Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Holiday Leaving Cert Revision

Our VI formers are, no doubt, already deep into holiday revision before next term's Leaving Certificate exams.  

Here are some resources from this blog and elsewhere that will be useful. But bear in mind: keep focussed mainly on the texts themselves, and keep reading and thinking about topics for the composition question.

1. Seven revision podcasts, including:-
  • The crucial moment : the soliloquy in Act I scene vii before the murder.
  • The real Lady Macbeth.
  • King Macbeth - law and order in Scotland.
  • Malcolm the hero?
  • The Witches and the Supernatural.
  • A quotation auto-test.
  • Macbeth's tragic end - 'Tomorrow, and tomorrow ...'
2. The whole text of the play in a variety of formats - put it on your computer/tablet/e-reader for easy access. 3. Notes from a thought-provoking talk on the play given by the playwright Frank McGuinness at the Abbey Theatre. 4. BBC Bitesize microsite for revision (level - GCSE). 5. Times Educational Supplement resources, including our own podcasts [requires registration]. 6. Shakespeare Searched: a 'Google for Shakespeare' - terrific resource for looking up quotations, self-testing and so on. 7. 'Macbeth in Monaghan' series on RTÉ radio [podcasts]. 8. A series of ShowMe analyses of key moments in the play, using video and audio annotation.  9. Newbridge College 'resource pack' on the play.  10. Evelyn O'Connor at LeavingCertEnglish.net has a series of posts on the 'Blame Game' in the play here

1.  15 key moments from the novel analysed via ShowMe.
2. Lots of good background and activities from the New York Times Learning Channel.

15 short talks on 'The Patterns of Poetry' (runner up in the 2010 Edulog Awards). Useful for any poetry question, and certainly for the Unseen Poem.

Evelyn O'Connor's site LeavingCert.net has lots of good advice on Paper 1 (and 2, too).  Have a hunt through Categories on the left.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Senior Poetry Prize 2013

We're now on holidays, and pupils have time to think about and start their entries for the Senior Poetry Prize.
The theme of the Peter Dix Memorial Prize for Poetry 2013 is journeying of various kinds : Going Places / Journeys / Travel. Entries by VI, V and IV pupils should contain a portfolio of 2 to 5 poems inspired by this idea. To quote from Mr Canning's rubric:

The above are general themes which triggered Peter Dix to write certain poems, and hopefully they will inspire the same from some of you.

Poems should be at least ten lines long and no more than forty lines in length, and typed.
The winning entry will be based on the overall standard of the entrant’s body of poems. There will also be a prize for the best poem if it is not in the winner’s selection. All other strong entries will be posted on www.sccenglish.ie.

The English Department will also give smaller book-tokens to strong entries that do not win the Prize. 

You can treat the ideas in a free way: any connection is fine, as long as the poems are clearly connected by image, inspiration, theme, form, situation, context …

The Peter Dix Memorial Prize for Poetry was presented by the Dix family in memory of Peter, who died in the Lockerbie tragedy in 1988.  The Memorial (pictured above), by sculptor Joe Sloan, is kept in the Library and inscribed with the names of past winners.

Entries are to be emailed to Mr Canning by Friday 24th May.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

'The Submarine', March 2013

You know it's approaching the end of term when the latest edition of the Library magazine The Submarine appears. The March 2013 edition is the usual mixture of interesting commentary (in the editorial), pupil reviews and staff writing.  For instance, this time Dr Bannister writes about The Pilgrim's Progress, Alina Stiehler about Bad Karma, Ally Boyd Crotty about Markus Zusak's The Book Thief and Mr Brett on Irish Classrooms and British Empire. There's creative writing by Sofia McConnell and Iyobosa Bello-Asemota and lots of fine illustrations, as well as more junior pupils commenting on their current reading.

