Quite a few teachers will have seen this, but I’ve just started using it again and thought it would be a good idea to post it here!

It’s an extremely useful site – the main apps I use are the Countdown Timer and the Fruit Picker/random generator.


Just some thoughts.

These thoughts and views are entirely my own, and do not represent the views of any person or school I am associated with (so rip them up if you please!)


1. Cancer’s cured? Kthxbai.

I was pretty amazed to read this article, which reveals that scientists are now completing long-term trials with a method of curing cancer that teaches the body’s immune system to recognise and kill the cancerous cells.

That very night, a Serious Current Events Show had a story about a slightly disgruntled farmer.

Am I missing something?

2. Earth, 2020: “How we ever got along without this stuff is a Mistry.”

Pranav Mistry of MIT has replaced Boba Fett at the top of my “Badassness” list. First his SixthSense technology, which won him all kinds of awards – and he’s keeping it open source:

And now he has eliminated the mouse. No, the computer mouse, silly:

While I bet Apple is a bit miffed after spending so much time developing their spectacular Magic Mouse, I am equally willing to drop money on the fact that they are quietly developing their own, more expensive (and let’s face it – slightly cooler) version somewhere in California.

More about Mr. Mistry here:

3. My iron lung…

The internet keeps me alive, but in doing so, it ensures that I can not survive without it. My dependence on the internet is beginning to scare me, and nothing highlights this more than when I am at school and can’t access it.

The world crashes from above, and suddenly teaching becomes akin to swimming one-armed through a vat of treacle.

I hope I’m not alone in this terrible affliction.

If you see anything interesting, discuss!

Resources for English in Aotearoa article

It was extremely exciting to see that my article was indeed published! As promised, here are the resources mentioned in the article.

At this stage I’m leaving them as PDFs, but feel free to comment or ask for the Word documents and I’ll send them through to you.


The Art of Persuasion

Informal and Formal language

The Blog-O-Matic 5000

Writer’s checklist

Fake Blog

What’s that in the sky? Is it a bird? Is it a plane?

No, it’s just the term flying by! Week 8 already.

I thought I should update this, especially as there is a chance it will be appearing in English in Aotearoa. I will soon be uploading the resources related to it, and the good news is that several of them have been highly successful with my year 11 English class. The bad news is that since we’re pressed for time, a lot of things have had to be squished up…ah well.

In other news, I have started blogs for two of my classes. They can be found at (heresy, I know) and Progress is slow at this stage because of a lack of computer access as a class, but I am hoping it picks up. ┬áIt’s interesting to look at how different students engage with it – some seem to be slow burners, while others thought it was the best idea since txt language and have since rescinded and now think it is like, so lame to do homework over the internet. Others couldn’t care less, and I am certain that a few have been working on them but I can’t see their blogs…never mind.

For 13 video in particular, my idea was to develop a routine and form for self reflection. The vast majority of their course is dedicated to producing their own documentary, and it is critical that they are self-aware and consider the steps they have taken, as well as the steps they will need to take in future. And because the task does involve such a lot of “managing self”, I think it’s important that I create a space for that to happen whenever it is needed, rather than the odd occasions I see them around school or before and after filming. Currently the activity has been nearly 0, but I will be really pushing it when it gets closer to production time.

In 11 English, the goals are a little different. Firstly, I wanted a place where students could submit work for me to look at. One of my class policies is that I am always happy to look at practice essays, creative writing drafts and just about anything else – but I think that possibly the effort and expense of printing or writing can be a barrier. This, I hope, will encourage students to put things online. The second reason was again reflection – I wanted students to be able to identify areas of confusion or concern in a space where time isn’t as limited. Activity has been light on the blogs but I will be checking regularly.

Of course, this wasn’t all my idea. I had a fantastic PD session with the amazing Claire Amos, who showed how she uses blogs in the classroom (among other things). As well as being inspirational, a lot of the advice was very practical. However, I also wanted a model that worked a little better for low-access schools and students, and so in a lot of ways, the blogs I have set up are ways to decrease my marking load!

That’s all for now…I will update soon.

The language of advertising

Here are some resources for a unit based around the language of advertising.

Coming from an advertising background, I believe it’s important to at least attempt to dispel the myths and preconceptions around advertising. A lot of students (and their teachers!) have the perception that ads lie, are deceptive, or downright terrible. This, of course, affects two things. First, students will never fully engage with texts that they have such strong negative opinions of – it just makes our work as teachers harder. Second, it affects their achievement; being able to engage with the texts, as well as step back from them, allows for a greater understanding and far better analysis.

Anyway, enough of a rant! This unit is targeted at year 13 students, for the research standard (English 3.7). I think it would be beneficial to link this to the oral presentation standard (English 3.6) and it can be great for use with Unfamiliar Texts (English 3.5).

Unit Plan

And here’s a suggested teaching sequence. Remember, as yet, this has not been taught! It’s mainly to give you ideas.

Teaching Sequence

And here are some handy resources for you. Most of these were not entirely done by me! I must say a huge thanks to Becs Gibson, Nick Wilson, and Sarah MacDonald for their help.

Terminology Sheet

Mix and match – terminology

Resource sheet – colours

Here also are some annotated examples. Not all of these will be suitable for students.

visual techs annotated ad

diamonds are forever annotated pdf

bmw annotated pdf

I’ll also add a bunch of sites that were fantastic as resources. They can all be found via my Delicious account, but I will add them in here when I have the time and inclination.

I give you my first born file…

Here’s a file, mainly to test that this is all working properly.

Year 10 Media Studies – Genre Assessment

Yes, that’s right, it’s for junior media! The unit was focussed on the comedy genre. A word of warning: DO NOT DO THIS. It is a terrible genre to even attempt, and can only be saved by good choice of texts. However, I believe the task itself is still valid.

Basically, students were asked to develop a pamphlet to inform younger students about their chosen genre. It is versatile in that you are easily able to adapt it as a production task, too. The results I saw from this were fantastic!

Here’s a resource that I created, in order to model what a great one would look like (though sadly, one of my students produced something far superior…)

Westerns Pamphlet – Exemplar

Just a little note on this. Yes, as teachers we are often pressed for time. But I think it is really valuable to actually create some exemplars yourself, particularly of things that require an element of production. It really helps students to see what they’re aiming for, and they can aspire to produce something just as well as their teacher can.

Hello, people!

This is my first post on my brand spanking new blog.

In the future, I will be upgrading this and doing things like no ads, my own domain, etc. etc. but for now, this is where to look.

This blog will be my main platform for sharing teaching resources, so I suggest you take note of the URL and keep an eye on it!