Category Archives: KS3

Year 7: Passport to British Literature

My colleague Bethan Davies came up with this idea and put together this anthology to use in our transition period in Autumn Year 7. The texts are rich and intellectually challenging, but should be entertaining.

We will have whole group staging posts at week 3 and at the end of the first section of the term, when an unseen passage will be tested….

There is a range of stamps to be awarded to engage with the passport idea and teachers can teach in any order – apart form the designated testing/assessment  moments…

PBL word doc.

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Year 9 discuss The Knife of Never Letting Go

My year 9 boys are working on Ness’s Knife of Never Letting Go. Here they discuss the text at the mid-point of study. Please feel free to use the sound files for critique of Speaking and Listening skills…

NOTE these are broadly off the cuff discussions – preparation was minimal.


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Creative writing in Year 7

There is a great resource on Teachit ( I believe), written by Fran Nantongwe called “Quest for the cure”.  I got a copy a while ago through a colleague at a NATE conference and love using it in Year 7.

The idea is that the class develop a novel through pieces of creative writing – all transactional and with a particular focus – persuasive, descriptive etc.

It is brilliant and Fran is a star for developing so much.  I attach my PowerPoint for teaching the module, a few of the resources I use to help the students to write and 2 booklets of work from this Year’s Year 7s.

7b zebulon doc


Peel Zebulon intro

PPt (2)

mayor’s speech Persuade

Zebulon Project Character Profile

Y7 Diary Writing

The Public Execution – Kite runner extract

persuasion_Atticus Finch (screenplay)



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Hunting the (JLS) Snark

Following on from an earlier post in which I looked at a draft outline for an approach to the Hunting of the Snark, here are my draft teaching materials for my class in the 7 class activity to recreate the Snark as part of the 140th anniversary of the founding of the school.

The rationale:

  • First published in Easter 1876, Lewis Carroll’s Hunting of the Snark is a classic piece of Victorian nonsense poetry. It is easy to imagine the new boys at The John Lyon School being in receipt of this book as a present and learning to recite the verse among their friends. There meaning of the poem is obscure – if it has one at all! Certainly the original group of travellers are left in little doubt that the “Snark IS a boojum, you see”. The suggestion is that the object of our desire is somehow a deceit – a fantasy which will cause the finder to disappear entirely – perhaps to lose their individuality in the faceless world of a wider society.
  • Today, in our anniversary year, we are revisiting this text in Years 7&8 and electing to find our JLS Snark in 2016. A Snark is some form of scholarly success – certainly not solely academic – that might be the boojum- a one-trick pony who offers little to society than an obsession with personal achievement ion a narrow academic context. Our Snarks seek a wide range of skills and activities and learn that failure is only deferred success and that risk-taking in the name of progress is vital to the development not just of young minds, but of all humanity.

My class are working on Fit 2:  the Bellman’s speech.  I hope my ideas work and that anyone reading this might be inspired to develop something of their own…


Hunting of the snark

Fit the Second

snark teaching idea for 7B

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Workbook extracts for Chaucer, Hardy, Du Maurier KS3

These 3 extracts are my work in progress for a new transition module being prepared by Bethan Davies and Jade Boyle, two of my colleagues at  The John Lyon School.  It’s a lovely idea:  a Passport to British Literature which takes Year 7 around the country to explore a range of writers before decanting them into Canterbury for a few weeks reading of The Pardoner and the Miller.

I will post the completed work in due course, but here are my first draft materials for introducing Chaucer, Hardy (using the Roman Road) and Du Maurier (via Jamaica Inn).

I have included QR codes and expect students to BYOD and am happy for this to be used in the course of research in these lessons.

tasks for passport British…

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Shakespeare Sonnets in year 7: updated

I have just completed marking the essays produced by my current Yr 7 boys at The John Lyon School.  I want to share two extracts of work which I find remarkable for their quality and attention to detail – remember that these are 11 year olds.

You will also see evidence of green pen in action – self editing to improve work.  I wish that one of the boys would begin to plan in more depth to avoid the positive exc-skeleton of green that winds through this response, but it seems a small price to pay for such excellent writing about a topic often deemed to be too tricky to be addressed at this level.

So, this course has run now in two schools and seems to work – enjoy it!

new doc 27_1new doc 27_2



I have attached my draft student workbook for a Shakespeare sonnet unit to be used next year in Year 7.  It might be a little advanced… much will depend on delivery and engagement.


The Department You Tube Channel Sonnet playlist: 

I alos recommend the Touchpress App, available on itunes:

After much mind-changing I settled on Sonnets 12,18,55,71,116 and 130 as giving a good range of central topic and providing some spectacular imagery for the students to engage with.  There is a major creative piece in here, otherwise I am trying to establish a strong sense of technical mastery in this unit.

Ethan cracks iambic pentameter in lesson 1:

Do let me know what you think.  It is work in progress and will be further developed over the summer.

Oh yes: Thank you to the brilliant girls of UCGS Yr 9 who provided the artwork stimuli.


Filed under KS3, poetry, Shakespeare

Year 7 Monsters in Poetry: a short resource booklet

Poetic Monsters

I am about to give a short module based on Monsters in Poetry to year 7. I have made a handout of the poems I want to use and attach it for download here. The poems are Tyger and Pike (Blake and Hughes). I want to begin with work on the power of metaphor and thought that two poems about the natural world and our response to it would be an interesting introduction. The fact that both poems are used in IGCSE anthologies should not preclude their being used at this level. I thought that Jabberwocky would be fun to explore – after all, there is no better way to develop an awareness of the power of vocabulary than by creating and interpreting one’s own. I opted for Classics over Beowulf – I have created a Yr 8 Classics/Literature module in this area before and thought I would borrow… Once again, the images around Polyphemus eye are wonderful in this poem and beg for creative responses. Finally, a Frankenstein poem by Edward Field. Time to explore the idea of monster a little further. This will form the basis for a final written task on the poems.

A powerpoint to help with the PEARL analysis process:

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Poetry of Jackie Kay

Here ar emy ideas for a module based on JAckie Kay’s early poetry.  Used as part of an “identities” module in Year 7.

The pack is from a Hodder publication and I have no idea if it is still in print.  I will take it down if required to do so!

jackie kay module

jackie Kay questions

jackie kay Let’s Face It!

long term

Videos of Jackie KAy reading her poetry can be found here on the school You Tube channel:

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Year 7 Writing module: IED leading up to Christmas

This module is based on a Year 9 scheme discussed here: on the blog.  It was originally my work and was then adapted by the excellent @Engleeshteacher, Traycie Wrycraft.  I have come back to it to use with my new Year 9 class in a 4 or 5 week slot up to Christmas.

In essence, I teach the main features of creative writing to IED and then ask the students to make a little CD booklet of their responses.  I provide CD covers and the rest is simply fun.  This year I will be looking at drafting as special focus in line with Ron Berger’s “Ethic of Excellence”-  one of my touchstones.  My wish is to play as small a part as possible in the creation process.  The work should be independent and should reflect a wish to be as good as it possibly can be.


Y7 IED cd writing


y7 writing stimulus images


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Yr 9 OMAM table tops

Material on OMAM for my new Year 9s. First attempt at looking at characterisation

table OMAM

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