Sunday, November 25, 2012

NaNoWriMo Extract #6 (from ch6 - Undergrowth)

Where've you been, Flynn? Spidey'll be on my doorstep demanding your head on a platter before the night's out. No need to put the word out.”

That bad, huh? I really must have annoyed him. You planning on selling me out?” He asked the question casually, but watched Mick's face intently. Not that such an old-timer would give anything away.

Nah. Mac can't even deal with the bloody Fallows on his own. He suits me for now, but he ain't gonna fix my … little problem, is he now?”

Maybe I won't either.”

If you don't, then you won't get your precious safe-house, will you now? And it seems to me that for Flynn to be asking for a safe-house from old Mick … well, he must be pretty desperate, eh?”

And how desperate does Mick have to be if he's asking a drifter like me for favours?”

Another laugh. “Touché, my boy, touché! Fact is, you're one of a kind, Flynn. If you'd only settle, we'd be a match made in heaven. None of Spidey's incompetence, or the Fallow Boys' … immaturity. I mean, they sent me a severed hand in a box, for Hedge's sake! I've never seen something so ridiculously childish in all my born days! Anyhow, drifter or not, you'll do the job. And the others, well... I have my doubts.”

Thanks,” Flynn said doubtfully.

NaNoWriMo Extract #5 (from ch5 - Heartwood)

Sterling was a good teacher. She had known when to push him, and when to allow him to relieve his stress by working at a relatively easy task. She hadn't interfered except to prevent disaster, but instead had begun working some slender practice arrows, straightening the bundles of dried saplings and delicately fletching them with goose feathers. Both of them had watched Verity's apparently lifeless, Loaming form with varying degrees of anxiousness, and taken solace in the blissful concentration of physical labour.

Now, Flynn stood back from the tilling bar, and considered his work with pride. A weight of 80 pounds hung from the slackened string, and the arms bent uniformly to their full extension. No cracks marred the smooth curve of the wood.

It's good work, Flynn,” said Sterling quietly. “It's your bow, through and through.”

He nodded, without false modesty. He had done a good job on this. “The wood feels alive after a while, you know. I'm glad I didn't break it.”

It will break eventually,” Sterling warned. “Nothing lives forever.”

But at least it has … come to life.” He had never felt like this over a knife. Knives were tools of necessity, crafted according to need and purpose. A bow came into life almost of its own volition, following the shape of the wood which formed it.

The hard work wasn't over, of course. But as they tautened the tightly woven string, Flynn could feel his heart rate racing. Soon he would draw the string in earnest, and loose his first arrow. 

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

NaNoWriMo Extract #4 (from ch4 - Leaf Mould)

Flynn waved impatiently. “You must have figured out I'm an ex-criminal. You said it yourself, remember: a crook or a saint.”

She bounced uneasily on the balls of her feet.

He narrowed his eyes. “And don't even thinkabout getting 'holier than thou', because you have no idea what...”

Sterling interrupted. “What kindof crook are we talking here?”

By this time the high level of ambient stress over the past few hours had put Flynn into a thoroughly foul mood. “Why do you want to know?” he snapped. “Deciding whether to hide the spoons?”

She raised her eyebrows, and he was ashamed of his burst of temper. “Sorry,” he muttered.

Apology accepted – but I really didn't mean to pry.”

He sighed. “It's...not the part of my life I most like to relive. But it's reasonable that you want to know. General all-purpose thief, if that's even a category. Family business, till dad got busted and I took off.”

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

NaNoWriMo Extract #3 (from ch3 - Branching Out)

Flynn had to stay with me,” Verity replied unexpectedly. “And I had to stay because the Hedge is my responsibility.” She held out her wrists. “See?”

Sterling put out a callused finger, and gently traced the pattern tattooed into the skin. It was a stylised representation of tree branches, wound together to form a ring around both wrists. A similar pattern entwined her ankles, and the wrists and ankles of every hedger in the Circle.

So you're...a gardener?”

Hedger,” Flynn corrected her. “She awakens the spirit trees from the Loam, and teaches them where to grow. How to protect us.”

They already know where to grow,” Verity said dreamily. “It's just...they don't understand how to exist here at first.”

Sunday, November 11, 2012

NaNoWriMo Cover - draft 1

My incredible father (who is doing NaNoWriMo with me - can I hear a wow! from you all?) is designing me a front cover! I'm super excited, so I thought I would share the first draft up here with you:

Friday, November 9, 2012

NaNoWriMo Extract #2 (from ch2 - Uprooting)

He was interrupted by a terrible noise, half way between the trumpeting of a herd of elephants and the roar of thunder. He pushed himself up.

