Rockstar’s School Book Week (Or, Where Kids Learn To Fish)

“…give a man a fish, you feed him for a day; teach him to fish, and you feed him for a lifetime…” – the quote spans many cultures and religions; ever thought however, how true that is of instilling a love of reading?

dbc6648eea92c0903f8d32f8ee81a5c1 078825979e891726d1984c40b0d153d5 769d7d8b020d40348c04271635c4986e 9c479723327a191564ebf78512d09198 7e8eae3a44436e51f61b21b187f0e1e8 Classroom doors turned into giant books

(Some of these pictures are from our school newsletters; if this is not ok someone please shoot me a note and it’ll be gone ASAP)

The culmination of Rockstar’s school Book Week is Dress-Up Like A Book Character Day, and Rockstar went as one of the Malfoys from the Harry Potter series.

This was taped to a pillar when I went to pick him up...

This was taped to a pillar when I went to pick him up at the end of the week…

So this is Scorpius munching a chicken sandwich on the way to the bus stop

So this is Scorpius munching a chicken sandwich on the way to the bus stop

These are the "real" Malfoys on Broadway - pic from Brit.co

(These are the “real” Malfoys on Broadway) – pic from Brit.co

Now, Cursed Child is a relatively new screenplay Rockstar picked up over Christmas, having finally gotten into the world of J.K Rowling via Fantastic Beasts, also a screenplay after the hit movie…

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(pics from mentalfloss.com)

(Speaking of which, at least one kid apparently came as Newt, while there were several Harries, Hermiones and a Ron Weasley, according to Rockstar).

Couldn't resist adding this Eton Alumni pic - "Newt Scamander" is number 17, and Prince William is number 20

Btw this is  the “real” Newt Scamander, Eddie Redmayne – no. 11 in this Eton Alumni pic, while Prince William, future King of England is no. 20 – pic from Dailymail.co.uk

Anyway, when Rockstar comes home remarking that almost every kid he spoke to in his year made the distinction he was Scorpius, not Draco Malfoy I am impressed – there are 8 preceding novels – awful thick things of convoluted storylines, where Harry Potter’s nemesis Draco features prominently. Cursed Child then features also various alternate realities thanks to time travel, picking up on multiple threads from the first 8 books. There is a movie that isn’t out til next year… and almost every Y5 kid Rockstar spoke to has already read enough to differentiate Scorpius-the-protagonist’s role from dark Draco’s, from the >300 page screenplay?  How much and how quickly are kids reading nowadays?

And btw this is Rockstar's current prescribed reading for Chinese. No he is not in the strongest stream designated for native Chinese speakers)

(And btw this is Rockstar’s current reading for Chinese. No he is not in the strongest stream designated for native Chinese speakers.)

Rockstar brings home 4 books every week from the school library (albeit he always picks one for Queen E and it’s usually about caring for hamsters or horses or earthworms or dragons), not including class-prescribed reading couple times a week with a book based on the child’s reading level and for which parents sign their reading diary.

In other words, nowadays if your kid doesn’t like to read, they’re in for a pretty miserable childhood. You can send them to umpteen tuition classes (probably making them more miserable), o-r you could really appreciate when your child’s school has Book Week. Welcome to the world of:

  1. Book buddy system

    Book buddy system (older kids working with their Y1 buddies to make/ write books and stories)

    Rockstar: …so (Little Bus Buddy) apparently really loves planes now. So he wanted to write a story about all these plane characters. We’re calling it “Planes!” Isn’t that cute? 

    Me: (and I notice Queen E has perked up) Yes – (Rockstar interrupts to keep talking about the storyline they’re developing)….. Did you know there is a “Planes” movie?

    Rockstar: What? Really? No. Why would I know that?

    Me: So you learned something new from Little Bus Buddy.

    Queen E <authoritatively>: There are a few movies, Mum-may. 

  2. Otherwise Potentially Nerve-Wracking (particularly in the heavily oversubscribed Dragon Zodiac Year) Admissions Interviews being conducted by Wally, various pirates and cowboys
  3. Ok this is not an admissions interview, but I think this is another teacher hamming it up during Book Week (are those dog ears)

    Ok this is not an admissions interview, but I think this is another enthusiastic teacher hamming it up during a Book Week activity..

  4. Additional story/reading times at Break, which from the looks of it are quite popular

    Rockstar tells me this is additional story/reading time at Break, which from the looks of it are quite popular (I don’t see any chains or cuffs on the kids so I take it this is voluntary :D)

  5. Big Book Swaps

    Big Book Swaps… which allow the kids exposure to many other books and authors amongst their friends

    (and again – say the word and it’s GONE immediately if the pics are not ok…!)

Rockstar tells me there was a big Teacher vs Student book quiz, where <ddrrrruum-rollll> the students won. Naturally ;D

ps: If you’re gonna read J.K. Rowling’s work, you might want to also read the transcript of her speech at Harvard, The Fringe Benefits of Failure, and the Importance of Imagination.

Her Royal Imaginative-ness

Her Royal Imaginative-ness at Harvard

You may know her first and foremost as Fantasy Author Extraordinaire, but in the speech she is also candid about her less-than-stellar moments. How decidedly un-glamourous poverty is, from struggling to make a living of what you really want to do.

Yet there is another story to tell – instead of well, retiring on the warm sunny beach of some island, to be served a drink with a little umbrella in it, she went on doing something she loved. (In fact, she could probably have bought herself one. Island that is, not little umbrella.) She just kept getting better at what she did. That’s the true goal isn’t it, not just competing to be the best – finding a way to make a living, potentially an unconventional one, from what you’re good at, from what you love.

Each time Rowling went back in to write something, given her past successes, she risked facing “failure”. Coming up short. The higher you fly, the harder you can fall, and all that. She did it anyway. 10 years after telling the Harvard kids the importance of failure, she’s still a risk taker.

Now go back to Book Week. One small step for a little kid who’s trying to decide if reading is a joy or chore. Friends who challenge them, have fun learning, gift them meaningful books they themselves enjoy. Teachers who put on dog ears and a funny voice.

900 kids in a school. Maybe 899 who range from rabidly book-loving to meh about reading. One who maybe becomes the next Rowling.

Ever wonder if the future King of England looks back at his school year book photo and thinks Wow, I Went To School With Newt Scamander?  Thought for the mid-week, dears…

 

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Rockstar Watches Dude Perfect

So you thought Professional Nerf Gun Player wasn’t a real thing…

(These guys don’t think it’s a real thing either, but this hobby of theirs ended up taking them on Youtube tour in New York, made them Nerf ambassadors, and more…)

Also Professional Trick Shot Makers

Remember when I said if you love doing something you’ll probably fight for a way to make a living of it? They keep saying they want to do something else eventually (at least one of them is now a dad, even), but for now there’s 5 college/ fresh out of college guys and a panda who’ve turned one-upmanship (initially basketball) trick shots and Nerf guns wars into a lucrative hobby… (Not… advocating skipping school to do this, but between vegging in front of the tv and doing this then definitely this?)

pic from dudeperfect.com

pic from dudeperfect.com

Queen E disapproves.

She thinks The Dragon should have the Panda's job (pic of Roger Daltrey's Wheels on the bus off Youtube)

She thinks Argon The Dragon should have the Panda’s job (pic of Roger Daltrey’s Wheels on the bus off Youtube)

So anyway Dude Perfect. More than 15 million Youtube subscribers. Almost 20 million mobile game downloads. More than 17 million Facebook fans. Where your worst online controversy would be whether your latest trick shot is real.

Like, of course they sell t-shirts. (It’s like, everyone has t-shirts these days. Months ago I went to Stanley Market looking for stuff for Rockstar’s last birthday, and found a teenager screen-printing in a stall, one break. He was swamped. He spoke English with an international school accent. Among his half-done orders and samples were various international school tees and club logos. Turned out he was also quoting higher than someone else on amazon in the UK who immediately replied my online order request with, “I notice you bought the maximum number I had – I could make more of them, how many more would you like?” <rrrespect both these kids ok>)

But back to DP – they also wrote the book: Go Big. Making Your Shot Count In The Connected World. 4.5 stars out of 5, on amazon.com.

