Shaun Tan’s new book The Singing Bones.

I have only just bought a copy of Shaun Tan’s new book, The Singing Bones. It is a change in style from the previous publications he has been involved in. The style of the illustrations are very Tan but the medium in which they were created is new. They are quite amazing but I will need to have more time to fully grasp what he has created as he tried to encapsulate the gist of each fairytale. As always the detail and power of his deceptively simple images is amazing. As I looked at them some seem familiar, appearing to be inspired by character drawings in his earlier publications, and others completely new and powerful in their strangeness. I am never disappointed with Shaun Tan’s works, he never ceases to inspire and challenge me as a reader.

The singing bones - Shaun Tan

Shaun Tan was approached to illustrate the German edition of a new Philip Pullman book. On his website Shaun explains how he became involved in the publication. It is interesting to read about how he came to the decision to create the illustrations for the book. It is a collection of many classic fairy tales re-told/envisioned by Philip Pullman with the title Grimms Märchen.

In the end there were more illustrations than were needed and so these were used to illustrate The Singing Bones.  Jack Zipes has written some short but potent interpretations of the fairytales to accompany the images.

There are other versions of this collection of classic fairytales re-told/envisioned by Philip Pullman under the title  Grimm Tales: For Young and Old but these are not illustrated with Shaun Tan’s wonderful figures. 

Review: Ranger’s Apprentice prequel. The Tournament at Gorlan

I have enjoyed John Flanagan’s Ranger’s Apprentice books from the start. It is a great series that the boys at my school really enjoy. I was very pleased to see that he has revisited this realm and to read more about the early days of some old friends.

An interview with John Flanagan is below and he talks about more ideas for novels.

Ranger’s Apprentice The Early Years 1: The Tournament at GorlanRanger’s Apprentice The Early Years 1: The Tournament at Gorlan by John Flanagan
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book is a prequel to Ranger’s Apprentice series. It introduces young Rangers Halt and Crowley as they are wandering through the country after being dismissed from their jobs. They begin to develop a plan to thwart the contrivances of the sinister Baron Morgarath, who is disbanding the Rangers as part of a plan to take the throne. Baron Morgarath is a powerful and popular nobleman in Araluen and a formidable warrior. He is also a treacherous and ambitious tyrant, who will stop at nothing to get what he wants. The realm is in trouble.
Using subterfuge, Morgarath has King Oswald held as a prisoner in his castle and the rightful heir, Prince Duncan, is becoming more and more discredited as he seems to be engaged in criminal and thuggish behaviour in the North. This is not the Prince that Cowley knows and respects. Halt and Crowley decide seek out other former Rangers and hatch a plan to get to the bottom of the rumours about Prince Duncan, expose the nefarious dealings that Morgarath has been involved in and restore the true Rangers to their rightful places.
This book re-captured the spirit of the original Ranger’s Apprentice series and also filled in a lot of back-story about Halt, Cowley and Duncan as well as a young Baron Arald.
There was humour, especially in the witty banter between Halt and Crowley, and the action at the tournament towards the end of book was exciting enough for any adventure lover.
Another great addition to our library and it has already been borrowed and read by quite a few students, both younger and older ones.
View all my reviews

Useful links

Educational Postcard: ”Equity is about g by Ken Whytock, on Flickr
Creative Commons Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 2.0 Generic License   by  Ken Whytock 


The SAMR Ladder Through the Lens of 21st Century Skills – Getting Smart by Susan Oxnevad – EdTech, SAMR, Teaching | Getting Smart“Offers an interactive graphic of the SAMR Ladder to illustrate the big picture. The image includes a sample of a vocabulary centered wiki project at each level of SAMR. The Ladder includes questions designed by Dr. Ruben R. Puentedura, Ph.D. for reflection about making the transition to the next level. The circle at each level targets research, writing and digital citizenship. There you will find a quick suggestion about ways to capture and embrace the natural progression of skills at each level. “
15 Clever Call and Responses to Use in the Classroom! – Wise Guys  In recent years, we have learned about call and responses. For those of you who are not familiar with this concept, the teacher calls out a phrase, and then the student completes the phrase. It is a great way for students to refocus their attention back on you, the teacher!
Lego Volcano Science Build a Lego Volcano Baking Soda “We are really hitting the little LEGO bricks stage and have had fun coming up with creative ways to use Legos. This post is about a LEGO week activitiy. They made a LEGO volcano. There’s nothing better then baking soda and vinegar science experiments to explore chemical reactions! It is one of our go to classic science experiments and we have a years worth of fun ideas.”
8 Examples of Transforming Lessons Through the SAMR Cycle — Emerging Education Technologies  “The author looks at 8 examples of the SAMR process, each taking an example of a typical classroom exercise that does not use technology and walking it through each phase of SAMR. For half of these, she searched and borrowed from examples that teachers had written about online (original sources are provided – in some cases she tweaked the example a bit). She also created examples of her own. In working through this, it became apparent to her that while Substitution and Augmentation can be relatively straightforward conceptually, there is even more room for interpretation when it comes to Modification and Redefinition.”
The Qualitative Formative Assessment Toolkit: Document Learning with Mobile Technology | Edutopia Some great advice about how to develope assesment that will enhance student learning. “You don’t need to use all four components of the QFAT every time learning is documented. In isolation, each artifact is powerful. When you bring them together in a deliberate and thoughtful way, though, something that was not possible without the technology becomes easily accessible and immediately useful.”
BlogBooker – Blog Book “BlogBooker produces a high-quality PDF Blog Book from all your blog’s entries and comments. Archives can be generated from any blog running on WordPress, LiveJournal (and derivatives) or Blogger.The whole process takes about 3-4 minutes, depending on the size of your blog.”

