Sunday, 7 September 2014

Iteration in Education

'Things as certain as death and taxes, can be more firmly believed.'

D.Defoe - The Political History of the Devil

It's typically a shock to the system for parents, teachers and pupils but almost as certain as death and taxes, the new school year always rolls around. As the new school year begins people typically strive to 'get back in the routine'. It's understandable and of course part of human nature to seek familiarity. Indeed familiarity can be great. It's great to go back to school and pick up where you left off with great working relationships with both pupils and colleagues.

The danger with the safety blanket of familiarity is that it can start to smother. Using the same plan, making the same comments, teaching the same way, is not advisable. I believe as teachers we are always having to strike a balance between what we have previously used to get results with our pupils and finding new ways to engage our pupils and improve their learning experience. Just like the computer that continually needs new software, teachers need to try new things every year. We need to iterate. When I started teaching I was Eoghan Evesson Version 1.0. If I count every year that I made a concerted effort to improve how I teach as a new version, I think I'm now Eoghan Evesson Version 5.0.
What version are you?
Over the summer I was busy stock piling my software update for this year. Between exam corrections and building sand castles with the kids in Ballycotton, I was retweeting the best educational advice and links that I could find on Twitter. In the the ThingLink picture below I have added just six of the links and tips that I found over the summer that I hope to use in this academic year. The picture itself in the background is from another site I hope to use this year, EDpuzzle. Trying new things in the classroom can be a risk but just like death and taxes, the school year 2015/16 will inevitably arrive and I don't want to be the same version of a teacher when it does.

(Click the black circles)

Monday, 26 May 2014

College Press: Summer Edition

It seems hard to believe but the end of the school year is upon us again. As ever, the College Press is here to give their own unique summary and celebration of the year gone by. Thanks to Mr Doyle and his team for their continued hard work on a College publication that continually looks to develop and bring us the scoop on the best and brightest goings on around the College. We'd also like to wish all our pupils the best of luck with upcoming exams and safe adventures over the summer months.

Friday, 16 May 2014

5th Year Video Inspired by John Montague

Mr Doyle's 5th year English Class recently studied three poems by the Irish/American poet John Montague.  During this study the class were inspired by a student made video of  'The Cage' from YouTube and decided to make their own.  This video is their interpretation of John Montague’s 'Like Dolmens Round my Childhood...'. It was made using a Microsoft Surface tablet and Windows Movie Maker.

Tuesday, 6 May 2014

Macbeth Characters - PosterMyWall Revision

With the Leaving Cert English exam now in touching distance, hopefully many pupils are making their final preparations for the exam.Macbeth was the Shakespearean choice for Single text at Higher Level and it promises to be as popular a choice as ever with pupils this year. With that in mind, over the coming week I will be posting a series of revision posters on Macbeth's central characters. Each poster will be covering the key quotes, moments and themes related to that character. I have no doubt that you studied Macbeth in a very in-depth manner with your teacher but it is, sadly, simply impossible to show everything you know about the play on the day. Just because you remember three quotes from Macduff does not mean they need to be shoe horned into the question. Know your characters. Know their major moments, motivations, themes they represent and major quotes. Then you can stay flexible to whatever question you get asked on the day and really specifically answer what you were asked. NO SUMMARIES! Finally, I would suggest that you have a list of words and phrases you would associate with each character. Having the correct adjective or verb to describe a particular moment is not going to suddenly jump into your head during the exam. Again don't shoe horn the use of these words into your essay. Use these words as needed. Make sure you are comfortable and clear with using these phrases. Practice the use of such phrases in essay work with your teacher.

I hope that these broad outlines of the central characters can help point you in the right revision direction.

Macbeth Characters - The Witches

Macbeth Characters - Lady Macbeth

Blank Template for class activity - Click here

Macbeth Characters - Macbeth

Macbeth Characters - Banquo

Thursday, 10 April 2014

Author Visit - Natasha Mac a' Bháird

Missing Ellen

The other day, our class had a visit from Natasha Mac a'Bháird, the author of her wonderful new book, "Missing Ellen" in the school library as it was world book day.

Her book is about a strong friendship between two girls, Ellen and Maggie who have been bestfriends for as long as they can remember – sharing clothes, passions and secrets. When Ellen goes missing, Maggie feels completely alone. Maggie needs her bestfriend now more than ever, but where is Ellen? Looking back over the upheaval that led to Ellen’s disappearance, Maggie tries to make sense of her friend’s actions.

Natasha read a few extracts from her book to us during her visit. Although she only read a few  pages of the book, I immediately connected with the characters and found them very interesting. The plot of the story is very mysterious and makes you want to keep reading on. It is definitely a book that I would like to read and will enjoy.
During her visit, Natasha also explained to us how she started off writing this book and I was surprised to find out that "Missing Ellen" started off in a number of small hand written notebooks that she also showed us. She then explained to us how the editors changed a number of things in her book including her title which originally was called "Dear Ellen". I really enjoyed looking at all the possible covers for Missing Ellen as each one was completely different to another and it was interesting to see how a cover can attract different readers and make you want to read it or not. The class thought that some of the covers made the book seem like a horror story and I agree and I think that Natasha chose the best cover for her book.
Natasha was very inspirational and it was great to be introduced to a book that I would like reading and I really enjoyed her visit!