The Reread Challenge: The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time

This is the fourth book I’ve read as part of the Re-Read Challenge.

WHEN I First Read

The special thing about this book is that it was given to me for my 14th birthday by my mom. Now she’s not much of a reader herself but she has an impeccable ability to pick good books for me. Without her, I would never have read this one and I’ll always be grateful to her for it.
 
WHAT I Remember
The most vivid memory I have pertaining to this book is how much I cried my eyes out when reading from an autistic child’s point of view. Christopher Boone is a wonderfully endearing character who really puts readers through the paces emotionally. The protagonists relationship with his parents is where the emotional appeal heavily stems from. Though Christopher himself can’t process or understand emotions well, we, as readers, understand them for him.
Some of the things Christopher says are just so spot on. Supposedly like his mother, my father was cremated and this particular paragraph in the book was just beautiful and reassuring in ways only people who’ve lost someone can truly understand:
But Mother was cremated. This means that she was put into a coffin and burnt and ground up and turned into ash and smoke. I do not know what happens to the ash and I couldn’t ask at the crematorium because I didn’t go to the funeral. But the smoke goes out of the chimney and into the air and sometimes I look up into the sky and I think that there are molecules of Mother up there, or in clouds over Africa or the Antarctic, or coming down as rain in the rain forests in Brazil, or in snow somewhere.

I also liked how the chapters weren’t ordered in cardinal numbers but rather prime numbers. It only reinforces Christopher’s character and his choices in telling his story.

WHY I Wanted to Re-Read
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time isn’t a book full of intrigue and mystery as it may sound but is so captivating in its voice, that of a fifteen year old autistic child.
This is a unique book, tugging at your heart strings and making you laugh as well. It’s certainly been a while since a book had that sort of effect on me and I thought I’d revisit it. Since all my books are back home, I jumped at the chance to check The Curious Incident out of my university library, overjoyed that  they had it.
 
HOW I Felt After Re-Reading

There are some books you can read at the bus stop or in class when your attention tends to drift, books meant to pass time with like old friends. Then there are some books you have an intimate relation with, ones you can’t bear to read in public  because they expose every raw emotion you’re capable of feeling. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time is one of the latter, initiating what is dangerously close to book PDA.

The first time, I wept more when reading Christopher’s mothers letter than I did watching Titanic and I wept just the same for the second time. The struggle comes from empathizing with Christopher, his father AND his mother. I so appreciate Christopher’s  and his father’s relationship and I understand how his mother felt overwhelmed in her situation. I can’t find blame any of them for how things had fallen apart because it was realistic in how there is no single antagonist in negative life events. It’s a culmination of different factors.

Re-reading this book as a psychology student in university brings a different sort of appreciation to Mark Haddon’s attention to detail, what with the math problems and diagrams inserted within the narrative, and at the inspiring blend of writing flair and psychological fact.
Though Haddon never directly refers to autism through out the book, you can piece together the symptoms of the disorder which makes for deeper investment in the story. Although this work is fictional, it is does not grossly deviate from the reality of autism and perhaps that is why people may not necessarily love this book. I’ve heard some saying it’s not gripping enough or that it’s too jumbled. I think that’s exactly why it works so well.

WOULD I Re-Read Again

Not only would I re read it with a pack of tissues on my bedside table but I would  recommend this book to anyone within earshot of me! In fact check it out on Goodreads here!

13 Types of Group Members You’ll Work With

When teachers sit down to plan out their course syllabus, they always undoubtedly include a group grading component, either oblivious to the fact that group work is never done in equal contributions and they genuinely believe it teaches students to work cooperatively and effectively in a group or they do it in spite of that just to make us sweat while they enjoy the chaos. That was a long rant-like sentence, I know. But that’s just how frustrating it is to work in a group.

We all know how hassling it can be when your group is a panorama of different types of members and we’ve all encountered at least a few of these:

The Idea (Wo)man

This is the guy or girl who comes up with an idea and designates work to every other member in order to get it done. Once the idea is put out there, they won’t lift a finger to execute it.

The Worker-Bee

The earnest group member who works really hard to make everything a success. Their responsibility and honesty are their own worst qualities since they’d have to carry the group on their shoulders because of these traits.

The Leech

The group member who digs his or her claws into into a worker bee type group member in order to maintain the illusion that he or she is contributing something when in actuality they are not.

