Skip to main content

An Unexpected Short Journey

Saw The Hobbit with my oldest this afternoon. It was probably mean of me not to tell him the book was divided into three movies. He was a bit disappointed that Smaug remained unvanquished.

Overall I enjoyed the movie, especially the dwarves singing around the fire. Martin Freeman was compelling, though at times I did see Dr Watson peek through the pointy ears. Cate Blanchett was radiant and mysterious, hinting at a particular fondness for Gandalf and reminding us that no one in this movie was really "just human".

There were only a couple of items that I wished could have been better expressed or portrayed. It's not Peter Jackson's fault, they just don't translate well to the screen.

One is the dreadfully boring times of any epic adventure: days of endless walking and never changing scenery. Instead of getting the sense that they were walking across the Great Plains (a boring drive at 65mph, let alone walking). Instead Gandalf started to sound like me during cross country season: "Run!"

The second item was when Bilbo was wandering through the caves and discovers the ring. Yes, it is difficult to portray onscreen what actually happens in complete darkness. Having been in caves with all the lights out, there is no way to convey that feeling onscreen. Even if the room was pitch dark and all we had were voices and sounds, the audience would be lost. It had to be filmed with light.


Popular posts from this blog

Classcraft Interactive Notebook Page

Finished crafting interactive notebook pages for Classcraft, an engaging classroom management tool.

This fall I plan to add interactive notebooks to my classroom procedures. The goal is to provide students with something tangible to take home at the end of the semester. So that means creating or borrowing resources to guide students in developing their notebook.

Classcraft is a classroom management tool, an elaborate punishments and reward system designed like an epic role play game. Students create avatars and can upgrade pets and outfits based on experience and gold points earned. They can also lose points and suffer minor penalties. Everything is done in a fun, game like environment.

The computer lab is already divided into five or six stations, which lends itself easily to guilds or teams of students who work together in the game. I want students to develop their own backstory and choose their characters for the good of the group. I also need students to keep their login info some…

Easy Offline Lesson Plans

My lesson was on search engines, but the Internet was down. Learn how to have great offline backup plans.

So I had a room full of fifth grade students with a lesson plan on search engines. We were going to compare search results from different engines. We were going to learn how to refine our searches. We were not going anywhere because the Internet connection had gone down.

So I quickly checked with the librarian and moved my lesson offline. We selected books from the reference cart: dictionaries, atlases, encyclopedias and records books. I then gave students the same search queries from the lesson. We still compared results and discussed why some sources provided better results. We even contemplated if other libraries would have better selections or unique resources.

The trick to any offline lesson plan is understanding what concepts digital tools are built upon. Digital search is still the search for and analysis of information. For centuries, people have dug through catalogs of i…

Passionate Purpose

Yesterday I was brainstorming with a coworker on writing projects for gifted students. At first she was looking for creative ideas of topics that students could write on. But then I redirected her thinking towards the purpose of the writing.

By allowing students to choose their topic of writing, it gives them the freedom to explore and question the world around them. Directing them away from fiction writing, we give real purpose to research - the exploration for an answer. Suddenly the focus shifts away from completing a grade or meeting a standard to inquiry and search for understanding.
For students to write meaningful content, they need to be passionate about it.  As teachers, we know it's important for students to (fill in the blank), but we don't always express the purpose well. Too often I hear that students will need these skills when they reach the next level. Elementary prepares for middle school which prepares them for high school where they are prepared for college…