Tuesday, 19 November 2013

A Quick Idea For Teaching Balanced Analysis

Here's a quick idea for a connector (starter) which helps students understand the idea of subtlety in literary analysis, as opposed to 'heroes and villains'. It uses the idea of the "Seven Deadly Sins" and "Seven Deadly Virtues" and is easily differentiated - simply give students who need support a character with obvious flaws and virtues, and stronger students an apparently imbalanced character (e.g. Curly from Of Mice & Men) requiring them to play 'devil's advocate'.

I have also included models and a prompt sheet for a short piece of writing to evidence their understanding of the concept.

As I say, although for Of Mice And Men this could be used with many texts. I would love to try it out with Dickens; his overblown villains (with their complex back stories) would produce highly detailed responses.

Tuesday, 5 November 2013

Dictionary Games & Activities

Dictionaries are useful things! Students enjoy using them and - unlike spellcheck - they give the meaning of the word and even work without a battery. Amazing.

It's worth encouraging students to use and handle dictionaries regularly in class. As well as correcting work and finding new vocabulary in the traditional manner, they can be used to encourage creativity and confidence (whilst improving spelling, too).

Credit: Freerangestock.com 

Monday, 4 November 2013

Spelling And Grammar - Useful Sites

So, you've marked your student books and they're full of the 'usual' mistakes. Mistakes which drive you mad because you know they've learned how to do it properly in primary school. Mistakes like missing capital letters, run-on sentences, fragments, confused homophones and apostrophes sprouting up like weeds before every single s.

Mistakes which could ruin their grade.

As we all know, spelling and grammar (or SpAG as it is sometimes known) has been introduced to almost every GCSE - and could be worth as much as 20%. That's two full grades.

SpAG is not just short for spaghetti

Wednesday, 23 October 2013

Welcome To My Hectic World!

I am a busy teacher!

I work in a diverse, successful secondary school in West London. My subjects are English, Media and PSHE (I am also qualified to teach drama). In addition to my teaching, I lead the English department, share leadership for Y11 and support the development of curriculum.

Living in fear of becoming "that" busy old teacher who pulls out the textbooks inspired me to start this project: I'm collecting great ideas for the classroom and posting them here. Being a little bit old and crotchety, and juggling a hectic workload, I'll only post ideas if they fit all three criteria:

Thoughtful: Do they interest, stretch and challenge both my students and me?

Useful: No fancy firework lessons here ... they have to teach people, not merely entertain.

Practical: No one wants to spend four hours planning a forty-five minute lesson, or juggle resources so complex one photocopier glitch could ruin them. Been there, done that. Kids need energy, not a zombie with colour coded worksheets.

If you have any ideas, I'd love to hear them!


PS. Oh ... I tweet under @CareyEnglish1, too; don't be a stranger.