Archive for the ‘English’ Category

Last year our school moved to a Vertical Curriculum style program – this means that our English classes, which run for a semester, all follow a particular theme. The year nine class I ended up with was the Crime and Mystery class – typically one of the few genres I don’t read very much (although I love Midsummer Murders, Poirot, Miss Marple etc on the telly!) So I found it pretty hard to get my head around what I would cover and how I might build in the usual text analysis skills etc I was used to covering in a ‘normal’ year nine class.

In the end I decided to begin by looking at how narratives are created (I might post that later….) and then moved into an examination of crime fiction itself. I have included here the first unit of work – we looked at the conventions of crime fiction in a general way, then looked at one of the very first examples of crime fiction – The Murders in the Rue Morgue by Poe, which included the students creating a multi- media project – then moved onto The Hound of the Baskervilles (fantastic story – theresourcehound naturally loves this one….). I have included here a power point which outlines the genre’s features; a conventions of crime fiction checklist we used a lot in class to ‘pick the stories to pieces’, and the broad outline of what I  did in class. (aimed for anyway!) Plus the task sheet for the Murder’s in the Rue Morgue activity – I have adapted this in different ways depending on the equipment available at the time – if you can think of different ways to do this please let us know.

Crime Fiction – what’s it all about

Crime Fiction unit outline

Conventions of crime stories checklist

Interviewing the witnesses video task

As we were not able to purchase any new resources for our new subjects I relied a lot on online versions, including audio – there are lots of Sherlock Holmes stories available. When you look at the outline of the unit you will see I make mention of class sets and library resources – obviously you may not have access to these specific titles, but if you are a teacher you are most likely used to (like the resourcehound) digging around until you find what you need…..



Following an older post about creating poetry mash-ups in class I had a request for further information on how I actually taught this. This power point outlines the basic lesson and might be of help. I have also included a copy of the poem ‘Stealing’ by Carol Ann Duffy, it is one of my favorites.


Fantastic Advert

Posted: February 9, 2013 in English, Media studies

Wow this advert for the Guardian newspaper gets the old brain box whirling……so many possibilities – social media; media ethics and techniques; storytelling;  etc etc. Watch it and see why it won a Cannes Award.

Thesis builder

Posted: December 13, 2012 in English, History, Web 2.0 tool

This is a great site for English teachers. It was pointed out in the recent SLV Research Tools PD as a good way for students to develop research questions. However, as an English teacher trying to get students to write persuasive essays and speeches this site looks like a great big juicy bone of joy. One of the hardest parts of teaching persuasive writing is to get students to the point where they actually understand what it is they are arguing! The Thesis Builder here is a ripper as it gets them to outline their thoughts in a simple way then builds the thesis statement for them. Then you can take it further and use the suggested outline as a way of helping them formulate their arguments into coherent paragraphs. (maybe, unless they are year nine boys who need to be bludgeoned to get them to do anything ). I also liked the Causinator  as I think this would be a great way to show juniors how to get started writing historical essays.

BBC Bitesize games

Posted: October 16, 2012 in English, Game, Maths, Science

These simple games in a range of subject areas would be suitable for year 7 and 8 students (although some of my year nine students would probably happily play them). Simple to use and visually appealing – well worth a look.

The latest edition of ‘Scan’ – a journal for librarians and others – had an article about Maurice Sandak, celebrating his contritbution to literature. This link is to a complete unit of work that was listed in this article,  for ‘Where the wild things are,’ that could be very useful. It looks good.   And here is a link to more resources for ‘Where The Wild Things Are.’

The Literacy Shed

Posted: July 12, 2012 in English, Website

This little gem comes thanks to a post on iLearn Technology, and what a gem it is for English teachers. An easily navigated and attractive site it is full of ideas for writing and creating. It is composed of a number of different ‘sheds’ – for example the Mystery Shed; The Thinking Shed; The Fantasy Shed; The Myths and Legends Shed. Each shed has a range of different resources such as images or videos. Each comes with suggestions for how these might be used in a class. Some lovely stimulating ideas and resources here which I can’t wait to try out in class.