Thursday, 25 December 2008

Season's Greetings!

Merry Christmas!

Yes, Christmas Day is here at last, and hopefully some of you are waking up this morning to find that Father Christmas has left you a copy of What is Myrrh Anyway? in your stocking!

I hope you all have a wonderful day and remember you can listen to me, Dom Joly and Danny Wallace deconstructing the midwinter feast on Radio 5 Live from 12 noon.

So we keep the olden greeting
With its meaning deep and true,
And wish a merrie Christmas
And a happy New Year to you.
(Old English saying)

Monday, 15 December 2008

If you liked Match Wits with the Kids...

... then why not try these similarly-inspired titles?

Homework for Grown-ups

Don't know your isosceles from your equilateral? Forgotten what actually happened in 1066? Do you know when you've left a participle hanging? And are you left slack-jawed when your children ask you what 'quid pro quo' means? Bewildered already? Fret no longer. Homework for Grown-ups swots up on mathematics (covering algebra, Pythagoras' theorem, prime numbers and the Fibonacci sequence), English grammar and literature (do you know how to read a poem?), chemistry and the sciences (including the Big Bang theory), geography (can you name the planets in order?), history (how to remember the kings and queens of Britain, plus the Romans and the Magna Carta), art, Latin, modern languages, PE, home economics, and much more. Packed with essential facts, figures and theories, along with fun but challenging test papers to keep you on your toes and reignite those dormant brain-cells, Homework for Grown-ups is a practical and wonderfully nostalgic revision guide for adults.
I Used to Know That: Stuff You Forgot from School

If you've forgotten the capital city of Chile; the basics of osmosis; how to solve a quadratic equation; the names of the Bennet sisters in Pride and Prejudice; who wrote the famous poem about daffodils; the use of a conjunction or the number of continents in the world, I Used to Know That will provide all the answers. A light-hearted and informative reminder of all the things that we learnt in school but have since become relegated to the backs of our minds, I Used to Know That features hundreds of important snippets of wisdom, facts, theories, equations, phrases, rules and sayings. It is a practical guide to turn to when an answer is eluding you, when helping a child with homework or preparing them for the new school year, or maybe just to brush up on trivia for the pub quiz. I Used to Know That covers English Language and Literature, Mathematics, Biology, Chemistry, Physics, History, Geography and General Studies, so never again will you find yourself stumped!
My Grammar and I (Or Should That be 'Me'?): Old-School Ways to Sharpen Your English

For anyone who has ever had a problem with dangling modifiers and split infinitives, or for those who have no idea what these things even are, My Grammar and I provides all the answers. Taking you on a tour of the English language, through a veritable minefield of rules and conditions for the grammatically unaware, and highlighting the common pitfalls that every English language user faces on a day to day basis, My Grammar and I also offers amusing examples of awful grammar, while steering you in the direction of grammatical greatness. Factual and witty, My Grammar and I is the perfect gift for all English language sticklers for Christmas 2008.
I Before E (Except After C): Old-School Ways to Remember Stuff

'My Very Elegant Mother Just Sat Upon Nine Porcupines' reminds us of the order of the planets in the Solar System. This is a compilation of memory aids guaranteed to simplify masses of confusing facts on numerous subjects, including rhymes, acronyms, rules, phrases and diagrams. It offers an eclectic mix of reference and nostalgia. It is the only book you'll ever need that features more mnemonics than you'll ever need to know. Something for everyone, the book covers a number of different subjects - history to mathematics, mythology to physics, music to the human body and many more. Ever find yourself struggling to remember simple facts and rules? Is the ever increasing pace of life and glut of information challenging your memory? I Before E (Except After C) is full of memory aids to help you out. From well-known rhymes such as the popular 'Thirty days hath September, April, June and November', memorable sayings including 'Spring forward, fall back', and mnemonics such as 'Richard of York Gave Battle in Vain', to a selection of more modern methods of boosting one's failing memory, I Before E is the definitive guide to help you to unjumble your mind and improve your ability to recall names, dates, facts, figures and events, and contains all the mnemonics you'll ever need to know.
Remember, Remember (The Fifth of November): The History of Britain in Bite-Sized Chunks

