22 December 2023

Best 5 Ways to Overcome Procrastination and Boost Productivity in Studying

Procrastination is like a silent epidemic that hampers the productivity of students worldwide. Whether it's the allure of social media, the comfort of your bed, or simply the lack of motivation, procrastination can severely impact your study routine. However, there are effective strategies to combat this challenge and boost productivity. Here, we explore the five best ways to overcome procrastination and enhance your study sessions.

1. Set Realistic Goals

The journey to overcoming procrastination begins with setting achievable and clear goals. When your study objectives are vague and ambitious, you easily feel overwhelmed and put off starting. Break down your study material into smaller, manageable chunks. For instance, instead of aiming to complete an entire chapter in one sitting, focus on understanding a particular section or concept. This approach makes your goals more attainable and provides a sense of accomplishment as you tick off each small target. If you find it challenging to set these goals on your own, consider seeking help from a professional writer at GrabMyEssay, who can assist in helping with your academic tasks. Remember, success in small steps can fuel your motivation to tackle bigger challenges.

2. Eliminate Distractions

In our digitally-driven world, distractions are just a click away. The key to productive studying is creating an environment that minimizes these distractions. Start by identifying your main sources of distraction, whether it's your phone, social media, or a noisy environment. Once identified, take proactive steps to eliminate them. This might mean turning off your phone or using apps that block social media during study hours. If noise is an issue, consider using earplugs or noise-canceling headphones. Remember, a distraction-free environment is conducive to better focus and higher efficiency in studying.

3. Create a Structured Schedule

A structured schedule is a cornerstone of productive studying. With a plan, it's easier to save time deciding what to study and avoid distractions. Allocate specific time slots for each subject or topic in your study plan. This method not only organizes your day but also helps in creating a routine. Additionally, you can enhance your understanding of complex topics by considering services where you can pay for a research paper. Using such a paper as an example can provide insights into structuring and formatting scholarly work, aiding your tasks. Ensure to include short breaks in your schedule to avoid burnout. For instance, after 45 minutes of focused study, take a 10-minute break to refresh yourself. This technique, known as the Pomodoro Technique, has proven to be highly effective in maintaining concentration and preventing fatigue.

4. Seek Active Learning Methods

Active learning is about engaging with the material, not just passively reading or listening. This approach helps in better retention of information and keeps procrastination at bay. Try techniques like summarizing what you’ve read in your own words, teaching the concept to someone else, or creating mind maps. These methods force you to process the information actively and make the learning experience more dynamic and less monotonous. Active learning not only combats boredom but also enhances your understanding of the subject, making your study sessions more productive.

5. Reward Yourself

Positive reinforcement can be a powerful tool in overcoming procrastination. Set up a reward system for yourself for each study goal you achieve. This could be something small like a snack, a short walk, or some time on social media after completing a study session. These rewards motivate and give you something to look forward to, making the task at hand less daunting. It’s important, however, to keep these rewards reasonable and not let them become a source of further procrastination.


Overcoming procrastination and boosting productivity in studying is achievable through practical and consistent strategies. You can transform your study habits by setting realistic goals, creating a structured schedule, eliminating distractions, engaging in active learning, and rewarding yourself. Remember, the key is to start small and stay consistent. With these strategies in hand, you’re well on your way to making your study sessions more effective and fulfilling.


Ammie Barger is a seasoned author and blogger with a focus on educational strategies and productivity techniques. She has garnered acclaim for her insightful articles that blend practical advice with an understanding of the challenges faced by students today. Ammie's work is characterized by her ability to translate complex educational concepts into easy-to-understand, actionable tips, helping readers enhance their learning efficiency and overcome common obstacles like procrastination.

Image Credit

17 December 2023


A little girl owns a magical necklace. Knowing this you think she might take better care of it but she allows it to be stolen by an errant cat! The result is shown in this wordless animation by a group of students from the Savannah College of Art and Design.

I love the colors used in this animation - as well as the full attention given to both the way the characters look and move. It is pretty difficult to make a silhouette interesting, but these students pull it off with panache! The movie was directed by Doug B Horak and produced by Harshit Desai. The animation was supervised by Colin Byrd with a team of animator comprising of Kris Vaughan, Phyllis Zhu and Chris Cheresnowski. Music was provided by Doug Perry. Altogether this is an outstanding group project. It will be interesting to see what they come up in the future!


This is the story of an impossibly cute young snowman (snowbaby?) wandering the arctic wastes.  It has been shown at a number of festivals and won the TAIS Showcase 2012 Official Selection for Best Canadian Short Film.  Don’t get too cosy though – the little guy may not be quite what you think!

