Saturday, May 16, 2020

Roger & Gallet

At the 'socially-distanced' Chapel service yesterday (attended by 8 resident staff), Mr Swift 
(compère of Voices of Poetry' introduced and then read his own poem 'Roger & Gallet'.

Roger & Gallet

Our sense of smell trumps all the others, they say,
For transporting us back through time,
To places (or people) that we sniffed unconsciously
Lifetimes ago.
Deep heat and the rugby changing rooms
Linseed oil on a cricket bat and our uncle’s antique workshop...
Brown bread baking.

I’d like to believe both you and I were fairly inoffensive
To nostrils passing near us.
We can’t take too much credit though
For something in the genes.
And we had some foreign helpers too,
Some continental styling down the years -
Acqua di Parma, Heno de Pravia, Hermes et al.
I even used Brut in the very late ‘80s
But you had better taste, even way back then.
        _________

One August day in 2016 we met by chance
On the Glasthule High Street!
I had emerged from The 64
With the glow of 40 Foot and coffee,
You were there to collect a prescription -
So we went to see the apothecary.
Pharmacy fragrances mingled in Glennon’s
As a cocktail of reassurance.

Soon you were adding a bottle
Of Roger & Gallet cologne
Onto your list of purchases,
And pressing it into my hand
Saying, ‘This is your favourite one, isn’t it?’

That bottle’s long finished but I have returned
To Glennon’s chemist since,
I’ve made myself known as your brother to Martha,
And replenished that favourite scent.

Now each morning several citrus sprays of French cologne
Call forth the memory of your welcoming self -
By a window, offering tea.
And the house smells grand,
With a still warm loaf cooling in the foreground.

June 5th, 2019

Friday, April 24, 2020

William Wordsworth revision


Here’s a Quizlet set for those preparing Wordsworth for the Leaving Certificate. Even if you’re not learning these quotations, they should prompt thoughts about key ideas in the poems. The reverse ‘answer’ side includes brief comments on significance. The main thing: use the quotations for thinking purposes.

(Technical instructions: at the top right of the Quizlet, click the icon for Options, and make sure you choose Answer with Definition. Click Flashcard from Choose a Study Mode at the bottom right, and if necessary the arrows-icon just above it to start on the question side of the card.)

Tuesday, April 07, 2020

Reading

Our Librarian, Ms Kent-Sutton, has advice for all pupils and parents about reading now. Many pupils have a great opportunity to deepen and extend their reading both for academic reasons and pleasure.

Note that e-books are available on several platforms (including BorrowBox - see below), and Amazon's Kindle app can be downloaded for free on all devices (you do not need a physical Kindle). Many classic books are free.

First of all, visit Libraries Ireland who have relaxed their joining policies for the duration of the shutdown. Anyone can join and get immediate free access to their online services with their virtual library card: you need to download some free apps. The Borrowbox app will allow access to audio and ebooks. RB Digital is superb for comics books and graphic novels; the quality of the illustrations is not lost. They also do audio books. And finally in PressReader there is unlimited access to daily newspapers by country.

The Carnegie Medal is always excellent at highlighting the best of YA fiction for the year, and the 2020 shortlist is here. Each title on the list gives an age rating so pupils can access their appropriate level.

The Bookseller also has a Young Adult Book Prize shortlist.

If pupils/parents are looking for a challenge they could try the 16 Before 16 Reading Challenge. Pupils attempt to read 16 "classics" before they turn 16. A sample list is below, which is definitely not exhaustive but a rough guide.
  • I Know why the Caged Bird Sings- Maya Angelou
  • Wuthering Heights- Emily Bronte
  • Misery- Stephen King
  • To Kill a Mockingbird- Harper Lee
  • The Catcher in the Rye- J. D. Salinger
  • The Outsiders- S. E. Hinton
  • Frankenstein- Mary Shelley
  • 1984- George Orwell
  • The Crucible- Arthur Miller
  • Great Expectations-Charles Dickens
  • Alice's Adventures in Wonderland- C.S. Lewis
  • Brave New World- Aldous Huxley
  • Pride and Prejudice- Jane Austen
  • One Hundred Years of Solitude- Gabriel Garcia Marquez
  • Never Let Me Go- Kazou Ishiguro
  • Atonement-Ian McEwan
  • All Quiet on the Western Front-Erich Maria Remarque
  • Cider with Rosie- Laurie Lee
  • Schindler's Ark- Thomas Keneally
  • I Capture the Castle- Dodie Smith

