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: A Renaissance Man


‘Learning never exhausts the mind.’ Leonardo da Vinci

This past week I was discussing something rather interesting with a colleague about the nature of people who are classified as “gifted”.   In the education system gifted refers to a person who is talented in specific areas. Many people classified as gifted show tremendous talents in specific areas. Yet those talents are focused in a specific area such as mathematics, music, art or some other area. We discussed that this may be do to an evolutionary adaptation to allow people to focus only on one area for the good of society.

I found this interesting and I have seen many studies showing that millennial children, now adults are a perfect example. Many are very focused or talented on one specific area of expertise in their career. You are good at one aspect of your career, plumbing and not electrical lets say, but in the past you would have to be familiar with both but now it’s ok and encouraged to be a specialist. Studies also show that millennials are very comfortable with this idea and the job market is agreeing with them.
I can see the benefit to this and there are great examples in history that support this. Einstein’s focused work gave us new theories in physics, Picasso in art, Mozart in music and Tesla in the areas of electricity and engineering. These great minds and others like them have changed how we think and the world around us. However thinking about these people made me consider those that have a broad range of talents, like myself.
I have been called a “Jack-of-all-trades”. I have a great love and talent in the arts from music, dance, drama and visual arts and yet I also excel in technology, mathematics and the sciences. I am not just an academic person but also quite handy at building things and the use of a wide range of tools. With all this in mind I sometimes feel like I am a relic of the past; a person with so much skill and knowledge on such a wide variety of skills unlike people today. A person who cannot focus on one area to specialize? At times I have thought this and some people have mentioned this as a hindrance of mine.  

Leonardo Da Vinci a true Renaissance man

However those thoughts are quickly replaced with the fact that my vast array of knowledge makes me who I am. And I like who I am. I am a person who loves theatre and art from Shakespeare to Dali. I find the complex theory of Tesla’s energy transmitted to vehicles wirelessly as well as the mechanics of how the human body works, fascinating. I enjoy programing computers and doing coding, but also painting a picture. Reading about history as well as learning about the planets and other astrological phenomenon. I enjoy writing but I also love building things with wood, plastic or metal.   These different areas make up the colourful tapestry of who I am and if I ever need to be reminded that being a “Jack-of-all-trades” is a good thing, all I need to do is think of one of the most famous “Jack-of-all-trades” person, Leonardo Da Vinci. A man whose interests include invention, painting, sculpting, architecture, science, music, mathematics, engineering, literature, anatomy, geology, astronomy, botany, writing, history and cartography. He was considered to be a true Renaissance man. Perhaps that is what they should call all people who are “Jacks-of-all-trades”. I guess I can live with being called a “Jack-of-all-trades” or better yet, a Renaissance man.

 

 

 

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

Friday Two Cents: Inspiring Quotes


With September coming to an end, many teachers and students are getting back into the grove of the school routine. Some are finding it a bit daunting yet many push through. In the past I have tried to help both teachers and students get through the rough beginnings of the year by placing a few words of wisdom around the school. Many have looked to these inspirational quotes to help them see the joy life has to offer.

It all started with my trips to Stratford Ontario where I experience amazing productions they have to offer. Always after the shows I venture to the gift shop to see what amazing things they have to offer. There they have wonderful t-shirts and fridge magnets with famous quotes from the show and Shakespearian plays. I have always looked to these quotes to help inspire me in my daily life and to be honest I even post these quotes in places around my home.

I have always looked to them as a wonderful source of inspiration and strength, and wondered how I could share them with others. Then I remembered an anti-bullying campaign I read where a girl, who was trying to fight off a bully, responded in a unique way. She was sent a message on Facebook saying to ‘kill herself”. But instead of responding to the message, she decided to fight back by posting positive messages on every locker in her school. Messages such as, ‘You’re beautiful’ and ‘You shine bright like a diamond.’” That was when I thought that I would combine the two for the staff and students in a school I supply in.

I have done this on several occasions and in different schools that I have supplied in. For me these quotes help brighten my day and help to inspire me to create, draw and enjoy life. My only wish is that these quotes can do the same to someone else. After posting a few, I had a couple of teachers mention them and thanked me for the inspirational quotes. That alone made my day.

Below are a few quotes that I posted in the school. They have always inspired me; I hope they can inspire you.

doug --- off the record

just a place to share some thoughts

Sauce Box

Never get lost in the Sauce

The Trombonist's Mouthpiece

Music, education, and philosophy

Paul Gauchi

My innermost thoughts I wish to share. These things Inspire me, maybe they will inspire you.

Lucia Lorenzi

the body politic: musings and meanderings

Eternal Atlantis

Official Website of Luciana Cavallaro

The Art Studio by Mark Moore

Where Imagination Becomes Realality

Daniel is funny

Monsters, Jokes, Analogies

A Step onto the Road

The journeying of a literary hopeful

teachingontheverge

Thinking deeply about education

The Baggage Handler

I made the impossible easy in both worlds!

Bucket List Publications

Indulge- Travel, Adventure, & New Experiences

Belief Blog

Spreading the Power of Belief

The First Gate

Stories, Dreams, Imagination, Soul

Chris Martin Writes

Sowing seeds for the Kingdom

Unbound Boxes Limping Gods

The writer gives life to a story, the reader keeps it alive.

Mama Cormier

.... my journey to a healthy life, making new memories and so much more