Useful links

Technology Addiction Research Executive Summary | Common Sense Media “The executive summary of our research brief Technology Addiction: Concern, Controversy, and Finding Balance highlights the six key findings from the report; presents findings from a poll of over 1,200 parents and teens examining how families feel about their mobile device use and how that use is affecting child-parent relationships; and offers advice for creating balance in this “always connected” world.”

Redesigning Thinking in Libraries with Hamish Curry (with images, tweets) · camillaelliott · Storify Storify “Redesigning Thinking in Libraries with Hamish Curry. At this workshop hosted by School Library Assoc of Victoria, Hamish Curry of NoTosh guided library staff through a design thinking approach to exploring the future possibilities for their individual school libraries.”

Makerspace Ideas & Resources For Maker Education “Makerspaces.com is made up of makers, geeks, educators, technology/stem leaders, library media specialists, librarians, school principals & superintendents, instructional technology specialists, edtech leaders, maker educators, makerspace operators, 3d printing enthusiasts, robotics club and so much more. Our mission is to bring makerspaces into the educational system, so we can bring the educational system into the 21st century. “
Take Charge To Maximize Your Library’s Online Presence | School Library Journal All libraary staff want to provide excellent library services for users, to be more integrated into the fabric of our communities, and to impact student engagement and achievement. This article looks at what you can do to improve your online presence to work towards accomplishing this. Recommendation: “Start small, learn from others, and make your online presence a priority. Your students, staff, and community deserve it!”
Architect Andre Chiote’s Minimalist Library Illustrations Focus on the Buildings’ Architectural Details – CityLab These posters offer artists impressions of the library buildings – with no books, but plenty of architectural details.
How Google Impacts The Way Students Think Interesting reflection on how we use Google and what thinking goes with that.
Moving at the Speed of Creativity | Comparing Risks and Benefits of a PreTeen YouTube Channel Wesley Fryer reflects on his daughter’s foray into the digital world. “While Shelly and I acknowledge the risks Rachel is facing by publishing a YouTube channel and using social media channels like Twitter and Instagram, at this point I do think the benefits of her learning, literacy development, and identity formation outweigh them. Decisions like these are definitely going to vary by family and by parent. I’m thankful we have open lines of communication to continue talking about what she’s doing and encountering. It’s certainly a dynamic situation that could change at any time”
What Does Learning Commons Mean for Your School? | PFAU LONG ARCHITECTURE  A reflection about one school library faculty’s goal of creating a positive learning environment with space that would help students and teachers develop real-world connections and the approach they took to creating it. The ideas for the space included housing the collection, helping students and teachers collaborate, being a hub for learning with a flexible floor plan and supporting newly developing areas in educational technology. The school decided to create a learning commons to move beyond traditional thinking about libraries and respond to what the kids and teachers really needed. The faculty envisioned their environment to be developmentally appropriate for their young students, as well as to foster a sense of creativity, inspiration, and encourage dialogue and a sense of community. The new learning commons library offered more space for stacks, added conference rooms and a lounge area, but the learning commons concept informed more than the library. These design changes increase opportunities to be inspired by student work and performances and create stronger interpersonal connections among students and faculty.
Free Newspaper Template Pack For Word. Perfect For School “Post has links to newspaper templates. it includes some good designs that students can choose from to create their own newspaper. They are all for Microsoft Word.
Student-Made E-Books: A Beautiful Way to Demonstrate Learning | Cult of Pedagogy
How to Use Padlet in the Classroom: A Fantastic Teaching Tool “Padlet is a versatile and easy-to-use tool. The post offers a great way to learn the basics.
So Many Fun Ways To Use Blabberize In The Classroom — Emerging Education Technologies “Blabberize is a free online tool that allows you to quickly create talking images. It provide opportunities to improve student engagement and collaboration. This post offers some ideas and examples of how it coould be used.
How Game-Based Learning Can Help Students of All Ages Learn | Edudemic
http://www.edudemic.com/game-based-learning-help-learn/

Game-based learning offers an approach where learning and play aren’t at odds with each other; in fact, games are the vehicle and environment for learning.
Printing Press A way for students to create a more professional version of their work. Works (short/stories/poems) can be published using the ReadWriteThink Printing Press. It is interactive and uses 3 simple templates. Students can save their draft then share it or publish it when they are happy
B’s Book Love : Technology-Based Poetry Activities for Poetry Centers and Poetry Stations A how-to about creating digital blackout poems. “These can help struggling readers focus on the MOST important words in the poem to find the main idea/theme of the poem in a fun and artful way:” There is an example of how to use You Doodle as well as a non-technology option.

