Author Archive

Will Explode if I Don’t Share This in the Next 20 Seconds…

Was doing some late night (well, not that late, but I get up really early in the morning now so it feels late) research as to where to take my English Language Arts for my internship, and I found this resource for National Novel Writing Month. This Youth version of the website is AMAZING! There is everything you could want here- an awesome step-by-step workbook complete with instruction that includes some of Gardner’s different ways of Learning in it’s approach, free classroom kits (although they do appreciate donations), crazy inspiration to get students writing, and more. A site any English teacher of any grade level MUST check out!


Culture Days and Invisible Books

National Culture Days are coming up, and Assiniboia’s Shurniak Art Gallery is right on board.  As a treat, I went to a presentation last night.
Timeless Books

An Evening @ the Invisible Library
Poet Paul Wilson and comic artist Jonah McFadzean present a light-hearted look a The Invisible Library, titles of books that exist only within books. Poster comics and readings, plus readings by Assiniboia writers.

Very glad I went.  The turnout wasn’t large but the audience was very receptive.  Sadly, there were no youth out for the presentation, which was too bad, because I think it would have been right up their alley.  Wilson and McFadzean had done a workshop earlier that day at the high school, but they did not show the students the work they were presenting last night, which was too bad.  The finished products of their collaboration were really attention-grabbers, and would have drawn the students in.

The topic of the night and part of the collaboration between these two artists was invisible books; these are books that are only found within the pages of other books, but exist somehow in completed versions within our minds.  This was the inspiration for the poems that Wilson was sharing las night, which he and McFadzean then worked together to transform into comics.

Wilson was quite a character, and an enthusiastic speaker!  I can imagine running into him at a festival somewhere, and finding that an hour or two has flown by talking to him!

I admit, I was a little skeptical going into the presentation, but it was partially because I had McFadzean confused with another McFadzean whose comic work I am not a fan of (sorry, not trying to be negative, they just don’t jive with me).  However the finished works were very, very well thought out and visually intriguing, as a comic should be.  I am curious if this refined feel of the finished works was largely due to the collaboration.   Group work, right fellow educators?  Wilson expressed feeling this way, that working with McFadzean really forced him to pair down his work a lot, and created something that was even more poetry than the original poem.

I’ve got lots of lesson ideas dancing ’round my brain after this.  We are doing some poetry this week, and I was tempted to make students pair up and help each other with the visual art/literary combination.  However, my kiddos just aren’t quite ready for that at this point in the year.  I need to work with them first  to help them understand the idea of editing each other’s work and constructive criticism.  They need to know that criticism is their FRIEND first, and learn to give criticism in a positive manner.

We were encouraged to write the names of imaginary books that we made up on the spot into a guest book, thus birthing new invisible books.  I had to add one that I joke about with my friends sometimes.  It’s inspired by another invisible book.  I call it the Necronomnomnomicon, and the discussion of this invisible book usually ends with me pretending I’m eating it.

Any book titles you’d like to share?  Or does anyone else have some Culture Days events they would like to plug?

Music in Regina

…And I’m back in the blogging world! Huzzah! Look forward to many more posts here and some updates to the design coming soon. As I’m going on internship in the fall, I’m hoping to share some of my arts ed discoveries here, as well as use this as a tool to ask for some feedback and help!

Today, I just wanted to share some of the wonderful local music that’s going on. My friend Peter recently shared with me a duet his group Aluminum Cherry recorded. Please, enjoy.

Blogging Plans for the Summer

I am aware that this blog has been rather inactive, and I think I’m going to leave it that way for the summer.  Once I’ve returned to studying Arts Education, I’m sure I’ll have something else to blog about here, but until then, the things I feel like writing about  have been rather irrelevant.  Check back here again come September for more posts.

 Fennel and Parsley

So, I’m doing what Dean, my ECMP instructor, said we might consider doing during the summer: branching off into a new blog with a new subject. Enter veg! my new blog on vegan cooking.  I originally intended to share my cooking through podcasts, however, since I started working full time, a blog fits into my spare time far easier.  I’m always cooking, so I’m sure I’ll always have plenty to post about.  Some posts will be discussing other people’s recipes that I’ve tried, and others will be about the things that I’ve invented.

So if you like food (or if you’re looking for a way to eat more vegetables), check out my new blog.  Otherwise, you’ll hear from me right here in September!  Bye for now.

Coping with Stress

A stress-free place.

I was reading a blog entry on Lindsay’s blog about the many stresses that have been surrounding her, and wanted to share some pointers with her.  However, upon beginning writing a comment to her, I realized that I had a fair bit to say on the topic, and that I should be sharing it here. 

When I was younger, I was a workaholic.  I would work myself into fits of stress, which would lead to insomnia, which made the workload I was carrying even harder.  I had to consciously make a change.  Now, I can cope with school, work, and extra stresses with relative ease.  How?  I always make time for the following things, no matter how busy I am, just to ensure I stay healthy and happy.  Then, because I am in this positive state of mind, everything else just seems to fall into place much easier.  It’s a matter of making some of these things priorities, which may be difficult to wrap your brain around at first with school or work staring you in the face, but it really helps.  Here are the things I make time for.

