Eat the frog

I can put my hand up and say that I am a mistress of procrastination. I have certain items that seem to be permanently on my ‘to do’ list – not because they are recurring events but because I have never got round to doing them in the first place. So I loved it when a friend of mine mentioned the idea of ‘eating the frog’.

The idea supposedly comes from a Mark Twain quote,

Eat a live frog first thing in the morning and nothing worse will happen to you for the rest of the day.

Mouth Frog Man
Image by Marcus Lieghio

Don’t worry, you don’t have to go around eating live frogs… but the idea is that you do whatever you have been putting off, and do it FIRST THING in the day. Then you have the rest of the day to enjoy. It’s not my idea: someone has written a book called “Eat The Frog” which I have never read but I thought I’d steal the title anyway.

This term I felt the concept was particularly appropriate for one of my students. He has been dreading his English assignments and instead of just getting on with them and doing them, has been putting them off for so long that just the idea of doing them grew worse and worse in his mind. I told him about the idea and then realised I should start to practice what I was preaching.

So at the weekend I tidied my desk. I have had ‘tidy desk’ on my list for at least two months (probably more) and you really don’t want to know what it looked like before I tidied it. I am so pleased that I’ve tidied it, that I’m actually typing this with the laptop on my desk instead of on the dining table.

My next big ‘frog’ is to book the car in for a service.

What’s your frog? Go on, try to get it done. Or at least take steps to help you to get it done. I mean it. Then you can enjoy the rest of your day!

New flashcards added for HSC Biology

I have just added a set of 68 flashcards to help students studying and revising for HSC Biology (the final year exams taken by school students in NSW). This set is for the first Biology topic – Maintaining a Balance

807px-hexokinase_induced_fit-svg
Hexokinase image by Thomas Shafee – Own work, CC BY 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=45801557

Maintaining a Balance covers enzymes, pH, homeostasis, the nervous system, ectotherms and endotherms, responses of plants to temperature change, the mammalian circulatory system, haemoglobin, xylem and phloem in plants, the respiratory system, the excretory system (particularly kidney structure and function), enantiostasis in estuarine environments and adaptations of Australian plants to minimise water loss.

kidney_nephron
Nephron Artwork by Holly Fischer – http://open.umich.edu/education/med/resources/second-look-series/materials – Urinary Tract Slide 20, 26, CC BY 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=24367127

Any student studying these topics in biology would find the flashcard set useful, but particularly those in Year 12 in NSW who are revising for their half-yearly exams, trials or HSCs.

maintaining-a-balance-hsc-biology-flashcards-cram-com

The flashcard set is publicly available on Cram.com. Once you have signed up to Cram, you can download the free app for smartphones and study on the move. Personally, I find the most useful setting is to click on the ‘Memorize’ tab and shuffle the cards. You are then shown only the front of each card. Try to remember the definition and other important points, then click to show the answer, then click on ‘I got it right’ or ‘I got it wrong’. Cards you got wrong will be returned to the pack ready for you to try again.

There are other ways to use the flashcards. There is a test format with various options including matching the word to the definition, or multiple choice, and there are two games you can play with your cards.
I plan to add similar sets for the first topics in HSC Physics and HSC Chemistry. If I have time, I’ll do the Preliminary courses as well.

Please contact me if you have a request for a set, or if you want more words added to this set, or if you disagree with me about the definitions.