The Blonde

The group member who insists they don’t know anything in order to escape work being thrust on them. They really know how to play the ignorance card but don’t be fooled. They definitely know more than they let on.

The Sloth

That lazy group member who everyone else knows won’t contribute so no one assigns them work. Their standards of laziness foster super low expectations which they bask in and take advantage of.

The Hitler

That group leader who refuses to listen to their group members opinion and almost single handedly calls the shots.

The Nazis

The select few members who ‘the Hitler’ confides in and whose viewpoints are considered. In return for this special privilege they enforce whatever the Hitler says upon the rest of the group members.

The Usurper

That group member who isn’t the leader but wants to be and plans the way to claim the position for themselves. If they have good intentions, they do better than the original leader, but if their lustful for power then they don’t.

The Mutineers

Those  who nod along when ideas are bounced around instead of contributing their own even though they may not be a 100% sold. Later when plans are built around this idea they agreed to, they voice concerns and begin questioning it. They tend to have clashes with the idea m (wo)men.

The Invisible (Wo)man

That group member who always disappears when everyone gets down to work and magically comes back once everything’s done.

The Perfectionist

That group member who absolutely needs everything just right and usually does all the work alone.They resents other group members for it but won’t relinquish control either.

The Ticking Timer

That guy or girl who insists on counting down the days until the official deadline, attempting to instill fear in the rest of the group to get everything finished.

The Drama Queens/Kings

That group member who has no idea what damage control is when shit hits the fan. You’ll be surprised how they handle crises and it’s better to avoid their hysterics if you want anything to get done.

And just think, your grade depends on these people.

I’m not saying there aren’t pros to group work, I’ve just done enough of it to know the cons definitely outweigh them. It’s not fun and cooperative and anyone who spouts out praise for such assignments lives in a world of rainbows and unicorns.

But then again, a world of rainbows and unicorns wouldn’t have any group assignments :)

February Reading Round Up

feb

*Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J.K. Rowling:  I’ve always loved Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, packed with intrigue and mystery about who Slytherin’s heir is and who’s attacking the muggle-born students at Hogwarts. Check out my re-read post about it!

Verdict: One of the best books in the Harry Potter series!

The White Tiger by Aravind Adiga: I don’t usually read books by Indian authors but this was surprisingly an interesting read although it starts off a bit monotonously. The White Tiger takes the reader on a journey through the loopholes and chinks in the armour of India. What’s interesting is the perspective of a driver in India because I’ve always wondered how drivers and servants in our country feel about their ‘masters’. For those who don’t take India-bashing too well, I think you may find this a bit deprecating. While the book is accurate in most parts, I do think Bangalore has been portrayed somewhat stereotypically where conversations in cafes are mostly about start-ups and IT companies (which they’re not). The main character’s actions sometimes seem unfounded as well.

Verdict:  If you’ve got an open mind about India’s faults then you might find this book interesting.

Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi: I loved Persepolis. Marjane Satrapi does a wonderful job of blending the personal and historical in her retelling of life during the Islamic Revolution in Iran. The child’s eye view of a contradictory world where public life and private life are vastly antipodal is fascinating to read.

Verdict: If you’d like to take a peak into Iranian history without the dull affair of dates and names, Persepolis is a must!

Persepolis 2 by Marjane Satrapi:  Sequels always have extra pressure arising out of the fact that they have to live up to the first book’s expectations and I feel that Persepolis 2 didn’t live up to it. Persepolis 2 continues where the the first leaves off, covering Satrapi’s adolescence and adulthood. The child’s  innocent narrative is lost and this memoir predominantly takes place in Vienna, far from Iran so she has less exposure to the turmoil in Iran and this also distances the reader from that turmoil on which Persepolis heavily drew from.

Verdict: The second volume isn’t as intriguing as the first unfortunately.

*Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J.K Rowling: Not one of my favourites in the HP series but re-reading it made me think it’s not as bad. Check out my re-read post!

Verdict: Even if it’s not my favourite, it’s still Harry Potter. Need I say more?

*Re-read Challenge

Fringe / Braided T-shirt

that90'skid:

I’ve made this sort of t-shirt twice now and it never fails! Check out this post done by a friend and I!

