Posts Tagged ‘Writing’

Nobody’s a Nobody: An Original Poem

January 20, 2020

nobody

 

NOBODY’S A NOBODY by Michael Grossman

I used to be so popular,

When I was back at school.

The teacher’s used to love me.

The kids thought I was cool.

 

I used to be so pretty,

And very good at sport.

Used to think I was quite special,

Or at least that’s what I thought.

 

I used to hang with cool girls

Who knew the latest trends.

Everyone looked up to us,

And wanted to be friends.

 

So many kids we just ignored

I regret it in a way,

They may have seemed like nerds back then,

But look at them today.

 

I remember this one girl,

Big Stella Green

With these ugly, awkward glasses

And a huge nose in between.

 

We used to tease and tease her,

Before and after school.

Once old Tommy McNoughton

Shoved her in the abandoned pool.

 

If only he would have known

That later, in a time of strife,

Stella Green would operate on his fiance,

And all but save her life.

 

What about Kayoko Kishimoto?

Our only Japanese student.

She was brilliant at science,

But at English – not so fluent.

 

We would never come and talk to her.

No one would even try.

They just left her all alone,

Supposing she was shy.

 

Did she end up learning English?

Well, what can you say

About the winner of an Oscar,

For Best Original Screenplay.

 

There was Dante Ferretti,

Who was the ‘school geek’,

With his great boofy hair,

And pimples for each cheek.

 

So tired of getting abused

And so embarrassed with his looks,

He used to hide his spotty face,

Inside a range of different books.

 

Who would have thought

That this reserved, avid reader,

Would go on to become

Our new State Opposition Leader?

 

Everyone used to fear

Max Stockwell “The Freak”.

Rumour had it he ate live snails,

And showered once a week.

 

The girls thought he was mad,

The boys thought he was weird.

He’d come walking through a corridor,

And the corridor all but cleared.

 

I hear he’s no longer weird,

And no longer is he ‘mad’;

Instead, he’s changing nappies

As a loving, stay-home dad.

 

I was never better than them.

I used to be so lame.

If I only understood,

That we are all the same.

 

I used to be “cool”,

But never was I happy,

Until the day I realised

NOBODY’S A NOBODY.

 

 

Special Announcement:

I am donating 100% of the royalties of my hilarious new children’s book, My Favourite Comedian, during the month of January to those affected by the devastating bushfires in my country, Australia. This book is perfect for children aged 9 to 14 and the ideal class novel for Upper Primary students. Please leave a comment to indicate your purchase. You can buy a copy by clicking on this link.

 

All Students Can Achieve Reading Success

January 8, 2020

Some readers take their time to reach their breakthrough moment whilst others are hampered due to a lack of practice at home.

Phillis C. Hunter reminds us all that every child can succeed in their pursuit to become confident readers. Here she gives a brilliant speech that has inspired many a teacher.

One of the chief motivators in writing my novel, My Favourite Comedian, was to publish a book specifically designed to ignite disenchanted readers. I believe that a book that is both relevant to a child’s everyday experience and is packed with suspense and comedy is a good chance to engage even the fussiest readers. Additionally, the book should be suited to reading aloud and ensure that the dialogue isn’t swamped by descriptive overkill.

 

Special Announcement:

I am donating 100% of the royalties of my hilarious new children’s book, My Favourite Comedian, during the month of January to those affected by the devastating bushfires in my country, Australia. This book is perfect for children aged 9 to 14 and the ideal class novel for Upper Primary students. Please leave a comment to indicate your purchase. You can buy a copy by clicking on this link.

My Latest Book Interview

December 29, 2019

 

It has been a great thrill for me to publish my debut novel. Below is the transcript of my latest interview.

 