It was created by Mark Carruthers, a professional animator since 2007, who has worked on television productions such as Nickelodeon's Emmy Award winning 'The Backyardigans' and Disney Jr. Canada's 'Justin Time'.  He is currently pursuing a filmmaking career by creating independent animated short films specializing in character performances and comedy.  He has an eye to the future, and has directorial ambition which will allow his passion for the creative process to be fully unleashed (we think he’s done it here already!).

Snow Rollers: Nature’s Winter Treat

If you live in one of world’s colder, snowier regions you may have seen them – but even then the chances are remote.  A rare and seemingly mysterious treat of nature, the snow roller is a natural phenomenon created without human intervention.  They are known by other names too: snow donuts, snow cylinders or even snow bales. Whatever you prefer to call them, it seems that nature, at least, is trying to make the most of the snow and have a little fun.

Doctor Who Meets Disney: When Worlds Collide

A young girl, frightened and alone save for her small animal companions, comes across a strange blue box in a forest clearing.  She is wary of the this new addition to the woodland but senses that inside there could be something or someone wonderful: perhaps she will find more questions than answers but she is still drawn towards it....

Hang on... Snow White and the Tardis? Wait a second, Ariel, the Little Mermaid and the Tardis? What's going on here?

10 December 2023

Darth Vader's Christmas Wish List

More Stuff!

Want to know the true definition of Christmas?  Why, more stuff of course!  This joyous animation by Blue Zoo, a multi BAFTA award winning animation studio in central London takes us to Santa’s Sweatshop where the elves are just about to revolt in the most amusing way.  I’ve heard of people taking off their clothes for peace but never to dissuade people from being too greedy at Christmas. Nice.

The Pink Robin: The Gloriously Pink-breasted Bird

The robin, both European and American is famous for its red breast.  The subject of nursery rhymes and Christmas cards the male of the species is resplendent in red. Australia, too, has a robin.  One might, of course, expect this particular country to produce something a little different: it has form, after all.  So, step forward the pink robin, Australia’s passerine of pulchritudinous pinkness.  Our sibling site, the Ark in Space has the full story.

GCSE English Language at Christmas

GCSE English Language and Christmas? It allows teachers to approach the creative writing aspect of the course from a slightly different perspective. There is always a picture stimulus in the exams, but these images can be something of a chore to gather. These two sets of pictures, each containing 30 different Christmassy narrative or description writing prompts, can take the pain out the advent of numerous Google searches for them. 

Plus, they are all ethically sourced – all of the pictures have been made available by their creators, so there are no copyright issues to worry about either. 

Before I go on, you can find the links here:

If you are not in the know, in GCSE English students are given a picture and asked to create a narrative or descriptive response suggested by it. This comes right at the end of Paper 1 – Explorations in Creative Reading and Writing: this is where the writing comes in! They have around 45 minutes (if they have timed the exam properly) in order to do this question. This may sound easy peasy but there are twelve things that examiners look for in the responses – and I won’t list them here but they are classified firstly under “Content and Organisation” which is how the response is structured, the language used in it (and so on!). The second is “Technical Accuracy” which, very broadly speaking is spelling and grammar. 

I hope that these two packs of pictures will enable teachers to have a ready-made selection of Christmas-focused pictures to give a class a certain theme and to draw even the most reluctant learner into the story-making process. As such the pictures differ in tone and composition so the right picture can be chosen for the right student! 

Each question is formatted so that it includes the picture and the question on a single A4 sheet -  you can see an example above. In this way, learners can keep it next to them on their desk while working through their story – they don’t have to keep flapping back and forth. I have included PDFs of the sets and also a file with just the pictures (with each source credited) if picture-only is the preferred method – that is, without the question. 

I have used both sets with my students and they do like them!

Krampus: Santa's Sadistic Sidekick

The song lyrics have never been truer.  Oh You better watch out,  You better not cry,  You better not pout, I'm telling you why.  Yet it isn’t Santa Claus that you have to watch out for – it is his sinister and somewhat sadistic sidekick – Krampus. He has a whip – and he is going to use it.

What on earth has this creature of the night – more orc than elf – to do with Christmas?  If you have children you may well be aware of the mantra – if you don’t behave then Father Christmas won’t bring you anything.  The idea behind Krampus is similar – only the threat is not that Santa won’t bring them anything but that Krampus will whip them in to the New Year.

The Curious Copyright Case of It's A Wonderful Life

It’s A Wonderful Life did not make a major mark on the box office when it was released and won a single Oscar for its special effects.  However, when its copyright lapsed it became a massive Christmas favorite beloved of millions.  Yet this was not the end of the story – or really the beginning.  FilmmakerIQ here gives us the most comprehensive video account of the story of the movie – ever!

The Poor Little Match Boy

Once upon a Christmas time there was a poor little match boy.  To make his miserable life a little more bearable the poor boy began to light his remaining few matches. When they were lit he seemed to be able to hear the sounds of Christmas...

Sounds miserable?

