English Subject Knowledge Reading

English Remnant World

In ‘What Makes Great Teaching?’ Coe et al list six components of great teaching. The first of these, which they say there is “strong evidence of impact on student outcomes” for is what they call “pedagogical subject knowledge.” They argue that, “The most effective teachers have deep knowledge of the subjects they teach, and when teachers’ knowledge falls below a certain level it is a significant impediment to students’ learning. As well as a strong understanding of the material being taught, teachers must also understand the ways students think about the content, be able to evaluate the thinking behind students’ own methods, and identify students’ common misconceptions.”

Over the last couple of days, I’ve been collating the following list of texts which English teachers have recommended as being useful for developing different areas of subject knowledge. At some point in the future, I intend to write about the other part…

View original post 980 more words

Advertisements

“Baby I’m a Star”

I don’t want to stop, ’til I reach the top
Sing it (We are all a star!)

Prince – Baby I’m a Star – Purple Rain

.

‘You’re a Star’ – I’ve said it to many people over the years. The title of this blog quite literally means to praise someone’s efforts, especially by way of thanks. And this blog is a sort of re-payment for all the kindness other teachers who share resources that have taken a long time to put together. I pay back their #sharingiscaring by way of sharing my most popular requests and a big mushy – we are all a star!

Why is this blog different to “Extraordinary” – well they were my favourite steals and swipes from other people.

This blog is a collection, 14 to be exact, of “my” most commonly requested lessons/resources, from now on, you can just come here and download! You can download and edit as you see fit, or adapt for your own KS, topic or students.

 

1 Board Games

If you’re looking for a revision activity or set of end of term lessons to consolidate learning in a different way, try these board games. The images are from google so I can’t take credit. Students need to come up with questions, character and themes from texts studied. Here’s the instructions – I printed off, gave one to each ‘group’ and also kept 1 slide on whiteboard.

Students made dice themselves (using math skills!), counters, money etc from coloured paper. Board templates

2 Newspapers

I like this lesson a lot. You can use with any text or theme you want. Here’s the resources I used for Of Mice and Men:

 

3 Speaking & Listening task

Getting students to talk, when you want, isn’t that easy. This is a persuasive S&L lesson. The ‘mat’ is the main resource/part of the lesson. When I made it, the objective was students could work their way around the edges of the mat to get a higher grade/band/level. My main purpose was individually each student writes a line using a persuasive technique, then put together in their groups to make a paragraph. At the end one person from each group to read our the ‘whole’ paragraph. You can then ‘tick’ individual, group, progress etc. But it does need you to circulate a bit with this.

 

4 Writing to Argue

Fairly straightforward lesson – pick a subject that gets students twitchy! The age rating on games such as COD etc is a good one. At the end they have to write an argument for or against using ideas from the lesson.

 

5 Shakespeare

This lesson gets students thinking about Shakespeare on stage as a performance. For this I get students in groups. It’s simple – they have to match up the quotes to the image (fairly straightforward). I get groups to cut up the quotes and images, pick one set each then stick in their book; the difficult part comes when they have to justify their ideas in a paragraph.

 

6 Zombie Apocalypse

This is actually my colleague @sarahruain lesson. She ran at the end of a unit with writing tasks, group work and a S&L presentation from students at the end. She gave it to me: It’s mine now!

7 Resources (one off)

Yes, yes, yes I know in “Gold” I said how much I now dislike many time wasting resources. I still agree with that statement, it doesn’t mean I completely hate them, just the novelty has worn off a bit! Here are some resources I’ve used over time that I regularly share with my department. Some I saved as PDFs some word doc, so you can either re-create or edit.

 

8 Wall Display

CBcW5i7WoAAb40D

Sorry not a lesson but this gets a special mention because I still LOVE it. The idea came from @JamesTheo originally – if you go to his twitter page, follow link to his blog, his original version is there. I totally stole it and adapted for my school with his permission.

  • Display Here you have the terms (I printed A5)
  • Display 2 Here you have some literature extracts with a technique for Students to spot.

 

9 Newspaper Bias

This goes without saying, this lesson needs handling with care! I can’t find the ppt I had to go with the lesson, but it would be easy to put one together. Also there are loads of clips on youtube to go with this. It is a great lesson to teach bias.

 

10 War poetry

So many great poems/lessons to pick from, I decided on this one because students had a fantastic debate at the end.

For this particular lesson I used War Photographer (you can easily find poem online) mainly because of stanza 2 (BBC Bitesize explains). I put the first image of the ppt up on the whiteboard and ask students what did they think was happening. Towards the end of lesson (after briefly analysing each line/stanza – without giving too much away) I put up the last image. This final piece of the learning puzzle gave way to some excellent debate about war/children and the poem. Students re-evaluated their understanding of the poem with this final piece.

 

11 Library reading passports (yr 7 and 8)

CVp4sHCWcAAUxJ0

I adapted the passport from a twitter resource  tweeted. We use these as a summer reading challenge in years 7 and 8. I revamped our library SOW. Has to be pointed out my HOD heavily edited the final version, but here’s my original SOW for 7 and 8, you can edit however you want.

12 Looking at mood and atmosphere in a non-fiction text

Untitled

Non fiction text can be difficult to analyse. I did this lesson with year 8, to improve their skills at analysing language in groups. Basically put into groups (I only photocopied 1 page of the text, otherwise too much copying), then each person had a task to complete. At the end the class came together for a big think/pair/share. The video clip I used was on youtube under mood/atmosphere.