What is your e-reading device of choice?
The Kindle is now waterproof, which is perfect for me as I love to read in the shower. I hope the next edition is shampoo and conditioner proof.
What book marketing techniques have been most effective for you?
I have found that not taking no for an answer has been the best strategy. That tactic worked to finally persuade my wife to read the book.
Describe your desk
My desk happens to look a lot like a kitchen table. In fact, it is a kitchen table. Used cereal boxes make for great mouse pads.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up in Melbourne, Australia which is a lot like Melbourne, Florida aside from the beautiful climate and great beaches. Australians are fun-loving and easy-going people. I’m surprised they haven’t deported me yet.
When did you first start writing?
I once wrote a letter of appeal for a traffic violation. I wrote a very convincing letter. I knew then that I could make it as a struggling writer.
What’s the story behind your latest book?
This book was never supposed to be written. What started as a summer project that was abandoned after just two chapters slowly turned into a completed work. And the credit goes entirely to my students.
Back in 2002, whilst I was a mere student teacher, I noticed that kids weren’t utilising their quiet reading time very well. In fact, they were staring off into space. I decided to print off the two chapters as a means to provide the students with another reading option. Not only were they suddenly engaged in what they were reading, but they brought it home to their parents. I was getting messages from parents requesting the next chapter. And this started my journey towards completing the novel. This certainly wouldn’t have happened were it not for the support and encouragement of my wonderful students over the many years!
What motivated you to become an indie author?
It is the perfect career move for me at the moment as I transition to my ultimate dream job – telemarketer!
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
Sharing your story and the characters you love with the world. That, and getting off parking fines.
What do your fans mean to you?
My uncle means the world to me.
What are you working on next?
I am working on two titles:
The A-Z Guide to the Alphabet; and
Mannequins for Dummies
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
A nice, warm Kindle shower.
When you’re not writing, how do you spend your time?
I am a social justice warrior. The other day I protested against cuts to the police force by handcuffing myself to a policeman.
How do you discover the ebooks you read?
I use the same method of discovery as Christopher Columbus – Google.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
I was 4 years old and got myself in heaps of trouble. Permanent marker is hard to get off wallpaper.
What is your writing process?
Sit at the kitchen table. Turn on the computer. Brainstorm. Give up and watch a YouTube cat video. Reward myself with chocolate.
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
War and Peace. It totally changed my life. I loaned a copy to Kim Jong Un, but as of yet, he’s only read the first half.
How do you approach cover design?
I get someone else to do it. I can’t even make my stick figures symmetrical.
What are your five favorite books, and why?

How to Win Friends and Influence People – How I got my wife to read my book

The Art of the Deal – Pure comedy. One of the funniest books ever written.

The Achievements of Kim Kardashian – Available in pamphlet form

The Mueller Report – I once had insomnia. No more.

Grease – Not the movie, just a Jewish cookbook.

What do you read for pleasure?
The television guide.
What was your greatest achievement?
I once got the lead part in my school’s production of Fiddler on the Roof. Unfortunately, I didn’t get to perform it. I got injured during rehearsals. I fell off the roof.
spotlight
Michael Grossman is the author of the hilarious new children’s book, My Favourite Comedian. You can buy a copy by clicking on this link.

Things Your Teachers Taught You That Are Wrong

January 4, 2017

teacher-myths

A great list compiled and written by Misty Adoniou:

 

1. You can’t start a sentence with a conjunction

Let’s start with the grammatical sin I have already committed in this article. You can’t start a sentence with a conjunction.

Obviously you can, because I did. And I expect I will do it again before the end of this article. There, I knew I would!

Those who say it is always incorrect to start a sentence with a conjunction, like “and” or “but”, sit in the prescriptivist camp.

However, according to the descriptivists, at this point in our linguistic history, it is fine to start a sentence with a conjunction in an op-ed article like this, or in a novel or a poem.

It is less acceptable to start a sentence with a conjunction in an academic journal article, or in an essay for my son’s high school economics teacher, as it turns out.

But times are changing.

2. You can’t end a sentence with a preposition

Well, in Latin you can’t. In English you can, and we do all the time.

Admittedly a lot of the younger generation don’t even know what a preposition is, so this rule is already obsolete. But let’s have a look at it anyway, for old time’s sake.

According to this rule, it is wrong to say “Who did you go to the movies with?”

Instead, the prescriptivists would have me say “With whom did you go to the movies?”

I’m saving that structure for when I’m making polite chat with the Queen on my next visit to the palace.

That’s not a sarcastic comment, just a fanciful one. I’m glad I know how to structure my sentences for different audiences. It is a powerful tool. It means I usually feel comfortable in whatever social circumstances I find myself in, and I can change my writing style according to purpose and audience.

That is why we should teach grammar in schools. We need to give our children a full repertoire of language so that they can make grammatical choices that will allow them to speak and write for a wide range of audiences.

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Student Writes Nasty Letter to Teacher and Teacher Corrects it!

April 10, 2014

 

correct

Never mess with an English teacher!

