The Start of the Year Video Game

Our weekly writing prompt over at the iAnthology had us thinking recently of telling the story of teaching via game theory. I went in another direction and created this video game to share over there, and here.

Peace (in the game),

An Odd Sight: A Frog at the Door

Frog on door
We had some rain yesterday and when I looked out the front door, there on the window … was a frog. I caught my own reflection taking an image of the frog. It came out odd, but oddly right in tune with seeing a frog stuck to the door.
Peace (in the sharing)

Graphic Novel Review: Adventures in Cartooning – Characters in Action

I really love this book as much as the concept behind it. And I have loved the other books put out in this series from the Center for Cartoon Studies (and published by First Second Publishing). In this newest edition of Adventures in Cartooning, readers not only get a funny story about a knight looking for a king whose kingdom has been taken over by a movie producer, they also get an embedded lesson around developing strong characters (and how to draw them for comics).

The knight on his horse is a recurring character in the series, which includes the first one — How To Turn Your Doodles into Comics — that really does a fine job of looking at the art of making comics. An activity book that came out later allows kids to work right in the book itself. My son loved it.

Characters in Action is a sly bit of teaching, and perfectly aimed at the elementary level of students. By the end of the story (which has a quick pace), you realize that with a few strokes of a pen or a few good descriptor words, you can make characters old or young, brave or fearful, smart or not-so-smart, and more. For young writers who struggle to create original characters, Characters in Action might be another fun resource to put into their hands.

Peace (in the action),

It’s Not Much but … My First App

My First App
I hope the title didn’t set up huge expectations. <guffaw>

But this is a screenshot of my first app using the XCode software. I will reflect more tomorrow about how I went about it. Don’t bother looking for this one on the App Store. It’s native to my computer and it doesn’t do anything other than what it looks like it is doing. But it’s an App. And I made it.


Peace (with a cheer),

Book Review: Where the Mountain Meets the Moon

Last spring, just as our principal was on his way to a new job, he decided to assign Where the Mountain Meets the Moon as an all-school summer read. (I admit: I asked him if we were doing another summer reading program and that spurred him on.) He had read this one with his daughter and raved about it. This summer, as part read-aloud to my son and then by myself, I dove into this intricately-told tale based in Chinese culture of a girl who seeks good fortune by running away from home, trying to ask advice from the Old Man in the Moon.

Writer Grace Lin weaves stories inside stories here, creating a real tapestry of fiction with echoes of traditional Chinese folk tales. And there is plenty of adventure, with dragons, and evil leaders, and magical string and more. The pace of the novel is quick, making it a perfect read-aloud, and the resolution of the plot is nicely done, spinning through friendship, hope and forgiveness. I should also note that the illustrations are stunning, giving a rich Chinese texture to the story itself.

We won’t get too deep into the book when our students come back next week for a number of reasons but I want to find a good way to reference the story within the story idea, somehow. Still thinking …

Peace (in the book),


Webcomic: Waiting on the Download

The download for XCode took quite some time for me (DSL, wireless, etc.) And at one point, the download got gummed up, so I had to restart my computer and restart the download again. (This time, I used an Ethernet cord, which was much faster). I need the XCode software to keep working on my App Development Adventure project. So, I created this comic ..

The Tweets App Development2

Peace (in the wait),


App Review: Visual Poetry

Word cloud poem
I admit it: I am a sucker for word clouds. I have been since that first Wordle created so long ago. This app — Visual Poetry — is a cool twist on word clouds, turning short poems into visual images. Relatively simple to use (type in poem, choose cloud type, and generate), the app makes writing interesting to behold. The image above is a short poem that I wrote.

Lost amidst these words
I scramble for meanings

In this case, I actually think the word cloud is better than than original. Perhaps it is that “scramble” idea.

The app costs $1.99, which seems rather steep for what it does. But I paid, since I like what it does. There might be other ones out there that are free or cheaper.

Peace (in the poem),

PS – check out this Tumblr blog of visual poetry (not related to the app at all).: