Archive for October, 2007


October 29th, 2007

This GarageBand tutorial is designed for the Great Expectations Radio assignment, but can find many other uses. Screenshots taken from GarageBand running on OSX Tiger.

  1. Click on New Podcast Episode
  2. Save the file with the project name (Example: GE Radio) and then your group number. Don’t put your last name on it since it will go across the Internet. For our network, make sure to save to the Shared folder.
  3. The default should work with the podcast artwork track, male voice track, female voice track, jingles, and radio sounds.
  4. If you will have more than one gender, you can add more tracks by clicking on the menu at the top with Track and then New Track. Make it a Real Instrument, select Vocals, and then the appropriate speech filter.
  5. Click on the Female (or Male) Voice. Click on the big red circle at the bottom of the screen to start recording. Get your content recorded first. Fancy jingles and zingers only go so far.
  6. As you perform, make sure to watch the audio levels to not “go hot” and crackle your voice.
  7. Now click on the Jingles. Click on the Blue Eye in the bottom left of the window.
  8. Click on Jingles underneath the eye to then expand to different sample. Click on a theme song that fits your project.
  9. Drag the jingle name onto the Jingles track in your workspace.
  10. Hover your mouse on the end of the jingle. It will turn to a bar with an arrow. You can now click and drag to extend the length of the clip to match your podcast length.
  11. Click on Radio Sounds. Make sure the Blue Eye is selected so you can find a stinger/sound effect to appropriately match/emphasize what you are talking about.
  12. Click and drag any audio clip to move it where it best fits.
  13. If you want to trim any clip, click on the clip to select it, move your timeline marker at the top
    to match where you want to cut. At the top menu, select Edit and the Split. Now click on the chunk that you don’t want and press delete.
  14. Sometimes if you have trouble selecting on audio clip, click on the gray part of the control panel to deselect everything and then click on your target clip.
  15. Move your purple triangle to the end of your podcast. If there is a lot of space between the end of the podcast and your purple triangle, there will be dead air when you export your podcast. (I ruined many a podcast before I realized that. I pass on the experiential wisdom to you.)
  16. For the photos: These are going to be published online. Make sure that the photos you choose are yours, stock photo, or open license. You can’t just go steal some photos from Google Images anymore.
  17. If any of the audio is too loud, you can adjust the individual track levels, measured in decibels. You can also adjust whether the track is in stereo or will come out of the left or right speaker. (Which is really quite cool when you think about iPod headphones.)
  18. The plus button in the bottom left (next to the Blue Eye) is a shortcut to add more tracks.
  19. Right now just Share to iTunes. Tune back later for how to upload online.

Having three kids is illegal

October 28th, 2007

When I first started teaching, there was a “trouble” student (he did wear a nail through his ear and he did have a penchant for destroying things) who was reading this book called Among the Hidden. The cover had this scared looking boy looking from behind the shadows. I thought it was a horror book.

These 8th graders didn’t know anything about Shakespeare or The Odyssey, unlike my freshmen honors class from student teaching, so how would I reach them? The Outsiders continues to sell itself for student appeal, but what do you teach the other eight months of the year? (especially when students need an independent reading novel as part of the curriculum)

I sat down to read this one Saturday morning in my apartment when my wife and I were first married. (Before lawns, diapers, and dog food – no particular order.)

I read the entire book that Saturday morning. I was very surprised that it wasn’t a Goosebumps/R.L. Stine or Christopher Pike-type book. This was a book that challenged the extent of the government, what freedoms we sacrifice to be comfortable, and told a great story interwoven through the ideals. Sure, I knew that The Giver and A Wrinkle in Time were young adult books that we learned about in college (a woot! to my Transall Saga group from Jean Boreen’s class is in order), but could current authors educate beyond an Avedra Kavedra curse?

The Awesome:

  1. Luke is your typical YA hero that gets caught up in a story that is bigger than himself, but this one broke the mold when main characters can actually die (no actual spoilers in that statement, I swear). This realism pulls on kids.
  2. Students love to read a series. This is my “go to” book to get a student hooked on reading. Many will love this, just like The Outsiders has staying power.

