Sunday, 30 November 2008

Shades of Gray

Getting this week's homework in the nick of time...

An absolutely amazing story can be read here.

I couldn't even begin to do it justice by describing it to you, so I'm going to whet your appetite by quoting directly the very first paragraph:

"The rhythm of her Nikes slapping the pavement countered the pace of her breathing. While it didn't quite match completely, it was comforting for the mismatched tempos mimicked her mood. There had been a lot going on in Annie's life; everything except the one thing she wanted. Slowly she pushed all the thoughts out of her mind and focused on the beat pulsating in her ears and the burn in her calves. She was one mile in with two still waiting to be traveled; a daunting task when ten laps around the station make one mile."

There are 10 chapters/posts so far, so it won't take you long to catch up, and believe me, you are in for a treat.

The story is written by Bernice, who has a blog about her day-to-day life here.


stepping back for a second to teaching...

So I'm a little bit behind the times....actually a lot behind the times. Seems I'm handing in my homework rather late...

I just wanted to share the following with you, which are all teaching blogs I came across while I was searching last week. They are all really good.

Bluebird's Classroom is the musings of a middle school teacher in the U.S. In her latest post she talks about frog dissections. Lovely.

It's Not All Flowers and Sausages is a very well-written teaching blog. Lately she's been hoovering her classroom in preparation for the parent-teacher evenings!

NY Teacher is a blog by a primary-school teacher in Brooklyn. Here she shares some good tips on how to get kids to make more effort with their spelling.

And finally,

To Miss With Love is an amazing blog written by a teacher in an inner-city school in London. She points out in this post why children don't take exams seriously. The archives used to be much larger, and it seems she may be ceasing to blog soon, so get in there quick!

I really haven't done these blogs the justice they deserve, so go have a poke around and see if there is anything you like!



Thursday, 27 November 2008

Are you sitting comfortably? Then, I'll begin...

Having chosen this weeks topic, it dawned on me quite quickly what a mammoth task I had set for the team. There are squillions of fiction bloggers out there, all hammering out their quirky tales, in a veritable cacophony of creative clattering. The tap-tappety-tap of keyboards echo throughout the ever chaotic avenues of the fictionosphere. So how on earth was I going to be able to pick just one?

Never being one to turn down a challenge, but struggling to single out a sole subject, I made an executive decision. I wasn't going to. So instead of just one choice this week, I am going to cheat, openly, and bring you my top three creative writing blogs. Be grateful, I was going to cover 15...

The author of "Some More of God's Greatest Mistakes" splits her blog into two. The part that I tend to frequent covers her day to day life, living with an eating disorder. The other half of her blog, contains short fiction. Sometimes the two cross over, for example "Anorexia Reunion" is an ironic look at the competitive but solely self-destructive nature of Anorexia Nervosa.

The majority of her fiction is not based upon eating disorders. There are several series, and numerous shorts available to read on her blog. I enjoyed "Zombie Toaster Virus" "How to sell yourself short" and "don't cry out" Vanessa has recently been working on a series of pieces called "Instructions to a young deity" beginning at part 1 and scattered throughout the blog up until the most recent part 14
Some of her older writing includes a series entitled "Things could be worse..." I particularly enjoyed "...if the rain washed away all our pain", "...if my voice was stolen by wolves" and "...if I only had one eye".
I also

I also found another great fiction blog on her blogroll: Told On A Friday which has a veritable fiction-fest for you. I didn't have time to write a post, and read everything on there, however I did enjoy Adventures in Sitting (or The Armchair Romantic) although I'm sure I just identified with the upholstery love, seeing as I have merged into one, with my futon. And I fell in love with Underneath His Hat but you have to read it yourself to find out why.

The last blog I happened across quite by accident, and decided at the last minute that it was worth a mention. Natalia Antonova* is The Dork Angel, and this is her personal blog. Aside from general posts on pretty much life, the world and the Universe, Dork Angel provides an archive of Natalia's own writing. She describes her stories section:
"Some are purely personal anecdotes, like diary entries, others are a little bit more substantial and fleshed out. I am progressing toward something here, am just not sure as to what yet"
There is some dark imagery lurking in Natalia's archives, I got creeped out by Nightmares and found her own take on Fairy Stories to be quite interesting, try The Blunt Mirror. There are also a selection of personal essays, the one which stood out for me was: Natasha From Russia but be warned, the content is quite real and harsh.

