Category Archives: Friday Five

Friday Five: Favourite texts to teach

Long time no post (as always)…

My year 8 class is currently studying a book that I studied when I was their age, and we are all loving it so much that I started thinking about the other texts that I enjoy teaching, and that I have (in my short career) used with a range of year groups and schools.

  1. Tomorrow, When The War Began
    My year 8 class is in the middle of a comparative essay assessment for this text. We read the book, watched the TV show and the film over the last five weeks (plus school holidays). TWTWB is a novel that I really got into when I was in high school, and it is a book (and series) that is so unique in its plot, writing, characters, themes and issues. That idea of “what would you do if your country was invaded” is something that should seem inaccessible to teenagers today. But the way that John Marsden tells the story of Ellie and her friends is so compelling and vivid, so emotional and raw and above all else real, that I think it uniquely appeals to teenagers. The group of characters all have their flaws and are so different that I think everyone can identify with at least some part of a character. I used to live near a local airport, and whenever I read book one and then heard the planes flying at night, i would freak myself out so badly!
    This is also a series that I can never put down; once I read the first book I often read the other six within the week, and the same happened when I was teaching the book this term – I spent the first week of my holidays engrossed in guerrilla warfare and teenage terrorists.
  2. The Princess Bride
    My year 8s looked at this movie at the start of the year, looking at characterisation, genre and film conventions. I adore this movie, and (selfishly) as a teacher I don’t like to teach texts that I don’t know or like. So when the opportunity came up for my year 7s last year to start looking at narrative conventions and characters, I had the idea to show them this movie. They loved it, after complaining at first that it was sure to be an old black and white movie, if it was made in the 80s.. I got them to do a character analysis on how one character in the story changed as a result of the events in the movie, some of them crafted some exquisite responses!
    I have also read the book, which quickly became one of my all time favourites as soon as I started reading it.
  3. The Outsiders
    2626920066_091dc0a914_zI first read The Outsiders when I was in year 10. I was amazed that such a seminal, rite-of-passage text that resonated with my male classmates was written by a girl no older than I was (at the time). Since then, I have used that text with my mostly male, disengaged classes. I have found that they identify with at least something in the novel, whether it is the loyalty and devotion of the three Curtis boys, the hero worship of Dallas Winston or the lonely bravado of Johnny. I think The Outsiders is a book that you could study on many levels; whether it is to introduce themes and issues as I did this year with a hard year 10 group, plot and conflict with my year 9s last year or parallel characters and debating with my year 9s in my first semester of teaching.
    The Outsiders was one of the first books that I remember reading in high school that I know have had lessons stay with me into adulthood. It was Ponyboy and Johnny that I turned to when facing my first novel study with my first “smart” class, and it is the lessons that they taught me that I try pass on to my students.
  4. Invictus

    yes, i know this is the actual event, not a picture from the movie.

    This one is a bit more personal for me. I saw this movie with my brother and my dad at the movies, and I left crying and proud to be South African. As an English text though, I think that Invictus has a lot to offer. It explores issues of racism, class systems, sports, politics, history and civics. I first used it with a hard year 10 class last year, and they looked at it more as a film study, with issues and themes the main focus. My year 10 class this year was very similar. We had previously watched a documentary called Pacific Warriors (my class has a lot of rugby specialist program kids) looking at the issues of inequality and funding in sports. I think the kids get a lot from Invictus, from looking at a moment in history and events that seemed too unreal to be true, to being able to watch a good sports movie.
    I also like to teach it because it allows my students to get to know me a bit better. My family lived through a lot of the circumstances in the movie. My granny was a great hockey player who was not allowed to represent South Africa because of the colour of her skin, my mother was a great ice skater who was on her skating team as one of the “token” two coloured girls, and my grandpa would constantly talk about how great Madiba was. The movie is very real for me even though I have never really lived in South Africa, and I think lets my students see me as an actual “person” with a history and heritage that I am proud of. We also have a giggle at me being near tears at the end of the movie EVERY. SINGLE. TIME i watch it!

  5. Guardians of the Galaxy
    This one less as a “study” text, more as an “end of term” text. I have shown this movie at the end of terms since it came out, and every single class i have shown it to (8,9,10,12s) have enjoyed it. I adore it, and i think it’s perfect in its quirkiness!

Hope your Friday is less chaotic than mine! Would love some suggestions for go-to English texts, my tendency to stick to the familiar can at times be limiting…



Friday Five: Things I’m grateful for

SO I’m currently having a less than perfect day at school, and I thought it would  be good (for my sanity) to remember that there are things happening that are pretty damn awesome.

