How to Read More

I agree. Reading’s hard work; especially when you’re thinking of all the other books that you just have to read. The stress of it all can make you want to skip the book you’re on- if only for the satisfaction of getting through your 49th book this year.

The book you’re reading at the moment, however breath-taking, can still become a bit of a drag when you look at the long, dreaded, ever-growing list of books to buy and read. It’s like some sort of serpent that grows longer and longer until it’s ready to coil itself around you…okay- maybe not that serious.

Sitting down (even finding the time to do that) and reading with all these distractions flying around your head can make you struggle to enjoy the present page flicking moment.

If only you had a little more time…*

 

1.           Trust the person who brings a book. Everywhere. If there’s one advantage of technology, it’s that you can (not only read this time- consuming blog) read on your phone, kindle or kobo. Not only are they light, but super easy to carry around which means…yep! You can take your book anywhere and everywhere. Journeys to school, trips to the shops, in the car and basically wherever you want. All those small 5 minute bursts of reading will add up before you know it.

 

2.          Remember those old-fashioned heavy lumps of papers? They were pretty popular back in the day. It can help sometimes just to change the format that you’re reading on. Don’t get put off by the weight of 459 pages. Real life, hardback paper books can be a real investment. Expensive, yes- but owning a book that’s yours- and only yours- one that you can hold in your hands and feel the weight on your hands covered with paper cuts-that’s a reading experience. Changing to either a digital or paper book could also change your attitude and motivation to reading.

 

3.          Audiobooks. A gift from God. Whether you borrow one from the library to listen to on car journeys or download one on your phone- you can never go wrong. Unless, of course, the reader’s voice is so irritatingly annoying. In which case, I advise you to find another version of the book. When you can put up with the most terrible pronunciation of names, you can put up with anything. Think about the time you can save and how much you can read- or listen too- when walking from one place to another.

 

4.          Shorten your too read listen. Yep- you heard me.

‘So many books, so little time’.

So use those great prioritisation skills to help you fine tune what books you really want to read.  Use libraries to help- try reading a few chapters of a book before buying a copy yourself, especially if it’s a new author. You’re welcome, I’ve just saved you a ton money! Of course, the downside to a reader’s open mind is that you’ll probably end up with a few more books on your mind after a library visit. Perhaps even try a few short stories, poetry or even blogs… it is still reading after all!

 

5.          Do you have a regular reading habit? Find a quiet place. Sitting in the same room as a sibling playing ‘fortnite’ and constantly hearing the roar of guns is not very helpful.  Sit in your own comfort- try to make it a regular pattern, that way you’re more likely to stick to it. Through doing this you’re automatically reminded of the peaceful reading times you spend nearly every day at the same place. 

 

Now- do you really have any excuses for not having the time to read? Stop reading this blog: go and find yourself a good old book.

 

*I am not a magical witch who can summon and create time- but there are so many ways to make time for time… so I guess I am a magical after all

AGGS Training Day 2018

Our new Year 9 ambassadors were trained recently and AGGS hosted the Anti-Bullying training day for schools in Manchester. The Year 9s were joined by other passionate students from secondary schools and took part in a jam-packed day!

The students learnt how to recognise bullying, the different types of bullying and how their role as an Anti-Bullying ambassador is crucial at school. Along with a fun parachute game which allowed the ambassadors to think how everyone if different yet equal, they were able to develop leadership and communication skills and elected a team leader. Susi will be updating the Diana Award regularly about the progress the AGGS team make and will be able to ask for resources on behalf of the team. The team voted for a creative and enthusiastic leader; well done Susi!

After the other schools left, the AGGS team were able to sit with the staff from the Diana Award and discuss the individual roles they will have in the team. We had a range of roles, from very confident speakers to assembly presentation makers. Jaya and I look forward to working with the Year 9s in the next year and can’t wait to see how they continue to make AGGS a friendly, bully-free school.

So, the training day was a success! We all received goodies such as a new badge and wristbands and learnt valuable skills which will help us create a stronger and more efficient team at school.