Originally posted on Make With Love:

Do you love braiding hair or braiding in general? Why not cut up some fringe for your t-shirt and braid them to give it a new look? Here’s how…

WHAT YOU NEED

  • A plain t-shirt
  • Scissors
  • Chalk/ Cloth marker

INSTRUCTIONS

Step 1: Lay the t-shirt flat on a smooth surface.Draw a horizontal line using a chalk or a cloth marker depending on how long you want the braids to be.

Displaying 20150227_150541.jpg

Step 2: Using a pair of scissors cut the folded edge of the t-shirt and keep it aside.

Displaying 20150227_150828.jpgDisplaying 20150227_151129.jpg

Step 3: Using a pair of scissors cut strips starting from the bottom till the marked line.

Displaying 20150227_151200.jpgStep 4: Start braiding the strips and knot it at the and in order to secure it. DONE!

Displaying 20150227_183751.jpgDisplaying 20150227_183720.jpg

You can also use beads to add glamour to your t-shirt! Try it now and head to the beach!

View original

Heart Shaped Cut out T- Shirt

that90'skid:

It’s almost summer and my friend and I have decided to make a few cute up-dos out of old t shirts. Here’s the heart cut out one we’ve finished!

Originally posted on Make With Love:

Plain old t-shirts can be re-purposed in so many ways and cut outs are one of the simplest!

WHAT YOU NEED

  • Plain T-shirt
  • Scissors
  • Chalk / Cloth marker

INSTRUCTIONS

Step 1: Take a plain t-shirt, any old plain t-shirt should do!

20150227_142305

Step 2: Lay the t-shirt flat on a smooth surface. Fold the t- shirt into half and select the central portion of the shirt. Draw half a heart on one side of the t-shirt with a chalk or a cloth marker. You can draw the heart on the front or the back side of the t-shirt.

20150227_144537

Step 3: Using a pair of scissors cut the heart along the mark. 

Displaying 20150227_144920.jpgDisplaying 20150227_145149.jpgStep 5: Iron the t-shirt to get rid of any creases. You are now good to go!

heart cut out shirt

Don’t just limit yourself to this given shape. You can try out a lot of shapes like skulls and trees! Experiment and explore!

Also…

View original 29 more words

DIY Notebooks

that90'skid:

These little notebooks are adorable and so easy to make! Check out my post on this blog!

Originally posted on Make With Love:

20150228_000756

Have you ever gone to the store and found some remarkable handmade notebooks and thought how much you’d like to buy them? Did you then look at the price tag and think ‘Oh..never mind.’ and set it back down on the shelf?

Well, the truth is, you’d be able to make delightful little notebooks with a few basic supplies lying around the house. They’re super simple and make wonderful gifts for those  who love jotting things down wherever they go!

Take a look!

WHAT YOU NEED

20150227_180358

  • Coloured paper
  • Notebook paper (blank, ruled, graph)
  • Thread and needle OR stapler (for binding)
  • Scale
  • Pencil
  • Eraser
  • Paperclips

INSTRUCTIONS

Step 1: Take a sheet of coloured paper to use as the notebook cover. Cut a rectangle of the size you choose and then fold it in half.

20150227_184355  20150227_184409

Step 2: Using paperclips, attach the piece of coloured paper to your notebook paper and cut…

View original 149 more words

Bookmark Collection

that90'skid:

I’ve made quite a lot of bookmarks this month! Mostly it was for my college PR campaign, where we represent a fictional company and build a campaign for them. Ours is called Make With Love and it’s a handicraft business so please drop by and check it out!

Originally posted on Make With Love:

corner bookmark final  corner bookmarks 4

corner bookmarks 3  corner bookmarks 5

purrfect IMG_0191

IMG_0207  IMG_0212

cattext 20150226_223249 20150226_223223

20150226_215029 20150226_215057 20150226_220218

View original

DIY Corner Bookmarks

that90'skid:

I posted a better DIY post on making corner bookmarks on this blog for my college PR campaign so please check it out!

Originally posted on Make With Love:

DIY corner bookmarks

Freebie bookmarks that you get in the store can be so dull and we all know it. So why not make your own? When we asked people this question, most of them said that it was too much effort, too difficult or that when they did make their own bookmarks, they just didn’t look good enough to grace their books pages.

