Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Come to our Open Day!

On Saturday next, October 1st, we at St Columba's have our annual Open Day, from 10am to 1pm.  All the things we and our colleagues over at the Frog Blog wrote last year apply again, so here they are again...
This is a genuinely open invitation. Just turn up and you will get a tour of the College facilities, led by senior pupils, and be able to meet teachers and current parents. Our website has a huge amount of detail about the school for your interest, and you can learn there about the very high academic standards (including recent exam results) and the excellent extra-curricular life.
However, we thought we'd get together with our colleagues at  the science Frog Blog and write a joint post on what we offer as English and Science Departments to our pupils. Both Departments, as can be seen from our blogs, are forward-looking, enthusiastic and technically-innovative. 

Here are some reasons to come to St Columba's from the perspectives of the Science and English teachers:-

  • You'll become part of a reading culture. However technically-aware we are, real old-fashioned books are the core of what we do. Reading isn't a 'strange' activity here. Everyone does it. And you'll be able to write about the books you enjoy on the blog, too. 
  • You'll also become part of a publishing culture. SCC English posts a huge amount of writing every year, and every two years publishes a book of the best writing (yes, that's a real book).  There’s also the Second Bell magazine, written by pupils each term, and also the excellent Library magazine The Submarine (full of good pupil and staff writing).
  • Poetry is everywhere too- the Poetry Aloud competition, Teaching English national poetry competition, the annual poetry prizes, the Poems of the Week, and the Voices of Poetry evening.
  • We have a brilliant Library, with over 11,000 books and a professional Librarian. It's a beautiful space, perfect for reading, with a superb fiction selection.
  • Our Transition Year Programme will really stretch you. You'll write a 3000+ word literary essay, believe it or not, and develop your writing in this crucial year.
  • You'll be able to see lots of good theatre productions in Dublin, including Shakespeare through our Shakespeare Society (The Comedy of Errors is on this November, and indeed there will be rehearsals on show during the Open Day)
  • There's an amazing amount of drama taking part in the school, with plenty of involvement from English teachers and others. Within weeks of coming, you'll have a chance to audition for a part, whatever age you are.
  • If you have problems with literacy or learning, you’ll be well looked-after by our Learning Support Department, which works closely with English teachers.
  • Your learning will be supported by podcasts, especially as you come up to exam time.
  • There's lots more – just surf around SCC English and find out for yourself.

  • You'll become enthusiastic about science and nature and be encouraged to explore, ask questions, investigate and experiment - not just remember facts and regurgitate them in exams (we believe exam success will come naturally through an inherent interest in the complexities of the natural world and a willingness to explore these complexities).
  • You'll learn how science really works, see the simplicity of the scientific method and use it in the learning process.
  • You'll spend your time learning about science in our purpose-built Science Building - complete with four dedicated laboratories, wireless internet access, computers, interactive whiteboards, an extensive DVD library, live (and dead) specimens and other resources.
  • You'll get access to our Science Department Website, with weblinks, fully downloadable teacher notes, exam archive material and more. 
  • We'll also ask you to contribute to the Frog Blog, our frequently updated blog and our principal means of promoting science within the school, encouraging you to become part of St. Columba's publishing culture.
  • In Transition Year you'll be challenged to explore science beyond the confines of the Junior or Leaving Certificate syllabi, kept up to date with science news and be asked to produce projects on topics that interest you. Transition Year pupils also undertake an Astronomy Module, where the wonders of the solar system and universe are explored.
  • You can take part in our Science, Chemistry, Physics, Biology and Agricultural Science prizes - our annual science competitions for pupils. These competitions vary in their format but encourage exploration, investigation and self directed learning.
  • You'll explore science beyond the boundaries of the schools gates with science field trips both nationally and internationally. As well as the annual Form I science trip to Northern Ireland and the Form V Biology trip to the Burren, members of all forms will visit science attractions like the Natural History Museum, the Science Gallery, the Bodies Exhibition, the Wax Museum and Dublin Zoo. Recently, the Science Department organised a cross-curricular trip to London and visited all the science attractions there (Natural History Museum, Science Museum and the Darwin Centre)
  • You'll gain access to our brilliant Library's extensive and ever increasing collection of science-related books and magazines and you'll be encouraged read and review them!
  • You'll be taught by enthusiastic, experienced, dedicated, professional and (mildly) entertaining science teachers, many of whom are involved with in-service teacher training and leaving cert exam marking. We aim to make science interesting but also fun!
  • There’s loads more, so please visit our Science Department Website, the Science Department Page on the St. Columba's website and explore the archives of our Frog Blog to find out more!

