Monday, January 31, 2011

USA Show Choir Performing on February 7

USA Show Choir Premier Show Banner
Did you happen to attend Chi Omega's 45th Annual Songfest in the Fall? If so, you were there to witness the first performance from the new USA Show Choir and their success in winning! It's like real-life GLEE!!!

Well, it's time again to watch The USA Show Choir perform, and this time it's a full-length show! So much music that you should be able to find a song or two that you enjoy!

I take pride in The USA Show Choir because, well, I founded and direct it! The USA Show Choir was formed in August 2009 and began rehearsals just last semester! 

Here is the info about the show:

Who: The USA Show Choir
What: Premier Show
When: February 7, 2011 at 7:30 pm
Where: Laidlaw Performing Arts Recital Hall
How Much: $3 Students / $5 General Admission
***Doors Open at 7***

A facebook event can be found here.

If you are interested in following The USA Show Choir on facebook, Click Here!!!

I hope to see you all there, but be sure to show up early in case we happen to sell out (I hope we do!!!)!

Friday, January 28, 2011

WGLB: High School Senior "Comes Out" in Assembly

High school senior Kayla K. comes out to her high school, in an assembly honoring Martin Luther King Jr. Jan 13 and 14, 2011

I'm sharing this video because I believe that as a teacher, it is our right to make sure that our students are supported in their decisions. Living here in the South, I understand that students aren't always supported based on reasons of religion or regional ideals, however, when a student this brave stands in front of her whole school, something must be right!

This young lady has clearly done the research behind her thinking and I commend her! I think we are looking at a future news woman, CEO or even leader of the country! Great job Kayla!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Help Support The National Endowment for The Arts

Arts Action Alert Picture

It only takes a few minutes but it can help change our country forever!

The National Endowment for The Arts helps promote creativity and public access to the arts! They are currently asking Congress to help support a budget of $180 million that would go towards their overall cause! To learn more about the NEA and everything they do, visit their website here!

The NEA is urging everyone to write their elected officials and ask for their support on this monumental bill! They have made it as easy as ever for us to do this by creating a form you can fill out on their website and send away to your Senators and House Representatives!

It only takes two or three minutes, but a bill like this would mean a lot to everyone the NEA impacts! I urge you to take a few minutes away from facebook or television and click here to send your message today!

President Obama Moves Focus to Technology and Science

Last night's State of The Union Address showed a new side of President Obama that I haven't seen yet. If you didn't get a change to watch the speech, you can check it out on CNN Student News.

One thing that caught my attention was this quote by President Obama:

"It’s not just the winner of the Super Bowl who deserves to be celebrated, but the winner of the science fair..."

Another thing I found interesting that I never knew before is that The White House is now using hash tags through twitter. The specific hash tag for The State of The Union is #sotu! Check it out!

Thanks to Wesley Fryer's blog Speed of Creativity for the links and for his wonderful blog!

Monday, January 24, 2011

I Posterous... Do You?

Posterous is a great way to easily add posts to all of your social media websites! Check it out at

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Blog Post #2

Did You Know?
These movies always seem to amaze me! I have seen a few of them before, but I have never really sat down to think about the information provided. The first thing that I noticed about this movie is that it was posted in 2008. I would love to know what the actual facts were now that we are in 2011. I also laughed at the very last fact of 694,000 songs being downloaded illegally during the course of the presentation. As a musician, I am strongly against this even though I have done it. I just found it very interesting!

As an educator watching this video, I had to think for a second about how this information would effect my students. Each student watching this will have more information presented to them in a few years than my parents were ever given! I find it amazing that we can be the main conducive elements of knowledge for these students. It is our responsibility to make sure that every one of our students absorbs as much knowledge as their brains can take in!

Mr. Winkle Wakes
I really enjoyed this video, mostly because of the story that it drew its main character from: Rip Van Winkle! More than anything though, I enjoyed the sarcastic tone that was used throughout the video. The video made a great point about technology: After 100 years of change in technology in our society, why are we still educating our children the same way that they have been educated for years now?

If students are expected to graduate from high school and college being technologically literate, why are not teaching with this technology? We cannot expect our students to go out into today's workforce and be competitive if we are not teaching them the knowledge that it takes to do so! Sounds to me like the education system needs to step up their standards in order to make our students not only competitive with their fellow Americans but also with the students from other countries!

The Importance of Creativity
Sir Ken Robinson brings to mind perfect points! Being a student who is extremely interested in music and the arts, I do believe that all children have some sort of creativity and we just have to find it in them and figure out how to keep the creativity flowing! Sometimes, I believe the creativity is just waiting to be released.

Last Summer, I had a teacher made the best point and argument for a case like this that I have ever heard! She said that instead of punishing a child for drawing on a desk, we should give them paper in which their creation can come to life! We, as educators, cannot just sit at our desks in front of the class and decide to get upset with our students because they are doodling! Instead, we should embrace the creativity and help them learn from it!

