Poetry Response Flow Chart

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.

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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:

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You can download the file by clicking here.

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

Poetry Response Flow Chart

Editable poetry response

£2.00

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Managing Your Workload During Your Training Year

If you have just started your teacher training, no matter the route, you may be feeling rather swamped with things to do! It is something that I really struggled with throughout the year and no matter what advice you will be given…you will struggle to balance everything. I don’t think it is something people ever master or get the hang of as even very experienced colleagues admit that they find it difficult.

I think I needed to think about this recently as well as I come to the end of my first week as an NQT and face the temptation to work over the weekend…which I’m channelling into this post instead.

1. You’ll never finish your to do list.

It is just going to be a fact. You’ll never finish off everything you want to. What you can do, however, is RAG rate the importance of the tasks you need to do so that you make sure you finish that lesson before you start cutting out display lettering.

2. Use your free periods wisely.

The benefit of your sparse timetable in the first term is that you can get lots of observations done across different year groups/subject areas but it also means that you can get lots of reading done for your assignments. Space out the work you’ll need to put in for your assignments during this first term especially because once your teaching ramps up…you’ll be glad you did it!

3. Remember to say no.

You should not be expected to be the errand girl/boy for the other teachers in your department. Of course, there may be times where you help a colleague out by grabbing their photocopying from reprographics. However, there is a line and you need to learn where you draw yours.

4. Think about how much time you spend planning lessons/activities.

Be smart about it. I once spent 2 hours planning a 20 minute connect activity. It was ridiculous. I tried to account for every minute of the lesson and micro-manage the pupils in anticipation. Well needless to say that some pupils turned up late, didn’t dance to the very specific beat of my specially designed drum, and well…the lesson was a bit pants. Not only did I spend an idiotic amount of time on the 20 minute connect activity but it didn’t do anything for the kids either so nobody won. Try to keep it all in perspective!

5. Get yourself a decent planner & write all of your deadlines in.

There is nothing worse than finding out you have a major essay due in a few days when you haven’t done any of the work and you’ve got a stack of books to mark as well as lessons to plan! Get yourself a decent planner, wall calendar or sit down and input it onto your phone calendar. It’ll save you a heart attack closer to the time.

6. Set aside some time that is all about you.

Keep yourself grounded and set some time aside that it all about you. I set aside Saturdays every week. Arguably, that isn’t nearly enough time but for me, that was good enough. I wouldn’t do any work and would make sure to catch up on some trashy TV whilst in my pyjamas binge eating sweets.

7. Don’t try to reinvent the wheel.

Some departments/schools are more open about sharing resources than others. Regardless of whether colleagues are happy to share, you can access loads of materials and resources online through Twitter (where most people share for free), bloggers, TES or Teachers Pay Teachers. These resources will save you a decent amount of time and if nothing else, give you lots of ideas!

8. Ask for help and support.

You should have a mentor in school as well as a tutor with your training provider…ask them for them! The chances are that they’ve supported other trainees through these issues and been through them themselves. Talk to your friends and your family. Don’t be scared to say if you’re ever struggling.

 

If there is anything else that anyone can think or would like to see on this list then let me know in the comments below or by tweeting me @MissSims4

Persuasive Writing/Advertising SoW (KS3)

Hello!

Apologies for a brief hiatus – I have been away on holiday & then our cat got stuck on our neighbour’s roof and so…needless to say this has been on the back burner. However, now I’d like to share one of my favourite units for KS3…the persuasive writing campaign! There were several ways to approach this unit in our department but I wanted to make it  really meaningful and engaging for the pupils (surely that is always the aim but hopefully you get what I mean!).

I approached it as a charity campaign whereby pupils chose a charity in their group and created a three-pronged campaign of: a persuasive letter encouraging people to donate; a radio advert; and a poster. This gave pupils a bit of variety and an opportunity to use lots of different language features…as well as something a bit fun at the end!

Pupils got really stuck in and it was a fantastic way to explore citizenship and current issues within the classroom. There is scope to use it as a whole-school exercise as well and get the pupils to campaign for their charities and raise some actual money – if that is something you wanted to do, of course!

There are 7 lessons but it definitely spanned over that as some of the tasks take longer than others. You can download them from Dropbox by clicking this link here.

I hope it is useful! As always, my resources are FREE to download but if you would like to contribute anything, please feel free to do so below…

Persuasive Writing SoW

£5.00

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

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!