National Poetry Day – Pupil Poem!

British red post box, isolated on a white backgroundOn National Poetry Day this year, 2D undertook some activities in relation to the Scottish Poetry Library’s poem postcards.

Below is a poem written by Elena, in which she imagines what it would feel like to be a pillar-box, filling up with all sorts of different messages (this year’s NPD theme) only to be emptied at the end of the day.

Elena’s fantastic poem is a response to Meg Bateman’s poem ‘The Pillar-box’ which you can read by clicking here.

The Pillar Box – by Elena T

Softly, gently,

They drop one by one.

Letter by letter,

Word by word,

Day by day they come.

 

I hoard them all,

In my red painted frame.

I keep them dry,

I hold them safe,

Ready for reclaim.

 

First come the love letters,

Packed with words of love and longing.

They were written at dawn,

At the start of the day,

For then it can seem less daunting.

 

The business letters:

Bills and complaints and queries.

On bright white paper,

With stark black font,

The first, perhaps, of a long and tedious series.

 

Postcards of holidays,

From far away places.

They tell of fun,

And of games,

Of night time walks and sunny beach races.

 

And, of course,

For every happy there must come a sad.

The letters that didn’t make it,

The letters been sent back,

‘Return to Sender’ stamped by the young post lad.

 

Commiserations are the worst,

They make me want to groan.

It is hard,

It always is,

To say goodbye to one whom we have known.

 

Each letter that comes,

I will read and I will think.

Some are happy,

Some are sad,

But in each journey I am just a link.

 

The postman arrives,

At 4 O’clock each day.

He takes the letters,

In his bright red van,

To each destination, far away.

 

And thus I am left empty,

To wave goodbye to the sun’s last ray.

I will wait,

Until tomorrow,

Before I hold the letters of another day.

Book Group Cinema Trip

missperegrinecoverToday all the library Book Groups, encompassing pupils from S1 to S6, enjoyed a trip to the Empire cinema at Clydebank for an exclusive showing of the new film adaptation of ‘Miss Peregrine’s School for Peculiar Children’. The adaptation of the novel by Ransom Riggs is directed by Tim Burton, and stars some big names including Eva Green, Judi Dench and Samuel L Jackson.

There was unanimous enjoyment of having a whole cinema to ourselves! Many thanks to Mrs Gilchrist for organising the special showing. Reaction to the film itself was generally positive, though there was some spirited debate about the changes that have been made in adapting from the page to the screen. Here are a few vox pop pupil reactions…

“I really enjoyed reading the book, and the movie was good too.”

“We were surprised by the changes made to the plot, but overall it was an enjoyable experience”

“The film was very different from the book, but still great!”

“There were a lot of loop holes. It’s worth just waiting ’til it’s on Netflix instead – but still worth a watch!”

“The CGI was great!”

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By Heart!

Massive congratulations to Madeleine in 2D!

Over the last few months, the class have been learning poetry ‘by heart’ and reciting it from memory.

Madeleine has successfully memorised all 15 of the poems set….and recited them all, one after the other – a remarkable feat!

  • Hope is the Thing with Feathers – Emily Dickinson
  • The Trees – Philip Larkin
  • Leisure – William Henry Davies
  • Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening – Robert Frost
  • Please Mrs Butler – Allan Ahlberg
  • How Do I Love Thee – Elizabeth Barrett Browning
  • A Red, Red Rose – Robert Burns
  • Remember – Christina Rossetti
  • No Second Troy – William Butler
  • Ozymandias – Percy Bysshe Shelley
  • The Witch – Mary Elizabeth Coleridge
  • I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud – William Wordsworth
  • Solitude – Ella Wheeler Wilcox
  • Jabberwocky – Lewis Carroll
  • The Seven Ages of Man – William Shakespeare (from As You Like It)
Poet, tree, by [a] heart….geddit?!

MIT Open Courses

Higher and Advanced Higher pupils – especially those intending to continue their studies at University in the future – might be interested in the free courses and video lectures available from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology – one of America’s leading universities.

Media Studies students might find “The Film Experience” course a useful history of film and cinema.

A host of other courses and materials is available here.

The courses are largely aimed at undergraduate-level university students, but many will be accessible enough to senior pupils. The video lectures are a great opportunity to practise listening and note-taking skills, especially as transcripts are provided.

Words, words, words

The English Department was lucky enough today to be visited by three inspirational writers who shared their invaluable expertise and love of language, both written and spoken.kirsty logan

In the morning, the Advanced Higher English class welcomed Kirsty Logan – bestselling author of ‘The Gracekeepers’ and ‘The Rental Heart and Other Fairytales‘. Kirsty offered a whole host of expert tips, ideas and stimuli which left the class inspired and enthused.

