Don’t let your brain go to mush this Summer – holiday reading, MOOCs and more!

PC_blue caveThis summer holiday is longer than ever and the opportunities to stretch yourselves, learn new skills and escape into a good book are vast. We look forward to all your entries to this year’s Extreme Reading Photo Competition too!

For non-fiction reading suggestions don’t forget the Top Ten Reads (especially beneficial for those of you in 5th and 6th form and a chance to develop your knowledge of the subjects you are passionate about in Preparation for A levels and IB)

For fiction remember Mr Wayman’s (Head of English)Wellington 100 book suggestions. An eclectic mix of classic and contemporary fiction.

There are masses of reading ideas on the Lovereading4kids website including suggestions by age and theme and helpful additional information about authors. It is particularly useful for finding out about recently published books. For adults try lovereading.co.uk

The Carnegie Medal – awarded each year by school librarians for an outstanding children’s book is a good source of  contemporary fiction suggestions for young people from 10 – 16.

MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses)

MOOCS enable all of us to dip into free online courses and to try new things. Have an explore of the big course providers below:

Twitter

Don’t overlook Twitter as a brilliant source of links, blogs, websites, quizzes and information. It is a fascinating source for enrichment and learning. Choose who you follow carefully and follow your passions.

Here are a couple of my favourites:

Open Culture  @openculture The best FREE cultural & educational media on the web. Features free courses, movies, audio books, eBooks & thought-provoking daily posts. 

I always find unusual, obscure and fascinating things I didn’t know on this website.

Brainpickings@brainpickings (also @brainpicker) from Maria Popover

Youtube Try these channels for awesome science:

Did you hear Alain de Botton at the Festival of Education? He gave a very interesting talk about the things we don’t educate young people in. Have a watch of the videos in his School of Life youtube channel.  Thought-provoking and challenging!

If you are curious about Medicine and Science why not visit the Wellcome Collection in London. It’s free and fascinating. It also has plenty of information and research online plus an images collection here

If you are a Geography fan or just keen to improve your chances in the inter-house quizzes try these Geography Games

News – The Conversation Here’s what their website says about them:

‘The Conversation is a collaboration between editors and academics to provide informed news analysis and commentary that’s free to read and republish.’

10 Ways we are different

The Conversation provides readers with a free high-grade and trusted information service.

We are quite different to anything else in the media for the following reasons:

  1. In a world of misinformation and spin, The Conversation contributes to healthy democratic discourse by injecting facts and evidence into the public arena.
  2. All our content is sourced from university scholars and researchers who have deep expertise in their subject.
  3. We are committed to responsible and ethical journalism, with a strict Editorial Charter and codes of conduct. Errors are corrected promptly.
  4. We are transparent, with every author disclosing their expertise, funding, and conflicts of interest.
  5. We are a global knowledge project, with 60 staff based in the UK, US and in Australia working with more than 23,000 specialist scholars and researchers. Our aim is to have editors in every part of the world.
  6. All our content is free to read and republish under Creative Commons while the rest of the media charges for re-publication.
  7. We believe in the free flow of information. We disseminate our content to more than 12,000 sites worldwide. That gives our content a global reach of 23 million readers a month, and growing.
  8. To avoid commercial conflict we don’t carry advertising pop-ups or annoying autoplay.
  9. In the UK, we rely on the support of universities, research institutes, SAGE and Wellcome Trust, as well as other foundations. In Australia, we rely on the support of universities, research institutes (inc CSIRO), corporates such as the Commonwealth Bank of Australia, as well as foundations and reader donations. In Africa, we rely on the support of major foundations and corporates, as well as the National Research Foundation. In the US, we rely on the support of major foundations.
  10. We are a not-for-profit organisation serving the public good.

If you support these aims, please help us to continue and improve our service. Stephen Khan, Editor.

 

Reading for Pleasure – enthusing your children!

Many thanks to the lovely keen parents who attended our talk in the Library this morning. We could talk for hours about reading for pleasure but it was really interesting to hear what works for you.

Here is our general philosophy on young people’s reading and some of the things we do to promote reading for pleasure:

  • Emphasise the importance of free choice in reading material
  • Offer a wide and varied book stock including fiction and non-fiction, print and e-books
  • Are never judgmental about young people’s choice of reading material
  • Acknowledge that reading the newspaper, the BBC News website, a comic, graphic novel, Sports magazine etc are all forms of reading for pleasure
  • The Rights of the Reader says it all!
  • Competitions – Extreme Reading Photo Comp, Get Caught Reading, World Book Day Opening Lines Competition, author visits
  • Tutorial book chats with the LibrariansPeer book recommendations – multiple copies and whole tutor group read and discuss
  • 3rd form book and follow up discussions
  • Carnegie Book Award Shadowing
  • Book Openers on the backs of toilet doors
  • ‘Book Chat’ – breaktime book club
  • ‘Currently Reading’ signs for staff – to start a reading conversation with pupils, staff and visitors.

