Friday, 30 March 2012

Wednesday, 28 March 2012

Fairies are Better than Goblins

an exposition by Bethany Connor (aged 7)

Fairies are better than goblins.  I will show you that fairies are better than goblins because fairies are good and goblins are bad.

Ferys are good because they make your wishes come trow.  They also help you when your lost.

Goblens are bad because they make you werk as slavs and thay mite kill you and eat you.

So now you can all see that farieys are better than goblans.

exposition angst

Parents of children in Australian schools will be familiar with NAPLAN tests that begin in year 3.  There are four tests; numeracy, reading (comprehension), language skills (grammar and spelling) and writing.

The writing component involves writing an exposition or essay.  They must state an opinion and give reasons for this opinion.  They are provided with stimulus for their thinking and guidelines for how to go about their exposition.  Quite generous.

Last year, when my first was in year 3, prior to the tests in May, the English component of her school work was wholly occupied with writing expositions.  She had to write so many expositions that by the time the tests were over and done even her poetry came out like exposition.

However, it wasn't an easy experience.
I don't know what to write! 
I don't have an opinion about that! 
I don't want to make one up!   I'm not supposed to make one up!

The topics didn't interest her.
Children should be allowed to chew gum in class. (class?)  
TV is better than books. (What's TV?)  
We should conserve water. (Why? Our water tank constantly overflows.  It rains all the time.)
Mostly there were tears.

And now my second is in year three.  We are no longer enrolled in an Australian school so NAPLAN doesn't concern us so much.  But I thought I'd teach her to write an exposition none-the-less.  We used the same book as last year. The topics were the same.
They're stupid! 
I'm not writing about that! 
Can't I write about something I'm interested in?
And then, just as the first tear began to roll and just as we locked heads for the fight, there was a thought.  Why couldn't she write about something she is interested it?  And I desperately floundered around in my brain trying to think of something she is interested in.
Fairies.  Would you like to write about Fairies?   
How about 'Fairies are better than Goblins?' 
But that's not real. It has to be real. 
You have to write an exposition.  Write it about something made up and later on we can try writing one about something real. 
She smiled.   
OK.
And we were off.  Not that it was easy going, but we were going.

And so I have learnt something.  If you can separate the content from the process of writing then the process of writing (may be) easier.

I have also learnt that topics that are supposed to appeal to children don't, even if they are based in their own experience.  Fairies trump gum every time.

I'll post her exposition next.

Monday, 26 March 2012

simmering in my brain

here are some titles for posts I intend to write soon, when I can manage it, if I ever do

* exposition angst
* 4w for prayer
* back from the grave
* why I hate the princess cult
* epiphany
* romance or arranged: the best way to get married

Friday, 16 March 2012

it's not hypothetical

I really would like some songs to fit those criteria.

We had a night here recently called "learning new songs".  Everyone is pretty much fed up with the same dozen or so choruses that have been sung since age immemorial and so a night for learning new choruses was included in the program.

Only it was difficult to find new songs that are not complicated.  Lyrics, tunes, rhythm, chords: all complicated.

Of the ten songs that were chosen, we learnt five.  Some worked better than others.  This was a few weeks ago now.  It was a great night.  They were good songs and we all really enjoyed singing them.  And I think over time we'll learn them... especially as there is time set aside each week for practise.

But it got me thinking about songs we could sing without words and music (which we either can't read or can't carry around with us) which we could learn in one sitting.  This would be great for teaching when students go into villages.  Songs which could be passed on easily.

Thursday, 15 March 2012

Calling all songwriters

Here's a challenge.

This is what I want.  I want songs...

  • with lyrics that can be learnt by ear (not all of us can read, and some of us read very slowly) and in one sitting.  This might mean that they are short or that they make good use of repetition (but not repetition that makes us bored).
  • with rhythm that is not syncopated (we end up singing on the beat anyway).
  • with tune that is not difficult (we want to sing them, not listen to others do it for us).
  • with accompaniment that your average Joe Blog guitarist can play (we don't like whipping out the chord chart for every second line).
  • that bring glory to Christ and joy to the heart.

Is that too much to ask?

Wednesday, 14 March 2012

if it is God's will

As it turned out, it was Glen that went to Port Vila today.  It brings to mind...
13 Come now, you who say, s“Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit”—14 yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For tyou are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. 15 Instead you ought to say, u“If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.”  James 4:13-15
Lachlan was quite sick in the night with a vomiting and diarrhoea bug that most of the rest of us have suffered from already.  When we had planned for me to go to Port Vila, we knew it would be a difficult day for Loki who is still breast-feeding at times during the day.  When he came down with the bug, I knew it wouldn't be fair on him or the rest of the family, to be away until late in the evening.  So sadly, and gladly, I stayed.

Tuesday, 13 March 2012

off to Port Vila tomorrow

Just for the day.

I have to visit the Australian High Commission to lodge a passport renewal application.

Leaving early.  Back late.  Big day.

All on my own!