Friday Two Cents: Green Army Men – Week 2


“Look at everything as though you are seeing it for the first time, with eyes of a child, fresh with wonder.” Joseph Cornell

Week two of the self isolation due to the pandemic and like many I am trying to make the best out this situation.  Cleaning, drawing, painting or indulging in my many creative hobbies.  I had taken out my Green Army Men from storage and decided to stage them in different situations around my home and post them to social media.  Something like Elf on the Shelf for Christmas but in a protective capacity.  I would use funny situations and others to try and lift the mode of people and bring some joy during this most difficult time.  Not to mention my own mood. 

I found that after several days I truly began to enjoy staging my Green Army Men.  It was something for me to do and to think about some different creative scenes to put them in.  As fun as these scenes are I knew that they would be only here for a short time.  Yet on Monday word from the Education Ministry came out saying that schools would probably not be returning on the before mentioned April 6th date.  That with the uncertainty of the virus, schools may have to be closed longer.   That means this may go on longer than the 23 days.  

With this in mind on day 11 I came up with a new intro and idea.  I would still stage scenes with my Green Army Men, but I would do it in an ongoing story format.  

Therefore on day 11 I begin the post with “Captain’s log day …”.  I then give a brief explanation of what my troops were experiencing.  A daily snap shot into a story where the Green Army Men are the main characters.  

Some of you might think me childish or as many may say, immature. That I should grow up and act like an adult and take things seriously.  But I say, I am simply in touch with my inner child.  For if one sees the world with the wonder of a child, then that makes them more human, not less.  And in these uncertain times, what is more human than seeing the world with the wonder of a child.  To see the positives of this world and not dwell on the negative aspects.  Something so many adults do today.  

Well I for one will not.  If imagining scenes and playing with my Green Army Men makes me immature then I say, so be it.  If looking for the positive side of this situation makes me childish then I would rather be a child. I for one hope for the best and will continue to spread positive energy in this world.  There are enough negative people out there.  I won’t be one of them.

So please enjoy next seven days of the Adventures of the Green Army Men.   And keep the spirit of positivity and wonder alive. 

Day 8 of 23 without school: Ordered the troops to have a little R&R. Some music, games and a few drinks and they’ll be right as rain. 😁🥃 ♦️♥️ ♠️ 

Day 9 of 23 without school: Sent a squad of marines to ReconPost Charlie. Just to keep an eye on the perimeter.  👀 👌🏼

Day 10 of 23 without school: A unit guarding the border making sure only authorized people allowed in.

Captain’s log day 11 without school: Sending units by train to investigate a reported strange anomaly in area 5.1. 🚂👀🤔

Captain’s log day 12 without school: Getting strange reports from area 5.1. Great opportunity to use the two newly built MH-54 Sea Dragons to transport a platoon of marines to the area.

Captain’s log day 13 without school: A strange anomaly has appeared in area 5.1. Scientists are not sure but think it might be a portal to another dimension. 🤔

Captain’s log day 14 without school: A new development. The anomaly pulsed and two gemstones came out. Their energy readings are high but safe. We will transfer them to a more secure area for study. 🤔 💎 💎

Friday Two Cents: Operation Positive Attitude: Week 1


Well like many people around the world I have been home because of the Covid-19 pandemic.  Normally I would be on Spring break enjoying my time off reading, drawing, painting or some other activity.  Yet I for one do not want to dwell on the negative side of this situation, instead I thought it would be a much better use of my time to do something fun.  Therefore I took out my favourite toy as a child.  My Green Army Men.  

Growing up I did not have much but I always had my Green Army Men.  My army, so to speak.  Whenever I had some extra money I would buy a few or I would ask for some for my birthday or Christmas.  I also build bases, airplanes, ships and other things to go with my Green Army Men.  We would go on missions, fight evil and go on campaigns for truth and justice.  As I grew up they were always there and I never had the heart to get rid of them.  So I keep them all these years.  

They were in storage because I thought I would one day play with them with my children.  Yet instead I actually use them as teaching tools, mostly for Remembrance Day.

