It’s important students show their voice in their work so here are some resources I use to build that voice

Y11 master class – creative writing


Y11 master class – transactional writing (Edexcel)


Beach description



Power of words


Vocabulary boost


The senses (this needs sweets!)


Level of confidence sheet (made his a long time ago, could be rubbish)


Varying sentence openers (old powerpoint)



Unseen poetry

Just some thoughts on unseen poetry.

Lots of students have a melt down when it comes to this element of the exam.

It is key they know that the skills they learn on their 5 year secondary English journey are applicable for both language and literature.

For the unseen section I keep it simple for the students.

The format goes as follows:

  • What are both the poems about?
  • What significance does the title have?
  • How is the title fundamental to the meaning the poet is trying to convey?
  • What emotions are presented?
  • Why might the poet have written this poem?
  • Then, look at form, language and structural features (select 3-5 things to compare) but ensure this links back to the ideas that are presented

Often students are given FLIRT or SMILE or some other acronym to help analyse the poems.

Instead, try this:

  • Give them 10 minutes to read through the two poems
  • What is your impression?
  • What ideas are presented?
  • How are these ideas are presented? (They then find significant methods such as repetition or a simile etc)
  • Remind them of connectives to use

As I’ve said in my previous posts I use evaluative verbs/double adjectives to express opinion so I would also remind them of this in their written response.

It’s key students match up ideas, feelings and thoughts when looking at poetry – this makes for a better comparison

I also use Becky’s what-how-why process too @shadylady222

Explicit teaching through using clear sentence stems really helps, my students practice regularly so the expression becomes habitual.

Sentence stem examples:

The poet uses repetition of the word ‘X’ as it is fundamental to the message of X…

The simile ‘xxx” is placed at a pivotal point in the poem to express the melancholic state of the speaker…

Likewise, the poem X expresses the idea of X which is demonstrated through the symbolic reference to X…

I will upload some PowerPoints after half term but I also do a lot of annotation by visualiser.

Improving the writing voice

Just a quick blog about how I’ve improved students writing.

One key thing is high expectations.

I teach high vocabulary, sentence structures and build on our ideas of the text before we get stuck in to writing.

So my y9s have been reading lord of the flies and y10 are reading Macbeth.

The y10 improvements in writing is brilliant (I will upload some before shots when I get some, I forgot!) These are students who have targets of 3-6, however, I never refer to these. I focus on skills and improving our writing to show our understanding of characters/ideas.

Top tip here was to use double adjectives to describe the character and a focus on reader response.

With y9, I built up their ideas through using SPITE (after we had a staff meeting on our schemes of work and one member of the team had been on a course for the evaluation Q, Edexcel, and we were focusing on this skill in y9, I try to avoid acronyms normally but I felt this actually worked) Once we read all of the novel with some critical theorists, we also viewed a range of articles to help develop our own ideas of the themes presented in the book (LOTF, savagery, civilisation, fear etc)

I use the following sort of worksheet to build evaluation of a text

Adverbs and language for evaluation


I looked at AO4 evaluation skills and applied this to extracts



Here’s an example of planning out ideas for setting, people, ideas, tone, events in LOTF. So, they can refer back to this when considering a range of questions.

The key thing to develop their responses is an open question.

In what was does Golding suggest savagery is a direct link to a lack of adult guidance?

In what ways does Golding show the demise of logic and fading hope?

Here are some practice paragraphs they did before their assessment on this unit

This is a blog in process… More on the way

I will upload the final results of the y9 essays after half term

Poetry Resources

Here are some poetry resources for a variety of exam boards/key stages…help yourself!

There could be errors, please just fix (or you can inbox me to edit)

Edexcel Relationships Poetry Challenge Grid



AQA Conflict and Power Poetry Challenge Mats


Year 8: Culture Poetry (going around the globe -incomplete)



Year 9: War Poetry

Tier 2 vocabulary



Year 9: Nuclear War Poetry



Exit Ticket


Research Mat





World Book Day

So, world book Day is on its way…

Whether you’re a fan of dressing up or not or think we should or shouldn’t promote reading here are a few things I’ve done for WBD as AR lead before.

