The students of the London Nautical School 7F English class have spent much of the year working independenty on their "Reading Passports". This is a film of excerpts from the presentations they devised based on thoughts that arose from this wide reading programme.
Log Entry: Origami from Angelfish to Zen – Peter Engel
This book is one of the most interesting non-fiction books that I have read: including a mixture of religion, science- the study of nature, mathematics and also the history of origami. It is a mixture of subjects that I never would have thought I would have come across.
Part one – Crossing the divide
Religion comes into Origami because of one of the masters of Origami, a man who has spent the whole of his life studying the folding of a sheet of paper. But that man was also highly linked with religion, believing that if he was stuck on a model he would just pray and think and god would then give him an answer. His name is Akira Yoshizawa. Yoshizawa was more on the Zen side of things. He was a man who wanted the best model he could, and not to cheat himself while folding. To do this he folded out of old fashioned paper, not mass produced, believing that it lasted longer and had a better feeling to it. Also he insisted on using the proper shapes, he allowed himself to use rectangles of paper as long as there were no inward cuts in the paper- so for example he would allow himself to use an equilateral triangle, but he would not let himself use a star as it he considered it to be cheating using already pointed points to fold. He would also not allow himself to cut the model. Yoshizawa made thousands of models in his lifetime: approximately 3 models a day. He is one of the masters of origami.
The book investigates the crossing of the line between thinking in the way of the Zen while folding (what Yoshizawa was doing), and folding with the maths. Showing this are studies from Esher’s tessellations, from black to white, side by side, morphing in-between each other: http://www.rockjwalker.com/images/photos/416a.jpg
Part two – The Floating Square
In this section the author explains in a more mathematical way the properties of the square and maths behind it. It also investigates how to make origami with technology.
Near the beginning of this section the author talks about the first thought of origami, the mechanism to what you do when you want to invent a model. So if you wanted to fold a snake, then your first immediate response would be to pleat the paper from corner to corner giving the best possible length, making a long thin snake- but then you think: wait, hasn’t that been used thousands of times by thousands of other folders? Could there be another possible way to do it? So then you think through your entire possible snake names in memory until one strikes you- a snake that is coiled up! Then you think of a way of making that, a pleated square curled round to meet itself, but unaligned by one pleat. Then the process goes on from there thinking about how to link the two sides of the sheet together. So the process is not just a sudden “Oh, I am going to make a snake and I know how to get a good base for it.” There requires thinking, crossing out options and more thinking and then a solution could form. This section includes a big subject of critical thinking skills, and finding processes. It is sudden realisation that is interesting: many folders and people who have tried to find things get that “Eureka” moment when least expected. This is probably because even though they do not realize it, while they are in their sleep or just relaxing their mind is working around the solution, so sometimes you could just wake up in your sleep with the answer.
Peter Engel then moves on with the discovery of invention, stating that ‘Simple elements make beautiful works’. That is how the world was made and how nature invents, it gets a few simple elements, multiplied and does whatever it wants with them and get a beautiful thing. One example for this, is snow; the Koch snowflake. An equilateral triangle duplicated millions of times, just this can make a beautiful thing. In that case a snowflake. So now the maths is linked in… … And then music. Music can be compared with origami because of its simple elements becoming a big picture. But now comes in the complex part of computerized invention. To make computerized music is not too difficult, just stick some random notes in and see how it sounds. But that makes a kind of randomly generated music called White music (noise). There is not really any relation between the notes put into it; this means that we want a pattern linking the notes. But this music is too ordered: it is called Brownian music (noise). Then there’s I/f music, neither too random nor too ordered, but this music is still too bland. This is linked to origami because no matter how hard you try to use computer technology to invent models, they lack the creativity of nature and man.
From this book, the main point I learned was how so many subjects are linked together although you may not realize it.
This review is a good example of where a student has read at a deeper level. He has engaged with the humour and surface story-lines but at the same time has seen beneath this to some of the underlying themes and intentions of the graphic writer.
Calvin and Hobbes, There’s Treasure Everywhere is a very interesting and humorous book for the following reasons:
There’s Treasure Everywhere is a very interesting book because through the character Calvin, Bill Waterson shows his perception on the world. For example, Calvin often starts talking about American politics or about TV commercials. One example is when Calvin is watching TV, he sees the adverts come on and once they are finished he calls his mum and says that he didn’t know about any of the stuff in the adverts, so he has got to have all of it to try it! I think the author is trying to portray how some adverts are hypnotic; they MAKE you want what they are advertising. I think he was also trying to show children’s reactions to adverts and how unsuspecting they are and how much they will nag you to get it. This is one reason why There’s Treasure Everywhere is an interesting and humorous book.
Furthermore, There’s Treasure Everywhere is a very humorous book because whilst the author is trying to show the world though their eyes, he makes it easy reading by making it humorous. Using this technique he manages to get across his thoughts and keep people reading and enjoying them. For example, throughout the whole book it shows how having a vivid imagination can be very lifelike and funny. He also shows how some people are too clever for their own good, or are smarty-pants, are quite funny but annoying. He puts this across in an extremely funny way. One example of a funny scene about Calvin having a vivid imagination is when he is eating, and his food gets up and starts reciting the main speech in Hamlet, suddenly it stops! Calvin blinks twice and then suddenly the food is up again singing “Feeeelings!” In the next frame Calvin has eaten it in one go! This is why There’s Treasure Everywhere is an interesting and humorous book.