Phew, that should keep you busy!

* Natalia also writes a column for the online magazine called Global Comment, which describes itself as one-stop web magazine for all readers who are looking for fresh, independent and eclectic commentaries written by talented writers from all over the world....

Wednesday, 26 November 2008

Week 3: Hannah's choice for 'Fiction'

This has been a great week for finding hidden gems! There are so many creative people out there, I was overwhelmed to find so much inspiration!

I'm going to share Sin of Silence with you, because it was so endearing. SoS describes her blog like this;

"This blog, in a very short time, has indeed become my home. Like my bedroom back home. Yes, I like the sound of that word. Home. It makes me feel like I belong somewhere. It makes me forget all insecurities and self-doubt. It makes me feel at home."

All I can say is it really does make you feel like you have entered into a little secret hideaway, where you will find yourself privy to some beautiful writing.
Themes that run through include, dreams, growing up, relationships, hopes and fears, it's treasure trove stuff.
I think this blog shows so much potential, take a look, you wont be disappointed!

Now I'm going to push you all in the direction of two more deliciously sparkly finds; Creative Coping is the first, talent like this simply must be shared, and the second is Little Debbie Oatmeal Cookie, off the wall creative genius!

Enjoy my friends!

Friday, 21 November 2008

Week 2: Hannah's Choice for 'Teaching'

Wowee! What have I learnt this week? Teaching equals stress people!

As I ploughed through the blogosphere this week I've been blasted with more hot air than you would encounter from a dairy cow's behind!

It would appear our little darlings have been providing teachers with more than enough fodder to rant about. I came upon post after post from hair-pulling, pent-up, worn out educators.

My big blue neon arrow is pointing you towards Scenes from the Battleground, a blog about teaching in tough schools in the UK. The blog author, Old Andrew, is a secondary school teacher who confesses to loving his role as an educator but at the same time is "utterly dissatisfied" with the way the British education system is run.

Honest, frank, strongly opinionated, Scenes from the Battleground is admirably well researched, topical and rightly inspiring a large following. Ok, so it's already well-known but before you cast me down below, it was one of the best I came across and I couldn't help sharing it with you!
Complete with an interactive discussion forum this blog is an invaluable resource for teachers, and I recommend it to you as a great read.

Check out Old Andrew's tongue in cheek humour in The Driving Lesson and his alarming discussion on students intimidating teachers in Getting "Terrored".

To conclude, this is an eye-opener. A real insight into what goes on within the school gates. More of us need to be aware of what is actually happening in our country's schools these days!

Thursday, 20 November 2008

Week 2 - Diary of A Trainee Teacher

Like Lola, I too had to sift through lots of very interesting, but unfortunately abandoned, blogs before I found some still live.

A lot of them are really good, but also already quite popular.

However, here is a gem I don't think is very well-known.

Unfortunaltey, with the pressures of a PGCE (and I know how tough they can be seeing as my housemate started one and dissapeared into the world of study, never to be seen again!) she doesn't update very often, but when she does you can tell she is learning - a lot! There is a good mix of 'things I have learnt on the job' posts and 'things I have learnt through research, reading and essay-writing' posts.

Check out Reflection, Wow - it wasn't a fluke, and fail to plan- plan to fail (which is a lesson for us all!) for examples of the former.

Check out Classroom management, SATS scrapped and Universities and Training for examples of the latter.

Update your blogrolls and enjoy!

(On that note, I didn't realise how bad this project would be for me - adding about 7 blogs to the roll a week is very very bad for the amount of time I'm spending reading all the updates! Ah well, I could be addicted to worse things in life...)

Tuesday, 18 November 2008

Week Two - A Class Act

It appears that teachers are unable to complete their homework. Literally millions* of abandoned projects cluttering up the blogosphere, obviously they missed the lesson on how to tidy up after themselves, huh?

After a frustrating hour of trawling t'interweb, I seriously thought that I was about to become a 404 Not Found. You know that feeling, when you have so many tabs and windows open that you can't remember where you started, where you're going or what you were even looking for in the first place. So I got apon my snobby-bloggy high horse. Too many photos? You are the weakest link, Goodbye! Eughgh black background with red font, what in God's name were you thinking? Oh my word, I do NOT want to see your real face if you look like that! How many Memes have you done? Is this a MEME blog? I don't want to read about your flippin' holiday in Turkey. What is your problem, do you hate your readers? No? Then whats with all the fricking clipart? Huh? Is this 1992?