Cory Cotton is the younger of the twins in the group

(Cory Cotton is the younger of the twins, who both studied Communications and did the DP branding – the others are Wildlife & Fisheries, Architecture majors)

I mention because there is not “a doctor, lawyer, dentist” in the bunch. They got into this among others to avoid the usual college temptations to party.

Proving it’s not the degree for the degree’s sake (or the job, or the…) It’s what you do with it that counts. I once said using financial derivatives was like giving a monkey – or a sushi chef – a sharp knife. You can train in both savvy and self control, and produce a delicacy by removing the poison sac in the fugu (pufferfish sushi), or you can well, whatever it is monkeys might do with knives. Like the investment products and derivatives <shrugs> and… the internet and social media…. If DP hadn’t been doing trick shots, they’d probably have ended up still at least moderately successful at work, their attitudes and determination are the real asset, not the ball-playing Nerf-shooting prowess…

What “sushi” can you make with your “Nerf” 😛 ? Thought for the week, have a good one dears…

 

 

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Took JD to the Vet’s

Ever wondered how JD’s doing, 9 years after Rockstar was born and ~14 years after we got her? Over the years she’s dropped out of Obedience School <snort>, then skipped Obedience and gone on to complete Advanced Agility (don’t ask me why this dog cannot get through Basic Obedience or even place in Basic Agility but made it to the top 3 in almost every Advanced Agility she competed in, including winning the Advanced Agility relay team event at the HK International Agility competition)…

That was ~10 years ago. She then survived a particularly virulent strain of tick fever (too commonly fatal in HK) shortly after Rockstar was born, did Show & Tell with him in his earlier schooling years, and well here she is today:     

Freaked Out Face of Old Dog

Freaked Out Face of Old Dog

We brought the kids with, for the checkup. It’s quite a learning experience, from the expertly kind way staff hold her (I am actually requested not to hold her when she gets her shots, some with a very large needle), to the bloodwork and um…. math?

img_1903 img_1912 img_1917 img_1914

If I’m not wrong, this test is for heart worm (she had two tests, can’t remember which this was, what with Queen E doing things like, “Don’t worry, shissa nice dog!” “JD, its ok, be brave!” while staff are holding our Border Collie. (Heart worm is a severe and potentially fatal disease spread by mosquitos here – another time we lapsed on vaccinations they calculated the number of months and had us do a re-test then, because of the months when she was wide open… It’s not uncommon, dog lovers in HK can be seriously anal – we’ve been approached  by dog lovers when we are with the kids who say things like, “do you remember you have a dog?” (Uh, yeah) and when it’s raining, “How come the dog isn’t also sheltered with an umbrella?”(for the record, because JD is a huge water dog))

Dis Zurich Insurance ad comes to mind (pic on pinterest)

This Zurich Insurance ad comes to mind (pic from pinterest)

So anyway, one bar for the control, two for positive:

One bar for the control test, two would've been positive

Looks like a pregnancy test, right? :D

We have a discussion about why “positive” in this case really means the “opposite” – you want a negative result, i.e. no heart worm.

This also reminds me of the 15 year old boy who figured during a Biology class and brought to fruition a similar test for pancreatic cancer (I’ve written about this before) Jake Andraka for a World Without Cancer.

pic from article

Dis is he.

The basis is, testing cost a lot. As a result, people tested much less frequently. Obviously, with so many cancers early detection is a key to survival. But if it’s prohibitively expensive, lots of people aren’t going to go “I Think I’ll Get A Pancreatic Cancer Test Today.”

What this then-15 year old did was to methodically identify the enzyme or hormone (for pregnancy tests it’s a hormone, right?) that identifies the cancer….. by patiently going through about 1000 different enzymes or hormones until he identified one that would work. Such a simple idea – it’s not controversial expensive stem cell research – he made a cancer test as simple and cost-effective as the proverbial peeing on a stick… and out of a Biology class.

Thought that was simple but weird?

These are Cancer Detectors in Training

These are Cancer Detectors in Training

For real, Cancer Detecting Sniffer Dogs have been around for awhile… though in this article these two were ready just 6 months ago. (The additional selling point besides the Case For Dogs with this one is, testing is unpleasant. Now you have a choice between a cold, hard clinical machine and a snuffly little dog.)

Because Real is often weirder than not. Keep it real and have a good post-holiday week dears…

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