  • Dress up as a book character
  • Dress up in accordance to the WBD theme eg one year it was Where’s Wally
  • Use the WBD website – send the link to form tutors so they can access it and know they can watch clips etc every day!
  • Form competitions and house competitions eg write a story based on the image of X no more than 200 words, design a book cover etc
  • Watch official book trailers via YouTube during form times or as a starter to your lessons for that week
  • Teachers to read the opening chapter/paragraph of their current or favourite book
  • Students and teachers to share their recommended reading in lessons eg in geography you can recommend fiction or nonfiction books which may interest some students
  • Create recommended reader slides with a clip to the trailer for the book
  • Teachers to have famous book quotes or their current book on display in the entrance to their classroom
  • Assemblies! Get a variety of people in to discuss reading and it’s benefits
  • Author visit (I’ve often used Joseph Delaney )
  • A workshop (might only be possible with one or two year groups)
  • Prizes for best dressed, writing competitions winners etc
  • Bingo reading cards
  • Reading a section of your book out aloud – teachers and students alike

I think that’s about everything I’ve done to celebrate WBD!

Lots of options, many are simple yet effective to do.

Please note that this all worked better when there was a consistent approach to reading across the school.

The main thing that encourages kids to read is enthusiasm and discussion !!

What should the start of a lesson look like?

It’s all about trial and error in the classroom, especially when you’re starting out or at a new school.

Gone are the days when I do something whiz bang exciting (well sometimes I’ll have atmospheric music or something) it’s all about empowering the students with skills and a time for me to check what they know and can do!

Some top tips (with help from twitter and colleagues over the years) on establishing knowledge, understanding and routine:

  • Tier 2 vocabulary starters. This has been inspired by Matt Lynch on twitter (thank you!) I do this with all my classes KS3&4, and I would with 5 if I was teaching them. This establishes knowledge and understanding. In the slide it has the key word, the definition and synonyms. The task? To put the word into 3 sentences. Sometimes I have a challenge which is to apply to the text were studying. Here’s an example of a tier 2 starter https://www.dropbox.com/s/rbatfb6fdguymqo/Photo%2020-12-2018%2C%2015%2009%2000.jpg?dl=0
  • Then these can be shared as a whole class or you can share them in twos – and students can even give ideas on how to improve their sentence structures
  • With this started I always encourage students to write complex sentences (make them interesting I tell them) eg start with a connective. I think it’s really important to encourage the use of a variety of sentences structures with all units whether it’s a reading or writing focus. Expression in writing and their voice is key to help create or to continue to encourage!
  • The word is then used in their work throughout the lesson – saying it out loud, using it in descriptions verbally and in our writing.
  • Coming back to the words over a succession of lessons too, to ensure understanding is clear and embedded
  • I also use mini tasks like the ones Matt Lynch has made – 200 words on a theme or character using key words
  • I use quotations as the title now (can’t remember who shared that idea I’ll try find out) and this is also linked to the key word

Eg the title quotation could be “look like the innocent flower but be the serpent under’t.” The key word could be duplicitious, put this in 3 complex sentences, challenge would be to link to the title.

Over the past few years I’ve found this starter strategy to be super useful! A great aid to the lesson, their understanding and as part of the revision process.

Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde resources

Some J and H resources, some may be incomplete…

Master Classes:

Science, Evolution and physiognomy


Immorality and character development


How does Stevenson shape his novella?


Paired quotations


ID, Ego, Superego power point (often done as a master class)


Mr Hyde – critical thinking


5 in 5


Edinburgh photos



Some files might be incomplete




Macbeth homework sheets – quotations


Macbeth 5 in 5


Character sheets


Act 2 scene 3


Essay plan starters


Iambic pentameter


Tragic hero starter task


An Inspector Calls

Some files might be incomplete

Gerald teacher/student marking grid (Edexcel)


Mrs Birling


Edexcel marking sheets







A file with character/theme power points etc