Britain and its people have a long and noble history that is now over 2000 years old. Like all the best stories it is one of blood, death, love, sex and betrayal, yet also a tale of courage, honour, pride, skill, invention, endurance and, sometimes, just pure luck. Remember, Remember is a history of Britain in bitesize chunks, containing all of the important dates, people and events that we should know, reminding us of what we've forgotten from school and perhaps teaching us something new.Go back in time to: sneer at Bad King John as he is forced to sign the Magna Carta; suffer the agonies of the black death; charge with Henry V against the French at Agincourt; see the birth of the Industrial Revolution; watch the coronation of the nineteen-old-princess who gave us the term 'Victorian'; and take heart from the courage and endurance of the men who fought and endured the horrors of both world wars. Concise, authoritative yet wonderfully entertaining, Remember, Remember makes history interesting and accessible for everyone once again.
Thirty Days Has September : Cool Ways to Remember Stuff

This book provides handy tips - literally. Discover how to use your knuckles to remember which months have 31 days, and your thumb and finger to tell right from left. Find out how to use your fingers to help you master the nine times table.Employ excellent spelling solutions for pesky words such as 'difficulty', 'because' and 'Mississippi'. Forgetting will become history as you learn when Christopher Columbus sailed to America: In fourteen hundred and ninety-two Columbus sailed the ocean blue and found this land, land of the Free, beloved by you, beloved by me. And don't forget those helpful mnemonics: Vowels - Albert's Elbow Is Often Ugly; Planets - My Very Educated Mother Just Served Us Nine Pizzas; Music - Every Good Boy Deserves Favour; and, Spelling - I before E, except after C. Sometimes tried and tested ways really are the best.

And then of course there is...
Match Wits with the Kids: A Little Learning for All the Family

How does photosynthesis work? Who was the first Tudor king? What is a preposition, or a conjunction? What causes a tsunami? If you're caught In flagrante delicto what has happened? And how do you calculate the area of a triangle? Answering all the questions you're afraid to admit you need to ask, Match Wits with the Kids covers all the key school subjects - Maths, English, Science, History, Geography and languages. Jonathan Green, a highly experienced teacher and popular author, provides in a nutshell everything you need to refresh your memory. Including tests to see if you've taken it all in, Match Wits with the Kids is a lot of fun - and the ideal read for anyone feeling threatened by know-it-all children.

Happy shopping.

Friday, 5 December 2008

Punished over push-ups

I read today that a schoolteacher has been suspended after making his pupils do push-ups as a punishment for arriving late to class.

This, naturally, raises all sorts of issues and you can read more about them here. H0wever, two things interested me in particular about this story.

1) Different punishments for latecomers had been discussed by the whole class and that it was the pupils who had suggested push-ups.

2) This all happened at Derby Moor Community Sports College.

So kids who go to sports college are discouraged from taking part in extra physical activities are they? Have the people involved in this teacher's suspension forgotten the old adage, 'a healthy body, a healthy mind'?

Academy: A modern school where football is taught. - Ambrose Bierce (1842-1914) - The Devil's Dictionary, 1911

Thursday, 4 December 2008

Meet Radio 5 Live's Christmologist - at Acton Christmas Fair

I will be at Acton Christmas Fair, this Saturday, 6 December, from 11.00am until 6.00pm, selling and signing copies of my book, What is Myrrh Anyway? Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Christmas.

I will also be happy to (try to) answer your Christmas questions. And you can hear me doing just that on Christmas Day, at midday, on Radio 5 Live's Dom and Danny Do Christmas.
So, maybe I'll see you there.

Friday, 21 November 2008

The ideal Christmas present for the intellectually minded

Struggling to think of a suitable gift for the armchair genius in your home? Then why not have them testing the little grey cells on Christmas Day with a copy of the ever-popular Match Wits with the Kids?

And then, for the festively-minded there's What is Myrrh Anyway? which answers all the questions you've ever wanted to ask about the Christmas season, and some you haven't.

For the science fiction and fantasy fan in your family, why not try the Pax Britannia steampunk-action-adventure novels Unnatural History and Leviathan Rising?