“Weave us a castle,” he ordered. “Make it impenetrable to the worst of predators. I'll  go see what we're looking at.”

When he got outside, the day was darker than he remembered, and the sight that met his eyes was worse than he imagined. The creature was galloping towards him, across the valley to his left. It was enormous, an indescribable hybrid of the worst variety, full of parts of animals he didn't recognise, fused together with sinews of fire and muscles of metal. He stood frozen in front of their suddenly puny shelter, oblivious to the branches and vines that were snaking out and grounding themselves firmly behind him.

This wasn't a character from the stories. This was far worse than that, and he could think of no power in the Circle to defeat it.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

NaNoWriMo Extract #1 (from ch1: Unearthed)

There wasn't much left of the Hedge House. The ruins were still smouldering. The roof, all the interior walls and most of the floor was gone. Pieces of furniture, charred beyond recognition, leaned drunkenly against each other, and occasionally made ominous popping noises. The garden was littered with the corpses of trees. Everything gave off an aura of heat. The atmosphere was thick with the fumes of burning plastic. Flynn spent a few minutes treading gingerly through the mess, but it was clear that there was nothing of value left. He'd seen the effects of fires before, and it was relatively obvious that this one had not been an accident. No natural flames could have destroyed so quickly and so completely.

Wheezing a little as one of the remaining tendrils of smoke caught the back of his throat, Flynn picked his way back to the comparative safety of the street. There was no time for sentiment, and no space in his head for it in any case. His brain was already active on Plan B.

There were always a hundred small signs that a house was unoccupied. Post piling up. Curtains undrawn, or unopened. Dry lawns. But since Flynn didn't have time for extensive reconnaissance, he had to trust less to science and more to instinct. He chose a prosperous looking street (rich folks are more likely to have a vacation, not to mention useful belongings), and walked up and down it three times. The first time, he jogged purposefully. The second time, he strolled along, slouched and picking his teeth. The third time, he walked with an air of brisk confidence. All three times his ears and eyes were operating overtime. Four houses were eliminated immediately – there were obvious signs of canine occupancy. A further five houses showed lights in some upper room, or on the porch. Of the six houses remaining in the street, one had a bicycle lying on its front lawn and another had a car pulled up in the driveway. Flynn glimpsed a jungle gym in the back garden of another. This left three. On his last trip, he paused to glance at an imaginary cell phone by the postbox of number three. Empty. Near the postbox of number two, he had to tie a shoelace. Bingo. It was stuffed full of post, not only circulars, but “real” mail as well. He glanced around, and jiggled a handful of it out. Dates ranged from the previous week up until today. Excellent.

No time to bypass the alarm system. He had a vague idea that rural homes were less likely to be alarmed, but since his whole professional life had been spent in District Central and surrounds he had no real information on the matter. Mentally  preparing his escape route should his multiple guesses be wrong – out the back door, over the back wall, across the road behind this one and into the bushes on the empty plot he had spotted as he arrived in town – he stepped confidently into the front garden. 

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

NaNoWriMo - Character Sketch #2 - Verity

 Verity started hedging when she was fifteen years old. Her abilities – uncontrollable, and downright weird – freaked her fashionable parents out, and they were more than happy to abdicate their responsibility to the Hedge Council. By the time the Council assigned her to her first carer, she had withdrawn almost entirely into the Loam, and lost most of her ability to function in society.

Her first carer was not a success. His strange theories of hedging psychology made a fragile situation worse for all the hedgers under his care. Verity's worsening mental condition caused havoc in the Hedge, and drew the reluctant attention of the Hedge Council once again. However, the prosecution of the carer left Verity to her own increasingly unstable devices. By the time she met Flynn, several years of patchy care and emotional flux had erased most traces of Verity's personality.

Now, at the age of nineteen, she is well on the road to recovery. Her precarious mental health is a unavoidable by-product of her abilities, but her elemental mood swings have stabilised to manageable proportions. Her spirit tree, once formless and chaotic, has taken shape as an Acacia thorn tree, spindly in appearance but with an underlying toughness, and an ability to withstand years of drought.

Like the acacia tree, Verity is a creature of many contradictions. She has sorrow in her soul, but also a wicked sense of humour, and often laughs at herself. She blossoms under praise, but is quick to catch out the insincere. She loves passionately and quickly; but lets go just as freely. She is forgetful and untidy, but extremely observant. She bores easily, but needs constancy.

