Studyit describes itself as “your one stop site for achieving in NCEA maths, science, and English”. It is a place where you “find what you need to know, contact subject teachers, and get encouragement from other students”.
Studyit is a free, safe and successful online support site developed and managed by CWA New Media, a business unit of Learning Media. Studyit has everything needed to get achieve, merit and excellence, written in student terms, as well as fourteen very active forums where expert teachers answer student questions at night, in the weekends and during holidays.
Check it out!
When Severn Cullis-Suzuki was 12 years old she closed a Plenary Session at the UN Earth Summit with a powerful speech that received a standing ovation.
Seamus Heaney died on Friday and the tributes continue to flow. Here is a piece from The Observer:
Great poets, supposedly, should be mad and bad: tormented, tempestuous and at least a little demented. Seamus Heaney was none of these things. He exuded sanity, on the page and in person. He was calm, restrained, centred. And this was not a mere matter of personality. There was more than enough madness and badness around him, in Ireland and in the world. He knew that quiet decency and careful, meticulous words posed a more profound challenge to his times than any wildness ever could. His gift, as an artist and as a public figure, was an immense, unwavering, implacable civility.
Read the rest here.
Last week it was 50 years since Martin Luther King delivered his ‘I have a dream’ speech.
Read this report from the NZ Herald:
President Barack Obama hailed Martin Luther King Jr for saving America from oppression but said “constant vigilance” was needed to keep the civil rights icon’s dream of equality alive.
Fifty years after the “I have a dream speech,” America’s first black president stood poignantly on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, where King made an appearance in 1963 which changed history.
“He offered a salvation path for oppressed and oppressors alike,” Obama said, in a ringing address, which he admitted beforehand would not match King’s oratory.
“His words belong to the ages, possessing a power and prophecy unmatched in our time,” Obama said.
Read the rest at The NZ Herald.
Seamus Heaney has died. Britain’s poet laureate, Carol Ann Duffy said Seamus Heaney was ‘the poet we all measured ourselves against’.
He was a snowy-haired, craggy mountain of a man; a man who radiated granite integrity and deep kindness. He was a poet, among the greatest of our era, and the first of his nation to win the Nobel prize since Yeats.
Seamus Heaney, who has died in hospital in Dublin, aged 74, leaves family, friends and readers in Ireland and beyond “feeling personally bereaved”, in the words of his longtime friend, the poet Michael Longley. “Just as his presence filled a room, his marvellous poems filled the hearts of generations of readers.”
Carol Ann Duffy, Britain’s poet laureate, said that for his “brothers and sisters in poetry … he came to be the poet we all measured ourselves against and he demonstrated the true vocational nature of his art for every moment of his life. He is irreplaceable.” For poet Don Paterson, “the death of this beloved man seems to have left a breach in the language itself”.
Last week as part of our thematic study, ‘Get up, Stand up!’ we analysed two protest songs. Protest songs have a purpose. A protest song tries to change things in the world. Sometimes they do this by calling directly for something to happen, or they can inform us, appeal to our emotions, or challenge commonly held ideas. A protest song may shock us, make us angry, make us sad or inspire us. But we will feel something.
This week Year 10 students are to analyse a protest song of their choice. Here are some ideas:
A Change is Gonna Come by Sam Cooke
After hearing Bob Dylan’s “Blowin’ in the Wind” in 1963, Sam Cooke was very moved that such a poignant song about racism in America could come from someone who was not black. Dylan’s song inspired his own. (Source: The RS 500 Greatest Songs of All Time).
Ohio by Crosby Stills Nash and Young
This song was a response to the killing of four students and the wounding of nine others by soldiers during a peaceful anti-war protest at Kent State University.
Imagine by John Lennon
Lennon described his song as “anti-capitalistic,” “anti-religious,” and “anti-nationalist”song. Even so it was a huge hit and it remains popular today.
Fortunate Son by Creedance Clearwater Revival is another famous protest song and you can find a link to information on this blog here.
We talk a lot about litter and what we can do as a school to stop people throwing their rubbish wherever they please. The video ‘Midway’ shows just how devastating litter can be.
