That’s right, go here right now and give us the ol’ thumbs up! If you do, you’l be able to keep abreast of what’s going on at our fabulous little school in the Kimberley region of WA, and see plenty of deadly photos like the one below:
Roald Dahl concluded his children’s novel – Danny the Champion of the World – by telling us that what children want, and deserve, are parents who are sparky. I’d suggest that Dahl’s decree could be extended to another group of people who have the ability to shape the lives of today’s youth – teachers. When one thinks back to their favourite teacher, sparky would likely be among the adjectives used to describe them.
Which brings me to this clip I came across the other day. An obviously creative and talented educator who delivers the hook to this lesson perfectly. If we teachers find this inspirational, imagine the effect on the students. Sparky indeed!
Good grammar is important, particularly if you’re off to a Grammar Rodeo:
(I love how there’s a Simpsons reference that can be inserted into most conversational topics…)
But on a serious note, there’s a discernible relationship between the proliferation of social media and the declining standard of grammar across cyberspace and indeed the real world. Each incorrectly used homophone and poorly placed apostrophe results in one’s message losing both credibility and effectiveness, and given that the purpose for writing is to convey messages, surely it follows that bad grammar is counter productive to the whole point of writing in the first place!
Thankfully, the lovely chaps at copyblogger.com (via inspirationfeed.com) have produced this nifty infographic for us all. Behold the 15 grammar goofs that are to be avoided at all costs when writing. I think you’ll agree that its a great tool that their showing off hear – its certainly had an affect on my grammar and it might help you’re grammar to!
(Bonus points if you can correctly identify the number of grammar goofs in the italicised phrase above…)
Ahh, how I love you, school holidays. You give me time to digest stuff like this, which was written by a chap named Sam Eifling for Deadspin.com recently. Wanna know which letters in Scrabble give you a mathematical advantage, according to their frequency in the English language compared to their numerical value in the game? Have a read of the link and the comments that go along with it, and you’ll be unbeatable! Well, maybe…
FWIW, Words With Friends goes someway to making the playing field more even among the letters of the alphabet, which is to be expected given it was created just four years ago and not 75 like Scrabble. Specifically, making both H and Y worth 3 instead of 4 gets them closer to Eifling’s Ideal Points Value. The same can be said for L and U – both originally 1 in Scrabble but given a more ‘Ideal’ value of 2 in WWF. (If none of this paragraph makes sense to you so far, then read the link first.) But then given the proliferation of ‘help’ (aka cheat) sites that can be easily accessed via an additional window on your deivce, I reckon the old school tiles, wooden stands and good ol’ tangible game board are a more reliable test of one’s true vocabulary skill.
One week after the event, it’s just dawned on me that I’m yet to follow up on this previous tweet:
So… I’ve accepted a new position for the 2013 school year! No longer will I be a Year 6 teacher at leafy All Saints’ College in Perth, WA; as of January I’ll be a Deputy Principal in the primary section of Kununurra District High School. Exciting times indeed!
For the uninitiated, Kununurra is in the East Kimberley region of Western Australia. By road, it’s the same distance away from Perth as Melbourne (approx 3200 km). Equivalent trips around the world could be made between Los Angeles and Chicago or Manchester and Istanbul. (Basically, it’s a frickin’ long way from home!) Here’s a map:
The town is home to some 8000 residents, roughly 50% indigenous and 50% non. Lake Argyle, Australia’s largest body of fresh water, is just down the highway; indeed, the town was built in the 1960’s to support Stage 1 of the Ord River Irrigation Scheme. Most importantly, the town is the gateway into some of the most stunning natural scenery in the world, including the Gibb River Road, El Questro Wilderness Park and the World Heritage-listed Purnululu National Park, home of these guys:
So the place is naturally stunning, and the weekend family camping opportunities have increased markedly, but what’s the attraction from a professional point-of-view? Why leave a permanent position at a highly regarded, well-resourced, technology-rich, independent school in the city for a gig in the outback?
My personal belief is that in order for one to become an expert in their chosen career, one must expose themselves to a wide variety of contextual settings. Allowing oneself a greater breadth of professional experiences will allow far greater professional growth. To that end, I’m not daunted by the notion of moving on from a well-heeled school that uses an investigative/inquiry approach built around a one-to-one laptop program, when I’ll be learning how best to tackle low rates of literacy and numeracy amongst indigenous children in a program geared around explicit instruction. I’ll be helping young children who’ve never seen a city, including those who need to borrow a pair of shoes for the school day when they arrive first thing in the morning because they don’t own any. And as well as applying what I think I know about education in a totally different context, I’ll also be fortunate to experience an initial foray into admin and school leadership.
So the 4WD’s been purchased, all of our winter clothes have been put into storage (the average temperature in July in Perth is a mild 18°C, in Kununurra it’s 30°C!) and we’re ready to embark on the next chapter of our lives. If you’re ever passing through the top end, make sure you get in touch if you’re up for catching a fish or three over a few coldies!