Is Shakespeare relevant to students today? I shout an adament yes (usually to my year 11s as I bounce around my classroom trying to rap "calm, dishonourable, vile submission!" and demonstrate an effective "I bite my thumb at you" insult. When I moved here six years ago, I taught a bottom set year 11 class. … Continue reading Teaching Shakespeare: Romeo is Dead! Now Juliet has nothing to live for?
The other day I gave my students a transactional writing task to complete. Below is the task: I had just finished doing a holistic book check, template found here, and as such I was acutely aware and depressingly reminded of how many wasted sentences students spent earning themselves no marks; they wrote mostly banal sentences … Continue reading Using Success Criteria to Refine Writing
A fellow teacher and friend stormed into the English workroom yesterday, fuming. Her arms flailing and her eyes darting from side to side, she exploded with frustration over the state of the world. Sometimes it was just too much, she said. Of course, this happens to her relatively often. She cares a lot for her … Continue reading Do we live “in a man’s world?”
We've just finished a unit with our year 7s which was project-based and culimated in a presentation to the class. The best group was then chosen to advance to the "semi-finals" where they present in front of a few members of SLT and the best groups from those presentations will present to "the outside world" … Continue reading #NoMoreProjectsPlease!
When we read a text with students, we need to quiz them on the content. We can't read it and skip to analysis without first checking--more than once--that they know the material. Otherwise we must explain and re-explain the basis, becoming more annoyed each time we do that "these kids don't get it." A few … Continue reading Why Students Need Knowledge, or “Slim’s B**ch”
I just finished reading TES' recent article "Think budgets are tight now?" which articulates that the UK is spending millions more on its pensioners than its children. The article correlates a lack of future funding to a struggle in the education sector: how will we educate our youth appropriately when we are only spending 3.8% … Continue reading Cuts to Education Funding: does it really spell doom? A response to TES
I find that the effectiveness of a department directly corresponds to the buy-in of its staff. You must have a strong vision, and you must ensure your staff is on board, in order for anything to happen well. The question is, what happens when a department's vision isn't obvious, coherent, is actively unliked or maybe … Continue reading What’s your Vision?
"Know your learners" is a catch phrase that's consumed my school this year. We must make a dedicated effort to probe into every aspect of a student's learning and life that will help us understand why they aren't meeting their targets. Interesting that the word "know" is there, when much of the reason the student … Continue reading Knowledge, Antiknowledge and Knowing (myself as a teacher)
The "knowledge-thirsty youngsters" need to get "solid knowledge in a coherent way" says ED Hirsh The Schools We Need (13). This month's TES published Jon Brunskill and Mark Enser's article on Knowledge Organisers in the classroom. Instead of considering skills first, what should they know, he asked. Good plan. So instead of starting with learning … Continue reading Romeo and Juliet: What do I want the kids to KNOW?
"How do I start Miss?" Johnny asks if I don't have the sentence starters on the board. "Yeah! What do we write?" "You know what to write!" I respond, frustrated. "We've just been over this!" "Yeah but it sounds better when you start it." So my question is, does it help or hurt students to … Continue reading Miss, where’s the sentence starters?