Monthly Archives: December 2014

How I Did With My Goals for 2014

I set goals for myself at the start of the year. I had the best intentions when I set them. I was determined to track my progress on a calendar as well.

Unfortunately, I didn’t follow through with the tracking and I haven’t looked back at the list since I wrote it. I really should make a more concerted effort this year. That being said, let’s see how well I did.

1) Polish and Perfect my YA Novel and my Literary Novel

Yeah, I didn’t do this. I really should have.

2) Continue to do weekly episodes of The Word is Bond Rap Radio Hour, Our Show, and DOPEfm.

I did this one. I was able to interview some amazing artists this year for the show including Atmosphere, AZ, Del the Funky Homosapien, Dilated Peoples, John Robinson, J Rawls,  Moka OnlyRas Kass, The Left, and many more. It was so much fun!

3) Continue to do monthly episodes of Know Your History

I fell behind on this one. I still need to produce the December episode and I haven’t run the November one yet on the radio. I will catch up though, promise!

4) Write the book version of Know Your History

What a great idea! But I already read the perfect book on hip-hop history, The Big Payback. It was so good that it probably derailed me. That being said, I think I still have something to offer when it comes to hip-hop literature. Hopefully, I will get back to this idea and follow through with it one day.

5) Keep Fit

Did that! I even started tracking my runs using the Nike+ App. It was so cool to get the actual distances I cover in my trail runs instead of having to approximate it like I have in the past.

I kept skateboarding too. Although last week, I fell off a half-pipe and threw out my shoulder. I’m still feeling that one. Ouch!

6) Read a Lot

I read 78 books this year. That’s pretty impressive! I beat my record of 65 books two years ago. I really love having a detailed reading log. It is something I am going to continue to do.

My Score

3/6 but that will probably be raised to 4/6 when catch up on the Know Your History episodes.

Tomorrow Comes

Tomorrow Comes by Donna Mebane

Tomorrow Comes by Donna Mebane

In the afterward to this novel, Donna Mebane writes,

I’m not a theologian or a psychologist or a philosopher. I’m not even a writer. I’m just a mom who loves my kids and assumed, like every mom does, that they’d be a part of my life for all my life. But in July 2011, after an evening during which she laughed for hours with her family and helped her best friend prepare for a long-anticipated trip to New York, my beloved daughter, Emma went to sleep and never woke up.

That was the impetus for this novel, a work of fiction where her daughter gets to wake up. As such, this is sort of a ghost story. Emma finds herself in a world much like the one she left behind but one that is populated by those who have passed away. She meets her grandparents, and her deceased dog.

There are rules to the way this new world works, and Emma, in typical teenage fashion, figures a way to work around them. She tries to reach out to her family to let them know that she is okay. She navigates her new reality and tries to make peace with her new reality.

Win a Free Copy of this Novel

If you would like to read this book, please contact me and I will mail you my copy for free. The Mebane family would love to have this story spread. It was suggested for me to do this on the very last page of the book. If you want to read it, I encourage you to pass it along when you are done with it as well.

My List of 2014 Reads – the complete list with links to each title I read this year

Happy Reading! 

 

Christmas Haul 2014

Here are the highlights of the Christmas gifts I received this year.

Smallville Chaos 1

Smallville Season 11: Chaos

My brother is a traditional comic book fan. He prefers single issues as opposed the collected editions I enjoy. So, he got me the first six issues of this comic.

I just did some research on it. I enjoyed watching the complete series of Smallville and I own every season on DVD. I didn’t know that the story has been continuing in comics form for some time now. There are several issues of this comic and the story doesn’t start in Chaos. Hopefully, I can follow along good enough with this arc. Looking forward to reading it!

Elektra

Elektra Action Figure

The packaging is damaged but it’s still nice having this edition to my extensive Daredevil collection.

Here is the new figure against the larger one I already have.

Two Elektra figures

I have the Daredevil figure of the same series for both of these as well.

Doctor Who 

Mini-TARDIS

I got this really cool mini TARDIS that lights up.

Silurian General Restac

And I got a new mini-figure as well. This is the Restac, the Silurian General who was part of team TARDIS for the last season of Matt Smith’s reign as The Doctor.

Other Swag

I got socks, underwear, pants, and some chocolate.

Overall, it’s not a bad haul. Christmas is for the kids after all.

I hope you had a great Christmas and have enjoyed some time together with your family!

Celebrate Christmas with 3 Hours of Mixtapes

Merry Christmas from SC

I get really bored of the same old Christmas Carols. That’s why I crafted some original Christmas-themed music mixes to help you celebrate the season.

A DOPEfm Christmas – great hip-hop mixed by yours truly

 

and if that doesn’t do you for your Christmas music needs, you can check for the sequel.

I’m proud that I didn’t have to repeat too many songs in this second edition either.

A DOPEfm Christmas 2

 

and if hip-hop isn’t your forte, you can stream or download,

All I Want for Christmas is a Mixtape!

