Hillcroft LRC

tulipsBW-800pxSuch phrases that are supposed to encourage hard work sometimes have the opposite effect. For example, being told to ‘put your nose to the grindstone’ could put off anyone for whom self-discipline is elusive, from ever studying again! In the New Scientist this week (Issue 3126, pp. 27-30) is a feature article called ‘Daydream believer’. It looks at what we can do to increase our focus at a long task such as revision, looking particularly at letting the mind wander around a topic.

Several studies suggest that letting yourself daydream intentionally about a topic which you are learning is a more effective strategy than forcing yourself to concentrate over a lengthy period.

So when you’re studying, don’t put your nose to the grindstone – tend to the thought garden. Consider the makeup of the flowers (the interesting parts), appreciate the insects and worms (the causes and unseen elements), imagine the sunshine and rain that will fall in the future (the bigger context and processes). Build up an intentional daydream about your topic of study. Mull things over not only when you’re at a desk or in the library, but when you’re in the shower, walking up from the station or making a cup of tea.

If this doesn’t appeal to you, there are other tried and tested memory techniques that are based on visualisation of the topic matters for instance in rooms of a “house”. Read about that tool in The Memory Book by Buzan and Harrison.

2017 Easy Read Guide to Voting in the General ElectionThe General Election is on 8 June. Our students on the Step Up to Functional Skills and Interviews course have been discussing this in class. As a result we’ve come up with some handy sources to help you vote in the election.

Easy News has created a special issue for April/May dedicated to the election. You can download this for free from the website.

The Electoral Commission has produced 2017 – an Easy Read Guide to Voting in the Election which explains:

  • what voting is and how it works
  • how to register to vote
  • what to do if you want to vote by post
  • how to get someone to vote on your behalf
  • how to vote at a polling station.

We also get the weekly newspaper First News which makes the news easier to understand. They are running a reader mock general election. Take a look at their General Election page for an easy read on what the different parties stand for.

Register to vote on the UK Government website. You will need your national insurance number. You can also register by post with this form if you live in England/Wales. You need to register by 1159am on Monday 22 May.  You can download this form to register for a vote by post if you are away from home on election day. Your Vote Matters website has a handy search engine so you can find your local authority to register to vote in person or send them a form to get a postal vote.

Last week we were delighted to find out that The Real Book Club had won a competition hosted by The Reading Agency. Studio Canal kindly sent us a set of ‘The Sense of an Ending’ and organised tickets for us to see the film version at the cinema. It’s a demanding read, but hopefully having watched the film it will help us visualise the characters and settings. We also have another film by the same director available to borrow in the LRC, called ‘The Lunchbox’. The Curzon Victoria cinema was a treat to visit with lush seats, screens and kind staff. Thank you!

Reading Well pile of books

We are in the process of adding titles from the Reading Agency’s Reading Well book selection into our library.

Health professionals and young people have recommended the books on the Reading Well. The books help you combat anxiety, depression, lack of confidence, stress, bullying and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD).

 

Here are the latest arrivals from the list which are on our shelves for you to borrow:

Kite Spirit by Sita Bramacharmi

The Self-Esteem Team’s Guide to Sex, Drugs and WTFs!! by Grace Barrett

House of Windows by Alexia Casale

Quiet the Mind: an Illustrated Guide on How to Meditate by Matthew Johnstone

Everyday by David Levithan

Blame My Brain  – the Amazing Teenage Brain Revealed by Nicola Morgan

I’ll Give Your the Sun by Jandy Nelson

We’ll post again when the next batch of titles have been added to our book shelves.

We hope you enjoyed the World Book Night Celebrations in the LRC today. We all learnt some new Scottish vocabulary and places while sipping some IRN BRU and nibbling on oatcakes and shortbread. In this to get us in the mood to read Jenny Colgan’s ‘A Very Distant Shore’ set in Scotland.

If you missed out we can still give out some of the activities and a few copies of the book ‘A Very Distant Shore’ next week. Have a lovely long weekend. Tell us what you think of the book. There are plenty more Quick Reads to borrow if you finish that one too quickly 😉

World Book Night 2017 logoThis year we’re celebrating World Book Night on Friday 28 April from 200-330 in the Learning Resources Centre for our students.

World Book Night rules have changed so our LRC is sponsoring a set of books to give away to our students. As usual we are keeping the title of the book secret. Why? Because our celebration event activities reflect the theme of the book! And not only that it feeds into our refreshments too.

We’ve already installed the surprise book onto our set of Kindles so any one wanting to try out the electronic reading experience can do so at the event.

Our activities will lead to prizes and there will be a chance for our attendees to get creative and talk about books they’ve enjoyed. We’ll be adding these recommendations onto the World Book Night Good Reads List. This year we have Wendy Morris from Kingston University Library joining us to celebrate. Wendy works with us and our reading group The Real Book Club whose next book is set to be Harry Bingham’s Quick Read Dead Simple.

Find out about the impact of World Book Night 2016 on the World Book Night report. And take a look at what we did at last year’s event on our Sway.

The Learning Resources team are all busy reading our chosen book in advance and making the activities…We look forward to the event on Friday.

Taking notesA few weeks ago at an Institute of Customer Service Assessor’s Forum I was getting a refresher on note taking which is an essential part of the Professional Qualifications assessment process. If you are new to taking notes then The Palgrave Study Skills Making Notes page outlines the different styles you can try.

It’s worth learning about the Cornell method where you split the paper into areas so you have an area for making notes on, another for summarising the key points/words/questions and another for condensing the main ideas. Wiki How to Take Cornell Notes will help you try this out. It was created at Cornell University.

Another note taking method is the Charting one where you have headed columns so you can log subjects that similar into the same column. This handy document from California Polytechnic State University explains how it works.

The Palgrave Study Skills Making Notes complements the Charting one outlining how to use pattern notes to create two columns, two different colours of notes or notes on two different set of pages to then make connections between the notes. One set of notes is a summary of what you hear and the other is a related analysis of what you think of it. This is a useful for making sure you don’t use someone else’s words or ideas. In other words it helps you avoid plagiarism when you use the notes for an essay.

Pattern notes is another style Palgrave recommend where you have a key idea in the centre then branch out to create notes that relate to the main theme and look at it more in-depth. They suggest you can use particular shapes to make the other ideas stand out and then find an overall image to help you recall what the notes and ideas are. This will be very useful for exams and where you need to turn your notes into an essay. This style of note taking is also known as mind maps, spidergrams or concept maps.

It’s worth getting a copy of Jeanne Godfrey’s Reading and Making Notes which is part of the Pocket Study Skills guide which explains how to make notes in an easy-digestible format.

If you want to get digital savvy then Popplet is a handy app you can use for creating notes in a graphic way. Download it here for Android or iOS devices.