Thursday, August 18, 2016

Season Three

It's the first week back-to-school for kids in Los Angeles Unified School District.  Across LA, moms and kids wake up earlier and rush to get to school before that 8 am bell.  I see proud pictures that my friends post of their kids, in front of their school, proclaiming their grade level.  Liam would be in 5th grade this year.  So, I figured we should slide back into it as well. On Monday, we opened up the ST Math program and picked up where he had left off, 25% through the 5th grade program when we took a break for the summer.

I was pleased to see he was into the puzzles, and after a few minutes, he was back to where he'd been months ago.  We've also been pushing forward with the animation program from JAM - "Animate with the Cartoon Network" ( The course has kids building an animation short from brainstorm to post production.  Coming up with a basic story line and honing characters is a great way to ease back into writing.  And communicating online with the instructor and mods helps him be specific in what he writes.
A synopsis of Liam's idea.  Drawing done in a coffee shop.

A free-form spider diagram of the second version of his Spiffyman Show Idea involving the Russian letter "Yus."
Actually, that last bit is important, since Liam is used to using text in a graphic way - playing with fonts and texts and not so worried about content.  He typed a note in the comments section of one of his assignments and sent it before I had a chance to proof it.  It was just a few, fun-sounding words that had nothing to do with his post.  Unfortunately, I couldn't delete the comment, so I did the lame "autocorrect!" follow-up and talked with Liam about what his words meant.  My husband had a brilliant idea of setting up an IM account between us, so Liam can get used to communicating on screen.  I'm excited to see how this idea pans out, as it could really open up some new possibilities for him.  Keeping it inter-office, so to speak, will let us work out the kinks before he heads off to the wide world of online social interaction.

Yesterday, Liam wanted to go to a coffee shop we've been going to since he was in a stroller.  I brought his sketch book and iPad, so we could complete one of his animation assignments and post it to JAM.  I smiled to see that, just like me, he loves working at a table with a drink, a pad and a pencil.
The story has changed to include characters that are mash-ups of Mario Brothers and his original Spiffyman Show designs.

There will be Mario-esque spikes and "Spiffy-Thwomps!"  Danny Tree has been replaced by "Spiffyguy."

Working on a detailed drawing of "Spiffy Thwomp."

Today was a slow day.  I've been sleeping poorly lately, due to some kind of repetitive stress injury to my shoulder.  I was up and down all night long and really hit the wall around 2pm.  Today was a day that I was very happy to be free of the morning rush, and the need to head back for pickup by 2:30.  Liam had a piano lesson at 1 and learned a five-finger drill along with a review of "Toccata and Fugue in D Minor."

When bedtime rolls around, Liam is allowed to read with a flashlight until he's ready to sleep.  He's been taking a book of Japanese Hiragana and Katakana to bed along with a Magna-doodle to write out the sounds and words.  Listening to him happily reciting in Japanese, I'm grateful to be able to allow him to learn as late as he wants, and wake when he's ready.
Hiragana blocks.

Sometimes it takes a show a couple of seasons to find it's feet.  This year feels like the third season of a show that finally clicked.  We know our roles and it is going to be a very exciting season.  Stay tuned. 

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