Word of the Day – antonym: the opposite of a word e.g. acme (peak zenith or prime) and nadir (lowest or least successful point) – OK, so that’s three!
Events of the Day – Bit of an American ‘Flavour’!
1775 Paul Revere rides from Charleston to Lexington (where I spent 3 amazing years of my life – beautiful place) to warn US militiamen of the British advance (See Redcoat Rap in Events Leading up to American War of Independence!)
1868 An American tycoon buys London Bridge for £1 million confusing it with Tower Bridge (!)
1906 San Francisco tumbles in massive earthquake (previous ones 1864, 1898 and 1900) but none on this scale. 3,000 lives lost
1955 Albert Einstein dies at Princeton Hospital
Thought for the Day
Don’t Count the Days. Make the Days Count.
Just completed set of Oscar Wilde scripts – incl. The Happy Prince and Selfish Giant.
Working on ‘Dialogue’ – Let’s Meet Oscar Wilde.
- “The only thing that sustains one through life is the consciousness of the immense inferiority of everybody else”.
- ‘I can resist everything except temptation’.
- ‘Work is the curse of the drinking classes’
- ‘A little sincerity is a dangerous thing, but a great deal of it is absolutely fatal.’
Word of the Day
Onomastics – the study of the origin and formation of proper names (esp. personal ones).
Event of the Day
1397 First reading by Geoffrey Chaucer at Richard II’s court of The Canterbury Tales
1790 Death of Benjamin Franklin
1960 Death of Eddie Cochran – American rock star, in car crash in England
1964 Release of Rolling Stones’ first album – The Rolling Stones
1980 Rhodesia becomes independent Zimbabwe
1984 Libyan Embassy Snipers Kill Woman PC – Yvonne Fletcher, 25 yrs old
As today’s Word of the Day courtesy of Collins Dictionary (online) was Yaffle – a European woodpecker … I thought I’d start my own Word of the Day in the hope it is a little more ‘useful’!
So – today’s offering (chosen completely at random): Heliophobia – the fear of the sun, sunlight or any bright light.
Event of the Day: (I’m working on updating these as I only have collection up to 2011 – ordered one for up to 2015; but that still leaves 5 years to fill in!)
1990 Mandela plays Wembley – in thanks for worlds support during his incarceration. He served 27 years in prison – maybe helps put our current situation into a bit of perspective?
2007Tragedy on Virginia Campus as gunman kills 32
1889 Sir Charles Chaplin
Sorry its been a while since I made an entry – been a bit busy writing (hush! I’m meant to be on furlough! No, I’ve checked with my accountant and that’s fine as long as I don’t put out anything new to sell!)
Actually been converting works of Oscar Wilde – bit of a Beatrix Potter writing experience – after less than enamoured start to exercise, ended up loving it – funny how things grow on you .. in a manner of speaking!
So, as I anticipate future days to be similarly busy with writing, I have an idea for Blog entries which might be more entertaining than reading about my current writing projects! And the idea came about following (a) looking up definition of pyrotechnic in Collins Dictionary online – and coming across Word of the Day; and following on from this – idea for Event Of the Day within historical context – with quick retrieval of massive tome from my bookshelf on History of the World in 366 days (entry for today making sense of order I received yesterday (first in weeks – thank you to that customer!) on the Titanic:
Word of the Day
Skerry – a small rocky island
Event of the Day
Did you know – TODAY in
1753 Dr. Samuel Johnson publishes his Dictionary, the product of 9 years work.
1912 The Titanic sunk
1989 95 soccer fans were crushed to death at Hillsborough stadium, Sheffield.
1955 The first McDonald’s hamburger store opens, in San Bernardino, California.
1912 The Titanic sunk
Birthdays today in:
1452 Leonardo da Vinci
1843 Henry James
Hoping this finds everyone well. I gather from today’s news that from April 20th the BBC will be delivering lessons to 5 – 15 year olds so that must be good news for ‘Home Schoolers’.
I hope people will make use of the free resources I am providing on my site. I am trying to ‘add on’ every week. This week’s offerings were:
2 speakers (famous person plus interviewer)
5 minutes reading time (not including quizzes)
- Alfred the Great
- Henry VIII
- Elizabeth I
- Vincent Van Gogh (10 minutes)
- Vincent Van Gogh (plus quiz and discussion)
- Charles Dickens Monologue plus Quiz of 60 on his life
I am hoping these free resources will help all homeschoolers in their hour of need! I have also produced three 12 week timetables – one for History, one for Literacy and one for the other subjects of the curriculum, using resources written for ‘small groups’ including 2 speakers.!