And if you're looking for stocking fillers for the kids, you could do a lot worse than get them a few gamebooks - The Horror of Howling Hill, Howl of the Werewolf, Bloodbones, Curse of the Mummy, Spellbreaker - which will keep them occupied while you're getting Christmas dinner on the go. Or even Go, Go Crazy For Those Bones, for the younger GoGo's fan.

Doctor Who Day at Ealing Library

Just to remind you... I will be at Ealing Central Library tomorrow, Saturday 22 November, taking part in their Doctor Who Day, selling and signing copies of my Doctor Who Decide Your Destiny book The Horror of Howling Hill.

(Did you know, over 100,000 Doctor Who Decide Your Destiny titles have been sold so far?)

I will also have copies of my new Christmas book What is Myrrh Anyway? available to buy.

You'll be able to meet a Dalek at 10.00am-12.00pm and 2.00pm-4.00pm, and also at 2.00pm author Nick Griffiths will be talking about his book Dalek I Loved You. There will be games, quizzes, and competitions to take part in as well.

So maybe I'll see you there...

Wednesday, 22 October 2008

Putting the bang back into Chemistry

For many of a certain age, Chemistry at school conjures up images of flaring magnesium whizzing around a bowl of water, tests for hydrogen resulting in satisfying explosions and exciting reactions which result in a change of colour or, even better, an exothermic reaction!

But living in the decade of Health & Safety as we are, all that might be about to come to an end, as Mike Kent writes in the TES.

Tuesday, 14 October 2008

Platonic Solids rock!

If you've not been following Marcus du Sautoy's The Story of Maths (on BBC 4), you've missed a treat. No, seriously!

Marcus du Sautoy's approach and delivery remind me of a rather less manic Adam Hart-Davis (who is himself a national treasure) and help to make the history of Mathematics not only interesting but informative as well.

And you can still watch the first episode here, and in the process find out more about Pythagoras' Theorem, Euclidean geometry and the Platonic solids. Or, alternatively, you could watch this clip here.

Of course, all of the mathematical advances mentioned above also get a mention in Match Wits with the Kids, along with a clear explanation. You can pick up your copy of the book here.

Monday, 13 October 2008

The Story of Maths

Have you ever wondered how a subject that is vital to our every day lives - even our very existence - ever came about? Without it there would be no physics, no chemistry, no statistics, no geometry, no cosmology, no commerce, no accurate means of time-keeping, no aviation... Need I go on?

Mathematics is the Empress of the Sciences. In an age of uncertainty, mathematics is the only discipline that generates knowledge that’s immutably, incontestably, and eternally true. But how did this most important of all intellectual disciplines develop through the ages?

Well, wonder no more. Marcus du Sautoy, Professor of Mathematics at the University of Oxford, is here to help and he has all the answers. Simply tune into BBC 4's new series The Story of Maths and you will be both amazed, intrigued and educated. What more could you want?

Saturday, 4 October 2008

How should British history be taught?

The shadow Schools Secretary Michael Gove has set the cat amongst the pigeons by attacking how history is taught. He believes that lessons should make pupils proud of our past, but the question is, is he right?

Well, in a multicultural society such as ours, this could be something of a challenge. There's plenty within the history of the British people that is horribly embarrassing or even downright shameful. However, equally, there have been some incredible moments and many glorious achievements.

This question has provoked the Independent newspaper to poll a number of well-known historians about what they consider to be the ten most important dates in British history. To see what the likes of Tristram Hunt, Dan Snow and Tracy Borman have to say on this matter, click here.

But what do you consider to be the 10 most important dates that children should know? Why not post your answer here, by replying to this post. And if you need reminding what sort of events could make your list, why not read the chapter on History in Match Wits with the Kids?

Friday, 3 October 2008

If you don’t use it, you lose it!

Susan Whelan, a world literatures feature writer based in Canada (as far as I can tell), has written a very comprehensive - not to say glowing - review about Match Wits with the Kids over at

Her review is from the point of view of an overseas reader and points at that in the current edition there is, naturally, a bias towards British History and Geography. However, she also points out that Match Wits gives readers an excellent General Knowledge overview. As she says, 'In the years between attending school and parenting a school-aged child many facts and details well-known during school years go astray' and that 'many adults have discovered the truth of the adage “If you don’t use it, you lose it”, struggling to recall information that was well known at the age of ten.'