 

13 KS3 Read list

I know it’s not a lesson – but a lot of people asked for this. I made it up June 2016.

 

14 Assembly idea

I did this assembly to encourage students to accept responsibility for their own learning. The ‘chat’ behind it was “no matter what your ‘background’ story is, only you are responsible for changing things and your own learning!”

I probably should clarify, the first slide of celebs all had a type of learning difficulty at school, the second slide all came from troubled backgrounds. The video can be found on youtube.

 

 

 

“Extraordinary”

Extraordinary, the way you make me feel
I’m so very glad it’s real

Prince – Extraordinary – One Nite Alone

.

One of the main reasons I love twitter so much is the sharing of good practise, ideas, resources etc. Some ideas are quite extraordinary!

These are some resources/ideas (resources at the end) that I have used successfully in my lessons:

1 Top Trumps

CUm4ucJWEAE6dmU

I would often see Teacher Further Maths   tweet out top trumps, so couple years ago I made a mock-up for Of Mice and Men and it was brilliant. Since then I’ve done with Blood Brothers and Lord of the Flies. Basically you can do it with any literature character/theme you want. So far it’s been a success in all lessons I’ve used it.

2 Selfie

 tweeted out the image above to ‘request a selfie’. I stuck the image up on my whiteboard and KS3 love it. They draw the symbol in their books, when I mark I take a photo and email home. It’s simple, cheap and a positive step forward.

3 Analyse an essay Box

 tweeted out a resource to analyse an essay (I think originally student’s own work) I adapted and stuck some text from Of Mice and Men and students had to delete all unnecessary words leaving only essentials to analyse. Another fantastic lesson – the analysis was better than they’d usually come up with.

4 Character fingerprint

COkwZz5WEAAq-0F.jpg

It’s difficult to remember where I saw this originally but I think it was @misslollyhill. Again a cheap and different way of analysing text. Students make up a character’s fingerprint with quotes. I’ve done this lesson with nearly every book I’ve taught since.

5 Wiki Page

1423241982473

@JamieClark85 Tweeted out these amazing Wikipages. I asked if he’d mind if I made up my own. Again, I’ve used these now with all the main texts that I teach… usually for homework or at the start of a unit and often to research ‘context’. Students like this: I think they like the familiarity.

6 Text message Questions

Bpyq4u0IgAALqZA

I stumbled across ‘fake text message’ I think on my Facebook page and it gave me the idea. You can google fake text msg and lots come up (Instagram, snap-chat etc).  I made up a John Steinbeck set of questions, students stuck on left of book and wrote answers to the right. Again this works well, students seem to like working on familiar territory. As you can see from image above (difference between argue and persuade) I’ve used for different types of questions.

7 Post it note – quote analysis

This is fairly straight forward I get students to write quotes on post-it-note pads then stick to colour paper and next to their quote, they analyse in detail. There’s nothing really special about this other than students like post-it-notes and it just prevents analysing language from getting stale.  I believe these post-its came from Wilkos.

8 Black/white line mind map images

A few years ago I wanted to compare Steinbeck’s opening pages to the initial description of the ranch. I googled line drawings and found the ones on the right image. Students glued in. I project the same image on the whiteboard and in a think/pair/share style lesson we annotate together. Because it worked so well I’ve gone on to use with individual characters or comparison of characters. Again, students like this, their mind-maps are annotated to a higher standard and their books look neater. Win-win.

9 Foldables

BxWfGFyIYAAa9MK

I’ve used foldables for a long time in lessons. It’s just another way of analysing a quote. The idea is on the front students write a characteristic, inside the first flap they write a quote that supports their idea and in the inside middle they pick out key words to analyse. Again they seem to like this.

10 Visualiser

I love my visualiser. I use it a lot when showing/teaching students how to peer assess. Not any of the ‘be kind’ ‘be helpful’ kind of things (sorry)!

I ask how can we move this up another band. I usually get comments like, add a comma etc I know it’s harsh but I remind them adding a comma will not help them move up a band, so on the whiteboard I show them how to improve the answer. Then I get them to swap books and peer assess somebody else’s work. I don’t think I’ve cracked the whole peer assessing thing yet, but this works and you can quickly snapshot a student’s work then give them their book back. I like it and use it a lot.

 

You can download some resources here:

  1. Top Trumps  Top trumps Lord of Flies
  2. Selfie (sorry not mine to give away, but I’m sure if you tweet creator they won’t mind)
  3. Analyse an essay  Analyse your own essay
  4. Character fingerprint (no resource)
  5. Wiki Page  wiki page
  6. Text message Questions  OMAM text message questions
  7. Post it note – quote analysis (no resource)
  8. Black/white line mind map images  OMNM silhouettes
  9. Foldables (no resource)
  10. Visualiser (no resource)

 

 

“Gold”

All that glitters ain’t gold, no, no

Prince – Gold – The Gold Experience

.

Below are the things I’ve used or tried in class that weren’t as successful as I expected/hoped (that’s not to say they don’t work for others). I have to remind myself … all that glitters ain’t gold!

Maybe with some of these I didn’t trial for long enough, or maybe I threw the baby out with the bathwater. I still feel some or all, are good ideas. I just realise that these things do need careful consideration before setting up; how are you going to run something and does it really have a purpose or are you just adding another unnecessary layer! So just because these haven’t worked for me it doesn’t mean they simply don’t work. They may be another teacher’s top tip… and if so that’s fantastic.

