#1D – Phenomena’s

What’s all the fuss about?

  • Fragrance
  • Movie
  • Book
  • Dolls/figurines
  • Mugs
  • T-shirts
  • Sunglasses
  • Onesies
  • Caps
  • Lanyards
  • USBs
  • etc, etc, etc….

The list of One Direction merchandise and products goes on and on! They are a true phenomenon.

One Direction - Up all night by Hinde Ben (Flickr image, CC BY 2.0)

One Direction – Up all night by Hinde Ben (Flickr image, CC BY 2.0)

I have never been one to become enthralled with one single entity and make it a huge part of who I am. I’ve always preferred a variety of things. However I am very aware that there are people out there in the big wide world who love having those connections. One Direction is a huge part of many peoples’ lives.

A Google search for ‘One Direction’ returns 927 000 000 results.

One Direction was discovered in 2010 on the British version of The X Factor. Originally they auditioned as solo artists and did not know each other before the competition. Finishing the competition in third place, they have now reached international stardom and are household names.



Their faces are everywhere, and on everything imaginable. Countless girls, pre-teenagers and teenagers, are head over heels in love with the boys, and I guess it is easy to see why. Die-hard fans can follow the boys, and chat with other fans 24/7 on dedicated fanclub sites, blog sites and twitter.

‘Directioners’ are what these hard core fans have been labelled. Urban dictionary provides a very succinct and comical definition as to what a ‘Directioner’ actually is. This band has therefore been the catalyst for a new word!!

Madame Tussauds had One Direction recreated in wax. Crazed fans can have their photograph snapped up close and personal with their favourite boys.

Madam Tussauds

Students in my Year 7 class have 1D book covers and book labels. There were also three girls from the grade who were absent on Friday as they were flying down to Brisbane with their mums to go and see the boys live in concert. They were so very excited! No doubt they will be talking about that experience for a long time!


Photograph of Book Label

At least their poor Dads weren’t the ones who were chaperoning them to the concert. Unlike the men featured in these photographs.

Bored Dads http://www.news.com.au/entertainment/music/photographer-snaps-bored-and-bewildered-dads-at-a-one-direction-concert/story-e6frfn09-1226697117537

These boys have without a doubt cracked the big time. They seem to have the winning formula for success. Their global popularity and universal presence says it all. I wonder how long their reign will last…will they disappear as quickly as they begun?


Library Appeal

Why would kids these days want to go to the library?

This post it going to focus on a school library and the spaces and facilities it has on offer for students.

School Library Photograph

School Library Photograph

The site on which this library exists is a co-educational Catholic Primary School located in a regional city in Far North Queensland. The current enrolment is 610 students from Prep to Year 7, with 70 staff members, both part-time and full-time and including school officers. This site has one library which is coordinated and maintained by two part-time school officers, there currently is no Teacher Librarian (TL). The school officers go by the job title of Library Aides and work alternate days.

Excellent TLs foster an environment where learners are encouraged and empowered to read, view, listen and respond for understanding and enjoyment (ALIA/ASLA, 2004).

Purposefully designed reading spaces with comfortable furniture and inviting surroundings can positively impact how and to what extent students read in libraries (La Marca, 2010, p. 22).

These two excerpts of literature really hone the importance of physical spaces within libraries.

At this school the library aides are well aware of the impact that the physical space and environment has on students and their level of interaction with the library. These staff members were fortunate enough to be involved with the design of the library as it is a new building. They were able to make executive decisions regarding the layout and design of the libraries physical spaces. The space is open and bright and features several areas for individual reading and shared reading. The furniture in this library is flexible and can easily be moved to suit the required learning setting. The different areas effectively cater for the various uses of the library and its learning spaces.


Doughnut Cushions


Reading Spot


Storyteller’s Chair


Bright, open spaces

This library also has ‘break out’ rooms in which small groups of students or even teachers can utilise when working collaboratively. They are sound proof which means the noise that these work spaces might generate will not interfere with the peace and quiet of the main library.

There is an ICT area at the back of the library. Here there are large work desks, a bank of laptops, and a large LCD TV screen. This is a wonderful teaching area which classes can access outside of their scheduled library time.

This open plan library is a truly inviting place. It has a modern atmosphere and is well resourced. There are many areas which students can relax and enjoy at their leisure. It is a very popular choice for lunchtime as the air-conditioning provides an escape from the heat outside!!

