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

24

2017
Experiments with strategies from ‘What Does This Look Like In The Classroom?’

Experiments with strategies from ‘What Does This Look Like In The Classroom?’

“Teaching is the best profession in the world and has given us a huge amount of satisfaction. This book is, we hope, a useful contribution to the work of our fellow travellers” Carl Hendrick and Robin Macpherson ‘What Does This Look Like In The Classroom’ There is, let’s be clear, not a huge amount of time for dipping into the murky depths of educational research...

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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

11

2017
Slow Teaching: ‘Serene and Stoical Behaviour Management’

Slow Teaching: ‘Serene and Stoical Behaviour Management’

“We cannot choose our external circumstances, but we can always choose how we respond to them.” Epictetus A short journey through the remarkable life of the philosopher Epictetus can begin to justify why his words open a chapter on the mystery that is effective behaviour management. Born around 50 A.D he arrived in Rome without family as the property of the rich and powerful Epaphroditus, a man...

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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

15

2017
Tackling teacher insomnia: the sleep-easy teacher.

Tackling teacher insomnia: the sleep-easy teacher.

“We are such stuff as dreams are made on and our little life is rounded with a sleep” William Shakespeare ‘The Tempest’ In our relentlessly fast modern culture, there is one thing that is left tragically ignored. It is a spurred outsider, certainly not embracing our twenty four hour ‘always on’ lifestyle. Carl Honore in ‘In praise of Slow’ describes this incessant need for activity, pace...

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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

29

2017
Ten Questioning Strategies

Ten Questioning Strategies

“The wise man doesn’t give the right answers, he poses the right questions.” Claude Levi-Strauss Einstein would be rather chuffed: I have spent the last two weeks questioning everything about my approach to questioning in the classroom. Having written about the questioning traps that I kept finding myself stumbling into with new groups, I have made developing questioning in the classroom my pedagogical mission for this year....

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Sep

15

2017
Question mark heap on table concept for confusion, question or solution

Questioning Traps

“A prudent question is one half of wisdom” Frances Bacon. There is always something slightly tentative about the first two weeks of term: students are eying us up carefully, deciding exactly how they are going to respond to our magnificent lessons (rather Machievalian I know!)   I have had an interesting week with a Year 9 group who at the moment are heroically quiet, eerily...

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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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