Word(s) of the Week for 2017-18!

This year, my school is having a big push on our pupils being word rich. Of course, the English Department is getting right behind it!

I have a thought bubble chalkboard in my room which I have used as a ‘word of the week’ board at the front of the room (not that you can see very well from the photograph below!).

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Of course, you can’t just write a random word up on the board and expect pupils to understand it so if possible, integrate it into your lesson or dedicate some tutor time to using it.

Find the Word of the Week sheet for FREE here!

Word(s) of the Week 2017-18

£0.99

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Creative Writing Booklet for KS3

Originally designed for Year 7s but the tasks can be easily adapted for Year 8 & 9. This was developed for tutor time (25 minutes in my school) and therefore are quite independent tasks. There are 11 weeks worth of tasks in here to allow for some time to mop up any bits and bobs in the remaining weeks of term.

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There is a PowerPoint and an accompanying booklet with additional information to reinforce key literacy skills as well as embrace their creativity.

You can download it for free here!

If you would like to contribute then please click below, there is no obligation to do so though!

KS3 Literacy/Creative Writing Booklet

Only if you would like to contribute!

£2.00

KS3 Literacy/Creative Writing Booklet for Tutor Time

If you would like to contribute, please do so but there is no obligation.

£5.00

The Long Awaited Power & Conflict SoW

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.

Quick Notes

  • 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)

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Lesson 1: Welcome

A general overview of the SoW and expectations. A lesson to get the pupils sorted with books etc.

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Lesson 2: Ozymandias

Beginning to understand the poem and eventually leading to a short paragraph analysing the language/structure of the poem.

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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.

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Lesson 4: Charge of the Light Brigade

Moving towards developing analysis of features & consolidation with a CLOZE paragraph.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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‘Lesson’ 10: Bayonet Charge (Homework)

Structured questions to take pupils through the poem with a WPCSLIP to complete afterwards.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Lesson 15: Poppies with comparative paragraph

Looking at the juxtaposition between domesticity and war – using this to compare War Photographer and Poppies.

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Lesson 16: Exposure

Context – carousel lesson for pupils to mindmap factors. Exploding key quotes & moving into analysis.

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Lesson 17: Remains

Linking through the idea of PTSD. Building independence – tackle it as an unseen poem with limited scaffolding.

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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!

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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.

Extra Resources

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Revision cards with key quotations and questions to structure their analysis.

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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.

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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!

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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!

You can download all of these resources FOR FREE from this link here.

If you would like to contribute via. PayPal then please do so but there is no obligation although it would be very much appreciated!

Power & Conflict SoW

If you would like to contribute anything then please do so!

£5.00

Coping with an Invisible Illness

It isn’t something I particularly talk about…mostly because I don’t see the point but after thinking about it; it is important to talk about it. I have a type of arthritis in my lower back called ankylosing spondylitis. It essentially means I’m in a lot of pain…pretty much all of the time. Eventually, my spine will fuse together which may well mean I am immobile or wheelchair bound…hence why I don’t tend to talk about it! Having said that, I am yet to meet any other teachers in a similar position.

 

If you are in a similar position, I would love to hear from you! For now though, I’ve put together a list of things that I have found useful through my very limited experience…

Spoon-theory

Read up on Spoon Theory

Spoon Theory is a great way to think about managing your energy throughout the day or week. The important thing to remember is that everyone differs on the amount of ‘spoons’ they use for each activity. For example, going to work would cost me 6 spoons which doesn’t leave me much for the rest of the day. However, it is a useful little tool to keep in mind!

occupational health

Talk to Occupational Health

Occupational health are there to help…nobody is going to shout at you for asking for help! In your school, it may be called something a little different. For example, I talked to our Health and Safety officer as well as the site team. I reached out to occupational health and got a new desk chair. It may seem quite a small adjustment but it has made such a difference to my pain levels throughout the day.

ASK STUDENTS

Ask Your Students for Help

OK. This might not work with your ‘nightmare’ groups and requires your own judgement but if you’re having a bad day…tell them! I had an almighty pain flare up one day and couldn’t stand for long periods of time. I told my gorgeous Year 7 group and they were so thoughtful and well behaved for the rest of the lesson. Following that afternoon, I would have 2 or 3 of them come up to me, without fail, each lesson and ask how I was feeling or if I needed any help with anything. Even if it just means carrying a box of books or something up/down the stairs, it’s help! Take it! It doesn’t make you weak.

