Genius Hour Project #2 Reflection

I finally finished my second Genius Hour Project on Arranging Music. For those who don’t know what Genius Hour is, check out my Genius Hour Project #1 Reflection. Like I stated in that post, I wanted to do arranging music as a topic and I finally got to. I chose this topic because as an avid piano player, I like to listen to different arrangments to find the perfect one, which can sometimes take me a while. I figured that if I could write my own arrangements, then I could create something perfect for me. Also, my father is the music teacher at my school, so I could also ask him for help or advice from time to time.

I started my quest on Twitter where I asked many Twitter experts for their tips and tricks on how to arrange a decent piece. I got lots of help and many good ideas from them that I will talk about later. I then realized that writing out music by hand would kill me, as there are so many notes to write that it would take me forever to even write a couple of bars of music. Plus, with technology and the internet out there, why should I have to. I created an account in Noteflight, an online music notation software, and though this made writing music easier, it also added another element to my list of things I needed to do: learn how to use it. It didn’t take long to learn the basics, but I had to learn more advanced concepts as I went along. After figuring it out, I was able to create something that I was pretty happy with.

I did an arrangement of my Top 10 favorite instrumental movie soundtracks, and I arranged it for a Stage Band, as it is the band that I know best. I play in my school’s stage band as the piano player, and both of these facts I considered when writing the piece. One of the pieces of advice that I got from an expert called @reed_man, was that I should arrange for the instrument I play first, and then expand upon that and add in other instruments from a band that I know best. This was really helpful and also one of the most important things I learned that helped me complete this piece.

I learned a lot from this project, and one of the most important things being that arranging music takes a lot of time! I had to work on this project in and out of class for a lot of time, but thankfully, it was something that I wanted to do, so it wasn’t too bad. That was something else that the experts told me: choose something you’re willing to do in your free time. You have to be committed or else you won’t get anything done. And I was, which helped me grow more responsible and determined. This project not only taught me something new but it also changed me in a way I did not expect. This will then help me with other commitments, so even if this project didn’t have a huge impact on the world around me, it was beneficial to me and I am happy I did this project.

For my next Genius Hour, I want to learn sign language or some other form of communication with the deaf. This will impact the world around me because I can then help people that cannot hear, and hearing loss is becoming more and more common, so with the increase of people going deaf, I can do something to help. It will also help me in certain ways like fixing my spelling. Many words or phrases in sign language are spelled out, so this will not only help the deaf and others but for me as well. I am so thankful that we have the opportunity to have Genius Hour in class and I can’t wait to start my next project!


Works Cited

Berkovitz, Joe. “Noteflight Logo.” Noteflight,

Grosz, Arthur Valentin. “Music Composing.” Arthur Valentin Grosz Composer & Arranger,
ICANsign. “ASL Alphabet Chart – Printer Friendly.” Baby Sign Language BABY SIGNS AND BABY
           SIGN LANUAGE RESOURCES, WordPress,
Logos Download. “Twitter.” Logos Download,
Tan, Caleb. “Top 10 Best Movie Soundtracks.” Google Slides, 14 Mar. 2018,

Twitter Expert Connect Reflection

Before I even start to explain what I did for my Twitter Expert Connect assignment, I’m going to answer the first big question that you may be thinking. What the heck is “Twitter Expert Connect”? Twitter Image result for twitter logoExpert Connect (or TEC, which is what I’m going to call it from now on) is a way for us to use social media (in this case Twitter) to connect with experts around the world and gather information about a topic we are researching. In this case, my classmates and I were gathering information about our new Genius Hour topics. If you don’t know what Genius Hour is, check out my previous Genius Hour blog post. And now that you know what TEC is, I can tell you about how I did mine.

The first thing I needed to do was actually find experts on Twitter to follow, and considering that Twitter has over a million users, that could have been difficult. Luckily, my tech teacher provided us with a list of teachers and their Twitter names so that we could narrow down our search. I ended up following @jguarr, @gphilli, @byperc, @musiced20, @reed_man, @Horizons93, @bliporto, @dougbutchy, @BandBob47, and @dalewitte. And I followed these ten because they all have one thing in common that I needed. They are all composers or music educators. I needed this because my Genius Hour topic is about music composition, so their knowledge would be very useful to me. But that is, of course, if they are willing to share with you.