This is going to be a difficult time but hopefully, the knowledge that there are plenty of home school resources available out there will help. Enjoy! Sue
I am currently updating my Home School Timetable (see below)– to cover subjects e.g. Literacy, History, etc – as separate timetables. These will be available FREE soon – I am producing fresh material every day – please bear with me as there is a lot to do!
For a Free Home Schooling Timetable – just visit the time table page here. You will see the timetable and links to the products you will also be able to download a PDF version if you prefer! This lists all or most of the scripts available for use – at 50% discount rate. For a bulk order, greater reductions available – working on this (along with reducing all prices) at the moment.
In a nutshell, I have put together a time table of 12 weeks – a very rough guide, with suggestions from the set of guided reading scripts (6 speakers each plus quizzes) and small cast plays (6) that I have written. These are all listed on the website under Guided Reading Scripts and Small Cast Plays but I have put them all together as a list at the bottom of the timetable, to make it easier.
I will be reducing the cost of all my scripts by 50% to help both teachers and parents at this difficult time.
I am totally open to writing ideas. Having no work (or income!) I have time enough on my hands to write, write, write! So feel free to contact me with ideas. I am currently working on some ‘Interviews with famous people from the past’ plus some monologues.
Feeling .. non-plussed! Gone from a normal working week – with income from dance classes, TEFL and writing – to zero! To say I’m feeling shell shocked is a slight understatement!
But its now just a case of adapting to new situation.
As far as my plays-r-ussell website is concerned, I will be adapting it to home-teaching as I don’t think there are going to be schools open anywhere over the next few weeks. All closing in the UK tomorrow. I have to confess to not seeing this coming. But now its here, …
PLEASE – anyone reading this who can make any suggestions about possible ways in which I can help, do please contact me, asap.
I have just written a script on FEAR. I think of everything we are trying to cope with at the moment this is the most prevalent emotion – sadly, in some situations, resulting in quite irrational behaviour.
Name of the script? Chicken Licken! Whilst not wanting to sound in any way insensitive to the current concerns about Coronavirus, I feel the mental downside actually outweighs that of the physical. There is a loss of perspective and people are panicking – the worst example, of course, being the ludicrous behaviour in our supermarkets. Why? You have to ask yourself – sadly, human nature. Though not obviously for everyone – I wouldn’t want to tar all with the same brush!
I started writing the Chicken Licken script for KS I as it is a story they will be familiar with. But it is taking on another direction – as so often happens when I start writing, and it will be available to KSI and II – and maybe some of the adult population should read it too!
Busy week fundraising for Sport Relief. Raised £231.45 from my Zumba classes! It was nice to have some fun as I am sure I am not alone at feeling a bit low with everything that is going on around us at the moment.
As somebody who is self-employed, I am feeling the effects of ‘our current situation’ with the Coronovirus quite badly. All my TEFL work has been cancelled and I have lost a number of Zumba classes – with more going that way, I’m guessing from a care home whose facilities I use.
I feel the current atmosphere of fear, produced by almost round the clock coverage of this event by the media, is not very helpful. I hope common sense prevails and schools are kept open – listen to the scientists, those with actual facts, not the scaremongers in the media (sound familiar?)
I personally feel there is a need for keeping things in perspective – the crazy way people are behaving in supermarkets reveals just how stupid this can all become.
Just popping up on my screen ‘school closures and isolation of those over 70 a possibility’ I can understand care homes closing (ironically none have round where I live so far which surprises me) but schools? Seriously? What on earth will this achieve?
How is everybody getting on with ‘giving up’ for Lent?! I only ask as I am failing dismally (Day 2!) Thought ‘negativity’ might be a good thing to ‘let go’ but it seems to have a rather strong grip on me – put it down to this time of year (plus barely anybody turning up to new Zumba class earlier this week – oops there I go!)
Maybe something more doable – like giving up negativity … for five minutes each day! Now, that I should be able to manage (as long as its whilst I’m writing or dancing!)
Just realised its SPORT RELIEF in just two weeks time. FREE copy of Assembly – Whatever Moves You now available off website. Will try to remember to attach copy to all orders in next two weeks.
Welcome back to second half of Spring Term. I’ve been busy over half term week trying to update my website(s) – I have a second one called ww.zumba-around-winchester.com which is for my Zumba classes – two new ones starting next week if anyone local fancies coming along! I do actually take Zumba into schools so if anyone reading this is interested (for themselves or students!) do let me know!
