I made a New Year promise to include a regular slot in my blog for 2014, called my ‘monthly WARP’. This is based on an acronym where the ‘W’ stands for a web resource, the ‘A’ for an app, the ‘R’ for a reading resource, and the ‘P’ for a photograph or image.
My tenth WARP – for the month of October – consists of the following:
We all use Google as a search engine, but how many make use of Google’s ‘reading age’ tool when performing a search?
This can be a useful tool for teachers wanting to cut through the mass of resources available on the web, and highlighting appropriate resources for their pupils. It should also speed up student searching for relevant materials.
To use this tool, enter a search term, click on return, and then open the ‘all results’ tab. From here, choose ‘reading level’ and all of the resources for the chosen search term will be sorted into three reading levels – basic, intermediate, and advanced. If you then click on one of these, the search will home in on the reading level of your choice, and filter out the rest. Magic!
Comic Life is a popular tablet app that allows easy construction of comic strips so that pupils can explain a concept or represent an issue in an interesting way. But in recent times, I have preferred to use a similar site called ‘Comics Head’. At a cost of only £2.49, this app has a much wider range of backgrounds, characters and props to pick from – and is incredibly easy to use. A great tool for storyboarding and creative classroom work – highly recommended!
My selected book this month is an old favourite – “Into the Heart of Borneo” by Redmond O’Hanlon. This hilarious travelogue was published back in 1984, and has received more re-reads than any other book in my library. It traces O’Hanlon’s journey with companion James Fenton into the interior of a tropical jungle aiming to reach the Tiban massif. It tells of their battle with insects, discomfort and setbacks in a real adventure-story style full of humour – but at the same time a serious natural history journey into one of the last remaining unspoilt paradises.
“On the tarmac, crossing to the airport sheds, the heat of the equator hits me for the first time. It squeezed around you like the rank coils of an unseen snake, pressing the good air out of your lungs, covering you in a slimy sweat. Fifteen yards of this was enough; a mile would be impossible; five hundred miles an absurdity.” (Page 11)
“I looked at my legs. And then I looked again. They were undulating with leeches. In fact, James’ leech suddenly seemed much less of a joke. They were edging up my trousers, looping up towards my knees with alternative placements of their anterior and posterior suckers, seeming, with each rear attachment, to wave their front ends in the air and take a sniff. They were all over my boots too, and three particularly brave individuals were trying to make their way in via the air-holes. There were more on the way – in fact they were moving towards us across the jungle floor from every angle, their damp brown bodies half-camouflaged against the rotting leaves.” (Page 117)
This month, I offer some of my favourite photographs from a trip I made to Antarctica. After the horrors of crossing the Drake Passage, the ice scenery in the tranquil waters off the Antarctic Peninsula was a welcome relief!
More photos from my travels can be seen at: