Free Learning Day

It’s been busy

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Lent has been a busy time here in the Wodehouse Library.

Year 11s spent two of their wellbeing lessons with us learning about plagiarism avoidance using the study skills books and the Encyclopedia Britannica online resource.

Year 9 boys also visited the library for two lessons to work on their history projects. During these lessons boys used Ormiston (the Dulwich College Register) and the Dulwich College War Record, and other online resources to research an OA who was killed during World War 1.

This year’s Free Learning Day for year 10 saw the Library and Archives team up to deliver 5 sessions exploring Christopher Marlowe’s connections to Dulwich College, conspiracy theories, fake news and fact-checking.

As part of the Trinity Schools Group, Dulwich College hosted the TSBA ceremony which saw author Stewart Foster win with his novel Bubble Boy.

We’ve maintained the usual displays of fiction and non-fiction in and around the library, added new stock and been glad of the continued help of prefects and pupil librarians with on-going weeding and tidying projects. We’re looking forward to seeing both boys and staff over the next few days choosing holiday reading!

Have a great Easter break, everyone, and see you in the Summer Term.


New Items in the Wodehouse Library

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Here’s a selection of what’s new on the shelves here in the Wodehouse Library

You can find more on the New Items display in the Inner Room and more besides on the end of shelf displays.

The #PeriodicalsRoom shelves are sporting fewer Trump covers this week, even if the new President’s words and actions aren’t dominating the news still. Philosophy Now back issues are on display and we encourage you to pick up and browse any/all of the titles on offer. Cycling Weekly is back after we paused delivery for the Christmas break and our penultimate copy of Creative Review is there to be read. Do feedback to the Art Department if you read this title and value it as we’re not planning to renew the subscription.

We’ve been busy over the past few weeks with Year 11 wellbeing classes covering plagiarism avoidance and the Year 9 History Project is coming up in the weeks before and straight after half term. Year 10s are not forgotten this Lent Term in the Wodehouse as planning has started for their Free Learning Day in March.

Finally, Phil the chameleon has settled into his new home well. Pop in and say hello to him 🙂


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October 14th 2015 was quite a day in the Wodehouse Library as Year 10 boys used their Free Learning Day to develop a Zombie Apocalypse Recovery Plan (ZARP).

The boys had the few facts below to inform their thinking:

Yr 10 FLD 2015

From this starting point – and with a little inspiration from the film Sean of the Dead – the Year 10s put their non-infected brains to work on the ZARP.

Group 1 looked at weapons and vehicles, rating anti-zombie potential in top trumps style. The big mower (see picture on right) and the minibuses scored highly for their offensive capabilities and passenger capacity, with motorcycles also getting a swashbuckling mention by the same group who brought us the Wish List creation GALACTUS. We have the drawing of GALACTUS and it looks a bit like Ironman who won the Wish List nomination for zpoc leader (pipping Batman and Dr Who).

Mow down those zeds!
Mow down those zeds!

A consensus formed amongst all Group 1 boys that lots of useful zombie fighting kit could be sourced from the D&T Department (hammers, drills, saws even staple guns) and the CCF Stores but the latter was also considered a high priority by Group 2 who were tasked with organising the campus for the survivor community.

Group 2 boys looked specifically at our key needs:

  • food and water
  • shelter and clothing
  • supplies and service
  • communications, and
  • security.

The clock tower was the clear choice as vantage point (although there’s really not much space up there!) and it was decided that raiding parties would venture out to scavenge dry and tinned foods and any water they could find from abandoned local sources, like shops and homes. One group selected the Shackleton Building as a base because, with a little bit of entry and exit point reinforcement using sheet metal and scaffolding poles, it would be easy to defend against both marauding zombies and other survivor groups.

The afore mentioned sheet metal was to come from the D&T Department which will be a hive of activity come the zpoc.