Coming months will be quite exciting on Sports scene – Euro 2020 for football followers and of course the 2020 Olympic Games – interesting to see how and if coronavirus affects this. Course, Brazil Games 2016 had a similar problem but not on such a world scale. Fingers crossed the Games go ahead.
Scripts available for all major sporting events – including aforementioned. Currently scripts include 2016 events but I will be updating nearer the time. For some scripts e.g. History of the Olympics Guided Readers they are up to date and offer, I hope I am right in saying, a good coverage of the Games to date.
Feb 17 – 21 Half Term Week
Hope everyone’s enjoying it! If you’re a parent and managed to find a week’s worth of indoor activities, hats off to you. I found myself today in a place called Flip Out – wandered in namely out of curiosity – no, name has nothing to do with Pancake Day next week – and found myself in hall full of what must have been a good half of Chandlers Ford youth population. Curiosity sated, made a speedy exit! (Not being one for putting my life at risk of an oversized or any-sized trampoline)
No break for me – when I’m not writing I’m dancing – been a Zumba instructor now for 10 years, after discovering Zumba in the States whilst I lived just outside Boston (3 great years of my life). Running classes all week. And starting two new ones next week – keeps me on my toes, not quite literally!
Writing-wise: made a start on LGBT Assembly today. As LGBT will be a compulsory part of the curriculum from September 2020 it’s another script that needs writing. I will probably work around the theme of ‘unconditional love – acceptance/celebration of diversity’ – as isn’t this what it’s all about? We’ll see – never sure where a script’s going to take me until it’s written!
Spur of the minute – went to see Message in a Bottle at The Peacock Holborn. Inspirational dance to Sting’s music. Highlight was title track – amazing display of total energy. Packed theatre. Good to see people supporting the Arts – though London prices undoubtedly beyond the means of most of us (I was able to get discount ticket and free lift to London!)
Just finished last of Dickens’ Xmas novellas – The Haunted Man and the Ghost’s Bargain. Of the four (not including Christmas Carol) I found this one the most confusing. I’d be interested to know if any other reader struggled with the different names given to the characters at the beginning; and then the less than obvious link between the ‘unknown figure’ and the chemist’s sister – as its never actually stated. Still, another great story. Wondering which to tackle next – maybe Bleak House as I spent the weekend at Lincolns Inns!
Took a little break from my Dickens reading today to read Dr. Dolittle – the original version as written by Hugh Lofting. Whilst the first copy was published in 1922, this particular copy, as published by Puffin Books in 1967, was reprinted in 1968. I was really shocked by the overt racism I came across in my reading, contrasting the White Man’s World with – wait for it, the following terms – ‘darkies, niggers and coon’. It made for pretty uncomfortable reading – the author sent the stories back from the trenches of the First World War and they were later collected and made into books – bit like Beatrix Potters books were letters in their original form.
I’m going to see the latest Dolittle movie tomorrow – slated by the critics – but hopefully rather different content from that I’ve just read. Bit of an eye opener. Glad I only had to skim it and that we now live in times when this kind of stuff would not be printed.
Photos above taken from walk I took on Feb 8th. Para below.
Afternoon in London, starting Dickens trail. Best way to see hidden gems of London – walk the back streets – amazing what you stumble across. In my case yesterday, the beautiful courts of Lincolns Inn (huge thank you to the guy on the gate who let us in) – how did I not visit these when I was working in Holborn?! And amazing Sir John Soane’s Museum – extremely quirky, long may it stay that way! Also ‘visited’ surely the poshest loo in London – with a statue! Lower floor of Knights Templar pub.
Caught a couple of minutes chat about ‘rhythm of Shakespeare’s writing’ and how drama groups are trying to work with that to make the bard’s work more accessible to children. I think this keeping an interest in past writings may become an increasing problem with future generations as we move steadily faster in our lives and there just doesn’t seem to be the time devoted to reading that there used to be. I devoured books at a young age and tried to get my children to similarly love reading but they all seem to have missed out on the classics – or, as in the case of my youngest, went from loving English at GCSE level to hating it at A’level – and sadly I think this happens when reading falls foul of our education system. I wonder if maybe drama groups can be positively instrumental in keeping classics fun? Hoping I may be part of the process – been in contact with a number of drama and dance groups in the last couple of days with very positive results. We’ll see.
The Cricket on the Hearth – one of Charles Dickens novellas – just added to website! Bit longer than the others – thinking of making it into a panto for next year – prob bit late for this year. Though panto season still going strong – as I know to my cost – my Zumba class tomorrow night having to relocate to local school hall as local village panto takes precedence! Hrph. Bah Humbug!