Next, a list of some time-tested series:-
  • The Mortal Instruments- Cassandra Clare
  • Chaos Walking- Patrick Ness
  • Noughts and Crosses- Malorie Blackman
  • Throne of Glass-Sarah J Maas
  • Gone- Michael Grant
  • The Raven Cycle- Maggie Stiefvater
  • To All the Boys I've Loved Before- Jenny Han
  • His Dark Materials- Philip Pullman
  • Uglies- Scott Westerfield
  • Abhorsen-Garth Nix
  • Lorien Legacies- James Frey
  • Shatter Me- Tahereh Mafi
  • Cirque Du Freak-Darren Shan
  • Artemis Fowl- Eoin Colfer
  • Young Bond-Charlie Higson
Some notable new releases in the next month, with potential for these to be big summer reads...
  • The Kingdom of the Back-Marie Lu
  • The Enigma Game- Elizabeth Wein
  • Clap When you Land- Elizabeth Acevedo
  • The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes (Hunger Games prequel) - Suzanne Collins
And lastly, the following books have been adapted to films (some Netflix) and due for release before the end of the year:-
  • Dune- Frank Herbert
  • The Secret Garden- Frances Hodgson Burnett
  • Artemis Fowl- Eoin Colfer
  • There's Someone Inside Your House- Stephanie Perkins (Netflix)
  • Death on The Nile- Agatha Christie
  • The Stand- Stephen King
  • Rebecca- Daphne Du Maurier (Netflix)
Time have a list of the best 100 Young Adult Books of All Time if anyone wants to attempt to read all 100!
Goodreads is pretty reliable for suggestions by genre and for suggesting titles/series.

Thursday, April 02, 2020

'Hamlet' quotation practice grids

Here are 15 exercises on quotations in Hamlet. They are designed for pair-work 10-minute sessions in class, but work perfectly well for individuals. You need to know the play well, so these are for revision at a late stage. 

The purpose is to make your mind work hard: retrieving factual details, certainly, about the sequence of the play, individual quotations and so on, but more importantly know making you think and create connections. You don’t need to write on the original sheet itself: just take a piece of paper and jot down your responses. 

Take 10-15 minutes, and when finished find the quotation in context and then fill in any gaps.

Monday, March 30, 2020

Leaving Certificate English resources


During these uncertain and anxious times for pupils, here is a summary of some resources on our site (and elsewhere) for Leaving Certificate English candidates that may be helpful when working at home. For general sharing (our own pupils have access to much of this on Firefly). Regular updates coming.

Also, English teachers: some recommendations here, as well as general teaching recommendations here, Shakespeare here.

Although Evelyn O'Connor has shuttered her site Leaving Cert English, you can still avail of lots of helpful resources and advice.


Hamlet:


Poetry:


Fiction:

  • We're doing The Great Gatsby in the comparative: here are 15 annotated video analyses of key moments in the novel.
  • An index to the whole novel.
  • And then follow up with these questions to provoke thoughts about the moments.

Language:
  • Of course the best thing you can do is read. As widely as possible. A great site for pointing you towards excellent reading is Five Books - recommendations from some of the most expert people around. If you find it difficult to get books right now, there's always Kindle delivery.
  • We have 77 Articles of the Week for keeping your mind going (especially for the Comprehension sections of the exam).
  • Everything starts with vocabulary: check out ‘6 useful vocabulary sites’ from a top expert in this area, Alex Quigley. Spend 10 minutes every few days on Describing Words, for instance.

Revision strategies:
  • Since you're unlikely to be covering anything new at the moment, make sure you use your time efficiently and effectively in revising. Below are some excellent proven strategies -
  • The Learning Scientists have excellent advice: check out their videos here. Don't waste your time re-reading notes and using the highlighter like a paintbrush. Instead, test yourself by retrieving material (see below), space your learning out and so on.
  • And here's a fine guide on those strategies from Carl Hendrick of Wellington - 'How should students revise? A brief guide.'
  • Flashcards are always good, and of course they can simply be on paper. Quizlet is an excellent tech-version, and here are ours on Hamlet, for instance. The main thing is that answers should prompt thought about the play more generally. You could always compose flashcards that you share electronically with your peers.