 

Click on the link to read The Telegraph’s Best Children’s Book of All Time

Click on the link to read The New York Public Library’s 100 Most Requested Children’s Books

Click on the link to read Stunning Photographs of the Most Beautiful Libraries in the World

Click on the link to read The Call to Stop Kids From Reading Books they Actually Enjoy

Click on the link to read The Classic Children’s Books they Tried to Ban

Click on the link to read How Spelling Mistakes can Turn a Compliment into Something Quite Different.

Click on the link to read Why Spelling is Important at Starbucks

The Telegraph’s Best Children’s Book of All Time

March 6, 2014

 

 

books

Some absolute classics among this very well compiled list:

Watership Down

Richard Adams (1972)

The full-scale novel about rabbits finding their promised land has the magic of prophecy, idyllic Hampshire locations and the structure of the Aeneid. Adams enjoys parading his scholarship, and this is a lively introduction to brainy books.

The Hobbit

J R R Tolkien (1937)

Here we meet the characters who will make The Lord of the Rings happen, and on a pre-Peter Jackson scale. If anything, Gollum is even more chilling here, because we see him through the eyes of a hobbit – seldom the calmest of travellers.

The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe

C S Lewis (1950)

Welcome to the magical land of Narnia, where the White Witch reigns over a snow-girt land peopled by fawns, talking beavers and people eager to put their trust in four kids from Finchley. The Christian allusions come later, but for now this is pure narrative magic.

Charlotte’s Web

E B White (1952)

The New Yorker writer cherished for his elegance of style gives us an altruistic spider with exquisite manners, and a pig to make her proud. There are intimations of mortality, but a plot of fame and legacy thumbs its nose at the inevitable.

The Little Prince

Antoine de Saint-Exupéry (1943)

The Little Prince falls to Earth to meet the author, who has crashed his plane. His quizzical, wise stories of other planets (most of which are inhabited by solitary monomaniacs) lead to the daftest of all – our own.

Pippi Longstocking

Astrid Lindgren (1945)

It’s quite something to live as an orphan with just a horse and a monkey for companions. The heroine has a chutzpah that makes her sound at her most adult when she’s flouting adult conventions, especially at teatime.

Emil and the Detectives

Erich Kästner (1929)

When Emil is robbed of his mother’s hard-earned savings (that were never likely to stretch far), he has help from a scratch squad of child detectives from Berlin. However much this sounds like the best child’s game ever, the real world is seldom far away.

James and the Giant Peach

Roald Dahl (1961)

One of Dahl’s earliest, best, and most fully developed tales. There is no attempt to make the giant insects or articulate clouds seem natural: this is a world of wonder, more marvellous than Wonka’s, even.

Winnie the Pooh

A A Milne (1926)

Characters begin days by visiting one another, and end up shifting houses, learning to fly or surviving floods.

A Little Princess

Frances Hodgson Burnett (1905)

Sara has a privileged background but is now living as a Cinderella figure; and she plays at being a princess. But her response shows that being a princess is less a social ranking than a state of mind.

The Just So Stories

Rudyard Kipling (1902)

How did the leopard get his spots? How was the alphabet made? Why are elephant’s trunks so long? Kipling is the model of the patient parent in the face of constant questions. And who cares about evolution? This is much more fun.

A Journey to the Centre of the Earth

Jules Verne (1864)

Verne uses all the tricks that make Anthony Horowitz so successful – the action-packed chapters that end at just the right time and the sense of deepening mystery – but also a knack for convincing us that there really might be creatures down there.

The Wind in the Willows

Kenneth Grahame (1908)

The idyllic, stylised account of life on the river, with anxious glimpses beyond it, is a masterclass in character-driven comedy – alongside the arriviste Toad is the petit bourgeois Mole, and Rat, the gentleman of leisure.

The Doll People

Ann M Martin and Laura Godwin (2000)

The dolls in your dolls’ house might look inanimate to you, but you clearly have no idea of what they get up to at night. They’re casing the joint, tracking lost relatives and dodging that cruel fate – PDS (Permanent Doll State).

The Child that Books Built

Francis Spufford (2002)

Although this book isn’t written for children, the more reflective might enjoy it as a guide on how to grow into reading; and it’s a wonderfully eloquent take on how growing up happens unexpectedly.