Then I started getting hyper-bloggy-snobby: Errrm no, I'm sorry, you are a TEACHER. Can you not spell? Hypocrite is spelt with a I not a Y. Can you not consult a dictionary-book? No? Well pee off then with your bad grammar and your spellcheckophobia. And so forth.

I was worried this week might creep over the language barrier into Baby Speakland, with cutsie-wootsie stories of gosh-n-darn it, ain't kids the cutest things? But then I found this blog. A light, (but well thought out), humorous (but not cruel or mocking) gleaming example of blogging at it's best.

"It shouldn't Happen To A Teacher" definitely gets a gold star from me. Actually I liked it so much that I've added it to my Google Reader, and to my Blog Roll. It's the blog of a young maths teacher who describes his favourite things about teaching as
"the holidays, the financial incentives and the encouraging ratio of male to female teachers. Oh and working with kids and inspiring young minds and all that"

The blog used sufficient technical lingo for one to be sure this is a real Teachers blog, as apposed to someone merely pretending to be a teacher (like y'know writing about Home Economics or something) but the reader can understand the posts without needing a degree in Teacherology.

I wanted to pick out my favourite posts to share with you, but honestly I struggled. I made my way down the list, mentally noting: "Oh yes, this one. Oh and this one. Yes this one, this one too" and that was only the most recent page. I thought this post on "Quiz Night", was really sweet in a non-vomit inducing way. The post entitled "Shut Up" made me laugh out loud, and I think we can all identify with "What did you say". Personally I also loved "Standing Out" because I could just picture the scene, and "I'm blind" had me in slightly cringy stitches too.

These are just a few of the more recent posts. He's been blogging for three years now, so you have the whole archives to work your way through. Something to occupy you on the Sunday evening blog-posting lull. After you've done your homework that is.

Lola Snow x
Blog Addict 404


*OK tiny exaggeration

Monday, 17 November 2008

Week 2 (Teaching) - just a math teacher

I think I've found an exceedingly hidden gem here. The other day, Chapati was kind enough to give me a Blog Award, and I've been following it's progress.

I passed it to Bernice, who passed it on to Big Bad Wolf, who passed it to Earl, who passed it to his sister, Yoda of Math. Currently, she only reads Earl's and their mum's, and I only see evidence of comments from Earl.

Her writing, however, is just how I like it. She talks to you in the way you would tell things to a friend - it gets the point across without being overly emotive or long-winded, or overly clinical/brief.

I think that, given more readers, this blog could be the centre of its own community

So, without further ado, I introduce 'just a math teacher' by Yoda of Math

Week 2 - Teaching

OK, week 2's theme is teaching. I can imagine us getting some really good ones out of this week - it's a topic which is bound to inspire conversation and debate.

I'm looking forward to reading eeryone's finds.

We've already added one reader to our team, and the more the merrier, so if anyone's interested...

Thursday, 13 November 2008

Introducing Hannah!


HANNAH: (enters stage left and glides gracefully to podium) "Oh, oh really! You are all too kind, too kind!" (holds arms aloft, nods graciously, basks in glory of applause)


HANNAH: (taking her time) "Well, what can I say? I am honoured, (dramatically clutches bosom) deeply honoured to accept this awar...." (cut short by frantic head shaking and arm waggling by rest of Blog Listings crew)


HANNAH: "Ah, erm..?(catches sight of auto-cue) Oh! Ahah! (suppressing a growl) I am deeply honoured to be accepted as a part of this new and exciting enterprise, Blog Listings!"


HANNAH: (taking advantage of position and ignoring auto-cue)"I promise you, my (responds to deep frown from Lola Snow and corrects) erm.. our readers, I will endeavour to ensure that the contributions I intend to bring forth will cover a plethora of hugely entertaining and emotive subjects. (then, hastily) As you will see from my own blog (speeds up), Becoming Hannah, I am a highly talented and exceptionally gifted young writer with a skill for capturing an audiennnnce...yelp!" (dragged off stage right unceremoniously by rest of Blog Listings crew)


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