Monday, February 10, 2020

Articles of the Week


This is an ongoing listing of links to the Articles of the Week used with our Leaving Certificate pupils, from September 2013 onwards.

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 vocabulary 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. February 2020: 'Are First-Borns Really Natural Leaders?' by Clara Sabolova, The Conversation, February 7th [parenting, upbringing, nurture].
  2. January 2020: 'What moral authority does the US have to kill Suleimani?' by Breda O'Brien, The Irish Times, January 11th 2020 [morality, politics, conflict}.
  3. October 2019: 'A psychotherapist explains why some adults are reacting badly to young climate strikers' by Caroline Hickman, The Conversation, October 11th 2019 [climate change, teenagers].
  4. September 2019: 'Curiosity: we're studying the brain to help you harness it' by by Ashvanti Valji and Matthias Gruber, The Conversation, September 13th 2019 [neuroscience, learning].
  5. September 2019: 'A California high school found students' cellphones too distracting, so they're locking the devices up' by Safia Samee Ali, NBC News, August 21st 2019 [education, learning, teenagers, technology].
  6. May 2019: 'How Exercise Affects Our Memory' by Gretchen Reynolds, New York Times, May 1st 2019 [exercise, physiology, neuroscience].
  7. January 2019: 'Aviation is the red meat in the greenhouse gas sandwich' by John Gibbons, the Irish Times, January 29th 2019 [environment, aviation].
  8. January 2019: 'Filling the Silence with Digital Noise' by the Nielsen Norman Group, November 18th 2018 [technology, learning].
  9. November 2018: "Window for saving Earth from ecological annihilation closing" by John Gibbons, the Irish Times, October 16th 2018 [ecology, environment].
  10. October 2018: "'Fortnite' teaches the wrong lessons" by Nicholas Tampio, The Conversation, October 12th 2018 [gaming, adolescence, technology]/
  11. October 2018: "Why true horror movies are about more than things going bump in the night" by Aislinn Clarke, The Conversation [film, horror, comedy], October 3rd 2018.
  12. October 2018:  'Is Serena Williams right? A linguist on the extra challenges women face in moments of anger' by Kieran File, The Conversation, September 11th 2018 [women, gender, sport].
  13. September 2018: 'Why you should read this article slowly' by Joe Moran, The Guardian, September 14th 2018 [reading, internet].
  14. September 2018: 'The ideal school would put children's development before league tables' by Sue Roffey, The Conversation, September 17th 2018.
  15. September 2018: 'Another Angle: For the love of God, put down the phones' by Adrian Weckler, Irish Independent, August 20th 2018 [technology, phone].
  16. May 2018: 'Neuroscience is unlocking mysteries of the teenage brain' by Lucy Foulkes, The Conversation, April 23rd 2018 [adolescence, neuroscience].
  17. March 2018: 'The Tyranny of Convenience' by Tim Yu, New York Times, February 16th 2018 [modern life, technology].
  18. February 2018: "The death of reading is threatening the soul" by Philip Yancey, Washington Post, July 21st 2017 [reading, books, internet].
  19. January 2018: 'Why more men are wearing makeup than ever before' by Glen Jankowski, The Conversation, January 15th 2018 [make-up, masculinity].
  20. January 2018: 'Why 2017 was the best year in human history' by Nicholas Kristof, The New York Times, January 6, 2018 [history, progress, health].
  21. November 2017: 'Boys must behave if women are to be safe' by Fintan O'Toole, The Irish Times, October 31, 2017.
  22. October 2017: 'A giant insect ecosystem is collapsing due to humans' by Michael McCarthy, The Guardian, October 21, 2017.
  23. October 2017: 'We can't stop mass murder' by Shikha Dalmia, The Week, October 6, 2017.
  24. October 2017: 'What every teacher should know about ... memory' by Bradley Busch, The Guardian, October 6, 2017 [learning, memory, teaching].
  25. October 2017: 'Think the world is in a mess: here are 4 things you can do about it' by Alexandre Christoyannapoulos. The Conversation, November 16, 2016 [activism, citizenship, economics].
  26. September 2017: 'The power of silence in the smartphone age' by Erling Kagge, The Guardian, September 23rd 2017 [technology].
  27. September 2017: '5 reasons why people share fake photos during disasters' by A.J. Willingham, CNN.com, September 8th 2017 [journalism, psychology, social media].
  28. September 2017: 'Can you identify the psychopaths in your life?' by Rob Hastings, iNews, August 29th 2017 [psychology].
  29. February 2017: 'Our roads are choked. We're on the verge of carmageddon' by George Monbiot, The Guardian, September 20th 2016 [environment, transport].
  30. January 2017: 'Girls believe brilliance is a male trait' by Nicola Davis, The Guardian, January 27th 2017.
  31. January 2017: 'What do teenagers want? Potted plant parents' by Lisa Damour, New York Times, December 14th 2016 [adolescence, parenting].
  32. November 2016: 'Trump makes it easy to vote for Her' by Carl Hiaasen, Miami Herald, November 6th 2016 [politics, America].
  33. October 2016: 'How being alone may be the key to rest' by Claudia Hammond, BBC, September 27th 2016 [rest, reading, introversion].
  34. September 2016: 'Why Parents are Getting Angrier' by Nicola Skinner, The Guardian, September 3rd 2016 [parenting, psychology, childhood].
  35. September 2016: 'Burkini beach ban: must French Muslim women become invisible?' by Delphine Strauss, The Irish Times, August 22nd 2016 [culture, Islam, France].
  36. May 2016: 'How can Lidl sell jeans for £5.99?' by Gethin Chamberlain, The Guardian, March 13th 2016 [economics, retailing, manufacture].
  37. April 2016: 'Teaching men how to be emotionally honest' by Anrew Reiner, New York Times, April 4th 2016 [gender, adolescence, masculinity].
  38. February 2016: 'Then and now: how things have changed for teenage girls since the 1950s' by Clare Furniss, The Guardian, January 29th 2016 [teenagers, gender, sexism].
  39. January 2016: 'Teenagers risk being defined for life by their social media posts' by Karlin Lilllington, Irish Times, January 14th 2016 [social media, teenagers, identity].
  40. January 2016: 'Welcome to the Anthropocene, a new geological era for the world', The Week, January 8th 2016 [geology, climate change, environment].
  41. November 2015: 'Birth Order Determines ... Almost Nothing' by Jeanne Safer, psychologytoday.com [psychology, parenting, childhood].
  42. November 2015: 'How psychopaths can save your life' by Kevin Dutton, The Observer [psychology].
  43. November 2015: '10 benefits of reading: why you should read every day' by Lana Winter-Hebert, Lifehack.org [reading, entertainment, education].
  44. October 2015: 'How much can you really learn while you're asleep?' by Jordan Gaines Lewis, The Guardian, October 6th 2015 [neuroscience, learning, adolescence].
  45. September 2015: 'Fifth of secondary school pupils wake almost every night to use social media' by Sally Weale, The Guardian, September 15th 2015 [social media, learning, teenagers].