Well, that’s where corner bookmarks come in. They’re fun, quirky, creative and more importantly, they’re so easy! Made in just four steps, they’re perfect for adults, teens and children.

Take a look at how to make them!

WHAT YOU NEED

20150225_183557_resized

  • Coloured paper (We’d recommend using thick paper as  your bookmark will last longer that way.)
  • A scale
  • Scissors
  • Glue
  • Markers and Sketch pens (for detailing and designing)
  • Pencil
  • Eraser

INSTRUCTIONS

Step 1: Take a piece of coloured paper and with a scale, draw three 6 cm squares. (We recommend…

View original 130 more words

The Reread Challenge: Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

This is the third book I’ve read as part of the Re-Read Challenge.

WHEN I First Read

When I was around seven or eight years old, my dad and I were going to India to visit the family. The first thing I packed in my suitcase was Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban and a few other books to keep me company on the journey. I finished the third book while staying at my grandmothers house and remember waking up every morning to find my cousin reading it, utterly engrossed. She would read it when I was sleeping because I was very protective of it. However, on finishing  the book, I deemed it the least interesting of the three and gave my cousin my copy.
 
WHAT I Remember
I didn’t like the the third book as much probably because I LOVED the second one so much that it significantly raised my expectations and the Prisoner of Azkaban failed in this regard. Hermione was hardly there in the book apart from arguments with Ron and being hidden behind a stack of books throughout the year which I found disappointing. I remember feeling distressed whenever Ron and Hermione argued as if I were in the middle of it all. Suffice to say, I hate it when any of them fight. On the humorous side, I’ll never forget how hard I chortled when Ron made a ‘fellytone’ call to the Dursleys.

“HELLO? HELLO? CAN YOU HEAR ME? I- WANT- TO-TALK-TO- HARRY – POTTER!”Ron was yelling so loudly that Uncle Vernon jumped and held the receiver a foot away from his ear…

It’s hilarious :)
WHY I Wanted to Re-Read
In all honesty, the only reason I picked up the book in the library was because I wanted to read the whole series all over again. It wasn’t at the top of my TBR pile or even in it, for that matter.
 
HOW I Felt After Re-Reading
Unlike the second book, I didn’t recall all that much while reading the third owing to my initial disinterest. That was why surprisingly, this was the most enjoyable re read so far! In fact it didn’t even feel like a re read and I could enjoy the book with a different mindset. Yes, I still agree with younger me that the plot is weaker comparatively especially with the excessive focus on Quidditch, but it wasn’t as bad as I’d made myself think. I think the problem was that the third book deals with a lot of teenage angst and worries that I was too young to understand.
Harry’s rule breaking and  rebelliousness in visiting Hogsmeade without permission,  Hermione’s anxiety about her excessive course work and Ron’s inability to cope with inevitable loss (i.e the death of Scabbers) are all things that I can relate to and understand now. An important lesson for me was found in Hermione’s story line in how you ought not to bite off more than you can chew. When Hermione is told that she doesn’t possess a gift for Divination she comes to accept that there’s no shame in not being good at everything. It’s something I came to accept in school as well. Like Hermione, my source of pressure was more often than not from myself which is why I could really identify with her in this book.
Perhaps that is why I still feel uneasy reading about Ron and Hermione’s arguments.The best thing about all their fighting is that the little things between them really shone like when Hermione worried about Ron’s safety after he was nearly attacked by Sirius and when Snape called her an insufferable know it all, Ron came to her defense saying, ” You asked us a question and she knows the answer! Why ask if you don’t want to be told?”. Snape, displeased, gave him detention.
But then contrasting Snape’s menacing teaching is the admirable Professor Lupin.We all have that incredible, kind and understanding teacher who makes everything seem okay and that is exactly what Lupin is. He is that teacher who would rather teach you something useful than something in a book for the sake of an exam. We need more teachers like Lupin, teachers who we can trust and turn to for help…especially at that age. I would be just as sad as Harry to see him leave especially because of the great student-teacher bond they’d developed.
Also, I would have liked to have been able to read more about Sirius especially because as readers we need more time to come to terms with the fact that he is not the monster he was made out to be throughout the whole book. Unfortunately, this need is left unsatisfied towards the end.
WOULD I Re-Read Again
If I decide to read the series all over again, I would have to read this one too. But would I read the The Prisoner of Azkaban on its own and not in order? I was surprised to find that the answer is yes considering how terrible my first impression was. This is the first time the re read challenge made me look at a book differently and that’s why it’s wonderful.

