Saturday, 22 December 2012

Professor Sarah Churchwell on The Great Gatsby and The American Dream

Professor Sarah Churchwell on "The American Dream" and its "real" application to "The Great Gatsby".

Tuesday, 2 October 2012

Fleetwood Mac's "Everywhere" based on Alfred Noyes' "The Highwayman"

It's an oldie - but a goody! Fleetwood Mac's lyrics are loosely based on Alfred Noyes' poem, "The Highwayman" but the video captures the poem's visuals very well.

The Music Quiz for Collegiate Day

There are two quizes and you will be paired with someone from the same Hall.

The first is for 20 minutes.
The second lasts for 10 minutes. 

In the first quiz you can pause and replay the 4 second extracts; then type in the songs' titles in any order.

In the second quiz you will need to type the song title for 2009 with the artist. But remember that the clock will still be counting down.

Quiz number 1 (20 minutes)

Quiz number 2 (10 minutes)

Mr Ballard or I will visit you at the end of each quiz to collect your scores. We will need your names and your Halls.

The highest scores from students and their Halls will be passed on so that awards can be made in our next Area Meeting.

When you have finished, have a go for 20-30 minutes at a funYouTube quiz like this one:

or, this one:

Of course, you can choose your own! Unfortunately, there are no points for these YouTube quizzes.


Tuesday, 31 July 2012

Alf Field's latest - 31st of July 2012 - Gold to $4500

One of my few posts on gold and silver.

Alf Field, one of the most pre-eminent chartists on gold and silver, thinks:
  • the correction in gold and silver is over
  • Wave 3 of 3, the biggest and longest rise in the bull market in PMs is about to begin
  • Gold to $4500 and silver to at least $158

Saturday, 14 July 2012

Why Reading Matters (Parts 1-6 of the BBC series)

Reading does more for your brain than you might think! If you don't use your reading skills, you'll lose them. Words affect circuits in our brains! Reading enhances empathy.


Part 2





Thursday, 28 June 2012

The value of Twitter for teachers and students

This video is okay but even more telling reasons have been given in videos posted over the last few days.

I will be forming Twitter groups for my classes with set topics as of September 2012. This should enable more contributions from prep for thinking, reading, writing and research around these topics. One would also expect learners, who already use SMS text messaging umpteen times a day, to be more confident with their own student voices in such a structured environment.

Andrea Lunsford on the Myths of Digital Literacy

Wednesday, 27 June 2012

Exam Strategies - Test Skills : how to ace exams

This advice is "as good as it gets" for taking tests and exams. 

How you can boost your grades with great note taking skills

This pretty much sums up everything you need to know to succeed at your studies. Three note taking styles are explained here and, crucially, how and why you need to review your notes, once a week for DEEPER LEARNING and doing fantastically well in exams! 

Any student who did half of what is suggested in this video must improve their grades.

Notetaking is like Texting: you process information for its key points and ideas

Several students who reviewed their academic year recognised the importance of taking good notes.  That is, knowing the key points to make and writing notes in a condensed form. This teacher makes an excellent point on the relationship between text messaging and note-taking. Students have to make decisions many times a day and PROCESS the key/main points in their text messages. 

I've been pushing the Cornell method of making notes with my students and it is an excellent method for making effective notes which great for revising for exams, etc. I'll post a template for this type of note taking soon.

David Crystal speaks up the benefits of texting on "It's Only A Theory"

The Prof. debunks several myths here. Great stuff!

Tuesday, 26 June 2012

A New Literacy: Making Connections in Electronic Environments

Only 3 or so minutes long and worth watching. Young people today write and read more than they did before the invention of the telephone, and perhaps earlier!

David Crystal - Texts and Tweets: myths and realities


Professor David Crystal, probably the world's greatest expert on the English language, gives his views on how new technology helps young people learn. Interesting - and amazing stuff from a man who looks a little like Father Christmas.

David Crystal - How is the internet changing language today?

Saturday, 23 June 2012

Cuddywifters, cack-handers and coochies

From The British Library

Curator Jonnie Robinson presents recordings that explore the ever-changing regional contrasts of the English language. With discussion from a panel of experts.

A podcast on ever changing contrasts in the English language   (interesting)

Tuesday, 19 June 2012

Final advice for the unit 3 English Literature exam for Wednesday!

For section A of Unit 3 - The unseen poem

Remember where the marks are for each assessment objective: AO1 10 marks and 30 marks for AO2. So language form and structure are all important here.

Read the poem least twice to try to understand it. Look for where the first sentence ends to get a leg up on its meaning.  What and where is the poem's central tension? (Its contradiction - stretching - the interplay of conflicting elements?)

Think about titles careful as they will help you with your understanding of the poem. Are they literal, ironic, etc.?

For words/phrases you do not understand, read around them their contexts should give you clues as their meaning.

Use CAAP to try to get hold of the poem's meaning: Context, Attitude (tone/s) Audience and Purpose.