I think that bright, vibrant colours and interesting furniture items make for wonderful, engaging spaces that simply entice learning. The following YouTube clip features some fantastic furniture options, layout options and colour schemes. I wish my classroom had some of these awesome things! J It even includes some terrific outdoor spaces which can be used by classes, such a good way to engage students.

If only money wasn’t a boundary….


Australian Library and Information Association (ALIA)., & Australian School Library Association (ASLA). (2004). Standards of professional excellence for teacher librarians. Retrieved from http://www.asla.org.au/policy/standards.htm

La Marca, S. (2010). Designing the learning environment: learning in a changing world. Camberwell: ACER Press.

Photographs: All photos were personally taken by me.

What is Popular with Young People?

I ❤ Pinterest!!!

This week’s post required us to create either a Pinterest board or a Tumblr profile showcasing things that are popular with young people.

I decided that young people for me referred to people between the ages of 12-25 🙂

Yes!! This week’s activity got me excited. I love Pinterest and think it is amazingly addictive. I currently have 9 Pinterest boards on my account to which I am regularly pinning everything from beauty tips to classroom ideas. It just makes finding these fabulous ideas again easy. No more cluttered bookmark toolbars, or favourites that you can no longer recollect. Pinterest is so simple, yet so effective – fantastic for the visual learners out there.


Pinterest Board screenshot

Pinterest Board

My board, titled Popular Culture, currently has a total of 31 pins. I decided on the items I would pin to the board through observations, the interview I conducted for a previous post, and simply by what is popular with myself and my friends. The board contains fashion trends, accessories, Television shows and movies, as well as some examples of popular humour.

This Pinterest board would definitely require regular updates in order to keep up with the popular trends but gives a good sample of things that are popular with young people right now at this very moment!

I hope you enjoy it 🙂

Interview a Young Person

Wow this certainly was an interesting activity!

I chose to interview the students in my Year 7 class. I split the class into a girls group and a boys group, we went through the questions which I wanted them to answer, then each group had a scribe and they essentially went for it!

Here are the questions I asked and the results (students’ answers)…

Survey Results

Immediately the contrast between the ways the two groups worked together was evident. The girls established themselves in a circular group so everyone could be seen and included, they took turns to talk, listened to each other, and also came up with a democratic voting system when they thought there were too many answers to a particular question. The boys group was bedlam – they did nominate a scribe, but did not do fantastically when it came to listening to each other or taking turns, it seemed to be more of a who could say their opinion the loudest situation! This however seems means for a discussion down a completely separate track.

With a bit of intervention they got through the task and both the boys and girls were passionate and motivated to answer these questions.

There were some similarities between the two genders and what they deemed as popular: facebook, kik, common abbreviations and the types of technology they have. These were really non gender specific items. When it came down to the books, the magazines, the television shows and the music artists there were notable differences between the two groups.

A lot of the things the students considered popular I was familiar with. However there were some items on their lists, mainly the YouTube channels and the websites, which I had not heard of.

I was also introduced to the term ‘vine’ through this activity – a concept I had never heard of until now.  With the help of Urban Dictionary I now know what this is!  Urban Dictionary: Vine.

Another thing notably popular with youth of today is #hashtags. These have become popular through the use of social media such as Instagram and Twitter but are even transposing into spoken language and handwritten text. Below is a photograph I took of a page sticky taped to the top of a student’s desk.

Photo - Hashtags

Photo – Hashtags

The next photo is taken of another student’s desk top where they have taped an ‘emotion’ page. It requests students to write their name and the emotion they are feeling. This has strong links to the emotions and emoticons used in forms of social media and text messaging.

Photograph - Emotions

Photograph – Emotions

I really enjoyed this activity – it allowed me to get more in touch with my students and learn some new things about popular culture. Although I’m sure coming back after the school holidays there will be new things that the kids are into…forever playing catch up!

Blog#3 TV Nostalgia

I am actually looking forward to writing these blog posts now, the biggest problem is finding the time at this hectic ‘end of term’ period.

Another ‘free choice’ blog… the term ‘free choice’ reminds me of my schooling in Year 1 around show and tell time. We were always allocated a couple of ‘free choice’ show and tell items and these were always the ones that instigated the most excitement! So I thought with this blog post I would continue down that reminiscent track and talk about the TV shows I watched as a kid and why I loved them 🙂

My only sibling is five years older than me, so our television viewing tastes from our younger years were always quite different. Due to this my fondest memories of watching TV was with my Dad. We had our favourite shows that we would watch together, and sometimes even now we’ll have a chat and remember all those golden oldies we enjoyed when I was just knee high to a grasshopper.

