Head of the River is not simply a novel about sport. It is about so much more. It is ultimately about friendship, growing up, relationships, identity, insecurities and anxieties when you are becoming an adult and family bonds. Sport is the mechanism but it is not an “issues” book.
It is an interesting read, looking at the pressures placed on young people the world of elite school sport. Money and prestige play a big part in this rather insular world where winning seems all-consuming.
This novel tells the story of Cristian and Leni Posescu who are twins on rowing scholarships. There are high expectations that they will perform well, partly because their parents are both medal winning Olympians and partly because they must maintain high performances to stay at the school. The pressure to do well and win the Head of the River eights, in both boys and girls sections, place almost unbearable pressures on both them and others in their circle.
The narrative unfolds with the voices of Cristian and Leni in alternating chapters as they explain their struggles. Each is trying create a balance in their lives whilst finding a place for study, working out their relationships as well as keeping up with the rigorous training regime in preparation for the final race. Each finds out that not everything can be achieved the way they want it to.
At the end of the novel, the love they have within their family, and the support they give to each other, leaves the reader with a positive impression of life beyond school.
An interview with the author about this books can be found at http://www.kids-bookreview.com/2014/1…
Teachers notes can be found here for encouraging further discussion.
This book raises some real-world issues that younger athletes may experience when they seek to excel in a sport. The boys are exposed to the use of anabolic steroids and performance enhancing drugs. The consequences of this use comes to light in a way that introduces some topical questions about sporting culture and the detection of drug cheats as well as the pressure placed on young athletes to perform at elite levels
Book trailer for the novel below.
- Shakespeare’s antisemitic lines must be censored at times, says Rylance | Stage | The Guardian language Interesting piece from The Guardian. “The actor Mark Rylance has said he has to cut out parts of Shakespeare’s plays because they are antisemitic. The former artistic director of the Globe Theatre in London, who is starring in the BBC’s Wolf Hall, said: “I don’t think there’s pressure [to remove] the bawdy jokes. He’s bawdier a lot more times than people realise. “The pressures I feel are more for times where he will say something very antisemitic,” he said.”
- Why digital natives prefer reading in print. Yes, you read that right. – The Washington Post An interesting discussion about the print phenomenon. Different sources from textbook publishers, bookstore owners and college student surveys all say that young people still strongly prefer print for pleasure and learning. This is a bias that surprises reading experts when the same group spend so much of the rest of their time on-line. “A University of Washington pilot study of digital textbooks found that a quarter of students still bought print versions of e-textbooks that they were given for free.”
- Teaching Students to Determine Credibility of Online Sources (Free Student Handout!) | Secondary Solutions Ideas for a lesson, complete with handout, about teaching students about critically assessing the credibility of sources they find. It is aimed at secondary school students.
- The Gamification Guide for Teachers – eLearning Industry The Gamification Guide for Teachers. This site offers gamification guides for teachers to use. It includes a variety of instructional strategies that can be implemented through games in order to develop students learning and build their skills with some specific content in mind.
- 20 Top Pinterest Tips | Edutopia There are so many great things you can do with Pinterest. Vicki Davis explains 20 different ways to pinterest with students.
- Geocaching : How To Use Technology To Get Into Nature @coolcatteacher Vicki Davis discuses how Geocachin,g a new hobby that combines technology and nature, can be used for educational purposes.
- 10 Takeaways From Teens on Digital Media | Edutopia “The idea for the post came from a panel of teens who spoke honestly and candidly about their digital lives. At the conclusion of the panel, one teen commented that she was amazed to see people taking notes, that they’d listened to what she had to say, and that they’d even tweeted her comments. It was empowering for these teens to be heard and validated, and more amazing still, that they were being held up as experts on how youth are using digital media, even though, as this teen explained, “It’s just what kids do.””
- ‘Is Ofsted’s war on textbooks over?’ – Telegraph
- Fair use and transformativeness: It may shake your world — @joycevalenza NeverEndingSearch Joyce Valenza discusses Fair use and copyright and how a good understanding of the Fair Use guidelines allows everyone to use the best most appropriate material without sanctions. She also goes into some detail about transformative use and what that entails.
- Using Film to Teach Analysis Skills | Edutopia Interesting post that puts forward the idea of using film to make literary criticism stronger.
- Glean — Find the best videos in education for you This could be a very useful site if you are looking for online video lessons . – esp for flipped classrooms. Use it to search for video lessons in education, esp maths and science.
- Code Fred: Survival Mode is a free online game developed by the Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago. The game helps players learn about the human body’s responses to trauma. The object of the game is to help “Fred” escape from the woods while he is chased by a wolf. To keep Fred running players have to pump blood, increase the flow of oxygen, and send adrenaline through Fred’s body. If a player doesn’t respond to the needs of Fred’s body fast enough, he will get caught by the wolf that is chasing him.
- StudyJams Human Body Study Jams are from Scholastic. There are six human body Study Jams; skeletal system, nervous system, digestive system, respiratory system, muscular system, and circulatory system. Study Jams are slideshows and animations that provide a short overview of various topics in maths and science. Some of the other sections in science include Plants, Animals, Ecosystem, Landforms, rocks and minerals, Weather and climate, Solar System, Matter, Force and motion, Energy, light and sound and Scientific enquiry. They offer photographs and some text with background music. There is a short test that viewers can take after watching the slides. These are like study cards. They may be a good starting point or could be used as a revision guide.
