Vincent Sheridan is an artist whose work I’ve admired for years. His prints often depict birds roosting (a familiar sight and sound in Co. Wicklow and the Dublin mountains in autumn). This is a print (10/40) entitled Murmuration I. His work is showing now in The Draíocht, Blanchardstown and features an animation of starlings roosting filmed in Mullingar by the artist: Animation to Murmuration
The thirty year anniversary of Plath’s death has been marked by the release of a number of essays, books and even a short film. Yesterday we read Elm in class. The language and the intensity of the poem are unforgettable. This twenty-three minute film is worth watching if Plath’s poetry interests you. Lady Lazarus Film
My brother is reading this Shakespeare sonnet at my wedding a week today.
Let me not to the marriage of true minds
Admit impediments. Love is not love
Which alters when it alteration finds,
Or bends with the remover to remove:
O no! it is an ever-fixed mark
That looks on tempests and is never shaken;
It is the star to every wandering bark,
Whose worth’s unknown, although his height be taken.
Love’s not Time’s fool, though rosy lips and cheeks
Within his bending sickle’s compass come:
Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks,
But bears it out even to the edge of doom.
If this be error and upon me proved,
I never writ, nor no man ever loved.
‘Word of the Day’ is a great little teaching tool. Putting one up in a corner of the whiteboard each day and getting the students to write them down when they arrive is a good way of settling things early! End of term crosswords can be made up using definitions of the words as clues. Chocolate as a prize hasn’t failed yet…
Here’s some useful (and underused) adjectives.
Adamant: unyielding; a very hard substance
Adroit: clever, resourceful
Animistic: quality of recurrence or reversion to earlier form
Antic: clownish, frolicsome
Baleful: deadly, foreboding
Bellicose: quarrelsome (its synonym belligerent can also be a noun)
Bilious: unpleasant, peevish
Boorish: crude, insensitive
Caustic: corrosive, sarcastic; a corrosive substance
Cerulean: sky blue
Crapulous: immoderate in appetite
Defamatory: maliciously misrepresenting
Didactic: conveying information or moral instruction
Dilatory: causing delay, tardy
Dowdy: shabby, old-fashioned; an unkempt woman
Efficacious: producing a desired effect
Effulgent: brilliantly radiant
Egregious: conspicuous, flagrant
Endemic: prevalent, native, peculiar to an area
Equanimous: even, balanced
Execrable: wretched, detestable
Fastidious: meticulous, overly delicate
Feckless: weak, irresponsible
Fecund: prolific, inventive
Fulsome: abundant, overdone, effusive
Garrulous: wordy, talkative
Gustatory: having to do with taste or eating
Heuristic: learning through trial-and-error or problem solving
Histrionic: affected, theatrical
Hubristic: proud, excessively self-confident
Incendiary: inflammatory, spontaneously combustible, hot
Insidious: subtle, seductive, treacherous
Insolent: impudent, contemptuous
Inveterate: habitual, persistent
Invidious: resentful, envious, obnoxious
Jejune: dull, puerile
Jocular: jesting, playful
Limpid: simple, transparent, serene
Luminous: clear, shining
Mannered: artificial, stilted
Meretricious: whorish, superficially appealing, pretentious
Mordant: biting, incisive, pungent
Munificent: lavish, generous
Noxious: harmful, corrupting
Obtuse: blunt, stupid
Parsimonious: frugal, restrained
Pendulous: suspended, indecisive
Pernicious: injurious, deadly
Petulant: rude, ill humored
Platitudinous: resembling or full of dull or banal comments
Precipitate: steep, speedy
Propitious: auspicious, advantageous, benevolent
Querulous: cranky, whining
Quiescent: inactive, untroublesome
Rebarbative: irritating, repellent
Recalcitant: resistant, obstinate
Redolent: aromatic, evocative
Rhadamanthine: harshly strict
Sagacious: wise, discerning
Sartorial: relating to attire, especially tailored fashions
Serpentine: snake-like, winding, tempting or wily
Spasmodic: having to do with or resembling a spasm, excitable, intermittent
Strident: harsh, discordant; obtrusively loud
Taciturn: closemouthed, reticent
Tenacious: persistent, cohesive,
Tremulous: nervous, trembling, timid, sensitive
Trenchant: sharp, penetrating, distinct
Turbulent: restless, tempestuous
Turgid: swollen, pompous
Ubiquitous: pervasive, widespread
Uxorious: inordinately affectionate or compliant with a wife
Verdant: green, unripe
Voluble: glib, given to speaking
Voracious: ravenous, insatiable
Zealous: eager, devoted
This bla bla meter is a brilliant tool. I look forward to using it in class. The plan is to get students to copy and paste in chunks of text (their own, Austen’s, Shakespeare’s…) and see how they fair. Then we’ll try and figure out how the system works. Watch this space at the end of the week for a report on how it goes. Reflective practice, tick!
