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 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”

Five displays which work…

If there has been one pattern in my teaching career, it has been the slow realisation that nothing is worth doing unless it can answer ‘yes’ to two questions: 1) Can it be re-used, and/or integrated into a regular part of my practice? 2) Will it make students active, rather than passive participants in theirContinue reading “Five displays which work…”

My battle with “teacher talk”, plus tips for winning the skirmishes.

I am, fundamentally, a performer. I thrive when in the lime light and love to entertain my students but, if I’m really honest, I must admit that sometimes I run the risk of it all being about me and not about them. I have been a singer since my dad first took me busking (probablyContinue reading “My battle with “teacher talk”, plus tips for winning the skirmishes.”