Then take a look at this video by David Lea and it will give you, we hope, an alternative Christmas chuckle! But watch out for the snowm..... aaaarghh!

27 November 2023

Face-To-Face Interaction: The Social Aspect of Casino Gaming

Red Rising

Our modern world has already come up with the idea of iGaming; however, there is a certain group of people who keep traveling miles to enjoy old-school live gambling. Why leave the convenience of their homes when an online option is available? Let’s answer that.

The social aspect is the most distinct feature of gambling in a brick-and-mortar casino. Even though players can easily enjoy zdrapki online gameplay, they will definitely head to physical gambling houses if they want to play some rounds of poker or blackjack. Why? Because in these venues, players will be able not only to gamble but also to interact with each other as well as casino staff. They will also get access to a vibrant atmosphere uplifted with lots of amenities. With face-to-face casino gaming, there are many chances to enjoy more than just the gameplay.

The Social Environment of Casinos

This vibrant gambling environment is characterized by social interactions that enhance the gaming experience. Players are afforded impressive opportunities to mingle and network when they enter the gaming pit.

The Role of Casino Hosts

Staff also play a role in the extravaganza of physical casino gaming. You’ll be greeted by eager hosts or hostesses leading you across the game room, showing you the different machines or tables you can join. They’ll help ensure that your experience is personalized and simplified, leading you to the cashier to exchange your money for chips. These are the guys to ask for help if you get confused. They may even offer advice about the best restaurants and side attractions for when you take a break from the gameplay.

Engaging Live Dealers

When you hit the tables, your gameplay begins to take shape. You’ll begin by watching the dealer shuffle cards for card games like blackjack and poker. If you are opportune to visit a Las Vegas gambling house, you’ll get to witness the celebrated Vegas Wash. Here’s a little insight into what it entails. Also called scrambling, the dealer shuffles the cards most fascinatingly, offering you a show that will remain ingrained in your memory. Washing follows a few steps, which are:

  1. Dealers place the cards in two rows, all face down;
  2. They then spend between one and two minutes and up to three times swishing them around randomly to get the cards adequately mixed up;
  3. Once mixed, the cards are gathered into a deck and shuffled the standard way multiple times. The standard shuffle follows a riffle, strip, then riffle, cut.

After the shuffling, the dealers share the cards with players in a clockwise direction.

Meeting Fellow Gamblers

If you have played live dealer games for interaction and communication, you will realize that it’s a real child’s play compared to this. Internet lags and graphic quality would not hinder you here, so consider yourself unstoppable. You can socialize and share memorable encounters without worrying about laughing alone. Who knows? You just might find your soul mate or friend for life at one of the tables.

The Table Game Experience

We can assure you that the gaming experience is on a new level with physical gameplay. You may excuse playing at the slot machines because it involves personal gameplay. But when you come to the tables, the dynamics change. With blackjack, poker, and craps, you can sip a glass of bubbly and engage in conversations with other players. It is a prime location for networking, exchanging stories, and learning new things.

It goes beyond these simple interactions. The tables are also a great location to learn and master gameplay from other players. You can watch skilled poker players crush the game, taking notes of their postures, mannerisms, and game faces. It’s a new and improved gaming experience that will leave you feeling fulfilled. Other fun social games require no skill whatsoever. You can linger with your drinks, calling your bets on different outcomes for games like roulette or bingo.

Entertainment Beyond Gambling

If you get tired of gameplay but aren’t ready to head home, you will be pleased to know that brick-and-mortar casinos offer different amenities that cater to you. You may have gotten an idea from the architectural designs and the beautiful lighting that adorn the gaming space that each gambling house is only a part of a huge complex. A long time ago, one smart person thought (and actually hit the bull’s eye) that it would be much more fascinating to gamble in a luxurious establishment like a resort or hotel than in an average hall.

These locations offer deluxe accommodations with breathtaking views of nature and the city. You can even indulge in some “me” time at spas and get a facial or a massage. The most interesting features may be the live shows and events hosted frequently in gambling complexes. You can jive and grind to trendy songs from top artists and live bands or watch magic acts and acrobatics. It’s truly social engagement at its finest.

Bonding Over Food and Drinks

Another area where land-based casinos excel is with fine dining. You are assured a well-fed belly here, but there’s more. You are also assured of gourmet meals. Many of these locations feature menus from award-winning chefs and Michelin-star restaurants. You can have a culinary experience right after gambling with a new friend. Imagine sharing more stories or winning tips for a shared meal and drink. There are also bar options and lounges, most offering exquisite views.

Safety and Responsible Gaming

Losing yourself amid a gambling house’s flashing lights and the hustle and bustle is easy. So, this article will not be complete without a fair warning about the dangers of betting, especially if it is your first time playing physically. Here are some tips for you:

     Ensure you set a budget and stick to it throughout your casino visit;

     Make sure your bankroll is an amount you can afford to lose since it is easier to lose than to win;

     Don’t get carried away by big wins on roulette and bingo because it all depends on luck and the next round can be not successful;

     Set a timer, don’t stay too long at the tables.

