Sues Blog

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April 3rd.

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:

Monarchs:

2 speakers (famous person plus interviewer)

5 minutes reading time (not including quizzes)

  1. Boudicca
  2. Alfred the Great
  3. Henry VIII
  4. Elizabeth I
  5. Vincent Van Gogh (10 minutes)

plus

Monologues on:

  1. Vincent Van Gogh (plus quiz and discussion)
  2. 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

March 25th

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.

March 19th

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.

March 17th

Fear Factor

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!

March 15th

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?

Feb 27

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!)

Feb 26

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.

Feb 24

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!

Feb 15

Peacock Theatre London

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!)

Feb 10th

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!

Feb 9

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.

Feb 8

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.

Feb 6

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.

Feb 5th

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 1st

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’.

Jan 31st

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!!

Jan 29

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.

Jan 28th

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!)

They include:

Plus

  • 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!

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