I wanted to help the students understand that soldiers are regular Canadians who left their homes to help others. Not just the soldiers from the World Wars and Korea but the peacekeepers and modern soldiers too. I used a little video I created to help get this point across. In a couple of images there are soldiers helping others and one even helping a child. I choose these imagines to help get that point across. I then asked the students after I showed the video, “What do they think soldiers do?” many said that they help people.

I told them a story of a soldier I knew that was an engineer, who left home to go and help people in villages across the world. He wasn’t there to fire his gun but he and others built wells and purify the water. They also helped build schools and hospitals for them. I also tried to get the message across that soldiers are not just people running around with guns but they help people.   They are doctors, nurses, engineers, police officers, fire fighters, paramedics and even teachers.  

I brought my Green Army Men into my class once to teach the students about the roles/jobs of the soldiers.  My supervisor was not sure of the idea but I assured her that it would be good for them.  I placed them on a table with blocks and observed their play.  To many persons surprise, including my supervisor they used the solders to build a school and a hospital.  Some used them to build a bridge and homes for the people as well as protect them.  That day I knew that saving my Green Army Men was the right thing to do.  

This past week I brought out my Green Army Men, organized them and then an idea came to me.  I would stage them in different situations around my home and post them to social media.  Something like ‘Elf on the Shelf’ for Christmas but in a protective capacity.  I would use funny situations and others to try and lift the mode of people and bring some joy during this most difficult time.  To try and bring something positive and so far the response has been nothing but.  I even have people saying they look forward to my daily posts and what situation they will be in next.  

Below are the first seven days.  So long as there is no school I will post a different situation with my Green Army Men.  Look for them.  They have brought so much joy in my life and I am ecstatic that they can bring more to others. 

Day 1 of 23 without school. Look what I brought out of storage. My green army men. I’m preparing my troops for the up coming battle. And to protect the home front.

Day 2 of 23 without school. Commander-n-Chief consulting with his general on how to best protect a vital resource.

Day 3 of 23 without school. Sent a squad of marines to protect and remind people of the importance of washing your hands. 

Day 4 of 23 without school: Of course my Black Watch units volunteered to “protect” this vital resource. Happy St Patrick’s day. Today everyone is a little Irish. Except the Scott’s. 

Day 5 of 23 without school: A platoon from the 16th battalion making sure the water purification and supply is well protected. 

Day 6 of 23 without school: A unit at the battery depot makes sure everyone has enough energy. Here’s to everyone supporting the supply chain.

Day 7 of 23 without school: A busy day in the CNC (Command and Control). Making sure their plans are well laid out.

Friday Two Cents: Leap Year Act Of Kindness


‘No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted.’ Aesop

Most people celebrate their birthday once a year, yet I am one of the few that celebrate it once every 4 years.  On February 29, 2020 I will be celebrating my birthday.  Yes I am a Leap year baby and yes I am as old as the students I work with.  Many of my colleagues would say that would explain a lot.  

I normally try and keep my birthday a bit low key.  I don’t believe in letting a date label how I feel or what I can do.  Yet on this day I do feel good about my day because  I have seen how this day makes others around me feel.  I see that it makes others get excited for me and that alone makes me feel good.  The joy that something as simple as someones birthday can help bring joy into some else’s life is a rare and beautiful gift.  

Yet the one thing I love about my birthday is how it makes the students feel.  Many of them have said that they feel sad for me because I can only celebrate once every 4 years.  But this year I can celebrate it and they are all excited for me.  One group of students took it upon themselves to make me a card.  It was beautifully drawn and it had a simple message.  

“We hope you have a fantastic 2020 birthday.” 

Then they used each letter from my last name to describe me.  They added an extra letter but I don’t care.  Their thoughtfulness and kindness was more than I could possibly have hoped for.  I then noticed that my smile was infectious.  For my happiness at receiving the card was transferred to big smiles on the students too.  I guess doing something kind not only makes the receiver feel good but also the giver.  