  1.  Persuading (really just telling, #teacher) my year 9 English class that my favourite movie “Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist” is a better option than watching “The Avengers” and then watching it with them this afternoon!
  2.  Finding the folder of photos with my little sister that I thought I lost.
  3.  Knowing I have two whole days off, and six days until holidays!
  4.  That there is a huge stack of books at home waiting for me to escape into them.
  5.  Cookie Lyon

    I was ultra close to this today….

Hope your Friday is going better than mine!



Friday Five: Fictional Fanatic

Happy Friday everyone! Summer in Perth means there is sport a-plenty, and when it gets too hot to go outside while waiting for the next Australian Open match to start, I turn to my many fictional loves. This week I’ll spotlight five (or probably more) of my favourite fictional sporting teams/figures.

Dillon High Panthers


East Compton High Clovers/Rancho Carne High Toros


Average Joe’s/Globo Gym Purple Cobras

Tree Hill High Ravens

Mighty Ducks (couldn’t pick between animated
or Gordon Bombay, until this:) 


Who do you love to support? How are you spending your weekend?


Friday Five: Laying the SmackDown

One of my odd quirks (yes.. we’ll call it a quirk) is my slight obsession with professional wrestling. It all started through my brother; I remember watching Fully Loaded with him and one of his friends while on a sleepover, and while probably not age appropriate (it was the Fully Loaded where Sable and Jacqueline had their bikini contest with the hands on boobs, I was 11, brother was 8) I was immediately hooked. Fast forward to today, where thanks to the joys of the internet I can re-watch all the Attitude/Invasion/Golden era wrestling I like on the WWE Network for just $9.99… Really it’s more, when you factor in exchange rates and what not. But so far it has been a really good investment.

AND it just so happens that half of my year 11 class are very into wrestling also. I have had to stop myself on more than one occasion from letting my lessons devolve into discussions on Raw and John Cena. My actually classroom has even been touched by my obsession; the room number is F5 so naturally I have a poster of this on my whiteboard:

Brock Lesnar F5-ing the Undertaker. Classroom is also called F5, I giggled.

So in honour of this week’s 15 Years of SmackDown celebrations (which I have somehow avoided any spoilers on), here are my top five wrestlers I will always go nuts for if they make a surprise appearance anywhere.

  1. The Rock

    I am so glad I didn’t read any online news feeds this week. The appearance of The Rock on RAW this week was one of the best things I have seen in the WWE this year. Very intriguing the way he was brought onto TV to essentially dial up the heat for one of the young heel prospects. Now however I have read that there are rumours of a Rock/Triple H match at Wrestlemania 31. Which I will also go nuts for, should it ever happen. The Rock is one of my all time favourite wrestlers, actors, gym rats, all around person. For as long as I have been a wrestling fan, he has been right there. And as long as he is doing anything, I will be there SO HARD.
  2. Chris Jericho

    Another one of my lifelong favourites, if not my number one. In a similar situation to The Rock, it was one day earlier this year I was harmlessly sitting down to watch Raw and then BAM!! I am waking my brother up with some serious squealing. Chris Jericho is an insanely talented performer, and the Walls of Jericho is one of the more legitimately painful moves I’ve ever seen (or felt.. there may have been an incident when my brother and I were younger and we tried it out. Never again). I love watching him, and I love watching his early days on the Network. He is still one of the most charismatic and just amazing wrestlers on the microphone, even if I didn’t really like his program with Bray Wyatt. School tie here too; one of my rotating computer backgrounds on my computer at work is good old Y2J, my year 11s don’t get the appeal but that is because they are just babies, too young to remember the great days.

  3. Jeff Hardy (also Matt, and any combination of Dudley Boys and Edge and Christian)

    Almost every one of my favourite matches have been ones where Jeff Hardy is involved. I was watching some of the old WWF vs WCW/ECW storylines yesterday and on the Invasion pay per view is a match between WWF’s Jeff Hardy, the Hardcore Champion, and ECW’s Rob Van Dam. Watching it, it instantly went right up there with the first Elimination Chamber match and Wrestlemania 20 as one of my all time favourites. Those triple threat TLC tag matches also are waaay up there. They formed some of the basis for my early love of wrestling, at first as the young girl crushing on the good looking boys, and now as.. Well as the young lady still crushing on the good looking boys. I giggled all the way through Edge and Christian’s 15th Anniversary SmackDown Show that Totally Reeks of Awesomeness. Love them.