What can you and your family do this summer holidays?

  • Share book recommendations with your children
  • Have a summer family reading club – each member of the family choose a book and all read everybody’s selection
  • Take part in the Extreme Reading Competition and tweet or email us your photos
  • Take the 6 Book Challenge
  • Listen to books and plays on the radio
  • Read that book lurking at the bottom of your TBR (to be read) pile!
  • Read a book before watching the film
  • Challenge your child to read a book outside their normal reading choices and read one of theirs!
  • Follow @welly_library and tweet us your book recommendations

We welcome all your suggestions and got some great inspiration from the parents this morning!

Are you incurably curious?

‘The free destination for the incurably curious’ and a must for students keen to study Medicine

After an interesting day visiting Westminster School Library and talking to other school librarians I made a quick dash to the Wellcome Collection before it closed at 6pm one Saturday last month. What a jaw-dropping place! You don’t have to be a budding medic to find this collection fascinating – it’s equally appealing to anyone interested in art or science too. The whole centre is free and you can wander in, take a leaflet to lead you on a trail, pick up an audio guide to dip into a range of exhibits which pique your interest or sit down and become absorbed in a book. Many of the galleries blend art and creativity in the exhibits alongside the medical information.

chromosomes (2)

Sock chromosomes!

I found myself engrossed in viewing a collection of tools for the amputation of limbs over the ages whilst listening to surgeons’ accounts of operations now and in the past on an audio guide.

experiences sign

Choose your experience and follow the trail. From ‘pulse racing’ to ‘toe curling’

 

I love the ethos of the Wellcome Collection. This sign in the Reading Room says it all.

wellcome sign

 

The reading room is a delight. As their website describes it:

‘Come and experience the new incarnation of our Reading Room. An innovative hybrid of gallery, library and events space, the Reading Room is designed to encourage you to indulge your curiosity and explore more than ever before.

With over a thousand books and 100 objects – including contemporary sculptures, paintings, medical artefacts and manuscripts – the room is an open invitation to dig a little deeper into what it means to be human.

Settle down with a book from our shelves on a comfy sofa, contemplate life quietly or strike up a conversation with a stranger. You will find plenty here to inspire you. Drop by to spark connections and new ideas.

Located on level 2, the Reading Room is open during gallery opening hours. Just come whenever you have a moment – you may even chance upon one of our pop-up Reading Room events.’

So much to learn and amaze and I didn’t even have time to explore the shop!

whole human genome

Browse the whole Human Genome!

 

Back to our school library:

Don’t forget we have a collection of physical books on medicine in the Library as well as a growing collection of e-books. Here’s the current medicine reading list of printed books in the Library.

medical books

Lower 6th: Why not try the 6 Book Reading Challenge during the long summer break? Fuel your curiosity and invigorate your intellect for your final school year. You could try reading the same book as a group of your friends and discussing your responses when you come back in September. More excellent science books on the Royal Society Winton Prize for Science website and the Wellcome Book Prize too.

The Wellcome Library is free to join and you can access their wide-range of resources and read fascinating blogs.

As an interested layperson here is my suggested recipe for a medical summer:

  • A trip: The Wellcome Collection
  • Read 6 books: From the Library or our e-book collection or public libraries, or bookshops or anywhere!
  • A lecture: Listen to The Reith Lectures by Dr Atul Gawande on The Future of Medicine (on Radio 4 iplayer)  ‘Surgeon and writer Atul Gawande explores the nature of fallibility and suggests that preventing avoidable mistakes is a key challenge for the future of medicine.’ (Radio 4 iplayer)

4 lectures on:

  • Why do doctors fail?
  • The century of the system
  • The problem of hubris
  • The idea of wellbeing
 We welcome your suggestions and recommendations for Library stock.

More young people are reading for pleasure – Don’t forget the impact of school librarians!

The National Literacy Trust questioned 32,000 pupils aged eight to 18 and  the survey suggests ‘enjoyment and frequency of reading are both at their highest levels for nine years’ (BBC News)

This is such positive news and it’s encouraging to see that the press have picked it up. I heard Jonathan Douglas of the National Literacy Trust talking about the report on Radio 5 Live yesterday morning. It was a very brief interview but he highlighted the fact that they’d included questions on digital reading in the survey this time. He mentioned that it is as important for children to be able to read emails as it is for them to read Jane Austen today.

