Saturday, May 31, 2008

It is late and I ought to be in bed but I am feeling remiss for not blogging so here I am once more. On the writing front, I am doing some reading for my next MA assignment and I am contemplating another section for CGP's English AS Revision Guide.

My editor for the three Challenge English KS3 texts, Ged, has entered Steve and me into the educational writer's competition. I doubt we'll win as I imagine the competition will be pretty fierce but these things are always worth a go. You got to be in it to win it! I was also told about another competition for fiction- scripts in fact- which ties in with my current MA module and looked really interesting but, alas, the deadline is really soon so I'll be saving that one possibly for next year.

For now I thought I'd post images and talk a little about the KS3 Challenge English books seeing as they are the books of the moment.

The three KS3 Challenge English books are part of WHSmith's range of books which include KS2 and KS3 Practise, Revise, Challenge, Test and Quick Revision. The ones Steve and I wrote are aimed at the more able, the gifted and talented KS3 students (so ones in Years 7-9) who need and would enjoy a challenge beyond what would normally be encountered in school. The books aim to enrich students' understanding and experience of English.

The books are divided into reading and writing sections addressing skills loosely based on the National Literacy Framework, so things like creative writing, essay planning and writing, researching material, comparing texts, context, irony and satire, form and meaning in poetry and the writing triplets, to name a few, are addressed. Both Steve and I teach so the books are structured with the student in mind. Each unit in the reading and writing sections is divided into Get Started, Practice, Challenge and How did I do? moving from sentence and word level to text level work.

There are useful glossaries in each book and a wide range of extracts and interesting activities. All for £4.99! They should be available in your local WHSmith.

Saturday, May 03, 2008

Bank Holiday

Happy bank holiday weekend one and all! To those anywhere other than the UK this may make no sense. It's actually sunny for once so I shall have to make the most of that. Methinks a long walk is in order. Then perhaps the cinema or theatre.

That and a bit of writing will make for a relaxing weekend.

This week I have received two free holiday vouchers as a result of my obsession with those ridiculous scratchcards you get in papers or magazines. I'm suspecting there may be a catch somewhere but for now I'm considering when to go to Disneyland Paris for two days and when to go on my Mediterranean cruise for four.

I've also had a few social invitations of late which is lovely so I shall have to get my diary out and pencil them in. I've been a bit of a social recluse of late... must be part of my grand plan to become a mad writer??!!

As far as my MA goes I'm currently reading Mamet's Three Uses of the Knife and need to dip into Kundera's The Curtain. I'm looking forward to reading this as I enjoy Kafka.

CGP have also asked me if I'm available to contribute another section to their English AS Revision guide, so I'll be working on the Origins of English section also.

In all, a busy time... if you get a chance read Candy's latest post on age labels on books- interesting debate.

Thursday, May 01, 2008

The Apprentice again

I watched The Apprentice yesterday in between feeling nauseous (which has been the situation a few times the past couple of weeks. Must be coming down with something or seriously stressed!) and I was disgusted again at the way human beings can behave.

Okay, last time I watched the programme and Jenny rounded on Shazia, I thought she just had a problem and was looking for a scapegoat, this time I'm beginning to suspect something more sinister.

Sara? What had she done? Then the others went along with it. It really deeply saddens me when I see grown supposedly intelligent people being manipulated and behaving in a gang like way on the basis of what some have said can only be racism.

I didn't see the whole programme so I can't make a full judgement but from what I've read on message boards (yes, I have been reduced to reading messages about The Apprentice and I have no problem admitting this!) she made some interesting suggestions for cards that were just dismissed for no apparent reason.

Having been on the receiving end, in the past, of ignorant and, sadly- in some cases- bigoted people, I can well understand Sara just going quiet. Shock, disbelief and complete incomprehension may well have played their part in her reaction. Why try to change the minds of people who clearly can't think straight?

I will forever be amazed at how individuals less credible than others think that simply because of the colour of their skin, their accent or cultural heritage they are better. The very fact that they feel the need to behave so abominably, rounding on people to deflect attention from themselves, exposes to me their absolute inferiority and inadequacy.

How on earth can we be in the twenty first century and things like this happen?