Once it was explained clearly what a latrine was, the task of digging them was assigned to Lower School boys and in a moment of inspiration someone came up with the idea of using the costumes from the Edward Alleyn Theatre in case the apocalypse meant dressing as a girl was necessary.

Group 3 chewed over the question of leadership through the zpoc, getting especially caught up in the thorny issue of brawn vs brains. Prompted by this from the University of Oxford and a useful comparison of combatant types offered by Roger Ma in his book The Zombie Combat Manual, the merits of various potential leaders were evaluated loudly. Eventually it was agreed that Dr Avshu was the person to see us through the apocalypse, ably assisted by a Council made up of most of the Sports Department and Dr Croally.

Conceding that contact with other survivor groups would sometimes be necessary, Group 3 boys decided that this should take place only when no solution could be found from our own resources.  Morale amongst our community would be bolstered by a sensible mix of zombie hunting expeditions and religion whilst miscreants would be punished with escalating penalties from reduced rations to being cast out into the waiting zombie hordes.

Group 4 were the day’s left-field thinkers who embraced the zombie life style and advocated for it strongly. Culturally, they said, the zombie genre has offered some real entertainment and who doesn’t have a favourite zombie film or book, huh? Group 4 went on with their “what’s wrong with being a zombie?” theme by pointing out that once infected you were freed of the regular cares of being human, let alone the more onerous cares that arise from being a zpoc survivor. Your foreshortened zed life, they told us, had the advantage of ending forever the wrong versus right, fun versus boredom, friendship versus loneliness merry-go-round because YOU’RE A ZOMBIE AND ALL YOU WANT TO DO IS EAT BRAINS!

All in all, we felt the day had given Dulwich College a fairly robust start on its ZARP as well as something to think about when the bleakness of post-apocalyptic living left you feeling a bit down in the dumps.


Free Learning Day, November 2013

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Thursday 14th November 2013 was Free Learning Day for DC’s Year 10 boys. The theme was “Who killed Christopher Marlowe?”

After a very interesting talk from barrister Mark Gatley, the coroner’s report on Marlowe’s death was read to Year 10 in preparation for the day’s activities, which included sword fighting and forensic discovery.

In the Wodehouse’s Inner Room, Mr Fletcher’s groups used the book The Rough Guide to Conspiracy Theories to analyse  the facts surrounding the death of Marlowe and some of the theories that have grown up around the story. Following this they looked at the deaths of some other significant figures that have become the subject of conspiracists including Malcolm X, John Lennon, Martin Luther King and Marilyn Monroe. Boys were divided between those who thought that there might be some truth in the theories and those that thought people believe what they want to believe and sometimes look for deeper meanings in events than are warranted.

In the IT Area Mrs Stein’s groups looked to the internet, using links stored on our Delicious bookmarks page to help them decide whether they believed the official version of events, i.e.: that Christopher Marlowe was killed by Ingram Frizer in a row over a bill.

Much lively discussion flowed from our reading with most groups deciding that they didn’t believe that Marlowe was killed as a result of a simple row over a bar bill, indeed, many doubted whether Marlowe really did die at Eleanor Bull’s establishment. His death was faked, said some, whilst others were persuaded by the idea that he was killed to protect information about his friends that he might have given up under torture!

Boys asked some excellent questions about their web-based research, comparing facts between sites and noticing differences. All the groups contributed keywords based on their reading which have been added to a tag cloud you can see here:

Tagxedo cloud

Upstairs in the Archives and in the Masters’ Library, Mrs Lucy, Mrs Cerio and Mr Weaver’s groups spent some time studying three key archival documents and their relevance to the staging of Christopher Marlowe’s plays. The College’s founder, Edward Alleyn, took the lead role in some of these plays. The Archives holds the Costume Inventory* which holds a costume for the Duke of Guise from The Massacre at Paris and one for Faustus from Dr Faustus. Henslowe’s Diary** which notes all the plays, their performance dates and box office takings was also examined as was the Platte, or plot, of the Second Part of the Seven Deadly Sins.***

*MS I f44