Archive for February, 2008

Call of the Wild

February 22nd, 2008

This is a research project for Ms. Clerke’s Call of the Wild unit.

  1.  We will be using Destiny1 to look up the information, Inspiration to create the outline, and Word to make the Works Cited page.
  2. You will be looking for information about Call of the Wild in three categories: Jack London biographical info, Gold Rush historical information, and details that help develop the setting and the characters of the novel.
  3. When you are done, your outline will look like this:
  4. Click here to see a larger version:Call of the Wild Outline 

  5. Use Destiny1 to find your information. Record where you found each article in a Word document.
  6. At the end you will have a printed Inspiration outline and a Works Cited (check your Write Right) typed up in Word.

Bunker 10

February 22nd, 2008

Oh my goodness! Crazy book. I just finished Bunker 10 by J.A. Henderson and anyone who loves surprise endings, like Ender’s Game, needs this book.

A military installation in the middle of a forest blows up on Christmas Eve. This book is the story of the inhabitants’ last day. What is a lot of fun is that it is told in 24-style, with chapter headings simply reading what time it is.

This is not a story of terrorists or war – the entire threat comes from within the facility. The plot has a lot of surprises so I can’t tell too much, but I can give you the headings for the general sections of the book:

  1. The Grandmother Paradox
  2. Genetic Pollution – (n) the dispersal of contaminated altered genes from genetically engineered organisms to natural organisms, esp. by cross-pollination
  3. Meme

But it’s not just about the science, which is pretty cool science, but it has a lot of action sequences, as well. Librarians – if you have Michael Crichton books on your shelf, you’ll do well to get this book.

Amulet and the Invention of Hugo Cabret

February 16th, 2008

Amulet by Kazu Kibuishi is going to be huge, just so you know.

I got the book while at Phoenix Book Company’s reception for the illustrious Ally Carter. (You need to have her visit your library. She is very cool to hang out with.)   

The artwork for Amulet is breath-taking and definitely fits the great setting. We sometimes struggle finding appropriate graphic novels. This matches imaginative storytelling with suspenseful pacing. (Many times you want the children in the book to look over their shoulder. And I finished the book with many questions – eagerly awaiting book 2.) 

And Hugo Cabret? 284 full-page illustrations can’t be wrong.

It’s told through the lens of a camera, so there are some fun meta-writing moments when the camera pans from the moon to the city or we switch to a close-up of a denizen’s eye. Get both of these books! (And Love You, Kill You and Cross my Heart if you have fallen asleep on your duties and have not done so already.)   

Library Advice – Ally Carter Visit

February 16th, 2008

My advice? Have her visit your library. Here is what I learned and appreciated:

  1.  She’s funny, in a The Office/Joss Whedon sort of way. You’ve got to pay attention or the wit will fly right by.
  2. She knows character development and purpose. A student asked, “Why did you make Josh like he is?” Ally: “Josh is everything that Cammie wants but can’t have. The white picket fence, the mom who bakes giant apple pies.” She went on to explain how Cammie lives in a mansion but eats microwave burritos because her mom doesn’t know how to cook. The normal life escapes her.
  3. Ally intended Bex to represent Cammie without any reservations. Bex doesn’t know what it’s like to lose a dad.
  4. Book 3 is going to rock, plain and simple. Macey, a character who originally would have left after book one, has some very exciting scenes.
  5. In book 3 there is another cool character with some hilarious dialogue.
  6. The title is just as fun as the others.
  7. If I told more about book 3 (or the rest of the series), Ally would kill me with a piece of uncooked spaghetti. I’ve seen her do it and I’ve had trouble sleeping ever since.
  8. The first Gallagher book was dedicated to someone that Ally knew who sounds like an extraordinary woman that deserves the title Gallagher Girl.
  9. Ally understands the balance between internal and external conflict. Where I am one to always require more explosions, the balance between Cammie wanting to look elegant at a ball and Cammie tracking down an infiltrator is what I love about the book series.
  10. Ally has a secret identity.
  11. That secret identity has trouble checking in to hotels.
  12. I may not look at the printed signs to tell you which hotel lobby I am in, but I can tell you based on carpet.
  13. Ally is very forgiving when you show up and wait to pick her up at the wrong hotel.
  14. Ally has great metaphors regarding the writing process. “If you turn on a hose after you haven’t used it for a while, what comes out?” Someone honestly said mice. Ally had a witty response on her feet.
  15. Her writing space involves sticky note storyboards on four separate walls, a wall for each story she’s working on. She may describe it as the mind of a serial killer, but I am going to start doing that in my library office. (Maybe that’s not good evidence that she’s not crazy.)
  16. I am going to start a letter/e-mail writing campaign to get George Clooney to play Joe Solomon in the movie.
  17. When you sign a contract with Disney, it is worded that you are giving rights to the story for it to be a Disney production anywhere in the universe. (Not just measly little Earth.)
  18. When you sign with Disney, you agree that your story can take many forms: film, straight to DVD, made for TV movie, stage, and on ice.
  19. I would love to see Gallagher Girls on Ice on the planet Neptune.
  20. Ally is great with kids (and knows some good songs to sing with a preschooler).
  21. My Little Pony Live has higher production values than The Wiggles.
  22. Ally is a very humble author who doesn’t complain about carrying a diaper bag and riding to the airport in a minivan with a crying infant.
  23. Ally inspired a teacher to follow her own “high concept idea” and start writing again.
  24. Jennifer Lynn Barnes is a good friend of hers that wrote The Squad, about covert cheerleaders. They just came out this month and I will be checking those books out.
  25. Ally Carter can do well presenting to the large groups but she excels at the question and answers, so keep that in mind when bringing her to your library.

Yes, bringing an author is a lot of work. Yes, I am exhausted (woo, President’s Day!). But it is so worth it and so much fun, especially when you get the talented Ally Carter to your library.

Rusty Metal

February 13th, 2008

Good ol' rusty metal!

You’ve got your platform games going, but what if you don’t want to have a game that looks like a cartoon? Creating your own artwork takes time! The people at Lyzrd Stomp have created a great tutorial to make artwork that looks like the above picture.

Circulate the fun!

February 11th, 2008

Circulate the Lawsuit

Circulate the…ah! Extension cord! [thud] 

In the same way that giant inflatable gorillas do not inspire me to buy a car:

Buy my car or I rampage the city!

showing a guy riding on a cart does not make me want to buy that cart. Demco, you need to practice more.

Actually, I take that back. You’re doing the best you can trying to sell carts. If I were the ad agent, here’s a sample:

Cart

Hey! We got carts! 

Kid-Cast.com

February 7th, 2008

So you’ve made a podcast but you need a place to host it? Kid-Cast.com is a place solely for student podcasts and discussions that allows you to contribute to the content.

Animation and Games – Straight from Adobe

February 6th, 2008

Adobe, distributors of Flash, have some great tutorials on character animation and game design. 

 

Instances in a Platformer

February 6th, 2008

For Future Professionals today we’ll look at creating movie clips as instances and adding ActionScript code to the instances to make the characters move around. A great tutorial is at Newgrounds. Once you’re there, click on ‘Play the Game.

Zamzar

February 2nd, 2008

Librarians – Have you ever had a file that you could not convert? Someone sends you a .wps or .cwk in an Office dominated world. Students can’t access an important essay and they’re freaking out. A teacher wants to show a .wmv but didn’t realize we don’t have Windows Media Player current on our Macs.

The site Zamzar.com is a librarian’s dream. Any file can be switched and converted for easy access. You can choose to upload a file or send a URL. Zamzar converts it and then links to the new file on their server where you can download it.

The best thing? There’s no program to download and no files, just links, get sent to your inbox.