  1. Homework slips

Untitled

I saw an idea where a homework slip was completed for a missed deadline. Actually it was two; one to glued in the book and one kept by myself to bring out parents’ evening. Seemed simple and effective enough. Off I trotted to photocopier and ran off a load.

It seemed a nice, efficient little system. However, for me personally it didn’t work the problem was I teach 6 lessons a day, 2 slips per students … I soon ran out, then had to make notes on a pad to remember to fill in after lesson. Also, it made a quick ‘who hasn’t done homework’ a much longer task and finally what to do if they missed deadline two! I had to file my slips somewhere. For me this just didn’t work.

What did work though was:

For students: When I gave out homework I did it at the start of the lesson, I’d say write today’s date and copy out the question, or I had a pre-printed slip and got them to glue in book at the top. Once all students had completed this I’d say now turn over onto a new page and we’ll start today’s lesson. So a week later when marking it was simple to check: a blank page is a blank page!

For me:  I had my mark-book, if they handed in (on time) they got a quick green tick, (takes seconds to do) the rest a red cross. Next week when collecting the next lot of homework I’d still have my red cross, if the student had completed by then I’d go over with a green highlighter. At a quick glance I knew they’d handed in but late.

2) Pointless resources (work sheets)

‘Resource’ means “a stock or supply of money, materials, staff, and other assets that can be drawn on by a person or organisation in order to function effectively.”

I didn’t include an image, there would be too many!

For me I need to read that more often! If a resource doesn’t add to learning, only makes books prettier, or uses up some time (cutting/gluing) then bin it. If students whizz through a resource it doesn’t mean I’m an ace teacher, it means the work was too easy. If they cannot complete a resource and lots of blank space it was too challenging! As a teacher you need to weigh up the time spent creating, standing at the copier, cutting, handing out etc against the result.

I still love a well planned resource, but now I always ask myself does it add to learning?

3) My self help wall / independent work

BxZ-zYPCEAAWlSu

This is a picture from my classroom a at the start of academic year 14/15.  It took me hours to type, print off, cut up, laminate and then cut a second time. Ok, I cheated I got my youngest daughter to help me! I hoped students could help themselves and improve their work. There were two of these a (sort of) KS3 and a KS4 wall. There were sentence starters, laminated guides etc and it sort of started well. The problem, again, was that I hadn’t factored using ‘the wall’ into my lessons. So students never got up, I never went to them and it just became a pretty colourful wall display.

This just didn’t work for me. I will try to do something similar to this again at some point, but next time I will plan actually ‘using’ the resources/wall into my lessons, therefore, it needs to be built around your SOW/units etc. Then I believe it would work.

4) My class folders

Like other teachers, I have to have a list of set of documents relating to each class I teach that is supposed to be in my folder. It always begins well, then after a timetable change I start to go wrong. Mid-term, lots going on and keeping my folder up-to-date seems to get pushed to the bottom of my pile of work. Then student A doesn’t get on with B so I have to re-do my seating plan but I have to do two versions; one for the wall and one for my class folder… that’s if I can find it!

I feel bad for putting my class folder in this blog. It’s a necessity. I’m just not very good with it. Any suggestions please let me know how to stay on top of it.

5) Power-points

After publishing this blog, thanks to , I’ve added ppt to my list and rightly so (thanks Amy for the reminder).

Over the last year I’ve desperately tried to move away from ppt led lessons, with lots of slides, images, questions etc. To give you an idea why…

The image on the left is where my lessons go to retire, or sleep or die – who knows! And on the right is the inside of just one of the 137 folders I have.

I have spent hours planning lessons for units and year groups. Last year I read a blog I think by Andy Tharby, ( @atharby) if I have that wrong I will correct, where he discussed time consuming activities he was going to do less of. I agreed with him.

To cut a long story short ppt is an area I feel I spend a lot of time on (similar to resources) and I’m not convinced the end result is worth it. So, over the last year I’ve moved away from them. It has freed up so much time. I now just source good quality content and match up with skill based learning.

What I am going to do (when I have time) is create a set of skill based lessons to teach a technique, device, method (whichever name you want to use) accurately. For example all students can pick out alliteration – what students need to be able to do is analyse why it’s effective. When I get time I will build a bank of lessons teaching a particular device, why it’s effective and why an author may choose that over a different device. That would be time better spent rather than hundreds of individual ppt for Macbeth for yr8, Macbeth for bottom set year 10 and Macbeth for yr11 revision!!!

6) Language …(scratch that) … MATS

Untitled.jpg

I made up these lovely language mats, I printed off (in colour) about 150, I then sat for hours and laminated all mats, distributed around the department. All teachers then taped to a desk. They looked lovely!

I should just stop there, because one by one, students ‘picked’ at the sellotape, pulled them off, played with them, rolled them, flicked them, poked them, drew on them…until they all had to be removed because they looked awful. They didn’t work how I expected them to. Maybe I should have just dragged them out when needed.

Bottom line another waste of resources and time.

7) Anything that adds an unnecessary layer

I’m not going to list or be negative with other people’s incentives, but there are lots out there in the world of teaching that just adds a layer and I decided a while ago anything that adds an unnecessary layer or let me re-phrase doesn’t add to learning is just making a tough job every tougher.