This (below) was once a big blank page. Better before or after?
This is one of a number of illustrations by Cap Cheah on the Behance Network that encourages just ‘getting on with it’! They’re good for: a slideshow when pupils are entering the room and getting settled; classroom posters; getting pupils to write about which image they find most effective (good for toning that vital comparative writing muscle); and spotting typos (there’s one with the third image).
And they work as a gentle reminder to teachers to get on with that marking. Two birds, one stone.
Have a look at them here: X out Procrastination
Big Blank Page highly recommends this app version of Shakespeare’s ‘Scottish Tragedy’. The app contains the full text with audio, visual, a comprehensive glossary, and notes. The text scrolls automatically as the lines are delivered in audio, so it’s a dream to use projected onto the board in class. Mock marking is also made easier as all words are searchable and the quote you’re looking for appears in a split second. It’s a bit more than the average app (€12) but less than the paper version and well worth the €uros. Also available in the series are: Romeo and Juliet, A Midsummer Night’s dream and Twelfth Night. More are in the works. Have a look here.
The Guardian has published this online grammar and punctuation test. It’s worth a try and is also useful for Junior Certificate (soon to be Junior Cycle) students. When the new Cycle is introduced it seems there will be a Literacy element on which students will be tested in their second year.
The New Junior Cycle English background paper for review, published in Autumn 2012, focuses on Literacy and three main components: Psycho-linguistic perspective; cognitive-psychological perspective and a critical literacy perspective.
The cognitive–psychological perspective is the ‘nuts and bolts’ approach and as the review says, “is often set in opposition to the whole-language approach referred to above (psycho-linguistic). The focus is on the micro-processes of language through the teaching of phonics and drilled approaches to literacy acquisition. This approach begins with the smallest phonemes and graphemes of language and builds them up into words and parts of words. This is the bottom-up approach to literacy development. Viewing these perpectives as incompatible polar opposites is unhelpful.” Here’s the full brief for the review.
It might be useful to look at punctuation with students as the flavours of food; food without its taste is bland and harder to identify, but with flavour and seasoning it’s a full sensory experience. The quiz is a straightforward exercise; Big Blank Page got 13/14. Shameful! See how you fair.
Storymap is the brainchild of two Dublin filmmakers, Andy Flaherty and Tom Rowley. Just back from working abroad, unemployed and in between film projects, they became frustrated with the negative press the city was receiving. The bleak tales of recession, the gloomy accounts of unemployment and the notion that Ireland’s best and brightest had emigrated was completely at odds with what they were experiencing being back in their hometown. They came up with Storymap, a web based multimedia project that revives Ireland’s age-old tradition of storytelling and aims to capture the personality of Dublin city through its stories and storytellers. These stories are filmed being told where they happened and integrated into a live map to create a charming and layered collective vision of Dublin city made by the people of the city.
The website, Storymap, is easy to use and links to videos of the stories. This could be a useful exercise with classes, especially those in school in or near Dublin. Designed to be used on-the-go, there’s an app version too.