I’ve decided the easiest way to share my favourite kiddie shows is to group them in four groups; artistic shows, Claymation, real humans, and traditional animation.

Ok, so the first cab off the rank is the artistic shows. My all-time favourites were Mr Squiggle and Art Attack. I would have been viewing these at different stages of my childhood, but when exactly, I can’t remember. Mr Squiggle definitely being in my younger years and Art Attack when I was that little bit older. I was always mesmerised by the way that Mr Squiggle could turn aimless squiggles into masterpieces! Such a simple concept, but yet so engaging, all while doing it upside down as well. The most memorable part of the Art Attack shows for me was when Neil Buchanan would arrange ordinary items to create a Big Art Attack. I loved trying to predict what he was creating!

The second category of TV shows is Claymation. My two favourite shows that employed this style of animation were Gumby and Noddy.   The most I really remember about Gumby is the main character himself. I don’t even remember what the stories were even about, but that little green humanoid character sticks vividly in my memory! However this is a TV show that I would like to rediscover. I have added the blog to my reader and am quite excited to get back into this childhood memory. The part of Noddy that I remember with ease is the theme song! That catchy little song was easy to pick up and hard to forget. My favourite character was most definitely Big Ears and I even had some Noddy story books which were well read! I guess these helped with my connection to the TV show. Enid Blyton was definitely a talented children’s author!

Gumby and Pokey by katerha (Flickr image, CC BY 2.0)

Gumby and Pokey by katerha (Flickr image, CC BY 2.0)

I named the next category of shows ‘real humans’. I wasn’t really sure how to describe these two shows, but thought that they should belong together because they both featured real life humans as a part of them. ALF and Brum are two more programs that I loved and remember fondly. I suppose the big attraction to these shows for me was bringing to life the possibility that extra-terrestrials and cars with minds of their own really existed.  I was drawn in by the bizarre look of Alf and his comical antics. Were there really families out there in the real world hiding Aliens in their kitchen? With Brum I’m a bit baffled that I could actually watch a show with characters that didn’t speak a word. I loved involving myself in the different adventures that Brum would embark on when the museum owner wasn’t looking. How could a little yellow car always manage to save the day?


Alf image

Brum by Martin Pettitt (Flickr image, CC BY 2.0)

Brum by Martin Pettitt (Flickr image, CC BY 2.0)

The final group of TV shows that I want to mention are traditional animated cartoons: Madeline, Captain Planet and the Planeteers and The Adventures of Tin Tin. I loved the rhyming in Madeline, “We love our bread, we love our butter, but most of all we love each other”. This was a line my high school friends and I used to say to each other because it was something we all knew and remembered. Captain Planet and Tin Tin were the more adventurous shows with the goodies and the baddies. These were two shows that my Dad enjoyed watching with me. The Captain Planet theme song was again one of those ones that have stuck in my head all these years. Linka, Planeteer of Wind, was always my favourite. With the Adventures of Tin Tin, I loved the main characters crazy hair and his sidekick ‘Snowy’. I really enjoyed the dangerous cases and the fact that Tin Tin and Snowy would always save the day!!

4141714882_dbeb1a9de1 (2)

Captain Planet by Mark Anderson (Flickr image, CC BY 2.0)


Tin Tin image (CC 3.0)

Contrary to what the above discussion may suggest, I honestly did not watch much TV as a kid! During the school week TV was never allowed. However my memories of these shows are mostly quite vivid and perhaps that’s because I didn’t watch a lot of television. I hope that reading my blog post this week brought back some memories for you also and perhaps even inspired you to look up or track down some of your own favourite TV shows from when you were young J

Happy television viewing 😉


OK so I am feeling a little more at ease now about this whole blogging experience…

It is now that I begin the first mandatory task of my blog – ‘Share information about a scholarly reading’.

The reading I chose was an essential reading from Learning Pack E: Texts, Literacies & New Media (I jumped a little bit ahead to find something that took my interest).