I am sure there are lots and lots more I’ve tried and not been as successful as I’d have liked these are just the ones that spring to mind!  Educating students has several purposes; it could be to give them skills for a specific career, or to prepare them for the next step (college, sixth-form, apprenticeship etc). It can also be to teach lifelong values, or the ability to explore new ideas and to think independently. I am part of a system that will help them get there and I need to make sure I get my support mechanisms right!

Oh and to counter my negativity – I am writing a blog on my favourite resources/ideas!

“Slave” – AQA Paper 2

I need their kind 2 illustrate what’s wrong – what’s wrong?

Prince – Slave – Emancipation

,

ENGLISH LANGUAGE (8700)-Paper 2 Writers’ viewpoints and perspectives (also see paper 1 “Slave” – AQA Paper 1 ).  At the end of the blog are some resources you can download including a ‘cheat sheet’ for students.  Also, when you’ve finished both ‘Slave’ blogs I suggest you go to my “Betcha by Golly Wow” as there are LOTS of free resources; extracts, AQA new spec, articles etc to help.

This post is linked to Paper 1. If I thought paper 1 was tough, I had the pleasure of teaching paper 2 in the summer term. In my opinion it really is difficult and once again I had this feeling of Déjà vu …”after I marked the first end of unit test(s) and I had a reality check. I even wondered if I’d been in the room for 6 weeks. My title for the blog comes from the fact I became a slave to my own ego. I had to ask why aren’t students getting this – what’s wrong?”

I need to say at this point please do spend time on AQA site – it is quite literally full of teaching ideas, videos, resources etc: AQA English GCSE .

At end end I’ve included some resources you may find helpful.

“The focus for Paper 2 is attitudes/viewpoints/perspectives – looking at how writers have used texts to present a point of view, an argument etc.  There will be two linked texts from different time periods which will be nonfiction and literary non-fiction, such as:

  • high-quality journalism
  • articles
  • reports
  • essays
  • travel writing
  • accounts
  • sketches
  • letters
  • diaries
  • autobiography and biographical passages and other appropriate texts.

Over time there will be a range of different types of texts used. They will be primary sources, ie the original texts. One will always be 19th century and the other will either be 20th or 21st century (depending on what has been used in Paper 1) to assess 19th, 20th and 21st century texts across both papers.”

A quick glace format for Paper 2 (views and perspectives) questions:

  • Q1 – Identify & interpret (AO1) – 4 marks
  • Q2 – Summarise (AO1) – 8 marks
  • Q3 – Language analysis (AO2) – 12 marks
  • Q4 – Compare texts (AO3) – 16 marks
  • Q5 – Argue, Inform, Explain (AO5/6) – 40 marks

 

QUESTION 1

paper2 q1

Here like ‘Who wants to be a millionaire’ students are given the answers! That seems so simple – just pick the right ones… I scream at them!

Going back to issues we face generally at our school students don’t read for comprehension. This can be from the question, to instructions or the actual text. Common errors many of my students made were; they shaded 5 or 6 boxes (ggrrrrrrrr) or simply picked the wrong answer.  I can only assume because they just don’t read all 8 then make a considered selection.

These are 4 easy marks to pick up and students MUST start reading extracts with care. Only the first 4 selected will be marked (if they pick more than 4). Again we hope our new starters which revolve around repetition/reinforcement of skills will help.

Also I think I am going to use more think/pair/share tasks with an emphasis on the ‘thinking’ part. All this group work/teacher modelling is great and you can really feel like students are making progress, but when students are left to their own devices they simply cannot find relevant details on their own. Hopefully our new SOWs and starters will improve this. I have a set of mini-whiteboards/pens and I am going to use these far more in lessons; make ALL students in the class write something and NOT rely on others in the class to give out answers.

To improve (same as paper 1)

  • Get students retrieving information against the clock
  • Use true and almost true statements alongside false ones
  • Each answer must make sense on its own (ie a simple sentence)

 

QUESTION 2

“The point of focus will be relatively narrow within the scope of the topic or theme as a whole as developed by both sources. The scope of the question will not require students to consider writers’ techniques or effects. The question will not reference writers for this reason.” However, students must use quotes to support ideas or they cannot move much beyond band 1/2.

paper2 q2

This is a comparison and interpretation question. To begin with I was really hung up on another one of AQAs key word choices and I was obsessed with teaching the art of ‘summarising’. I soon changed tactics during the unit (which was confusing for me and my students). This seems a relatively easy question where students need to focus on the art of  inference which is a key assessment of comprehension. Some of my students became good at summarising two texts, but they forgot to include quotes and this limits their mark. Many also forgot to make an inference (interpretation) – I told you I was obsessed with the word ‘summary’. Don’t be, it limits their marks. The following helped me clarify my own teaching: Although this question is titled ‘summary’ try to ignore that – it is an “assessment of synthesis is through students’ own writing where students have to:

  1. pick out the point of connection in the question
  2. search out the textual details relevant to the focus of the question
  3. ask themselves: what does this lead me to infer/realise/appreciate about what I’ve been asked to focus on?
  4. bring the two sets of details (and implied meanings) together in their own writing”

Point to remember – for this question quotes are used to inform (or support) their ideas – not to analyse language. Students need to develop their ability to make interpretations through interrogation of the text, in relation to the question focus, eg:

  • what does this suggest to me about ….?
  • what might I imply from this about …?
  • what does it make me realise …?

