Last night I was reminded of two things that I think apply equally well to school life as they do in adult life.
One. You can always find people willing to help you.
And, two. If those people don't happen to be the ones in your immediate company, you simply reach out to a bigger circle.
Let me give you my most recent example. Yesterday (as in, for today) I was asked to take a class in something that was a smidge out of my comfort zone. And, to be honest, I wasn't really sure where to start with planning a one-off lesson that was structured, syllabus-relevant and maybe even fun. So what'd I do?
I sent out a call for help.
And, thanks to the immediacy of social media and a professional group that I belong to on Facebook, within minutes I got my first reply and suggestions for fun lesson ideas. Soon, other teachers of that subject, from around the state, were giving me some great ideas and sending me resources. And, from that initial moment of Ahhhhhhhh - Brain Freeze! - within a couple of hours I felt organised and SO much better.
Sure, I know I probably could've got by, but 'getting by' wasn't exactly the outcome I was aiming at. I wanted to do better than that. I wanted it to be a great lesson so I asked for help. And, I got it in spades!
"It's plain smart to take responsibility for your learning and reach out for help."
The thing with asking for help is that it doesn't make you a lesser person in some way. Each of us has our strengths and personal breadth of knowledge. Sometimes, when you recognise that getting a hand would actually strengthen your position, it's plain smart to take responsibility for your learning and reach out for help.
Taking responsibility for ourselves is such an important concept, and an important skill that is going to put you streets ahead of others who are happy to blame, or whine, or make excuses for not doing their best.
For example ... what can you do if you don't understand something in class? Here's 7 places you can go to find the help you need.
It's that time of year again - when all HSC students start to freak about being prepared for their HSC exams. Firstly ......
I know that is easier said than done. But, if you have been handing in assessment tasks on time and generally keeping up with your work you will be okay. It's reassuring to remember that HSC English markers use a policy of 'positive marking'. That is, your exam response will be scrutinised for everything you have done right. Not what you have missed. But included.
But, it's also natural to be a little nervous, or at least conscious, of ensuring you feel confident about doing your best in English. And every subject, for that matter, but let's just talk English for the moment.
The good news is that it isn't too late to make sure you know what you need to know for the HSC English course. Of course, it would require a major
commitment to catch up on two years missed work (I'm including the Preliminary course in that statement because that is your HSC prep year) but, more realistically, you will need to revise your understanding of language techniques, have a good understanding of each module/Area of Study and how both of these areas apply to your prescribed and related texts.
So, here's a few tips:
- Go back to a post I wrote previously that offers timely advice for surviving your trial exams and making it to your HSC with your sanity intact. You can read that post "10 Steps to Easy HSC English Revision" HERE.
- Take advantage of expert help. Here in NSW the English Teachers' Association organises some excellent study days. The next one is perfectly timed for your revision: the HSC Students Countdown is in Sydney on the 31st August. It will cover all of the modules and the Area of Study, along with tips for effective revision. I can personally attest to the quality and usefulness of these study days if you have not already been to one. Check with your teacher to see if they are organising a class group to attend.
- If you feel some individual help is needed then consider some after-school tutoring. You can read more about the tutoring services ReadWriteLearnWell can offer HERE.
In closing, keep your HSC exam preparation in perspective. It is one exam out of many you have done and will possibly do in the future. The goal, in my view, is to prepare well so you feel confident and relaxed when you take it on. That way you WILL do your best!
Ernest Hemingway Via http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:ErnestHemingwayBabyPicture.jpg
I'll happily confess to being a literature geek. So when I received my morning email from Flavorwire.com
with a subject header of 'Incredibly adorable baby pictures of famous authors' of course I was going to click through!