A very important part of this project is not being creepy. This is important because social media is not like real life. if they think you’re creepy, they can just block you at the click of a button. So, you have to gradually build up your relationship just enough so that they know you’re legit and not a sketchy stalker. You do this by first following them. This is a good start. They’re not going to think you’re creepy by following them. Then start liking their tweets. This lets them now that you genuinely interested in their work. Then add them to a list and/or @ mention them in a retweet. This lets them know that you’re there and real. Also, being added to a list is or should be flattering, so that might make them like you, or at least not hate you!

Once you think that you have passed the “creepy” barrier, you can then ask them a question. Make sure your questions are carefully formulated, however. You want to ask a question that is personalized to them so that they don’t think you just copy and pasted it. To personalize it, take a look at some of their previous tweets and see what they were tweeting about, or look at their bio and that may give you some hints about their interests. It’s good to make a personal connection, like a similarity between both of you. Also, make sure your question is something that can be answered in the character limit of a tweet. You don’t want the person you are asking to have to answer with multiple tweets. It’s better to have a conversation with multiple questions that just throwing all your questions at them all at once.

I did all of this and I ended up with pretty good results. Four people ended up responding and I was able to get a sufficient amount of information. The people that did respond answered everything I asked, and even said they were happy to help if I needed further assistance. They didn’t follow me back, but that wasn’t really important to me. If the whole reason you are doing this is because you want more followers, forget it. 

I learned a lot from this experience; what I wanted to know and how to use Twitter as an educational; resource. I think I may use this tactic of gathering information in the future if I need to talk to an expert about a very specific topic, instead of just Google-ing it and ending up with ten million results in 0.4 seconds. But in the end, I got what I needed to know and hopefully, I will finish my 2nd Genius Hour project knowing something I didn’t before!


Works Cited:

Tan, Caleb. Twitter Photo. 18.30.32.png

Tan, Caleb. Twitter Photo. 18.51.29.png

Tan, Caleb. Twitter Photo. 18.53.57.png


Genius Hour Project #1 Reflection

In tech class here at ISD, on certain days, all the students work on something called Genius Hour. For those who are unfamiliar with this, Genius Hour is time dedicated to you for you to research and learn about any topic of your choice. Google allows time to be given to their employees for this, and many cool and useful things have been created during that time, such as Google Hangouts. I think that the concept of Genius Hour is great because it allows students to express their creativity and pursue what they want to learn, so I am very fortunate to be in a class that allows us to take part in it.

For my first Genius Hour project, I decided I wanted to learn how to create 3-D computer models. To make sure I stayed on task, I turned my topic into the research question, “How do I create 3-D computer models?”. Very basic and general, but it served its purpose and kept me on track. I chose to try and learn this because of my experience with computer programming. I had created games using many different platforms, but I was always importing and rendering pre-made models that were available for me to download. This may seem like it’s not a problem and actually less work, but it is very hard to find the right model when you are looking for very specific details. So, being able to download my own models into a game would deem very handy.

I learned a lot from my project, but I think the most valuable thing I learned was that with my available device (Chromebook), I simply do not have the resources. I used the program SketchUp, which enabled me to create 3-D models, but exporting and downloading them to a game platform was impossible. From what I did have though, I still learned how to create a model, so that was a success. I learned how to make shapes, alter them to different proportions, colour them, and overall, 3-D print them! I created and printed a spidget finner (fidget spinner), which ended up turning out OK. It didn’t spin, so really it was just a spidget, not a spidget finner, but the shape was perfect and that was probably the most difficult part anyway.

This helped me grow as a student by teaching me responsibility. We had trackers to fill out and due dates, all the things that kept me on track. This project probably taught me more about responsibility and self-directed learning that it did about computer modeling. That is something that benefited me, but unfortunately, I didn’t really have any positive impact on the world. As a matter of fact, I don’t think this had any sort of impact at all. This was really just for my own sake, but next Genius Hour I want to do something that has more of an effect on the world.

