Saturday, 23 September 2017

Are You A City Slicker?

I am...

But mostly in the literal sense that I live in the city. Not a BIG city, yet it's still an urban area. But I'm not a traditional city slicker because unlike many kids that live in the city, I know a lot about agriculture. Obviously—my grandparents are canola farmers! (You already knew that.)

I guess not everyone is as lucky as me to have farmers in the family.

Yesterday, more than 300 Grade 4-6 city slickers spent the day at the Multicultural Heritage Centre in Stony Plain to learn about the importance of agriculture. Commodity groups, such as the Alberta Canola Producers Commission, from across the province told their stories—and Dawn Ius, the author of the Superman Duffy books, was there to share the newest (and last) graphic novel in the series, "O." That's the one about Canadian inventions, including canola (which celebrates its 50th birthday this year!)

It sounds like a fun event, but I wasn't sure why kids would have to go to something like this to learn about agriculture—doesn't everyone know that milk comes from cows? Not quite, my grandma says. (Which is why the book I Approve was written—we can't make any assumptions about what the public knows and believes.)

Okay, so it's clearly important to talk about where our food comes from. But there are some other great reasons for events such as City Slickers. Like, the simple fact that people are interested. If you've never watched harvesting in the fall, it's pretty amazing. At City Slickers this year, kids got to see live, fuzzy chicks. They rolled canola seeds to make oil. They heard the story of the first canola farmer. That's some seriously INTERESTING stuff, don't you think?

Agriculture education also puts a face on the people behind food production—the farmers who till the land, the producers who milk the cows and feed the pigs, the mechanics who keep the equipment running, and so on and so on. Did you know that there are more than 100 jobs in the agriculture field? You can learn about a bunch of them in the Superman Duffy graphic novel, It Takes A Village.

Actually, if you didn't get a chance to go to City Slickers, but you ARE a city slicker, I'd recommend reading all 16 of the Superman Duffy series—you won't believe what you can learn! (And they're free for Alberta elementary school classrooms...)

Gotta jet! I'm preparing some very special October posts in celebration of my favourite holiday, HALLOWEEN. The first one goes live next Friday. It's going to be spooktacular....mwha ha ha...

~ Chase Superman Duffy

Friday, 15 September 2017

Back To School Goals - The 2017 Edition

If you've followed my blog for a few years (and thanks to those of you who have!), you may have been wondering why it's taken me so long to write up my 2017 Back To School Goals—that's when I talk about all the ways I'm going to make this school year even better than the last. 

Usually, that happens over the summer, when I'm starting to get excited about meeting new teachers or friends, or when Mom takes us shopping for pens, pencils, and cool notebooks. (I have Superman on the front of mine this year—I know, shocking, right?) 

Anyway, I held off making my list this year because I wanted to settle into the new schedule. Get to know my teachers and fellow students, see what I might be up against, what challenges and opportunities I came across. 

A few of my goals are the same—like increasing my math mark. I'm not failing, but it definitely isn't my favourite or easiest subject. So watch for some fun math puzzlers on the blog soon. Maybe we can learn together?

And of course, I vow to read more. I nailed my summer reading challenge (finally!) coming in at a whopping twelve books. I read almost half of them in the last two weeks before school started, though. Talk about cramming it in.  

Last year, I decided to learn French, and not just because some of the Superman Duffy graphic novels were translated into French, either. (P.S. Have you read them? Did you know that if you're in Alberta, your teacher can order them for the school library?) I'm not fluent in the language yet, but I did manage to read the seven books that were translated!

Obviously track and field is important to me, and I practiced my running all summer at my grandparents's canola farm. I'm sure my coach will see an improvement in my sprinting times. This year, I'm going to focus a bit more on distance running, to work on my endurance. 

So, what does that leave? Yup, you guessed it. Writing. I barely wrote anything last year, and I didn't even draft a short story during the break. <Gulp.> I'm going to do NaNoWriMo again this November (that's where you write a book—or in my case, a long short story—in 30 days) but I'm really going to set myself up for success, because over the next couple of weeks, I'm plan to plot my story and sketch out my characters. To make myself accountable, I'm going to talk about my story, and maybe share some of my writing, on the blog. This blog. What do you think? 

Okay, I've talked a lot about my school goals—what are yours? Are there any we could do together? Like share writing, or review books, or test each other in math? Let's brainstorm!

Gotta jet—it's almost time for me to leave for school. Happy Friday, and have a great, and productive, weekend!

~ Chase Superman Duffy

Friday, 8 September 2017

Tackling The Dreaded Assignment

We got the dreaded assignment yesterday.

You know the one I'm talking about. The "What I Did This Summer" essay. Even when my summer is jam packed with fun stuff, I still have a hard time writing it all down—like I'm going to forget something, or that maybe, I think my summer won't measure up to what some of my friends did. My friend Lightning, for example, went to Mexico with his grandparents. 

It's tough not to try and compare adventures.

But this morning at breakfast, my mom started reminding me of some of the fun things we did as a family over the break—like the July 1 fireworks celebrating Canada's 150th birthday, a weekend at the Calgary Stampede, a stroll through Edmonton's festivals (I even went to a Fringe play), and hanging out at my grandparents' farm. We watched the solar eclipse as a family (through special goggles, obviously)—hasn't the moon been amazing the past few days?

And I ran. Not as much as usual because of the smoky air and the intense heat. But I'm feeling ready for track. Plus, I got through my five book reading goal, and even surpassed it. I read EIGHT books this year. I could totally write about those. 

Huh, come to think of it, I'm kind of writing my essay right now. WAIT A MINUTE! I have an idea I'm going to pitch to my teacher. Instead of a class set of essays, what if we each wrote a blog post about what we did over the summer, and we set up a class blog? We could all read each other's posts, make comments, put up pictures...

Ha! Suddenly this "dreaded" assignment isn't feeling so dreaded at all! Gotta jet!

See you next week!

~ Chase Superman Duffy