Thank you to the Diana Award staff who visited us and we hope to see you soon!

Written by Hira, Year 12

What is Love? Hark, a shadow to my genius! – Debbie D

I have thought oft upon philosophy
And given it all my mind could be!
But one thing Plato could not solve
Was how that I could light the bulb
Of my own happiness, to a T!
 
‘Twas only recently I met Love
And thought that it would be enough
To make my spirit full of fire
So that my heart would never tire
And my smile would be a dove.
 
Yet through three months of tireless pain
I know that I can make no gain
Through heavy affairs of my heart
I cannot even begin to start
And all the skies can do is rain.
 
‘No!’ I declared to Cupid’s arrow
I will not let you wantonly harrow
My artist’s mind, and creative flame
My genius you shall never tame!
Like the curves of a bright green marrow.
 
Now through love I have full learned
Loving should be for spirit spurned
And while my heart may be but transient
My thoughts and words will become ancient
And my genius will be soon discerned.

What is Love? – Fatima A 7-5

Love is a rose, attractive to the eye. It comes in different colours; crimson, pale peach, saffron yellow, creamy white and soft fuchsia. It draws the attention of everyone as they stare in awe at the stunning flower. However, none are diverted by the look of the stem, covered in jagged, razor-sharp thorns. They grasp it quickly and greedily by the stem and their hands are pierced, blood is shed and tears of regret are brought to their eyes. But those who hold it gently watching out and avoiding the thorns find their way to the flower.Later though they forget to water their rose and it withers and die as grief and sadness floods over the owner drowning them in sorrow. But those who hold it carefully and nourish it, sustain it and maintain it are the ones who find their hearts beating with affection and unmistakeable delight. So hold your rose carefully and don’t forget to look after it because that is the best type of love.

What is Love? – Anaa M 11-1

I used to believe that love was overrated, a perpetual goal that was never meant to be taken seriously but accidentally became classed as one of the most important things in everyone’s lives, no matter who you were.

I used to think love mainly consisted of untimely commitment, stolen kisses, and experiences judged by how quickly or how far they can spread.

I used to think love was unreasonable, full of a hope that only worked until you learned the truth and realised that this idea of intimate gestures and coordinating outfits wasn’t worth the hype that media painted it out to be.

I used to be wrong.

It took me days of regret, months of realisation, constant self-correction, restless nights filled with fluctuating self-esteem, and the odd existential crisis here and there to figure out what love can truly be.

Love, I decided, can manifest itself in the most peculiar of ways: an insanely consistent set of top grades, forever immaculate acrylic nails, effortless and immediately recognisable style, immortal inside jokes, or even a quiet appreciation that goes unnoticed by most. It can be seen by those who aren’t looking for it and missed by those who are because it remains hushed, not needing the validation of popularity.

Love, I decided, is not something to be defined by mere alphabets. As if being enigmatic and ever-changing wasn’t enough, love is also wholly subjective and dependant on the individual. To some, love is the warmth of a genuine smile or intertwined fingers on a cold day but, to others, love is sharing a body spray or explaining the notes from a missed class because familiar metaphors work better than new analogies.

Love, I decided, is unpredictable. Some can lose themselves in the lyrics of a song where others can climb inside books and forget their worries; some can call their friends at ridiculous times and know they’ll have someone to listen; some can arrange a time and place knowing that they’ll do absolutely nothing, a friendly presence being the most important thing; and some can never utter words that reveal their inner emotions but reflect them with their facial expressions or actions instead.

Equally natural and mysterious, love is a term used both too commonly and not commonly enough.

It’s not as simple as a sentiment, it’s a lifestyle that can’t be categorised or easily recognised. Not limited to people, love can be expressed for just about anything we can – and can’t – fathom. Regardless of whether it’s circle theorems, midday naps, exhausting shopping hauls, or staring at the stars on a cloudless night, love is there with you.