Create Time-stamped Multimedia Notes on Your Android Device | Android 4 Schools This looks to be a promising app for ome of the students i work with who have difficulties with text but very good auditory and thinking skills. “Mic Note is a free Android app that allows you to create voice recordings, text notes, and image-based notes on one concise notebook page. The notes that you record with your voice can be time-stamped by clicking on your Mic Note note page while you’re recording. You can also take notes without recording any audio. ”

Top 100 education apps by subject and grade – Microsoft in Education A useful curated list of 100 microsoft education apps that you can get frokm the Windows Store. Downloadable PDF doc.
100+ Great Google Classroom Resources for Educators This is a very comprehensive post from Vicky Davis. It is a consolidation of the many things that Google can offer teachers and students. They are categorized under useful headings, many links to follow up and some useful videos are also embedded.
How to Use Padlet in the Classroom: A Fantastic Teaching ToolA very comprehensive explanation about how teachers could use Padlet with their classes making it a very versatile tool. Includes links and video
What Counts as Civic Participation? | Harvard Graduate School of Education A discussion that considers what we have included in our citizenship courses and what should/might be included now that the on-line world is so readily available to most.
Word Mover – ReadWriteThink Word Mover (By ReadWriteThink) is designed to help students develop poems and short stories Students can use word banks already created or they can also add new words to the list. They can then drag onto a canvas they have selected to construct their poem or story. They are also able to manipulate and move the text as they wish to creatively publish poetry. There are six different categories and 12 canvas backgrounds students may select. Useful lesson plans that use the app for a variety of learning levels and subjects are also shared.
Should I Download That App? A Ten Question Checklist for Choosing Tools Worth Your—and Your Students’—Time | EdSurge News Advice worth looking at. “Whether you are a classroom teacher, instructional coach, or administrator, ask yourself these ten questions before going any further”
Teaching literacy is more than teaching simple reading skills: it can’t be done in five easy steps | EduResearch Matters A good article about developing literacy skills. “All Australian children and young people becoming literate I believe it is vital we understand and define the complexity of literacy. Literacy encompasses the knowledge and skills students need to access, understand, analyse and evaluate information, make meaning, express thoughts and emotions, present ideas and opinions, interact with others and participate in activities at school and in their lives beyond school. “
Make a Book Map with Google Maps – Reading By Example “A nice class activity when the books, being read by the students, have specific locations for the settings. You can create a book map using My Maps from Google to highlight the settings in which these texts took place.”
Your Library@CSU: The Wonders of Trove “Trove was created and ismaintained by the National Library of Australia (NLA). It allows users to find and use resources relating to Australia, from more than 1000 collections; spanning libraries, museums, galleries, archives, govt agencies, research orgs, and other unique Australian content.  There is a useful how-to video embedded in the post”
Note Taking Skills for 21st Century Students @coolcatteacher “Note taking skills aren’t just automatic. We tell students “take notes” but they have no idea what that means. What makes “good notes.” What do they write down? How should notes look?” Lesson plans and teaching ideas for teachers
Worlds of Learning | Makerspace Vision Statement “What makers this process unique is that it offers a thematic approach to planning and creating a makerspace.  After deciding upon the themes you want to advance in your makerspace, and procuring the necessary equipment, materials and supplies to support each theme, attention can be given then to designing the physical aspects of your makerspace.  A good place to start this process is to think about your school’s mission statement and vision and then think through how your makerspace can be seen as a physical representation of that strategy.  “
What is a Makerspace? | Create, Collaborate, Innovate Author looks at the universal ideas/themes that lie behind different types of successful makerspaces.
21 Digital Tools To Build Vocabulary – Annotated list of tools. “Digital tools must coexist alongside more traditional tools. Online tools, compared to their more traditional counterparts, can provide a broader array of information about words and word meanings. Some tools also allow teachers to customize words so that students can practice, review, and play games with content or unit-specific words. “
EdTechTeam: Get coding in your classroom! Enter the Challenge.“Do your students code?” Some ideas to get you started – not all digitech heavy and many other resources are freely available.
Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Character Scrapbook: responding to Wonder

In Wonder by R. J. Palacio. the author has provided the reader with details not only about the main character August (Auggie) Pullan), but several other characters who

The information about the characters has been written down by the author in descriptive sentences, events that directly involve charactesr, and by how the characters behave, think and say about each other and especially the main character.