I love peeking through family albums of old pics, and it's even better that these days social media, like Facebook, makes sharing such pictures even easier. While I would not trade the convenience of today's digital photography, there's something special about the faded greys of black and white photos from the past. Maybe it's because there is a nostalgic-value associated with such images and the past itself? Perhaps it's the capturing of a moment in time, and the act of freezing it to preserve it - as is the strength of any family pic? It could also be that it is just a little bit of fun to ooh and ahh, and giggle and point, and compare and contrast with ourselves and loved ones today. For me, it's a little of each, but I also like that it helps to add a depth and reality to my perceptions of people. Seeing images of younger days brings home that those I know, or know of, had full, complete lives, with all the joys, irritations and general range of life's ups and downs - just like me and my immediate family.
Flavorwire features 15 baby and child photos of famous authors and poets, including (as above) Ernest Hemingway, Sylvia Plath, Roald Dahl and James Joyce among others. I particularly like the faded photo of John Steinbeck (Of Mice and Men
, The Grapes of Wrath
) holding his pony. Also, there is a great image of Rudyard Kipling as a child, arms folded and face set in stubbornness or a sulk - at least that's how I imagine him to have been the day the picture was taken.
The slideshow of images features a range of American and European/British authors. I would like to have seen some Australian writers represented, but a quick search before writing this post was unsuccessful in finding any similar-aged shots of Australian composers such as Henry Lawson (my favourite), Barbara Baynton, CJ Dennis or AB (Banjo) Paterson. I did find some early images of Miles Franklin, including a very early baby picture and a family picture taken 1894. You can see them HERE
If you, too, are a literature geek, then check out the junior author pics at Flavorwire
. You might also find another feature at this site interesting: 10 Bestselling books that were originally rejected.
Do you get swallowed up by paperwork?
Sucked in by Facebook?
Forget to get up from the computer or books you are marking until your neck, arms and back remind you that you should have had a break ages
Yup? Me too.
That's why I really liked this terrific mind map from Jane Genovese at Australian website Learning Fundamentals. You can read the full post HERE.Methinks this one is worth printing and laminating, to post somewhere prominent so I'll remember to take a walk, have a stretch, limit my unnecessary computer browsing, keep my desk tidy.....Check out the mind map below, and don't forget to have a quick read of the accompanying post. It has some terrific tips for minimising the distractions.
A big congratulations to fellow English teacher, Darcy Moore, whose blog
has just been announced as a finalist in this year's Best Australian Blogs competition.
The competition has featured almost 600 innovative Australian blogs.
Darcy, who is largely responsible for inspiring me to start www.readwritelearnwell.com
has been announced as a finalist in the 'commentary' category of the competition being run by the Sydney Writers' Centre.
Even better, if Darcy's blog wins, he has offered to donate the writing courses first prize to would-be young authors at his school!
You can help him also take out honours in the People's Choice section of the competition by voting at this link
Best of luck, Darcy! You rock!
If there's one question that regularly gets asked on e-book user forums about a particular book or book series, it's "Why isn't Harry Potter available for e-readers???"
E-Readers are fast becoming a reading mode of choice for consumers. The Amazon Kindle store now offers more than 600,000 titles to Australians and more than 900,000 titles in its American store, while other e-readers such as the Kobo
and the Sony
also offer varying numbers of e-books in their own formats. One recent American survey
suggested that already 1 in 10 Americans used an E-reader, with similar numbers believing they would begin using one over the next six months. This same research also showed people who used e-readers claimed to read more, and purchase more books.
It is estimated that Australians are adopting this form of reading in similar numbers, according to a recent news report
But, author J.K. Rowling has persistently stood firm against digitalising her highly successful Harry Potter franchise, which has reportedly so far netted her £620 million - or $965 million in Australian dollars.
That is, until now.
According to a report
published yesterday in the Scottish media, Rowling's agent has confirmed the author is "considering plans" for her Harry Potter titles to be published as e-books.
This would be great news for readers who have adopted the new technology, and particularly for those who have done so due to physical disabilities which make reading heavy traditionally-published books difficult.
My thanks to Bufo Calvin
for bringing this report to my attention. I'm one reader who'll be keeping her fingers crossed for a deal to be done soon.