This simple act is what I love about the students and children in general.  They speak from their hearts; their innocence is genuine and wonderful to behold.  Adults could learn a lot from them.  Therefore I would like to put it out there.  This Leap Year take a leap and say something kind or nice to someone or better still, carry out your own small act of kindness.  Whom ever you do it for will appreciate it and I think you’ll discover you’ll feel good in turn.  

Birthday Card from Students

Art Inspiration: Thank You Stan Lee


RIP Stan Lee and Thank you.

  With the world getting so crazy all I see on the news channels is nothing but negative news, therefore I have been making it a point not to watch the news reports. Yet with all the news I almost missed the sad news of a legend passing early last week, Stan Lee. Most people know who he was and I will not go into details about his life or the contributions he made to the comic and entertainment world, but for me his contribution helped and inspired me in so many ways.

  Growing up I hated to read. Yes me, a teacher hating to read. I was more comfortable with math, science, shop class and the arts including music, but reading was a chore for me. I never took to reading and the only thing that I did enjoy was comic books or graphic novels today. I would reading different stories including X-Men, GI Joe, Superman to only name a few. I loved reading them because when I did, it did not feel like a chore. Eventually I did move on to novels and other reading material but these stories gave flight to my imagination and inspired me to create.  

  Today I enjoy drawing comic characters and I also created my own comic books. But most import is that I love to pass on my passion for drawing and reading comics to the students. I think that is my greatest joy and the one thing I have to say thank you to Stan Lee for. Without his inspiration I couldn’t inspire others.

  I drew a few characters inspired by Stan Lee’s stories and I hope they will in turn inspire others.

Thank you Stan Lee.

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.

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: Words That Inspire The Soul Of Creation


 

The other day I was looking through a few things and noticed some quotes from some notable people in history. Reading these quotes inspired me to draw a few cartoon caricatures and in doing so they lifted my spirit to heights of imagination.

I wonder if you can figure out who they are without looking at the caption.

William Shakespeare – Cartoon Caricature

‘How far that little candle throws its beams! So shines a good deed in a naughty world.’ William Shakespeare

 

Albert Einstein – Cartoon Caricature

‘The true sign of intelligence is not knowledge but imagination.’ Albert Einstein

 

Leonardo da Vinci – Cartoon Caricature

 

‘The noblest pleasure is the joy of understanding.’ Leonardo da Vinci

 

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

Comic Strips: Anti-Virus Software


This month’s instalment of, The Craziest Things has less to do with the flu shot and more to do with talking in a language that the students’ understand. Whenever I am in a classroom and doing a lesson, the biggest issue I have as a teacher is if the students understand the concept that is being put forward to them. Whether it be math, language or even art; if the student does not understand, it is up to me to help them.

On many occasions I will present something and ask if they understand and I get blank looks, so I then ask how would you explain it to me? Or I would even use something totally different like sports or draw it out to try to help their understanding. That is where this cute like comic came out of. Many of the students where talking about the flu shot some time ago and I know that many take it because their parents told them to. However, I wondered how they relate the flu shot in a modern way and thought of the computer analogy.

I hope you enjoy the latest instalment of, The Craziest Things; Anti-Virus Software.

Comic Strips: Tap, Tap, Tap.


 

I was unable to post last months instalment of, The Craziest Things do to my busy schedule outside the country, therefore I will post last months this week and April’s next week.

In this comic I explore the growing trend of this generation of students using more and more technology instead of traditional media, such as EBooks instead of real books. Mind you many of the students today use books but surprisingly I have actually seen this with the some students. I would imagine it would be the same for me if the past generation gave me a slide rule to calculate math problems, where I am use to a calculator.

This is a funny take on technology and how much it has progressed and entered every aspect of our lives. But in some ways it is a reflection on who we are. If we only look forward and forget where we came from what does mean for us as a society. I remember a quote …

Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it. George Santayana

With this in mind, I hope you enjoy the latest instalment of, The Craziest Things; Tap, Tap, Tap.

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