- Free Technology for Teachers: 5 Free Apps and Sites for Learning About How the Human Body Works “Some apps, suggested by Richard Byrne, that might be appropriate for middle school anatomy and physiology lessons.”
- Marginalizing the marginalized with filtering – Home – Doug Johnson’s Blue Skunk Blog “By blocking social networking tools in our schools, to whom are we really denying access? All kids or only those who cannot afford home Internet access? Are we marginalizing the already marginalized in our society by preventing them from the only opportunity (in school) they may have to participate in a participatory culture by filtering?
- Moving at the Speed of Creativity | Audio Podcasting with iOS and YouTube
- Tales from a Loud Librarian: Creating Tools for Specific Assignments One teacher librarians account about how she supported a classroom assignment (on stem cells) using Livebinders.
- Word Map Very simple tool. Just type in a word and it will translate and pronounce the word in languages from all over the world.
- A look back at a record breaking year in digital reading (Infographic) | OverDrive Blogs An infographic from OverDrive that gives a visual representation of the amount of titles borrowed and what some of the most popular titles were that people checked out.
- 9 Learning Tools Every 21st Century Teacher Should Be Able To Use The 21st century teacher is in the critical spot–of mastering constantly evolving technology and digital learning tools–the same tools their students use every day. In this post 9 such tools are discussed. The list is not meant to be exhaustive or even authoritative and is subjective. As this is the 21st century, things will change but, here and now, the authors suggest that this is a fairly accurate litmus test of what the kinds of tools the average 21st century teacher can be expected to use and master.”
- Awesome Visual Featuring The 6 Types of Technology Integrators ~ Educational Technology and Mobile Learning The Pencil Metaphor outlines 6 types of how people respond to technology. Similar to Rogers Theory of Diffusion of Innovation where people are out into into 5 categories based on their propensity to adopt a specific innovation. These are: Innovators, early adopters, early majority, late majority, and laggards.
- A Framework For Student Motivation In A Blended Classroom “This post offers a framework that could support a teacher in a blended classroom in promoting student motivation. Largely through self-direction, and the idea of iteration.”
- An Easy and Quick Way to Grade Quizzes on Google Drive Using Super Quiz Tool ~ Educational Technology and Mobile Learning “Super Quiz is an excellent Google Sheets add-on that allows teachers to add some amazing functionalities to the quizzes they create through Google Forms. One example: when you create a quiz, you only need to complete it once with an answer key and all future submissions will be automatically graded according to the answers you provided. Another important feature of Super Quiz is that it enables you to get a break down of class understanding and a list of incorrect students’ answers for each question in case you want to stage an intervention.”
- A Visual Chart on Summative Vs Formative Assessment ~ Educational Technology and Mobile Learning “An infogragphic to help explain the differences between formative and summative assessment. Formative assessment as assessment for learning and summative assessment as assessment of learning”Posted fromDiigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.
My Gallipoli by Ruth Starke, illustrator Robert Hannaford
This very poignant picture book is the second picture book centered around the Gallipoli story that Ruth Starke has written. The first being An ANZAC Tale (2013) with Greg Holfeld as the illustrator. This book was a CBCA notable book for that year.
This book looks at the history of Gallipoli, from the months immediately before the landing at Anzac Cove in April 1915, through to the Allied retreat and the aftermath of the First World War, and beyond to the present day, where people make pilgrimages to this historic campaign site and take part in increasingly large commemoration ceremonies.
These are rich stories, of courage, valour, bravery, fatalism, despair and loss, told from many different perspectives. There are direct accounts from real participants such as the Australian war correspondent C.E.W. Bean, Turkish commander Mustafa Kemal (Ataturk), the weary Chaplain Bill McKenzie who is trying to give the dead a decent burial, Anzac war scout Harry Freame, sniper Billy Sing and Lieutenant Cyril Hughes, a Gallipoli veteran who was with the Graves Registration Unit, part of the Imperial War Graves Commission.
These stories are intermingled with factually based descriptions from other characters including the exhausted nurse treating wounded soldiers aboard HMS Gascon on the night of 25 April, a young indigenous soldier who was more equal in Gallipoli than at home, a mother seeing her wounded son disembark and realising the extent of his injuries for the first time, and an old Turkish man visiting his brother’s grave at Gallipoli 70 years after his death.
Alongside the Australian stories are stories from participants from the different nationalities who were also part of this campaign. There is the story from a young Turkish shepherd recruited to fight for his country, one from a British seaman who towed the first boats carrying soldiers onto the shores of Anzac Cove in the dawn of 25 April, and stories of the Ghurkas, Afghans and Sikhs who fought in the British Indian Army as well as stories from the New Zealand contingent, soldiers from the Auckland and the Wellington Battalions who took part in the battle of Chunuk Bair.
The final story is that of a young woman visiting the Lone Pine Cemetery, quietly contemplating the Gallipoli campaign and the loss of young lives. It is part of a war, now 100 years ago, that changed how our nation saw itself.
The illustrator, Robert Hannaford, captures the characters and the mood of each story as well as the surrounding landscape.
There is also short commentary about each of the stories in the notes section at the back of the book.