I admit it. I have a problem. I am seriously addicted to zombie and post apocalyptic fiction. Books, video, graphic novel, you name it. At times I have found myself daydreaming several times during the day about the ways I would survive if (when…!) the zombies rise or the world as we know it comes to an end. That’s when I know I have to cut myself off and move onto something less mind freaking. (Such as  ‘Game of Thrones’, ‘True blood’ or the ‘Vampire diaries’)…..However, I have recently read two Zombie fiction and thought I might deviate from what my ‘What’s it all about’ blog description says this blog is all about and do some reviews. Mainly because, being on school holidays, I actually have the energy and brain space to read something other than work stuff and I want to share it.

The first one I want to talk about was ‘Warm Bodies’. I was inspired to buy the e-book after coming across the trailer for the film version that comes out sometime this year. (In the US at least – heaven knows when we might see it)

Looks like fun huh? The book isn’t quite so ‘fun’ but it had its moments. It was one of ‘those’ books that had the potential to be totally awesome but never quite got there…the idea behind it was interesting – the un-dead teenager falls for the ex girlfriend of the guy whose brain he just consumed (except for the little spare bits he keeps in his pocket for when he gets the munchies). Some zombie stories are all about the gore and action; some are about the whole world gone bad and what happens to humanity. Then there are ones like this that raise the question of what makes us who we are, where is our soul, what happens to it blah blah blah. Whilst all that side of the story was actually a bit too vague and distracted from what could have been much much better I still give it 3 paws out of 5 for originality. It will be interesting to see what Hollywood does to it!

The second one is another one Hollywood has got its hands on and even in the trailer I can see they have made major changes to the zombies themselves – they were never that ‘souped up’ in the novel!

Now I think the film version looks pretty darn good but the e-book itself was seriously compelling. It is presented as a series of interviews with survivors of World War Z, told after the main event is (mostly) over. Even though there are no characters as such (certainly no Brad Pitt hero type) to get involved with the stories each person have to tell build and build until we have a clear picture of how the world responded to the crisis, both before during and after. A few ‘famous’ names are also hinted at throughout the novel, but never directly mentioned, which was fun. What I found very enthralling was the knowledge the author showed of the political and cultural nature of each nation and how he worked this into that nations tale of survival. I would give this one 5 paws out of 5 – WOOF!

‘Warm Bodies’ by Isaac Marion and ‘World War Z’ by Max Brooks (interesting fact – he is the son of Anne Bancroft and Mel Brooks –  some creative DNA there) are both available on Kindle and no doubt in other formats as well.

Whilst writing this post I have contemplated whether my garden fence would be high enough to keep out a determined zombie (0ne of the slow ones obviously); whether I could bring myself to eat my dogs if I was starving (never, rather eat my neighbour – he’d also be easier to catch ..) and which of the houses/buildings in town I would move into if I was the last one standing (like in The Omega Man) so it probably IS time for ‘rehab’ and a break from apocalyptic thinking…..right after I watch the next episode of ‘The Walking Dead’ series 3. And if you are a zombie fan and you have never watched this TV show MAN you better get right on that because it is good enough to hooooowwwwwlllll about. Incredibly gory (have to watch some scenes through my fingers), great action, characters you just love to love or love to hate or a bit of both!

 

Last year our school moved to a Vertical Curriculum style program – this means that our English classes, which run for a semester, all follow a particular theme. The year nine class I ended up with was the Crime and Mystery class – typically one of the few genres I don’t read very much (although I love Midsummer Murders, Poirot, Miss Marple etc on the telly!) So I found it pretty hard to get my head around what I would cover and how I might build in the usual text analysis skills etc I was used to covering in a ‘normal’ year nine class.

In the end I decided to begin by looking at how narratives are created (I might post that later….) and then moved into an examination of crime fiction itself. I have included here the first unit of work – we looked at the conventions of crime fiction in a general way, then looked at one of the very first examples of crime fiction – The Murders in the Rue Morgue by Poe, which included the students creating a multi- media project – then moved onto The Hound of the Baskervilles (fantastic story – theresourcehound naturally loves this one….). I have included here a power point which outlines the genre’s features; a conventions of crime fiction checklist we used a lot in class to ‘pick the stories to pieces’, and the broad outline of what I  did in class. (aimed for anyway!) Plus the task sheet for the Murder’s in the Rue Morgue activity – I have adapted this in different ways depending on the equipment available at the time – if you can think of different ways to do this please let us know.

Crime Fiction – what’s it all about

Crime Fiction unit outline

Conventions of crime stories checklist

Interviewing the witnesses video task

As we were not able to purchase any new resources for our new subjects I relied a lot on online versions, including audio – there are lots of Sherlock Holmes stories available. When you look at the outline of the unit you will see I make mention of class sets and library resources – obviously you may not have access to these specific titles, but if you are a teacher you are most likely used to (like the resourcehound) digging around until you find what you need…..

Stealing’   

Following an older post about creating poetry mash-ups in class I had a request for further information on how I actually taught this. This power point outlines the basic lesson and might be of help. I have also included a copy of the poem ‘Stealing’ by Carol Ann Duffy, it is one of my favorites.

Stealing

Scanner Pro app.