My only gripe is the lack of mention of school librarians and school libraries in the press coverage. As school librarians we are passionate about inspiring young people to read for pleasure and promote an enthusiastic reading culture in our schools – whether it be fiction or popular science, biography, history – you name it we encourage it! Key to enthusing children and young people to read is allowing them the freedom to choose their own reading material and not be judgemental. I only hope this report doesn’t bring in its wake articles criticising children’s reading choices. As adults we don’t all read weighty classics all of the time!

School librarians are experts in books for children and young adults. We read as many books as possible, keep up with the latest releases through The Bookseller, School Librarian publication and the press. Film tie-ins are hugely popular with our pupils and we make sure we stock these. We offer e-books which can be read on pupils’ phones and other mobile devices so that they need never be without a good book in the holidays.

As the report acknowledges, reading initiatives are a great way of inspiring children. The Summer Reading Challenge in UK public libraries engages younger children in particular and teenagers as ‘reading activists’. In our school Shadowing the Carnegie Book Award gets pupils reading the same 8 shortlisted novels and heated debates occur over there responses to the books. Although the survey found that boys are reading less than girls in our school the boys  often appear to be keener to share their reading and ask for book recommendations. Our breaktime ‘Book Chat’ book club is frequently boys only although a few girls are starting to come along.

scholars 2015

Parents can help too by reading with their children but also as reading role-models – sharing their book choices and reading with their children.

Press coverage of the children’s reading habits survey.

It’s interesting to see the way the different newspapers and news websites emphasise different aspects of the report:

The BBC reports that ‘Increasing numbers of UK schoolchildren are choosing to read in their spare time, with six in 10 having a favourite work of fiction, research suggests’

BBC News More pupils than “reading for pleasure” Useful summary of the survey findings in this report.

The Guardian headline focuses on digital media ‘girls like digital media while boys prefer print

The Telegraph reports that  Girls ‘are reading more than boys,’ boosted by ‘Twilight effect’ ….’novels like Twilight make reading “cool” for girls, new research shows

Revision Tips and websites – Do you know the Gojimo app?

The exams are just around the corner! Good luck to all our IB students who start their exams on 4th May – Bank Holiday Monday – when many of us are enjoying a day off. IGCSE exams commence on Tuesday 5th May. Best of luck to all of you.

I’m sure many of you know the following websites but here’s a reminder of useful revision places:

Gojimo I’ve recently come across a free revision app called gojimo It was created by a student for students and is available for Apple and android devices and also via the website to use for online study. It covers the major subjects at IGCSE, GCSE and A Level. Gauge your current knowledge of a subject by trying a quick random test or revise topics.

Memrise claims to “make learning languages and vocab so full of joy and life, you’ll laugh out loud.” It does seem to be a way of making vocab learning less painful and more game-like.

Quizlet  “Study Tools – Quizlet’s flashcards, tests, and study games make learning fun and engaging for students of all ages.”

If you are as obsessed as Mr Atherton with improving your knowledge of the Geography of countries of the world try these tests of your knowledge.

Do you know Africa? ( quick quiz from the Washington Post)

World Geography Games – This fun interactive quiz improves your knowledge of countries and continents

Here’s some useful advice from The Student Room website about good study and revision habits.

and more Top Tips for Revision from http://www.prospects.ac.uk/

Don’t forget to use the Library! The librarians are here to help you – with book suggestions, inter-library book and article loans, assistance with the e-library online resources, essay research and referencing and lots more. We always welcome your questions.

The Spiritual Room (the former Auchinleck Room) is a designated silent area so this is the place to go for getting solid individual work or revision done. If you are working together – talking over topics and testing each other then the glass pods are the place to be. Please leave the Library quietly and do think of others by taking all your books and files etc with you when you leave for lunch and breaks to free up space for others.

