Archive for October, 2011

What is the message?

Posted: October 19, 2011 in RLA
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In RLA we have been talking a little about the message. What is the message or main idea of a piece of writing. Authors use words to convey an idea to you the reader. They want you to understand something, to get a new idea, to challenge your current ideas, to make you think. Sometimes in fiction writing it is the actions of the characters that are being used to get you to think. In music the message may be very easy to find or perhaps it is something you have to look for through all the exciting sounds. Videos often do not depict the message.

Today we are going to use your favorite (school appropriate) song to look at “WHAT IS THE MESSAGE”. One of the first thing to do is to read the song! What read a song, correct. Examine the lyrics that the author wrote.

I have chosen a song originally done by RUN DMC, but later remixed with Jason Nevins.  It is called “It’s Like That”. Here are the original lyrics.

It’s Like That

Unemployment at a record highs
People coming, people going, people born to die
Don’t ask me, because I don’t know why
But it’s like that, and that’s the way it is

People in the world tryin to make ends meet
You try to ride car, train, bus, or feet
I said you got to work hard, you want to compete
It’s like that, and that’s the way it is

Money is the key to end all your woes
Your ups, your downs, your highs and your lows
Won’t you tell me the last time that love bought you clothes?
It’s like that, and that’s the way it is

Bills rise higher every day
We receive much lower pay
I’d rather stay young, go out and play
It’s like that, and that’s the way it is

Wars going on across the sea
Street soldiers killing the elderly
Whatever happened to unity?
It’s like that, and that’s the way it is

Disillusion is the word
That’s used by me when I’m not heard
I just go through life with my glasses blurred
It’s like that, and that’s the way it is

You can see a lot in this lifespan
Like a bum eating out of a garbage can
You noticed one time he was your man
It’s like that (what?) and that’s the way it is

You should have gone to school, you could’ve learned a trade
But you laid in the bed where the bums have laid
Now all the time you’re crying that you’re underpaid
It’s like that (what?) and that’s the way it is

One thing I know is that life is short
So listen up homeboy, give this a thought
The next time someone’s teaching why don’t you get taught?
It’s like that (what?) and that’s the way it is

If you really think about it times aren’t that bad
The one that flexes with successes will make you glad
Stop playing start praying, you won’t be sad
It’s like that (what?) and that’s the way it is

When you feel you fail sometimes it hurts
For a meaning in life is why you search
Take the bus or the train, drive to school or the church
It’s like that, and that’s the way it is

Here’s another point in life you should not miss
Do not be a fool who’s prejudiced
Because we’re all written down on the same list
It’s like that (what?) and that’s the way it is

You know it’s like that, and that’s the way it is
Because it’s like that, and that’s the way it is

Looking through the words, this is a song that is telling, me the reader something. But what is that something? The song does give out some very important ideas like don’t be prejudice, go to school etc.

I feel that the most important message or most important point that the song is trying to give me is this:

 I have to have something I believe in. Something that I can use to support me when times are hard.

Why do I think this?

Looking through the words, what stands out from all of the lyrics are the parts about taking the opportunity to learn and the idea of taking personal responsibility for ones actions.

Here is the song if you want to listen to it.



Posted: October 18, 2011 in RLA
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As in many schools, Halloween is an up and coming event where the little children become little goblins and get all wound up and excited. I am currently trying to keep a lid on it, no big decorations yet even though I am greeted in the morning with the sound of “Mr. Howwwwiiiitt, why aren’t we setting uppp?” in the whiny tone that causes parents to cover their ears, shut their eyes and dream of quiet beaches and soft sand. My answer, mostly, is because often the party in the future becomes the focus of today. I am all for the little goblins dressing up, but it does not need to be a 2 week fiesta where every moring is halloweening. Of course then I started to think, what is Halloween about anyways? It has got to be more than me spending money on strangers kids to feed them…I could spend that money on my kids, or more importantly on me and my candy. So, before we get all focused on decorating, I think we should find out what this idea of Halloween is all about. So please, tell me what is Halloween, once we know that then we can worry about how to celebrate it.

Student blogs

Posted: October 10, 2011 in Uncategorized

Well, we are making them. It seems that somethings always go slower when you want it the most. The students do have their own blogs now, but the are still in the process of setting them up. It seems that careful typing of address into blog rolls and getting widgets activated takes longer than one would think. Hopefully we will have them going this week.


Posted: October 3, 2011 in Uncategorized
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How did we get to October? If we were back home I would mention the changing leaves or the weather changing to get a little cooler (warmer for you southern hemisphere people). But, living in Singapore which is just above the equator we don’t have seasons, we have sunny and hot, and sunny and hot, that is it.


Last week in class we began to use Google Docs as a way to write and plan together on one page. We quickly learned that 22 of us using Explorer would crash the system. We had to adjust and retry. Thank you Google Chrome.

What we were doing was creating a set of learning ideas that we would like to share with the world. Each student was writing about what they feel we should share and how the best way to present it would be. This is a step towards the students having their own individual blogs hopefully sometime in the next 2 weeks. One of the examples we have come up with is showing how our writing leads got better through revision and addition of details.

We also have  been doing out best to be readers of blogs so that when we lauch ours we have a pretty solid idea of what we want it to look like and what it should be sharing. We look forward to having those up soon and would appreciate any support and comments you may have.