my posts. I’d love to hear from you! 
Thanks for Chasing Content with me!