Read the magazine online above via Issuu, by clicking once for a closer view, once more for still closer, and by using the arrows to navigate.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Junior Poetry Prize 2013

Entries for this year's Junior Poetry Prize are due in by Thursday 11th April, and all in P, I, II and III are encouraged to take part. The theme this year is 'Old and New', and full details are on Ms Smith's notice.

My First Time Away from Home

In his recent exam for Mr Jameson, I former Nevin McCone wrote this as his composition:

It was my first time away from home and family. I was five years old at the time and I was staying at my granny’s house.

The daytime was always great with Granny. We would run around the garden and play with the dog. In the summer we would listen to the lone cow’s moo in the field. When we heard it we would fall to the ground laughing in the bright, dazzling sun. 

I had never slept at Granny’s house before but I did always stay for tea. There was always a smell coming from Granny’s marvellous kitchen. Whether it was delicious cupcakes or scrumptious roast beef, Granny knew best! All the family would be at the table enjoying a piping hot cup of tea. But this time it was different….

Mum and Dad had just left at eight o’clock. Things were still going well. Soon the moment I had been dreading came around. Bedtime. I don’t think I got a single wink of sleep that night. First of all the bed sheets smelt of the horrible stench of old people. Already being freaked out I heard the most terrible sound I think I have ever heard in my whole entire life! Granny was taking out her false teeth. 

She groaned as she attempted to get them out, like a wolf howling at the full moon. Then came the plop as the teeth went into the glass of water.  Now I was freaked out and traumatised. Just as I thought it couldn’t get any worse, good old Gran started snoring. The windows, walls and doors must have been made of titanium because how she didn’t wake up the county is truly beyond me. Like a roar of a steaming locomotive she went on into the night. Finally after counting 5,672 snores Granny eventually awoke.

It was a miserable day and was raining, not cats and dogs, but mammoths and elephants. When I hauled myself out of bed and carried my legs downstairs, Gran was back to her old self, making me a bowl of Coco Pops and roasting hot milk. Surprisingly Mum and Dad came just before lunch, which was an extremely great relief to me. Driving away with Gran’s frail hands waving at us in the near distance I looked out the window and was asleep before you could say “dentures”.

Wednesday, March 06, 2013

Articles of the Week 2012-13

This is an ongoing listing of links to the Articles of the Week used with our Leaving Certificate pupils this academic year.

The idea came from the American teacher and writer Kelly Gallagher, and it fits very well into the Leaving course, getting pupils used to reading interesting articles and thus helping them in both the comprehension and composition sections of their Paper 1, as well as expanding their knowledge base and providing interesting topics for discussion.

Click here for Gallagher's current articles, and read more about the theory behind the scheme in his excellent book Readicide: how schools are killing reading and what you can do about it. Pupils have to mark up the articles with annotations before class discussion.

  1. 'Turn off the Phone (and the Tension)' by Jenna Wortham, New York Times, August 2012.
  2. 'Personal Bests', by Caragh Little, Huffington Post, September 2012.
  3. 'The Britishisation of American English', by Cordelia Hebblethwaite, BBC News, Washington DC, September 2012
  4. 'The Innocence of Islam', by Vincent Durac, The Irish Times, Saturday 22nd September 2012
  5. Books Change How a Child’s Brain Grows’ by Moheb Costandi in Wired Science, October 18th 2012
  6. 'Sexist stereotypes dominate front pages of British newspapers', by Amelia Hill, The Guardian, Sunday 14th October 2012
  7. 'Why Old-School Rote Learning is Still Important' by Annie Paul Murphy, Time Magazine, November 8th 2012
  8. 'Text Messaging Turns 20' By Tracy McVeigh, The Observer, December 2nd 2012
  9. 'Highlighting Is a Waste of Time: The Best and Worst Learning Techniques', by Annie Paul Murphy, Time Magazine, January 2013.
  10. 'The Newtown shooting makes us feel helpless' by Charlie Brooker, The Guardian, December 17th 2012
  11. The introverts who walk the walk, but have no time for talk’, by Carol Ryan, The Irish Times, January 22nd 2013