There will be several ways for students to show what they have identified about a character from the novel. They will begin by createing a digital scrapbook for a character of their choice.

Character Scrapbook is produced by Scholastic and is a web resource that is a simple to use. It offers a reader’s response activity that students can use to analyse any character in a book or story.

The template allows them to include details and reflections about a character through text, but it also provides the students with an opportunity to create a visual representation of that character.

Character Scrapbook (Scholastic)

On the left-hand “page” they can choose from a selection of options (including some animal options) to build up an “identikit” image of their character.

On the right-hand side they list the character traits. There are 6 different “pages” that the students need to fill out to demonstrate their knowledge and understanding of the character. These include:

  1. Ten things I know about XX
  2. Ten words that describe XX.
  3. Ten facts about XX’s personality
  4. Ten details about XX’s personality
  5. Ten challenges XX faced in the story.
  6. Ten accomplishments XX achieved.

Once created they can save or print it as a type of scrapbook. .

It offers is a simple way to engage students and also offers an opportunity to help them form a deeper understanding of a book’s character(s).

Character Scrapbook could be utilized with fiction or non-fiction text as an individual, small group and/or even whole class assignment

There is a detailed teacher’s guide on the Scholastic site that has a detailed how-to as well as lesson extensions.

Some of the suggested Character Discussion Questions, designed to help students deepen their understanding of their characters, included the following:

  • How would this book be different without this character?
  • How did this character affect the events in this book?
  • How did this character affect the other characters?
  • How was this character shaped by the setting of the book?

Responding to the class novel: Wonder by R. J. Palacio.

Wonder wordlist-on cover image

Created using Tagul https://tagul.com/

This term our year 7 students are reading Wonder by R. J. Palacio. I have been working on different activities that our teachers could use with their classes. This week I have been working with one of the year 7 classes and they been the first to trial the some of the activities.

One of the first activities, for those that had finished reading the book, was to think about the vocabulary used in the novel, creating a list of words that the boys then created their own word searches. We use Word Search Generator that allows you to create your own printable “word find” worksheets. It is very simple and easy to use. There are several options that allow you to tailor the style of word search very easily. Some boys worked in pairs and others preferred to create one on their own. Some have already been shared with boys from other classes. Both groups have been totally engaged in their work and there has been some great discussion.

Wordsearch

An example of a word search

Wordsearch-Wonder

 

These same boys have now gone away to create crosswords using Eclipse crosswords. This is a tool I have used many times to generate crosswords as extension activities. Our student book club boys have created some, based on books they have been reading, recently as well.

These new crosswords will be shared with the class next week. Eclipse offers another very simple tool that allows boys to explore the language used in the novel.

Eclipse crossword 2016-html

Book Review: First Class Murder by Robin Stevens

Just finished the first week back after 5 weeks of long service leave. I took my kindle, loaded up with many novels and, as has happened before, some of the novels I took to read were set in areas I travelled through. I do not plan this but I suppose if I like English stories and I am lucky enough to spend it in the UK, it is bound to happen.

Whilst there I visited the several National Trust houses and gardens. I spent a week in the Torbay area, staying in Torquay. The weather was lovely and I was delighted to find I could take either a ferry or steam train to visit Greenway, the Georgian house and garden that was the holiday home of Agatha Christie. Many personal items and written reminiscences from family and friends make the visit worthwhile, especially if you are a Christie fan. There are many editions of her books and some of the estate has appeared in the Poirot television series.

There was also a connection with the latest Wells and Wong book.

First Class Murder (Wells and Wong, #3)First Class Murder by Robin Stevens My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is the third book in the Wells and Wong series. Robin Stevens has written another wonderful detective story for younger readers and paid tribute to the Queen of the crime novel, Agatha Christie. The setting for Daisy Well’s and Hazel Wong’s third mystery is on the Orient Express. The year is 1935 (only one year after the original ading | Tagged: book review, children’s_literature,publication date of Agatha Christie’s “Murder on the Orient Express”) and the details of the 1930’s train and the passengers seem very realistic. Hazel and Daisy have been taken on holiday by Hazel’s father, who has forbidden them to do any more detecting but once again the girls are caught up in a mystery.
In this story, just like the “Murder on the Orient Express”, the plot depends on one of the passengers on the train being the murderer and a detective on the train who will have to interview all the passengers to discover just who is telling the truth and who is lying.
There are some very questionable characters in the first class carriage with Hazel and Daisy as well as Hazel’s father, who is trying to keep a close watch on the two girls. However, with their usual determination they are soon on the case.
In another nod to Agatha Christie, one of our young detectives, Daisy, is actually reading a copy of “Murder on the Orient Express” in this story.
This is a mystery story, with spies, priceless jewels and a murder, that will keep young readers guessing until the “clever denouement”. I would recommend it to anyone who loves the challenge of unravelling a good mystery.
A list of the series on Robin Steven’s website http://robin-stevens.co.uk/the-books/
About the author: Robin Stevens