Posted: March 14, 2013 in Apps for iPad

I love this app. on my iPad and I have used it a lot in class. It costs less than $8.00 and turns your iPad into a scanner. I have used this to scan sample student work to show other students via Edmodo or on the electronic white board; I have scanned important documents that are in hardcopy so I can send then electronically; I have scanned notes written on the board in class for students who were absent or for referring to next class. What makes this better (in my view) than taking a photo is that I can very easily upload the scans to various places – email; Google drive; Edmodo library etc. The clarity is also great and it has saved me from having to locate an unused photocopier when I need to scan – also, if you are in class and need to scan something it is awesome!! Love it love it love……

Understanding the Digital Generation

Innovative Teaching and the iGeneration

A Road Map to Teaching in the 21

st Century

Tuesday 11 & Wednesday 12 June 2013

An amazing opportunity for Professional Transformation

Brauer College, an emerging leader in 21st Century teaching and learning in Western Victoria, has secured Ian Jukes, a world-renowned keynote speaker, who will lead us through a day of discovery on our professional journeys, exploring ways in which we can improve how we teach our future digital citizens to enable them to learn more effectively. Ian has agreed to participate in a full day regional professional learning conference, which will run in conjunction with a second day of optional workshops.

This is an outstanding opportunity for regional educators to hear from a world renowned keynote speaker as well as attend a series of workshops aimed at answering these questions:

 How do I balance the best of the past with the opportunities and realities of the present?

How do I balance all that I know with all that we are becoming?

 And how does all this create the best possible learning environment for our students?

Promoting Innovative Education in Western Victoria

Register Online Today! http://www.brauer.vic.edu.au/conference

Keynote speaker: Ian Jukes

Warrnambool | Victoria

Stalker Auditorium | Brauer College

Literacy Is Not Enough

Living On The Future Edge

Getting It Right

Meet the speakers

Will King is the Teaching and Learning Leader at Brauer College in Warrnambool, where he teaches VCE history, SOSE and English. He is a Masters candidate at Monash University specialising in Educational Technologies. Will is also interested in designing learning for virtual worlds, in using massive multiplayer online game mechanics, to ‘gamify’ both the classroom and existing curriculum and he is the administrator of the blog of the South-West Game Based Learning Network. As the world becomes more multimodal, texts like video games represent an excellent opportunity for study in the classroom. This workshop will examine how game based learning, the use of video games as learning tools, can be used to teach students how to read video games as multimodal texts and also how to create a curriculum unit around them. The 21st-century fluencies model introduced by Ian Jukes will be used as the instructional model around which to design the units and learning activities.

Transformative teaching using the iPad – Workshop

Explore the potential of iPad to help transform teaching and learning in your classroom.

Hear from an Apple Authorised Education Trainer on practical ways to integrate technology for curriculum delivery. Workshop content is aligned to the Australian Curriculum and teachers will be able to access a range of resources to help create and curate content for the classroom.

This practical session is designed for primary and secondary teachers, curriculum leaders and technology coaches..

Ian Jukes has been a teacher, an administrator, writer, consultant, university instructor and keynote speaker. As a founding partner of the 21

st Centenary Project, an international consulting group, Ian has worked with clients in more than 40 countries and made more than 9,000 presentations. He typically speaks to between 300,000 and 400,000 people a year.

He is the author of over a dozen books but Ian is an educator first and foremost. His focus has consistently been on the compelling need to restructure our educational institutions so that they become relevant to the current and future needs of children.

His rambunctious, irreverent and highly charged presentations and articles emphasize many of the practical issues related to ensuring that change is meaningful. As a registered educational evangelist, his self-avowed mission in life is to ensure that children are properly prepared for the future rather than society’s past. As a result, his material tends to focus on many of the pragmatic issues that provide the essential content for educational restructuring.

IAN JUKES – Conference Day

Nicky is currently a director of Curriculum at 21st Century Fluency Project. Educated at Auckland University of Technology and University of South Africa, she has worked as a Team Leader for Educational Developers at National Centre at University of Waikato, Learning & Development Manager at Workbase and Assistant Principal at Green Meadows Intermediate School.

She is committed to developing an approach to teaching and learning that places a vital emphasis on the new fluency skills students need when they leave school to begin building their own futures.

NICKY MOHAN – Developing 21

st Century Units Workshop

WILL KING – Game Based Learning Workshop

Featuring Keynote Speaker – Ian Jukes8:00am-8:45am Registration 
8:45am-9:00am  Welcome, sponsors and introduction 
9:00am-10:20am  Session 1 – Living On The Future Edge 
10:20am-10:40am  Break 
10:40am-12:00pm  Session 2 – Understanding The Digital Generation 
12:00pm-1:00pm  Lunch 
1:00pm-2:20pm  Session 3 – Literacy Is Not Enough 
2:20pm-2:40pm  Break 
2:20pm-4:00pm  Session 4 – Getting It Right 
4:00pm-4:10pm  Close and thanks 

BBC iPlayer

Posted: February 9, 2013 in Apps for iPad

If, like me, you find free to air TV utterly dismal then let me introduce you to a fantastic app. for iPad – it is the BBC iplayer. This app gives you access to lots of BBC TV programs, many for free. However, for just under $10 a month you can have unlimited access to their truly vast collection. So far I have worked my way through 4 series of Primeval; episodes of The Goodies (comedy gold!); some weird but good short films; a great modern drama version of Frankenstein and am currently viewing Survivors. Every Doctor Who episode is also here……..(am I sounding too much like a Sci Fi nerd?) You can stream them easily if you have a decent internet connection – I hook the iPad up to the TV so I have the big screen, it plays automatically on HDMI – but can also download them to watch offline later if you want (this takes time though). It’s BBC heaven. Subscription is linked to your iTunes account so is easily done.

Fantastic Advert

Posted: February 9, 2013 in English, Media studies

Wow this advert for the Guardian newspaper gets the old brain box whirling……so many possibilities – social media; media ethics and techniques; storytelling;  etc etc. Watch it and see why it won a Cannes Award.