Started David Didau’s Making Meaning in English

Sunny outside. Will sit in the garden and read this for a bit.

Cognitive Apprenticeship in Action

Been reading the new In Action publication this afternoon, essays by teachers at Huntington School presenting Cognitive Apprenticeship approaches, essentially teaching methods that make the learning process explicit or visible.

Johnson’s Kulturkampf

Peter Jukes and Hardeep Matharu’s How Myths of Britishness Are Turning Totalitarian shows how culture is currently weaponised in the UK to enable a right-wing government that engenders a condition of disillusionment and delusion leading to the sort if paranoia seen in the US. Jukes and Matharu view this as calculated.

The War on Woke won’t improve Britain’s pandemic response or ameliorate its recession, heal its social divisions or growing poverty, nor solve its rupture from its major trading partners in Europe. It will just make things worse. But, as the delusions of exceptionalism fail (which they are bound to because they are delusions), the explanation of betrayal, the ‘stab in the back’ and the foreign enemy, mounts.

from The Byline Times.

Life and Legacy of Stan Lee

Intelligent article about life and legacy of Marvel editor, Stan Lee by Prof Stephanie Burt in The New Yorker.

If Lee’s life deteriorated into fraud and feud, his legacy has come to seem only more enduring. The cast of characters that Lee and a clique of almost entirely white guys created has gained cultural and commercial superpower, animating stories and authors and fans in ways that they could never have foreseen.

Who Really Created the Marvel Universe? in The New Yorker

Galactica & Conan

Both of these arrived by post today (I’m having a bit of a Battlestar Galactica and Conan the Barbarian revival). As a child, I remember owning both these books. Proudly, I showed my primary school teacher, Mr Lee, the Galactica book to his bemusement. Conan of Aquilonia was the first Conan book I ever read. I bought it from a spinner rack in a SF bookshop in Rochester called Stargate One. I loved that bookshop.

Godzilla vs Kong

Literally the most exciting trailer I have seen in a decade. Literally.

There really aren’t better movies than giant monsters punching each other!

The Fascist Painting

Very pleased Phil Beadle’s The Fascist Painting was delivered today. It jumps to the front of my “to read” queue.

OOFSTED “overwhelmed” by praise for teachers

Good to see this positive story about schools. Following, Wiliamson’s obnoxious call for parents to report schools, OOFsted (ha! infantile Roblox misspelling) has been “overwhelmed” by messages, mostly praising teachers.

“Ofsted’s call centre team are sorting through emails to identify genuine complaints or concerns, but the vast majority are believed to be from parents praising their child’s school during lockdown in defiance of Williamson’s advice.”


Lockdown Lights

Our Christmas lights are staying up until Candlemas. Our neighbours have already taken their lights down but it’s a pretty grim time all round and a little bit of light is still needed.

Climbing Books

Jan’s turned the piles of books I’m taking upstairs into a DIY assault course!

Teaching Shakespeare by Rex Gibson

Back in August I hunted the house searching for this. Spent hours going through piles of books and boxes in the attic. Now I’ve found it along with a heap of other books hidden behind other books in a bookcase downstairs. Teaching Shakespeare is about the best book on… well… teaching Shakespeare that there is. (I also found Visible Learning by John Hattie that I seem to have only got half way through and Pigeon English by Stephen Kelman which I must re-read and convince my department to teach next year if it’s still on the syllabus.)

What’s this? A new album by Wire?

Released a day ago, City, is the second… maybe third album by Wire in the last year or so. It seems like an album of electronic music. There goes my evening…

More Joycon Surgery

Replaced the right joystick but somehow managed to damage the cable to the connector light on the side of the joycon. It all works fine and has sorted the controller drift.

Reading, That Strange and Uniquely Human Thing

In Reading, That Strange and Uniquely Human Thing, Lydia Wilson, a researcher at the University of Cambridge’s Computer Laboratory, presents investigations into the origins of writing and proceeds to point out that we use a mixture of phonetic, pictographic and classifier elements to read. She goes on:

” If non-dyslexic readers of phonetic scripts, which are usually taught initially through sound-based learning, were also encouraged to learn the word shapes from the start; if those learning pictographic characters chanted them out loud as well as copying them out to memorize them; who knows what new creativity would be unleashed?

Joycon Surgery

Sometimes there’s no other choice but to use a screwdriver and sort out joycon issues! Poor connection fixed.

Blow the Bloody Doors Off

Reading the papers’ reporting on the Brexit negotiations today – eapecially The Guardian’s – I half-expected someone to report that Michael Caine was involved in the negotiations and drove off in a Union Jack-decorated mini, fingers up in a V. Chipper Brit underdogs outmanoeuvred grim Euro goliaths seems to be the narrative. If it wasn’t a deadly pandemic and Christmas, doubtlessly we’d be instructed to hold street parties.

The Mandalorian

Finale of Season Two was so unexpected. I was genuinely excited when I realised who had arrived at the end.


I was just about to order a book from the US. The shipping is £10 more that the cost of the book. Madness. What’s annoying is that the site doesn’t reveal shipping until you click through payment method so that it would be easy to buy the book before realising what had happened. It’s a book I’d love to get… but not that much.

Richard Corben

Just read that Richard Corben, a visionary illustrator and comic book artist, has died aged 80. His recent work on Hellboy was incredibly impressive.

Richard Corben, RIP

“there is a psychic war being stoked”

Emotional – and quite frightening – piece by Hardeep Matharu on the threat of fascism and a need to innoculate ourselves agaist a virus of hatred:

In a digitised information age, there is a psychic war being stoked, and raging, within ourselves; a ‘soft’ fascism being nudged into our hearts and minds – at the hands of social media companies, corporations and rogue actors intent on weaponising people’s worst instincts – and their most human of vulnerabilities – for personal and partisan gain.

The Powerful Lure of the Soft Fascism Within