For my next Genius Hour project, I want to learn what components and techniques are needed to create a good concert band score. This will mostly impact me, but also have a small effect on the community of Noteflight. Noteflight is a free songwriting software that allows you to share your scores and look at other people’s creations. This project will affect this community because then people can use my music to learn and have fun. Fun is really what I want to offer this world. Things are so stressed and busy nowadays, so a little fun might be good to loosen things up. I mean, who doesn’t like to enjoy themselves every once in a while?


Works Cited:

“10 Awesome Sketchup Plugins That Will Up Your Modeling Game (Explained With GIFs).”ArchDaily, 25 Nov. 2016,

“File:Google ‘G’ Logo.svg.” File:Google “G” Logo.svg – Wikimedia Commons,

“3D Modeling for Everyone.” SketchUp,

Sheet Music Texture Picture | Free Photograph | Photos Public Domain,

The Beach Ball Riddle

Difficulty: 1/5

One day, you and your friends decide to go to the beach. While you’re in the water, you guys decide you want to play keep up. But there is a problem. None of you brought a beach ball and the only beach balls that are near you are on the shore in a cage being rented for a price you don’t want to pay. You analyze the cage to see if you can get a ball. The bars that make up the cage aren’t far enough apart for you to slip the ball through, and the top of the cage is locked with a heavy-duty lock, and you don’t know where the key is.

How are you supposed to get a ball without paying the rent?

Comment below if you solve it!



The answer is really a lot easier than it seems. Reach into the cage, find a beach ball and pull the stopper to release the air, pull it through the bars, and then blow it back up again. Now you and your friends can have some free fun!

Crazy Commenting

For me, commenting has been a huge part of this challenge and is a great way to connect with people. There are many things I have enjoyed about commenting but of course, if there positives, there are some negatives, and there are some things that are kind of irritating in terms of commenting. Overall though, I feel that commenting throughout this challenge has been very interesting.

There are great things about commenting. It is a good way to let people know what you think, to give people feedback, or to receive feedback. In short, commenting is a way of connecting. That is what I have enjoyed about commenting during this challenge. Connecting. Receiving feedback is a great way for me to know what people like or what I can improve. Sometimes people even write stories about their own experiences. It is amazing to hear what everyone has to say. The same goes for when I am commenting on someone else’s post. I love giving people feedback and telling them stories of my own. It is true that if I wanted I could write my stories in a post, but then it may not be relevant. Commenting directs what you want to say to one person, and it is almost like you are talking face to face.

Something I am not so keen on when it comes to commenting is replying to the comments when there are 10,000,000 of them! I love to hear stories, but sometimes when there are so many stories I just can’t read them all! I try to, but there are times where I can’t. I guess that is what I don’t like about commenting. That I sometimes don’t have the time to read all these amazing stories.

When I want to find an interesting post to read and comment on, I usually go to a friend and ask them to direct me to any good posts they have read. Usually, people have suggestions and that is what guides me to different posts. But, if no one has any ideas, I play “roulette”. I have only played it twice but roulette is a game I made to find a blog to comment on. All I do is go to the list of names of people in the challenge, scroll up and down for a few seconds, and then click. I get directed to a random blog and then I have something to read. How convenient!

In case you don’t know, I was one of the blogs on the comment list in the Week 7 post. Now that you know that, you can probably conclude that I got, I don’t know, 39,485,284,372 comments. But most were really good quality and followed the rules my “Commenting on My Blog” page, so I wanted to read them all. The majority had stories about other people’s experiences or told me something that I could fix, so they were really helpful! In short, I got tons of good quality comments on my posts, and I would like to thank the community for that. I guess without you guys, commenting would not be a thing!

Overall, I love comments and commenting. It is such a great way to talk and connect with others, and a great way to hear what others have to say to you. I can’t to see what other people are saying and what other stories people still have to tell!