If you would like to read more of Susan's review, particularly if you yourself at not based in the UK but have considered getting hold of a copy of Match Wits with the Kids, then click here.

Thursday, 2 October 2008

What is Myrrh Anyway? Released today!

Yes, it's like all your Christmases have come at once - What is Myrrh Anyway? is finally released today!

It should be in all good bookshops now or, failing that, you can buy it online.

And in case you're new to this blog and wondering where the title of the book comes from, click the video link below.

Sunday, 28 September 2008

Dungeons and Dragons and Key Stage 3 Maths

It sounds like the start of a bad joke doesn't it?

'I say, I say, I say. What do the role-playing game Dungeons & Dragons and Key Stage 3 Maths have in common?'

But it's not. It is, in fact, all to do with one teacher's attempts to involve his pupils in the demands of the modern Mathematics curriculum.

I immediately latched onto this article from the TES due to my long-held interest in fantasy gaming (in one of my many authorial guises I write Fighting Fantasy gamebooks and wargaming novels) and it makes for intriguing reading.

My one concern regarding such an approach is that having got hooked on role-playing games, how do you then get your mind out of the dungeon and back into the classroom. And that's just from the teacher's perspective!

What is Myrrh Anyway? Out this week!

Hark, I am the bearer of glad tidings, to you and all your kin. For lo, What is Myrrh Anyway? is out this week!

So that's all your Christmas shopping needs sorted, in one easy to read, easy to wrap book, that's the ideal size to fit inside your Christmas stocking!

What is Myrrh Anyway? hits the shops this Thursday, but you can already order it online at Amazon.

Ho, ho, ho.

Tuesday, 16 September 2008

SATs - Stress About Tests

A little controversy for a Tuesday night.

According to last week's TES, an online survey has revealed that many parents believe SATs cause too much stress in children and that they also have little or no confidence in the abilities of their children’s teachers.

Now - putting the SATs thing to one side for a moment - as a teacher and the parent of a child at school, I immediately feel very defensive about such a finding. But the fact remains that many parents do perceive teachers in this way, which is as much a damning comment about the image of education in this country as it is about any particular teacher's ability to do the job.

And certainly exams will always bring with them a certain amount of anxiety but the important thing is to learn to manage this stress. I suspect that some of those parents who think that SATs are too stressful for children are also the ones worrying about how their children will fair and so impose their own anxieties onto their children, making the whole thing a self-fulfilling prophecy.

To read more about this topic click here. To find a simple solution to exam stress, click here, and take with a warm drink at bedtime.

Friday, 12 September 2008

What is Myrrh Anyway?

Much excitement in the Green househould this morning, as my author copies of What is Myrrh Anyway? have arrived. And for what started out as a relatively short stocking filler of a book, it's actually turned out to be quite a weighty little book on the subject of Christmas and its traditions.So if you've always wondered why Christmas Day falls on 25 December (and not the 15 Augcember, for anyone who's seen the new series of Harry and Paul on BBC1), or can't understand why Brussels sprouts are always on the menu for Christmas dinner, then this little Christmas cracker of a book is the one for you.

The book isn't officially published by Icon Books until 2 October, but it is available to pre-order over on Amazon. And you can discover more fun and fascinating facts about the festive season over on the dedicated What is Myrrh Anyway? blog.

Ho, ho, ho.

Wednesday, 10 September 2008

The Big Bang: Take 2

This morning, scientists on the Franco-Swiss border will flip the switch on the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) - a.k.a. The Big Bang Machine - a 12 storey high, 17-mile long underground ring, built at a cost of £5b, buried more than 300ft under the Alpine foothills, where subatomic particles will be accelerated to astonishing speeds and then smashed into each other.

The LHC will blast protons - one of the building blocks of atoms - at a velocity close to the speed of light, generating temperatures of more than a trillion degrees centigrade. Each proton beam will pack as much energy as a Eurostar train travelling at 150 kilometres per hour. The resulting collisions will hopefully replicate conditions found in the moments following the Big Bang - or the beginning of the universe - and scientists will study the fallout. Let's just hope nothing goes wrong!

