Monthly Archives: May 2016

From the Graphic Novel Aisle

I love scouring the graphic novel section at the public library. It often leads me to titles and issues I never knew existed. And I get to read to great comics for free. What is better than that?

Here are the latest graphic novels that I have read.

Ant Man - Second Chance Man

Ant-Man – Second Chance Man

I didn’t know a lot about this character prior to seeing the movie last year. The film was incredible and I really enjoyed it. This comic pretty  much picks up right from there. If you saw the movie and liked it, I would recommend checking this one out.

Star Wars - Skywalker Strikes

Star Wars – Skywalker Strikes

This is my Star Wars. The comics are getting the characters, the universe, and the story right. Not like the latest film version, which was horrible, in my humble opinion.

I am enjoying how the writers of the on-going Star Wars series have filled in the gaps between the original film trilogy. This is the second title I have read in this series and I look forward to reading more.

Daniel Clowes - Mister Wonderful

Mr. Wonderful – A Love Story

I picked this up from the shelf and the story captured me right from the first page.

An older man is waiting in a coffee shop for his blind date. She’s late and his mind wanders. You can see his thought process throughout the story and how, at times, it takes him away from what is actually happening in front of him.

My girlfriend was with me when I picked this one up from the library. She read it before I did and also got into the quirky storytelling. When she got to the end though, she exclaimed something along the lines of “What? It ends there?” I guess she wanted more. I actually think it ended poetically.

Let me know what you think if you have read any of these titles.

Happy Reading!

My List of 2016 Reads – a detailed, personal reading log with links to every title I have read over the course of the year.

March – An Illustrated History

March Book 1

March: Book One by John Lewis, Andrew Aydin, and Nate Powell

This is the first part of a trilogy of books that tell the real-life story of John Lewis and his fight to end segregation in the United States.

The book opens a peaceful demonstration that is only met with violence. The civil rights activists are subjected to tear gas, batons, and arrests. And with the very real threat of violence always present, these brave souls never gave up.

They continued to fight unjust rules and customs by simply asking to be served in restaurants and conducting non-violent sit ins. If they got arrested, the refused to pay any fines and completed the jail time.

The violent time of the past is contrasted with the induction of America’s first Black President. Lewis tells his story on this day and it is illustrated beautiful and well-paced.

March Book 2

March: Book Two by John Lewis, Andrew Aydin, and Nate Powell

This book continues the real life account of the Civil Rights Movement and how peaceful protests were met with extreme violence. It covers the years 1961 to 1963. You can see how the buses were targeted right on the cover art. The story opens with a particularly brutal church bombing as well.

It’s hard to believe that racism was so rampant back then and that people targeted regular people who only wanted to be seen, heard, and valued.

This is an important story and part of our history. I am glad that it has been told with such care and accuracy.

Book Three will be released this fall

My 2016  Reading Log – every single title I read over the course of the year will be compiled here. I have lots of books to catch up on and write about still. Stay tuned!

Trilliums on the Trail Side

This is the time of year that the Trillium are in bloom.

I always love seeing Ontario’s Provincial Flower along the trail side when I go for my runs.

Trilliums on the Trail Side (1)

Here is collage I made and shared on Instagram.

The images above were taken during one of my trail runs through Komoka Provincial Park.

Meadowlily Woods Trilliums (4)

Today, I ran through Meadowlily Woods and spotted some Purple Trilliums.

Beautiful!

Kains Woods

This is from a few weeks back. I didn’t seen any Trillium flowers during my trek through Kains Woods.

They are kind of elusive these flowers. They aren’t in bloom for very long. So get out on the trails this weekend. and find some.

And remember to follow me on Instagram for more great pictures like these!

The Inner Game of Work

the-inner-game-of-work-timothy-gallwey

The Inner Game of Work by W. Timothy Gallwey

I started a research project to see how we could let students choose what they want to learn in school and it led me to some very interesting books, articles, and videos. I will be sharing some of that with you over the course of this year as I continue this exploration.

As some of you may know, I quit teaching last year. There is an educator in me that just won’t quit, however. And so when I read this passage, I immediately identified with it.

A New Approach

“My first career was as an educator, a profession still notorious for being slow to embrace real change. Ironically, education is supposed to be about learning, and thus about change. It should provide insight and wisdom about change as well as set a good example. Yet it was not until I left the corridors of institutionalized education that I began to discover a profoundly different approach to learning and change.”

The distance away from teaching, as well as my continued research into finding a better way to teach and for schools to operate, has given me a new perspective. I am convinced that I am a much better teacher now because of that.

I love how Gallwey address my thesis topic in this passage too.

“I had to learn to give choices back to the student. Why? Because the learning takes place within the student. The student makes the choices that ultimately control whether learning takes place or doesn’t. In the end, I realized that the student was responsible for the learning choices and I was responsible for the quality of the learning environment.”

I think if students had more choice in school, there wouldn’t ne this lack of engagement and motivation that I see time and time again. School could actually be a fun place for kids to come and learn. There need to be some major changes in the public education system and the way we teach. We need to embrace change, as Gallwey contests.

Let Our Students Make Mistakes!

We also need to let our students flounder, to make some mistakes, and to discover things on their own. Here is why . . .

