Y9 Mini Literature Festival Friday 4th March

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Y9 enjoyed a continuation of the celebrations of books and reading the day after World Book Day with a morning of author talks. We were excited to welcome one of own authors – Virginia Macgregor, twice published author and English teacher here at Wellington. Virginia talked about the inspiration for her novels and read an excerpt from “The astonishing return of Norah Wells”. The students were full of questions and a number of them felt inspired to continue with their own creative writing projects including writing their own novels.

After break we welcomed award-winning young adult author Marcus Sedgwick to the theatre. Y9 were all given a copy of ‘Revolver’ by Marcus to read over the summer before their arrival at Wellington. His books have proved popular with a large number of our students, in particular ‘My Swordhand is singing’ and many of the students have read his Carnegie-shortlisted novel ‘Midwinterblood’. He opened his talk with a debate about the pros and cons of being a writer. He talked about his interest in coincidence and how it became a major theme in ‘She is not invisible’. How many hidden references to the number 354 can you find in the book?

The strong message that came across from both authors was that writing is something they love and can’t do without. They urged the young people to do something they really enjoy with their lives and then it doesn’t feel like work!

World Book Day – 3rd March 2016 – Drop Everything and Read!

World Book Day 3rd March

Next week is a celebratory time for books and reading. Thursday 3rd March is World Book Day and to demonstrate our commitment to reading across the whole school we are running a D.E.A.R. – Drop Everything and Read event. Where possible we are hoping that all staff, including non-teaching staff, and students will stop what they are doing and read a book for sheer enjoyment at the start of lesson 3 on Thursday. So this will be 20 minutes of engrossed silence from 11.15am! All staff and students are welcome to come to the Library at break to stock up on refreshments and choose books or magazines to read. It is wonderful to see people of all ages enjoying reading and provides an opportunity to share favourites and make reading recommendations. For exam sets, teachers may provide subject specific articles or chapters of books for the whole group to read and discuss afterwards – an opportunity for students to be inspired and challenged in a more curriculum-related way. We have The New Scientist Archive Online as well as The Economist, New York Times, History Today, Philosophy Now and Cambridge Companions Online to name but a selection of our electronic resources which enable whole classes to read the same material simultaneously.

Parents, why not talk to your children about what they are reading at the moment and share your favourites with them? If you are looking for suggestions for Y9 –Y11 the Carnegie Book Award longlist has just been announced and includes some impressive contemporary fiction (many of which we have in the Library)

On Friday 4th March the Y9 are in for a literary treat. They are hearing two author talks in the theatre. Wellington English teacher, Virginia Macgregor has recently had her second novel published – The astonishing return of Norah Wells and will be talking to the students about her inspiration for her books and her writing process. Award-winning young adult novelist, Marcus Sedgwick will also be joining us and discussing his books and writing. Y9 read his novel ‘Revolver’ in the summer prior to arriving at Wellington. There will be plenty of opportunity for the students to ask questions.

Happy reading!

‘The Lie Tree’ by Frances Hardinge wins the Costa Book Award 2015

Ms Dahlke writes: 

Congratulations to Frances Hardinge for winning the Costa Book of the Year award for her young adult novel, The Lie Tree. Despite the award being established in 1971, this is only the second time a book for young people has won it. I’m not surprised that it won the overall award, I read it over the summer holidays and have been recommending it to people (of all ages) ever since.

The book is set in Victorian times and begins with Faith, a teenage girl, and her family arriving on an island in order to escape the scandal that engulfed them in London. What was the scandal? And why is her natural scientist father so reluctant to talk about it? Faith is determined to find out.

This book has an original and tightly structured plot, which keeps the suspense going until the very end. Faith – stubborn and spiky, but with a sense of honour that wins out in the end – is a great character. It’s an entertaining read that will also raise questions about the nature of truth and lies. 

I would agree that this is a unique and fascinating novel, appealing to all ages. More information is available in an interesting article from Telegraph books

 

Christmas reading and puzzles 2015

Helen Smith, the librarian at Eckington School has kindly shared her library Christmas Reading Times with us again this year. This is a marvellous publication listing all the Christmas TV based on books. She also reminds us not to miss the Royal Institution Christmas Lectures at 8pm on BBC 4 on Monday 28th, Tuesday 29th and Wednesday 30th December. This year the theme is survival in space and the lectures are presented by Kevin Fong.

Don’t miss the Royal Institution’s space themed online Advent Calendar – A Place called Space  – it includes animations, infographics and archive footage of early space exploration missions. It’s already proving popular with Physics teachers and I’m looking forward to seeing what the rest of December brings us.