 

Enjoy the tunes!

I wish you all the best this holiday season!

Bubble Bobble on My Phone

Bubble Bobble is back!

Bubble Bobble Title Screen

And it’s on my iPhone.

Bubble Bobble Level 1

The game is exactly the same as the arcade version I used to love.

I really miss the joystick and the physical buttons. It takes a little more finesse to control the character on the touch screen.

I so wish I could have a stand-up arcade. I’d pay good money to have one of these.

Bubble Bobble Arcade

This game system was homemade. If you have any idea of how to do this, it would be the best Christmas present ever!

For now, my app version will have to do.

bubble-bobble-double_5

It comes with a new version of the game as well.

In it, our character remains static and enemies come at you from all angles. It’s a tougher game and I haven’t quite figured out how to get passed the bosses yet.

This double version of Bubble Bobble is $4.99 from the App Store.

Bust-A-Move Islands

Bust-a-Move Islands is the iPhone version of Puzzle Bobble and the best part of it is that it’s free.

Bubble Bobble Level 65

There are all sorts of things that you can buy to customize your playing experience. If you want to play for free, you only get 5 lives per half hour. I have done just fine without paying anything extra. I’m up to Level 65 right now and really enjoying it.

I really love the Bubble Bobble franchise!

Free Christmas Carol Music for Band

ChristmasI have quite a bit of Christmas music written specifically for the concert band. The problem is that many of my students don’t like the sheet music that I have purchased. And when I look at the individual parts, I can see why.

The pieces sound great when played in a large ensemble but when played individually, they don’t sound like the tunes we all know and love. I know that if I were a student, I would want to play the main melody and not some back-up bass line or harmony part.

That is why I love what Chad Criswell has done for all of us music lovers out there. He has written simple versions of all of the Christmas Carols for every instrument of the concert band. There are no tricky two part melodies or harmony parts. Every instrument plays the same tune in unison. It is absolutely perfect for beginning musicians in middle school. And best of all, it is free.

He has even given us the original SIbelius notation files so we can customize the pieces further if we want to. This is such a great Christmas gift that I had to share it all with you.

So head on over to his site, and leave a comment that I sent you. I am sure he would love to know that his work is being used and appreciated by all us musicians.

Free Lyrics and Sheet Music for Christmas Carols

Teaching Tip Tuesday Archive – your weekly source for classroom tips, tricks, lessons, and resources.

Access: Amerigo Gazaway

Amerigo Gazaway is our special guest for the latest edition of Access. It is our special way of expanding a live radio interview into the realm of video and offering fans some behind the scene footage and conversation.

Amerigo Gazaway is an incredible artist who has dropped some classic projects. His specialty is creating cohesive projects between artists who never had the chance to work together.

He calls it the “Soul Mates” series, and it moves way beyond mash-ups. He doesn’t simply take an instrumental and throw an accapella over it. He reconstruct beats, layers sounds on top of each other, and makes sure that it sounds like something both artists would have released.

If you haven’t heard of this guy, do yourself a favour and click play on the video above. Then go to his bandcamp page and download all of the goodness!

Access Interview Archive – over a dozen great in-depth interviews from hip-hop’s finest!

A Interactive and Tangled Commonplace Book

Daily Zen Doodles

Daily Zen Doodles: 365 Tangle Creations for Inspiration, Relaxation, and Mindfulness by Meera Lee Patel

This is a commonplace book with a twist. Or maybe it’s a sketch book with quotations. Or it could be a individualized puzzle for you to complete every single day for a year.

Whatever it is, it is pretty cool!

Here is an example of what you will find in this book.

Zen Original

I love the quotation here . . .

“We are like children building a sand castle. We’re willing to attack if others threaten to hurt it. Yet…we know that the tide will inevitable come in and sweep the sand castle away. The trick is to enjoy it fully without clinging, and when the time comes, let it dissolve back into the sea.”

– Pema Chodron

But this book is not merely a commonplace book. It is meant to “isnpire you to lose yourself in the contemplative act of drawing. Each page is an invitation to sketch, relax, focus, and reach toward inner peace.”

Here is my first attempt at it . . .

Zen Chase March

That was kind of fun. I bet you can tell a lot about me from that simple sketch as well. I let my mind wander as I thought about the quotation.

There are a few other pages I am eager to complete. It is a nice kind of meditation to do this exercise. I have never been much of a doodler. I often write poetry when my mind wanders and I have a pencil and paper in my hand. In fact, it could be cool to write words inside of the shapes and images that are provided as a starting point. Hmm, maybe I will try that tomorrow.

My 2014 Reading Log – with links to every title (over 70 books so far)

How to Use a Reward System in the Classroom

I have never been a fan of using rewards systems in the classroom. I’ve tried them out but have found that they are just simply too much work. It’s difficult to keep tabs on every student in the class and assign points effectively.

