Winners for 2015

Last week, we crossed the last "t" and dotted the last "i" -- that's right; literature courses for 2014-2015 have officially concluded, and our 55 students are now free to explore all those great books they were saving for summer.

Believe it or not, Dreaming Spires breaks up in early May!

I'm rather proud of the fact that they're not all planning to disappear straight away. Their socializing in the secure environment is carrying on apace, and they're even using it to start book discussions with each other for the summer: Count of Monte Cristo, Hitchhiker's Guide, Watership Down ... the list is very interesting, and even includes some of the projects that they're writing themselves.

A jolly good motto!

As for me, I'm in the final throes of marking the last essays, drawing up the certificates, and enumerating their accomplishments in a detailed transcript, but tonight, I accomplished one of my favorite tasks of the whole year: announcing the winners of the award portions of the course.

I love giving awards!

Awards are just optional extras that I offer because they seem to motivate and challenge students. I originally started to include them after reading books about motivating boys in education: apparently, boys like the extra level of competition, and I know that my son has really responded to the challenge since they were introduced two years ago.

The awards are all virtual, being an online environment, but they are given for very tangible activities: best written narrations of the week, finding answers to obscure internet questions, and extending their experiences by cooking relevant historical recipes, or making a piece of art, or delving deeper into a text with graphs, maps, or even a bit of wider research,

At the end of the year, I total up these weekly bits of extra credit, and the students with the most marks in each category are sent -- not simply virtual prizes -- but a real, honest-to-goodness, mailed-through-the-post items like a pen, a Christmas ornament, a magnet, a sheet of stickers, or other little mementos, all with relevant designs such as Shakespeare, or knights in armor, or something more broody and moody to reflect our 19th-century novels.

Without further ado, our winners for this year are:

Middle Ages Literature:

Narration Queen = BB-W; Narration Princess = AE; 
Narration Duke and Duchess for getting medals on over 50% of their efforts, JD and LD

Blue Ribbon Queen = BB-W (again); Blue Ribbon Princess = AE (again)

Fun Activity Queen = OW; Fun Activity Princess = BB-W (again)

Crazy Lamp Essay Queen = BB-W (again)

Clearly, four podium appearances by BB-W are very impressive, so she will get a MAL Student of the Year Prize (probably TWO magnets! Woot! Woot!)

Renaissance Literature

Narration Queen = LD; Princess = NH

Blue Ribbon King = PD; Prince = CD

Fun Activity Coalition Government = PD (again) and ML; leader of the Shadow Cabinet = AH

(Obviously, a more cooperative group who liked to share the glory! Compare that to ....)

British Novel:

... where LE was the hand-down winner in all three categories, making him L the Imperial Emperor!!!!

LL and AR are the Narration Princesses, but LL also came second in Fun Activity and Blue Ribbon, making her the BritNov Imperial Madam (the rank just under Emperor in Chinese nobility ... yeah, yeah ... whatever ...).

If you have been named here as a winner of narration awards/optional challenges, you have put in a consistent performance that goes above and beyond the minimum requirements. Massive pat on your own back, since I can't personally reach it!

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