Drop in on DEAR 3.2

The current focus of the Authors Page on the DEAR Homepage is…

Giles Andreae and his hilarious book Pants!


 Pants by Giles Andreae and read by Lenny Henry .


Something a little bit silly in the lead up to National Love Libraries Day

Drop in on DEAR 3.2

The current focus of the Authors Page on the DEAR Homepage is…


Maus by Art Spiegelman. 



 Maus and Maus II by Art Spiegelman are available  to borrow from the MRC.


Staff Christmas Challenge

During the last week before the Christmas Holidays I set all Tutors a reading challenge.


Could they read a young adult book from the MRC over the Christmas Holidays which they could then talk to their tutor group about. (They didn’t have to like the book but they would need to be able to tell them what they didn’t like and why!)


They had three choices…


1. Tell me what genre you like to read and I’ll find something similar.

2. I can try and link the book in with your subject.

3. Opt for pot luck and I’ll issue you with something random.


I created a Reading Challenge bookmark for each option and as responses came in I wrote their name on these before heading to the shelves to pick a book. This was the most enjoyable part – picking the right book (hopefully) for each tutor. The next best thing was feeling like Father Christmas when I delivered books to pigeon holes around the Academy. The present a good book to read!


 33 tutors took up the challenge and as feedback comes in I’ll be creating a poster for each Tutor/Book containing the book cover and staff photo along with a quote. These can be displayed in the teachers class/tutor room and I’ll promote them on the Academy screens.

Original idea from SLN

Drop in on DEAR 3.1

The current focus of the Authors Page on the DEAR Homepage is…


Charles Dickens


author of “Oliver Twist“.



Oliver Twist and other books by Charles Dickens are available  to borrow from the MRC


Drop in on DEAR 2.4

The current focus of the Authors Page on the DEAR Homepage are…


all the authors whose books are included in this years Booked Up!




The Booked Up titles are available  to borrow from the MRC


Booked Up 2011

Tommorrow the MRC begins to hand out the Booked Up books to all year 7 based upon their choices.


We wait until now to help make sure they are collected and it’s great giving them out this side of Christmas. Ho ho ho!

During the last week of term the DEAR Homepage focusses on the Booked Up books, with activites realated to the individual books.

Staff CPD: Online Resources supporting staff and students

Last week I ran a session called Online Resources: Supporting staff and students.

Turn out was reasonable with staff attending coming mainly from the Humanities and Arts (includes dramatic arts) colleges. The format was that I gave a brief demonstration of each of the resources and this was followed by 5 minutes for them to explore themselves.

I started with an introduction to Oliver (our LMS – Library Management System) which is on the MRC VLE homepage.

I showed them how they and their students could use Oliver to:-

  • create a reading list that includes both books and websites, and which can easily be emailed to students or turned into a link which can be placed elsewhere on the VLE, or in powerpoints for example.
  • check their own loans and set up their interests for automatic notification of new resources.
  • save time by using alternative provider which repeats the same search in a number of different databases such as Clipbank.

Next I returned to the Oliver Homepage which is split into 4 columns.

Screenshot of the Oliver Homepage

Screenshot of the Oliver Homepage

In the first column I highlighted the MRC blog (what you are reading now); links to both Peterborough and the British Library for tracking down copies of out-of-print titles that can be borrowed; the link to Dawsonera (e -books); and demonstrated the link to the Blekko Search Engine where you can search 3 search engines at the same time and compare the difference in results.

The second column took much more time as this contains quick links to our online databases. So I demonstrated and the staff explored four of these …. Britannica Encyclopedia; NewsBank; InfoTrac and KnowUK. All incredibly useful when encouraging students to use sources other than relying on Wikipedia and Google alone.


The third column contains links based around books and reading. With video book trailers; Book of the Week; a quick link to the MRC DEAR page; as well as “Books for Keeps” and “Read Plus”.

The fourth column contains useful things for research and critical thinking skills. Such as Plato (which looks at plagiarism); Internet Detective (critical thinking for KS4 &5); Welcome to the Web (critical thinking for KS3); Easy Peasy Bibliography creator, as well as links to Guides and bibliography templates.

The hour flew by and everyone found something useful for themselves or sharing with their students. Resulting from this I have been asked to do further work with Year 12 students on avoiding plagiarism, and…. I was walking by a classroom the day after my session and there on the white board was one of the databases – the teacher gave me the thumbs up as I walked on by!

Drop in on DEAR 2.3

The current focus of the Authors Page on the DEAR Homepage is…


William Golding


author of “Lord of the Flies“.

Next summer will be the 100 anniversary of his birth.

Lord Of the Flies is available  to borrow from the MRC


Drop in on DEAR 2.2

The current focus of the Authors Page on the DEAR Homepage is…

Jacqueline Wilson 

DEAR: 7 Steps to Success CPD workshop

As part of the TDAc CPD staff training programme I offered a follow-up workshop to the initial 7 Steps to Success training session delivered at the start of term.

I worked with a member from both the Technology and Humanities colleges to put together the hour session.

We planned to recap each of the 7 Steps, then discuss how teachers had implemented these ideas, sharing good ideas with the group. We finished off with a closer look at how to use PhotoStory to make a review or book trailer and make these things more interactive, thereby engaging more students.

In reality turn out was lower than expected and we tailored the session to meet the individual needs of those there. This meant we spent longer on introducing the 7 steps rather than how these had been used within colleges.

Not exactly what we had planned but one attendee said…

“I would like to say how much I enjoyed your session yesterday; apart from two separate half-sessions, this is the only one that I have attended whereby I felt connected to the subject matter.   Thank you.”

So overall it was a success – and we will be repeating the session again in April.