The Midway film project is a powerful visual journey into the heart of an astonishingly symbolic environmental tragedy. On one of the remotest islands on our planet, tens of thousands of baby albatrosses lie dead on the ground, their bodies filled with plastic from the Pacific Garbage Patch. Returning to the island over several years, Chris Jordan and his film team witness the cycles of life and death of these birds and record the epidemic of albatross death caused by ingestion of human waste. He asks, “Do we have the courage to face the realities of our time and allow ourselves to feel deeply enough that it transforms us and our future?”
This is a great introduction to the novel.
The Kite Runner, by Khaled Hosseini, uses Afghanistan’s revered pastime to transport the reader to the romantic side of Kabul—a stark contrast to the horrors of the Taliban.
Blows of brutality for many readers, the most engaging part of Khaled Hosseini’s novel The Kite Runner is the poignant, detailed descriptions of exotic Afghanistan. Amir’s early memories of the outskirts of Kabul offer fascinating snapshots of life in this amazing part of the world. We read of the annual buzkashi in which highly skilled horsemen collect a carcass at full speed and attempt to deposit the dead sheep or goat in a ‘‘scoring circle’’ while the opposition does everything in its power to stop him.
We discover ancient Persian literature, the Shahnamah, and the classic Afghan poets from Amir’s school days. But of course, the kite running that inspired the book’s title grasps our imagination the most.A national sport in Afghanistan, kite running is revered by children and adults alike. The rich description and colours that fill the winter’s sky transport us into Kabul’s romantic world: ‘‘red, blue, and yellow kites glided and spun in the sky’’.
But not all is well with young Amir and his Hazara servant, Hassan. Much is made of Amir’s obsession with gaining his father’s approval and love. Coupled with the young boy’s feeble attempts at sport and his love of literature rather than traditional machismo behaviour, Baba’s barely concealed contempt for his son leaves the young boy desperate to win respect.
Read the rest here.
We have just started our study of Mark Haddon’s, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time and we will start by looking at Christopher as a character. His condition is not named in the book but he is thought to have Asperger Syndrome. I have added part of an article from The Age that will help you understand the condition. Follow the link to read the whole thing.
FIFTEEN-year-old Christopher Boone has Asperger syndrome (AS) and although the style of the murder mystery he has written is at times idiosyncratic, if not peculiar, we come to see that The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time follows the trajectory of the classic hero’s journey.
In fact, high achievers such as W. B. Yeats, Albert Einstein and Sir Isaac Newton are all speculated to have been affected by AS, while Bill Gates and Woody Allen also rate a mention on many of the internet’s Asperger support sites.
According to the Asperger Syndrome Support Network, AS is a complex brain disorder that lies within the autism spectrum.
“Common characteristics for sufferers can include a lack of empathy with others, difficulty forming relationships, engaging in one-sided conversations and often becoming intensely absorbed with a special interest.
“People with AS can participate in repetitive activities and are resistant to change, coping best when life is predictable. They may appear non-compliant as they have difficulty taking direction and coping with negative feedback.”
And yet Christopher’s creator, author Mark Haddon, is quick to point out that after several years working with adults and children with a variety of physical and mental challenges he firmly believes that “people with Asperger are as diverse a group as Belgians or trumpet players or train drivers”.
Read the rest here.
We are just starting our study if The Kite Runner and a good place to start is looking at Amir as a narrator. I have posted a link to this article before but it is well worth reading.
Multi-layered and thematically rich, Khaled Hosseini’s The Kite Runner is especially intriguing for its treatment of the first-person narrator.
Towards the end of the novel, the older Amir indulges in some serious navel-gazing: ”You’re gutless. It’s how you were made. And that’s not such a bad thing because your saving grace is that you’ve never lied to yourself about it … But when a coward stops remembering who he is … God help him.’’
Self-flagellation is nothing new to our narrator, who emphasises throughout the course of the story his weakness and unworthiness. This is an unusual approach and readers would do well to raise their antennae. Does the narrator want our sympathy? Are we being manipulated? Is the story skewed?
Read the rest at The Age.