Thanks for adding more to your Flying Sharks story… and I hope you’ve realised that the reason for the ‘wordless stories’ is to encourage you to think of how description can improve your writing. 🙂

Here’s a wee heads up… can you be ready to give me an update on your personal project NEXT FRIDAY (10th June)… I’d like to know the following:

  1. What you are learning about
  2. What you’ve found out so far (Don’t panic, I don’t need any great detail!)
  3. Where you are finding most of your information
  4. What you are working on so you can share your learning
  5. How well you’re getting on (and if there’s anything I can do to support you)

As I say, I don’t need great detail yet (though it’d be nice!), this is just so I can make a few notes for my own reference, and to check that you’re not leaving it to the last possible minute!



Interesting Learning

As promised, here are the details for the project.

You have chosen something YOU are interested in and want to learn about (BTW: I’ll be sharing with you a really effective strategy for finding out more very shortly).

You are to do something with your new knowledge that you can share with me/the class/the world.

The ‘rules’ are pretty simple:

  1. You must be able to provide sources for all your references/facts/information;
  2. Er, that’s about it, really;
  3. If in doubt, refer to rule 1.

As I have tried to make clear, you are free to share what you have learned in any way you choose: essay, poetry, a story, a modern dance, a song, an album, a film, a documentary, a crochet blanket (much faster than knitting!), cake(s)or anythingelse that allows you , to show off some skills that you have that I would be unlikely to know about otherwise…

The Serious Bit: From my point-of-view, and for assessment purposes, you need to be able to explain the decisions you have made/choices you have made. Er, that’s about it… though don’t forget Rule 1 above!

DEADLINE: The intention is that you should be ready to share in the last week of term (w/c: 27/6/16)

As inspiration, here are some bits and pieces that previous classes have created…


Audio Homework

Foley GrabI’ll check your foley answers over the weekend, but in the meantime, you are expected to have some fun if you get the chance. If you are allowed, and are able to, get yourself a copy of AUDACITY (and yes, it is 100% free), and start playing with the basics of sound editing.

What I showed you in class was basic recording, copying/pasting, and a few effects (reverse, echo, change pitch). Your best bet is to genuinely just play with the software… and I highly recommend using earphones to prevent excess noise.

A few things to try:

  • Alvin & the Chipmunks – Record something, then use: Effect => Change Pitch => (UP) Semitones (half-steps): 12.00
  • Scary Monster Voice, use: Effect => Change Pitch => (DOWN) Semitones (half-steps): 8.00
  • Speaking in tongues, use: Effect => Reverse
  • Making it louder, use: Effect => Amplify
  • Try to add a second (or 3rd/4th/5th… etc) track…: Tracks=> Add New => Audio Track (This is how you can create harmony vocal tracks)
  • Import a music track/song (you should be able to drag and drop songs from iTunes/Windows Media Player straight into Audacity… but it won’t allow you to import any tracks with copy protection), then play about with it. 😉

Above all, PLAY! Have fun… this is how you can find out what the software can do so that you are better able to use it for your English work.

If you have any questions, just leave a comment on this post. I’ll get back to you as soon as possible. 🙂

And here’s the Foley Video the questions were based on:

Talk Topics

Just clearing out the cobwebs here… far too long since I used this blog. 😉

TASK: You are to prepare a fact based talk of between 2 and 5 minutes. You can choose the topic, and also the approach you take, but everyone must complete the task. In case you cannot think of a topic by yourself, here are the four I suggested in class… and also some possible approaches. Please feel free to use one if you cannot think of your own!


Homelessness: This is a natural extension of The Garbage King. How you approach it is up to you. Do you want to talk about reasons people become homeless — is it ever a choice? Perhaps you think we doo too much to help homeless people… or not enough… in fact, just what DO we do to help them? Maybe it is an age thing? Should society only help young homeless people?

The dog ate my homework… I had to force him, but he ate it!

Homework: Did you know that is some countries homework is banned? Or that some people think it actually harms learners rather than helping them? Or that it is your parents who ask schools to give more homework more than anyone else? What do you think of it? 😉

Scotland and the EU: Topical and in the news… so easy to find out things. But what do you think? Is Scotland better in the EU and the UK. Better in the EU and out of the UK? Better in the UK but out of the EU? Or some other permutation?

Media Representation of Women or Men: Do the media present people fairly or do they give us the wrong impression of men and women? Should people who make music videos be more responsible? Do you want to be like Beyoncé, Meghan Trainor or Katy Perry when you got up… and the same question for the girls! 😉

I’ll post the rules later, but in the meantime, make sure you have a topic selected and start researching.


I hope you’re getting some work done on your projects during the holiday… and knowing how the boredom must be kicking in by now, I thought I’d throw some distractions your way.

There are lots of ways you can demonstrate your thoughts on the topic, and I’m aware I often through out the names of a variety of online tools you might not know about, so here in one fun-filled package are a few you may wish to play with.

Please feel free to add your own ideas in the comments!


Glogster is the site I used to put together the ‘poster’ I used to introduce the Owen poem.

Mr W’s Time Detective Glog!

Now… the bad news is that Glogster is undergoing a massive upgrade at the moment, so you may struggle to set up a new account. That said, it is worth the wait. 😉

If you want to go for it, you can sign up for a free account at edu.glogster.com Using the edu.glogster.com site is preferred to the usual public site as the content is ‘safer’, but more importantly, you get more tools for free (My favourite price)!

Next up…


Looking for a free website that allows you to embed all sorts of media? Looking for incredible ease of use? Looking for a brilliant way of sharing or even better working with others? Then try wikispaces!

