differentiation (with a small ‘d’)

This post is based on workshops I have led this summer at both the Leeds Trinity University NQT Conference, and at Teaching and Learning Leeds 2017 (hosted by The Grammar School at Leeds). If you attended either of these sessions and have questions, suggestions or comments, I would love to hear them @funkypedagogy, or write…

The Dyslexic English Teacher

It was only after I had got through GCSEs, A Levels, an English Degree and my PGCE year that I discovered I am dyslexic. My particular brand of dyslexia manifests itself in letter, number and colour recognition. In other words, I misread words, struggle to recognise spelling errors (including my own), read more slowly than…

#TMBrad – Teachmeet reflection..

I am always amazed by the dedication and sheer geekery of some teachers. At 10am on Saturday 11th July (the FINAL weekend of the school term), teachers from around Leeds and Bradford (plus, you know, Bahrain, just because…) descended on Appleton Academy for a day of inspiration and all round teacher banter. The day was…

A New Project – Writing for Bradford

This summer, my school (Appleton Academy) will be hosting an exciting project to promote writing in Bradford schools. It will involve working collaboratively with professional writers, spoken word artists, academics, university students and teachers. The project is open to any interested schools in the Bradford/West Yorkshire area. Please see the information in this document: Writing Bradford…

A Level Literature Ideas – #1: Writing Introductions

Introductions and conclusions always seem like quite abstract things, threatening to book end an essay with vague statements and ‘summing up’. However, done right, an introduction serves as the perfect vanguard of a well crafted argument. There are tons of different ways to teach introduction writing, but the most successful in my experience is ‘Discuss,…

Vocabulary Project: Part 2 – technical terminology for high ability learners

When we were initially trained on vocabulary teaching by Jane Dallas, she separated words out into three classes. 1. Everyday words you need to communicate simple things (mum, dad, tree…) 2. More complex words used to add meaning or nuance (disgusting, harrowing, protective…) 3. Technical vocabulary linked to specific subjects (onomatopoeia, synthesis, semiquaver…) Jane’s training,…

Five displays which work…

If there has been one pattern in my teaching career, it has been the slow realisation that nothing is worth doing unless it can answer ‘yes’ to two questions: 1) Can it be re-used, and/or integrated into a regular part of my practice? 2) Will it make students active, rather than passive participants in their…

What happens in Slam Club, stays in Slam Club…

Slam has been a huge part of my teaching life for over two years, and in that time I have worked with hundreds of young people, shared their stories and felt their passions. To find out more about what Slam is and to see some great examples, see my previous blog: ‘5 Reasons why you…

5 Reasons why you should bring Spoken Word into your classroom…

A wise lady once told me that ‘Poetry is the music of language’. I take this to mean that poetry is simultaneously pure and abstract, both direct and ambiguous. Just like music, poetry needs an open mind, an open ear and, perhaps most importantly, no fear. Students of poetry must feel confident to face even…