Then use FLIRT (Form and Structure, Language, Imagery, Rhythm and Rhyme, Theme(s) and Tone) to annotate the poem.  Some of these may be more appropriate than others.

Make a plan! So you can add to it when necessary as you write.

Remember to use the Point - Evidence - Comment   or  Assert - Quote - Comment  approach when writing  your answer.

Begin with an introduction which sets out what the poem is about and how it is communicated. (i.e. first or third person and nominate its form, if you can do so.)

Write a proper conclusion in which you sum up or restate your main ideas by answering the question again.

Proof read for errors in meaning, punctuation, apostrophes, capital letters, etc.

For Section B

Go over those booklets I gave you. There is lots of terminology and ideas in them!

For the Gatsby, Corelli, Duffy question you need to read the prompt carefully as the AOs will be targeted in its words and phrases. Read the rest of the question and make sure you pay careful attention to the AO 1 - 10 marks ( Understanding the texts, writing the essay and using appropriate literary terms.) Annotate the question: circle or underline key words. Use marker pens if necessary to make things stand out.
The key AOs and marks for this question are:
AO2 -  10 marks    Language, Forms and Structure.
AO1     10 marks    Understanding the text, writing about them and using literary terminology.
AO3 -  20 marks  Comparing and contrasting, using your own arguments/ interpretation of texts and showing awareness of other readings. Modern readers, etc.
AO4 -  Modern readers and how these texts would have been read by others over time. Historical and cultural contexts, includes, philosophy ideologies, etc.

As the question is so far away from where you are expected to begin your answer in the booklets, write out the key exam theme and how it is focused:

Relationships: texts which confront the reader with powerful emotions.

Read the prompt carefully and deconstruct it for its AOs Notice that it often has an AO2 words and  phrases like "presentation" or "how successful is the writers in engaging" is inttended to get you to to think about the writers' techniques in evoking these powerful emotions in parts/passages of the texts you have studied. You should then cross over from AO2 to AO3-4 by using the AO2 words, etc. as a springboard into your AOs 3-4 points. By  noticing that CCM is a polyphonic novel you are commenting on its structure (AO2) but by arguing how its use of polyphony is postmodern and that its structure represents a more complicated sense of reality for readers, you have crossed over into AO4.  "Historiographic fiction" is an AO2 term for the novel's form; but you can cross over into AO4 by explaining how for modern readers this is a popular form which blends real events with fictitious characters to arrive at the a "truthful representation of reality." The "truth" in "The Great Gatsby" is mediated through one narrator, Nick Carraway, who filters it through several frame narratives within his own narrative. Note how he says he is writing about Gatsby early in Chapter 1. Similarly, characters who are writing (Dr (Ianis, Pelagia, history and the past, Carlo's testament, Mandras' letters) are also present in CCM. Truth and reality is arrived at in different ways through each texts'  readers. Also for AO4, early readers of The Great Gatsby in 1925 had no idea that there would be a a depression just a few years later. The early reviews suggest as much.  In our time, we are only too familiar with the consequences of credit, corruption and waste. Indeed the theme of waste connects the texts: wasted lives and love, wasted wealth, corruption; what the Greeks are going through today influences how modern readers will read these texts. They will also be aware of the consequences of the pressures now on our own banks not just in this country but throughout the world. We are living with the consequences of greed, power-hungry melgamaniacs (rich bankers) has left us with: 1930s style austerity and poverty.

Select passages or events from chapters and make a plan. If you include Duffy you could make a chart-like plan. Otherwise a like down the middle on a page will help  you compare. You can use passages, evidence from elsewhere in the texts to show you have an overview but it should not be at the expense of your overall argument. It is that overall argument which should have your overview. Use themes to help you compare and contrast: i.e. honour, love, waste, position of women, etc.

Consider relevant themes which will help you compare and contrast each text. For example, various forms of love, change, honour, education, the position of women, the past, writing in its various forms, the underlaying Greek mythology and Christian imagery which underpins the CCM. Remember that the newly rich, former Roman slave, Trimalchio, lays behind the representation of Jay Gatsby. Other themes can be found be looking at past posts on this blog. See the Corelli link on the right for past posts.

If you go for the blunderbuss approach by trying to say lots of mini arguments you may risk depth at the expense of breadth.

You need an overall argument and three or four supporting arguments to back it up.

Use terminology where appropriate. For example, third person narrator, imagery, lexis, contrast, parallel characters, foregrounding,  etc. Much of this will  carry over into AO2.

Assert - Quote - Comment    should be your method.  Always ask yourself, "Have I proved my point?)

Don't allow yourself to end up telling the story. The authors have done it much better than you can! If you are doing that you are not arguing and using evidence. Check that your points are relevant to the question.

Revisit the prompt and its key words, regularly and use them to show that that your answer is relevant in a frequent manner.

Use the anchor text method by beginning with your favoured text and then comparing from that. Do this if it helps you.