And if you're worried that man's meddling is going to create a black hole under the Alps which will suck the Earth into it, then have a look at this to help calm your nerves.

Monday, 8 September 2008

Match Wits at the Science Museum

I was at London's Science Museum on Sunday and popped into the branch of Waterstone's that they have there - an occupational hazard when you're a writer. I was very pleased to see that they had The Horror of Howling Hill (my Doctor Who adventure) there among the other DW merchandise, but also Match Wits with the Kids.

There's plenty in the Science section of Match Wits that you can tie to exhibits at the Science Museum, which has many practical models to help demonstrate how things work. There are even links to the History section with the development of the Industrial Revolution.

From the shelves of the museum bookshop it was quite clear that there has been a recent explosion in books about school and schooling aimed at adults, everything from Homework for Grown-Ups to England: 1000 Things You Need to Know.

But if you want one all-encompassing book that takes the subject seriously (whilst presenting it in a light-hearted way), that keeps it up to date and relevant for the modern generation of school-goers as well, then you can't beat Match Wits with the Kids.

Saturday, 30 August 2008

Match Wits with the Kids reviewed in Junior Magazine

In readiness for the new school year, Match Wits with the Kids is reviewed in the October edition of Junior Magazine. And a very positive review it gets too (on page 129, if you happen to have a copy to hand).

In fact, if you haven't done so already, right about now is the perfect time to pick up a copy of Match Wits. Not only are a number of booksellers running offers on the book at the moment, but by reading it now, you'll be pre-empting all those difficult questions that are likely to face you in the coming months - whether you're the one going to school, or you're the parent of one of those going to school.

Saturday, 16 August 2008

A-levels: are they getting easier, or are students getting smarter?

The A-level results for 2008 were published on Thursday and, once again, show that more exams were passed than ever before - with more students achieving grade As.

This seems to be a common occurrence in recent years and instantly provokes comments that exams are getting easier, whilst the poor A-level students are wanting to celebrate their fabulous achievements.

But the question remains: are exams getting easier, or is the teaching and learning that's taking place becoming more effective?

A top Welsh academic last night hit back at A-level critics by saying this year’s exam questions were as hard now as when he sat his exams in 1961. But at the same time it was reported that the Maths department at Warwick University are getting prospective students to sit an extra exam to rate their mathematical ability.

And so the debate rages on. To read what Mary Bousted has to say in the Independent, click here. To read about how the introduction of diplomas as an alternative to A-levels next year will help give students a broader range of skills, click here. And to read about how the A-level pass rate now tops 97%, click here.

What do you think? Are you the parent of an A-level student? Are you a celebrating examinee yourself? Or are you preparing to take A-levels in the next year or so? Whoever you are, why not have your say here?

But, for now, congratulations to everyone who's celebrating exam success this summer.

Thursday, 7 August 2008

Match Wits gets 5 stars (again)!

Match Wits with the Kids has been given a 5-star customer review on W H Smith's webstore (to go with the 5-star review on Amazon). To find out more (and buy your own copy) click here.

Sunday, 3 August 2008

Match Wits at Number 5 in Smiths

Having seen (or heard) of several different W H Smiths stores having Match Wits with the Kids at number 5 in their non-fiction books chart, I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that Match Wits is the 5th best-selling non-fiction book in W H Smiths nationwide - which is nice.

I'm very happy with that position seeing as how the book's only really beaten by a couple of autobiographies and something a lot more lurid than an adult revision guide.

While I'm here I would also like to thank the staff of the Ealing branch of Waterstone's. I was in there on Saturday and, seeing Match Wits on display at the till point, got chatting. The long and the short of it is that they asked me to sign on the copies they had on display - which they then stuck with the appropriate stickers - and also told me that the book was selling rather well - which was nice, as well.

If you haven't picked up a copy yet, what are you waiting for? The Independent said, 'This jolly compendium will enlighten all who dip in... Green deserves 10/10.'

You can purchase one right now by clicking on the appropriate box in the sidebar to the right. Which would be nice.