1.) Meditative tasks such as cooking meals, art or gardening-  They are simple, basic things that I enjoy, that I can absorb myself in, and that I can do by myself when I want to be alone.  Taking the time to cook a decent meal is also ensures you’re getting decent nutrition.  Always, always, always take the time to make breakfast; trust me, the rest of your day will go easier if you do.  Art is a passion of mine, and I find nothing more relaxing than coming home after a difficult day at work and painting a picture of the sky above me, just for the sake of painting.  Gardening is just another really peaceful activity that I have loved all my life.  I have a herb garden I take care of every summer.  Find yourself a healthy meditative task.

2.) Going to the gym/physical activity- I actually started paying more attention to this aspect of my life during my first semester of university.  On top of adjusting to the new schooling system, I was under severe stress for other personal reasons.  However, I noticed that going to the gym helped me cope.  It made me feel up to tackling the day, and helped me sleep more soundly at night.  This was something I used to cut from my schedule during exam or essay time, however, I realized during this particular semester that those were the times I needed this stress-releasing activity the most.  So I made it a priority.  I found my grades didn’t suffer at all from setting aside a few trips to the gym a week.  When I really, really needed to, I would also multitask by studying at the gym.  However, if you need the time to let your brain unwind, don’t bring your books with you.  Gage your need to multitask.

3.) Sleep- Sleep eight hours, every night, no exceptions.  As I mentioned before, I had difficulties sleeping in the past.  However, I’m proud to say, that’s in the past now, which was a big accomplishment for me.  It’s very common for students to short themselves sleep.  However, ask yourself, do you really do any work worth handing in when you’re always overtired?  Make sleep a greater priority than homework the majority of the time.  If you do this, then you’ll be able to handle staying up late and finishing projects for one or two nights when you really, really need to.  However, I would really recommend avoiding this as much as possible.

4.) Visiting with friends- That’s right, make your friends a priority over school work at times.  The people around you are part of what makes life a wonderful experience, and you will regret it down the road if you miss out on this element of life.  Now, by this I don’t mean spend all of your time fooling around with friends.  Just make sure you are seeing the people you enjoy being around from time to time.  Something I often do when writing a paper or studying is plan an hour coffee break in the middle where I meet a friend at my favourite coffee shop.  We just have a short chat, and I feel relaxed, at peace, and ready to tackle my work again.  It stops me from feeling resentful towards my school work for locking me away from the rest of the world.  It stops me from becoming anti-social (a quality unfitting to a future school teacher).  The trick is being able to have some self-discipline concerining how much time you spend out when you have other things on your plate.

I hope these tips help a few people out there.  The trick to making these things work for you is learning to put some dedication into them.  Like I said earlier, make these things priorities.I also wanted to record them to share with the students I teach in the future.  I think a good teacher should help students achieve balance in their lives, and that this will bring far greater accomplishments from them than stressing them out ever will.  For more tips specifically related to studying, check out this post on Swan200t’s blog.

Image courtesy of tati.ana on Flickr.

Making a Difference, and Growing Smarter to Boot!

 Help end world hunger 

A friend ran across this site while searching for on-line games, and told me to check it out.  So I did, and upon playing for a bit, I realized that this was something that needed to be shared.  It’s a website called Free Rice, where you can play their on-line vocabulary-boosting game, and help to donate rice to poverty-stricken countries.  The money for the rice comes from the advertisements and sponsorships that are listed at the bottom of the page when you get a word correct.  So, in those few moments when you just want to waste time relaxing and playing on-line games after a hard day, you can actually be accomplishing something useful in this world.

Why stop at playing alone in your spare time?  For my fellow future educators, this could be a great classroom resource.  It’s a vocabulary exercise, and a social studies lesson all integrated into one.  It’s a way to let students feel like they really can make a difference in this world as an individual.  We have to remind students of this sometimes, especially when we start discussing some of the more dark and depressing facets of social studies.  Also, why not create a classroom-wide competition?  Small prizes could be awarded for students who obtain the highest vocabulary levels, or the most grains of rice.  Or the class could do a little statistics work, and create a classroom goal, such as feeding a certain number of people in one day when you add up the total rice earned by each student.  This could even be done at a school-wide level if one was very ambitious.

I should also point out that this game has levels for everyone.  All age groups should be able to play.

Please, take a look, play for awhile, and pass this website on.

Mission 24, and My Lack of Posts

Any of you who frequent Photojojo have probably read the post on photography games already, but just in case you haven’t I would like to invite you to join a delightful game.

Of all the games that Photojojo posted, I thought that Mission 24 would be the most amusing.  You are given a mission key word at random once a week, and then you have to post a photo within 24 hours interpreting the mission.  I thought it would be a great creative brain stretcher.

On an educational note, wouldn’t it be great to create a similar game a a classroom level?

Join up for Mission 24, everybody!  You’ll see some posts by myself there soon (I’m not sure if they’ll show up as Nikki L., or l.nikki12).

Lastly, I would like to apologize if I made any of my subscibers assume I have stopped blogging.  I have obtained a summer job, and haven’t found nearly as much time to be on the computer lately (I check my emails and Google Reader, then turn it off).  Currently, it’s my day off, I’m still in my pj’s (despite it being around noon), and trying to catch up on my cyber activities.  However, I’m still around, so keep reading!