School: Reality vs Wish

I’m sure every school has at least one thing that we wish was different, or maybe it doesn’t have one thing that we want. Either way, nothing’s perfect, but I wonder what my version of a perfect school would be? But first, before I start comparing my perfect school to my real school, I guess I need to tell you about real school first.

I go to the International School of Dakar (ISD), which is in Senegal for those who don’t know. It’s a great school as well. It’s probably as close to perfect as it gets when we’re talking about school, but there are somethings I wish would change. We have four classes a day, each one eighty minutes. I have Social Studies, Math, Music, and Technology on one day, and Science, French, Language Arts (LA), and Physical Education (PE) on another. We alternate between those classes every day, so we never have the same class two days in a row. We’re also on this weird eight-day rotation schedule. It controls the order of our classes that day. We have the same classes every-other-day, but not in the same order. We have what is called “extended block” at the end of our second class on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday. Extended block is just an extra half-hour for us to work on school stuff of our choice. On Monday, instead of extended block, we have community meeting, and on Thursday we have advisory. We have a twenty-minute lunch break after extended block/community meeting/advisory. We also have ten-minute breaks between classes to get from one end of campus to the other. For lunch, you can bring your lunch, or there is a great place on campus called “Shady Shack” where you can order food.

I think that is all I can say about my school for now. But now I want to change some things and make it the perfect school!

First off, we need a longer lunch. Twenty minutes is not nearly enough and not healthy because we don’t have time to eat slowly! We have to scarf down our food. I’d rather they cut extended block short and gave us longer lunch. On days where there is advisory or community meeting, make the breaks between classes shorter, start advisory or community meeting sooner, end it sooner, longer lunch! Also, I am a hard-core ping-ponger, so it’d be great if they put in a ping-pong table. These are really my main wishes for this school, but here are a few unrealistic or unnecessary wishes to make school a dream.

  1. No homework, cause like, who wants to do homework?
  2. Start school at 9:30. I need to sleep.
  3. Serve french fries on days other than Friday. Shady Shack only serves fries on Friday, but who doesn’t like fries?
  4. Have a baobab tree on campus. Put like a latter or something on it. Let people climb on it. Maybe put a treehouse?
  5. Put a Tarzan swing by the pool. It’s so much fun flying into a pool!

And that’s it! My dream school. Oh, and one more thing. When there are P.D days, the day becomes a half day. I think we should just not come to school. It is so inconvenient for parents to pick us up in the middle of the day when they have work!

Flashback to Egypt – SBC4

As some of you may know, I spent my grade 7 year traveling around the world, and now that I’m a little bit older, I kind of want to know how I would interpret some of my most memorable experiences. I wonder if I compared my past thoughts to my present thoughts if they’d be any different. I’d like to tell you now about one of my funniest experiences (or what I now think is funny, I may have thought differently at the time). It is also one of my worst experiences, but now that I look back, it is hilarious. It is a story about my experiences in a hostel in Egypt. If you’d like to see how I wrote about this when it happened, check out my travel blog. The link is in my “About Me” page. This is how I think about it now.

We had just returned from Luxor, Egypt and now we’re staying at a hostel in Cairo. Right off the bat, I have to say that this place should not have been here. It should have been condemned by the government. To get to your room, you have to walk down this sketch hallway to a closet. Once you reached the closet, you had two options. You could take the stairs, that had a dip in every step and wires hanging over your head, or you get inside the closet. Why get into a closet? It was an elevator. No walls around it or anything! No safety precautions what-so-ever. Only a thin wire that pulls the closet up. You’re practically dangling there as you go up cause there is no support! Anyway, enough about the entrance. The really fun part is when we got to our room.

Our room was on the third floor and had a very musty smell. There were bars on the windows and the only source of light was a tiny lightbulb, dangling from the ceiling by a chain. The beds smelled weird, and I was scared to remove the sheets to see what might be growing under it. The pillows also smelled weird, and we found the reason why was there was mold growing on it! No wonder we slept on towels that night. There was a bathroom (thank goodness!), but it was smaller than the hanging closet we took to get up there! The shower only had cold water, and it was two feet by two feet! The toilette was right beside it, and I’m not even kidding when I say that it was so close, you could go to the bathroom and shower at the same time! Also, you may ask, how do I know the dimensions of the bathroom? Quite simple. I measured it, but you know somethings up when you can easily measure the bathroom with a footlong ruler. 

