Saturday, 30 November 2013

On Differentiation

There is almost no point in being a teacher nowadays unless you are prepared to deal with a differentiated group of students. 
  1. By task: Plan a varied number of tasks that allows students to do what you want them to do and the different ways in which they will be assessed.
  2. By questioning: Bounce a mix of some specific and some open-ended questions at your group.
  3. Using Bloom's Taxonomy: Set higher level thinking tasks requiring synthesis and evaluation.
  4. By resources: Have a range of resources with similar or levelled texts available.
  5. By student involvement: Allow students to perform, teach, present, lead debates, etc.
  6. Individual outcomes: Encourage responsibility for own learning.
  7. By role: Delegate roles within certain activities such as time-keeper, scribe, moderator, etc.
  8. By group: Create groups with different ranges of abilities to complement one another.
  9. By outcome: Decide in advance where do your varied ability students need to get to by the end of the lesson and what they need to do to get there.
  10. Extended learning: Look beyond the classroom; extra reading, internet research, cross-curricular, etc.
(Constitutional building in downtown Montreal last summer)

Friday, 29 November 2013

On Anti-Wrinkle Cream

Some women would rather spend hundreds of $€£ in anti-wrinkle cream instead of investing in their personal/family's well being.

(The Lindow Man at the British Museum in London)

On Paranoia

There are some people who have such over active imaginations that nothing can persuade them otherwise.

(Random eyeball tree in Portobello Market, London) 

Wednesday, 27 November 2013

On Existence

"If this book has a lesson, it is that we are awfully lucky to be here- and by 'we' I mean every living thing. To attain any kind of life in this universe of ours appears to be quite an achievement. As humans we are doubly lucky, of course: We enjoy not only the privilege of existence but also the singular ability to appreciate it and even, in a multitude of way, to make it better. It is a talent we have only barely begun to grasp."

-Bill Bryson, author of 'A Short History of Nearly Everything'.

(Lovely country house somewhere in Northern Ireland last month)

Tuesday, 26 November 2013

On Grandfather Clocks

Even though they are a dying breed found mainly in museums and old mansions, there are many who seek them out at astonishing prices.

(Grandfather clocks at the British Museum in London)

Monday, 25 November 2013

On Chess

Although it only became a competitive sport in the 19th century, chess is one of the oldest brain games dating back to the 6th century.

(The Lewis Chessmen set at the British Museum)

Sunday, 24 November 2013

On Opera

Just like with any musical genre, one should start by listening to the best in the field to develop a proper sense of appreciation.

Saturday, 23 November 2013

On the Rosetta Stone

Today it is synonymous with an online language course, but its roots lie in a granite-like stone that depicted text in ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics, Demotic script, and ancient Greek.

(The Rosetta Stone at the British Museum in London)

Friday, 22 November 2013

On Clip-on Ties

They are considered by many to be a time-saving creation, but they have a tendency to contribute to overall student and/or population laziness.

(A set of clip-on ties from a high school in Montreal)

Thursday, 21 November 2013

On Greek Mythology

Although there were possibly thousands of Gods it's beneficial to learn some of the main ones mentioned in Greek literature.
  • Zeus: God of the Sky and ruler of all Olympian gods.
  • Hera: Wife and sister of Zeus. Goddess of marriage and childbirth.
  • Poseidon: God of the sea and brother of Zeus.
  • Apollo: God of light and sun, son of Zeus.
  • Athena: Goddess of war and wisdom, daughter of Zeus.
  • Aphrodite: Goddess of love and beauty, daughter of Zeus or Cronus.
  • Achilles: Immortal demigod hero of the Trojan War.
  • Demeter: Goddess of agriculture and sister of Zeus.
  • Hermes: Messenger of the gods and son of Zeus.
  • Hades: God of the Underworld and brother of Zeus. Abducted wife Persephone.

(An ancient vase at the British Museum in London)

Wednesday, 20 November 2013

On the Olympics

Although it was meant to reflect a country's athletic achievement, it is becoming more and more a political tool between nations/politicians.