“Probably our parents, eager to be “good parents,” solved some of the problems that should have been left to us to solve so that we could gain skill and confidence. We come to expect this kind of help from the coach or parent. We may get an answer, but we don’t develop the skill or self-confidence to cope with similar problems in the future. In turn, we tend to validate ourselves as parents and coaches by solving the problems of our children or clients.”

We Can’t Solve Our Students’ Problems!

“Once you realize it’s not the job of the coach to solve the problem . . . for the most part the job of the coach is to listen well, but there’s more to it. Effective coaching . . . holds a mirror up for [students], so they can see their own thinking process. As a coach, I am not listening for the content of what is being said as much as I am listening to the way they are thinking, including how their attention is focused and how they define the key elements of the situation.”

Teachers as Coaches

Teachers should aim to be more like the coaches Gallwey describes in this book. In fact, if you substitute the word teacher in every place he uses the word coach in this book, the message becomes all the more clear on what we should be doing in schools to truly help and reach all of our students.

Teaching Tip Tuesday – inspiration and ideas for classroom teachers (an on-going series)

My List of 2016 Reads – an on-going reading log with detailed posts about each title

Hip Hop Anonymous – It’s Gonna Be Live!

HHA May 14

It’s going down tomorrow night at Gordy’s Brewhouse in London, Ontario, Canada.

Cquel and Abstract Artform will be making their way from Saskatchewan to the Forest City for this great night of hip-hop.

Local favourites Mad Hattr and Tempomental are also on the bill, along with some other great acts. Tempomental usually brings Nick Easton with him to rock the stage with a live flute and saxophone. Their performances are always off the hook.

I am really looking forward to deejaying this show and holding it down all night on the wheels of steel.

WHERE – Gordy’s Brewhouse. 1631 Oxford St. E. London, ON.
WHEN – 8:00 p.m. – 2:00 a.m.
HOW MUCH – $5

Visit the Facebook Event Page for more info.

I hope to see you out!

Happy Star Wars Day!

Star-Wars-Day-2014

It’s a bad pun, but it has started a yearly celebration of everything Star Wars.

One of the slogans in the franchise is , “May The Force Be With You” and since today is May the Fourth and that sounds very close, fans have taken that and run with it.

Happy Star Wars Day!

I am going to celebrate my bringing my Darth Vader helmet into work and trying to wear it for a bit. I might not be allowed to, but I like to push the limits.

I also want to celebrate by looking back at all of the Star Wars posts I have made over the years. So read the descriptions, click through the links, and let’s explore the universe.

Star Wars: The Force Retread

I watched the film a second time with my son. I thought that I could see it in a new light if I watched it through his eyes. I did my best not to colour it for him beforehand.

After we watched it together, I asked him what he thought. He simply shrugged his shoulders and said it wasn’t that good. I agree, more than ever. Click through to find out why.

Free Comic Book Day meets Star Wars Day

That’s right, some years they actually fall on the same date. That was the case three years ago. Don’t forget that Free Comic Book Day is this Saturday. Make sure you celebrate both this week.

Darth Vader Lives on in the Comics

I really enjoyed this graphic novel reads. Check them out!

Darth Vader Unleashed

The very first Darth Vader comic I ever read. It was a great story too! Click through for myu review.

Princess Leia gets her own Comic

Once again, a great read and a nice addition to what we already know and knew of this heroine.

How to Properly Reboot a Franchise

Here I look at a few different franchise reboots to look at what they did right, what they did wrong, and what they maybe should have done. I look at Star Wars, Planet of the Apes, Star Trek, and Battlestar Galactica.

Star Wars Comic Reboot

This comic book series reboots the movie universe we all know and love. And so far, it is great.

James Bond in Space

Not really, but this Agent of the Empire is just as cool and the story will draw you right in.

I hope you have a great Star Wars Day!

The Shiny Month of May (Chasing Content)

Chasing ContentIt’s time for another edition of Chasing Content, that monthly feature that has us looking back at all of the great things that were happening last year at this time.

Read all of the posts from last May

or just these shiny ones . . .

Updated Free Method Book for Beginning Band

This is a great resource for middle school teachers who want to have an alternative to the method book they already have. It is long out-of-print, so I have offered up each of the books as a PDF that you can download for free. I also show you how I binded the books and used the successfully in my music classroom.

WWW: Series Concludes with Wonder

Robert J. Sawyer is one of my favourite writers. This trilogy was very well done. I thoroughly enjoyed the story and was pleasantly surprised by the ending. I never thought that it would have concluded as it did. Brilliant writing!

The Best Place to Teach

There are plenty of places that you can teach a class from. Not all instruction needs to be in the classroom. Get creative and spark some imagination in your students.

Word is Bond Rap Radio – Forest City Represents

This is a collection of all the local artists that have appeared on my radio show. Click through to get exposed to some great, independent hip-hop coming out of London, Ontario, Canada.

Juliet Naked (Nothing Inappropriate Here)

I love everything about this book. Click through to read my review and then thinking about reading the book for yourself too.

Thanks for Chasing Content with me! 

Click through the links above to discover great tidbits from the extensive archive here at Silent Cacophony. Thank you for being on this journey with me!