It follows you around like a shadow forged from promises and happiness, laced with hope and healing and learning curves. It festers, but it’s not unwanted. It doesn’t have to touch you to fill you with power, with confidence, and sometimes, with a sense of overwhelming sadness that cannot be described.

Ultimately, love isn’t all about being comfortable, it’s more like accepting that you’re uncomfortable but managing to function nonetheless. In contrast to popular belief, love isn’t when you never feel upset and always feel on top of the world, it’s when you know you’re free to be melancholy because your sadness isn’t what defines you. Because, like it or not, love is what keeps the world spinning.

Of course, love is not two dimensional. Very few things are and abstract concepts can never be one of them, not as long as thoughtful beings like us are around to question, confuse, and complicate. Like most complex ideas, love can be painful and bitter and far more hurtful than even the sharpest of weapons, but it is always there, shifting and adapting, ready to battle on our behalf as soon as we believe in its existence.

So, why don’t we?

The Nature of Angels – Lucy W 9-4

When the sky is metallic and she drags mist across them with a magnet in a balloon, he is beside her: identical eyes, anime hair that seems soft enough to calm kittens but she doesn’t touch him. Of course not, she tells her mother through the fog over the lake of tea. She wriggles into her mountain of feathers; she speaks with a profound wisdom in her cheeks. Cooties coat his arms and giggles through the lenses of her female senses even as he climbs to cloud 9 to untangle their playmates and free the atmosphere.

 

In the midst of Winter, many winters in the future with ink still staining her nose, he knocks on her door with a beard and “I’m home” and wood tucked under his belt. She rather feels she relates to both owl, the pussycat and their pea-green boat, perhaps the boat most of all with its swaying smile in the embrace of such domestic bliss. There as a witness. Sitting in the middle of a cottage she glimpsed in a doll’s house. He is welcomed by familiarity in the fire which flares in appreciation of his arrival, the aga which he riddles and grills for thoughts with experience, not faltering and the cat which he pays as much attention to as he does her so that she almost feels it is she beneath his calloused fingers – shedding fur and purring into his lap. He seems to understand the foolishness of her wise, hypothetical actions.

 

He is a rugged pard, prowling into her life through a broken window pane, ebony as his brow. She worries. Full of stitches, she prepares to sew together stone with cracking needle – watch his crumble in a landslide beneath her catching fingers. Flinging his shadows wide across a blotted ceiling, he grabs her arms atop a creaking spinning chair, showing her polaroids of a world she never wanted to see. Colours paint the ground muddy with footprints on the blank masterpiece she worked so hard on until crystalline body parts amongst the mess. He is full of sudden philosophies that make no sense but darken her irises a little more; strolls down dingy alleys, spray paint on her arms. She wishes he’d return to her arms. Wants to bleed the black from his lips until he sings again. But knows that he’s already stuck in the ground, never again to look at the sky he darkened so considerably.

 

After hitting her 20th summer, she sees his shining sun of a head, the flowers he tucks into her hands before running off. He catches her eye with blushes and absurd glares before grabbing his own attention with continued conversation. Time is full of meadows she wraps around herself and calls her cloak; momentary selfies (in swimming costumes obviously, with ice cream she wipes from his chin with spittle and the sun their constant companion) that she will hang in her arteries and on her walls until he too is grey and can complain. She never takes them down, she knows.

 

But then she is thirty, there is someone with her in the middle of nothing, someone real, someone there but he is a brunette with timid mannerisms, a small stature and she loses hope that he’ll ever lead to him. Still, he convinces her to fall with coffee instead of tea. He shows her book pages in wood-work and weather, writes the world on her feet until she finally – finally – lets him ink a star on her finger. They speak words they could never write and read emotions they were never told about.

 

Eventually she is mid-way to four decades. Her stomach has swelled and burst, spraying life, laughter, tears into her mouth and eyes. She doesn’t care though because she’s wondered for too long and – holy – he is here, actually here, she can touch him, feel him, see him, know him –

 

As she cradles him in her arms, he is glass with a pulsing metronome bleeding through her fingertips, and she scolds herself silly for having thought she could predict the nature of angels.

