Building vocabulary through pairing of words

I occasionally have a competition with my classes, to find a pair of words in English that have precisely the same denotation and connotation (which is a nice way to introduce those terms as well.)   Basically, they provide pairs of words that they think are the same, and I explain why that’s not true. It builds competitiveness – especially when I get two classes going at the same time and they want to win first – and it gets them exposed to a wide range of language and meaning, as they start looking for ways to win! Although we …

Gathering ideas 2: Earth Songs

Staring back at the world it seems remarkable that this is mankind’s crowning achievement. While other species scrabble in the dirt, living from biological impulse to biological impulse, we turned our attention to mastering first the earth around us and then the skies above us. We’re so used to seeing it from this distance, the pictures broadcast from satellites and the space stations, that we have known what our planet looks like. We have seen the lights clustering like swarming fireflies, storms gather, fires rage. From over two hundred miles away our astronauts sent back instantaneous photographs as if they …

Gathering ideas – Earth Songs

Sing me a song. A song of beauty and starlight, a song that echoes through the universe and bounces off the stars, a song that haunts the shadows of the forests and revels in the midnight heat of the deserts. sing to me of the eternity of the mountains, the fleeting life of the dragonfly – is it endless to the creature in its midst? If we feel the mountains last for ever, are we as mountains to the mayfly that flits above the water for but a day? Sing me a melody of the water gushing from the earth, rustling, rattling, gurgling, …

Revamp or move on?

I’ve just gone through a little computer-filing tidy up, trying to get my stuff in order, especially writing things. I still have a stack of paper ideas to get into a notebook – I’m aiming to have all ideas either in one digital scrivener file, or in a notebook. I’m astounded by how many words I have written and discarded. I’m not talking about drafts which eventually led to something finished, either, but something started where I’ve sometimes written upwards of 50,000 words, and abandoned without finishing. There’s three half-written novels and over a dozen short stories. The ‘ideas fragments’ …