This year, I changed my stance a little. I started a reward system for three students in my class who could really use the extra motivation. And so far, it is working wonders. I like the fact that I don’t have to track every student. It makes it much more manageable for me and meaningful for the few students who need it.

I am currently reading

Will-My-Kid-Grow-Out-of-It-Book

Will My Kid Grow Out of It? by Bonny J. Forrest.

This is what she has to say about using reward systems.

It works for some students

Children with ADHD tend to respond well to reward systems, but only if they are well designed in the ways I will describe.

The reward can be anything

The reward can be anything—within reason—that will motivate her in the short term, such as allowing an extra half hour of TV or playing a video game.

Tailor the reward to the student

Rewards should always be keyed to what your child likes. Be creative. You can rotate different types of rewards and tailor them to your child.

Here are some other tips for designing a rewards system:

  • Give points for simple behaviors, even if other children don’t need rewards to behave in those ways. Good examples are responding happily to a change in plans or asking for something in a respectful tone as opposed to having a meltdown.
  • Try to avoid rewards of food or expensive items. Food should be less about comfort and more about nutrition.
  • Small rewards earned in the short term tend to work better than large rewards offered in the long term. I often give a small reward for three point of a possible total of five in a day. In addition, you can give the child cumulative point for specific behaviors. As a child accumulates the points, she can use them for larger tangible rewards, such as a special book or more daily time on the computer.
  • Be consistent and follow through with rules and expectations. Children with ADHD respond to disappointment with much greater frustration than others. That response is part of their makeup, not something they should be blamed for—though they can learn to control it.

How parents can help . . .

Parents should also be on the lookout for physical activities—such as tennis or swimming or martial arts—that hold their attention and don’t provide downtime for the mind to wander.

What I am doing this year

I am using a reward system with three of my students. They earn stars in their planner for each block of the day. They can earn two stars in each block for a total of six stars a day. The parents are being supportive and offering rewards and consequences at home. These are keyed to the specific interests of the child too. It is working quite well so far.

What reward system do you use? 

Please leave a comment below. Thanks for visiting!

Teaching Tip Tuesday – free resources for teachers every week!

All Women’s Voices Day on 94.9 CHRW

All-Womens-Voices-2014

In just a few hours, 94.9 CHRW is kicking off All Women’s Voices 2014.

Starting at midnight TONIGHT, CHRW will be taken over by women for 24 hours! We have some great programming featuring music, talk, documentary, discussion, and of course hip-hop!

I have produced a special for this radio event that airs from 6:00 to 6:30 a.m. It features Skulastic, an MC and producer from British Columbia. She tells her story in her own words and I spin some of her great tunes.

So, please tune in and let people know that we will no longer accept violence against women. Mark this day – December 6th, the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women in Canada.

Listening Options

The Walking Dead – At War Again

Walking Dead Vol18

The Walking Dead: Volume 18 – What Comes Next

Rick had high hopes that society was starting to rebuild in a way that could actually work. But Negan is not a fair or kind ruler. We already knew that from the past volume, but things get even more intense and unbearable this issue.

Walking Dead Vol19

The Walking Dead: Volume 19 – March to War

An unlikely alliance starts to come together and training for war begins. But Negan seems to be two steps ahead of them. It looks like they have quite the battle on their hands.

I am trying not to give away much of the plot with these reviews. I know several people that are at different stages in the series, whether they are reading them or watching them on TV.

No matter what medium you consume these stories in, there is do doubt that it is a compelling story that is very well done.

My 2014 Reading Log (over 70 titles and counting)

Chasing Content – The Best of Last December

Chasing ContentIt’s time for another edition of Chasing Content.

This gives us the chance to look back at the blog entries I posted the previous year at this time and highlight some of my favourites. So, let’s dig through the old posts and unearth some gems that might otherwise get buried in the archives.

Read all of the posts from last December

or just these favs . . .

A DOPEfm Christmas 2

The second installment of Christmas-themed rap music mixed by yours truly. Enjoy the sounds of the season all month long!

The Final Days of Captain America

The story is very well done. I didn’t want to put it down. It is inspiring and tells a superhero story that is grounded in the real-life heroes we don’t seem to celebrate as much as the fictional ones in this culture.

A Free Band Method Book

I love this book so much. Who cares if it is out of print? It is an amazing book for young musicians and a great part of my music program at school. That is why I have made it available for you to download for free. Enjoy!

Writing by the Seat of Your Pants Can Work Wonders

One of the most brilliant pieces of television fiction ever was written by a pantser. If that’s not an endorsement for writing without a complete outline or plan, I don’t know what is.

Batman, Robin, and Red Hood Join Forces

Another great comic book read and an animated film that does it justice. We live in a golden-age of superheroes. I love it!

Silent Cacophony is Moving

I moved from Blogger to WordPress last year at this time. I enjoy the freedom of having the blog hosted on my own domain. I hope you have been enjoying the new digs.

Thanks for reading, exploring these links, and for Chasing Content with me!