WEEKENDS WISELY

Use your Weekends Wisely

I gave myself Saturdays as my designated ‘Self-Care Saturday’…mostly because I liked to use Sundays to prep myself for Monday. It is, of course, up to you and what works best with your routine. Now, I am aware that there are a number of different factors that might prevent people from doing this. For example, having children or other responsibilities. Yet, I would encourage everyone to designate some time at least for their own self care.

I would treat myself to a LUSH bath bomb (this one is my favourite), read a few chapters of my book, turn off my phone and have one of my favourite meals. It makes a big difference to the rest of your week.

CONVERSATION

Keep the Conversation Going

This is one of the things that I’ve found most difficult over the last year. Keep talking about how you’re finding things. Whether that is to a counsellor, a medical professional, your partner, your friends, your line manager…keep the conversation going. It is so important to talk but not just about work or your illness. It is important to talk about menial things, trashy TV, the latest book you’ve read or the news (scrap that, it’s rather depressing at the moment).

IMPORTANT NUMBERS

Important Numbers/Contacts

If you are struggling, go and speak to your GP/Nurse as a first point of call. However, I hope some of these websites/numbers are helpful too.

NHS Choices

Mind: the Mental Health Charity

Education Support Partnership

A Way with Pain: Chronic Pain Support Charity

Pain UK

Facebook can also be a bit hit and miss with support groups – I’ve found them to be incredibly depressing and offer people a place to moan rather than lift each other up but they can still be a source of support. The best thing to do is search!

Growth Mindset Posters

Growth Mindset quotations from Dweck…useful for general displays in the classroom.

 

Click on this link here for the free download!

 

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Editable Whole Class Feedback Sheets

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.

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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.

 

If you use an ad-blocker, please consider disabling it for this site. I feel very passionately about sharing my resources for free which is helped by the fact there are (non-intrusive!) adverts on this website. Please help to support http://www.escapadesinteaching.com where possible. Thank you.

 

21 Tips for Trainee Teachers

A friend that I worked with during my years at university messaged me recently on Facebook to say that they were starting their PGCE year and whether I could share some words of advice. So, I decided that I would sit down at write a post about it. Here we go…

1. Check your social media.

The kids these days are pretty up to scratch with technology and chances are they, if nobody else, will search you on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or whatever else you use. You really don’t want them to find your pictures from university nights out or a rage induced tweet indirectly written about your ex.

Go into your privacy settings and make sure they are on the highest possible setting.

2. Join a teaching union.

There are plenty of teaching unions available to join. Most of them will be at your first week of university trying to get you to join. You can join as many as you like so do it! Not just for the free pens but for the legal protection it offers you, if nothing else.

3. Be organised.

You will be given a multitude of handouts from uni, staff handbooks from your placement as well as a million and one pieces of paperwork to complete. Invest in a solid ring binder from the get go.

4. It’s a marathon. Pace yourself.

It’s going to be a long year. It will go quickly but don’t burn yourself out in the first few months! Use your evenings, weekends and half-terms to look after yourself and recharge.

5. Don’t be scared to ask for help.

Chances are people would rather you ask ten times rather than get it wrong ten times. Any good colleague, mentor or lecturer would understand that you are learning and that you need support on your way.

6. Don’t be scared to cry.

You’re going to cry at least once, if not more. I cried when I had bad lessons. I cried when I had good lessons. I cried when I got my job. I cried when I was awarded ‘outstanding’. I cried when it was over. Maybe that’s just me…but don’t be scared to let it out. Don’t bottle it up because otherwise you’ll cry in front of a student when they tell you their grandad just died…definitely didn’t happen to me!

7. Observe. Observe. Observe.

It is one of the true pleasures of training and one thing that you probably won’t be able to do once you have a full-time timetable. You can learn so much from colleagues across the school – don’t just stay within your subject area. I learnt some fantastic behaviour management techniques from Drama and lots of strategies for differentiated questioning in subjects where the pupils weren’t streamed.

