Reads of the Week #85

What does another eclectic mix of reading say about the reader? Magpie? Scattergun? unfocused? Whatever the answer, it works for me. The list of things I’ll read is endless, this week there’s music, poetry, sport, reading, fascism, women’s suffrage and Iran art. Magpie alright.

Here’s Thom Hickey on Donald Fagen’s The Nightfly. Every time I hear this album it transports me back to my first car, a red 83 VW Golf. Different days.

This is Christine Murray‘s Starlings. It made want to read more poetry as much I did in my 20s. So I did (more of that next week).

Next is Sonia O’Sullivan reminding me of the 80s, running was I wanted to do then, same for Sonia but she was better at it than any of us. How far athletics, and women’s athletics in particular have come since.

Next is a great project any English teacher, anywhere, not just here in Ireland should devour: the Bold Girls project from Children’s Books Ireland. Some great ideas for reading for and reading with young women.

We’re All Fascists Now by Bari Weiss is such a rewarding read because it is a challenge, no matter where you start from. I love reading things that make me think again on what I thought I understood. Most of the choices this week it turns out are about being transported back to who I was, this one is about who I am now, always open to a challenge.

Podcast of the week is the return of The History Show from RTE on the history of the women’s suffrage movement in Ireland. I loved it, it is what public service broadcasting is for.

And finally the image this week is The Lady Khorshid (1843) by Sani ol Molk. I found it here.

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Reads of the Week #84

This week I write to you from Dunmanway, Co. Cork. Being on the road has become part of my life now, seven months into my new job. The places we visit are as different from each other as is possible, but they have in common a desire to do their best for the teachers and learners that walk their halls every day. And (tortured segue alert) this group of articles I read, often in a snowbound Clonmel, are equally eclectic, and just as united in their ability to draw my interest.

First Mark Hilliard writes of the cruel life an unnecessary deaths in a Cavan orphanage 75 years ago. A welcome reminder of what our country used to be like.

Michael O’Loughlin provides us with a timely reminder of how the echo of the Holocaust is still to be found across Europe, as above perhaps the past isn’t as far away as we might like to think.

Sabrina Gasparrini reminds us here that the price of resisting the worst of the past is constantly keeping in mind the mistakes made before. What will Italy do next?

Now this piece by Joshua Rothman spoke to me, as a person who often stood at a perfectly functioning, expensive piece of technology which drove me around the bend when it broke down. Paper jams. Printers. Photocopiers. Read on.

Every teacher knows that feeling when the printer jams, well, it’s someones job to think about that jam, and try to eliminate it. This piece by @joshuarothman is a great read

For a little light distraction into the perfect and hillarious, here’s Larry David: No Way to Say Goodbye.

Podcast of the Week is a Moving Pictures episode from BBC World Service. Cathy Fitzgerald makes some beautiful radio, this piece on Men of the Docks by George Bellows is a perfect example. And Google Arts and Culture have provide a zoomable version of the painting.

Image of the Week is from Danish artist Peder Mørk Mønsted (1851-1941) which I found here. For the weather we’ve had.

Reads of the Week #83

It has been a long week, mainly because I entered my late 40s and haven’t been able to shake the cold I had last week. Added to that, I haven’t read as much I usually do. But, as in previous posts from weeks when I fell behind, the things I did get to read and share are pretty special.

First is a piece by by Isabel Hayes which is marked by her honesty, openness and heartbreaking experience of miscarriage and ivf. A compelling read.

Next, given the Winter Olympics have dominated life in this house for past two weeks, here’s a piece by David Segal on a broken ski pole that entered Norwegian folklore.

Third on the list this week is another piece by Michael Harding, which almost defies description beyond saying it’s a perfect slice of rural Irish life.

This next choice is the latest short piece from Katie Coyle, who is another regular contributor to my weekly lists. What I like about this piece is it is as much about how to send your daughters out into the world as about anything else.

Couldn’t chose between two podcasts this week , so here’s both: What’s the Deal With Eleven? In which John McWhorter explains the etymology and pronunciation of English numbers. What I love about this series isn’t just the nerdy joy of how John expands on his theme, but the detail that goes into constructing forty minutes of aural joy. Secondly, here’s Melvyn Bragg and guests discussing the Dreyfus Affair, the 1890s scandal which divided opinion in France for a generation and gave me some of the most interesting History classes down through the years. The joy of explaining how France repeatedly tried to tear itself apart between 1870 and 1914, and yet survived was something I always looked forward to. Another In Our Time podcast.

And finally the image this week is ‘The Tenth Hour (XVII)’ by Bharti Kher, which I found here.

Reads of the Week #81

The midterm has arrived! Conscious as I am that teachers might have more time than usual to read in the week ahead, this week I give you two pieces to get you thinking: first Alex Quigley on reading and writing in this blogpost The Shape of Stories; and second Kenny Pieper, who regular readers here will know well by now, writing on the right and responsibility of teachers to be involved in real change in education, he’s writing about Scotland, but this blogpost has real resonance for Irish teachers too, perhaps teachers everywhere. On Brexit, that great crumbling of our regard for British democracy, in this article, Marina Hyde compares Teresa May to a Swansea City manager who has all the confidence that comes from being given the full support of the Board of Directors. She doesn’t stop there, and it isn’t all funny, but it is so right. Anika Burgess, writing for Atlas Obscura on the photography of Caitriona Dunnett on the secret tracks and trails that lead to Mass Rocks across Ireland is fascinating insight into Irish History, and beautifully illustrated with images of inaccessible but familiar places. Aidan Dunne writes here on Emil Nolde, an artist I’ve only recently discovered, and he shows the stillness of his painting is matched by the complications of his life.