The worst part was there was a carpet in the middle of the room. It was bad enough that every time you took a step the floorboards would fluctuate and creak, but under the carpet, there were places there were no floorboards at all! You could see through the floor all the way to the first! No wonder I didn’t sleep easy that night. My bed was moldy and I was worried I’d fall asleep on the third floor and wake up on the first! I did survive though. Maybe because the floorboards held up, or maybe because God felt bad for me and decided he didn’t want me in his kingdom yet. I’m not sure, but either way, I’m still alive to tell the tale!

So that’s it. That is my interpretation of what happened that day. I need to compare it to my old post. Maybe I will post another later, but for now, that’s all! I’d also love to hear about your own bad yet funny experiences! If your willing to share, please tell me! I love when other people have stories to tell!

The Garden of Eden Riddle

Difficulty: 1/5

You have just found the entrance to the Garden of Eden, but unfortunately, as the bible says, there is an angel with a flaming sword guarding the entrance. However, the angel has been there for so long that it has been manipulated by the devil. You approach the angel asking permission to pass. the angel replies, “You should not be here, and now I can’t let you go. Choose your fate by making a statement. If I think your statement is true, I will chop off your head! If I think your statement is false, I will cut off your arms! If you try to run, I will cut off your feet! Now, how do you want to die?!” You only have a short amount of time or the angel will become impatient and kill you in a way of his choice.

What are you supposed to do?


  • True statement = chop off head
  • False statement = chop off arms
  • Try to run = chop off feet
  • A question is not a statement.

Comment below if you solve it.



You’re in a little bit of a sticky situation here, but the trick is to confuse the angel. How do you do that? You put him in an endless paradox. Make a statement based off of the information he gave you and put him in an endless loop. Here are the statements that will work:

  • “You will chop off my arms”
  • “You will not chop off my head”

These will put the angel in a loop.

The Grandma Rush Riddle

Difficulty: 3/5

You just woke up from sleep and looked at the time. It’s 8:30 now and you need to be at grandma’s at 8:47. That gives you 17 minutes. You are taking three other family members with you, but there’s a catch. Your sportscar can only hold two people at a time, so you’ll have to take multiple trips, and some of your family members take longer to drive than others. You can drive your car fast and it takes you a minute to get to grandma’s. Your sister just learned to drive but is still pretty good at driving and takes two minutes to get to grandma’s. Your father is getting old and takes five minutes, and your mother is extremely cautious and takes ten whole minutes. Also, even if you can drive to grandma’s in one minute, if you have a passenger, for example, your mom, then it will still take you ten minutes to get to grandma’s because your mom slows you down. Finally, your grandma is a war veteran and hates when people are not punctual, so if you are even a minute late, she will beat you with her cane. 

Is it possible to make it to grandma’s in time or will you get THE CANE!!!


  • It takes you 1 minute to get to grandma’s, your sister takes two minutes, your dad takes five minutes, and your mom takes ten.
  • Your car can only hold two people at a time.
  • You have 17 minutes in total.
  • You will have to take multiple trips. Getting back from grandma’s takes the same amount of time to get to grandma’s. Example: It takes you one minute to get to grandma’s, therefore, it takes you one minute to get back from grandma’s.
  • Even if you can drive fast, it takes you the same amount of time to get to grandma’s as the slowest person in the car. Example: You and your sister would take two minutes because your sister takes two minutes. It doesn’t matter if you can drive faster.
  • There must always be someone driving the car when moving. You can’t launch your car back to your house.

Comment below if you solve it.