Remember to follow basic manners when observing: show up on time; say thank you; ask whether they’d like you to speak to the pupils or not; don’t sit there slurping tea; don’t judge them.

8. It’s never personal.

If a pupil turns around and tells you to ‘f*** off’ or decides they don’t want to learn about proper nouns, it’s probably not you. It might be you but it won’t be the you that your friends know down the pub on a Friday night.

9. You will be judged by everyone.

Sorry. I know it is probably one of those things that you don’t want to hear but it’s true. You will be judged by the receptionist, the reprographics lady, the pupils, your department, the guy in the staff room who sits in the same seat every day etc. You get the idea. Make sure you make a positive first impression. Read up on their staff dress code and dress appropriately – it’s a good first step.

10. Remember that other members of staff have work to do.

That isn’t to say that you shouldn’t ask for help but it is to say that you shouldn’t sit in the staff room scrolling through the celeb pages of the Daily Mail or having a very loud conversation with your pal about how ‘mental’ the weekend was in that dreary club at 3am…

11. Say no.

No is a word. No is a word that you can use. Within reason, remember that you can say no to requests to cover classes, go on school trips or do someone’s photocopying for the term. There shouldn’t be too many instances where this is applicable but in the interest of your own sanity and well-being…remember that you can say no.

12. Don’t ever tell someone how to do their job.

Want a fast track to being ostracised? Tell an experienced teacher where you think they’re going wrong!

Just because you had a lecture on behaviour management doesn’t mean you can walk into someone else’s class and tell them how to deal with ‘so-and-so’. There is a difference between offering up some stuff you’ve had from university and telling someone how to do their job. Tread the line very carefully.

13. Get to know the staff.

The cleaners, dinner ladies, site staff and receptionists are your friends. Make them your allies. They’ll know everything. If you have a question, chances are they will be able to answer it!

14. Get involved in the school.

You may well arrive at your first placement and think ‘I’m only here for x amount of weeks, I’m just gonna be here from 8-4 and go.’ well think again. Extra-curricular clubs (after-school or during lunchtimes usually) are a fantastic way to get to know the pupils in your classes and the staff who run them. They also give you a real flavour for what a school is like.

15. Pay your subs.

If there is a tea and coffee kitty in your school or department, make sure you pay up. Nobody wants to be ‘that guy’.

16. You are learning.

You should not under any circumstances be asked to go onto an 80% or even 90% timetable as you start in September. You should be building your way up steadily to an 80% timetable (which is what you’ll be on as an NQT).

Use your year of training to brush up on your subject knowledge, pedagogical theory and current debates in education. It will be invaluable!

17. Bring your personality in.

This is a possibly controversial one. I hated the ‘don’t smile until Christmas’ mentality – I think pupils need to have something to connect with so give them something! Let them get to know you. This doesn’t mean they need to know what your favourite pubs are so be selective in the information you share.

 

18. Get to know your school.

You’ll need to know who is who. You don’t want to make a badly timed joke to the deputy head or start talking about so-and-so when his auntie works in the Geography department.

Get to know the community that your school serves – it will give you an invaluable insight into the lives your students lead.

19. Be kind to yourself.

I gave myself ‘Self-Care Sunday’ every weekend. This meant turning off my phone…running a bath…putting a Lush bath bomb in and something on iPlayer before switching off for a few hours. It’s important that you do these things to keep everything in perspective.

You’ll probably get ill in the half-terms until you’ve built up some sort of iron-fenced immunity so top yourself up with vitamins, eat well and keep hydrated! Hand sanitiser is also incredibly handy (punny, I know).

20. Join Twitter!

There are so many fantastic little pockets of EduTwitter. There are colleagues who have been teaching for years, members of SLT (Senior Leadership Team), NQTs (Newly Qualified Teachers), RQTs (Recently Qualified Teachers) and policy makers. The level of support is fabulous and most are very generous with sharing resources.

I would advise you create a professional Twitter account should any scallywags find your #LoveIsland tweets.

21. Enjoy it!

You are joining an incredible profession where no two days are the same. It will be a rollercoaster. It will be hard but we do it because it is hard. We do it because it is worth it. Hold onto those moments because they provide some light in the darker moments.