English is a difficult subject to revise for - fact.
Of course there are ways around this and of course we try to embed these in our pupils, but sometimes we have to be a little more creative - I, for one, am guilty of getting stuck in the 'why not try past papers' rut.
So what else can we do?
1) Box it up! Create a box full of revision flashcards - that way, you can have key skills on your flashcards, transportable when needed but also can be put away when it's time to relax and unwind. They can also be shuffled to vary revision instead of being overly formulaic - and for the more visual kids, get them decorating to make it memorable!
2) The question door... You can't leave a room without answering a question! Stick a series of post-it notes asking for key skills, quotes or other information, and you have to get the answer before you can move on.
3) The travel experience: A tip given to me at my first school for those struggling with memory, create a 'text/quote/essay structure etc. trail' around the house - learn as you walk around, aiding those kinaesthetic learners and giving them key landmarks by which they can remember key information.
4) Talk in quotes: A lot of the exams now focus on memorising quotations, so make them part of everyday conversation; where possible, use them to explain tasks, generally converse, make requests...Really embed them into life rather than studying the text over and over again (probably whilst eyes are fighting to stay open!).
And there's plenty more besides - we'll offer more as and when we have time, but get them started with these to set them on the tracks to success for exam season!
We all do it: as soon as we step back in the door after a holiday, we're counting down to the next.
And it's tough: we know we have up to eight weeks of non-stop lessons, marking, admin and the unexpected heading our way. It's normal to be a little wanting of the rest when you know you won't see a clear evening for weeks!
So my question is, what do we do to combat this? Every teacher will have something, and we'd love to hear your countdown combatants, but here are ours in the mean-time...
1) Full day? Plan at least one 'rest lesson' for yourself - personal reading, timed essay question practice, group work or preparing presentations - they all work in giving you a little time to repose and recollect before beginning again!
2) Plan the event of the half term - for me, it was the BBC Live Lesson launching the 500 words competition in school, and it was so much fun to enjoy it. Have something to look forward to at work!
3) Have a chat! Whether you take five to talk to the kids or make a point of having some staff-room time, make sure you talk and don't just teach.
4) TEA. It's vital, and needs no explanation.
5) Stick the radio on. It sounds daft, but I love having something a bit upbeat on in my free lessons or at lunchtime to stop things becoming monotonous.
What are your countdown busting tips? Do get in touch and share!
A post title that looks incredibly philosophical, but I promise it's not all about the grand design of the universe and beyond!
There is, however, an element of a grand design in here - ours. Why did Literacy Stars become a thing?
It's something I mulled over for a while - what do I enjoy the most about teaching? And it hit me: the creativity. What do I not like the most? The time constraints and commitments; sadly, there is very little time to actually do this creating, to plan outstanding lessons, amongst the myriad of admin, marking and other tedious tasks. But the resources, I like: they can make a huge difference between an alright lesson into a fab one.
And I couldn't help but wonder whether it could become something bigger than just a personal enjoyment; a way of helping out other teachers. Hence Literacy Stars began - something to save others time and to make my teaching life even more enjoyable!
And that's all we're here for: to spread the teaching resources and possibilities. We aim to keep our resources mixed in terms of cost; we'd like as much as possible to be free, and charges are literally only existent to keep the various sites and other inputs at a negligible cost.
We're also here for you: we want to be adaptable, and we want to give you what you need. Got a lesson and not sure what to do? Get in touch. Covering a topic we've not got to yet? Let us know!
At the end of it all, why are we here? Because we want to help you, and have fun ourselves at the same time!
I'm one of a lucky few who have a short week this week - I get to dip my toes in the water before next week's shock to the system of five whole days working (man the violins).
And before the start of every new half term or term, I sit with the nervous butterflies in my tummy - why, you ask? Because the job is so full on, and like many teachers I just want to do it well. The start of term means limiting your loo breaks, planning for anywhere in the region of four to ten presentations a day, inhaling some lunch if you're lucky...the list goes on.
But let's not forget, in this year where many are partaking in 365 days of happiness and writing down their best moments every day, the positives that can expel those butterflies.
The kids come back refreshed and ready - it's a unique time where they'll be at their most receptive. We might lose loo breaks or lunch, but for what reasons? Running a club that even the shyest child can attend, helping grateful pupils with coursework, looking after a child who's just having a rough day of it and sees you as help. And yes, marking will never go away and by definition is a task that can never be completed, but we have to think about every future we are moulding by helping pupils develop, and showing them we care.
Teaching is hard; we can't ever lie about that or deny it. But it's challenge is met with its reward, and its why many of us persevere in spite of stress, workload and other things trying to knock us down.
So it's 2017 and the start of the Spring Term, and I guess the culmination of these mindful meanderings is this: go in, stay positive, and be the change to these kids.
We hope you've had a jolly old Christmas time, filled with pies, presents and peope you love - we certainly had fun at LS headquarters!
However, we've not stopped working this week - even if we have been weighed down by too much turkey!
This week, our new arrivals for you include:
- Our Unseen Comparative Poetry Lessons
- Our Poetry Lesson Bundle - saving you 44% on the cost of buying our three Unseen Poetry Lessons separately!
- The News Brief activity - get your stars writing up the disaster outlined in the brief and interviewing a survivor! Download below.
- A media lesson on creating bias and perspectives in fiction media, using 'Lost', 'Forrest Gump', 'Dead Famous' and a football commentary to show how the media manipulate us. Resources within the lesson available below.
- Teaching mise en scene using various film stills and 'The Truman Show'.
Every time we teach and do either a formative or summative assessment, we peer or teacher assess.
However, sometimes it is understandbly difficult to create a new set of assessment criteria or success criteria per task - let's face it, there just aren't enough hours in the day or PPA time in the world!
So, in an effore to combat this, our Peer Assessment Pack is now available on our TES page. It's a series of five different peer assessment grids: Reading (Comprehension), Reading (Analysis), Essay Writing, Creative Writing (Fiction), Creative Writing (Non-Fiction). It's a simple checklist allowing peers to say yes or no to success criteria as appropriate (just cross out what you don't need!) and then has a summative comment section for What Went Well and Even Better If...
Hope they're helpful - every teacher loves a timesaver!
Following on from writing comedy and horror, today we bring you how to write fantasy!
In the same manner as the other worksheet activities, this takes pupils through key writing methods, example texts, an opportunity to write themselve before a handy peer assessment grid for feedback.
You can find our fantasy worksheet on our TES page - enjoy and let us know what your stars produce!
A worksheet providing step-by-step help in creating the scariest horror story.
This includes a grid to begin thinking about key elements of horror, examples to analyse for their best and worst bits, a re-assessment grid for using particular techniques and ideas, then an opportunity to write the opening to a story and get it peer assessed to edit and improve.
All this is available on our TES page - we'd love to see what your literacy stars come out with using our resources so do share!
And thus begins our journey with the ill-fated 'Romeo and Juliet' - one of Shakespeare's most heartbreaking and devastating tragedies.
Below you'll find a series of resources to help with teaching 'Romeo and Juliet', mainly aimed at secondary age and above.
'Romeo and Juliet' Act by Act Worksheet - available on the TES as a premium resource, this bumper 15 page workbook zooms in on key elements of the play, allowing exploration, analysis and consideration of key authorial methods.
Literacy Stars is the creation of a secondary school English teacher who loves nothing better than a good resource and seeing kids enjoy reading and writing.