NaNoWriMo - Character Sketch #1 - Flynn

Flynn grew up in the slums of District Central. His mum was a washerwoman and died of TB when Flynn was twelve. After that, Flynn quit school to keep his dad company at work– an extra pair of small hands comes in useful in the field of “acquisitions”, especially when it’s preferable to acquire other people’s possessions with as little fuss as possible. With a bit of training, Flynn soon became an expert…well, thief. His dad wound up in jail before long, leaving Flynn to run the family business. He moved out of District Central soon afterwards – their association was far too well known. He drifted around the Circle for a few years, picking pockets to earn his keep, and generally staying out of trouble.

Flynn is a survivor. He’ll do what he needs to do in order to get from today into tomorrow. He is ruthlessly unsentimental, but secretly wishes he wasn’t. When he was offered a chance to slip out of the criminal world, he grabbed it with both hands – telling himself it was simply because the long term prospects were better. Truthfully, he was getting tired of dodging the law.

At this point, Flynn has been a “civilian” for over two years. He is twenty six years old, and still harbours a deep suspicion of authority. In fact, he harbours deep suspicions of most people, and always sleeps with one eye open.

Few people get a chance to know Flynn as more than a casual, forgettable acquaintance. He would rather remain clear of emotional ties, and deceives himself into thinking that he has succeeded. Where he feels attachment, he is prone to sudden, extravagant gestures of affection, which he will afterwards downplay in significance – to save himself and the recipient from embarrassment.

Flynn's loyalty may be difficult to earn, but it is well worth having. He still carries a kernel of guilt over abandoning his father in prison, and once you've earned his respect he works overtime to try and make up for his previous shortcomings.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Teacher Appreciation

Today our school governing body hosted a breakfast to let us know how much they appreciate the work we do. The morning started with a horse ride to the breakfast venue (I didn't get a picture, sadly - was too busy enjoying myself)! The breakfast that followed was sumptuous! They even provided little pebbles on the table for me to play with, and a goodie bag to take home.

The theme was survivor, so we had lanterns and brown paper bags, and fynbos decorations. Thank you SGB!!

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Ode to Joy

I think if I'd been in the crowd I would have cried my eyes out. This is so beautiful and crazy and fun at the same time!

So invest six minutes of your life. Seriously.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Mint and Lemon

So I *accidentally* slept and blogged all afternoon instead of working... and when I finally woke up, what better way to "start work" then mint and lemos on the grass?

Mint from my baby gardens of course!

Dear Government particular the officials of the Western Cape Education Department,

Don't get me wrong, I know you guys are doing a decent job under incredibly difficult conditions. I know I'm fortunate to be a teacher in a wonderful, successful school. 

And I certainly appreciate the need for transparency and teacher evaluation. In fact, I'm all for it.

That being said, I don't think I'm going to be able to provide you with all the paperwork to prove that I'm doing a good job. Those daily lesson plans, the teacher files, the evaluation files, the assessment files, the learner book comments... Allow me to explain:

I usually get to school between 7:15 and 7:30 in the morning. That gives me enough time to check my emails and respond to the really urgent ones (usually from parents) before running down to the printing room to do some last minute print runs. Since I am in charge of one grade for Mathematics, sometimes these are print runs of 200+ copies, which I then need to count and distribute to the teachers in question. Sometimes I get a chance to have a quick cuppa before the morning meeting.

The morning staff meeting runs from 7:45 - 7:55, and gives me a chance to check the outline of my day in my diary. I always know who I am teaching, and have a clear idea of what I want to achieve in each lesson. I don't always have time to write it down in a form anyone else could understand. Sometimes I don't even get a chance to write it down at all.

From 7:55 to 8:05 I deal with my home/tutor class, taking register and dealing with any disciplinary, pastoral or uniform issues that require immediate attention. I have a child near tears during register about once a month, and have ten or so minutes to calm them down, while simultaneously preventing the rest of the class from tearing my classroom walls down. I deal with absentee notes, reply slips and excuse letters during this time. I need to send my kids to class not later than 8:02, so that they have time to be punctual for first lesson - and so that I can get my head into the teaching zone. 

I invariably teach in first lesson. From 8:05 on, I have a new batch of students entering my classroom roughly every 45 minutes, all at different grade levels, and all with different needs. There are five minute breaks between lessons. I try to reserve these for greeting students and starting lessons on positive notes, but often issues arising with kids from the previous lesson use this time up pretty rapidly. Depending on how my morning went, I might have an urgent email to send, or a pile of worksheets to dispatch to another teacher. I may need to send an SOS to the school counsellor or grade head about a child. I also need to switch my projector off to give it a rest, and make sure the computer is working well enough to produce my next set of slides or notes. Sometimes I realise at the last minute that a particular worksheet has slipped through the cracks, and I have to McGuiver a solution for the next lesson.