To help students ensure that they actually meet the AO for this question, after they’ve made a point with quotations, they need to make an interpretation. Try these sentence starters:

  • This might suggest …
  • You could infer …

AQA suggest a grid similar to this will help students focus on the right details

paper 2 q2 grid

(Source: http://filestore.aqa.org.uk/resources/english/AQA-87002-Q2-FI-TS.PDF)

To improve:

  • Students must be able to quickly identify what a text is about – the main point being raise/discussed. (If students had to summarise a text in one point what would it be?)
  • Ensure any point student makes is linked to the question focus
  • Students must: make a point+evidence from each text+interpret (make inference).

 

Here’s a low band student response in comparison to a high band response:

QUESTION 3

NOTE “Bullet points in question 2 and 3 The bullet points are a guide for students, but they do not have specific marks allocated to them. Marks are given for the quality and level of response rather than number of points made.”

paper2 q3

This is a language analysis, this is NOT an inference question. Our students seem to be fairly good at making inferences but not very good at basic language analysis. Students must analyse language in context of the extract. This means identifying the language features used, and explaining their effect of writer’s choices.

The following is a complete cut/paste from my AQA paper1 Q2 blog:

The key part of this question is the command word: HOW

For this question I teach students to look for word patterns, phrases, language features, language techniques, sentence forms.  Get students to look for sentence length to enhance mood, adjectives to enhance description, patterns in words or phrases, imagery (simile) adding to overall piece.

The key point here is that students MUST analyse language – it is not enough that they can select a word/phrase or method. They must be able to refer to specific details, name the technique and attempt to closely examine how the writer has conveyed an effect or meaning, they need to interpret their quote by analysing a key word in context of the extract. Students tend to go wrong here because they don’t always make analytical comments about the writing. They are good at picking a word/phrase and sometimes can name the method used (remember if a student names the method used it’s how well the student “makes use of this to improve the quality of the response that is important”). It’s not enough that they say the author has used a simile/adjective if they can’t tell me why the ‘simile’ was effective!  Furthermore what they don’t do very well is to select a key word and make an interpretation as to why it’s effective – in context. For example:

  • His house was now his prison” The concrete noun ‘prison’ could mean he feels his home is a place where he feels trapped, imprisoned or locked in. The writer’s choice is effective because it makes the reader consider a place once associated with safety, indicated by the past verbwas‘ and adverbnow‘ makes him feel he lacks freedom.

Many moons ago  made a brilliant firework poster that I have blown up on my wall:

Quote explosion

If students analyse sentence structure (or punctuation) it must be to enhance the language-that’s really the focus.

We hope our starters which repeat and reinforce concepts such as inference, deduction, comprehension and language analysis in every lesson will help with this.

To improve:

  • (as with Paper 1) get students to identify meaning+method+evidence+effect – students must identify a method the author has used and discuss why it’s important/successful.
  • Get students to identify different possible meanings in a text (or word/phrase)
  • Students must identify ways authors create meaning; meaning+method+evidence+effect eg the author uses (name method) to highlight (link to question focus) seen in (quote) this suggests (meaning). This could create the effect/make a reader (develop effect).
  • Ensure students use a range of statements from the firework poster above – this will encourage them to develop their analysis for higher marks.

Here’s a low band student response in comparison to a high band response:

 

QUESTION 4

paper2 q4

This question explicitly requires students to compare how writers convey their perspectives or the method they used to inform their reader of something.

“It will always reference the writers in the question in a way that Q2 won’t”. Convey (or its equivalent) requires students to consider effects of language as well as other methods (techniques) used by the writer to convey meaning.

This can be through different methods such as: direct address, word groups (adjectives), hyperbole, tone, dialogue, tone of the writing, use of image to reinforce meaning, testimonies, foregrounding or emphasis, bias (what is present or omitted), level of selectivity of information etc.

This question is pretty skillful, it needs students to make a comparison of texts, indicate the methods used and comment on the effect. “This highlights the fact that writers craft their writing deliberately and use a range of techniques and methods in order to achieve their desired effect and create an impact on the reader.” A writer’s choices can tell the reader a lot about the writers own feelings towards a particular issue. Again, as with Q2 on paper 1…I really advise you to download the resource at the bottom of Slave paper 1 (AQA methods) – look at the subject terminology the exam board expects/assumes students to use confidently with regards comparison of methods.

When teaching this my students found it difficult to pick out methods beyond simple word groups (adjective/adverb etc). From September I am going to start the unit with basic skills building skills as I go (using the resource “AQA Methods by year group”). I am hoping the new focus on KS2 grammar focus will really help with this aspect.

A common error my students made was that they picked maybe one method per text .. this limits the marks they can get. They need to not only compare the views of each text but also the methods used by the writer to convey their perspective… in other words the more methods the student can identify and comment on with regards overall meaning means a higher mark.

To improve:

  • Get students confident listing, commenting or detailing an author’s view/perspective in an extract (or on a topic).
  • Students must make a clear statement in response to the question about the two texts/articles (comparison similarity or differences) Statement+method+explain+link to Q+evidence+effect+meaning or inference eg The author in text A clearly feels (link to question) this is seen in (method), the author used (XXX) seen (evidence) because (ensure links to question). This would (discuss effect) and could suggest (meaning or inference).

