Adventure Time (With Jake and Finn)

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Not often does a TV show appear that appeals to such a wide audience. Adventure time is watched and enjoyed by children as young as 5 years of age, right up to adults (including me!). The series follows the adventures of Finn (voiced by Jeremy Shada), a human boy, and his best friend and adoptive brother Jake (voiced by John DiMaggio), a dog with magical powers to change shape and grow and shrink at will. Finn and Jake live in the post-apocalyptic Land of Ooo. Adventure Time was picked up in 2010 by Cartoon Network, after it went viral on the internet and is now into its fifth season.

Adventure Time has proved to be hugely popular and has been nominated for eight Annie Awards, five Primetime Emmy Awards with one win, two Critics’ Choice Television Awards, and a Sundance Film Festival Award, among others. In 2013, the series won a Motion Picture Sound Editors Award, and its comic book spin-off won an Eisner Award and two Harvey Awards.

The TV review website AVClub.com (2013) states “with its bright colours and crisp hand-drawn animation, Adventure Time is incredibly visually stimulating, but it’s equally sharp on the sound front thanks to spectacular voice work and earworm musical sequences.”

So popular with adults, Adventure Time boasts many big names willing to be guest voices on the show including Maria Bamford, Andy Samberg, “Weird” Al Yankovic, Paul F. Tompkins, Kumail Nanjiani, and Donald Glover. That’s an astounding lineup of talent, and while those names don’t mean much for kid viewers, the involvement of these comedians has helped make Adventure Time a massive hit among adults (AVClub, para 7, 2013).

Indiewire.com (2013) describes Adventure Time as “irreverent and narratively engaging, it’s the ideal testament to animation’s glorious pliability in an commercial arena otherwise defined by restrictions. With the start of its fifth season last night, Adventure Time once again proves that it’s one of the most inventive shows on television.”

Adventure Time versus The Simpsons

“There are a lot of similarities between early Simpsons and Adventure Time, from the sprawling casts of Springfield and Ooo to the way both series address down-to-earth human problems while taking advantage of the opportunities afforded by animation. In The Simpsons, that means Homer can protect his son by taking a Wile E. Coyote-style fall down the side of a cliff. In Adventure Time, it means Finn struggles with sexual desire by being in a relationship with a girl who he can’t touch because she’s literally on fire.” (AVClub.com 2013).

Adventure Time is one of those rare gems that delights viewers regardless of whether they are still in primary school or married with three kids. Kids and parents will find enjoyment in the adventures of Jake and Finn on different levels. The kids will delight in the quirky, visually appealing antics of two loveable friends, while the adults will marvel at the imagination and social commentary hidden yet blaringly obvious in each episode. Needless to say, viewers can learn a lot here no matter how much life they’ve lived (IndieWire 2013).

References

http://www.avclub.com/articles/beneath-adventure-times-weirdness-lies-surprising,103956/

http://www.indiewire.com/article/why-adventure-time-now-in-its-fifth-season-is-more-groundbreaking-than-you-may-realize

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Adventure_Time

http://adventuretime.wikia.com/wiki/Adventure_Time_with_Finn_and_Jake_Wiki

Lorde: The teenager taking over the music industry

Lorde is a long awaited breath of indie fresh air. Finally, a positive, ambitious and talented role model for all the young women in our lives. As the online world (and the real world too) is still reeling from that Miley Sirus incident at the MTV awards, this sixteen year old has just reached number one on the US Top 100 Billboard Charts – making her the first New Zealand solo artist to have a Number One song in the United States. And she has done so with talent and class.

Born Ella Maria Lani Yelich-O’Connor in November 1996 (yes, 1996), Lorde first took over our airwaves with hugely popular song ‘Royals’. She has recently just released her debut album Pure Heroine which is currently number 1 on the AU and NZ album charts. It clear from the beginning that this was a teenager with a huge voice and a spectacular talent for song writing. Her lyrics boasted a maturity way beyond her sixteen years and in her interviews she came across as grounded, humble and very down to earth. This was a young woman who didn’t need to remove her clothes to get noticed – her talent and her hard work got her the recognition she deserves.

When asked about her song writing technique, Lorde responded in way that would make every teacher-librarians heart burst with joy:

“I started writing songs when I was 13 or 14, because I’ve always been a huge reader. My mum’s a poet and we’ve always had so many books, and that’s always been a big thing for me, arguably more so than music.”

This is a young woman that I would be very happy if my daughter was looking up to.  In a recent interview with Billboard Magazine, they asked Lorde what she enjoys reading;

“I read a lot of short fiction, like Kurt Vonnegut and Raymond Carver and Wells Tower. I’ve been reading this book at the moment called “Battleborn,” by Claire Vaye Watkins. It’s such beautiful writing.”

