English Teaching


May

04

2018
Last minute Year 11 lessons: a collection.

Last minute Year 11 lessons: a collection.

“I don’t want to know about evil Only want to know about love I don’t want to know about evil Only want to know about love” John Martyn ‘Don’t want to know’ Our lovely wee boy, Christopher,  entered the world last Monday. While he has fully embraced his literary nickname of ‘Christopher Robin’, one thing he has well and truly refused to even recognise is...

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Apr

13

2018
Non-fiction Writing Revision

Non-fiction Writing Revision

“You don’t write because you want to say something, you write because you have something to say.” ― F. Scott Fitzgerald Now I’m confident Mr Fitzgerald has some sage (perhaps even ‘Great’) guidance to pass on about the writing process. But just how often did he tackle the challenge of helping thirty adolescents find ‘something to say’, when faced with non-fiction writing tasks? I have...

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Jan

18

2018
Developing English Language confidence with ‘127 Hours’

Developing English Language confidence with ‘127 Hours’

“When I look up, the backlit stone falling toward my head consumes the sky.” ‘127 Hours: Between a Rock and a Hard Place’ by Aron Ralston (2004).  I teach one lesson a week with a Year 9 group of thirteen students. There are twelve boys and one female student. The lesson is called ‘Secure’, with the idea that it boosts the English skills of nominated...

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Jan

12

2018
Developing critical and careful readers of non-fiction texts in Year 11.

Developing critical and careful readers of non-fiction texts in Year 11.

“Thinking is the hardest work there is, which is the probable reason why so few engage in it.” Henry Ford Having had a number of what should have been post gluttony hibernation days ruthlessly stolen by mock examination marking over the holidays, I am determined that this investment will lead to tangible improvements for my Year 11 group. Mocks can often fuel workload frustrations, particularly...

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Dec

01

2017
Teaching ‘The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time’

Teaching ‘The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time’

“Prime numbers are what is left when you have taken all the patterns away. I think prime numbers are like life. They are very logical but you could never work out the rules, even if you spent all your time thinking about them.” (Christopher Boone, Chapter 19, p. 12) At the start of this term I was a bit perplexed about how to approach Mark...

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Nov

17

2017
How do writers create effect? Year 11 and ‘Enduring Love’

How do writers create effect? Year 11 and ‘Enduring Love’

“I’ve never seen such a terrible thing as that falling man” Ian McEwan ‘Enduring Love’ In the spirit of ‘Enduring November,’ a month that for us hard working teacher folk feels like a never ending marathon, a post on using Ian McEwan’s wonderful ‘Enduring Love’ with my Year 11 group. Today saw the the beginning of the mock exam preparations, which this year will see my group...

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Nov

03

2017
An action plan for teaching ‘A Christmas Carol’

An action plan for teaching ‘A Christmas Carol’

“Foggier yet, and colder! Piercing, searching, biting cold.” Charles Dickens ‘A Christmas Carol’ There is always an element of “Bah, humbug” about this week. Back to work blues is combined with the unwelcome clock rewind, and the apparent colour of choice being an encompassing and rather depressing black. Ahead lies a long half term:  who needs day light any more? Nevertheless, as Marley would quip: “It is required...

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Oct

06

2017
The mystery of teaching narrative writing

The mystery of teaching narrative writing

“If you don’t turn your life into a story, you just become part of someone else’s story” Terry Pratchett Despite various posts grappling with the mystery of teaching narrative writing last year, I still feel that I haven’t quite grasped the best way to approach it. The issue confounds itself with the fact I am teaching two very different GCSE groups this year: a low set Year 10 group...

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Sep

08

2017
Teaching ‘Macbeth’: extract questions

Teaching ‘Macbeth’: extract questions

 ‘So foul and fair a day I have not seen.’ Macbeth’ Act one, scene three There are elements of Macbeth and Banquo’s first meeting with the witches that eerily mirror the first week back at school. As much as we might relish and love our jobs and as much as we might feel rejuvenated, there is always a moment of shock when presented with a room...

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Aug

22

2017
Essential summer reads: ‘Making Every English Lesson Count’

Essential summer reads: ‘Making Every English Lesson Count’

“It’s been a long, long time coming but I know a change is gotta come” Otis Redding ‘A Change is Gonna Come’ This is always an edgy, nerve wracking week in education land. Wednesday night sees the inevitable fraught sleep, haunted by visions of a floating mass of grade ones and floods of adolescent tears drowning us. Just me? Positive or negative, post results days...

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