I teach five grades. Out of the 33 lessons available per week, I usually have three or four free for preparation and admin, less than one per grade - including the grade that I lead. Usually these lessons are swallowed up filling out forms about detentions or missed tests, responding to emails from colleagues and parents, preparing and distributing workplans and worksheets, and setting tests and assessments. It is unusual to have a chance to mark during free lessons. Sometimes I have time for a cup of coffee or tea.

In the remaining 28 or 29 lessons every week, I teach. I never give free lessons - there is no time in the syllabus. I seldom have a chance to revise. Most lessons will be taken up with teaching new content, working through examples and then assisted practice. I try to give homework every single day. It is seldom completed by everyone in the class, but I make sure I go through it for those diligent kids who get it done. In the senior classes, this is usually about 20% of the class. In the junior classes it is more like 70% -  a percentage which I have worked hard at increasing, and am very proud of.

I try to make sure that at least half of each lesson is spent working, and answering questions from the kids. I try to make sure that I am supportive and encouraging, especially of weaker students. I usually spend at least 5 to 10 minutes of each lesson coping with discipline issues.

At break I usually have meetings with members of my tutor class, special catch up sessions for kids who were absent, academic support meetings with the "at risk" kids that I mentor or members of the two sports teams which I manage. I try to spend at least 15 minutes of break in the staffroom, eating my lunch - otherwise I struggle to keep my energy high enough to teach effectively. I have break duty once every two weeks.

School ends at 3pm. From 3 until 3:30 I sit in my classroom, supervising classroom cleaning by the kids in my tutor class, and coping with any situations that the kids bring to me as a result of whatever happened during the school day. At least once a week there will be a major or minor conflict to be resolved between two members of my class. Bullying, fighting, pregnancy, drug abuse, parental issues, boyfriend issues, academic issues - I never know what will land on my desk in this half hour. I try to be discerning about which issues need to be passed on to someone else - I am forever grateful for the excellent support system at my school.

At 3:30 I go to my extra mural commitments - either hockey or chess, depending on the day of the week. I have an extra mural every day. If it is a hockey day, I am able to take some marking with me. If there are no crises with the two teams or the coaches (medical, emotional, disciplinary) then I am able to get some work done on the side of the field. I will tutor kids during this time where possible - especially those who have been absent or lazy and have asked me to help them catch up. About once every two months some fairly minor injury needs to attention, but I am fortunate not to have been involved with any serious injuries so far.

At 5pm, sport is over for the day. I go back inside to finish up on admin before heading home. I usually get home at about 6pm, though I try to do earlier where possible. I am grateful to live close to my workplace - otherwise I would seldom get home before 7pm. I usually have 2-3 evening work commitments per term (PTLs etc...). 

Parent meetings also have to happen during the 3:30-6pm slot, so I have to arrange to be away from my sports practices about 5-8 times per term. Meetings with parents are a great way to communicate, and I try to accomodate them as often as possible. They seldom last less than an hour.

When I get home at 6pm, I am very tired. My husband and I are both teachers, so we are both very tired. If the day has been a particularly traumatic one in terms of the issues that land on one of our desks, we need to debrief for upwards of an hour. We have dinner (usually a defrosted meal that we made over the weekend - if we were lucky), and try to work. I am seldom able to focus on marking or preparation unless it is an emergency. 

As a result, most marking and preparation happens over the weekend, in between sports fixtures. This is also the only time we can see family and friends. Our friends who aren't in education find our social absence difficult to understand. Those who are in education commiserate. Our families get scant attention, despite our very best intentions. 

So please understand that while I'm doing my best to be a decent teacher, your extra paperwork is unlikely to happen. I can barely keep up with the "essentials" of marking and preparation. Please tell me that is more important to you than having your boxes ticked? 

Your sincerely
Belaboured Employee

Sunday, August 12, 2012


Remember my baby gardens? Well, they're GROWING! Today I ate my first fresh chard grown by ... myself!

Freshly picked deliciousness...

Only the swiss chard was homegrown, but doesn't that meal look AMAZING? Jasmine rice, poached eggs, organic swiss chard (hehehe) and woolies baby carrots...mmmm...