My podcast choice this week this week is again from the RTE History Show: this time it covers significant and interesting anniversaries coming up in 2018. Very useful for updating the diaries of History teachers. This week’s cover image came from here.

Reads of the Week #80

It’s hard to believe that I’ve spent eighty weekends doing this exercise. Collecting writing I want to share more than in a single tweet has become a tradition: laptop out after dinner on Sunday, picking out the best, setting up the tweets and writing the blogpost. Always a pleasure. Writing is an exercise, reading the same, hoping never to get out of any of these habits.

Michael Harding on Marty Whelan, but as always saying things about so much more than a headline can encapsulate.

This piece by Jeremi Suri traces the history of the nuclear hotline, and of the the use of hotlines to diffuse conflict in general. History nerd alert.

 

A photo’s power is huge, this one has taken on a life beyond the moment it captures and it changed the course of the Vietnam War. Maggie Astor on Eddie Adams’ photo of Nguyen Ngoc Loan executing Nguyen Van Lem, in Saigon on February 1, 1968.

Brightening, by Doireann Ní Ghríofa, is an amazing new poetic take on Austin Clarke’s Planter’s Daughter which so many of us read and taught down the years from the Soundings Anthology.

Jennifer O’Connell has written so powerfully here, asking how much has really changed since the 1980s Ireland that drove so many women to the margins.

For the podcast of the week, here’s an RTE History Show interview on Alger Hiss with his son Tony who continues to believe in his father’s innocence. Human history colliding with world events.

 

And finally, for the coverage image I went here.

Reads of the Week #78

This week was full on so the things I read had to light up early on, it was a week for writing that grabbed my attention quickly and held it. Some extracts should explain why these made the cut.

Richard Cerutti hardly suspected that on Nov. 16, 1992, he was standing atop a discovery that could rewrite the opening chapter in the history of the New World.

An exraordinary account of Archaeology as bloodsport from Thomas Curwen.

How can leaders best ensure consistency within schools without it being a dictatorship? Does it have to come at the expense of autonomy in the classroom? Should it account for teacher personalities? How can accountability be effective without being personal or based on relationships? Should compliance to school policies be assessed?

Dawn Cox on consistency in schools.

When I was a child famous people on television were distant specks. Now I know it’s the other way about. I am the speck, as disposable as a bird clinging to an alder tree 20m from my window in a winter storm.

Michael Harding on the flu, and other things too.

Have you ever left a meeting, PLC, or any other professional development session wondering what the purpose of the time together was and still unclear about what is expected of you?  Unfortunately, you are not alone.

How we may prevent our own improvement from Katie Martin.

Podcast of the Week: Last year marked one hundred years since the first time Eamon de Valera was elected as a public representative, in the Clare By-Election of 1917. From his early life to his disputed legacy, we explore the long and remarkable career of the most dominant political figure of 20th century Ireland.

RTE History Show special on Eamon de Valera.

This week’s cover image is Landscape by Emil Nolde (1867-1956). I found it here.

 @DanielBrami1 & @CamilleStein

Reads of the Week #77

Christmas has come and gone, the reading goes on. This is a selection of the best things I read over the break, so it’s slightly longer than usual. Switching off the phone over Christmas for three days might not sound like a revolutionary act, but for me that’s extraordinary! So there’s plenty of interesting stuff still in the bank to share in the weeks to come.

 

First here’s a story about a basketball coach who can’t quit from Adam Zagoria. It struck a chord with me: teachers who have to suddenly stop on retirement must find themselves in a strange limbo sometimes.

 

This next piece is raw, honest and tragic. Mimi O’Donnell writes on the loss of her partner Philip Seymour Hoffman.

 

This piece by Jen Gann about her son is moving and frank while dealing with some of the issues the debate around the 8th Amendment will bring up in Ireland will bring up.

 

For a bit of fun head over to Instagram  to see Accidentally Wes Anderson which does the job of location spotter quite well for the next Anderson movie.

 

I loved this piece by Theo Dorgan about the place he came from. Home is so important, and so is remembering where we came from

 

Most of the education reading I did over Christmas I chose to challenge me. This post by Katie Martin did just that on collaboration and teachers supporting each other.

If we want to improve skills and knowledge and the application of them in our classrooms, we must move beyond telling people what to do and get into classrooms to help them problem solve, reflect, tweak, and learn together and collectively figure out how to move forward.
Improving our practice is always worth it.

 

This is just a beautiful essay on the triggers that set us off remembering someone who’s gone from Roy Hoffman. A Sister’s Nurturing, in Countless Home Haircuts

 

Two podcasts now, the first is on Suffragism from In our Time. Very apt for the year that we are entering because (some, not all) British, and, by association Irish women were given the franchise in 1918. Consistently brilliant programmes from the BBC here, by the way.

And the second is on the sounds our computers make  from Twenty Thousand Hertz. A fascinating look into what the noises our devices are making, where they came from and who designed them.

 

The cover image this week is one of my favourite pictures: Hunters in the Snow (Winter) by Pieter Bruegel the Elder which we were lucky enough to see about fourteen years ago in Vienna. I used it in school all the time. Some great conversations began there. I got it from the very cool Google Arts and Culture.