Odyssey Review

Odyssey Review

Review the story The Odyssey, use the flashcards to challenge yourself, play the games, and then take the test to prepare for your Final Exam.


Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins

Catching Fire (The Hunger Games, #2)Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

While I enjoyed Hunger Games, the first of the Suzanne Collins trilogy, Catching Fire increased in intensity. The story of Katniss Everdeen’s never-ending struggle to find freedom from the fate the Capitol has set for her continues with a lot of what seems to be teen angst coupled with a real threat of widespread revolt from abroad. The narrative starts slowly, painstakingly as we listen in on Katniss’ fears for the safety of those she loves.
The pace picks up quickly when the Quarterly Quell begins, with a cruel twist! More ensues than even she can imagine in her worst dreams, and she ends up caught up in a much larger movement that will conclude in the final episode.

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Sacred by Dennis Lehane

Sacred (Kenzie & Gennaro #3)Sacred by Dennis Lehane
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is my favorite Kenzie/Genarro story for Patrick Kenzie’s romanticist narrative and Angie’s ballsy tenacity. The duo are forced into a job for Trevor Stone, a powerful evil billionaire who wants them to find his missing daughter. The supposed shared grief that Angela sees in the dying Trevor convinces them to take the job. Nothing is what it seems in every aspect of the novel except the sacred bond between the two detectives.
I thoroughly enjoyed this well-crafted thriller, the crisp dialog, the precise detail, and of course the protagonists who find what matters in stark contrast to the false promises and appearances of the powerful and corrupted.

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Everybody Sees the Ants by A.S. King

Everybody Sees the AntsEverybody Sees the Ants by A.S. King
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I enjoyed reading this young adult novel that speaks about bullying and family conflicts. The narrator is a likable young man who spends a lot of his time searching for his Granpa Harry who went to fight in Vietnam but never returned. This event and the fear of a bully named Nader motivate Lucky Linderman to seek a way out. He is also hounded for his involvement in a survey asking how people would like to die, which results in him being identified as emotionally disturbed and possibly suicidal.
You will like the character, as well as the small supporting cast in this book.

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NextGen Teacher Training Almost Over

I can’t believe the BAVC NextGen Music Production class is almost over. It seemed like just yesterday that I was spending my mornings at the Architectural Foundation in the Financial District learning about IT issues and design.
Now it’s been three days into the teacher training and I can put together a beat. But I have reached the frustration level of trying to put together a melody to accompany the beat. I can play the scales, but I have difficulty stringing together a melody. And now we are supposed to create the verse of a song. I really need to get some help before tomorrow, our last day!

Googoo for google apps

Yesterday we had the rare opportunity to visit the Google campus in Mountain View. Besides the plethora of greenery and those cool red yellow and blue cruiser bikes that can be found everywhere, the Google campus seemed very apropos for a environmentally and socially conscious happy world-eater of a company. We couldn’t get into a building without a host.
Thanks to John Aultman and Linda Wells from Digipen Institute and SFUSD respectively, I had a chance to learn how to use the Google AppInventor and engage in a discussion about how it might be used in our classes. This was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, close to a Google Teacher Institute or a visit to the Apple campus.
Google AppInventor only works with Droid phones, so as cool as it is, iPhone users can only create apps that can be tested with an Emulator tool on your computer. After this session, I realized the reasons why google called for an open app development system while Apple continues to keep things controlled. From a computer science and education standpoint, creating apps for droid devices is much more open to educators and students.
We discussed many other issues such as the impact on computer science pathways, opportunities for student entrepreneurship and what teachers would need before they start using the app inventor in their classrooms.
There were people from Youth Radio in Oakland and Youth Lab in Washington DC. They were doing inspiring work with young people, getting them plugged in to creating programs that have meaning to them and come out of their own ideas. In a lot of cases, these experiences lead individuals to pursue a career in computer science when they might not have considered it through their regular school experiences.
Google is doing a series of these with different groups of educators, administrators and teaching-related organizations, but it feels like it’s only the beginning. I think one colleague from a high school in Oakland put it best when he made a comment at the end of the session: “So when is the next meeting?”