As a result of a short baseline test, I am using this with my Year 7 class today. Feel free to borrow and adapt.
Here is the test:
A quick powerpoint to discuss a possible essay plan for Owen’s Disabled as part of the Edexcel IGCSE anthology B.
My thoughts on my role as a middle leader can be found here. This is a response to Alex Quigley’s posthttp://www.huntingenglish.com/2013/09/21/teacher-expert-cynic/
Here are some pictures to whet your appetite:
Well, that’s that! The results are in and although I have left for pastures new, I wanted to share my thoughts with you on this momentous day.
I am incredibly proud of all of you! You should be positively glowing today as you reap the rewards of two years of (hard) work, tears and cheers. Your results: 8A*, 19A, 4B and 1 C are amongst the best I have ever seen. Especially from a set 2. 84% A*-A with a department measure of 68%. You performed well above the norm.
Enough of statistics (and TRAPPERS) though. We all remember my mantra that “monkeys can do maths” and that statistics are the most easily manipulated type of information on any page.
I’d like to focus on you and what I remember from our two years of IGCSE preparation. I treasure much of the work you created, especially the Little Miss books:
And the range of window art:
And Jodh’s composition and analysis of Refugee Blues:
But beyond these tangible memorials, I recall a class which was too big and prone to divide itself into small groups and which was frighteningly silent. In Year 10. By Year 11, you had all developed such confidence in delivery and thought that the tables could fizz with discussion, even with Imran snoring gently to one side. Some of you worried about studying Shakespeare – it was too hard, you thought, yet the 12 A*-A grades would suggest otherwise. As you develop, remember that only focusing on work which you find “easy” will in no way develop you as thinkers. Challenge is at the heart of development and the better students learn that risk taking and challenge are two of the most vital steps towards achieving in life. Please hold onto this thought as you move into the VIth form – things get harder there and you need to be brave.
Finally, although I maintain that teaching you has made me a better teacher in many ways, don’t let anyone kid you: you sat the exams. You alone and the sense of pride is yours and is fully justified. Step forward: Hyder, Supreet, Abdul, Vishal, Karthiga, Nigara, Vanraj & Bhavneet and take the plaudits of the class for your A*s. Some of you may have been surprised and some relieved. Certainly there are a couple of names I didn’t expect to see in that list and I am really excited at the prospect of you developing these results in the lower VIth.
To all of you, then, Miti and Arti, (joined at the hip), Shambling Imran, Zakie – working so hard, Nakkers and Nikkers, Sujjj and Karthi, Ro-Ro, Varshikles, Super and Bhav (who maintained A* quality throughout the year) and to all the others, all 32 of you, Cheerio!
Take care and build on this foundation. You made an old man very happy today.
Best wishes for the future,
A powerpoint to engage with some of the literary contexts of the poem and to encourage class discussion and thought. I have also included a couple of web links, 1 to the York Morality play text dealing with the fall of man, and the other a quick definition page of Epic poetry. Both are mentioned in the powerpoint.
For the last 9 years I have been a VIth form tutor and have approached A level results with a mixture of apprehension and excitement. Interestingly, as my eldest son reached Year 13, I found the day to be a whole new experience. I am not saying that the system is broken, but I do have deep concerns about the whole process of turning results into places at further education establishments.
I will try to explain.
This is something I want to run out next term. Obviously there are so many poems to chose from, once I started it was very hard to know where to stop, and this might continue to grow. We use a home-grown anthology in year 9 and generally try to have a clear focus. War, relationships, the future, growth… (now I want to compile a new one starting with Heaney’s Drowning Kittens…)
Still, I went for texts and writers I love. Hardy and Heaney, Shakespeare and Rosetti, Kay and Duffy…
So why these poems?
The two Sonnets are crucial to opening up a discussion. Shakespeare powerfully arguing for the everlasting nature of true love and a poem full of the richest figurative writing imaginable and Rosetti, seeming to speak from the same position until the volta introduces the shift and the move to selfless, rather than selfish love. Both are featured in the Edexcel IGCSE anthology which students may encounter in Year 11, though by then the shifts and changes in policy regarding these exams may well mean that the whole syllabus has been radically altered. Not to worry. Great poems deserve to be read.
Also in the anthology is Alice Walker’s Once Upon a Time. The poem looks at the effect of the loss of a loved one – a parent in this case and I have paired it with Heaney’s Digging, in my mind. Walker seems aware of the harshness of her childhood but ultimately sees the positive far outweigh the negatives – beatings happened, but he taught me “how”. Similarly, Heaney vows to “follow” his father. The close relationship (is there a better assonance and balance in all poetry than “snug as a gun”?) is clear, despite the obvious differences between father and son. Again, I hope to find much to discuss and develop in this idea.
Duffy and Kay are paired with two poems about or inspired by childhood. In Duffy’s poem the daughter tries to imagine her way into her mother’s mind and tries to imagine the life her mother led. She seems entranced by her mother’s youthful good looks, although the sense of possession found in the title hardly suggests a willingness to let go. Kay’s poem is all about imagination and childhood. The fragility of a childhood dream – an imaginary friend – which is both tragic and uplifting – I enjoy the grandiose lies of the cat burglar and sense of dissatisfaction with her father’s role as a Union Convenor. I think Kay is a wonderful poet to teach and share with young people and would eagerly teach the Adoption Papers as a single text if time and syllabus allowed. Maybe another time.
Finally, Hardy. I simply adore Hardy and in the Emma poems, the treatment of loss and grief is unsurpassed. Here there is much scope for exploration of Hardy’s rather selfish conclusion as he views himself and his philosophies, but also for the treatment of the “woman”. How affectionate is this poem? Is he angry and confused? Expressing grief or wallowing in self pity?
I can’t wait to see how opinions differ. After all what is the point of teaching poetry if everyone meekly accepts a single interpretation?
This is an introduction for AS students, based on the teaching outline I wrote earlier on this site…
I hope it is useful.
frankenstein intro powerpoint to follow links.
One of the joys of a new job is the opportunity to spend the summer preparing new texts to deliver in new syllabii. This is my outline for Frankenstein at AS, for OCR. I am indebted to my predecessor who left a super SOW and have added my own ideas along the way. It will undoubtedly change as time passes and I will endeavour to update the powerpoint in due course.
I hope it is useful.
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