One can’t help but compare Lorde to the other young female musicians who are currently popular at the moment. The biggest contrast in the pop scene right now has to be Miley Cyrus who recently danced in sheer underwear with Robin Thicke at the MTV awards, not to mention her recent ‘Wrecking Ball’ film clip in which she appears completely naked in one scene. Lorde on the other hand has produced thoughtful and tasteful film clips in which she allows her voice and her talent to grab the attention of the viewer. Lorde herself made the following critique about fellow pop star Selena Gomez in an interview with Rolling Stone:

“I’m a feminist and the theme of her [Selena Gomezs) song is, “When you’re ready come and get it from me. I’m sick of women being portrayed this way.”

Lorde is confident without being arrogant and shows young woman everywhere that they don’t need to dance provocatively in their underwear to be noticed. We need more women like Lorde on our TV screens that promote a positive image of what it’s really like to be a teenager in 2013.

References

http://www.billboard.com/articles/columns/pop-shop/5687330/lorde-qa-new-zealand-star-on-next-single-nicki-minaj-staying

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lorde

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/style-blog/wp/2013/10/24/5-things-to-know-about-lorde/

What is popular… At least for now?

Pinterest has boomed in popularity recently among teenagers. Easy to navigate and visually pleasing, Pinterest has made scrap-booking cool again!

Having spent some time in a high school library recently, I have been listening and observing what the students have been discussing, watching, reading and listening to. Most popular has been:

  • The Fault in Our Stars (or anything and everything John Green)
  • DubStep
  • Dr Who (or more specifically, Matt Smith)
  • Marvel Comics
  • The Hunger Games
  • Grand Theft Auto
  • Call of Duty (Black Ops)
  • Memes
  • iPhones
  • One Direction
  • Immortal Instruments Series

View my Pinterest board HERE to see what I think is popular among young people right now.

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My Pinterest Board

Interview with a young lady & Qooh.me explained

Jade* is 14 years old and attends a prestigious private girls school in Victoria. I have known Jade since she was 5 years old when I was hired to be her tutor. She has become a wonderful family friend and it has been fascinating to watch her grow over the years.

The Interview

What books are you reading?

The last few books I have read have been The Kite Runner, The Hunger Games, and The Carrie Diaries (from Sex and the City). I don’t really have time to read – I usually only read for 15 minutes at night before bed.

What is your favourite genre? Why?

Probably romance, drama and chick lit. That’s what all the girls at school are reading.

What websites do you visit the most often?

I suppose they would be: Qooh.me, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat and Dolly Magazine. I also do some online shopping with Princess Polly, Ice and Cotton On.

What is Qooh.me?

It’s a web site that let you ask people questions anonymously – but recently people have been asking me really gross questions so I am going to delete my account. It’s causing bullying at school too because everyone talks about the answers the get from people.

What apps do you use most of your phone?

I use Instagram (probably every second day), Facebook and Kick. I also use Snapchat but that has become a huge problem at school. Some girls have been sending inappropriate images around and then they get bullied for them because everyone passes it around. Everyone knows how to make a screenshot of a snap chat photo so it’s not private at all.

qoohme2

Image courtesy of qooh,me

Do your teachers know what’s going on?

No – They don’t really have any idea.

What TV shows do you watch? Do you watch much TV?

I don’t really watch TV. Sometimes I watch X Factor, Big Brother or Home & Away. Big Brother is huge at my school. Everyone watches it.

Who are your favourite bands/singers?

Probably Taylor Swift, One Direction and Justin Beiber.

Who are the celebrities you like/follow?

I am not really interested in celebrities to be honest.

What is ‘popular’ at your school at the moment?

Boys! All the girls talk about is boys. Other than that it’s Big Brother. Oh and everyone is obsessed with tanning. Some girls won’t come to school without their fake tan on. Everyone has Nike sneakers too. It’s popular at the moment to have black Nikes with a pink or white tick. All the girls wear heaps of sports gear too. Black leggings with a pink sports top and a grey jumper is really popular on free dress day. Windsor Smith sandals are really popular too even though they are really expensive. We are not supposed to wear makeup at school but everyone does.

CC Image courtesy of Kevin Wu on Flickr

CC Image courtesy of Kevin Wu on Flickr

What sort of clothes do you like?

I mostly shop at Cotton On and Factorie.

How do you mostly talk with your friends after school? Text/Facebook/Twitter?

Texting I suppose – I would text two or three friends every night after school.

Discussion

Having known Jade for a number of years, I had already pre-conceived most of her answers. However one website I had not heard on was Qooh.me. Qooh.me is a social website that allows users to ask each other questions anonymously. It is super easy to sign up to and has no privacy settings or age restrictions. Therefore children, teenagers and adults can all be asking each other questions with no indication of who is who. Jade also spoke at length with me about how dangerous she thought the website was and how she was receiving some pretty inappropriate questions from unknown users. Renta Rowe – the principal at Ivanhoe Grammar in Victoria – has also witnessed Qooh.me becoming a problem at her school:

“[Qooh.me] is also a site that invites users to ask questions anonymously and therefore provides a protective platform for malicious questions and statements. The site does not seem to respond if a comment is reported and does not take down or intervene in the cyberbullying or trolling that I have witnessed my students experiencing.”