A wiki is an online site that lots of people can edit. The great news is that, as long as you are using it for K-12 education, it is free and has no adverts. I love wikis, and wikispaces is the easiest one I’ve found so far. It doesn’t look too flash at first, but if you have a bit of imagination and time (and are willing to search around for this site : http://wheretostartwithwikisandblogs.wikispaces.com/More+Advanced+Wiki+Editing) you can make it look really great — or really awful if you over do it!

You can get started here: http://www.wikispaces.com/content/for/teachers

You’ll need to sign up for a wiki ID, and then make sure you select the following options!

Watch to see the boxes to tick!


Animoto is a lot of fun. The easiest way is to think of it as a way of creating very cool slideshows along with music you are allowed to use!

Rather than give a long explanation, I’ll just show you an Animoto I made a few years ago.

Animoto Show

Create your own video slideshow at animoto.com.

Enough Already…

My laptop is really stuggling here, so I’m going to leave you to chase up these for starters. I’ll add more later, but in the meantime, keep working!

Your Mission

The Task: You are going to investigate the question “What is beauty?”

What you need to know: You are free to define beauty in any way you wish. It can be physical beauty, or (please pardon the phrase) “inner beauty”. You can talk about people, or you can talk about objects or places or maths calculations or nature. In short, you have a completely free and open choice for the subject matter you choose.

What you need to do: No matter what you choose to investigate, you must use and acknowledge appropriate source material. No sources, no marks… Simples!

You can present your findings in any way you choose. This might be an essay, a PowerPoint presentation, a video, a song, an annotated painting, a website… in other words, in any way you think will best help you demonstrate an answer or point-of-view on the question, What is beauty?

What you need to think about: There are several obvious sources where you will find information about what “beauty” is. I’d start with Wikipedia and any other easily accessible sources such as dictionaries or encyclopaedias. Start by finding out what others have called beautiful. You may agree with their definitions, or you may disagree… But be prepared to support or argue your own point-of-view either way.

What you can do to develop your ideas: You are encouraged to think beyond the obvious. If you decide to look at people who are considered “beautiful”, have you considered how much our perceptions can be and are manipulated by someone using Photoshop? If you choose to talk about art that is “beautiful” have you considered the cultural background and baggage that we bring to how we look at something beautiful?

Consider how much of what we consider beautiful is because of peer pressure, or accepted points-of-view… be strong, and consider that if we all had exactly the same opinions, then we would all be trying to go out with the same person.

Consider the lists you created in class. When you wrote down the names of 5 people and 5 places that you considered “beautiful” and the same again for people and places you considered “ugly”, you were basing your decisions on a set of criteria that you had chosen. How well can you explain or defend these decisions?

Finally: Is there any value in considering the impact the “beauty” has on the person experiencing or enjoying it. Is it a truly personal response according to a set of rules that cannot be shared… or are there some truly beautiful people or objects or places that we can all agree on? And the obvious extension of this is can we ever separate the physical from the essence of that we call beautiful — how do we reconcile a physically beautiful person with an ugly personality?

Starting Points

To get you started, here are the slides I used in class, and also some links to the YouTube video(s) I referred to. Please use the comments to ask questions and to get some discussion going. This is an interesting topic, and you do all have something to contribute… So get busy!

My Slides

Dove Evolution

Related Video(s)

DUE DATE: You are expected to hand in your project on Friday 28th October. You are welcome and encouraged to submit early drafts or ideas during the October break using http://Dropitto.me/nwinton (I’ll remind you of the password if you ask me!). And as a last point to consider: you are welcome to include photographs and/or drawings or media in your submitted work… In fact, given the nature of the task, I think you have no choice but to do so… in this case, DO NOT FORGET TO GIVE THE SOURCE OF ANY IMAGES OR MEDIA YOU USE!

THE PRACTICAL STUFF: It is up to you to decide on the format you choose, so it will be up to you to decide on what you include in the final ‘product’. As a general guide, you will need to have some sort of discussion or explanation of what others consider beauty to mean, and then you will need to give YOUR point of view on what you think beauty is.

I am more than happy to give you advice or tips and suggestions, so don’t leave it till the last minute! Think through what you will need to make your project happen, and devise a good plan… Otherwise you may never finish it!

Finally, set your own goals! How will you decide that you have been successful?

Getting Going…

Hi class,

Now that we are up and running a little more smoothly, I thought we should maybe use this blog for class writing before it goes live on the PA Writing blog.

In addition, I’m going to post a few bits and bobs here that should keep you busy. 😉

First up is the question we are investigating:

What skills and knowledge do you need in order to be successful after school… and how well does school prepare you for this?

Obviously, this is a very open question and task, and you are welcome to bring any relevant information to the discussion… IF YOU CAN BACK IT UP WITH EVIDENCE!

The usual rules with evidence will apply: Give the source, and be prepared to turn any or all of it into your own words.

I thought I’d point you at a couple of resources to get you started:

The first is the UK version of Did You Know. There is/was a Scottish version, but I cannot find it online. 😦

The second is by Sir Ken Robinson. It’s long, and you may get a bit lost, but his story about the girl who couldn’t sit still in the second half of the video is brilliant… and so is the bit about Shakespeare’s dad (near the middle):

If the embedded video doesn’t work, here’s a direct link: http://www.ted.com/talks/ken_robinson_says_schools_kill_creativity.html

I’ll post some questions through the week to keep you occupied… but for now, watch these and start thinking about the skills or knowledge you will need after school. Ask your parents/relations about the things they learned at school that are of use to them… and which things they wish they’d been taught.

Enjoy! 😉