Friday, 18 July 2008

Match Wits with the Kids giveaway

We gave away free copies of Match Wits with the Kids this morning outside the Department for Children, Schools and Families - see more here:

Sunday, 13 July 2008

The Massive Match Wits Giveaway!

How would you like to have a copy of Match Wits with the Kids, signed by the author... and for free?

Well, if you would, then make sure you're outside the Department for Children, Schools and Families (Sanctuary Buildings, Great Smith Street, London, SW1P 3BT) between 8.00am and 10.00am this Friday 18 July 2008.

Icon Books are going to be giving away 500 free copies of Match Wits with the Kids and I'll be there to sign them as well. All those involved in the giveaway will be wearing Match Wits t-shirts and will be happy to explain why this is the most important book of the summer.

Match Wits with the Kids - a little learning for all the family!

Match Wits on the Sunday Schedule

This morning I was fortunate enough to be interviewed on the Sunday Schedule, on BBC London, by Lesley Joseph and Roland Rivron, live in the studio. As well as talking about my latest publication Match Wits with the Kids, I also got to test the two presenters' knowledge with a genuine quiz from the book and make an exclusive announcement, live on air.

Roland Rivron, Jonathan Green and Lesley Joseph

Lesley and Roland were both delightful and really made me feel at ease, and I think that came through in the interview. If you missed it, you can listen to it again here - the interview is about 1hr 45mins into the show.

And as to the exclusive announcement I made for the first time on the Sunday Schedule, I'll be posting more details about it here soon. So, watch this space.

Saturday, 12 July 2008

JG on BBC London 94.9

Tomorrow morning, Sunday 13 July (in case you're reading this any time other than Saturday night) I am going to be on the Sunday Schedule, with Lesley Joseph and Roland Rivron, on BBC London radio 94.9FM.

If you're able to, why not tune in at around 10.30am to hear about, not only Match Wits with the Kids, but also an event linked to the book that will be taking place in central London this coming Tuesday. You really don't want to miss this!

Friday, 11 July 2008

The Brain Gym Controversy

Working in schools (an occupational hazard of being a teacher) I have come across Brain Gym on a number of occasions. In case you don't know, Brain Gym is a system of kinesthetics that puts forward the idea that certain exercises and postures aid children's learning. It is widely used in British state schools.

However, despite its popularity, like anything that's successful, it comes with its very own controversial baggage. There are those who have disputed the validity of Brain Gym's theoretical foundation and its alleged results, citing it as an example of 'bad science'*.

You can find out more about the proposed benefits of Brain Gym as an aid to children's learning here, whereas you can read more about one sceptic's view here.

Personally, I don't feel well-informed (or practised enough in this area) to make a call one way or another. All that I would say is that even if the science behind Brain Gym wouldn't stand up to in-depth scientific scrutiny, if the simple action of carrying out the Brain Gym exercises before starting a lesson or a task helps a child focus on the work they have to do then is that really such a bad thing. After all, placebos have been proved to make a difference in certain medical trials.

Maybe it's just a case of mind over matter, but if that is the case, then it doesn't matter and I don't mind. If it works for you...

* What's 'good science' then? The atom bomb?

Monday, 7 July 2008

Match Wits on

I was interviewed by Maurice Boland today on Radio Europe Mediterraneo talking about Match Wits with the Kids. Maurice was very complimentary about the book and didn't ask me too many tricky questions.

Hopefully there will be something up on's website in due course about Match Wits and there may be the possibility to listen to the interview in the future as well.

But for now you'll just have to settle for reading the book itself. Enjoy!

Saturday, 5 July 2008

Match Wits with the Kids up for grabs

Totz2Teens have three copies of Match Wits with the Kids to give away. The closing date for the competition is 29 July, so get yourself over to their website and answer their deceptively simple question.

I say deceptively because the competition entry question is (and I quote), 'Jonathan Green has written another book - Please name it?'

Now those of you who've been paying attention will have worked out by now that I have written more than two books (I'm actually half-way through my twentieth at the moment) but don't worry - the answer to the question is really very straightforward.