Place Your Bets, Make New Friends!

You no longer have to stick to only playing games and placing wagers on your favorite titles. Your casino gameplay will take a new turn that guarantees a fun experience. With these interactions, you’ll have a swell of time playing your favorite games. So what are you waiting for? Locate the nearest gambling house and visit for a fun experience heightened with face-to-face interactions, luxurious amenities, and side attractions.

Come and share your adventure with us in the comment section. Also, remember to bet responsibly. We are waiting!

26 November 2023


I love this. The adventures of a knight on his imaginary horse are just the sort of thing to brighten up a grey autumnal day. Directed by Alexandre Iliach it has a little twist in its tale which although half expected makes this a nicely rounded piece of animation. It takes me back to the time when... well, that's another story.

Here you can follow Lancelittle's adventures as he pursues a mysterious ball of wall.  Up and down the land he follows it and encounters one or two obstacles on the way. Will his quest ever end?  Watch the animation and find out!


If we had no winter, the spring would not be so pleasant: if we did not sometimes taste of adversity, prosperity would not be so welcome.  Anne Bradstreet

Ring of Leaves

Are the autumn leaves falling where you are? In Boston, Massachusetts this time of year is a riot of color as trees shed their leaves in a myriad shower or red, gold and green. Someone, perhaps on their way to the Gardner Museum, the city’s century old art museum, stopped to create this delightful and spontaneous piece of land art.  A few minutes after their departure, Flickr photographer lastonein came across their transient creation and captured it for posterity.

Firekites - Autumn Story

This is clever: a chalk board animation in the round.  Created for the Firekites (a band from Newcastle, Australia) this animation by Photoplay Films is possibly inspired by the South African animator William Kentridge but it stands up very well on its own.

I particularly liked the transition from one board to another, particularly the cat which grows larger as it does so.  I am not an expert in these things but that must have been very difficult to do.

The film is made up of approximately roughly 1900 frames with the frame rate varying between 12fps, 8fps and 6fps throughout. Considering the delicacy of the technique employed the drawings are incredibly (almost unfeasibly) stable.  The only thing missing really is the chalk animation coming off the board - now that would have been something (but even suggesting it seems a little churlish considering how beautifully this is done).

Dance Dance – An Extraordinary Flower Timelapse

You might imagine that once you’ve seen one timelapse of a bunch of flowers then you have pretty much seen them all. Imagine again.  Dance Dance, by Thomas Blanchard, represents flowers throughout the four seasons.  The fire for the fall, ice for the winter, fast hatching (timelapses) for the spring and color inks for the summer.  The four come together to make something quite extraordinary.

Winter Fox

I am quite unashamed to say that this is here just to make you go aaaw – and nothing more.  It is a charming (short) short animated film which tells the story of a lost fox cub.  It being the middle of winter, you can’t help but worry about the little fellah!

This delightful piece was created at Mechanical Apple, an animation studio led by Ari Gibson and Jason Pamment and dedicated to telling great stories filled with memorable emotive characters.

Frost Flowers: Nature’s Exquisite Ice Extrusion

It is as beautiful as it is rare. A frost flower is created on autumn or early winter mornings when ice in extremely thin layers is pushed out from the stems of plants or occasionally wood. This extrusion creates wonderful patterns which curl and fold into gorgeous frozen petioles giving this phenomenon both its name and its appearance. This feature contains all the sciencebut if you want to see more pictures, don't forget that we have a new collection of frost flower photography that you can see by clicking the red rectangle above (there's a link at the bottom of the post too).

Conditions have to be just so for frost flowers to form. Early winter and late autumn are the optimum time to come across them as although the weather conditions must be freezing it is vital that the ground is not.

22 October 2023

Momentous.me - What a Lovely Idea for a Website!

Momentous.me is a website that poses the question, "What moments bring you happiness? Discover stories from all around the world and share yours."  It is a truly heartwarming and captivating platform, encapsulating the essence of human connection and the celebration of joy in an age often inundated with negativity.

The beauty of this website lies in its ability to bring people from various corners of the world together to share and revel in their moments of happiness. It transcends cultural and geographical boundaries, weaving a rich tapestry of shared experiences and emotions.

In a digital landscape that frequently bombards us with grim news and divisive content, this platform stands out as a beacon of positivity. It serves as a refreshing oasis, offering respite from the constant stream of negative information.

Moreover, the act of sharing these stories has the incredible power to inspire and uplift others. By revealing their sources of happiness, individuals can unknowingly ignite a ripple effect of positivity, brightening the lives of countless readers. It's a poignant reminder that moments of happiness exist even amidst life's challenges and adversities.