Footsteps – Kitty D 9-2

Softly, I press my foot against your footsteps, divinely in touch with a place where you once were, a small simple connection, unseen to you. Onward you go and onward, always, I follow. I know where you’re going; you’re a creature of habit. That’s what makes it so easy.

Your warm breath twists and contorts in the bitterly cold atmosphere and I yearn to feel the same tortured warmth.

Sometimes, I’ll wrap myself in a sea of people, lost in my disguise, yet always my gaze is fixed on you. I lose you in a blind moment of panic, before you resurface, and I swear to never let you leave my sight.

I often wonder if you see me, feel me, know me in a similar depth to how I see, feel and know you. However, I pray to be invisible, unfelt and unknown as I’m perpetually terrified of losing sight, losing sense and losing you.

I recall our brief encounter that lived and died months ago, the ghost of which will always feel but a moment away to me. I remember the way you smiled, the way your breath stroked my face. My name escaped you, but nothing of you escaped me.

We’re connected in more ways than you think and in an infinite number of ways you’ll never know; I think it was meant to be so. My scrapbook of tokens and memories tells me this, as it whispers to me in the dark hours of the night. I finger each precious page of your existence and every item adds meaning to mine.

Softly, I press my foot against your footsteps, divinely in touch with you. As you walk away, you lead me on. I will always follow and perhaps one day remind you, I am just footsteps away.

What is Love? – Phoebe W 9-1

What is love – the question she would ask herself at night,
When on wings of shadow her joy had taken flight.
Love is but a torture, a devilish nightmare,
Persuading us to want things that are never really there.

 

What is love – the question she would ask herself at dawn,
When next to her sweet angel a hopefulness was born.
Love is something magical, a dreamy reverie,
That created all her shackles but somehow had the key.

 

What is love – the question she would scream up to the sky –
What’s the point of loving when your darling’s going to die?
Love is made to torture, Aphrodite doesn’t care,
And loneliness tastes bitter but it’s better than despair.

 

What is love – the question she would whisper at his grave,
For love could not have made him stay, nor could the tears she gave.
Love is something magical, melancholy, wild –
And it somehow made a woman from an angry, broken child.

Year 10 Moth in a China Shop Business Competition

A team of 5 Year 10 students have completed The Mr Hugh’s Charity Business Competition with a glowing report from the competition judge.

The challenge was to generate as much profit as possible whilst using the company’s products which are a range of Cold Pressed Rapeseed Oils.

Our students spotted a gap in the market for tasty hot snacks at lunchtime to cater for our increasingly busy students. With the co-operation of and infinite patience from Mrs Clutton and the Food Technology department, our students set up camp in F7 where they dished out a variety of home-made cakes and the highly popular…..Pot Noodles!

Over the course of the competition they generated a profit of £270.67 which gets distributed to The Moth in a China Shop Charity which was formed in memory of Arthur Mason; a keen rugby player and an advocate of the family business, Mr Hugh’s. Because of this the charity’s focus is on sport and health, offering support and education to all age groups in these areas.

The team scored an impressive 35/40 from the competition judge across 4 categories including 10/10 for their Business Plan.
Comments in the report included:

The team of five girls that created Food Eva had a very clear business objective from the beginning and clearly identified a gap in the market that they knew they could profit from
The presentation reflected their attention to detail, being bright and engaging, they also shared pictures of their progress during the challenge
At the beginning of the process the girls were educated in their use of a questionnaire to identify what products their target market would like to buy, then quickly set to the task of acquiring permission from relevant teachers as well as sourcing their products efficiently

The results will be announced in the coming weeks but regardless of the outcome the 5 students have already demonstrated great entrepreneurial skills. Well done to the team and all their helpers.
Team members are Rebecca J, Aaditi A, Yiyang Z, Katie D, Hope E