Now working on The Haunted Man and the Ghost’s Bargain – finding this one a bit more of a challenge.
Got Charles Dickens Walk planned for this weekend – please let it be fine weather!
LGBT History Month was established in 2004. It not only raises awareness of discrimination still faced by the LGBT+ community but also celebrates LGBT+ people and their achievements. February is LGBT History Month and its theme this year was ‘History: Peace, Reconciliation, and Activism’.
Just come across this courtesy of the Historical Association. It has prompted me to add an assembly on this subject, in the near future. I currently have a script in the PSHE section entitled PRIDE – rather misleading as it has nothing to do with LGBT – I wrote it many years ago whilst living in the States and it was then based on the Celtics Basketball team! I think I may now have to change the title to avoid misleading folk – never my intention.
Feb 3 – 9th is Children’s Mental Health Week, with the theme ‘Find your Brave’ (charity is Place2Be). I think it’s incredibly important to spot ‘issues’ as young as possible and I am really heartened that primary schools are now taking this on board – when I was teaching it was pretty much ‘brushed under the carpet’.
I have written a number of scripts relating to mental health and I am always happy to direct teachers to that most appropriate to their class. You may have seen this month’s ‘special’ – Buy Feeling Sad Assembly and get 2 speaker script free.
I have also just come across this link https://www.actionforhappiness.org/media/846018/february_2020_b_w.pdf which might be a useful resource – an Action Calendar – Friendly February – whic has suggestions for each day. And has lovely quote from Maya Angelou ‘People forget what you said and what you did. But they never forget how you made them feel’.
And so we leave the EU. Fraid I can’t pretend I’m celebrating. When I’m not writing plays and taking dance classes, I work with TEFL students and to start with the line ‘Welcome to the United Kingdom’ seems something of a misnomer these days. However, we’ll see … as they say.
Another visit to local charity shop today – and, as always, I leave with a bagful of books! Today’s prime choices: H.G. Wells Selected Short Stories – future plays for moi! And The Complete Works of Oscar Wilde – this will have to wait til I’ve finished Dickens!!
Just read reviews for David Copperfield – mainly on Facebook and I seem to be alone in my reservations (not for the first time!)
I genuinely thought I was going to love this movie – I saw the trailers and they made me laugh, and I did enjoy the first part. But I have to be honest – I found a lot of the movie laboured – maybe it was just too long. There were some very funny bits but not enough to keep me engaged. Another factor maybe is that I’ve been reading the original Dickens texts and they present such a grim picture of Victorian life – with all its social and economic injustices – that I could be guilty of just begrudging this frivolous treatment of what was intended as a very serious message, by Mr Dickens.
I normally welcome a light-hearted take on life and am myself more than happy to produce alternative versions, with ‘baddies’ seen at their very worst but in a comical light. However, this film just didn’t do it for me. (Feel a bit like apologetic Trotty in last Dickens offerings – The Chimes!)
Speaking of which – out today – THE CHIMES. Latest of my particular adaptation of Dickens! These scripts to seem to be getting longer and longer – this one around 40 minutes – but its quite hard cutting back on so much material. There are no abridged versions of these novellas so that does, of course, make a difference – maybe my ‘abridging skills’ need a bit of fine-tuning! But I am enjoying these adaptations – and I hope others will too.
So, what did you all think of the new David Copperfield movie?
I think for me the ‘problem’ was a bit like the Dark Materials series – ambiguity between ‘for adults or children’? I know it kind of doesn’t matter but when people start talking, like guy on Radio 4 this morning, about how movie highlights homeless problems of the Victorians when the only scenes of homelessness were cheery little sing alongs by the roadside and lots of people ‘whooping it up’ in a single room – hardly suffering – I think there is to be a case for saying ‘Seriously?!’
Grumpy old woman alert! Spect everyone else will love it!
New Website Additions
In the last month, these have been Charles Dickens scripts – including, believe it or not, one on …. you’ve guessed – David Copperfield (mine sticks to the original story!)
- A Christmas Carol
- Oliver Twist
- David Copperfield
- Great Expectations
- A tale of two cities
- The Battle of Life
- The Battle of Life which is a ‘novella’ – one of a series produced along with A Christmas Carol.
With the birthday of Charles Dickens coming up on Feb 7th I’m hoping these scripts will be ‘flying off the website’ (along with the pigs up there!?!) This dipping into Dickens is a little ‘going off piste’ for me – but I am hoping to do some more writing for upper KS II/lower KS III and tackling the Classics seemed a good place to start!