Monday, August 6, 2012

Old World/New World

Old World/New World

So you may have noticed I have this thing about dream boards at the moment...Discovered a free online tool called Polyvore, which is awesome, fun and easy. It's a bit like going on a shopping spree but without the cashflow dilemmas. Check it out!

*warning* I've also found Polyvore to be mildly addictive...

Monday, July 30, 2012

A Mint Compilation

Taking Care of Mint Plants

Mint likes to be in full sun or partial shade.

Mint is bossy - you need to keep its roots away from other plants or it will kill them.

Mint likes to be kept damp and moist - use mulch, and keep the soil damp.

If the plant looks unhealthy, it is either getting too little water or too little sun. Move it, and change your watering habits. Mint recovers well.

Mint likes to be fed bonemeal once or twice a year.

Mint flowers should be removed asap, because otherwise you will get fewer leaves, which is the part you're wanting.

Mint's worst enemy is a disease called rust. You can spot it by seeing orange blobs under the leaves. Take affected leaves off immediately - you might have to sacrifice the whole plant to prevent it spreading to other mint plants.

Mint has loads of varieties, of which a few follow (this information and quotations selected from
  • Spearmint "One of the most intensely fresh mints, milder than peppermint, it is used in sauces, jellies, and teas." 
  • Chocolate mint "This herb has dark, rich foliage. It tolerates hot, dry conditions and is not as invasive as most mints. A nice desert mint!" 
  • Apple mint "Tall sturdy stems with large, fuzzy, grey-green leaves that smell slightly of apple" 
  • Peppermint "The most famous of all mints, it requires little care and makes excellent teas and candy. 

Mint will reproduce easily - cut off a sprig (1cm above the junction) and leave it in a glass of water. After a little while some roots will start growing out. Wait till the roots are quite long and then plant in a fresh pot.

Mint likes to have its biggest leaves taken off, so that the smaller leaves get a chance to grow (big leaves hog the sunshine).

Mint runs out of space easily - approximately once per year you need to unplant it, separate it into quarters (especially the roots) and put each piece of plant into a separate pot.

Using Mint

Some of the things that mint has been used for medicinally:

  • indigestion and a wide range of tummy problems (pop a couple of leaves in boiling water to make a tea!) 
  • headaches 
  • muscle relaxant and anti-inflamatory 
  • calming 
  • breath freshener (is this really medicinal??) 
  • relieving nasal/sinus/chest congestion - helps with colds 
  • giving energy (replacement for caffiene) 
  • aids concentration 
Some of the things that mint has been used for in the kitchen:
  • Salads 
  • Marinade fish 
  • Vegetables (put mint in the water used to steam the veggies) 
  • With potatoes or rice 
  • Make mint ice-cubes (a whole leaf in each cube) 

Mint can also repel insects (flies and ants) and possibly also mice.

Preserving Mint

Pick it in sprigs after the dew has dried off.

Then you tie the sprigs together by the stems (use an elastic band) and put the bundle(s) in a brown bag to dry.

Hang the mint upside down to dry - it will take about 2 weeks.

When the leaves are brittle, put it on a sheet of wax paper and pull the leaves off (you don't want the stems).

Crumble the leaves, and store in a dry, dark environment.

You can also freeze the crumbled leaves (but make sure they don't get wet).

Mint can also be preserved in vinegar (or oil). Just put the fresh leaves into a bottle of nice vinegar and stand in the sun for two weeks, shaking gently every day to spread the flavour.

 More detailed information:


Patrick de Penguin



Saturday, July 28, 2012

Baby Gardens

I've been wanting to start growing herbs and vegetables for a while now. In fact, I even started a small herb garden a few years back, but I didn't look after it properly, so it died... Then the other day I inherited some small wooden boxes that my dad made for my sister's play (long story), and I thought:

"What perfect containers for mini gardens"

Second thoughts said:

"No money. No time. The plants will probably die anyway."

Third thoughts said:

"We should all grow vegetables to become eco/sustainable and also healthier...and I have to start somewhere. And besides I WANT to."

Happily, first and third thoughts ganged together to beat second thoughts into submission. So here is the story of my baby gardens.

I went to the garden shop with my mom - who is also en route to a herb/veggie garden. 

The boxes needed a teeny bit of adjustment to be perfect...Thanks husband and best man (and still special friend)!

 Box one - swiss chard (two types), wild rocket, lemon thyme, broccoli, origanum.

Second box: peppermint and garden mint (yes, I love mint!)

Two beautiful baby gardens by our front door. Can't wait to visit them tomorrow morning!