  4. Too Cool (Rikishi, Scotty 2 Hotty, Grand Master Sexay)

    An odd choice, but young Andrea adored them. Watching Old School Raw a few months ago, both my brother and I went NUTS when we heard that music, dancing along like the 21 and 24 year old idiots we are. I still chant along to The Worm in my bedroom when watching them on the WWE Network, they’re just so much fun. I also just found this, it my be my new favourite video:
  5. Shawn Michaels

    When I came into my wrestling obsession, Shawn Michaels was mostly gone. However, then came that classic feud with Triple H that culminated in the first ever Elimination Chamber Match and one of my all time favourite moments ever. I have loved him since then, enjoyed watching him go through a career renaissance and be the most charismatic man on television. His matches with Chris Jericho are still some of my favourites, and I mega love watching the friendship with Triple H on TV (Side note, I also love watching Stephanie McMahon and Triple H together on TV, seeing that actual relationship come through is something special)

I’m hoping today’s 15 Years of SmackDown is just as magical as I am hoping it is. I want to see a lot of throw backs, and quite frankly I will be disappointed if at least one of the above performers is not on my screen during the program. And thus, one of my secret shames. I watch WWE as a kind of stress reliever, I call my soap opera plus punching. What surprising shames do you have?

Hope you can smell what The Rock is cooking!


UPDATE: Just watched the SmackDown 15 episode, expecting a whole lot of fun throw backs and returns. There three in total, (and really even then, only two that mattered to me anyway) and none of them were even that worth mentioning (although I do love me some Teddy Mack and Booker T, this was the 15th anniversary celebration of SmackDown, you couldn’t pull out one fun return? I would have been happy with some cruiserweight action, or even some Jamie Noble!). All in all, disappointing.

Friday Five: Spring/Fall TV

Ahoy-hoy! Long time no post, very naughty of me. Also very naughty of me: doing another list post instead of a more detailed one. Although I tend to over-elaborate on my lists anyway, so its like a “real” post.

The end of term three (shall write about that soon, pinky promise!) brings about the start of the new US TV season. And for a devoted fan like myself, this is better than Christmas. Finally, after a long cold winter, the answers to all our questions are (meant to be anyway) answered. A couple of my most pressing ones have been the following:

  • Who will Rayna choose? Can Scarlett just go away now?
  • Is Damon really gone for good? (although I don’t think the show could go on without him, and be honest with yourself, you don’t care so much about Bonnie).
  • Will Demon Dean do a better karaoke than “Eye of the Tiger”?
  • Having seen Tina moon after boys, and Louise’s first crush, with Gene find love?
  • How annoying will the Frozen/Once crossover storyline be? How annoyed will I get at the Once podcast I listen to for adamantly refusing to acknowledge the fact that Disney is not the king of all stories?
  • Laurie and Travis having a baby?! What?!?!
  • Will Winston ever get less weird?

Among many, many others. At last count (and yes, I am such a TV geek that I keep a list) there are 38 shows that I am going to watch this season. When you factor in the shows that have just wrapped up (e.g. Pretty Little Liars, Broad City), the “midseason” shows (e.g. Cougar Town, Veep, Game of Thrones) and the online shows (Sailor Moon Crystal, Play It Again Dick) that number gets close to 70 if not more. Obsessive? Just a tad.  Continue reading Friday Five: Spring/Fall TV

Friday Five: Beauty Stuff

Despite having grown up in the world of modelling, I have never really been big on beauty and make up and all that regular girl stuff. I’ve very lucky to be blessed with hair that does anything I ask of it (and as an African girl, this is even more bizarre) as well as problem free skin and in-fashion eyebrows (I could be wrong, I have been told I have no fashion sense by two of my most trusted friends). So I have never really invested in expensive beauty treatments (not that beauty treatments need to be expensive) or invested a lot my time in my appearance. I realise this probably manifests itself in various issues I have, but besides my fitness I’ve always been fairly happy with the way I look.

Today I thought I would make a list of the beauty items I do ascribe to and that I think are must haves; for the woman who has plenty of time on her hands, but choses instead to watch Bob’s Burgers and read Hello Giggles in her pyjamas. Continue reading Friday Five: Beauty Stuff

Friday Five: Greatest Non-Champions (Day 83)

Greatest NBA Players* To Never Win A Title

*Let me first preface this by saying, this is based largely on players that I have seen play live, not old videos, so really it’s my list of greatest players never to win a title. I haven’t seen much if any of the NBA prior to 2004 so my thoughts are based on that. Let me again emphasise this: I am making my list up of players that I have watched live. So feel free to educate me! I am also not going to include current players who are still in the midst of their careers such as Dwight Howard or Carmelo Anthony (though I make an exception for Steve Nash because as much as it pains me to admit I feel his time is coming) I will also here admit to a teenage love for Luke Walton after watching one of the Detroit/Lakers finals games where he must have played almost average or something. So clearly I am not too discriminating in my tastes but hopefully this week’s list is a little more educated than that.