Here’s a low band student response in comparison to a high band response:

 

QUESTION 5

paper2 q5

Again this is a tough question not only do students have to remember the format (eg speech) they need to write in, the purpose (eg argue) they have to remember methods  (eg rhetoric question) to convey their own opinions and write their ideas in a coherent and articulate organised manner (eg organisation) and that requires a range of connectives (eg furthermore). This becomes a bigger ask because many of my students just don’t care that much about some topics and find it difficult to write with appropriate tone or passion.

Many teachers use DA FOREST and it does help:

  • D direct address
  • A alliteration
  • F facts
  • O opinions
  • R rhetorical questions
  • E emotive language
  • S statistics
  • T three (power of three)

I also teach; flattery, commands, personal pronouns, positive/negative language, repetition as part of persuasive writing. I am sure you also have others you teach.

Resources – A few resources I put together to teach the new spec to KS3:

Here’s an ‘at a glance’ for each question for P2 (for an editable word version – go to “Betcha by Golly Wow” and scroll down to No 13, then open P2 resources).

This is student ‘at a glance’ revision guide to each question (there’s a matching P1 version on SLAVE 1). There are lots of versions of these around, so you’ll be able to find one to suit your taste/needs:

A grid to analyse non-fiction texts

For Q5, the types of writing and minimum requirements

Some persuasive writing methods, definition and examples

A resource to help students understand the purpose of an article

A basic grid designed to make students analyse in context

A basic grid designed to help students understand methods and effect

A resource to help students understand structure of a text

The screen shot sample answers I’ve included are all from e-AQA somebody in your school should have a login.

There are different resources on paper 1 blog that can be used for paper 2.

Finally:

Links to some other great blogs from a range of English Teachers re AQA paper 1/2

“Slave” – AQA Paper 1

I need their kind 2 illustrate what’s wrong – what’s wrong?

Prince – Slave – Emancipation

.

ENGLISH LANGUAGE (8700) -Paper 1 Explorations in creative reading and writing (also see paper 2 “Slave” – AQA Paper 2 ).  Also, when you’ve finished both ‘Slave’ blogs I suggest you go to my “Betcha by Golly Wow” as there are LOTS of free resources; extracts, AQA new spec, articles etc to help.

Last September when I began teaching the new AQA specs for language (AQA website) I remember thinking this is going to be smooth sailing. Students will ACE, yes I am shouting…ACE this and I will look gooood. Then I marked the first end of unit test(s) for paper 1 around December and then paper 2 in June, and I had a reality check. I even wondered if I’d been in the room for 6 weeks. My title for the blog comes from the fact I became a slave to my own ego. I had to ask myself why aren’t students getting this – what’s wrong?

I need to say at this point please do spend time on AQA site – it is quite literally full of teaching ideas, videos, resources etc: AQA English GCSE . If you see chunks of text in quotations it’s because I’ve lifted it from the AQA site (I couldn’t have worded it any clearer myself).

After marking hundreds of soul destroying answers, I decided to write down things I noticed, common mistakes etc. At this point I need to clarify I often refer to techniques or skills as ‘methods’ I am simply following AQA’s lead here. One of the first things I did was to create a ppt a sort of ‘help-guide’ with all key information per question on a slide (you can download at end). At the start of the unit I get students to copy tips/hints into their books. It does take a lesson, but then ‘we’ refer back throughout unit.

One of the big focuses this year (Sept ’16) for my school is going to be reading and comprehension. Our students seem to read a piece of text but at the end have no real idea what they’ve read. To combat this for September we’ve changed our lesson format, specifically our language lessons, to follow this type of format:

  • SPaG starter
  • Inference / comprehension / deduction skill intro to the lesson
  • Main part of lesson

For Paper 1 the texts will be “extracts from literature prose fiction (such as novels and short stories) and will focus on:

  • openings
  • endings
  • narrative or descriptive passages
  • character development
  • atmospheric descriptions

Other appropriate and descriptive approaches will also be included. They will be from the 20th or 21st century. All texts will be unseen.”

A quick glance format for Paper 1 (creative texts) questions:

  • Q1 – Identify & interpret (AO1) – 4 marks
  • Q2 – Language analysis (AO2) – 8 marks
  • Q3 – Structure (AO2) – 8 marks
  • Q4 – Evaluate (AO4) – 20 marks
  • Q5 – Descriptive or Narrative writing (AO5/6) – 40 marks

 

QUESTION 1
Section A: Reading

paper1 q1

Many of my students failed to gain full marks because they simply didn’t read the question properly. Students need to answer in a simple sentence type answer eg

  • he had wild eyes (correct or accepted)
  • wild eyes (incorrect not accepted)

Many of my students pick really random things that don’t actually answer the focus of the question ie description of the weather (they pick description of a house, I have no idea why other than they simply don’t read the question properly), and many just answered in the format of bullet point 2, the simplest answer possible. These both failed to gain them 4 easy marks.

Students need to be encouraged from day 1 to write one point per line, in a simple sentence referring to the purpose of the question. They need to draw information only from the section indicated in the question.

To improve:

  • Get students retrieving information against the clock
  • Use true and almost true statements alongside false ones
  • Each answer must make sense on its own (ie a simple sentence)

 

QUESTION 2

NOTE “Bullet points in question 2 and 3 – the bullet points are a guide for students, but they do not have specific marks allocated to them. Marks are given for the quality and level of response rather than number of points made.”