But perhaps the greatest strength of this website is its potential to foster empathy, gratitude, and a profound sense of global community. As you explore the stories shared by people from different walks of life, you gain a deeper understanding of the common threads that bind us all. It's a reminder that, beneath our differences, we share the universal desire for happiness.

In conclusion, this website is an oasis of positivity in the digital landscape, inviting you to explore, share, and celebrate the moments of happiness that illuminate our lives. It's a beautiful reminder of the joy that can be found in the everyday, and it carries the potential to uplift and connect people from all corners of the globe. Give it a visit and be prepared to be inspired and filled with a renewed sense of hope and community.

This Animation Brings Home Just How Much We Expose Ourselves to the Media

Do you Twitter, Facebook, Instagram? Do you surf for funnies? Do you watch sport, reality shows and the news?  It’s amazing just how much we are bombarded by the media – or perhaps allow ourselves be bombarded is the correct way of saying it.  Until something like this animation by Cesar Cepeda is placed under our noses it is easy to imagine that it isn’t too much and that we control it. I think I might go and read a book today…

The OceanMaker

The seas have gone.  The little water left is in the sky – in the form of occasional, wispy clouds.  Yet one young pilot has a plan to try and restore the oceans, but she must get to the clouds before the sky pirates, who will stop at nothing to retrieve the last drops of water on Earth.  Amazingly, this animated short by Martell Animation was made using nothing but laptops during a 7-week artist retreat on a small Caribbean island.

The Story of Warfarin

Blood, rats and anticoagulants: The story of warfarin. Dog and Rabbit's latest video tells the history of warfarin.  As one of the earliest anticoagulant drugs, this story is littered with the bodies of sick cows and poisoned rats. This animation tells the story of how a bloody beginning gave rise to a life-saving medication.  It is a pretty amazing tale too – it’s quite incredible how one thing can lead to another which can then lead to something new.  Maybe you should just watch the video while I hyperbolise.

The Tulous of Fujian Province

Around the 12th Century the people of the Fujian Province in China decided that their homes did not offer them sufficient protection in times of civil strife and from the armed bandit gangs which plagued the area for hundreds of years.

Groups of families combined their incomes to provide their community with something more substantial – a tulou - that could safeguard their property and their lives in this mountainous area on the southeast coast of China.

Like any good idea, the idea of large, enclosed fortified buildings had already been around for centuries.  Yet advances in technology enabled communities to create a safe space, encircled by thick load bearing walls and up to five floors high.

The Best Casinos for Gambling Enthusiasts in New Zealand

New Zealand, a picturesque land known for its stunning landscapes, rich Maori culture, and exhilarating adventure spots, also houses some of the world's most exciting casinos. Each casino offers a unique blend of games, entertainment, and dining experiences, promising more than just a gambling spree. We've curated a list of the top casinos with the help from data provided by FruityKing that are a must-visit for any gambling enthusiast in the country.

1. SkyCity Auckland

SkyCity Auckland stands as the largest casino in New Zealand, boasting over 2100 machine games and 150 table games. Nestled in the heart of Auckland, it offers a plethora of gaming options, including poker, baccarat, blackjack, and roulette. The casino is part of a larger entertainment complex, housing a theatre, two hotels, and a range of bars and restaurants, offering a holistic entertainment experience.

2. Christchurch Casino

In the South Island’s largest city, Christchurch Casino is a gaming paradise amidst the garden city's tranquillity. With over 500 slot machines and 34 table games, the casino provides a world-class gaming experience. Weekly poker tournaments and cash games appeal to both novice and experienced players. Beyond the games, visitors can enjoy live music and exquisite cuisine at the in-house bars and restaurants.

3. Dunedin Casino

Housed in the historic Grand Hotel, the Dunedin Casino blends elegance and excitement seamlessly. The casino prides itself on offering a personalized and intimate gambling experience, with 180 gaming machines and a selection of table games. The Grand Bar and Café offers a gourmet dining experience, complementing a day of gaming with culinary delights.

4. SkyCity Hamilton

Overlooking the picturesque Waikato River, SkyCity Hamilton is a haven for gaming enthusiasts and leisure seekers alike. With over 330 gaming machines and 23 table games, it promises an electrifying gaming experience. The casino is also renowned for hosting regular events and promotions, amplifying the thrill of the gaming journey.

5. SkyCity Queenstown

SkyCity Queenstown provides an intimate and cosy gaming atmosphere amidst the town’s scenic beauty. With 86 gaming machines and popular table games, players can indulge in a focused and relaxed gambling experience. The casino's Wild Thyme Bar and Restaurant serve up an array of delightful dishes, making it a perfect spot to unwind after a day of gaming excitement.