It is important that both teachers and parents are aware of these social network sites and whether their student’s or children have an account. The thing with popular social networks like these, new ones are popping up all the time (Qooh.me reminds me of a similar platform that was popular for a while called formspring.me now called Spring.me). However, we must try and keep abreast of what these teenagers are engaging with, in order to provide them with some kind of protection online. Bramley (2012) offers five ways parents can talk to their children about the dangers of Qooh.me which can be accessed here.

The best way to protect our students is to encourage open and honest discussion in your classroom at every opportunity. Knowing what your students are engaging in out of the classroom is a wonderful way to better know who your students are, and begin to understand the world in which they are living (as best they can).

References:

Bramley (2012, June 18). If you’re a parent you had better know about Qooh.me [Web log post]. Retrieved from http://www.barriebramley.com/if-youre-a-parent-you-had-better-know-qoohme/

Rowe, R. (2012, August 28). What is Qooh.me? Your tweens and teens are all over it [Web log post]. Retrieved from http://icybersafe.com/2012/08/28/what-is-qooh-me-your-tweens-and-teens-are-all-over-it/

Featured Image 1: Accessed from www.qooh.me

Featured Image 2: Accessed from http://www.kekicks.com/nike-free-run-black-pink-p-1427.html

* Name has been changed

Social Reading: Exploring Goodreads

For this weeks task, I would like to explore the ideas in Darcy Moores (2012) post ‘Social Reading: Fad or Future?‘ from his blog darcymoore.net

Moore (2012) notes that new technologies (such as Amazon, Shelfari, iPads, and Audible) are transforming the way one reads and shares that reading. Social networks such as Facebook and Twitter allow opportunities to interact with authors like never before. Moore (2012) believes that reading is becoming social.

From bookclubs to the classroom, reading has been bringing like-people together for many years. However, the ease and convenience of these technologies means we are sharing and reading like never before.

Goodreads

I want to focus on Goodreads as my experience with both the website and the app has been wonderfully positive and insightful. I have been a member of GoodReads since November 2011 and for a long time, my only friend was my Mum! But eventually, more and more of my ‘bookish’ friends started to join up (mostly due to my insistence it was the best thing ever) and a small community was formed.

I use Goodreads almost as a cataloging system. I can create different shelves, attribute different tags to different books and arrange them as I see fit. All from the comfort of my lounge-room. My Goodreads shelf is my dream shelf. With 419 books on my shelf, it is the bookshelf I don’t have the money or space for – but I can give it life in virtual world! I update my shelf as soon as I finish or start a book. This allows me to see what I have read during certain times of the year (oh yes, I remember that obsessed-with-all-things-john-green phase) which I find quite interesting.

My ‘read’ shelf:

To read shelf

I also really enjoy seeing what my friends are reading and reading their reviews. Goodreads is an excellent way to keep track of all those books your friends tell you “you HAVE to read”. When I go to the bookstore, I always have my ‘to read’ shelf open on my iPhone (using the Goodreads app) so I can keep an eye out for any of the 94 books listed!

Goodreads has some wonderful learning potential in the classroom. The blog post ‘Six Ways to Use Goodreads in the Classroom‘ by a TL in Canada, suggests getting students to join the Reading Challenge (whereby the are required to set reading targets and goals), participate in online discussion forums about the novels they are reading, write their own reviews and even reach out to authors who are members of the Goodreads community.

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Moore (2012) that the act of interacting, sharing and creating discussion about the things we are doing in our lives is a natural thing to do. I think this is especially so with students today. Out students are already sharing their favourite music videos, their most recent purchases and their photos from the weekend. Goodreads gives them the opportunity to share what they are reading and connect with fellow readers who have similar tastes and interests.

Reading can be a personal and private experience and it can also be a collaborative and social experience. Either way, new technologies that allow us to instantaneously share our joy (or bitter disappointment) about a novel we have just read are an exciting way to engage our students to read and share.

Introducing Miss Spicer: Teacher Librarian (nearly!)

Some Facts about me as Teacher Librarian:

Name: Kellie Spicer

Current city: Melbourne

Favourite book(s): Most teacher librarians would agree that this is a very very hard question to answer – you want me to choose just one book?! Are you crazy?! For me, I usually answer this question on instinct – what are the titles that first come to mind when asked this question? These include (well at least today):

  • Blankets by Craig Thompson
  • The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time by Mark Haddon
  • The Last Lecture buy Randy Pausch
  • Maus by Art Spiegalman
  • The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
  • A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry
  • The Boy in the Striped Pajamas by John Boyne

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