Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Even Bigger Bunny!

Okay - now THAT's impressive! Thanks to Fuse 8 for the link.



Kids Lit has a fun post on how kids catch the book bug.

Also, in new blogs I found news, a lot of Children's blogs are linking to, or chatting about Mother Reader. So I went and took a gander. She has a fun, humourous blog. Especially liked her post about bees. It's nice to think you might have saved the world à la X-files.

And in entertaining pieces on non-kid lit blogs news - I enjoyed this post on Cherniak's blog. It turned out to be a spoof - the post was about a comment allegedly from Ashley MacIsaac that he was giving up fiddling until the previous Government`s child care plan was saved. This turned out to not be the case - but I enjoyed the idea of "Child care lent" and the ensuing discussion about various things one might "give up for the cause." Because, if it would help the children, I'd be more than happy to give up completing my Masters ...

Finally - few news pieces of interest from yesterday that I`d missed:

Courtesy of an Ottawa Citizen Profile on Summer Camps:
Visit the Ottawa Public Library this summer and take part in the TD Summer Reading Club 'Quest for Heroes.' Includes programs and events from super heroes to local heroes and all the stories in between. This will be a summer filled with mythical adventures, crafts and activities at all 33 branches and bookmobile stops. Check with your local branch, visit www.BiblioOttawaLibrary.ca or pick up Preview magazine at library branches or the bookmobile and community centres throughout the city after May 1 for details and registration guidelines.

Also courtesy of yesterday's Ottawa Citizen - groundbreaking news that UNIVERSITY EXAMS cause stress (although the stats are a bit worrying):

University exams bring on stressful days and nights

When her heart started pounding in the middle of an English exam last week, Angel Groulx-Croteau told herself to keep calm.

It didn't work.

Instead, the 21-year-old student felt time slow down and nausea settle in.

"I can't panic. I can't panic. I can't panic," she thought, although that was, of course, exactly what she was doing.

It took 10 stressful minutes before the University of Ottawa student was forced to abandon her papers: "When I thought I was going to be sick I had to go tell the teacher," Ms. Groulx-Croteau said.

The second-year English major indeed vomited after she left the lecture hall and admits the panic attack was "pretty crazy." But ask any sleep-deprived college student about exam stress and almost every one will share a personal tale of physical or psychological meltdown.

Thousands of Ottawa-area university students are mired in exams, and the stakes are high. Good grades can make the difference between scholarships and loans for some, graduate programs and job searches for others.

Officials statistics confirm what everyone suspects: Students often cram and they get stressed.

Stress levels in Ontario are among the highest in the country, with 47 per cent of students claiming they experience high levels of exam stress, according to a 2005 Ipsos Reid study. More women (44 per cent) than men (34 per cent) are affected by such stress and Quebec students are least likely to get stressed while studying for an exam, said the research.

When it comes to preparation, Canadian students are unlikely to start studying in advance of a big test. About 43 per cent of students say they never start studying early enough and 27 per cent admit to staying up all night studying, said the research.

"There's definitely cramming because there's so much to read and to keep up with," said Ms. Groulx-Croteau. "If you don't do every assignment when you're supposed to and you procrastinate even a little bit, you get screwed."

Ms. Groulx-Croteau had to plow through almost 30 books in order to prepare for her exams this year. When she told her professor about the panic attack, he was understanding and said that happens often.

At the University of Ottawa yesterday afternoon, students filled desks, their books open and headphones on. It was easy to suspect that some might still be there if you came back at 5 a.m.

"When you look at the scope of life, this exam is like a little spec," said 20-year-old Lauren Abbott, who was starting a study session with two friends for a political science exam that was a respectable 48 hours away.

Ms. Abbott and her friend Erik Harmsen, 20, said that younger students are more likely to experience extreme stress during the school year's final exam and final paper period. Still, she recently sat in the university's library until 3 a.m. to finish a paper. She left the library feeling -- and looking -- terrible. "It's like self-torture," she said about the all-nighter experiences.

Mr. Harmsen usually fuels himself with caffeine while studying, although there were no coffee mugs in sight yesterday -- just bags of chocolate-covered raisins and dried mangoes. His schedule is particularly gruelling this year: five exams in one week.

Still, as a second-year student, he says that he's gained perspective on the stresses of studying and how worthwhile it is to cram: "I'm pretty relaxed about it," Mr. Harmsen said.

Sharmarke Edan, 19, might be more relaxed about the exam period if he weren't juggling his schoolwork with a part-time job. "There's so much to do," said the second-year criminology student about his occasional cram sessions. "You've got to work to pay off school, there's always tuition deadlines and stuff that gets in the way." As soon as the semester's over, he'll try to find full-time work to pay for the following year's studies.

Mr. Edan's friend Ahmed Mohamed had a linear algebra textbook in front of him yesterday afternoon and made no excuses about cramming for his exams: "I just procrastinate for no reason," he said.

By the Numbers
- 43 per cent of students say they never start studying early enough for exams.
- 68 per cent of studying said they start studying for exams no more than a week in advance.
- 44 per cent of women say they experience high exam stress compared to 34 per cent of men.
- 59 per cent of students in are stressed when they prepare for exams compared to 70 per cent in all other provinces.

The poll was conducted in 2005 by Ipsos Reid for Kumon Math and Reading Centres. Almost 600 students across the country were surveyed. Results are considered accurate within four percentage points.

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Cheers for now!

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