View all my reviews

Useful links

What Makes a Good Teacher in 2016 Infographic – e-Learning Infographics “What Makes a Good Teacher in 2016 Infographic Posted on April 19, 2016 There’s more to being a great teacher than classroom skills. The successful qualities of education professionals are not easy to instil or duplicate – which makes greatness in teaching just as rare as greatness in medicine. There is much debate, both online and offline, regarding this hot topic. Therefore, ITN Mark Education has put together the What Makes a Good Teacher in 2016 Infographic. Heading include: Love of the subject; Stress management; Complete control; Highly organised;
Professional Behaviour; Praise is precious; Expert instructional methods.”

Clarifying Ideas with Sketchnoting “Play this if you are interested in improving your visual note-taking skills.  You can tune in to learn how to bring ideas to life with sketchnotes. ”

Learning Specialist and Teacher Materials – Good Sensory Learning: Multisensory Teaching Accommodates the 12 Ways of Learning An infographic that identifies the 12 ways of learning. Also provides some statistics on how learning improves when teachers implement multisensory instruction.”
#educoachOC – a monthly Twitter chat about coaching in education “Blog fot the The #educoachOCtwitter chat. The team is made up of Australian educators passionate about coaching in educational contexts.”
12 Awesome Edtech Apps | Edutopia “Every teacher should build an edtech teaching toolkit that works for you with reliable tools that suit your needs and circumstances. Learning should focus on content, not on figuring out how a tool works. In this post one Vicki Davis discusses 12 edtech tools in her toolkit,”
Ideas for Australia: Why is Australia falling behind in maths, science and literacy – and what can be done about it? “The Conversation has asked 20 academics to examine the big ideas facing Australia for the 2016 federal election and beyond. The 20-piece series will examine, among others, the state of democracy, health, education, environment, equality, freedom of speech, federation and economic reform.”
Future of Reading: Boys and Literacy – YouTube Visual reflecting what can be done to improve literacy levels in boys.
Take a Peek Inside The Mind of a Middle Schooler: Part 1 | The TpT Blog A post that looks at research into how the adolescent brain works and applies it to creating learning and teaching in classrooms to get the best learning outcomes from the students.
Classroom Furniture: Does it impede or improve learning? | A look at classroom furniture and the way it is arranged in a room and what message it sends to students about learning.
Reflecting on Digital Literacy | Educational Leadership in the 21st Century“In an effort to support my teachers in reflecting more deeply on their practice I’ve been using this teacher self-assessment tool”
Why women are better at coding than men | Alphr “Code written by women garners higher ratings on GitHub, so why is gender diversity still a big problem in 2016? Sammy Maine investigates”

A One-Stop Spot for Game-Based Learning | Global Educator Institute “Kids and games, two words that go hand in hand. Learning and games may not sound as synonymous. With the increased student engagement and complex thought processes that accompany game-based learning, they should be. Some questions, mentioned in this post, that you can ask to assist you in determining whether or not game-based learning is the right fit or you and your students.
Then links to sites that might be of interest:”

Building Research Skills for Finding Compelling Data” When students need to use their research skills for one assignment or another they can go onto the Internet. From this they may find all sorts of information is hurled. What they need to do is sift through tho find the best for their situation. This post offers some tips on how do we can assist students sift through so much information to get at the best and most reliable content”
12 Awesome Formative Assessment Examples “12 interesting formative assessment examples that are creative, low tech, fun and engaging for students, and easy for a teacher to implement right away”.
Worlds of Learning | What do Great Makerspaces Have in Common? “No two school makerspaces should ever be exactly alike, because no two school communities are ever exactly alike. What do the best ones have in common? This post tries to identify the main features “
Top 10 illustrated children’s novels that open the door for reluctant readers | Children’s books | The Guardian An annotated list chosen to intrigue the more reluctant reader and get them started on the reading road.
The 8 Best Chrome Extensions As Chosen By Teachers | These are chosen by teachers so there is some description with each about how they can be used in educational ways
Using Edtech to Improve Outcomes for Students with Autism | EdSurge News Discussing how to approach learning progams for students with autism. “Everyone has gifts and talents, even if they also have more weaknesses than those around them.” There are some links to programs that have been developed and offer practical approaches

Why Digital Literacy Is Critical In eLearning – eLearning Industry “Digital literacy has been dubbed as a fourth literacy. Whereas reading, writing, and mathematics are considered as the cornerstone of being literate, literacy in this day is not complete if a person is not capable of accessing and creating digital information. Therefore it is important to talk about digital literacy in education and eLearning.”

