What I’ve learned from spending a year in the right school…

Young teachers are leaving our profession in droves; between 40-50% have left the classroom by their fifth year. I am just finishing my fifth year in teaching and, despite some monumental challenges over the past 12 months, I am loving my job. I hope this doesn’t come across as a sickening, self-congratulatory blog about how much IContinue reading “What I’ve learned from spending a year in the right school…”

A Level Teaching Ideas – #5 Academic Voice

ALL credit for this goes to the talented Leslie Rowland, a PHD student and Associate Tutor in English at Indiana University. She ran a really fantastic workshop with some A Level Literature students in West Yorkshire this week, and the work she did was so great that I thought other teachers of essay subjects wouldContinue reading “A Level Teaching Ideas – #5 Academic Voice”

#TMBrad – Teachmeet reflection..

I am always amazed by the dedication and sheer geekery of some teachers. At 10am on Saturday 11th July (the FINAL weekend of the school term), teachers from around Leeds and Bradford (plus, you know, Bahrain, just because…) descended on Appleton Academy for a day of inspiration and all round teacher banter. The day wasContinue reading “#TMBrad – Teachmeet reflection..”

A New Project – Writing for Bradford

This summer, my school (Appleton Academy) will be hosting an exciting project to promote writing in Bradford schools. It will involve working collaboratively with professional writers, spoken word artists, academics, university students and teachers. The project is open to any interested schools in the Bradford/West Yorkshire area. Please see the information in this document: Writing BradfordContinue reading “A New Project – Writing for Bradford”

A Level Literature Ideas – #3: Mood Boards

Literature at A Level has traditionally been a very essay driven course; there are very few specifications which allow any element of creative writing, and even these are optional swap-ins for a potential second essay. This is a shame because students need to be able to appreciate the craft of the writer and have aContinue reading “A Level Literature Ideas – #3: Mood Boards”

A Level Literature Ideas – #2: Essay Planning

The key to all good writing is shape; when to be broad and when to be narrow, when to charge ahead and when to circle back. In a previous post I described how a good essay introduction is like an upside triangle, or arrowhead pointing the reader to a strong argument. A successful essay mustContinue reading “A Level Literature Ideas – #2: Essay Planning”

A Level Literature Ideas – #1: Writing Introductions

Introductions and conclusions always seem like quite abstract things, threatening to book end an essay with vague statements and ‘summing up’. However, done right, an introduction serves as the perfect vanguard of a well crafted argument. There are tons of different ways to teach introduction writing, but the most successful in my experience is ‘Discuss,Continue reading “A Level Literature Ideas – #1: Writing Introductions”

Vocabulary Project: Part 2 – technical terminology for high ability learners

When we were initially trained on vocabulary teaching by Jane Dallas, she separated words out into three classes. 1. Everyday words you need to communicate simple things (mum, dad, tree…) 2. More complex words used to add meaning or nuance (disgusting, harrowing, protective…) 3. Technical vocabulary linked to specific subjects (onomatopoeia, synthesis, semiquaver…) Jane’s training,Continue reading “Vocabulary Project: Part 2 – technical terminology for high ability learners”

Apparently, I will do anything for a nice pen…

When I was approached by @Pen_Heaven about the #backtobasics challenge, I’ll be honest, at the words, “we will send you a free fountain pen”, I was pretty much sold. Abiding closely to the girly, female English teacher stereotype, I am a lover of all things stationery, and have wasted a LOT of time drooling overContinue reading “Apparently, I will do anything for a nice pen…”