 

 

 

Carnegie Book Award Shadowing is underway!

carnegie shortlist 2015

CILIP Carnegie Medal 2015 shortlist:

  • Apple and rain by Sarah Crossan (Bloomsbury)
  • When Mr Dog bites by Brian Conaghan (Bloomsbury)
  • More than this by Patrick Ness (Walker Books)
  • Buffalo soldier by Tanya Landman (Walker Books)
  • Tinder by Sally Gardner (Orion Children’s Books)
  • Cuckoo song by Frances Hardinge (Pan Macmillan)
  • The fastest boy in the world by Elizabeth Laird (Pan Macmillan)
  • The middle of nowhere by Geraldine McCaughrean (Usborne Books)

This year’s beautifully colour-coordinated collection of shortlisted books have arrived! We discussed them with Book Chat club on Wednesday and they chose to start reading The Fastest Boy in the World and When Mr Dog Bites first. We have multiple copies of the books and are hoping to shadow the prize with a number of 3rd form tutor groups. 5 of the titles are also available as e-books. Are you up for the challenge of reading all 8 over the Easter holidays? If this is too much you have until 22nd June to read them and choose your winner!

carnegie 2015

On Monday 23rd March the Y9 Scholars and Exhibitioners started their shadowing. They enthusiastically chose shortlisted titles to read over the Easter holidays.

Happy World Book Day – Thursday 5th March 2015

group croppedToday is World Book Day and we are celebrating books and reading today! Looking forward to seeing pupils and staff in the Library at break this morning for cookies, brownies and our Opening Lines of Books quiz.

Try your hand at this 10 Second Book Quiz  (many thanks to Sue, the Librarian at Roedean for sharing this one!) It is also on the screens in the Dining Hall today.

On a day when we celebrate our enjoyment of books and reading why not support Book Aid International? This charity is changing people’s lives through the supply of books, resources and support of libraries in Africa. Watch Samuel’s story here

 

Reading Challenge 2015 – Join our Reading Bingo!

As a fun challenge to encourage us all to try new books, genres, formats for 2015 we’ve adopted Random House Canada’s reading bingo challenge from 2014.bingo image

All are welcome to pick up a bingo card in the Library and start making a line. The ultimate challenge is to read 25 books by the end of the Summer Term or by the end of December 2015. The Hopetoun Y9 girls had a session in the Library during tutorial on Monday and enthusiastically took up our challenge.

We’re looking forward to hearing about all your reading choices and are hoping to make a huge bingo card to display all the books read as post it notes on all the squares.

I read ’13 reasons why’ by Jay Asher at the very end of 2014 so sadly can’t use this amazing book as my “Book with a number in the title” for this year. However, I read ‘The Paying Guests’ by Sarah Waters (highly recommended and beautifully written – a literary page turner) and it was 560 pages so that qualifies for the top left square. I’ve just completed the wonderful ‘Persepolis’ by Marjane Satrapi. This book is one of a kind  – the biography of Marj growing up as a young girl in Iran told as a graphic novel. Her strong, defiant character is powerfully portrayed along with her humour. As well as a personal coming of age story it is incredibly informative about life in Iran from the 1970’s to the 1990’s.

 

 

Christmas Holiday Reading recommendations – Staff picks from 2014

Books of the Year 2014 and holiday recommendations

I’ve been canvassing opinion for some of the favourite books read or published this year. Here is the eclectic mix of choices from some of our teachers and the Library staff.

I am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by the Taliban –  Malala Yousafzai

Ms Atherton The things they carried – Tim O’Brien. This book was recommended to me some years ago and I finally read it over the summer. It is an incredible book – both a novel and collection of inter-linked stories of the men in a platoon in the Vietnam War. It is a fictional account but the  author based it on his own experiences of the Vietnam War. The detail and experiences of the soldiers feel so real and the book has become a powerful anti-war classic.

In Cold Blood – Truman Capote

We were liars – E. Lockhart

Dr Williams recommends the crime fiction of Canadian writer Louise Penny

Lewis Dartnell has written a book this year entitled The Knowledge: How to rebuild our world from scratch

It has been described  by The Guardian as “A terrifically engrossing History of Science and Technology” and by Nature journal as “The Ultimate do-it-yourself guide to ‘rebooting’ human civilisation”

What Milo Saw – Virginia Macgregor

Mr Hendrick – Stoner by John Williams, Sense of an Ending by Julian Barnes, The Bone Clocks by David Mitchell

Mr Atherton (Maths) Operation Mincemeat by Ben Macintyre – The fascinating true spy story that changed the course of World War II

Dr Rosen (Biology) told us that he is working his way through  the free classics on his Kindle! One he found amazing was The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoyevsky. An epic exploration of the human psyche.

Ms Wright(Library Assistant) Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys This proved a hugely popular book when it was on the Carnegie Shortlist in 2012. It is a moving account of a Lithuanian family’s arrest and deportation to Siberia following the Russian occupation of their country during World War II. See a pupil’s review here

Mrs Wayman – A Tale for the Time being by Ruth Ozeki and  The Narrow Road to the Deep North by Richard Flanagan (Man Booker Prize Winner 2014)