The Hidden:

  1. There’s not much action in the first part of the book. The exposition sets up an idyll lifestyle on a farm that gets trashed when the Barons bring in their malls and uber-suburbia. I remember having to tell my student, Dallas, “No, I swear it’s a good book. Just wait ’til the people start dying.”
  2. The series really comes into its own in Among the Betrayed, Among the Brave, and Among the Enemy when the reader follows different characters. If you read the series too quickly, you’ll realize some similarities start to become cliche in the stories around Luke, but they’re so minor that students could care less. (Series of Unfortunate Events in point: orphans are brought in by idiot relative, idiot relative is offed by Olaf, Olaf escapes, orphans still have Unfortunate life – truth in advertising) Give some time between the books and you realize that Haddix is re-hashing things for students to remember what type of world Luke lives in. We have the luxury now of reading all seven at a glance. Imagine having to wait a couple of years to find out what Luke did after he fell down the shaft when Vader revealed that he was the father. (I have Luke obsessions.)

Overall: Still my “go to” book throughout the years for both boys and girls.


October 28th, 2007

I will be speaking at this year’s AZ librarian conference. Attend the session “Set your library on fire!” to hear about next year’s hot new books.

(And for more references to conflagrations.)

What, are you brain-missing?

October 28th, 2007

I must admit that part of why I’m kicking this feed is to boost my facerank.

Extras...dreadfully mysterious!

Extras by Scott Westerfeld is the fourth book of the Uglies/Pretties/Specials trilogy (yes, very Hitchhiker’s Guide in that regard). This is one of those books, though, that I waited for the release date like it was a summer blockbuster. I can tell you that I was more satisfied with the book than Transformers/Die Hard 4, but in both cases the hot product suffers from mega-expectations.

The book takes place after the events of the first three books (makes sense) but follows a different character, Aya, on a different continent. Each book in the series tackles a key social issue that teens face. Issues like betraying your friends to be pretty, parent-child expectations, and an environmentally insatiable lifestyle are all laid out in an easy to understand format alongside hoverboard fight scenes and hot air balloon bungeeing.

In Extras, Aya’s society has money. No longer can you get your clothing for free from the wall. The governing board, however, does not want anyone to starve like in the Rusties days, so they set up a system where you can requisition the cooler items based on one of two factors: merit and facerank.

Merits are earned by doctors, teachers, (even lawyers), and anyone who serves the greater community. This takes effort. You have to do homework/babysit kids and that takes time. Facerank, on the other hand, can happen overnight. Think about some of those celebrities who fight custody battles on the E! network or hide their baby girl for months only to end up making her a BabyGAP model.

Aya is ranked 400,000+ in her society (that’s bad). Her brother Hiro is approaching 1,000 (that’s good). Hiro is an experienced kicker (blogger) and Aya wants to gain fame like her older brother. She finds the Sly Girls, a group of teens who want to avoid public scrutiny to enjoy their favorite hobby: surfing on top of 300 mph maglev trains.

Aya has other plans. She’s going to kick a feed so big that everyone will know her name. What she doesn’t realize is that by following danger some of it is going to follow her. “What would you do for fame?”-type thing.

As I’ve talked with students and staff (and after reading it myself), here’s what I’ve heard:

The Nervous-making:

  1. Tally’s not a main character. Students grow to associate with her and just like in the Shadow Children series, it’s tough to build new connections.
  2. It’s more sci-fi. Things get strange as Aya follows the Sly Girls on an Earth-changing discovery.
  3. If you don’t know Japanese culture, some of the jokes/references are lost. Some of the kids get manga-eyes surges, soccer no longer exists – only giant robot suits that fire foam darts

The Kick:

  1. There’s still lots of action, and not all of it revolves around crash bracelets (a complaint I had about Pretties and Specials).
  2. Tally does show up, and she’s not happy.
  3. If you are familiar with the annoying side of myspace and YouTube (people who vlog what their cats ate, users who spam for friends), your annoyances are vindicated.

very excited

October 28th, 2007

I’ve been writing online for quite some time now, but this is the first time since getting my masters degree that I’ve put up some professional stuff.

Here you will find book reviews, lesson ideas, and general teaching philosophy (as well as other things that come at you throughout life).

Use the search box or click on a category to find related articles.Thanks for visiting the site!