Month: June 2007

Of Animals, Diaries and Loaves of Bread (and uniforms!)

1768855.jpgWow it’s finally over- the dreaded first week of term. Now the weeks will simply fly by and before you know it the year will be over. I guess you guys must be feeling as tired as I am- I noticed a couple of you looking a bit spaced out in class. Ironically the happiest ones seem to be the ones who can’t be bothered about doing well. There’s a message in there somewhere, but I’m too scared to figure out what it is.

u18427406.jpgToday’s classes worked with 5 stories from (see the previous entry for the titles), and as is usually the case, some of the stories were easier to put together than the others. Still, many of you managed admirably, and I liked the enthusiasm with which you approached the activity.

Don’t forget- your homework involves reading the story and writing a free response to any aspect/s of it you like in your journal. Any questions- just ask.

aa047000.jpgOh MUST say this: wasn’t the spot check funny today? The way people were getting upset about having their hair cut, you’d think that it was their heads getting cut off instead! Do you think it is unfair that girls don’t have to have a short-back-and-sides haircut? What do you think about the rules on skirt length?

In case you’re wondering, I’m totally in favour of nice neat uniforms and short haircuts. I think it shows high self esteem and a desire to focus on your studies. But that’s just my opinion. You don’t have to agree with it!


The Brass Teapot and other stories

Well we are almost at the end of the first week, and what a week it’s been. I have taken on a new class now (oh come on! You all know which one!) and have found them to be responsive and cheerful, with a fantastic attitude towards learning. Long may it last! I have also been reacquainted with the rest of you, and have enjoyed my week immensely. The stories you built as a class were wonderfully crazy, but showed me that you enjoy weaving tales around real people- and that is invaluable information that I can use when preparing resources for you.

Here are the stories that you built. I have included the names of the scribes as well, and have made no corrections at all. My thanks to all of you for participating so wholeheartedly in this activity and for sharing your wild imgination with me. I accidentally named the file “3e6 story circle”- sorry about that. It contains ALL your stories. Enjoy!


With 3E1 and 3E6, I did another story construction activity, this time with a real story. While 3E1 managed to finish this activity, it would have been more fun if we had had the time to go through your version of the story before comparing it with mine. Also, with better acoustics we could have heard more people speak, without having to read the story off the screen. 3E6’s acoustics are especially bad, because of the size of the classroom. But never mind. I enjoyed seeing all of you in action and really appreciated the effort you put into the activity. Some of you were very enthusiastic, and that is always nice to see.

Anyway, here is the link as promised. The link should take you directly to the story we handled today. Feel free to browse the site as there are many short stories from various genres on offer. It’s all free.


3E1 and 3E6 students are to write in their journals their response to the story and hand it in next Thursday since there is no class on Monday. For the other classes there will be separate instructions given as we will be working on different stories. My apologies to 3E3 for the boring second lesson this week. I see you first for the second lesson of the week, before I see any other class, so you are sort of my guinea pigs. 3E1 are the guinea pigs for my first lesson of the week, so watch out guys!

The other stories I will be using are In The Evenings, Time and Again, An Enlightening Tale, The Spirit of Emulation and Impersonating Elvis. You can find all these stories and more at the above link.

Congrats to those who have managed to hand in their assignments this week and earned bonus points for themselves.

Okay I’m done. Just write in if you have any questions.

My Family and Other Animals


Since we will be taking a close look at narratives next term, I thought that it would be a good idea to work with an actual book. The book in question is “My Family and Other Animals” by Gerald Durrell. There are many reasons why this is a book worth reading and studying. Durrell is an excellent wordsmith. He paints such vivid pictures with his words that you don’t need a photograph to show you the world through his eyes. The storyline is entertaining, and the characters so well described that you feel you know them intimately. If you have read the book then you will know what I am talking about, and you will be happy to know that we will be spending a lot of time with it next term. If you have not read the book you might like to try it. It is unforgettable. You will be amazed at the amount of information we will draw from this single book. Those of you who are studying Literature may wonder why you need one more book added to the list. The answer is that you can never have too much literary exposure.

Even if you don’t want to read the book before school opens, you might want to look up Gerald Durrell on the internet. Sadly, he has passed away, but his life work lives on- he was always an avid conservationist and has done done much to give mute animals a voice in the face of their destruction.

Making contact

shobha.jpgHello my dears. I am so sorry that I have not made any new posts in the last few weeks. I have been too busy preparing all sorts of exciting lessons for you lot for next term. I have also been trying to get some reading done, because I figure that if I am expecting you to read then I should set a good example. Erm- this is a bit embarrassing, but so far I have finished only one book. In my defence, it was a VERY long book. I showed it to some of you- “Wicked”, by Jilly Cooper, who is one of my favourite writers. The book is very well written- lots of good words and phrases, literary allusions, well developed characters and plot, vivid descriptions- the whole enchilada. The only thing that stops me from recommending it to you is the fact that it is peppered with- ahem- naughty scenes. It is a tale of two schools in the same district- one very upper class, and the other on the brink of closing down. If you don’t mind the smut, the story is very engaging. This is a real page turner. But mind- this does not count as an official recommendation.

The next book I will work on is “Off Centre”, which some of you will be doing as a literature text next term. Your teacher insisted I read it, and has even given me a time limit. So Mrs V will be plowing through it over the next few days. If you would like to know what I think about it, check this space after 3 days. If you don’t care then forget it!

How is the holiday assignment going? So far only two people have been in touch with me. One actually hit a snag with the newslink site. She said she could not gain access to it, so I told her that she could pick a news article from any other source. The main thing is how you develop the story through the story boards, and how well you follow your chosen genre. It scares me that no one else has had this experience with newslink, because it means that most people have not started on the assignment yet.

Maybe I should not be so pessimistic. It could mean that the rest of you went ahead and chose other sources on your own. Yes, that makes me feel much better. Please, please get your work done. Otherwise you will have the traumatic experience of seeing Mrs V faint in your class. You may need major counselling after that!

Narrative writing


This is a PowerPoint presentation that I prepared for some of your seniors last year. It covers some basic features of narrative writing that I will be introducing to you next semester. I will probably use some of these slides inĀ  my lessons, so if you are the kind who likes to be prepared for anything, go ahead and familiarize yourself with their contents.

I hope your holiday assignment is well underway. There have been no questions yet, so I assume that all of you are super smart and have managed to figure everything out for yourselves. The alternative assumption I could make is that none of you have started on the assignment yet. This thought scares me, as it means that I will be inundated with questions in the final week. I don’t like scary thoughts. They keep me awake at night.

Watch this space for more previews of what lies ahead in Semester 2 of our journey together.