New Zealand’s casinos offer more than just expansive gaming floors; they promise a comprehensive entertainment journey, blending the thrill of gambling with gourmet cuisine, live entertainment, and scenic beauty. Each casino caters to both the casual player and the seasoned gambler, ensuring an unforgettable experience for all. As always, it is essential to gamble responsibly and savour the multifaceted offerings of these illustrious gaming establishments.

Step into the world of luck and luxury and let New Zealand’s world class casinos offer you an unparalleled gambling experience wrapped in opulence, excitement, and enchantment.

Image Credit No changes made

15 October 2023

Structure Quiz for GCSE English Language (Paper 1 Question 3)

This quiz is based on a concise 386-word tale titled "The Unbroken Bond." It comprises 19 multiple-choice queries and 3 sequencing tasks. An additional task awaits those who complete it promptly. I initially crafted this resource in response to the scarcity of high-quality instructional materials that delve beyond terminology when it comes to understanding structure. I believe this quiz encourages thoughtful responses in an exam-style situation.

It is suitable for students working towards the AQA exams.  You can download it from my TES shop.

It's also suited for a substitute lesson, saving you from extensive marking, provided that you have the time to give the answers after the quiz is completed (students can self-assess or exchange papers with peers). I recommend starting by reading the story aloud to ensure that all learners have read it, preventing any attempts to rely on chance when answering questions, which can sometimes happen.

The story maintains a very PG rating, centred around a dog in search of its missing "boy", who is eventually found having spent the day at school. It aligns with the June 2023 P1Q5 (Paper 1 Question 5), "Write a story about a human encountering an animal," (or words to that effecr) and can also serve as an exemplar for that question.

An inclusive answer booklet accompanies the quiz, complete with explanations, enabling the teacher (substitute or usual!) to address student queries about why certain answers are correct.

The sequencing questions require students to arrange their responses in the PEE format, with the point and evidence presented in the initial sentence, while the two explanatory sentences can be arranged in different orders, as the final point employs a connecting phrase to indicate the conclusion is in progress.

While this quiz is relatively low-stakes, it encompasses a wealth of subject-specific terminology that can be discussed when presenting the answers. The goal is to solidify this terminology and expose students to how they can incorporate it into their attempts at P1Q3.

The text is also provided separately (optional), catering to students who prefer not to switch back and forth. The documents are available in both PDF and Word formats.

Should you prefer an online version, this quiz is easily adaptable. Questions and answers can be promptly copied and pasted into MS Forms or a Moodle platform, with the answer booklet's explanations enabling automated online feedback.

Enjoy the quiz!

Antelope Richards

The Richards are a lovely couple and everyone is so happy when they finally conceive.  Yet the child they produce is an… antelope.  Still, never let anything hold you back, and this young buck certainly doesn’t.  Quirky, funny and just a tad surreal, Antelope Richards is a highly improbable story about some highly unlikely things. It was created by Gary Ye during his time at Sheridan College.

Warsaw – City of Ruins

Digital technology has allowed us to play all sorts of tricks on the imagination – the cityscape surrounding Will Smith in I Am Legend is just one example of how the appearance of a city can be changed to appear as it would after a force of total malevolence had wreaked its damage.

Yet many people throughout history had no need of FX trickery to experience apocalypse and that was certainly the case for the people of Warsaw after the Second World War.  Previously one of the most beautiful cities in Europe, a place full of life and culture, the city was all but destroyed by the time hostilities ceased in 1945, its population more than decimated and its buildings and streets in complete ruin.

Yet in some ways black and white photography and grainy film footage can lose its impact over the decades, particularly for young people for whom there is no immediate memory of the carnage.  With that in mind Warsaw Rising Museum has commissioned this remarkable digital reconstruction of the Warsaw as it was after the war - City of Ruins.

The Polish capital is the first city to undergo this kind of digital recreation to show what it had been reduced to only a lifetime ago.  A team of thirty graphic artists contributed for two years to create this five minute reconstruction and Platige Image acted as Producer.

Following the flight path of a US Liberator over the ravaged city this elegant piece of digital art is somehow disquieting and calming at the same time.  It gives us a full picture of just how the city looked in its entirety (if that is the right word for these remnants of cosmopolitan life) and the work that its population had ahead of them in order to raise the city from the ruins.

The Visual Effects Society has recently announced the nominations for their prestigious VES Award for the best special effects in film, television, commercials and games. City of Ruins has been nominated for Outstanding Visual Effects in the Special Venue Project category.

The Warsaw Rising Museum will be presenting the film from 1 August and its Director, Jan Ołdakowski, would be delighted if you could come to the museum and watch the film.

The Cave City of Vardzia

The Cave City of Vardzia is remarkable.   Situated in the European country of Georgia at the juncture of Eastern Europe and Western Asia it has an over eight hundred year history.  Yet you would be forgiven for wondering why such a place was built in the first place. The words why and how spring immediately to mind.