For these reasons Calvin and Hobbes, There’s Treasure Everywhere is a fantastic book which is humorous and interesting.
People are doing some brilliant work for their Reading Passports. I’m going to put some of them here so that everyone can take a look – but remember your responses to this project are personal to the student, and there isn’t a fixed format that has to be followed. Hopefully the different examples will help you to shape your own responses using a format and focus that suits you best. As always, feel free to use the post and comment functions on this or your own blogs to ask questions.
This excellent piece is from Peter:
Title: Stig of the Dump
Author: Clive King
Genre: Fiction Drama
Stig of the Dump is a funny fiction drama that tells the story of when a young boy named Barney encounters a cave man style character called Stig, and the journeys they then embark on. When Barney tries to share his secret of the boy living wild in the dump, no one believes him nevertheless they go on to become great friends.
In this book Clive King makes me want to read on by connecting me to a character that isn’t in the story the whole time, enticing me to read on to where he is in the story. I think this is a clever and effective technique. Although Barney was very imaginative and adventurous and I enjoyed reading about how he helped Stig, I found it difficult to relate to him because of the way that he spoke and acted, making it seem like he was from a completely different environment.
The two main characters are Stig and Barney who together make an amazing team. With Stigs experience of living in the wild and Barney’s knowledge of modern-day technology they are able to make a secure and comfortable place of rest for Stig with the limited resources available in the dump.
My rating out of ten: 6
What I like: Imagination, Fearlessness
What I don’t like: Smugness and general outlook to other people
My rating out of ten: 9
What I like: Funny, Sudden change of mood, and dumb in a funny way.
What I don’t like: Nothing
The story starts by getting straight into the events; it was a grey day and Barney had nothing to do and therefore decided to go to the place that nobody wants to go to and everyone is told not to go to… the dreaded dump! The dump is an old digging site that had been abandoned many years ago and since then people tend to throw their rubbish and unwanted items in there. There were rumours that if you go to close to the edge, the ground would give way. But Barney wanted to see it for himself; it was the wrong day to mess with fate. As soon as he got close enough to the edge, the ground underneath him crumbled and he fell down towards the bottom of the pit. Luckily he became entangled with vines and hung inside a den-like looking area until he suddenly heard a voice that made a noise that sounded like ‘Stig’. This new character then used a knife made out of flint to cut him down.
The story then goes on to show Stig and Barney’s relationship develop and how Barney tries to teach Stig the modern-day life. Barney helps Stig to speak English; they also make some massive improvements to his den (they give him a chimney and a fire, small delicate windows that let in some light, and they extend his den). Barney also learns an amazingly enormous amount from Stig, for example: how to live in the ruthless wild, how to cave and dig, and most interestingly, how to live like a cave man.
During this time they also experience many dreadful events, including fighting off robbers from Barneys’ Grandmothers’ house, repeatedly trying to convince his family that Stig was real, and also protecting Stigs’ den from mischievous children.
The last event in this book starts off in a midsummer night (actually the longest day of the year) when Barney attempts to stay awake all night. He knew that there was no chance on earth that he would stay awake with nothing to do, so he came to the conclusion that he should go and see Stig. While everyone was asleep, he crept out of the house. As he left the building he heard his sisters high-pitched voice call out to him from her bedroom window. She then, to Barney’s advantage, asked to come with him. This could be the chance for him to prove to her that Stig was real. So they headed off to the den. In the dead of night everything looked different and they managed to find themselves lost, and then their dog Dinah became separated from them. They carried on in the direction they thought might be home, eventually coming to a relieving sight of a fire in the distance and on closer inspections, some huts. They then journeyed over to where they huts were to find a large group of Stigs! These included men, women and children. There was an obvious leader amongst them who seamed to be telling a story to them in the Stig language. They also found a band of men playing abstract instruments, and to their surprise Stig was one of them.
Time passed till suddenly Barney noticed a thumping sound that continued to get louder like it was coming closer, like a giant walking towards them. It soon started to sound like there was a heaving noise, like a giant whose feet were to heavy for him to carry. Barney, his sister Lou and the rest of the group came to investigate. The story ends with them finding out it was more cave men pulling three massive rocks to make a temple/home for the chief.
With the readathon now a cloud of dust in the rear view mirror, it’s time to capitalise on the momentum it created and look at reading for the rest of the year. This takes the form of the Reading Passport (the details of which you can read and print from the embedded guide below).
Some of the most interesting features of this project are the fact that films are included as ‘visual texts’, that everyone is expected to read from a wide range of genre and text-type and that the “three watchmarks per text” reward still applies.
The journal that accompanies this project is to be written into the students’ private blogs – and students who wish it have also be invited to become contributors to this, the class’ main public site too.
As always examples of excellent or original work will be placed on this public class journal for everyone to enjoy.
The majority of the reading and viewing for this project is expected to be completed at home, but some time will also be given in class.
Download your own copy: Year 7F Reading Passport 2011