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 – #3: Mood Boards

Literature at A Level has traditionally been a very essay driven course; there are very few specifications which allow any element of creative writing, and even these are optional swap-ins for a potential second essay. This is a shame because students need to be able to appreciate the craft of the writer and have a…

A Level Literature Ideas – #2: Essay Planning

The key to all good writing is shape; when to be broad and when to be narrow, when to charge ahead and when to circle back. In a previous post I described how a good essay introduction is like an upside triangle, or arrowhead pointing the reader to a strong argument. A successful essay must…

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,…

Apparently, I will do anything for a nice pen…

When I was approached by @Pen_Heaven about the #backtobasics challenge, I’ll be honest, at the words, “we will send you a free fountain pen”, I was pretty much sold. Abiding closely to the girly, female English teacher stereotype, I am a lover of all things stationery, and have wasted a LOT of time drooling over…

Vocabulary Project: Part 1- Rationale and Launch #appletonacademy

To an English teacher, words are everything. Put in the right order, they have immense power to move us, fascinate us, make us laugh and teach us. Words excite and entertain me, but as someone who has always loved to read and felt able to express myself with an ever expanding vocabulary, sometimes I am…

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 I learned from spending a year in the wrong school…

Teaching is my vocation. I love my job and the challenges it brings, but in the past year I have questioned my planning, decision making, relationships and my worth as a teacher. This post is not going to be a rant about the school or an attempt to air my grievances; I’m not angry, and…

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…