How Mrs. Gruwell Eradicated Prejudice and Discrimination in the film Freedom Writers

In the film Freedom Writers (based on true events), students at Woodrow Wilson High School resort to physical violence and shoot at other gangs. A young and enthusiastic teacher, Erin Gruwell, wishes to make her class of at-risk teenagers read Romeo and Juliet but her colleague, Mrs. Campbell, tells her that the condensed version of the play was more than they could handle. Another colleague, Mr. Gelford blames these very at-risk students for the school’s academic deterioration.

Mrs. Campbell’s belief that at-risk students are incapable of learning is an example of a stereotype (generalized beliefs and expectations about social groups and their members). The negative attitude towards these coloured students harboured by Mr.Gelford is a case of prejudice (negative evaluations of groups and their members based solely on their membership in that group) while the gang violence rife in the school is a solid example of discrimination (negative behaviour toward members of a particular group).

What is fascinating to see in the film is how real-life teacher Erin Gruwell employed various effective techniques to unite her class across all races and backgrounds and how, with time, her efforts paid off in full, impacting the lives of her students. She first mitigated the negative effects of stereotypes before attempting to eradicate prejudice and discrimination seeing as stereotypes are the grassroots level of the problem.

Here are some of the ways in which she achieved this:

Employing the Jigsaw Process

Woodrow Wilson High School implemented a voluntary integration program where students of all races could gain admission as a form of desegregation. However, it’s not enough to just thrust these students into the same class and expect social harmony. Since classrooms can be competitive environments, self-fulfilling prophecies are created for both minority (eg. blacks and latinos) and majority (whites) group members. Stephen found that minority students suffer from decreased self esteem after desegregation which is seen in the case of Mrs. Gruwell’s class.

For this purpose, Aronson et al. devised something called the jigsaw classroom to improve the classroom atmosphere by serving a dual purpose of reducing prejudice and raising self-esteem. This is done by placing students in small desegregated groups where they have to depend on members of their groups to finish their work. Jigsaw works because it breaks down in-group and out-group categorization, making students think of their class as a single group instead. Another reason jigsaw is effective is because it places students in a favour-doing situation, causing them to like those who do them favours. Studies have shown that integration is more successful in jigsaw classrooms and this can clearly be seen in Mrs. Gruwell’s class once she changes the seating arrangement.

A jigsaw classroom

Providing information about the objects of stereotyping

When Mrs. Gruwell made her class do a “Toast for Change”, it allowed everyone to open up about their struggles and how they would attempt to change them. This exercise provided crucial information that made her students see that each and every one of them had their own struggles and this made them more empathetic with one another.

Reducing Stereotype Vulnerability

According to Claude Steele, many African Americans suffer from obstacles to performance that stem from awareness of society’s stereotypes about them which is called stereotype vulnerability. African American students and other minority students who receive education from teachers who doubt their potential and set up special remedial classes for them come to accept stereotypes that claim they are prone to failure. Mrs. Gruwell points this out to Mrs. Campbell when her request for more challenging reading material to give her class is denied because, according to Campbell, even simple abridged versions of literary texts are difficult enough for them. Disregarding this view, Gruwell succeeds in giving her class more difficult coursework and has faith in her students performance which pays off as they rise to the challenge and actually become eager to learn.

Increasing contact between the target of stereotyping and the holder of the stereotype

This may be one of the most effective ways to erode prejudice. According to Allport’s contact hypothesis, bringing members of different groups into informal, interpersonal contact with one another will reduce prejudice. This is why the field trip to the museum and the lunch with different Holocaust survivors played a crucial role in breaking down existing prejudicial barriers between the students.

Also having a common goal to work towards that promotes mutual interdependence helps. You can see this in effect when all the students work together on fundraisers.

Ultimately, Erin Gruwell’s success story is one from which many teachers who face similar issues concerning classroom harmony can learn from and is quite inspirational. It reaffirms that prejudice can be eradicated and we just need to make that effort to break down those barriers we’ve constructed for ourselves and others.

References:

4 out of 5 dentists recommend this blog :)

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 262 other followers

%d bloggers like this: