As they complete their work, I’ll post up some of the results but for now…enjoy your free download from this link here.
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I created this and posted it on Twitter asking for some feedback but lots of people seemed to like it so I thought that I would share it on here with a couple of tweaks. I designed this for my mid-ability Year 10 group who are just starting out on their GCSE course. I haven’t yet tried this on my pupils but it is a developed version that I used from last year so I can vouch for its efficacy!
This isn’t for a comparative question but it is mostly to get them thinking about how to write about poetry & bring in all of the information. There are other resources on comparing two poems which you can find on the Power & Conflict SoW I designed which you an find under KS4.
These sheets are editable so in theory you could use them to help students with anything at all! I’ve also added some notes on the file about how I was planning to use them which you can see here:
Phew…this one felt like a slog at times but it’s done! 19 lessons, fully resourced with homework added in as well as revision/consolidation resources. Other than saving me a lot of time over the course of the first term, I hope it saves you guys some time as well. I’ve put together a quick commentary of the lessons to clarify any points.
I developed this with my own classes in mind – a lower set with target grades ranging from 3-5.
All of the PowerPoints are in Kristen ITC so if you don’t have this font installed, it may be formatted slightly differently.
The unit is integrated with some Paper 2, Question 5 language skills as well.
I haven’t fully annotated any of the poems as I will be using a visualiser for that but the PowerPoints have key things to look at/analyse as well as some activities.
Consolidation homework to be completed after every poem (WPCSLIP)
Lesson 1: Welcome
A general overview of the SoW and expectations. A lesson to get the pupils sorted with books etc.
Lesson 2: Ozymandias
Beginning to understand the poem and eventually leading to a short paragraph analysing the language/structure of the poem.
Lesson 3: HOW to write a response
Mostly a skills lesson with a checklist for writing to support. Self-assessment at the end by colour coding their responses.
Lesson 4: Charge of the Light Brigade
Moving towards developing analysis of features & consolidation with a CLOZE paragraph.
Lesson 5: Storm on the Island
A focus on the contextual factors of the poem and writing a response against the AQA mark scheme. Self-assessment/peer-assessment opportunities.
Lesson 6: My Last Duchess
Using statements about power & gathering evidence from the poem – language skill. Analysing the key lines of the poem – emphasis on language/structural features used.
Lesson 7: London
Lots of contextual information on this one – designed to be a carousel activity. Slides can be printed off on A3 for ease. Students then focus on the language features used and analysing the effect this may have. CLOZE paragraph to consolidate. This can then be used to edit the CLOZE/improve it against the mark scheme.
Lesson 8: Checking Out Me History
Top Trumps between the different historical figures; students given a statement and asked to write a speech in response using the structure strips which you can find at the end of this post.
Lesson 9: Paper 2, Question 5 response to COMH statements
Writing their speech with extra challenge tasks. Self-assessment before being taken in for teacher assessment.
‘Lesson’ 10: Bayonet Charge (Homework)
Structured questions to take pupils through the poem with a WPCSLIP to complete afterwards.
Lesson 11: Review homework & creating statements
Ensuring understanding of their homework and then consolidating that understanding by creating statements which pupils find evidence for/against. Can be used as a ‘warm up’ or as an assessment piece.
Lesson 12: The Prelude
A focus on the juxtaposition of language but also the use of plosive sounds vs. sibilance as well. A CLOZE paragraph without the word bank – pupils to begin developing their own responses. Then used as a springboard for writing a second paragraph.
Lesson 13: Kamikaze & beginning to compare
A focus on Kamikaze & the power of nature. Using this to compare the poem to The Prelude & writing a paragraph with some scaffolding. Self/peer assessment and using this to close the feedback loop.
Lesson 14: War Photographer with P2Q5 task
Using a P2Q5 task as a springboard into War Photographer. Focus on the issues/themes first before getting into the language. I have a polaroid camera that I also use to get the pupils to understand the ‘half-formed ghost’ line.
Lesson 15: Poppies with comparative paragraph
Looking at the juxtaposition between domesticity and war – using this to compare War Photographer and Poppies.
Lesson 16: Exposure
Context – carousel lesson for pupils to mindmap factors. Exploding key quotes & moving into analysis.
Lesson 17: Remains
Linking through the idea of PTSD. Building independence – tackle it as an unseen poem with limited scaffolding.
Lesson 18: Tissue
I’ve left lots of slides on this one from when I went through the poem with my Y10 (mid/lower ability) group last year and I added their analysis onto the slides as we went. Hopefully useful!
Lesson 19: The Emigrée
Tackling this as an unseen poem and then reviewing as a whole class. Using this to write x2 paragraphs exploring the theme of ‘loss’ – possible to do a comparative essay on Poppies(?)
I left the remaining week in the term as a spill over/mop up week.
Revision cards with key quotations and questions to structure their analysis.
WPCSLIP to consolidate understanding of each poem. I print these on bright pink so that they are easy to find in their books. Can easily be done as a classroom activity but I set these for homework each week.
Structure Strips – inspired by Mr Lockyer on Twitter, I’ve developed the structure strips for Language P2Q5. So far, I’ve only done it for newspaper article and a speech but they can be edited to fit your needs!
Poetry speed dating! I LOVE this. I did this as an end of term ‘party’ type activity. I have some small LED candle lights which I put out and got some fruit juice & cups so they could ‘break the ice’. Each pupil was given a different poem and their job was to find as many matches as they could using this sheet to help structure their conversations. It was a lot of fun and the kids really got into it!
Something that a lot of people seem to be getting on board with to reduce workload and close the feedback loop at the same time is whole class feedback. I was asked to share my whole class feedback sheet on Twitter so I thought I’d put it on here to share far & wide with others.
This is one that I made for my Year 9s after their end of KS3 exam. I’ve left the content in the boxes to show how I’ve used the space/boxes available.
The file is editable and FREE to download. You can do so by clicking this link here.
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I’m not sure how other schools choose to teach the GCSE English Language skills but I have chosen to teach the skills through a text which is separate from the GCSE English Literature syllabus. As a new teacher, and therefore one who doesn’t have a wealth of resources from previous texts on the GCSE, I chose SMART by Kim Slater.
The language in the book is accessible for KS4 and it is in a similar vain to The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime. It’s also set in Nottingham which is great because a lot of the pupils I teach can relate to the locations mentioned or local ‘in-jokes’. As part of this, we taught the skills for Paper 1 alongside reading the text.
The students really loved the story and it got them interested in reading! These were students that weren’t going to go out and buy books at the weekend but lo and behold…several of them went and bought SMART as well as some of Kim Slater’s other books. What more could you ask for as an English teacher?
To complement the work we were doing in class and reinforce their understanding of Paper 1, I created some bookmarks that had a breakdown of each question on the paper as well as a bumper list of ‘writers’ methods’ to refer to.
I simply printed them on regular paper, folded them over and laminated them for durability. Students said that they were really helpful and they referred to the ‘writers’ methods’ list when completing class work.
I must begin this with a disclaimer that I am not a dyslexia specialist but I do take an avid interest in supporting dyslexic learners across the curriculum. I had a fabulous mentor during my Schools Direct year who specialised in supporting SEND students, particularly those with memory issues. Before working in schools, she supported stroke survivors so had a plethora of experience and strategies on hand to support our learners. So, this post is both inspired by and in honour of everything Mrs Murray taught me.
“I’ve just looked at the context data for my classes and I’ve got a couple of dyslexic kids. I’ll just stick it on some yellow paper.”
I can’t express how much I would cringe as fellow trainee teachers would say this.
Not all dyslexic pupils are the same.
You can’t rely solely on the label of ‘dyslexic’ to tell you what works for that child and what doesn’t. You can’t just put their work on coloured paper and hope for the best.
So, what this post is aiming to do is offer some practical and manageable strategies to implement in the classroom. That isn’t to say that they wouldn’t need some level of adaptation but hopefully they are a starting point!
Secondly, the majority of these strategies rely on students taking the onus upon themselves to use them in the classroom. I feel very passionately about creating independent students and giving them transferable approaches which will allow them to access the wider curriculum.
Coloured Paper & Overlays
Okay. Regardless of what I just stated above…this can work for some pupils! I’ve spent some of the literacy budget on x2 new sets of reading rulers which have a variety of different colours. At the start of the term, you could have a lesson where pupils can test these out. Make it regular practice in your classroom for pupils to use reading rulers.
Model it for them! Secretly, I like using a reading ruler to follow as pupils are reading because it allows you to do the ‘teacher stare’ and easily pick your line back up. Bonus!
Word Art & Sketchbooks
This can work beautifully with some students who are potentially quite creative but struggle academically. Students create pictures from the words with a particular focus on the sounds or perhaps a silent letter.
For example, one pupil I worked with last year would confuse ‘which’ and ‘witch’ so they wrote the word ‘witch’ out and turned the ‘t’ into a broomstick with a cauldron underneath so they now remember which one is which (forgive the pun).
How is this going to work in a classroom situation? Give pupils a small sketchbook or allow them to write in the back of their exercise book freely utilise this strategies.
I love this one and is one of my fondest memories from the entire Schools Direct year. One pupil I worked with last year would struggle to remember how to spell the word ‘beyond’ as they would often forget the ‘y’. So, they came up with a little story to help them…
They split the word into ‘bey’ and ‘ond’ and in the spirit of all things Queen Bey would remember it by saying ‘beyonce on the dance floor’.
The more ridiculous, the better. I love this and can’t spell beyond without thinking of this pupil or their story.
Gosh – I’ve got such a love for post-it notes and if any of you are on Twitter, you will have seen the outpouring of love for Tiger’s big post-its which would be great for this.
One of the issues that dyslexic students may struggle with is the organisation of their thoughts/ideas. This could be especially useful for chunking ideas/getting bits of ideas down onto paper before re-organising them on the page until they are happy with the order.
The post-it note strategy has worked wonders with my KS4 classes last year – particularly with the literature essays whereby pupils are tempted to write down everything they know rather than what the question is asking of them.
Now this is a fabulous strategy, if you have the resources available in school to use it. Pupils who are perhaps stronger orally than they would be writing could benefit from this.
Students can record themselves and once it has been saved, they can plug in their earphones and listen back to their writing and transcribe it; editing as they go.
Whiteboards or Gel Boards
Using these are a great way for pupils to try out a spelling before they put it down on paper – a low-pressure; low-risk strategy. Gel boards are similar to whiteboards but in my opinion, the gel boards are much better. They are more tactile, quite satisfying to write on and last much longer.
These boards can be quite expensive which is the main downside to using them. As a school, we buy them in wholesale and then use some of the literacy budget to subsidise the cost to parents when we re-sell them at a lower price.
Colour Coding & Highlighting
This can be a hit and miss strategy and normally one that takes a bit of ‘training’. If your pupils have their own copies of the GCSE texts, this is one that could work wonders when used correctly. I tend to use these highlighter strips as they are moveable and students can write over them.
They are fairly inexpensive and encourage independence in students which is one of the big things I focus on. Students can also transfer this over into other subjects when revising or reading long chunks of text.
Pupils could have a different colour for various characters or themes so that when it comes to revising, it feels more manageable instead of being faced by a huge block of text which could otherwise be intimidating.
These are more suited to intervention time as opposed to in-classroom time as they are rather time consuming and messy. That isn’t to say that they can’t be used in class but they may not be the easiest to implement. There are a few so here we go:
Writing on the windows with board markers – allows students to feel unrestricted by the size of the page etc. Good for those with poor fine motor skills as well. This can also be applied to chalkboard walls/doors, if your school allows.
Spelling words using playdough (easy to home-make as well to save money) where students can use different colours to represent the grapheme-phoneme relationships or maybe a silent letter that they easily forget.
Letter/phonics pebbles these are really satisfying to touch as they are smooth and heavy – good for learners who are kinaesthetic. They have key phonics sounds as well as the regular alphabet. Can be used as a visual aid to help students remember key sounds in words they struggle with.
You can use these as a warm up in intervention sessions or set them as homework. They can often be a diagnostic test to check pupils’ strategies – whether they are aware of them or not. Here is one example from the BBC Scotland website.
In addition to all of this, try to use fonts that are dyslexia friendly. Those with even spacing and slightly rounded letters such as: Helvetica; Comic Sans; Arial; Chalkboard; and Veranda seem to work quite well.
There are some that have been developed specifically for dyslexic students such as OpenDyslexic which is free to download as well as Lexie Readable.
So that is by no means a comprehensive list but I thought it may be helpful regardless, especially for trainee teachers & NQTs alike.
If you do use any of these strategies, please tweet me @MissSims4 or leave a comment below! I’d love to know how you got on.