Word of the Week #2 - Resilient

"Resilient" is a powerful and positive word because it encapsulates the ability to withstand, recover from, and adapt to adversity or challenges.  That's why we have made it our second "Word of the Week".

Here are some reasons why "resilient" is a good word:

Strength in Adversity: Resilience implies strength in the face of hardship. It suggests an individual's or a community's ability to endure and bounce back from difficult situations, which is a highly valued and admired quality.

Optimism and Hope: Resilience often comes hand in hand with a sense of optimism and hope. It signifies a belief in one's capacity to overcome obstacles, which can be inspiring and uplifting.

Adaptability: Resilience involves adaptability, the capacity to change and evolve in response to challenges. It's a reminder that growth and transformation can emerge from even the most trying circumstances.

Psychological and Emotional Well-being: In psychology, resilience is a well-studied and crucial aspect of mental health. It's associated with emotional well-being, coping skills, and the ability to manage stress, which are all highly desirable qualities.

Community and Social Resilience: On a broader scale, resilience is applied to communities and societies, indicating their ability to recover from disasters, economic downturns, or social crises. It underscores the strength of human connections and collective efforts.

Inspiration and Motivation: The concept of resilience is often used to inspire and motivate people. When individuals or groups face challenges, reminding them of their capacity to be resilient can encourage perseverance and determination.

Overcoming Limitations: Resilience implies transcending limitations. It's a reminder that people are not defined by their past or their circumstances but by their ability to rise above them.

Positive Self-Image: Being described as resilient can boost one's self-esteem and self-image. It's a testament to one's inner strength and resourcefulness.

In summary, "resilient" is a good word because it represents the strength, adaptability, and determination that individuals and communities possess when facing adversity. It signifies the capacity to grow, transform, and recover, and it is often used to inspire and encourage in challenging situations.

Come back next time for Word of the Week #3!

ABC of Monsters

Halloween is almost upon us and so it’s time to remember those monsters that kept you awake at night.

Here we have an ABC of monsters, each letter of the alphabet assigned to a particular beasty (though I am not sure about ET’s inclusion to be honest!). It was created by La Pompadour.

This is probably a good time for a confession - although I think I got most of these there were one two which I just simply cannot guess!

Now that’s what I Call a Halloween Costume

What makes a great Halloween costume? Money? Certainly the more you spend the more likely your costume is going to be realistic and scary. Time? Perhaps – the more elaborate a costume is then the longer it will take to prepare. Energy? Perhaps, but the single most vital element that makes for a great Halloween costume is thought (and perhaps a permutation or combination of the above too). Here are some of the best Halloween costumes we found.

Something unusual that others may not have considered can do the trick nicely.  Not many people would have considered making a costume based on the front cover of Seth Grahame-Smith's 2009 mashup novel, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies.  However, it works beautifully on two levels.  First and foremost, those in the know will just worship your creation.  Secondly, even if people are unaware of the novel they will still think that you have made a brilliant effort - and it is certainly a twist on the zombie hosts we see every year.

The Disappearance of Willie Bingham

You could say that this is Kuriositas’ offering for Halloween as it certainly has the horror quotient but very cleverly done (even though if you are squeamish at all you will wince on any number of occasions).  Prisoner Willie Bingham has committed a terrible crime and the authorities decide to use him as a pilot for a particularly gruesome kind of punishment.  Written and directed by Matt Richards, this will have you on the edge of your seat.  Scalpels out!

Halloween Safety Educational Film from 1977

This is a rather sweet educational film about the dangers of trick or treating at Halloween. Although it is only 46 years old it does sometimes seem to present an entirely different world to our own. It was rediscovered by Jason Willis who appears in the film himself at 5:26. You can read more about this rediscovery on his blog.

There is some groovy seventies background music but what is most interesting for me here are the costumes that are worn by the kids.  They are almost all home made (in fact in one scene we see mom taking up the hem of the little witch's skirt.  I just wonder how many kids are going to be wearing home made costumes as the trick or treat tonight!

8 October 2023

Word of the Week #1 - To Aspire

Welcome to our "Word of the Week" series! We're excited to kick things off with the word "aspire."

Aspire is a verb that embodies the essence of ambition and the pursuit of one's dreams. It means to have a strong desire or goal and to actively work towards achieving it. It is a word that resonates with ambition and the pursuit of dreams. When you aspire, you possess a burning desire to achieve a specific goal, and you actively work towards turning that aspiration into reality.

If you are doing an exam like GCSE English Language in the UK, expanding your vocabulary is a great idea. You are marked for using sophisticated vocabulary so let’s make this a weekly endeavour!

Why is this a great idea?

Expand Your Vocabulary: Encountering new words regularly can enhance your language skills, making communication more precise and enjoyable.