Reggie Miller
I feel that this is all that needs to be said about Reggie Miller:

Karl Malone (and I’ll also add here John Stockton though I’ve never seen him play)

Steve Nash

In 2010 and at age 36 Steve Nash beat three point guards in their early 20s in the All Star weekend Skills Challenge. While yes, there are certainly other things that hold a lot more merit; this is still one of the ones I love most about Nash. How many people wish he had stayed in Phoenix now, especially this season?

Charles Barkley (I haven’t seen him play, but from old games I have seen and of course Space Jam this seems like a no brainer. I am of course joking about Space Jam.

Dikembe Mutombo

Honourable Mentions (retired or near): Tracy McGrady, Brandon Roy, Vince Carter, Allen Iverson, Grant Hill

Honourable Mentions (current): Derrick Rose, Chris Paul, Kevin Durant, Dwight Howard

Players formerly on my list: Kevin Garnett, Dirk Nowitzki, Jason Kidd

Let me know what you think! Who have I missed (of the era I’ve covered)?


Friday Five: Happy Valentine’s Day to my true love (Day 76)

I personally am of the belief that you should spoil the person you love most every day of the year, and not just on February 14th. So for Valentine ’s Day this year I am giving to you all moments of deep, meaningful and true love for me: sporting related incidents. These are a tiny, TINY selection of sporting moments that have truly moved me, and that represent everything that I truly love about sport.

  1. Dirk Nowitzki and Jason Kidd win their first championship with the Dallas Mavericks at the end of the first year of Miami’s Big Three.
    This win had the added bonus of depriving LeBron and company of a championship, but I was surprised at how emotional I got when Dirk and Kidd took to the podium. Both players have always been on my “greatest to never win a title” list and I think I was just so floored to finally be able to watch them achieve something long deserved. Now if dear old Steve Nash had just stayed in Phoenix, this year may have been his year to get off that list!
  2. April 28th, 2012. 1:20 left in game one of the Bulls/76ers round one playoff series.
    I don’t even have words for this one. Watching it now still devastates me, and knowing what it meant to not just one team, or one city, but an entire world full of basketball fans that would now be deprived of watching one of the most deserving players get his chance to shine. My eyes are actually stinging now at the thought, and perhaps my biggest basketball related fear is that his career highlights are only ever going to be before April 28th, 2012.
  3. John Aloisi kicking the penalty against Uruguay that takes the Socceroos to the 2006 FIFA World Cup.
    This was the kick that sent millions of Australians back onto the soccer bandwagon (I will apologise ahead of time for calling it soccer, but unless they change their names to the Footballroos, it is easier). I remember watching this with my dad and even without knowing much about Australian soccer at the time, knowing that I was watching history. Even now seeing a clip of that footage, hearing the commentator yell “ALOIIIISIIII!!” gives me chills. It is just a phenomenal moment and lead to one of my favourite World Cups ever.
  4. Towards the end of Invictus (fictional, yes, but based on the incredibly inspiring and true story so I believe it counts) where the team visits Robben Island and then when the whole stadium erupts after the Springboks win.
    As a proud South African, even though I have no accent to speak of and have only spent a combined one year in the country of my birth, this movie just does something to me. The combination of phenomenal performances and rugby, and knowing that even now the Springboks are still the best team in the world, makes this movie full of really emotional moments for me. Fun fact: every time I watch Invictus I pick up a really odd South African hybrid way of talking for a couple of hours.
  5. The West Coast Eagles winning the 2006 AFL Grand Final. 
    2006 was a rough year for me, not just because it was my final year of high school, but because of a lot of personal stuff that was happening too. Someone else who had a rough start to 2006 was good old Benjamin Cousins. I don’t know if it’s because I grew up in a diehard Eagles household watching a baby Ben Cousins play in the blue and gold from the min-90s, but I cannot stop loving him. So watching the course his season took from losing the captaincy, to being brought onto the podium by Brownlow Medallist Chris Judd to be the first to touch the premiership trophy was something truly special to me. In a truly tough year for me, I turned quite heavily to sport as my drug of choice and I will always remember this moment with a smile and a tear in my eye.