 

paper1 q2

The key part of this question is the command word: HOW

For this question I teach students to look for word patterns, phrases, language features, language techniques, sentence forms.  Get students to look for sentence length to enhance mood, adjectives to enhance description, patterns in words or phrases, imagery (simile) adding to overall piece.

The biggest mistake students make is is they simply don’t analyse language. The key point here is that students MUST analyse language – it is not enough that they can select a word/phrase or method. They must be able to refer to specific details, name the technique and attempt to closely examine how the writer has conveyed an effect or meaning, they need to interpret their quote by analysing a key word in context of the extract. Students tend to go wrong here because they don’t always make analytical comments about the writing. They are good at picking a word/phrase and sometimes can name the method used (remember if a student names the method used it’s how well the student “makes use of this to improve the quality of the response that is important”). It’s not enough that they say the author has used a simile/adjective if they can’t tell me why the ‘simile’ was effective!  They simply  fail to comment as to why something is effective – in context. For example:

  • His house was now his prison” The concrete noun ‘prison’ could mean he feels his home is a place where he feels trapped, imprisoned or locked in. The writer’s choice is effective because it makes the reader consider a place once associated with safety, indicated by the past verbwas‘ and adverbnow‘ makes him feel he lacks freedom.

Many moons ago  made a brilliant firework poster that I have blown up on my wall:

 

Quote explosion

Remember if students analyse sentence structure (or punctuation) it must be to enhance the language-that’s really the focus.

We hope that our new SOW and our starters which repeat and reinforce concepts such as inference, deduction, comprehension and language analysis in every lesson will help students with this.

To improve:

  • Get students to identify different possible meanings in a text (or word/phrase)
  • Students must identify ways authors create meaning; meaning+method+evidence+effect eg the author uses (name method) to highlight (link to question focus) seen in (quote) this suggests (meaning). This could create the effect/make a reader (develop effect).
  • Ensure students use a range of statements from the firework poster above – this will encourage them to develop their analysis for higher marks.

 

Here’s a low band student response in comparison to a high band response:

 

QUESTION 3

paper1 q3

The most common error students make here is they simply re-tell the events in their own words (sometimes they don’t even do that, they lift sections of the text).

Get students to (initially) look for structural features, whole text-beginning/endings. Using relevant details to support ideas. Teaching students methods such as sequence through a passage, movement from big to small – ideas or perspectives. taking an outside to inward perspective, or vice versa, introductions and developments,  reiterations, repetitions,  threads, patterns or motifs, summaries and conclusions, shifts of focus, narrative perspective, connections and links across paragraphs, internal cohesion and topic sentences.

Students need to be able to look at how a character, theme or setting is presented in terms of the structure of the text. If students look at sentence structure analysis, whilst still appropriate, should only be referenced where students think that such analysis contributes to the structure of the whole, for example, a recurring motif or pattern that informs meaning. My focus for September will be to really look at why the structure of the text is important to overall meaning or understanding for the reader. Use a range of texts with different structural features/methods getting students to identify as many developing/detailing why they’re effective. I really advise you to download the resource at the bottom of this blog (AQA methods) – look at the subject terminology the exam board expects/assumes students to use confidently with regards structure (teachers are possibly more comfortable using subject terminology for language analysis).

Other suggestions to teach structure are perspective shift, paragraph level-topic change, single sentence paragraphs, sentence length, POV – 1st person etc. Child/adult narrator. Genre of writing. How text begins – general or focused, or does the text shift location/character-why? Is it descriptive/dialogue?  How does structure manipulate reader.  Does reader sympathise with events? Is there something funny, sad, scary, eventual in the event or stands out odd compared to the rest of the text?

To improve:

  • (as with Q2) get students to identify meaning+method+evidence+effect  students must identify a method the author has used and discuss why it’s important/successful.
  • Again ensure students pay attention to question focus: At the beginning of the extract the author focuses the reader’s attention through (name method)  to (reference to text) this shows (link to question focus) and can be seen (evidence -not necessarily a quote). This could suggest (meaning) and creates the effect of (detail effect). The author then moves to (repeat steps)!

Here’s a low band student response in comparison to a high band response:

 

 

QUESTION 4

paper1 q4

For this question students need to give personal response, explain why the character/description is/are effective, keep relevant to the text and question with relevant details to support the overall effect.

This is an evaluation question and requires students to “evaluate how each of the characters is developed in different ways, and to speculate on reasons why, or speculate on the different effects they may have on the reader.”  AQA are looking for “a critical response which provides a degree of synoptic assessment. Students can only achieve top of the mark bands if they are able to bring together all of their reading skills from inference, through analysis to evaluation.”

In other words how does the choice of language/ structure make events/characters come to life. Try to mention all characters in an extract how do they combine to overall effect? Does one character/setting/ description stand out? Why?

Some useful evaluation sentence starters/evaluative language to express a student’s judgement (difficult to write generally so these are a little formal):

  • It appears to me that the author…
  • In my opinion, the article…
  • The concept presented by the author is intriguing/innovative in that it… (positive)
  • The arguments the author presented are inadequately supported… (negative)
  • The article accurately/inaccurately portrays/presents…

Or get students to either begin or use within an evaluative sentence appropriate adjectives such as:

  • Successful
  • Interestingly
  • Powerful
  • Didactic
  • Ambitious
  • Confident

for example: The author has successfully ….. or Interestingly Steinbeck…

(Look at the end for a fantastic resource “The Language of Literary Analysis” listing lots more vocabulary to assist with analysis).

