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

English Meet, April 23rd

Tickets (free) for the English Meet for teachers of Leaving Certificate English can be booked at this link.

More details here.

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