Collaboration, Redemption Falls and primroses

Since retiring, I have unsubscribed to most of the listservs and educational sites which emailed me regularly but, for some reason, I haven’t stopped getting eSchoolNews. This week, a headline caught my eye about ‘Teacher collaboration with digital tools’ – I guess because collaboration has been a hot topic of debate and research amongst teacher/school librarians for the past 40 years, and because I have written about this topic and had my students debate aspects of collaboration on forums. This feature has a series of links to reports, research and tools which it may be useful to dip into, and selectively distribute within your school, or to TL/SL colleagues.

On the fiction front, I have just finished reading Joseph O’Connor’s ‘Redemption Falls’. The Guardian reviewer calls it ‘a huge dishevelled monster of a book’ because it contains not only a striking narrative, but also folk ballads, songs, documents and transcripts. So, your straightforward novel it is not. It is also very detailed and descriptive in places. While not all of the voices in the book are completely convincing, this tale of post civil war America, and of the American Irish involvement in both the war and its aftermath, is nevertheless an outstanding read. You need a fairly strong stomach when reading parts of it e.g. the atrocities of the war witnessed by a drummer boy, and the savage treatment of his sister who crossed the states to find him. The protagonist O’Keefe is loved by some and hated by many. If you like your fiction strong, with a forceful narrative and a range of intriguing (in some cases weird) characters, then this book is for you.

 Now that Spring is well on its way, the primrose/polyanthus plants in my garden are in full flower. The two flowers are different although the terms are used interchangeably. The one in the photo below is (I think) a polyanthus. It is one of these flowers that are very much plain Janes or Johns when not in flower, but are radically changed when the flowers appear and you get this dash of colours in your Spring garden. They also flower more than once a year, so are very thrift plants also.



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