Discovering Literature Shakespeare – The British Library Discovering Literature: Shakespeare is a website created by the British Library which aims to bring the world of Shakespeare to life for a new generation of students and lovers of literature everywhere. Through 300 newly digitised collection items and over 80 essays written by scholars such as Elaine Showalter andEmma Smith, as well as actors Hugh Quarshie and Simon Callow, the site reveals the politics, society and culture which shaped his imagination and legacy.
Teaching Shakespeare and historical enquiry | TES “A selection a few of the top resources from the Teaching Shakespeare hub, which allow students to discover the historical context of Shakespeare’s life and works, and to develop their understanding of Elizabethan society.”
Teaching Shakespeare: Plays, themes and genre | TES “Collections of resources to teach Shakespeare organised by theme, genre and individual play”
Tech Literacy: Making It Relevant Through Content Learning | Edutopia “Teaching technology at Meyer Elementary School goes beyond showing kids how to use email and apps. It gives students a context for learning technology through subject areas, making all learning more relevant.”
Resources for Maker Education | Edutopia “Links to resources and tools to help bring elements of maker culture into schools and classrooms, and encourage students to explore STEAM subjects within the context of maker projects.”
Will the Monograph Experience a Transition to E-Only? Latest Findings. | The Scholarly Kitchen – Linkis.com Data from a survey about books and digital references indicates that both are important to researchers/students in 2015.
About CS First | Google CS First “Empowering all students to create with technology through free computer science clubs. CS First provides free, easy-to-use computer science (CS) enrichment materials that target and engage a diverse student population”
Let the Coding Games Begin! 5 Awesome Edtech Games that Teach Programming | Edtech FunctionThe educational games listed all teach programming by taking full advantage of game-based learning.
Working with Words: Garth Nix — The Wheeler Centre An interesting interview on writing from Australian author, Garth Nix about the process of writing.
Never Too Young To Code | School Library Journal Interesting discussion on when to start teaching coding. As with many aspects of technology use in early childhood, there are many discussions underway about the appropriate role coding has in young children’s classrooms – and in the library.
“Coding is sometimes referred to as the “new literacy” in schools and teaching coding means teaching children the language used to operate tablets, computers, and other devices they interact with every day. Experts say these beginning programming skills teach problem-solving and critical thinking and expose children to the world of computer science.”
Innovate My School – Using edtech to create digital citizens Some practical ways that we can approach digital citizenship. Important to note that the article promotes not reading or writing about Digital Citizenship but doing/living it each day both teachers and students.
How to write a comment Third grade students created this video, How to Write a Quality Comment, and it highlights the importance of embedding digital citizenship lessons into the youngest classrooms.
Working with parents to develop STEM learning | Teacher | ACER “STEM, science, technology, engineering, mathematics, parent participation, short articles “
Coding for Kids – Left Brain Craft Brain 25+ coding apps, games, activities and even screen-free options. This post is a good array of different ways to approach how kids can learn about coding. Many for younger children but also some ideas for secondary kids as well. Links to activities and other posts.

The Ultimate App Guide for Students – Infographic ~ Educational Technology and Mobile Learning Good organisation is the key to good study. Developing a study plan that is formatted and structured to meet your study needs will assist your learning and you will also be more likely to be relaxed and feel more prepared for exams. The guide is this post is from Study Medicine Europe and gives a useful guide to apps that may enhance studying efforts. Some are free and some are paid versions and they are split up according to different goals.