With a personal response question students should be fine if they have been actively reading the passage (again a problem we have with ours – they don’t seem to do this).

  • Students need to consider and judge what they are reading as they read the extract.
  • They need to understand and absorb the general gist of the content and need to be confident enough to agree/disagree.
  • Students also need to be aware of the style and the tone used in the passage and judge how they affect the reader. What feelings and ideas does the author suggest or want the reader to feel?
  • Finally at the end of a passage students need to have an opinion, for example. I enjoyed that because …………… or I really felt ………..

My students made the error of just analysing language or retelling events (again). They need to analyse effect of choices and develop their reasons as to why they are successful.

To improve:

  • Make a clear statement in response to the question. Add the method used by the author. Get students to follow this with a clear opinion (this is a culmination of their skills; inference, through analysis to evaluation). Statement+method+evidence+opinion+effect+meaning/inference
  • Ensure students explain why an author used a specific (method) word/phrase/imagery (in reference to the question). Why was this particular choice successful/why did it work/why did it create a possible effect on the reader?
  • Encourage students to use language that clearly assesses the quality of a text or the effect created with a specific word/phrase/method…eg this is successful because

Here’s a low band student response in comparison to a high band response:

 

QUESTION 5

paper1 q5

This is actually so much harder than it first appears. Students have to either: Write a description suggested by this picture (visual image provided). Or: Write the opening part of a story about…

My students found this hard, they either:

  • picked the first option ‘description of a picture’ but only described what they could see in the image and really struggled to describe something ‘suggested’.  They could only describe what they could actually see in the image. To combat this I will use more images as a starting point in September, I may also start using sensory bags (bags clearly labelled with the sense students must use, to then write a description focusing on their discovery).
  • or the students that wrote the opening of a story get so wrapped up in telling a/the story that they don’t describe details, they just sort of list a series of events.

I have used CASSIE with KS3 for a long time to try to ‘help’ students write better sentences:

  • C = Colours
  • A = Adjectives/Adverbs
  • S = Senses – all 5
  • S = Sentence structures – use all
  • I = Imagery – simile. metaphor, personification etc
  • E = Emotive language

 

Resources – A few resources I put together to teach the new spec to KS3:

This is student ‘at a glance’ revision guide to each question (there’s a matching P2 version on SLAVE 2). There are lots of versions of these around, so you’ll be able to find one to suit your taste/needs:

I put the following ppt together to introduce the spec to students after I taught paper 1. I felt there was so much information students needed to see criteria clearly. For paper 2 I got them to copy into their books and ‘we’ referred back to it constantly in lessons.

This following resource took me a while to put together, but I went through several mark schemes and picked up the ‘methods’ or a ‘method phrase’ (sorry just made that up), to help students with skills. I have broken up into the different skills per year group; yes I know there are repetitions. At this stage I will teach year7 basic skills building up through the year groups as we go… obviously KS4 will be expected to know, understand and utilise all of them! (I will get round to sorting alphabetically or in a type of skill hierarchy order one day):

An indispensable resource for English teachers: The Language of Literary Analysis tweeted out by Andy Tharby @atharby – I’d also suggest you follow this link to his blog with some fantastic Question templates to help you tease/draw out student responses.

I typed this A4 table up a year ago and as a teacher (not student) resource and I found it really helpful to use in lessons as a quick handy A4 reminder/guide for skill descriptors and banding when in lessons:

I typed this PA sheet up for some cover booklets I made. I am aware the I/you is a little confusing but you could always split into two; a student self assessment or a peer assessment.

A list of AQA suggested command words (taken from their site)

 

The screen shot sample answers I’ve included are all from e-AQA somebody in your school should have a login.

There are different resources on paper 2 blog that can be used for paper 1.

Finally:

Links to some other great blogs from a range of English Teachers re AQA paper 1/2

 

 

Close reading…our initial steps

anewhoffod

As identified in the first blog post, reading is a big deal for us at The Wellington Academy. We are on a huge reading drive and most of this year (year 1) has been focused on sharing our love for reading in the hope that we can foster a greater love for reading amongst our students. At the start of the year, both reading ages and reading quiz uptakes were low and we have seen a huge increase in the number of quizzes our students take, which has been my area of focus.

Now we have our students reading more, it is time to focus on supporting them with their reading. This blog post will outline the first strategy we have begun to put in place: Close reading.

This stems from potentially the most exciting book on reading to be released for some time: ‘Reading Reconsidered’ by Doug Lemov and…

View original post 754 more words

Teaching Vocabulary

Reading all the Books

If this blog had themes, I’m sure one fairly major one would be ‘Changing my Mind.’ And lest readers consider me a fully paid up zealot of the ‘Knowledge Devotees,’ let me tell you that I have only recently changed my mind about teaching vocabulary.

When I began teaching at Michaela, I picked up someone else’s timetable; someone else’s classes. I was totally at the mercy of those who had begun their learning, and it was my job to learn how to teach in the ‘Michaela Way.’ I knew what I was getting myself into, and bit my tongue when one particular sheet came my way. It was a sheet listing 45 difficult words, split into three columns of 15, each with a one (or very few) word synonym.

‘What do I do with this?’ I asked.

‘They learn one column a week – meaning and spelling – and then…

View original post 1,017 more words