Bradford, C. (2010). Looking for my corpse: Video games and player positioning. Australian Journal of Language and Literacy 33(1), 54- 64. Bradford reading

In this journal article, from the Australian Journal of Language and Literacy, Clare Bradford is using three different games as case studies to explore Video games as textual forms. She focuses on World of Warcraft, Bully and Pokémon – Mystery Dungeon, these games are aimed at different audiences and played on different gaming platforms.


World of Warcraft image by Michael Briers


Bully Game image by coyote


Pokemon – Mystery Dungeon image by Alex Culafi

This article grabbed my interest because I often hear my students discussing with their friends the video games that they are playing, or the new games that they want. Not being a gamer myself I thought this reading would offer some insight into what actually gets the kids hooked, and more importantly – what keeps them hooked!

Bradford offers a succinct rundown of each of the three games, explaining what they involve, how they work and what the player is required to do. This was great for someone like me who really had no idea what any of the three games were!

Many insightful and eye-opening statements are included in the article. However one that really stood out and spoke to me was this…

Games are worth taking seriously because they activate new forms of textual pleasure and new forms of sociality; and because, like other kinds of texts, their possibilities are never exhausted or their meanings ever absolute.

I never had really considered the social aspects of video games before. I viewed gamers as loners, locked away in dark rooms, for hours on end without any form of human contact only emerging to grab sugar-loaded snacks. Clearly I am wrong! Bradford discusses how these games are tied to and located within reviews, websites, cheat sites, walkthroughs and fansites. My own experiences of hearing students discuss and talk games should have made me aware that they are social texts. These games would create great dialogue as Bradford states that no two experiences of a game are exactly the same because no two players are the same. What a great opportunity for comparisons and contrasts.

I also really appreciated this statement made by the author…

All three games position players to accept values such as that cooperation results in better outcomes than a style of play reliant on indiscriminate violence.

What an engaging and relevant way to approach and teach values education to students of the 21st century!

Thank you Clare Bradford. You have helped to open my eyes to the popular culture phenomenon that is video games. I have a new found understanding of the appeal of these games and there potential for social interaction and their place as significant textual forms. Maybe I could convince my school that a PlayStation in every classroom would be wise teaching and learning investment…or maybe not.

How do I begin this shiny new blog? :/

My first post on my CLN647 Youth, Popular Culture and Texts blog…where do I even begin?

Perhaps I will start with a brief introduction of myself. My name is Monica, I’m 23 (24 in eleven days) and I live in Far North Queensland. I am completing CLN647 as a part of my Masters of Teacher Librarianship course which I started at the beginning of this year. Currently I’m into my second semester of study and very excited that in approximately 6 weeks I will be halfway through the course. Yahoo!! That light at the end of the tunnel is shining just that little bit brighter.

Light at the End of the Tunnel by rabiem22 (Flickr image, CC BY 2.0)

Light at the End of the Tunnel by rabiem22 (Flickr image, CC BY 2.0)

Here’s hoping the light at the end of the tunnel isn’t a train coming…

When I am not devoting time to uni subjects I am a full-time teacher of a Year 7 class. This is my third year of teaching and my third year of teaching the ‘seniors of the school’ (if only they all acted like seniors!). It is an interesting age group of children to interact with as they are at the stage in their lives where they are trying to ‘find themselves’ and their place within the group where they ‘fit’ so to speak. As I have been journeying through CLN647 and understanding more about what Popular Culture is, I can see that with my students it does play a big role in their lives, with who they are and how they fit in with their friends and peers. Those concerned about image and status build their reputation with the help of Popular Culture.

Nike Free shoes, iPads, iPhones, Instagram, facebook, onesies, Adventure Time and novelty erasers all seem to be a pretty big deal with the kids in my class at the moment. The fads can come and go so quickly, and without having kids of my own, at times I can find it pretty difficult to keep up to date with what’s ‘cool’ – making me feel old!!! I have never been the one who has the cool stuff first, I’m always a step or two behind the latest things to have and do…

pop culture images

I had never engaged with The Hunger Games series until this subject. I began reading the first book without any expectation that I would like it or enjoy it…I couldn’t put it down! I watched the movie, and then read the second book and am about to begin the third book of the series. I understand how young people can become so easily hooked and consumed into the world of these fantasy series.

Well that brings me to the end of my first post. No doubt as the weeks go on I will get this blogging thing down pat and will have a series of posts showing my journey and growth with Youth, Popular Culture and Texts.

Until next time…