Spark Conversations: "Aspire" can spark discussions! Share your thoughts, experiences, and aspirations in the comments section below, and let's learn from each other.

Fresh Content: Our "Word of the Week" adds variety and freshness to our content, keeping you engaged and eager to return for more.

By exploring different words each week, we cater to a wide range of interests and encourage regular visits to our website.

So, let's aspire to learn, grow, and connect through words together. Stay tuned for next week's exciting word!

Your Turn to Contribute!

We believe that words have the power to inspire, educate, and connect. That's why we want to hear from you! Do you have a favourite word that you find intriguing, beautiful, or thought-provoking? Perhaps there's a word from your native language that doesn't have a direct English translation. We invite you to be a part of our "Word of the Week" series by submitting your own words. Share the word, its meaning, and why it's special to you. Let's celebrate the richness of language together and create a vibrant tapestry of words that reflect our diverse experiences and cultures. Send us your suggestions, and we might feature your word in one of our upcoming posts. Join us in this linguistic adventure, and let words unite us!

22 September 2023

Playing Games Live Online: How Live Streams Create New Experiences for Gamers


Gaming has become a true cultural phenomenon and a fixed part of our society today. The number of gamers across the globe grows steadily, as more people enjoy immersing themselves in virtual worlds and sharing their passion with fellow enthusiasts online. Modern technologies such as the internet and live streams have allowed users from anywhere in the world to connect with fellow gamers and share their gaming sessions with the community online. Meanwhile, entertainment providers have created innovations to let modern users experience entertainment that used to only take place offline in a new way.

Let’s plays let gamers across the world play together   

Twitch started out over a decade ago as a humble platform for gamers to connect and has since developed into the biggest live-streaming platform in the world. It’s a place where gamers from across the globe come together to share their gaming sessions with the community in real time. Gamers broadcast so-called “let’s plays” live, which show the gamer’s game screen and usually a live video of the streamer themselves. This allows other users to watch and follow along as they play and use the live chat to comment, ask questions, and share thoughts with the streamer and audience. With this trend, live streams have created a way for huge, international video gaming parties to take place as you no longer have to be seated on the same couch to watch your friends play.

Not just gamers who play as a hobby have found an online community on Twitch and other live-streaming platforms. Additionally, professional and competitive gaming has seen tremendous growth thanks to live streaming. With its large reach, gaming live streams proved integral in the emergence and success of esports. Live streams allow gamers to watch professionals take it out on the virtual battlefield from anywhere in real time and participate in this growing trend. Esports tournaments attract millions of viewers who follow the action via live online broadcasts.

Virtual game night with friends

Nowadays, you don’t have to gather your friends around one table to play tabletop games together. Digital versions of classic games, live streams, and video calls now make it possible to play together regardless of where everybody is. Some of the most popular video conference software, such as Zoom, allow users from around the world to connect and come together virtually to play all kinds of games. Zoom has a variety of games, including trivia, dice, and party games, already integrated into its app to allow a smooth and seamless playing experience with friends and teams with the click of a button. Using digital versions of other games, such as the online game of CATAN or the mobile game of Exploding Kittens, friends can start private game rounds to play together digitally. By taking advantage of a video call, all participants are able to see, hear, and talk to each other to imitate the experience of a traditional game night with friends. Thanks to live video calls, it’s even possible to play classic party games such as charades over long distances.

Live streams create new ways to experience traditional entertainment

Many entertainment options that used to just take place in physical attendance have made the transition to the online realm and are taking advantage of live-streaming technology to create immersive virtual experiences. One great example are escape games, which have seen a tremendous trend over the past few years, as more escape room locations open their doors across the globe. Now, you don’t have to come together physically anymore to play and solve mysteries in a team. Taking advantage of live streams and video calls, many escape game providers now let players experience the game fully virtually from the comforts of their homes. You can even visit a casino online with life-like experiences offered virtually with the help of live streams. Many of the best-rated real money casinos in the US offer so-called live casino games within their extensive game libraries that can be played using real money. For an authentic casino experience from the comfort of players’ homes, a real dealer appears on the screens via a live stream. The technology allows game enthusiasts to experience these games, which used to only take place physically, in a virtual realm.

Bringing gamers from across the globe together on the web and allowing providers to create new and immersive entertainment experiences, live-streaming technology has truly changed the game.

Image Credit

17 September 2023

Han – The Little Merman

The medieval town of Elsinore, in Denmark has recently found it has a new addition to its waterfront. As you will see, it was designed to complement Edvard Eriksen's statue of the Little Mermaid which commemorates the character created by Hans Christian Anderson in Copenhagen (left).

London and Berlin based artists Elmgreen and Dragset have installed Han, the Little Merman (my subtitle), a thoroughly modern and controversially male interpretation of the Danish national icon and occasional Disney wannabee.