Friday, 9 December 2011

In which I exploit my students for my own nefarious ends.

Using bribes and blandishments, I bludgeoned the children under my care into creating a second entry. After all, alliteration is educational, and enjoyable. Broaching the topic with a bout of brainstorming, the tiny tykes took to it with great gusto - displaying the Double Dead dust-cover roused roars of approval (graphically you’re good in the 8 - 9 group). The little fella’s had fun, and found that they could ignore irritation enough so that illustrators (such as girls and others of that icky ilk) were worth working with without worry. Wendig Education: Easing the educators load with lively lessons.

There’s only so much Christmas stuff you can do at this time of year, and we’ve pretty much hit the limit, so why not alliteration I thought.

My unruly horde of demons third graders have a wide range of ability: one kid when doing his information report about Cheetahs wrote something along the lines of “A cheetah is graceful and flexible, like a girl doing yoga” (he’s going to be a lady-killer when he’s older, he already has an impish smile) right down to kids who will maybe sharpen their pencil three times and write their name down before it’s time to stop and listen to a story instead. Since we’re in Vietnam, we also have a range of English ability, but not so bad as other years... no clutching their crotch and grunting (well, sometimes they do but that’s just when they’re being surly, they have the ability to string a sentence together asking permission to go to the toilet). They liked the assignment well enough, especially when they were allowed to form their own groups, but loved the chance of winning great glory for me, in the form of the book. That caused a reshuffling of the groups so they weren’t just formed on friendships, but more on ability (with plenty of helping of the ones that were struggling by the sharper ones, and the best kid at drawing in both class roving round and giving pointers)... so pretty much a win-win situation, education-wise.

The boy thinks that bats have bones. Good, alliteration and paying attention in our unit on vertebrates
Bees like banana and butter. I’m glad I got a completed work sample from this kid, it is a bit of a rarity.
Black bears are bad. The crown says I am the queen of angry
My brother has a big blue balloon

Cao Hung is hunting the hippo

A triumvirate of Cao Hung dancing hip-hop in his house. I guess he is celebrating his successful slaughter of the hippo

Two people digging for dead dinosaur bones

My Dad and Mr. David (that's me!) like to kill dragons
I dreamed about dragons in my dark bedroom

The duck is drinking durian juice. Yuck. I can eat pretty much any animal presented to me, but durian I find pretty rugged.
Eleven elephants learn English
Linh loves to lick little lollipops... so much she did it quite a few times.
The lion ate a lollipop and lizard.
Mr. Mark is eating mangoes on his trip to the mountain
Mum made a moon cake. Due to drawing style, mum is a bit of a MILF too.
Oops! There is an octopus in the Arctic Ocean
The owl is staying on the ox... this kid arrived late both days we were doing alliteration, so she only had a hazy grasp of the concept, but she got there in the end.
People are watching the penguin finish playing the piano
Pink Panther is playing with the purple pig
Thanh Tung is playing with his teddy bear

The Viking is playing the violin. I said I wanted at least three occurrences of the letter, but this kid came up with his entry off his own bat, in a group of one, and once again, I'm glad to get something from them.
Three zombie/zebra/Zhao Hung combinations, with the zombies heavily influenced by Plants V’s Zombies which is huge with my kids (as is Walking Dead, but that is way too scary for me).

And because there’s always someone who doesn’t listen to the instructions, a vampire entry. But he did at least listen to the bit about the book: Double Dead is coming to our world. I showed them the cover like I said, and they loved it, and wanted to know what it was about “I don’t know much about it yet, but I might soon if you win it for me. All I know is there is a vampire who has to fight zombies for who gets to eat the people.”

Tuesday, 6 December 2011

Scenes from a Stellar Skirmish

Well, the less said about Nano the better. November is a rough month for free time, what with it being prime wedding season here. That doesn’t mean my book is dead and buried, it just means it’ll take longer.

Alliteration, that’s the challenge for this week. I wasn’t sure if it was meant to be just the title, or the whole shebang, so I figured it was safer to go with lots of alliteration. I’ve always been a fan of epic poems, which often tend to have quite a bit of alliteration in them. They’re writing in hard mode, as they’re often translations, so it can be tricky to stay true to the idea being expressed and find the right word to represent it.

I decided to go with space for my short story - a titchy wee one, as there’s quite a bit of alliteration going on. I’m neither Virgil nor a skald, and they tended to limit themselves to three repetitive sounds on a line, mixing it up with normal words too.

And since it’s space a space theme, I might as well throw in a nice picture, which has a special place in my heart. In Star Control 2, this is the main image we’re presented of the race of aliens called the Spathi. One of their pilots is called Snelopy, a name I liked so much I added an extra l to and took it as my own.

<Picture lifted from they pinched it from Star Control II. He is supposed to animate, but he's not doing so at the moment, and I'm running out of time to fiddle with it>

Scenes from a Stellar Skirmish

As always, the attackers approached from Andromeda. Sweeping silently through space, shields set, the squadron started to intercept. Descending on the dreadnoughts, determined to dispatch them... Flying in formation, fighters at the fore, with the frigates following - the foe failed to flee. Commands were cried out, combat codes cleared: crews at the ready.

We waited, weighing up the odds for our exact time to engage the enemy. My units mission: maneuver in amongst their ships, seeking to snare one before it was blasted to bits. Force fields fell to phaser cannons and concussion charges.

Time! Twenty troops touched down, hacking into the hull, hewing hunks off. Gaining egress, guns up, eyes guarded, we blasted bulkheads until they buckled. Klaxons clanged, interspersed with the chittering and clicking that made up their speech.

Finally, we faced our foes in the foredeck, vulcan cannons and the vacuum giving them vacant eyes, tentacles twitching as they twisted round the levers and lights that comprised their control panel. Proud of our prize, we hauled it into our hold and headed home, hyperdrive humming.