Match Wits on Radio Europe Mediterraneo

If you missed my last radio interview, then you have another chance to hear me talk about Match Wits With the Kids this Monday (7 July) at approximately 12.25pm on Radio Europe Mediterraneo, Spain's premier News/Talk radio station in English.

If you are able to pick up and are free to listen at lunchtime, then tune in next week and learn a little more about the book that everyone's* talking about.

* Everyone in the Green household, that is.

Wednesday, 2 July 2008

Visit my new store

I have recently created my own online store, with the aid of Amazon Associates, so if you would like to purchase any of the books written by myself simply follow the link at the top of the sidebar, or click here.

Tuesday, 1 July 2008

Match Wits with your 11 year-old self

As has been reported elsewhere, Match Wits with the Kids is not the only book out at the moment that reminds parents of what they once knew. But now a new book of exam questions taken from the old-style 11-plus exam has begged the seemingly perennial question - are exams getting easier?

You can read more about The Eleven-Plus Book: Genuine Exam Questions From Yesteryear here, and try out a some of the questions from the test for yourself here. Do you think exams are getting easier? Do you think that teachers should make a return to the teaching methods they used when you were at school? Let us know how you get on and have your say on the matter here.

Monday, 30 June 2008

Subliminal education

You've probably heard of subliminal advertising, but what about receiving a subliminal education? Well that seems to be the goal of video games developer Capcom and Nipan Maniar, a senior lecturer in creative technologies at the University of Portsmouth, who is described as a 'leading academic'.

The plan appears to be to embed subliminal lessons, which address subject areas that many students find hard to grasp such as maths and physics, into game play. According to Maniar, 'The power of games as a learning tool is the great untapped education resource of our time.'

But how do you feel about video games companies having the power to influence how children learn and what they learn? Do you agree with Maniar that this could be the next big thing in education, or do you have fears that this is just another example of technology being used irresponsibly, as was implied by this particular news item.

To read more about Capcom's plans, click here.

Match Wits is Book of the Month!

At least it is in W H Smith in Hammersmith.

If Smiths think Match Wits with the Kids is good enough to be non-fiction book of the month, don't you think it must be good enough for you too?

(Thanks to Catherine for the heads up on this one.)

Fun Learning

Part of the appeal of Match Wits with the Kids is that it promotes learning as a fun experience to be enjoyed by all.

Well how about this example of fun learning, as proposed by the rather appropriately named Mr Rolls, and witnessed recently on a school trip to Kew Gardens?

I don't know which part I found more amusing; the actual rolling down the hill or the laborious preparations beforehand.

But that's what I call fun learning!

Match Wits in Harrods

I happened to find myself in Harrods the other day (as you do from time to time when you live in London and it's your wife's birthday) and I happened across Match Wits with the Kids in the Waterstones store there.

I also happened to happen across a number of my other recent publications including my science fiction steampunk novel Leviathan Rising, my Doctor Who book The Horror of Howling Hill and several Fighting Fantasy gamebooks I had written.

As they say, there's only one Harrods, and there's only one Match Wits with the Kids too!

It pays to know your spellings

As reported in The Times newspaper, a GCSE student has gained marks in an exam for swearing on paper.

It just goes to show that a little accurate spelling can go a long way. It's just unfortunate for the expletive-expressing teenager that he didn't decide to write a little more on his exam paper or he might have earned himself more than just 2 marks out of 27.

Match Wits with the Kids has a whole section on spelling, including a number of useful spelling rules and a list of those words which are commonly misspelled.

So, if spelling isn't your strong suit you could do a lot worse than pick up a copy of the book here. We just wouldn't recommend resorting to the Anglo-Saxon vernacular when it comes to putting it into practice.

Saturday, 28 June 2008

Win a copy of Match Wits With the Kids

Over at Parenting Without Tears they are offering 20 people the chance to win a copy of Match Wits With the Kids.

To enter their competition, just follow this link.

Love Reading loves Match Wits

I was very pleased to find Match Wits with the Kids at

As they say on their site, 'We don’t usually use Lovereading4kids to tell parents about a book that is perfect for you the parent this summer, but with this one we couldn’t resist.'

Go over there and check it out.