Cecelia Gault's Interview
Let me start off by saying that Cecelia is one bright child and could have a career in reporting very easily! When it comes to children that are this inquisitive, I believe that we, as educators, should do everything within our powers to each them that it is natural to asks questions. We need to let our children know that knowledge comes from a healthy sense of questioning!

Whenever we have a child who comes to our class like Cecelia, we need to make sure to help her gain all of the answers that she seeks. I believe that children like Cecelia are a rare gem and are what dreams are made of when it comes to the type of children I want to teach! I wish that all children were so easily excited by the prospects of education. However, I will do my best to make sure that every child, Cecelia-like or not, will be pushed to learn as much as possible!

Harness Your Students' Digital Smarts
I think that it is extremely cool that a teacher in a rural Southern state is using technology in the classroom. It seems to me that she is looking at her students and figuring out how to modify her lessons in order to suit them instead of expecting her students to modify to her. In return, she is not only teaching the students, but they are teaching her as well! This exchange of knowledge is amazing!

I think the ideas behind "Digi Teen" is great! With so many social networking outlets today, it is easy to spend hours upon hours on websites such as facebookmyspace and twitter and accomplish absolutely nothing! With Digi Teen, it is not only a social networking tool, but also a learning tool that expands the classroom to the entire world! I give Mrs. Davis two thumbs WAY up!

Project #2

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Blog Assignment 1

When asked to talk about myself, it is always hard for me to get started... but I guess the beginning will have to work! My name is Brandon M. Caten, and yes, the M is always included! The M stands for Marcus and I hated that name up until a few years ago. My middle name comes from my Father's brother who is named Mark and just so happens to be my Godfather. With that being said, it might be easy to assume I am Catholic. If you did assume this, you would be right! I'm getting ahead of myself though! Let me start from the beginning:

I was born Brandon Marcus Caten on February 28, 1987 at Springhill Memorial Hospital in Mobile, Alabama to Anthony Glen and Denise Marie Caten. For the first 12 years of my life, I lived in Saraland, Alabama and attended North Mobile Christian Schooluntil I completed the 6th grade. As 7th grade began, I found myself in a new town and a new high school. Over that summer, I moved to Chatom, Al and enrolled in Washington County High School. This was a huge change for me but brought out a different side of me that I am now largely in touch with today.

Now one thing I failed to mention above is that the move to Chatom would only be with one parent. When I was 6 years old, I went to Chatom to visit my grandparents a few days before Christmas. My Dad drove me up to Chatom on December 20, 1993 and a day later we drove back - this would be a day that I would remember forever. Not only because it was a few days before Christmas, but also because it was the day that I found out that my Mother had been in a horrible car accident. She was riding home with a family friend after a long day of shopping and a drunk driver side-swiped their car as they turned in to our road. Later that night my Dad had to make the decision to take her of life support. From that day on, it was just my Dad and me taking life one day at a time.

As I made my way through middle and high school, I began to be involved in the arts. I put sports behind me (with the exception of tennis) and focused on dance, music and theatre. I spent so much time becoming enveloped with the arts that before I began my Junior year of high school, I had already applied to The University of Alabama and was accepted as a Music Therapy major. My next two years of high school would focus solely on music in order to be ready for college.

Marching band was always a huge part of my life as well, and from the day I made my decision to attend UA, I also made the decision to march in The Million Dollar Band. Needless to say, multiple hours were spend on the practice field instead of in the library or my room studying.

After three years at The University of Alabama, I made the best decision of my life. I decided to finally start focusing on school and transfered to The University of South Alabama. This decision was a blessing in disguise. I moved to Mobile in August of 2008 and began my life as a double major in Vocal Performance and Music Education. Soon after my first semester was finished, I received a call that would change my life as I knew it forever.

Around 7 pm on December 31, my aunt called me and told me that I should get ready and make my way over to Providence Hospital as soon as possible. Little did we all know that before the night was over, my Dad would have been diagnosed with a brain tumor. Two days later, after the doctors performed a craniotomy, the diagnosis worsened: Grade 4 Glioblastoma Multiform. To the layman, this just sounds like a big word that doctors use. To my medical family, we all knew that this would be the beginning of the end. After a long fight with the cancer and multiple rounds of chemotherapy and radiation treatment, my Dad passed away on May 7, 2009. His passing was during finals week, and from that point on I made the decision that everything I did in school would be for him.

Since then, I have become extremely involved at USA. I have starred as the lead character of The Cat in The Hat in TheatreUSA's production of Seussical the Musical, spend every semester on stage with Mobile Opera, University Chorale and The University Choir, managed to become a member of The Miss University of South Alabama Pageant Board of Directors (where I've trained one crown-holder and hope to make it two on Saturday), and even started the award-winning USA Show Choir. I believe that I have spent my first few years at South staying busy and participating in the things I love and hope to spend my remaining years here just as busy and involved.

After graduation, I plan to continue my education by pursuing a Masters in Chorale Conducting and eventually a Doctorate in Choral Conducting and Arts Administration. Teaching is everything to me and I cannot wait to infuse my love of the arts into the young minds that I will teach!