Showing posts from March, 2014

Evidence that Fran has ventured outdoors

I actually went into a field this weekend.

What, outdoors?  I hear you say.  Do you even venture onto the doormat outside your house without hyperventilating and needing to breathe into a paper bag? I hear you say.  Don't you feel panicky merely standing near an open window? I hear you say.

Well, here's the proof that I braved the elements.  I took this photo myself, honest.

And here's a picture of the whole field, although I did send this to my sister and she said, 'You could have taken that while leaning out of a cafe window.'  This kind of cynicism cuts one to the quick.

What got me into the field, then?

No, I was NOT lost.

It was because my friend, with whom I had gone away for a weekend of writing, eating scones, more writing, more scone-eating, and more writing, is the type who loves to be outdoors.  For her, the wind through her hair is a joy.  For me, it's a threat, messes with my mood, and makes me want to slap people.  Still, I conquered my aversio…

Evidence that Fran-Fran can talk about the can-can

Do you know about modal verbs?  It doesn't matter if you don't.  You won't have a less fulfilling life.  It's not like not knowing about green meaning go and red meaning stop, or that a wasp on the rim of your lemonade can is a bad sign, or that taking your earrings off over a sink means oops only one earring left, or that opening the door to a double-glazing salesperson means three hours off your life expectancy, or that letting a two year old dress herself means you have to accept her woolly jumper/tutu/wellies/flat cap ensemble.

I do know about modal verbs, but that's because I have to teach them at school, not because I woke up one day saying, 'Hey, I know what's missing from my life!  No wonder I've been feeling low.'

My boss told me today that she teaches modal verbs using the Beverley Knight song 'Shoulda Woulda Coulda'.  If you didn't know already what modal verbs were, does that give you a clue?

Just in case you'd care mor…

Further evidence that every now and again Fran writes something more serious

I don’t know what Venice is like.  Once, I was as near as damn it, on a ship, with the chance to disembark and laze on a gondola trailing my hand in water, or sip coffee from a tiny white cup outside a cafĂ©.  But I was fourteen, and David was seventeen, and we didn’t need what Venice had to offer.  We’d made our own romance.             At least, that’s the way I prefer to remember it. It was 1976.  We were on the SS Uganda as part of a school cruise around the Mediterranean.  The night before, there’d been a disorderly evening of storms, of portholes that showed no water, then all water, then no water.  Everyone screeched with delight in the ship’s common room as glasses slewed off tables and anxious teachers hovered, urging us back to cabins.  We pressed coins into the jukebox and played ‘Rock the Boat’ by the Hues Corporation, dancing without balance like badly-operated puppets.  David was with a group of friends, throwing his blonde head backwards and laughing as the ship …

Evidence that bribery with chocolate is the new pedagogical essential

Two Fridays ago, I  made up a poem to teach some GCSE students not to use a comma to join two whole sentences together as in 'I love punctuation, I hate the way 16 year olds abuse it.'

A comma splice is not that nice
and should be used by no one.
Two sentences? Then use full stops,
or have a semi-colon.
Or why not use connectives
like but, because or and?
Then say with me, 'The comma splice?
It really should be banned!'

(Yes, I know.  It's not exactly 'The Prelude'.  But I only had five minutes to throw it together.)

I gave them fifteen minutes to learn it, testing each other until they were word-perfect, and then challenged them to recite it.  If they could do it, I promised them chocolate.  I only see them once a fortnight, so I wrote down a reminder to buy the prizes.

Four of them took up the challenge.  I was very pleased with them.  They're not all confident students.

So, I went to the shop last Thursday morning for some chocolate, knowing I was t…