Picasso Was Wrong: How coding is leading the future of arts related careers Article about the breadth of opportunities for those who can code. “There are countless jobs and industries that use coding and computer science, and these are all creative in different ways. Some are creative in the way art is, some are creative through their problem solving, and many are creative in other ways.”
Small Tech, Big Impact: Designing My Maker Space | School Library Journal “Ideas for maker spaces with a focus on small-scale tech with specific patron education goals in mind: photo creation and manipulation, video creation with a focus on stop-motion animation, small robotics, small-scale 3-D creation, and electronics.”
Top 5 “games” that help students learn – Mr Kemp ” Game-based learning is using games to achieve a defined set of learning outcomes. “
The 21st Century Book Report | Tech Learning “A post about how to take a student’s interests and passions in genres of movies, TV, music, etc. and use them to find the gateway book to foster an appreciation”
Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Black Dog Gang: a story of Sydney life in 1900’s. Book review

We are always looking for books to engage our boys. The Premiers’ Reading Challenge is being promoted to classes this week,. It has been a good time for revisiting some of the literature we have added to our collection and promote books that appeal to our boys. Robert Newton‘s books Runner and The Black Dog Gang are two great Australian stories.

If you are interested there is a review here and some teaching notes from Penguin here

The Black Dog GangThe Black Dog Gang by Robert Newton My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is a fast paced and gritty historical novel set in Sydney in 1900. It is also a story about friendship, loyalty and the bonds that can form in harsh conditions. The world the boys in the book inhabit is full of poverty, dirt and hard-work. Frankie Maguire relates the story of his gang. There are 5 boys from shabby inner city Sydney who form a friendship and bond together. They experience bullying and violence and name their gang after a pirate from the “Treasure Island” story.
At this time Sydney is panicked by an outbreak of Bubonic Plague and there is a bounty of 6 pence on rats. The boys set about making money by finding and catching rats. They come up with an interesting money-making scheme along the way. The era has been well-researched and the characters are believable and likeable. There are wonderful descriptions of school and family life and a rather gross description of the rats eating cats (our boys rather like that). The dialogue is also rich with colloquial language and terms of the time.
This is an interesting story about a time in Australian history that most us know little about today.

View all my reviews

Book Review: Murder Most Unladylike by Robin Stevens

Although looking after my niece and 2 little nephews for one week of my holidays, I have also enjoyed time to read. My niece also loves reading, especially mystery stories. I recently gave her 3 books in a series by Robin Stevens. (Murder Most Unladylike series aka Wells & Wong Mysteries). She has read all three and loved them. She gave them to me to read and I have recently finished the first one, Murder most unladylike,  and enjoyed it a lot. Below is my review for it

Murder Most Unladylike (Wells and Wong, #1)Murder Most Unladylike by Robin Stevens
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Murder Most Unladylike is a delightful read and it was very easy to suspend disbelief that school girls could investigate a murder, unfettered by any adult interventions in this very English boarding school crime setting.
The story is set in 1934 in a boarding school for girls called Deepdene. It combines the traditional detective novel, (think Sherlock Holmes) with a bit of the traditional girls-own boarding school drama. The story is narrated (Dr. Watson-style) by Hazel Wong, a student from Hong Kong, who, with best friend Daisy Wells (the self-cast Sherlock Holmes of the duo), make up a secret detective agency that in the past had only very mundane cases to investigate.
The adventure begins when Hazel finds the body of their Science Mistress, Miss Bell, in the gym. Hazel runs for help but when she returns with Daisy a few minutes later, the body has disappeared. The official from the School Headmistress is that Miss Bell is simply gone, resigned. The rumour is that it is due to a broken heart after a failed romance with the new music teacher, Mr Reid. Hazel and Daisy know better and set out to first prove that a murder actually happened and then find the culprit.
Whilst the skilfully plotted murder mystery in Murder Most Unladylike is the central thread there are also many other incidental elements that provide an interesting picture that encompasses not only the actual mystery but also the difficulties the two main characters have in maintainin their’ friendship as well as wider social mores of the time about gender, class and race.
Although she has been schooled by her father, who is clearly a fan of all things Anglophile, Hazel has had to learn to fit in and deal with the casual racism and small slights from her classmates. Also, given the historical context of the novel, the classes that are considered necessary, sort of good behaviour that is expected of the girls and how intelligent and smart they are allowed to be. Daisy and Hazel’s characters both play down their intelligence in class and deportment is a timetabled class.
This story has plenty of charm. It is funny and clever, and as with all good classic detective stories, the two heroines complement each other perfectly.
The author Robin Stevens has captured the feel of all of the classic mystery stories that I enjoyed when I was a child. It should have great appeal for many middle-school kids today. I spent 12 months in a boarding school and, although it was not English and 50 years later than the timeframe here, there is a ring of authenticity to the lives documented in the story. There is a language that goes with boarding schools and for this reason there is a glossary at the end that explains all the 1930s boarding school slang.

View all my reviews

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