(The Olympic Stadium in east Montreal, Quebec)

Tuesday, 19 November 2013

On High Expectations

Children will usually go above and beyond when given high expectations by their teachers/parents/carers.

(Students performing several Shakespeare plays)

Monday, 18 November 2013

On Free Minds

"And this I believe: that the free, exploring mind of the individual human is the most valuable thing in the world. And this I would fight for: the freedom of the mind to take any direction it wishes, undirected. And this I must fight against: any idea, religion, or government which limits or destroys the individual. This is what I am and what I am about."

-John Steinbeck, author of East of Eden.

(Beautiful country road somewhere in Western Ireland last month)

Sunday, 17 November 2013

On Urban Landscapes

Every city is rich with creative material for any writer/photographer with a keen observational eye.

(Urban "letters" at Greenwich market, London)

Saturday, 16 November 2013

On Frozen Yoghurt

While some desserts pose as healthy alternatives there are some that are just as bad as their counterparts and can be worse with added toppings.

(Delicious frozen yoghurt at Freshii near uOttawa)

Friday, 15 November 2013

On Exams

Although exam results should not dictate the course of a person's life, it doesn't mean a student shouldn't try his/her best.

Thursday, 14 November 2013

On Engineers

Just because someone may have been commissioned to design bathroom fixtures at a world famous museum it doesn't mean they knew what they were doing. 

(A flawed sink at the British Museum in London)

Wednesday, 13 November 2013

On Weight

It is not always healthy or realistic to attain the same body type/composition from our youth.

(An old school trip photo from Daytona, Florida)

Tuesday, 12 November 2013

On the Subjunctive

It is the form that a verb takes when the sentence expresses hypothetical situations such as suggestions, wishes, uncertainties, possibilities, etc.

e.g.: Long live the Queen! I wish I were Queen...

(A collage of photos of the Queen in Gatwick Airport, London)

Monday, 11 November 2013

On Arabic

Not understanding a complex language and/or group of people does not make them evil.

(Some Arabic script at the V&A Museum, London)

Sunday, 10 November 2013

On Fish & Chips

There are some meals that can be detrimental to one's health even when consumed as infrequently as once a month.

(A fatty fish & chip dinner near Belfast, Ireland)

Saturday, 9 November 2013

On Youth

"I do not think, sir, you have any right to command me, merely because you are older than I, or because you have seen more of the world than I have; your claim to superiority depends on the use you have made of your time and experience."
-Charlotte Bronte, author of Jane Eyre

(A quote outside a popular pub in Dublin, Ireland)

Friday, 8 November 2013

On Street Performers

Although easily dismissed, they can be amongst the best and most hard-working performers in any city.

(A brave street performer in Galway, Ireland)

Thursday, 7 November 2013

On Farm Animals

There are places where cows and sheep are not kept in factory farms and can be seen everywhere along the countryside.

(Friendly cows in the countryside of Galway, Ireland)

Wednesday, 6 November 2013

On Debt

Few are aware of the dark history behind banks and the necessity of charging fees and/or interest for accounts, debit and credit cards.

Tuesday, 5 November 2013

On UK Driving

It requires great concentration in not only sticking to the left side of the road but in remembering that you're driving on the right side of the vehicle.

(Driving on the other side of a car and road in Ireland)

Monday, 4 November 2013

On Student Protests

Never underestimate the power a few hundred student protesters can have when faced with tuition and/or service fee hikes. 

(Students protesting outside an Irish university in Belfast)

Sunday, 3 November 2013

On Being Literal

It means to describe something exactly how it happened without any form of exaggeration.

Darth Vader literally fights the whole day. -> Incorrect
Darth Vader literally fights several times throughout the day. -> Correct

(Darth Vader character at the Montreal Science Centre)

Saturday, 2 November 2013

On Lavender

There are some smells that can brighten up anyone's mood regardless of what sort of day they've been having.

(Small lavender garden in Valentine Park, Ilford)

Friday, 1 November 2013

On Multiple Pets

Having too many pets can make one suspicious of passer-byes simply wanting to take a picture.

(A group of cats outside a home in East London)