Like I’ve said though, there are about a billion other moments (watching the 2010 World Cup opening ceremony, Nadal fighting through back pain this year at the Australian Open, watching the Perth Wildcats win their first championship in ten years, the 2009 first round playoff series between the Bulls and the Celtics) that really hit me. I have a love for sports that any man is going to find difficult to replicate!

Hope you guys have a great Valentine’s Day! Me, I shall be watching basketball and getting ready for All Star Weekend.


Friday Five: Gilmore Boys Who Made It Big (Day 41)

I have been a Gilmore Girl from when it was first broadcast in Australia on Channel 9. I can remember sitting with my mum watching it, and being at some family party and sneaking into my cousin’s bedroom to watch the one where Rory turned 16. In all my years watching this delightful show, one thing always hits me: the incredible amount of dreamy young actors that the show produced. So in no particular order, and with the dates of their first GG appearance and of their post GG fame (and more than five, because I can!):

Dean Forester (Jared Padalecki, 2000-2005)Dean

Dean was Rory’s first everything pretty much. I personally am not the hugest fan of his but in rewatching season one episodes, he is just so adorable with his floppy hair and tall boy awkwardness. Dean eventually got married, had an affair with Rory then faded into Stars Hollow when the affair came out. Jared Padalecki then went on to become the brother of a Dean, as Sam Winchester (2005-present) in Supernatural.


Tristan DuGrey (Chad Michael Murray, 2000-2001)chad1
Tristan was Dean’s Chilton rival, poor boy. I would always choose Tristan over Den, but then again I have a thing for the worst possible guys.
chad2Lucas Scott (One Tree Hill, 2003-2009, 2012)

Dave Rygalski (Adam Brody, 2002-2003)AdamDaveRygalskiadam2

Seth Cohen (The OC, 2003-2007)

Jess Mariano (Milo Ventimiglia, 2001-2006)Jess-jess-mariano-23217484-494-700Peter Petrelli (Heroes, 2006-2010)

Logan Huntzberger (Matt Czuchry, 2004-2007)logan1THE GOOD WIFE
Cary Agos (The Good Wife, 2009-present)

Zach Van Gerbig (Todd Lowe, 2002-2007)todd_zachTodd-LoweTerry Bellefluer (True Blood, 2008-2013)

Alex Lesman (Billy Burke, 2003)

Lorelai---Alex-gilmore-girls-139988_533_400In the course of my reading, I discovered that Alex is the one boyfriend that Lorelai did not technically break up with, on screen anyway.

billy1Charlie Swan (Twilight, 2008-2012) billy2and Miles  Matheson (Revolution, 2012-present)

Luke (Dean’s Friend) (Max Greenfield, 2003)max4Who was also Deputy Sheriff Leo D’Amato (Veronica Mars, 2005-2007, 2014)max2a Young Sandy Cohen (The OC, 2007) max3and Schmidt (New Girl, 2011-present) max1

Graham Sullivan (Teddy Dunn, 2004) 

702088_320Rory goes on a date with Graham at the end of season four, the date where she calls Dean to come rescue her and thus begins the affair.. Graham then goes on to a little town called Neptune, California where he becomes Duncan Kane, ill-fated boyfriend of Veronica Mars the same year he is on GG until his run on Veronica Mars ended in 2006.
duncan-kane-profileNot to mention Brandon Routh in a season one cameo before he was Superman, Jon Hamm in the season three episode where Lorelai asks her mother for a guy’s phone number, Sebastian Bach as Gil,  Scott Cohen as Max, Nick Offerman as creepy cousin Beau, and the delightful Daniel Pudi working at the Yale Daily News.

The moral of this story? Gilmore Girls is amazing and all time, and society owes it a significant debt.  
Have a great weekend!

Friday Five: Summertime Series (Day 34)

Sweltering heat plus holidays equals a lot of indoor time. While I occasionally spend that time at friend’s houses or at movies, more often than not I sprawl out on the couch or my bed and turn to my favourite summer time TV shows.

The following five I watch year round. They always make me feel warmer, and in the mood to sit at the beach discussing relationship problems and solving mysteries with a bottle of wine.

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  1. Summerland
  2. The OC
  3. Cougar Town
  4. Laguna Beach
  5. Veronica Mars

Also see:

Hope you enjoy the sunshine while it lasts in this unseasonably cloudy and cool January so far!