A brief introduction is fine but set out your lines of argument and identify the passages or events you intend using to construct your argument. You could, perhaps lead with the theme that connects the texts from your question. Be prepared to evaluate - "how far you would agree," etc. You can contradict to an extent if you wish.  Use a third person approach. Avoid "I" until the end of your essay where it might find its way into your conclusion.

Write a proper conclusion which sums up your main argument.

Proof read for sense, punctuation, apostrophes, spellings, capitals, etc.

This is your chance to prove  what you know and can do. It is a test of your skills as an A2 student of English Literature and you are expected to give and analytical - and emotional response.

Good luck and enjoy.


Friday, 15 June 2012

What have the Romans ever done for us?

Key terms for Captain Corelli’s Mandolin (Chapter 1)

In what ways is the novel Postmodern? (AOs 2+4)

The post modern setting – on the fringes/margins of Greece and the Western World.

Prompt: what have the Romans ever done for us?
The scene is from Monty Python's film, "The Life of Brian" (1979). Reg., of The People's Front of Judea, rails against the big government of the Romans and how they have done nothing but cause problems.

Prompt: what have the Greeks ever done for us?

Philosophy – Architecture – The Gods, Poetry, Drama, Great Stories, Culture, Democracy – Greek culture is an integral part of our own: BT vans and Pan playing his pipes.

This novel’s form – historiographic fiction – a mix of historical facts and real settings with fictitious characters.

Polyphonic novel – “many voices” (viewpoints).

De Bernieres experiments with viewpoint, language, playscript, chapter titles, form, characters, settings, etc. (i.e. the title for chapter 1 is set out in an eighteenth century style.) He also teases the reader by holding back the entrance of Captain Corelli until page 191 (new edition).

Of course, there are other ways in which this novel is postmodern.

Friday, 18 May 2012

A lecture from Yale University on The Great Gatsby ( part one )

Professor Wai Chee Dimock begins her discussion of The Great Gatsby by highlighting Fitzgerald’s experimental counter-realism, a quality that his editor Maxwell Perkins referred to as “vagueness.”  (Yale University)

Professor Wai Chee Dimock on The Great Gatsby

Living the Dream in the Valley of the Ashes

Saturday, 31 March 2012

How to write the main body of your coursework essays

Owen Clayton's first podcast deals with how to write effective introductions and conclusions. Here, he examines how you can write effective essays by focusing on planning and writing the main body of your essay. Very valuably Owen also shows how to use critics in your essays.
How to write effective essays (Part 2)

Very useful for writing introductions and conclusions.
Part 1 of how to create effective essays

AO2 Language, Form and Structure in Literature

Simon Swift form Leeds University discusses these aspects within the context of the writing of Virginia Woolf and Sylvia Plath.

Wednesday, 28 March 2012

Part 7, Chapter 9 of "Brighton Rock"

A Prezi on Women in "Othello" -

Shakespeare's England - Very useful for Assessment Objective 4 on historical context(s)

This is one of the finest blogs I have ever seen. The information found there is just what students need for understanding the period in which Shakespeare produced his plays.  There is a range of topics, many of them illustrated with original images and texts by contemporaries. This is a happy hunting ground for understanding the contexts for Shakespeare's plays in depth. It is the work of a patient academic who obviously is has enthusiasm for this topic.

Shakespeare's England

Friday, 17 February 2012

Tuesday, 14 February 2012

How to read Shakespeare - Concept Map

Click on the image to increase its size.   

Monday, 13 February 2012

Saturday, 4 February 2012

Naturalistic and Heightened Speech in Shakespeare and Interpretations of Shylock

This clips are excellent for understanding how Shakespeare uses a mix of naturalistic and heightened speech. John Barton's masterly TV series from the early 1980s is the best of its kind. More can be learned from single 45 minute episode than years from lesser teachers. If you are finding Shakespeare's language difficult, use this clip and others on You Tube to unlock and appreciate Shakespeare.

Most of these clips use The Merchant of Venice as their text for examples. The TV series was titled, "Playing Shakespeare." It is now available on DVD.

Naturalistic and Heightened Speech

Shylock from Playing Shakespeare

David Suchet and Patrict Suchet talk about playing Shylock

Patrick Stewart and David Suchet discuss the domestic scene in Shylock's house

Patrick Stewart and David Suchet exchange roles playing Shylock's "Hath not a Jew eyes?" (Critical for the theme of revenge under guise of outraged humanity.)

Shylock's meeting with Tubal where his "money love" is greater than his love for his daughter

Friday, 20 January 2012

Othello summarised on Prezi

This looks as if several students pooled their efforts to produce a summary with some commentary and analysis for students who need to understand the play.

Thursday, 12 January 2012

Frankenstein in 60 second recaps

Useful, succinct and great for learning new ideas or going over what you know.

The Great Gatsby in 60 seconds

The amount of detail covered in these 60 second recaps of this text are surprisingly detailed. These short films are very for students who are either new to the text or are going over it for revision.

About Me

I teach Film, Media and English Lit.