Saturday, 29 June 2013

Transferred Feasts & Birthdays...

My birthday felt a bit weird this year. It all started when my parents rang me up to sing "Happy Birthday!" down the phone... I listened, thanked them warmly, and pointed out that it wasn't actually my birthday for another two days. Forgetfulness on the part of one's parents is only to be expected when you have clocked up as many years as I have, but then to have to send a scan of one's passport in order to convince said parents that you aren't winding them up has got to be a first.

So my birthday, when it actually arrived (yesterday), felt like a bit of an anticlimax.

However, it has been pointed out to me by the Senior MC that, since I arrived in the afternoon, I was actually born after First Vespers of the Feast of Saints Peter and Paul, and so I should really celebrate on the 29th anyway. As we had a Missa Cantata arranged for the Feast, this seemed like a very good idea!

There was a very festive feel in the Sacristy after Mass as we had acquired a beautiful vestment press via Ebay. The Senior MC explained that he only just got his bid in on time (20 seconds before bidding closes is apparently the optimum time to prevent price hikes) as the celebrant at Corpus Christi, Maiden Lane on Monday night unexpectedly preached for the Feast of the Nativity of St. John the Baptist. Fortunately mobile phone reception in Maiden Lane's sacristy is reasonable!

2013-06-29 12.02.51

Lots of people came in and admired it, and the Sacristy Team is now pondering which items should go into which drawers. This is not as easy as you might think...

After Mass I was presented with a chocolate cake by Annie Elizabeth's children. There was no point in me taking a whole chocolate cake home just for me, so I thought I'd better share...

After an excellent lunch, I then drove down to see another friend for tea and a chat at a local garden centre. Alison's also a Science teacher, and we've been friends ever since training together on the PGCE course at King's. We often go to her local garden centre, mostly because she's into plants and ecology stuff in a big way, and also because they have rather nice tea rooms...

As we arrived in the car park, we discovered that there was a special Spitfire flying display (arranged to celebrate Armed Forces' Day.) Watching the plane was great fun, though my attempts to snap the plane as it came really close were thwarted by the bright sunlight.Still, I succeeded in getting a couple of shots which you can see on my Flickr page.

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All in all, a really lovely transferred birthday... And I shall be sure to celebrate the Octave too!

Thursday, 27 June 2013

The Homecoming Present...

When Zephyrinus posted an exclusive photo of the "welcome home" present obtained (at great expense) for His Hermeneuticalness by the sacristy team concerned that he might be missing the warmth of the Australian climate and people, there were some who suggested that this was merely photoshopped, as a light-hearted joke.

Even Fr. Finigan assumed it was photoshopped.

He should have known better. Zephy is a nice chap, but he's not au fait with the intricacies of Photoshop.

So, when he stepped into the sacristy on his return from the land of Oz, Fr. Finigan found his homecoming present waiting for him on the vestment press. I was a little worried he might blame it on the jetlag and think he was hallucinating, but he doesn't seem to be any the worse for wear.

And just to prove it, here's another photo...

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Wednesday, 26 June 2013

A Little Nonsense (Thought I'd Share)...

Back in the mists of time when I was a schoolgirl (not quite prehistoric) teachers used videos in lessons. The videos were taped off the TV, usually the "schools programme," and they consisted of adults in very odd clothes talking a lot. Not very exciting, but it made a break from listening to the regular class teacher and copying from the blackboard.

The videos mostly lasted for the whole lesson - the television and video machine were usually wheeled in on a special trolley, and it took a while to get everyone arranged around the screen so that we could all see. Then the video would be started... and we'd find that the last teacher to see the video hadn't rewound it back to the beginning, so we'd wait patiently a bit longer. We'd watch the video and maybe discuss it the next lesson.

All the hassle involved meant that videos were shown in their entirety.

By the time that I started my teacher training, (many years later) it was recognised that short clips designed to illustrate a particular point were probably of more use in the classroom. A whole lesson watching some university professor in seventies get-up talking to the camera just wasn't going to hold the attention of kids used to watching Independence Day, Scream, Jurassic Park and Mission Impossible.

The difficulties involved in arranging to use a TV and video (still on the same lumbering old trolley), getting it into the classroom, getting the students into position and finding the right point on the video (which couldn't be done before, unless you were very lucky, as there was only one machine for the whole department and someone else had booked it for the lesson before) before the students got restless and started climbing the walls, meant that the use of video clips was quite rare. Nice theory, not done much in reality.

Fast-forward to the present and most schools have interactive whiteboards (or, at the very least, computers, projectors and screens) taking up the space where the blackboards used to be. There is an internet connection (when it works) and, since Ofsted is quite keen on multimedia in lessons, the YouTube video clip is king. There is lots of useful stuff there, and most of it is short. What's even better, from the point of view of the teacher, is that the link to the exact video you want can be embedded into the PowerPoint presentation (or Smartboard/ActiveInspire lesson) and is therefore just a click away (so no need to turn your back on the little darlings!)

So, now, every teacher uses YouTube clips. It is necessary to compete with one's colleagues to find the best clips so as not to elicit a groan from the students: "But Miss, it's boring!"

Different groups respond in different ways, but overall I find that humour works best. This little snippet made a great starter for discussion of how gravity is a non-contact force...

Of course, now the difficulty lies in not getting sidetracked! ("Miss, do you believe in alien abduction...?")

(BTW, be sure to watch right to the end... there's a little twist - though you can only hear it!)
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