Friday Two Cents: I Spoke From My Heart, A Place Of Honour


 

  This coming Sunday is an extremely important day for me, and many people around Canada. On November 11th we commemorate the sacrifice tens of thousands of men and women did to preserve our way of life. In other words, our freedom to choose how to live our own lives. This day has always been a day to reflect and honour those who paid the ultimate cost for that freedom.

  This past week many schools have been getting ready to also commemorate this day. Many ask the students to create reflections, images and art to this effect. In one class they were tasked to create something similar, yet something happened that made my blood boil and took all my strength to compose myself.
  I was supplying in a junior class with students’ ages 9 – 11, they were asked to create a poster reflecting on their up coming Remembrance Day assembly. I decided to show them a YouTube video I had created for another Remembrance Day assembly. During the video a student was laughing at the images of the soldiers and other students made it a point to tell him to stop and told me after it was over. I had observed this and decided not to react but thought to turn it into a lesson.

Remembrance Day Poppy

  After the video had played I ask them what feelings did they feel after viewing it. Many said sadness, pride and respect. I said their poster also needs to bring out those emotions. The person was still laughing and many told that individual to stop, but I said. “No they can laugh. You see those soldiers died so that people like them can laugh and do what they want. Even if it makes you upset, we in Canada must respect the rights of individuals to express their opinions.” I looking right at them and continued, “Remember though, that in your home country, you are not allowed to express yourself that way. That you would not be allowed to even practice your faith like you are here in Canada. Remember that because of these soldiers, you can come to this country and believe what you want, go to school where you want and even say what you want. Where you come from you would not be.” After that little speech the students went to work on their posters and many were very well done. Even the one individual also worked on it. But it took all my patience and self-control to say those things and compose myself.
  I am not sure if that individual understood what I said or if they care. What I do know is that I spoke from my heart, from a place where honour and loyalty has a strong presence. I believe in the words I spoke and ever day I do try to live a life that honours their sacrifice. That is why I created the video in the first place. I wanted to create a tool to help honour them and hopefully inspire others to take up the torch and hold it high. For I will not break faith with those who die, though poppies grow in Flanders Fields.

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Friday Two Cents: Being Bored Is Good For Your Creativity


 

   “I’m Bored.” a common statement from students in class say when they have nothing to do. On several occasions I have had students tell me that they are bored and they have a look on their face that says that I should entertain them or solve this problem for them. I say it’s not my problem to solve. Make something, draw a picture or find something to use that boredom to your advantage. But many avoid being boredom like the plague. Yet from what I have read, being bored is actually a good thing.

   One study had some volunteers read the phone book before taking a test and others did not. If you have ever seen a phone book you would agree that it is a boring task. They found that the volunteers that read the phone book where better at solving the problems than those that did not. As well a study from the College of William and Mary examined 20 years of creative tests and found that creativity scores declined steadily. So how does being bored help you?
   Studies have shown that being bored is an important part of being creative. This can also lead to breakthroughs and being more productive. You see the brain does not have an off switch. It wants to gather information or stimulation. Boredom happens when your brain does not receive enough stimulation. It cannot slow down so it goes back into your memory and reprocesses old information and twists and turns it around. Many people call it daydreaming but psychologies say that it is a complex process that allows you to see the information from new and different points of view.
   I have observed that many students and adults try to avoid being bored. In some cases many students are over stimulated with endless extracurricular activates. Monday hockey, Tuesday tutoring, Wednesday music, Thursday hockey, Friday dance and the weekends are filled with others activities or else playing on electronic devises. There seems to be no opportunity to get bored or even some down time. They are missing a golden opportunity to be more creative and imagine the impossible.
   I didn’t realize it until I read about being bored that I do daydream a lot. Many of my friends can attest to that statement. I do this when I go for walks or when I relax to some music. I lean back and I let the world around me fade away and it is replaced with endless worlds created in my imagination. From these moments I am able to create art, solve problems and imagine wondrous possibilities.

Endless Possibilities

 

So I say get bored.

You never know what fantastic and wondrous possibilities you can discover.

 

Comic Strips: Nothing Scares Us Anymore


 

With Halloween only a couple of days away I thought I’d post my November comic strip a bit early. Many of my comic strip ideas for The Craziest Things comes from situations that I observe from the students and this month’s is no different.

I use many different themes to inspire me to create the comic. Some include the difference in the generations or the use of technology in the classroom compared to their parents. Yet there are some themes that are universal to all generations. Yet the majority of the inspiration comes from real life situations that I experience with the students.

This month’s theme comes out of the reality of living in a 24-hour news cycle. Adults and children are inundated with news about everything in the world, the good and the bad. However, it seems that the media is focusing on all the negative news out there. Mind you the world is a crazy place to begin with but many people never stop to think that if they are getting all this news then so are the children.

On many occasions I have heard students talking about news stories from the previous day. Shootings, disasters and political issues both domestic and foreign. It would seem that they are not immune to all this information and sometimes we discuss these issues in class. Many teachers use these times to help teach the students on how to be global citizens. Which is a great way to help the students understand the world around them. Yet before these areas were something we would discus in grade 7 and above. Now it seems to be happening in the earlier grades. With such an easy access to information and communication, the new generation appears to have their childhood end earlier than before.

I hope you enjoy November’s The Craziest Things: Nothing Scares Us Anymore.