Friday, July 13, 2012

Teaching Transformations and CAPS

Since the curriculum changed soon after I left high school (2008 for the first batch of matriculants), geometrical transformations (reflections, rotations, translations and enlargements) have been a small but important part of the curriculum in Maths from grade eight through to grade twelve.

If you've forgotten what geometric transformations are then there is a fun free powerpoint with lots of pretty pictures here. There are also awesome notes and visualisation tools here.

Now we have just started grade ten roll-out of a new new-curriculum: CAPS. And we decide to remove ALL transformations from grade 10 to 12. Which is cool...we have to take something out to make room for all the new stuff...

But the problem is that teaching functions (linear, quadratic, hyperbolic, exponential) is really lacking in depth if you teach it without referring back to transformations (I should know, I learnt it without any knowledge of transformations). Functions are so much more sensible if you understand transformations. And Maths should always be sensible. Well, where possible anyway.

Net result: we teach almost all of the transformations (leaving out detailed rules of rotation) in grade 8 and 9. We do basic understanding of physical transformations in grade 8. This means that in a one-two week module in grade 9 we have to achieve a reasonable level of understanding and competency with the rules of translations, reflection and enlargement.

Bear in mind that being decent, hard-working teachers (most days of the week), we don't just want to give them the rules and let them get on with it. We want them to at least have a "hand-wavy" understanding of where the rules come from.

With this aim in mind, I have created a series of worksheets aimed to develop a solid intuition about how the various types of transformations can be represented algebraically. I attach some screenshots of the best bits for your delectation and delight. I will put them on TPT as soon as I've given them a test run (and since it'll be a test run by my whole department it should be reasonably accurate **we hope**)

The aim is to start with what the kids CAN do (writing points as coordinates, physically transforming the shape using geometrical methods...) or at least are supposed to be able to do. Needless to say half of them will have forgotten, which is why I'm planning to use this series of worksheets as "do on your own - now do together" type resources, question by question so that the weaker kiddies don't get completely lost or end up going on their own little completely incorrect mission.

But we need to move very swiftly on to focusing on the coordinates of vertices, and figuring out the relationship between the object coordinates and image coordinates. Otherwise we stay in grade 8 forever...the horror!!

You'll notice that 2.4 represents quite a jump forward. So I anticipate spending a fair bit of time in class looking at the table together and formulating a sensible answer. The second half of question 2 then does exactly the same process all over again with the other translation shown in the image...

Then, after some notes and a fair bit of repetition, we get onto using the notation properly and skipping out the intermediate steps. In other words, actually using the rules which they will now be intuitively happy with.

When we go onto the next installment (reflections), we take the steps a teeny bit faster, and they have to get to the comparison of coordinates a teeny bit more independently. Just to mix things up a bit (and prevent the stronger learners from getting too bored).

I won't bore you with endless repetitions: I do essentially the same thing three times for translation, reflection and enlargement, and a brief version for rotations. The emphasis throughout is on correct notation and terminology, and attempting to make a strong intuitive link between the algebraic representation and the geometric representation.

AND FINALLY...we whizz through a whole bunch of exam type questions. Just to satisfy the endless chorus of "What's in the exam, ma'am??", and of course also to calm the nervous and generally satisfy curriculum requirements. 

What do you think?

Can we get through this in 5x forty minute lessons??

We really need to, so wish us luck!

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Friday, June 29, 2012

My "practice babies" (aka the Mathemacats)

It's actually ridiculous how much I love my a few years time I will probably be in serious danger of being one of *those* old ladies.

But in all seriousness, they ARE my practice babies. I am learning to let go (the first time one of them stayed out all night I nearly had a heart attack), to let other creatures go their own way and make their own decisions. I am learning to enjoy the moment, because you never know what the future might hold.

 So I'm loving holiday cuddles and family naps...and crossing future bridges when I get to them. So are the cats. Real children-in-potentia should be grateful!

Brilliant Mathematical Thinking (or is that brilliant daydreaming??)

In algebric equation if 1+y is the sum you cannot add 1 and y together for example 1 would be a man and y would be a crocodile. But 1 [times] y can be possible because for example 1 would be a man and y would be a crocodile but [times] would be the fairy that change 1 and y into a frog so they can stay together then the answer is 1y.

Smiley face but no mark...

Friday, June 22, 2012

Latest Drama

Rescuing a child's cellphone from a storm drain (fortunately dry!). Eventually this feat was achived with a broom and some prestick (plus a few scraped hands).