Up for Discussion – Why We Blog

Up for Discussion – Why We Blog.


Blogs for the Week Ending 1st February 2014

Hello my Englishplanner blog. I know I have been ignoring you lately; I’ve been busy. I’ve been feeling a bit shell-shocked and weary: we have been through Ofsted; ‘Inadequate’ was splashed across the front page of the local paper; numbers of pupils on role has fallen and the hedge fund academy managers have moved in.
I’m starting to feel a little better and may soon get back my enthusiasm. Putting a little distance between myself and the job, especially engaging in a couple of MOOC courses, has helped me refocus. I feel I may be back on track soon.
Thanks for waiting for me.

The Echo Chamber

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The Spelling Bookmark

So simple and yet…… Well, actually, lets wait and see what the impact is.

  • Differentiated – Students develop from their own spelling errors
  • Self Managed – They take the initiative to find correct spelling and write down the words.
  • Collaborative – They ask others for help with accurate spelling





Personal target cards

I haven’t used it yet but it’s on the list for the coming week. When I mark their books, I shall be writing out cards. THIS POST IS EVIDENCE OF MY INTENTION.

An idea that I’ve adapted from Paula Waller at Sir Robert Woodard Academy in Lancing yesterday, whilst watching her Year 10 English lesson

Maybe better than targets in planners or in their books as they are physically on the table and therefore, difficult to ignore.

One target, one card but what to put on cards? And, what is the maximum number of cards a student should be dealing with? How often should the problem be witnessed before issuing an intervention card?

The rules on one side, examples on the other.

Teacher keeps a tally of who has which targets (cards). Set up thing in excel.

Examples – these are general. It would be easy, with a set of blank cards, to make them more specific for different students.

I will spell unadventurous words accurately (a spelling bookmark for dyslexics/weak spellers)
I will use a wider range of vocabulary
I will use full stops at the beginning of sentences
I will use full stops for proper nouns (names of people, places, months and days)
I will use full stops at the end of an idea.
I will use commas to break up details about an idea.
I will avoid comma splicing (using commas when I should use full stops).
I will use a wider range of punctuation (. , ? ! – () ; : …)
I will use speech marks accurately.
I will use colons and semi-colons accurately
I will read over my work to make sure I have expressed myself clearly.
I will use a wider range of sentence lengths (short and complex sentences)
I will use a wider range of sentence types (statement, exclamation, command, question)
I will vary the openings of my sentences (connectives, ly, ing and ed words)
I will start with a hook.
I will use TiPToP to organise my paragraphs.
I will use a variety of paragraph lengths.
I will use a topic sentence and develop detail (describe, explain, example) in my paragraphs.
I will make links across my paragraphs so my writing flows.

I will use the reading strategies to help me access a text independently (skim, scan, read backward and forwards, ask questions, predict, deduce, infer, synthesise).
I will think carefully about the question I am being asked and predict the answer.
I will base my point on the question I am being asked.
I will identify a relevant example, from the text, to support my point.
I will identify relevant examples, from different places in the text, to support my point.
I will explain how my example(s) support(s) the point I am making.
I will analyse my examples and link them to my point.
I will use semi-colons to show links in my ideas.
I will use complex sentences to show complex ideas about the text (start with despite, although, because etc)

New words


From Isabel Beck’s book Bringing Words to Life, give them the definition and let them play

Instead of saying: “Does anyone know what mimic means?” Say: “To mimic means to imitate someone but in a way that’s sometimes playful and often mean-spirited. Tell me an animal you could mimic easily [and insist they use mimic in the sentence?] Good, when might you get in trouble for mimicking? Good, when might it be ok to mimic someone? How is imitating someone different from mimicking them? Why might someone mimic their little brother or sister. Good, now write me a sentence about a gorilla in a zoo mimicking a person. Go.” Word play, using the word 10 times in various ways, is the way to master vocabulary,

Ms S's Stuff

Communicating and adapting language

Strand 2.1 To appeal to listeners, challenge their views and assumptions and provoke thought by selecting and deploying skills from a repertoire of verbal and non-verbal techniques.

It’s not enough to present a ream of facts and figures – you’ve got to have an opinion!

Band 1 – Briefly express pov, ideas and feelings

I have an idea about the subject I will be presenting.

Band 2 – Extended and coherent pov, ideas and feelings but straightforward

Band 3 – Effective ideas, promoting pov and feelings

Band 4 – Confident pov, emphasising significant points

Band 5 – Highlights priorities of complex subject matter

Student Planning Grid

1213 planning using SOLO

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Training them to talk ‘SOLO’

When we are engaged, how can we not see links in all we do? Coincidently, as I was thinking about putting this post together, I experienced a Twitter distraction that took me to a good practice film on the Ofsted site which advocates the importance of getting boys talking.

Regardless of supporting or opposing evidence, I believe working in an all boys school does have different advantages and drawbacks and getting most of them to talk in the abstract is challenging.  So, it’s going to be a joint endeavour. I am going to better learn how to teach it and they hopefully, are going to better learn how to talk it. And, I’m going to be planning my lessons with ‘SOLO’ in mind.

And I’m going to start by test driving these game cards in my lessons – guided them from the multistructural (column 1) to the relational (column 2), and from the relational (column 2) to the extended abstract (column 3).

For sure, they will struggle making links across some of the pathways. Hopefully, this should lead to interesting conversation and a realisation of the importance of selecting the most appropriate examples in their exams.

If anyone takes this up and has constructive comments for improvement. PLEASE let me know.

GCSE Of Mice and Men

Q7c making linksGCSE Macbeth Edexcel Q2b

1213 Q2b Links


GCSE Macbeth Edexcel Q2c 1213 Q2c Links

Year9 Gothic Horror Genre

1213 L1 links

Thanks for reading.