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The RLL Podcast: Ep. 5 – Sixth Grade Student Breaks Down the Comic Book Phenomenon, Easter Eggs and More…

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It’s been our goal to have more youth involved with the show and this episode got us off to a great start. I brought in 12 year old comic book expert Jojo to talk all things superheroes. How do the movies connect to the canon of their comic book sources and how do you define and identify easter eggs on screen? And what better place to talk comics than the home of Kevin Smith’s Comic Book Men on AMC, also known as Jay and Silent Bob’s Secret Stash in Red Bank, NJ. This is also our first video podcast as well, the video version will be up on our Youtube channel youtube.com/nuskoolofficial. Check it out, he’s a cutie and you might notice a resemblance. (Hint, Hint)

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Ep. 5 – Show Notes:

Check out all of the great work mentioned in this episode:

Comic Book Men on AMC

Amazing Spider-Man

Ms. Marvel

Black Panther

The best in the business at finding comic book movie easter eggs:
Mr. Sunday Movies YouTube Channel

Watch the video version of this podcast episode here.

The Deconstruction of Kanye West

This lesson will allow students to demonstrate a basic understanding of the concept of deconstruction and conduct a critical interpretation of Kanye West, his music as well as his artistic vision. Students will listen to select Kanye West songs, interviews and articles and deconstruct their contents. As Hip Hop music continues to grow in various directions, Kanye West continues to be one of the most influential voices of the genre and polarizing figures in pop culture. His music crossed over to various communities. His songs have touched upon many topics and issues including capitalism, racism, materialism and consumerism. This lesson will allow students an opportunity to look at hip hop in a light that involves more than just beats and rhymes.

Deconstructing Reggaeton Music: Degrading Women or Freedom of Speech?

In this lesson, students will analyze a Reggaeton song by popular Puerto Rican recording artist Don Omar and decide whether it is worth banning. The country of Cuba has recently outlawed the music genre known as Reggaeton, which is a fusion of Reggae, Latin, and Hip Hop. Originating in Panama over 20+ years ago and spreading all over Latin America and the U.S., this music is being banned for its aggressive, sexual and obscene lyrics.

Scoring Your Life

In this lesson, students will create musical scores to represent aspects of their lives using the techniques and ideas of famed composer Hans Zimmer.

Hans Zimmer has composed scores for films such as Gladiator, Inception, The Dark Knight and The Dark Knight Rises. To create these scores, Zimmer used various pieces of the films’ tropes and storylines to decide what type of music to use and when to use it.

How to Write an Op-Ed Using Pop Culture Topics

In this lesson, students will learn how to write a successful op-ed by focusing on a controversial topic in popular culture. They will research the topic thoroughly, choose a side to argue, and convey their positions in a 2-3 page op-ed.

Are There Limits to Acceptable Hip-Hop Lyrics?

In this lesson, students will analyze the lyrics of hip-hop artists Future, Lil Wayne and Rocko, whose music has created controversy with its references to violence against women. They will then debate the limits of acceptable lyrics against the freedom of artistic expression, and they will conduct a research project that identifies and critically analyzes other song lyrics that push the boundaries of what is socially and culturally acceptable.

Technical Foul! Should video games penalize you for cursing in the privacy of your own home?

Have your students share in a discussion and respond to what players of the new XBox One and the PS4 quickly discovered, that if you dont watch your language, these new state of the art gaming consoles will watch it for you.

Both new consoles contain advanced sensory technology that recognize verbal communications and physical actions and incorporates your behavior into the gameplay. The latest discovery that caused quite a stir amongst the gaming community is the feature that penalizes players for using foul language over multiplayer communications and spoken into the headset microphone. Developers of the 2K franchise released a statement, This was a feature we incorporated to NBA 2K13 that we felt brought both realism to the game, and a more civilized online environment for our players…The result was so positive we have continued it in NBA 2K14.

Romeo and Juliet’s Current Status

In this lesson, students use their knowledge of Romeo and Juliet to create Facebook profiles for the play’s characters and compose tweets of quotes from the play in their modern language.

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Why Fairy Tale Reboots are a Necessary Part of Society


Fairy tale reboots are so in right now.  Cinderella’s in the theatres, Once Upon a Time had a strong last season, and Maleficent rocked the box office. Versions of all these stories have already been made. So why are we rebooting them? Is it a cynical cash grab by studios? Well, yes, partially. But it’s also something more.

Fairy tales are a way to communicate shared values. As our values change, so to must our touchstones that convey them.

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Magic Mirror by Greg Guillemin
The old versions of fairy tales just don’t work for people today. We don’t seem to find them entertaining, funny, inspiring, or relevant. Our culture has changed, and so our stories are changing as well.

This is not the first time that we have changed fairy tales. Disney itself became rich rebooting the dark German peasant tales of the Brothers Grimm into something light and fun for consumerist America, then rehashed them again with a spate of direct-to-video sequels in the 1990s. Now, Disney, and others, are again changing fairy tale characters to make them more relevant to society today. The changes to fairy tales show us many changes in how mainstream society views both the media and the world.

Why Do Fairy Tales Matter?

Fairy tales, or similar folklore, appear in most world cultures. Often, when they were written, they were not believed to be fiction. For example, the Brothers Grimm published “Hansel and Gretel in 1812, 66 years before the last real-life witchcraft trial in the United States was held in 1878. These fairy tales had real relevance to people who believed in witches, fairies, and other evil creatures. Now, few people believe, but fairy tales are still relevant. In fact, with the rise of fantasy literature, movies and TV shows, it’s clear that we are interested in magic almost as much as those ancestors who believed in it. Partially, this is because we still use fairy tales as what literary critics call “touchstones.” Touchstones are references that most people can understand, like the phrases “wicked stepmother” and “magic beans.” These touchstones carry a lot of meaning in a small package, and can be used for metaphors, morals, political speeches, and more. They are a way to communicate shared values and understandings. As our values change, how do we update our touchstones?