In the afternoon, a group of Higher and Advanced Higher pupils worked with the fabulous Jenny Lindsay and Rachel McCrum (better known as ‘Rally and Broad’!) who delivered an interactive workshop on performance skills that culminated with a glorious series of pupil poetry recitals.Rally and Broad

Look out for pupil responses to these two events coming soon (here and in the next BAnner), as well as more information about the upcoming ‘Poetry by Heart’ regional heats.

Our massive thanks go to all three writers for offering up their time and expertise today! Find out more about Kirsty here and Rally and Broad here.

SUNNY DELIGHT: school show a sensational smash!

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There may be a lack of real sunshine about as these October nights begin to draw in, but a brilliant company of pupils have brought dazzling talent and bags of warmth to Bearsden Academy with their production of the hit musical “Sunshine On Leith”!

The tale of servicemen Davy and Ally returning to their lives in Edinburgh, set to the music of The Proclaimers has it all: humour, heart and a rousing, feel-good finale that sent the first night audience home with grins as wide as Princes Street!

Matthew Docherty and Sam Taylor are the two soldiers, facing their futures, family tensions, feuds and fraught relationships with their girlfriends Liz and Yvonne (the equally superb Kirsty Carter and Charlotte Seaton, respectively). Supported by an extensive cast, crew and band that draw on talent from across every year group, these young actors unfold a simple story that asks some complex questions about life, love and the pursuit of happiness.

Impressive set piece numbers like the satirical ‘Throw the R Away’ and rambunctious ‘Let’s Get Married’ are woven – not unlike a fine tartan – with beautiful ballads and haunting duets like ‘Misty Blue’ and ‘Sunshine on Leith’. The showstopper of the evening, however, is undoubtedly the deeply affecting ‘Letter from America’, which showcases not only each lead’s individual skills (including Andrew Traynor as Rab, and Amy McCall as Jean) but also their ability to harmonise together beautifully.

Innovative staging and a tireless backstage crew make the very most of the space, while the dynamic band deliver the toe-tapping soundtrack with gusto and flair. The two-hour run time zipped past, and by the final, euphoric chorus of “I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles)” it was clear that every single member of the audience had fallen in love with the lads and ladies bringing a little bit of Leith to life at Bearsden Academy.

The English Department sends its utmost congratulations to EVERYONE involved in the production. We are sure the remaining performances will be a smash!

Get a ticket – if you still can – before it’s “Over and Done With”!

Attention all new Nat 5 and Higher candidates!!

Returning to school in August is probably the last thing on your mind right now. After a hectic term, you deserve a long and relaxing holiday away from school. It’s important to rest and recharge. Nonetheless, the summer break is also the perfect time to sow the seeds of your future success, allowing you to reap the rewards in autumn.

Click through to find out how you can hit the ground running in your Nat 5 or Higher English course.

(and to find out what any of this has to do with Benedict Cumberbatch…)

Continue reading

Poetry By Heart Scotland

Massive congratulations to Amy McCall and David Loh, who represented Bearsden Academy at the Glasgow regional heat for Poetry by Heart Scotland – a new national poetry recital competition!

They performed extraordinarily well, despite limited preparation time, nerve-shredding tension and some stiff competition! And although they did not make it through to the national final, both came away from the competition having greatly enjoyed the experience, and with their chosen poems etched indelibly on their hearts to carry with them forever!

David delivered Edwin Morgan’s love poem ‘Strawberries‘ and Helen Mackay’s heart-rending war poem ‘Train‘.

Amy chose to recite ‘How to Kill‘ – a powerful meditation on life, death and warfare by Keith Douglas – alongside the beautiful but unsettling ‘Picnic‘ by Rose Macauley.

Our warmest congratulations and thanks to them both for representing the English department, and the school, so wonderfully!

SPL Book Heart

Advanced Higher – Creative Writing Workshop

Creative writing is a form of writing which goes beyond daily routines and opens up a new world of thinking; Kirsty Logan certainly taught the Advanced Higher class this. Kirsty Logan is an award-nominated fiction writer who has deep knowledge and understanding of how to teach students about creative writing. As Advanced Higher English pupils are exploring creative short stories, having Kirsty come in and do a Creative Writing Workshop was a real bonus to the class. Kirsty undertook many activities such as using day-to-day phrases as a springboard to come up with ideas for a story. She also spoke about magic realism which encouraged the pupils to think of everyday situations but with an added twist of magic or excitement. This led all the pupils to go on and create their own unique piece.

All in all, Kirsty was a lovely, bubbly person who hopes to inspire people into seeing the world from a different view in order to trigger our imaginations. She totally engaged the class and is a great role model for encouraging us to do well in creative writing.

Some pupils in the class have been reading her short story collection The Rental Heart and other fairytales, which they have relished sharing. We hope this won’t be the last time we see Kirsty and wish her all the best in her future books and writing.

Molly Macdonald S6