Friday, September 23, 2011

The Comedy of Errors cast

Auditions are complete, and rehearsals have now started for the 2011 Senior Play, the Shakespeare Society's The Comedy of Errors.

Below, the cast (as some may notice, one of two genders have switched...)

Solina, ruler of Ephesus : Kezia Wright
Egeon, merchant of Syracuse : Patrick Tice
Antipholus, a merchant of Syracuse : Zach Stephenson                                 
Antipholus, a merchant of Ephesus : Robin Fitzpatrick
Dromio of Syracuse, a servant : William Maire                                       
Dromio of Ephesus, a servant : Hamish Law                                         
Balthasar, a merchant of Ephesus : Eamonn McKee
Angela, a goldsmith : Jasmine Blenkins O’Callaghan
A merchant, friend to Antipholus of Syracuse: Leonhard Dihlmann                            
Another merchant : Seyive Hotonu
Doctor Pinch, a schoolmaster-conjurer : Richard Matuschka
Emilia, an Abbess : Aoise Keogan-Nooshabadi
Adriana, wife of Antipholus of Ephesus : Opeline Kellett                                
Luciana, her sister : Bella Purcell                                 
Luce, a kitchen maid : Katie Cogan
CourtesanRachel Rogers
Officer : Konstantin Behr
Voiceovers : Catie McGonagle

Thursday, September 22, 2011

'Jane Eyre'

Tonight, all Transition Year are going to the new film version of Charlotte Bronte's novel, Jane Eyre. Below, the official trailer.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

The Comedy of Errors

The St Columba's Shakespeare Society has produced many fine versions of the play over the years, including The Merchant of Venice, As You Like It, A Midsummer Night's Dream and Twelfth Night (twice, including the most recent production in 2006). 

Now, the Society returns to the fray with its second production of one of Shakespeare's earliest plays, The Comedy of Errors. A brilliant tale of two identical twins, it also has some interesting deeper qualities beyond the obvious farcical elements. The final audition is tonight, and rehearsals start tomorrow for its mid-November showing. Lots more here over the next couple of months.

Monday, September 19, 2011

TY Extended Essay choices

IV form should complete this form by Friday (also on the link at the top right), indicating their final reading choices for the Extended Essays.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

A Poem a Day

Check out our Twitter feed: the aim is to tweet one great poem (the complete list here) a day during this school year. First three: Elizabeth Bishop, Philip Larkin, John Keats. More from Monday onwards. Suggestions are welcome via @sccenglish.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Junior Certificate results 2011

Well done to our candidates in the Junior Certificate this year, who received their results today and are now on a trip out to celebrate. An analysis will appear of the overall College results on the website in due course. In English, 95% of our candidates took the exam at Higher Level, and 73% gained an A, B or C.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Transition Year Extended Essays, 2011

IV formers should click here for the advice sheet on selecting books for your Extended Essays. This document is evolving, as different teachers amend and add to it.  The most important message is: choose books and a topic you are genuinely interested in. 

You have this week to decide on your three (or more) books. You should definitely go to the Library and wander around the shelves, and another good option is to go to Amazon for ideas and connections.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Transition Year Course, 2011-12

Transition Year have just started on their new course, first of all searching for topics and books for their Extended Essays. Click here for the full details of the course. In the coming weeks, there will be much here about this reading and these essays (culminating in publishing some of the best pieces in December/January).  

They will also shortly be studying topics such as Anglo-Saxon and W.B. Yeats, as well as investigating images in poetry and working on creative writing. Their first literary text, in October, will be Twelfth Night (we are aiming this year for an innovative and exciting approach to this text). Other literary texts include To Kill a Mockingbird and A Streetcar Named Desire.

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

Start of Term

The school year 2011-12 starts today, with new pupils arriving this afternoon, and classes getting underway tomorrow.

This will be our sixth academic year blogging (click here for the very first post, on July 2nd 2006). There will be lots of the usual stuff connected with English, including pupils' writing. We also have some more audio plans, and later on in the year our third book will be published (with different material than the first two).

Back shortly.