Credit to Alex Gendler



For you, it probably seems that no matter how fast you go, the clock ticks faster. It seems as if you’ll always be at least a minute late, no matter what, but it is still possible. The main trick is to keep the slowest people together, minimizing the time wasted by them, but at the same time, you still need a fast way to get back. Here are the steps and times:

  • You and your sister go to grandma’s first, taking two minutes. 8:32
  • You drive back to your house, taking one minute. 8:33
  • Your mom and dad drive to grandma’s, taking ten whole minutes. 8:43
  • Your sister drives back to get you at your house, taking two minutes. 8:45
  • You and your sister drive back to grandma’s, taking two minutes. 8:47

You just barely beat the clock, and thankfully, your grandma beating you. Maybe next time you’ll set an alarm clock!

Three Gods Riddle

Difficulty: 5/5

You have fallen through a mysterious portal and ended up in Ancient Greece. There, you are met by Zeus, Poseidon, and Hades. You learn that they can help you get back to modern times if they believe you are worthy of such magic. To make them believe you are, you have to appease them by giving them the correct artifacts. However, it is a lot more difficult than it seems. You haven’t read enough about the Ancient Greek gods to know which is Zeus, which is Poseidon, and which is Hades. And to make matters harder, they will only let you ask them three yes or no questions, with each one addressed to any one of the gods. You also know that Poseidon always tells the truth, Hades always lies, and Zeus is always random. There is an even bigger problem though. You have figured out the Greek language enough, but you don’t know which of the two words nai and oxi means no, and which means yes.

How are you supposed to figure out which god is which?


  • You can ask three yes or no questions.
  • The responding god will either answer nai or oxi to each question. One means yes, the other means no, but you don’t know which is which.
  • Poseidon always tells the truth, Hades always lies, and Zeus answers randomly.
  • Each question must only be directed to one god.
  • You can ask up to three questions to the same god.
  • You do not have to come up with all three questions at once.

Comment below if you solve it.

Based off of the riddle created by Raymond Smullyan and George Boolos. Credit to Alex Gendler.



At first, this riddle may seem impossible. What’s the good of asking a question if you can’t understand the answer? It is possible though, and the trick is crafting your questions carefully so that any answer if useful. First, to work our way around not knowing what nai and oxi mean, we put them in the questions, and by making the questions hypothetical, it will not actually matter if the god is lying or not.

Example: If I asked you blah blah blah, would you say nai?

Here is the logic. If you asked a god, “if I asked you, does 9 – 4 = 5, would you answer nai?”. If nai means yes, Poseidon would answer truthfully, and say “nai”. What if we asked Hades? Well, he knows that he would lie and answer oxi, so he lies again and replies, “nai”.  In his mind, he’s thinking, “I know I’d lie and I’d say oxi to 9 – 4 = 5,” which is why he lies again, giving the same answer as Poseidon.  If “nai” means no, then Poseidon and Hades would still both answer “nai” for there own reasons. If you’re confused, think about it like integers in math. A positive times a positive equals a positive, and a negative times a negative still equals a positive.

Now, we know that asking either Poseidon or Hades will give a definite answer, but what about Zeus? This logic doesn’t help us with Zeus, so our first question should identify a god that isn’t Zeus. Then we identify whether that god is Poseidon or Hades. Finally, once we know that, we just ask a god to identify one of the others.

Now, let’s actually start asking! Look at the picture to help you visualize. Ask the god in the middle, “If I asked you whether the god on my left is Zeus, would you say nai?” If the answer is nai, we now have two possibilities. You could be talking to Zeus, in which case the answer means nothing. But if not, you’re talking to either Poseidon or Hades, and we know that wielding the answer “nai” means your question was true, in which case the god to the left is actually Zeus. Either way, you can now be sure that the god on the right is not Zeus. If the answer was “oxi”, we know the god on the left is not Zeus.

Next, go to the god who you have figured out is not Zeus and ask, “if I asked you, are you Hades, would you answer nai?” Now, because you don’t have to be precarious about the random answer factor, either answer will give its identity. If he answers nai, than logically, he is Hades. If he answers oxi, he is Poseidon.

Finally, now that you know whether that God’s answers are true or false, ask the same god, “if I asked you, is the center god Zeus, would you answer nai?”. Using the process of elimination, you can identify the remaining gods.