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Micronauts #2 (February 1979)

Mantlo and Golden bring the Micronauts to Earth and begin to develop characterisation. In an interview in BEM #24, Mantlo explained how he established the characters: “The personalities of the characters partially arose from their visual appearance as toys. Not knowing Mego’s conception of their own toys at the time,...

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broken down!

Awaiting rescue. One of those times when there are so many things you realise you should on have done… for instance kept the breakdown number somewhere in the car!

Update: The RAC were brilliant. Turned out to be a flat battery caused by putting hazard lights on when I pulled over. Lots of lessons learned tonight.

Mystery of the Gatwick Drone

Seems that there never was a drone. Great article by Samira Shackle.

The Mystery of the Gatwick Drone | The Guardian

ahsoka tano

Even grumpy old me was delighted with Ahsoka Tano’s appearance in the latest episode of The Mandalorian. Not so much Baby Yoda’s real name. But the prospect of Thrawn…

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Micronauts #1 (January 1979)

In Creating a new series for Marvel Comics: The Micronauts, Comics Journal #40 (June 1978) Mantlo writes: “The world would be, I decided, inhabitants of a “world within worlds,” as their name suggested. Homeworld, a whirling molecule on a spiralling DNA chain, became the first world in the Microverse that...

The Rise and Rise of Creativity

Utterly fascinating piece by Steven Shapin, Professor of the History of Science at Harvard University, exploring the way in which creativity entered modern discourse. It’s quite shocking to learn that creativity was barely mentioned before the 1920s and that its adoption as a defining human characteristic can be traced back...

The Hatred of Video Games is Simply Suspicion of Youth

Rather neat, germane piece by Ian Dunt about the way in which video games are stigmatised: Why should video games be seen as particularly addictive, compared to watching football, say, or soap operas? Both of these activities lead to people obsessively looking at a screen, day in and day out....

The Subjective Turn

Fascinating article on Hegel, historicism and human nature by Jon Stewart in Aeon magazine. Today, we dedicate much of our lives to developing and asserting some sense of personal self-identity that is identifiable and separable from that of others. People have become increasingly creative in the ways in which this...

Standardisation? The National Curriculum and Assessment

Notes from English and Its Teachers by Simon Gibbons (2017) In this chapter Gibbons presents the changes to English during the period of the 20 years-long Conservative government. His starting point is the 1988 Kingman Report and the introduction of the National Curriculum, the first attempt at prescribing the context...

X of Swords: Prelude to #10

It’s taken me a long time to get into X of Swords, the current X-Men crossover event. While I’m intrigued by Jonathan Hickman’s take on Marvel’s mutants set up in House of X/Powers of X, I can’t say I’m enjoying it. I dig some of the SF aspects of the...

Wolfgang Voight/GAS, Königsforst

A few days ago I happened to stumble across a list of Eight Great Minimal Electronic Records You Need to Hear. Minimal techno – if it’s what you could call the music on the list – is something I haven’t listened to a great deal so I thought I’d have...

Cognitive Load Theory and Instructional Design: Recent Developments (2003) by Fred Paas, Alexander Renkl and John Sweller

This is a text that I’ve seen repeatedly referenced online as an important introduction to CLT. After reading it, I’m not convinced that this is the best place to start with learning about CLT. It’s the introduction/editorial for an issue of Educational Psychologist and gives a broad overview of the...

Generative Learning in Action (2020) by Zoe & Mark Enser

Generative Learning in Action is refreshing after the heavy doses of Rosenshine I’ve been consuming recently. There are two aspects to the GL approach I find particularly engaging: it approaches learning from the learner’s perspective rather than that of the instructor (the “flip-side” that the Ensers repeated point out) plus...

Richard Skelton, These Charms May Be Sung Over A Wound

Aphotic and portentous, Richard Skelton’s new album has been played around these parts for a week. It’s magnificent. I’d even go so far to say that it’s a significant piece of modern music. The gloomy, droning soundscape evoked by Skelton on this album is perfect for both this time of...

Swamp Thing

I’ve always had a soft spot for DC Comics’ muck monster, Swamp Thing. When I was a kid, there was a newsagents in Bryant Road in Strood where they had a spinner rack full of American comics for sale. I’d buy comics on the way home from school. It was...

Piranesi by Susanna Clarke

ENTRY FOR THE FIRST DAY OF THE TENTH MONTH IN THE SECOND YEAR AFTER THE ALBATROSS CAME TO THE SOUTH-WESTERN HALLS This evening I finished reading Piranesi, Susanna Clarke’s new novel. When I closed the book it was dark outside and I needed to turn the light on in the...

Young Knives, Barbarians

Just when you thought it was literally the end of civilisation, The Young Knives (or, more properly) Young Knives without the “The” any more have released a new album, Barbarians. And. It’s. Rather. Good. Indeed. Their last album was something like 7 years ago. It’s very very welcome. Their earlier...

The Goalkeeper’s Revenge and Other Reminiscences of English

This morning I was talking with Alice about my experiences of school. We’d been swapping anecdotes about childhood as you do when you get older and try to discern some sort of pattern in those early years that led to where you end up as an adult. It’s all a...

Questioning Rosenshine’s Principles

In search of the real Rosenshine In the 4th September 2020 issue of the TES, Jessica Powell argues that Rosenshine’s principles are “poorly understood”. In the article, Powell describes her initial sense that the principles are “straightforward, uncontroversial” and a framework of approaches that most teachers are already doing. The...

Some Thoughts About Caitlin R. Kiernan’s Agents of Dreamland

After the desert of ebony sand, there’s a great city of spiralling towers and crystal domes. Beyond the city is a vast methane ocean as still as glass. Furious storms travel the ocean. Benzene falls like snow. Ancient beings hunched over machines on this planet detect NASA’s New Horizons interplanetary...

Rosenshine’s (and Stevens’!) SIX fundamental instructional “functions”

Rosenshine’s principles of instruction aren’t anything new. Their origin is the 1960s in the direct instruction work initiated by Siegfried Englemann and Carl Bereiter in their work with children from disadvantaged backgrounds. Rosenshine and Stevens themselves readily point out the influences of their instructional model: Gagne’s “components of instruction” (1970), Good...

The Calm Before the Storm? English from the 1970s into the 1980s

Notes from English and Its Teachers by Simon Gibbons (2017) In this chapter Gibbons presents the period from the mid-1970s to the start of the National Curriculum as a high point for English teaching. The Bullock Report supported a renewal of importance of English across the curriculum. Until 1988, it...

Macbeth: Prose Retelling

To a certain extent it’s difficult to read a Shakespeare text with a class in the same way that you’d read anything else. The archaic and rich language can confound children even if they watch a live performance or film version. I’ve found that students approach the text if time...

Alas, Apple Watch I knew you well

At the end of June my Apple Watch stopped charging. I took it off and forgot to charge it for a couple of days and found that it just wouldn’t turn on – even after charging overnight and swapping cables and plugs. Up until then it’d worked fine. I tried...