PDF, DOC, PPT, eBook Search Engine.  A PDF, DOC, PPT, eBook Search Engine.

“ is a search engine and online viewer for ebooks in pdf, ppt, xls, rtf, txt, doc file format. You can find and download the ebook but please respect the publisher and the author for their creations if their books copyrighted.”
HTML5 Online Animation Editor | Animatron “Allows you to create mobile-friendly animations, banners, and infographics.” There are 20 public projects for free before you have to pay.
Piper Lets Kids Design Circuits Using Minecraft And Electricity | TechCrunch “Piper has created a kit that lets kids create circuits in real life and then see how they interact in Minecraft. It lets you, for example, add a battery and a button to a breadboard and see those parts pop up on the screen. Electricity flowing through virtual wires simulates what is happening in real life. In short, what you make on screen happens in real life and vice versa – sort of.”
Thinkuknow – home – An internet safety guide that has resources for teaching
Genius Hour: An Apprenticeship to Citizenship – Angela Maiers “Liberating Genius in the Classroom is a free, day-by-day lesson plan for the first 20 days of implementing genius hour. We will soon also offer a student “Genius Notebook” so students can record their reflections on the lessons and easily share them with each other and you.”
10 Questioning Strategies to Differentiate Instruction | Minds in Bloom  10 simple ideas that could be adapted and used for many er levels
Free Technology for Teachers: Bias Detection Explained by Common Craft  “Common Craft recently produced a new video on that topic. Through Bias Detection Explained by Common Craft students can learn about common signs of bias in media, problems that occur when bias is ignored, and why bias is common in communication. GIFs from the video can be seen here. The video itself is embedded below.”

Bias Detection Explained by Common Craft (VIDEO)  “Building on the example of sports fans, this video illustrates how bias is a common and sometimes productive part of how we communicate. It also shows how bias can cause problems when it’s hidden or not detected. This video teaches:

* Why bias is a common and expected part of communicating
* Why high quality information needs to be unbiased
* What problems occur when bias is ignored
* What to look for – common signs of bias in media
How to teach students to build a positive online identity | eSchool News | eSchool News  “Students understand the power of social media but are they making good decisions about what to post online? How can we, as educators, help them understand not just the immediacy of their posts but also the permanence of online communications? Learning is becoming more digital and educators at all levels should be instrumental in building students’ understanding about how their online presence impacts both their personal and future professional lives. Educators are also instrumental in helping students develop lifelong habits to create and maintain a positive online identity. You can look to the 2015 ISTE White Paper, Building and Keeping a Positive Digital Identity, to help kids be more intentional in what they post online. This paper applies ISTE standards to the idea of building and maintaining a positive online identity. It poses five questions adults can use to kick-start meaningful conversations about online behaviour and identity.”
Practical Ed Tech Tip of the Week – Two Ways to Create Online Whiteboards | Practical Ed Tech “Online whiteboards can be a fantastic aid to students when they’re trying to help each other work through problems or tutor each other. Online whiteboards are also helpful to teachers who are crafting visual explanations for students. Sketchlot and Stoodle are excellent online whiteboard tools. Both will work in the web browser on your laptop, Chromebook, iPad, and Android tablet. Video demonstrations of both tools are embedded below. Sketchlot allows teachers to create and manage student accounts. Stoodle offers a platform for collaboration through whiteboards.”
Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Comparing countries with “The True Size of”

The True Size Of-Aust2

If you want a visual way of comparing the size of a country with another, on tool you could use is “The True Size of’ . It lets you type in the name of any country or state, see the statistics on its true size and then grab the outline of that country and drag it, as an overlay, to another one (or continent), allowing you to visually compare the land masses.

Very simple to use, it works as follows:

  • Type in the name of a country or state.
  • Hover over the outline selection to view the information about size
  • Click on the section to drag the overlay to somewhere else on the map
  • To rotate the your chosen country’s map, rotate the compass points on the left-hand side of the screen.
  • The True Size Of_China-AfricaIf you wnat ot you can type in a second (or more countries) to get a coloured outline and information.
  • Right click on the selection to delete it.

The True Size Of-Aust-China

The True Size of means you can now properly compare countries. Some of the students at our school have been compaing countries to Australia in geography and this is a great visual tool for them.

The site’s creators say the Mercator projection, which many world maps are based off, distorts the size of certain countries and makes regular size comparisons difficult. “Cartographers use something called a “projection” to morph the globe into 2D map. The most popular of these is the Mercator projection. Every map projection introduces distortion,” the site claimed.

“One of the most common criticisms of the Mercator map is that it exaggerates the size of countries nearer the poles (US, Russia, Europe), while downplaying the size of those near the equator (the African Continent)

I love that the app, created by James Talmage and Damon Maneice, was inspired by an episode of The West Wing and an infographic by Kai Krause entitled “The True Size of Africa“.  (I do not watch a lot US shows, I loved The West Wing.)


Useful links

Always do your best by rhondda.p, on Flickr
Creative Commons Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 2.0 Generic License   by  rhondda.p 

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Useful links

Educational Postcard: ”What we are not a by Ken Whytock, on Flickr
Creative Commons Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 2.0 Generic License   by  Ken Whytock 

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Ranger’s Apprentice The Early Years. Book 1 The Tournament at Gorlan

The Ranger’s Apprentce series has been a big hit at our school. many boys can’t wait to get their hands on the latest edition so I am looking forwarc to going home and reading my new title on my kindle.

The book trailer link was sent to me today that serves to pique my interest.

We have heard about how popular John Flanagan’s series is oerseas so I found this video interesting as well. This was published on YouTube on 13 Sep 2015. John Flanagan’s editor and publisher, Zoe, kept a video diary of her trip to the Netherlands with John to be guests of honour at Ranger’s Apprentice Day. WARNING: video contains juicy information that fans will love.


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