On the subject of advent calendars have a look at the Book Trust advent calendar 2015 for 24 favourite children’s books. For Maths challenges try the NRICH advent calendar There’s a primary one here for younger children.

For a truly testing brainteaser this Christmas holiday try the GCHQ Christmas puzzle This has been entertaining and infuriating many of our teachers and students over the past few days.

For news junkies you can test your knowledge of the year’s key stories with The Day’s News Mega Quiz

The Y9s have been encouraged to read the same book as the rest of their tutor group and come back and discuss it in January. Here is the list of suggested reads they chose from – 3rd form Christmas books 2015

 

 

 

 

Y9 recommended reads and reading for pleasure at Wellington

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We’ve had a wonderful start to this academic year in terms of seeing a great deal of the new Y9s in the Library. Not only have they been joining us for research sessions during their geography lessons (getting to grips with the wealth of online resources on the e-Library) but they are also coming to us for ‘book chat’ tutorials – sharing their likes and dislikes and recommending books to their peers. This year each tutor group will have a discussion with one of the librarians – starting off with a Kahoot to quiz what they remember about ‘Revolver’ by Marcus Sedgwick (the book they were all given to read over the summer) and another to hear about their responses to it.

Each Y9 class is having a one hour session in the Library every fortnight providing the opportunity to choose books freely, bring books or e-readers from home, recommend books for new stock and where multiple copies exist read the same book as friends so that they can discuss it afterwards. We are particularly encouraging the pupils to try different types of books and are currently developing our collection of graphic novels – both in size and range. We now have our first Manga and comic books and graphic novels on topics in history such as Palestine by Joe Sacco and Barefoot Gen: a cartoon story of Hiroshima. Author Sarah Crossan did an excellent presentation on verse novels at a librarians’ conference and we have a small collection of free verse novels – an unusual form but surprisingly compelling as well as generally quick to read.

It has been incredibly encouraging to see how enthusiastically the new students have shared their favourite books and at the same time how honest others have been about not being ‘readers’. We have a hugely supportive staff who share their reading recommendations through posters on their classroom doors, the loan of books and chatting to students. Here is a blog post by an American school librarian that I wholeheartedly agree with:  Learning to read alone is not enough. Your students need a reading champion. 

Let’s hope we can keep this reading momentum as they progress up the school!

Here are some of the Y9 student suggestions (many more to come!)

Y9 Orange Book Recommendations

The House of Silk – Anthony Horowitz (this was the first official new Sherlock Holmes mystery)

Before I Die – Jenny Downham

Cuckoo Song – Frances Hardinge

My Sister’s Keeper – Jodi Picoult

The secrets we keep – Jonathan Harvey

An island of our own – Sally Nicholls

The London Eye mystery – Siobhan Dowd

Cherub series by Robert Muchamore

We need to talk about Kevin – Lionel Shriver

The Leopard – Jo Nesbo (and any of his crime novels!)

It’s kind of a funny story – Ned Vizzini

We all looked up – Tommy Wallach (the story of an asteroid on a potential collision course with Earth as told from the alternating viewpoints of four high school students.)

Tuesdays with Morrie – Mitch Albom (on the Wellbeing Top Ten Reads list)

Mum, can you lend me twenty quid? – Elizabeth Burton-Phillips (subtitled: What drugs did to my family)

Archangel – Robert Harris

An officer and a spy – Robert Harris

Y9 Picton – recommended reads:

Noughts and Crosses series – Malorie Blackman

My swordhand is singing – Marcus Sedgwick

Midwinter Blood – Marcus Sedgwick

Paper Towns – John Green

Alex Rider series

Holes – Louis Sachar

Journey’s End – R.C. Sherriff

Curious Incident of the dog in the night-time – Mark Haddon

Pig-heart Boy – Malorie Blackman

Tell me no lies – Malorie Blackman

Any and all of John Green’s books

‘If you haven’t read the whole of the Harry Potter series you haven’t lived’ Lucas

See more pupil book reviews here

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Extreme Reading Photo Competition Results!

Wellington Photograph CompetitionWe had a wonderful variety of entries to this year’s Extreme Reading Photo Competition. They ranged from exotic locations to extremely creative ideas of places to read, mirroring the contents of the books. We are very grateful to Mrs Henderson for judging this year’s competition. Congratulations to all our winners and everyone who took part.

Our overall winner, Beatrice (Y9) wins a kobo e-reader.