Friday Two Cents: Playing Increases Productivity


 

    This past week I was able to work in a school as a physical education (PE) teacher. This was not the first time I supplied as a PE teacher and every time I do a quote “Leaders, lead by example.” comes to mind. I always show the students how to play the game or activity we are doing in gym, yet some how I always love participating with the students. Most of the time I referee the activity or participate if one side is winning by too much but I find that I do enjoy joining the students in the activity. And by the looks on their faces I can see that they too enjoy it when I participate with them. I sometimes get other teachers coming by and they usually smile when they see me playing with the students. Some say that I am the biggest kid in the school and I respond with a smile saying, “You have to lead by example.”

    Mind you I am a bit tired at the end of the day, who wouldn’t after teaching 7 classes in PE. Yet it’s like a good tired, like I accomplished something. Sometimes I even have extra energy to pursue my own passions such as art. I thought nothing of this until I read an article about “playing increases productivity.” The article mentioned that many companies such as Twitter and YouTube encourage their employees to take small breaks in the day to play. I have always been a big proponent that play is a great way to learn. Even the education system has endorsed this philosophy with play-based learning in the full day kindergarten program. There have been articles suggesting that play-based learning should be increased to grade 3 but we will have to wait and see about that idea.
    However, in the mean time I will continue to find every opportunity I can to play. Be it solitaire, darts, video games or just playing with my paints, pencils and simply creating what ever comes to me.
    I remember a wonderful poem written by an unknown author and it is posted at the entrance of the Louisiana Children’s Museum in New Orleans entitled “Play”.

 

Words that I truly believe and live by.

 

A verse by an unknown author at the entrance of the Louisiana Children’s Museum in New Orleans

Comic Strips: Legality


 

Well it is the start of a new school year with a fresh crop of students and situations for my comic strip, The Craziest Things. The genesis of this comic strip came from the situations I observe from the students. I thought it would be great to create a comic strip based on those situations and thus The Craziest Things was born.

I use many different themes to inspire me to create the comic. Some include the difference in the generations or the use of technology in the classroom compared to their parents. Yet there are some themes that are universal to all generations. Yet the majority of the inspiration comes from real life situations that I experience with the students.

This month centres on the first day of school. Yes that amazing day when you have to go back to the salt mines, I mean classroom and begin a fresh new year of learning and discovery.  

However with technology being so easily accessible to the students, in particular cell phones, many people wonder how far will it go. I for one have seen students as young as grade 3 come into the classroom with phones and personal devices. With such an easy access to information and communication how far will some students take it?

I hope you enjoy October’s The Craziest Things: Legality.

CrazyComicsOct2018

Art Inspiration: Comic Book: Page 10


A few years ago I created a Comic Book Club for the students. They range in age from grade 3 – 5 with a large variety of skills. Prior to the club I taught them how to draw three-dimensional objects and characters but this year they wanted something different.

The premise of the club was to teach the students the basics of comic book drawing. Yet due to the amount of work involved in drawing a comic book, I tried to keep the characters a bit simpler than I am use to and I standardized the characters for them. They wanted a super hero comic therefore I drew a lot of different characters they could choose from. They liked that idea but they also had to choose up to 2 powers, a unique name and if they were either a hero or villain for their character.

Page two is where we see the Legion of Doom plan is revealed. It was a hook for the students and this page was their first glimpse at a few of the characters they would be drawing. I also helped them by providing pages with empty cells for them to draw in the story. I hope you enjoy page 2 of “The Rise of Lord Ominous” as much as the students did.

Page ten, the final page of the comic book. Finally the students and the readers get to meet the new leader of the Legion of Doom. The students asked, “Who does this character represent?” You see the students created their character to represent themselves. They wanted to be their character. I thought this was a great way for them to get into drawing these characters because it is something very personal to each of them. I told them that this character is mine. The leader of the “bad guys” is me. They loved that idea and interestingly every comic book and character drawing class after this one, I used this character to represent me in the group. You may have seen this character from another drawing club I did with a group of students, entitled Heroes vs. Villains.  

I hope you enjoy page 10 of The Rise of Lord Ominous” as much as the students did.

The Rise of Lord Ominous: Page 10

Art Inspiration: Comic Book: Page 9


A few years ago I created a Comic Book Club for the students. They range in age from grade 3 – 5 with a large variety of skills. Prior to the club I taught them how to draw three-dimensional objects and characters but this year they wanted something different.

The premise of the club was to teach the students the basics of comic book drawing. Yet due to the amount of work involved in drawing a comic book, I tried to keep the characters a bit simpler than I am use to and I standardized the characters for them. They wanted a super hero comic therefore I drew a lot of different characters they could choose from. They liked that idea but they also had to choose up to 2 powers, a unique name and if they were either a hero or villain for their character.

On page ninth The League of Justice have arrived to put an end to the Legion of Doom’s plan, except they find that they are too late. At last, the new leader of the Legion of Doom is born and makes an entrance.   Many of the students asked why don’t they see the new leader. I told them this build suspense for the audience and for all of you. Also what he has to say will set the tone for what kind of leader, and Arch enemy for The League of Justice, he will be. I hope you enjoy page 9 of “The Rise of Lord Ominous” as much as the students did.

The Rise of Lord Ominous: Page 09

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