Sunday, February 09, 2020

The Power of Reading Aloud

 Reading aloud is central to English teachers. And, of course, to parents. Read a review of Meghan Cox Gurdon's new book The Enchanted Hour: the miraculous power of reading aloud in the age of distraction here.

Friday, January 31, 2020

Reader, Come Home


One of the most important books in recent years about reading is Maryanne Wolf's Reader, Come Home: the reading brain in a digital world (2018). A subtle, informed and passionate defence of 'deep reading', as opposed to the shallow flitting that has become steadily more common, it is an essential book for all English teachers, parents and, simply, the general public.

Here is a detailed analysis of it. Check out further reading at the bottom of that page.

Tuesday, January 07, 2020

English Meet, 23.4.2020


UPDATE 9.2.20: book tickets here
 
We're planning a new venture for Thursday 23rd April 2020 (Shakespeare's birthday): an evening dedicated to sharing ideas about teaching Leaving Certificate English.

The venue
Whispering House at our school, www.stcolumbas.ie (which was the venue on October 5th for the first-ever Irish researchED) in South Dublin. 7.00pm to 9.00pm. It will be free to attend, but will be ticketed (ticketing via EventBrite later down the line).  See the venue here.

The idea:
Teachers share ideas and experiences on teaching the course. Presentations can be as short as ten minutes, or run longer, depending on need and content. There will be plenty of time for discussion, too.

Some ideas for presenters:
Focus on a character in a text | reading & resource recommendations | modelling and scaffolding ideas | how to start an essay | approach to the Unseen | teaching the comparative | building a knowledge base | improving vocabulary | questioning techniques | effective use of tech | classroom techniques.

Are you interested? Email Julian at sccenglish@stcolumbas.ie