Explicit Grammar: Teaching Relative Clauses

I’ve been experimenting this year with different ways of making the mechanics of writing a little more explicit to my students. My hope is that the more grammar knowledge my students have, the more explicitly they can understand their choices when writing. For some, this might involve showing them something new. For others, it might make them a…

Beautiful language, beautiful analysis?

If students are given more beautiful language to explore, would their analysis itself be more beautiful? One of my biggest priorities this year is preparing my year 11 classes for their exams. Sure, this statement is unlikely to make it into any teacher recruitment literature, but it’s an unavoidable fact of teaching. And to this…

Ignite the Thesaurus! Synonymy in the classroom.

I don’t wish to start off the blog-post by sounding too boastful. But, and I’m sure you’ll be jealous to learn this, I have a full set of thesauruses in my classroom. Yep, that’s right. While most other English classrooms along the corridor struggle along with only a handful of mismatched, different editions, I have maintained…

Risking it with Rhetoric Part Two: Designed to be Spoken

A couple of weeks ago I blogged about my experimentation with teaching rhetoric. The process marked a departure from what I had taught in previous years. My main justification for this was that if my students were going to analyse non-fiction, then certain speeches, packed full of fascinating language and steeped in our cultural history, would…

English Intervention: The Year 9 Masterclass

At the start of the year, I found myself in the unenviable position of overseeing progress in English for our KS3 students. As well as careful tracking of each student, I also meet fortnightly with other members of the unfortunately named ‘R.A.T’ (Raising Attainment Team), to discuss the progress of our students at KS3. There’s…

Crisps, Cereal and the Curriculum

To start, I’m going to indulge myself with a trip down memory lane. I’m in HG3, a particularly cold classroom, we’ve got Mr Gordon for AS English Language, and we’re doing the crisp packet lesson. Over 10 years on and I can still vividly remember the day I dissected the packaging of these pleasingly shaped…

What’s the best way to teach vocabulary?

I don’t think it’s controversial to say that being able to read, understand and write words is incredibly important to every child’s education. It might even be so plainly obvious as to not merit questioning. The more words my students can read and understand, the more complex and challenging texts they can acess. The more…