2nd Georgia and Tom, Y10 (reading ‘The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time’ by Mark Haddon whilst shark cage diving)

Joint 3rd  Ramarni, Y9 (reading ‘Revolver’ by Marcus Sedgwick in an egg) and Frank, Y11 on Hadrian’s Wall.

Highly Commended

Finn, Y9 (flying through the air with ‘Revolver’ by Marcus Sedgwick)

Thomas, Y10 (reading an enormous book in Barcelona)

big book Barcelona

Have a look at the full display of photos in Back Quad.

Why not try one of the books our staff and pupils read this summer from the list below?

First Class Murder by Robin Stevens (Beatrice Y9)

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time by Mark Haddon (Georgia and Tom Y10)

Wonder by R. J. Palacio (Ben, Eagle House)

One Hundred Years of Solitude by  Gabriel Garcia Marquez (Mr Bickford-Smith, PoliIMG_5863tics Dept) (Staff Winner)

 

 

 

 

 

IMG_4118Seven Deadly Sins: My Pursuit of Lance Armstrong by David Walsh (Mr McGarey, Chemistry)

Revolver by Marcus Sedgwick (many new Y9’s!)

Rivers of London by Ben Aaronovitch (Ms Atherton, Library)

Killing Woods by Lucy Christopher (Zara, Y10)

Caesar by Allan Massie (Mr Atherton, Maths)

Trinity by Conn Iggulden (2nd book in his trilogy about the War of the Roses, Dr Hood, Chemistry)

Rubicon by Tom Holland (Louisa, Y10)

Elizabeth is missing by Emma Healey (Ms Wright, Library)

The Bees by Laline Paull (Dominic, Y11)

 

Extreme Reading Photos – Galapagos, Slovenia and French scarecrows!

Dr Hood (Chemistry) is clearly enjoying her summer. She has been doing some extreme walking in Slovenia in the Julian Alps.

Dr Hood small

One walk took us to a place called Tromeja in Slovenian or Drilandereck in German, meaning Three Borders.  It is the place where three countries meet: Slovenia, Austria and Italy.  We took the path from the village of Ratece in the valley bottom (at about 840m altitude) to the top of Pec mountain (1510m), a climb of around 670 meters.  The last section of the path had 30 hairpin bends on it, so the walk involved quite extreme effort from me!  That’s why I decided to get this photo taken at the boundary point.  The views at the top were amazing. The background in the photo is Austria.

The books I read on holiday in Slovenia were the first two of Conn Iggulden’s trilogy about the War of the Roses, “Stormbird” and “Trinity” – great stuff, full of blood and guts, but I’m still not sure I understand all the complicated relationships between the houses of York, Lancaster and Neville after reading them!

Galapagos WBS

Mr Bickford-Smith has been getting to know the friendly wildlife in the Galapagos Islands. He has, very fittingly, been reading “One Hundred Years of Solitude” by Gabriel Garcia Marquez alongside two sea-lion pups on Isla Isabela.

LGA extreme scarecrowMy daughter Louisa decided to read Tom Holland’s “Rubicon” with a couple of extreme scarecrows at her aunt’s farm in France!

 

Need inspiration for your Extreme Reading Photo? Look at this…

Just in –  our first Extreme Reading Photo of this summer! Many thanks to our mystery reader(no prizes for guessing who it is though!). Have a look at this Animoto of a selection of previous years’ photos. Perhaps we could plot a map of all the various locations where the reading took place this year and compile a list of all the book titles? Creative photos from your local area or back garden just as welcome as more exotic locations.

You could win a Kobo e-reader!

extreme reading

Extreme Reading Competition and Badged Open Courses (BOCs) this summer.

Don’t forget to send us your Extreme Reading Photos for the summer holiday competition. Here’s a very late entry Hannibal extreme reading Towners copyfrom last year.   It’s Mr Townley on the Hannibal Alps trip. We’re hoping for some good ones from this year’s Classics trip walking the length of Hadrian’s Wall.

Email your entries to: library@wellingtoncollege.org.uk  or tweet them to @welly_library.

BOCS

The Open University is now offering Badged Open Courses for anyone wanting to try online courses, starting anytime.  Learners can work at their own pace, signing up any time and on completion gain a digital badge which can be shared with employers, UCAS etc. Each course takes 24 hours to complete. Try something new like forensic psychology or develop your Maths skills with two levels of courses.  Accounts are currently available to age group 16+

There are over 800 free courses including many introductory courses  (without badges) – some of which only take 5 hours to complete. See the full list here

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