THE BEST OF THE REST

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Illustrator Quentin Blake Turns 80 and is Given a Knighthood

December 29, 2012

blake2

Recently I taught a unit on Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. I formed my wonderful Grade 3’s in a circle and we each took turns reading from this masterpiece. Using the novel as inspiration, we completed the following activities:

  1. I got the students to write and design their own Golden Tickets.
  2. I gave out a piece of bubble gum to each student and got them to blow bubbles. Then, in conjunction with our writing genre focus, procedural writing, the students wrote a procedure as to how to blow bubbles in step by step form.
  3. We watched both films and analysed the faithfulness of each adaptation.
  4. Again, in keeping with our procedural writing genre focus I got the students to look up a simple chocolate recipes. They wrote the recipe down using a procedural proforma and then cooked/baked their recipe for an end of year chocolate party. The recipes would then be collated as a cook book for the students to take home.

blake 3

Whilst Roald Dahl is to be acknowledged for providing joy to my students and many others worldwide, so too must his incredibly talented and distinctive illustrator, Quentin Blake who turns 80 years old.

Thank you on behalf of my class and all those who have had the good fortune to enjoy your fine illustrations. Happy Birthday Sir Quentin!

Click on the link to read Hilarious Menu Items Lost in Translation

Click on the link to read This is What Happens When You Rely on Spell Check

Click on the link to read The 15 Most Commonly Misspelled Words in the English Language

Click on the link to read Who Said Grammar Isn’t Important?

Click on the link to read Why Spelling is Important

‘Love’ as Defined by a 5-Year Old

September 28, 2012

A cute note by a young child on the subject of love:

Click on the link to read If We Accept Dishonesty From Adults, What Hope is There for Our Kids?

Click on the link to read Teachers Should Stop Blaming Parents and Start Acting

Click on the link to read The Benefits of Reality TV on Kids

Click on the link to read Study Reveals Children Aren’t Selfish After All

The Most Unlikely Children’s Author Yet

August 1, 2012

I would never have predicted that former basketballer Dennis Rodman would even contemplate becoming a writer of children’s books:

What do Katie Couric, Gloria Estefan, Jamie Lee Curits and Dennis Rodman all have in common? If you said “They’ve all been photographed in a wedding dress!” … you’re correct. But we also would have accepted … they have all written children’s books.

That’s right … the NBA Hall of Famer and occasional crossdresser is releasing his own book for kids called “Dennis The Wild Bull” … set to be released sometime later this year.

Dennis and his people are tight-lipped about the premise, but the book’s website says it will “convey good lessons to children based on Dennis’ own experiences as a world class athlete while overcoming obstacles as a child.”

Dennis recently reconnected with his father … and we’re told he’s been re-motivated to strengthen his relationship with his own children … and believes this book will help the process.

Click on the link to read Who Said Grammar Isn’t Important?

Click on the link to read Using Spam Emails in Your Literacy Lessons

Click on the link to read It’s Not the Right Time to Put Age Classifications on Kids Books

Short Attention Span Blamed for Lack of Interest in Reading

June 22, 2012

People don’t have patience any more. Everything needs to be immediate and instantaneous. I heard someone on the radio last night complain about the 5 seconds of advertising they had to sit through before they could access their YouTube clip.

It is no wonder that children no longer have the attention span for reading:

More than four-in-10 teachers said children failed to read for pleasure at the age of 11, it emerged.

The study – by the publisher Pearson – found that many schools fear children have short attention spans and prefer to spend time online rather than reading a novel.

Teachers also said that books were not seen as “cool” by pupils and raised fears that parents are failing to do enough to promote a love of reading in the home.

Frank Cottrell Boyce, the author, said: “It’s worrying to think that so many young children are not being inspired to pick up a good book and get lost in a story.

“According to Unesco, the biggest single indicator of whether a child is going to thrive at school and in work is whether or not they read for pleasure.”

The poll questioned around 400 secondary school English teachers.

Two-thirds of those questioned said that reading was not seen as “cool” by pupils, according to the study.

Three-quarters said that children’s attention spans were shorter than ever before, while 94 per cent claimed that pupils preferred to be using the internet rather than reading.

It is my belief that a crucial part of my job is to promote the joys of reading. I take pride in selecting books for my class that will appeal and entertain. I also have a Book Club. This allows my students to see that reading is not necessarily a personal experience but it can be a shared experienced too.


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