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In need of a holiday!

21 Jul

Just a little post to say sorry for not blogging recently. It’s the start of the summer holidays on Friday and I’m in countdown mode now!! Very tired and resorted to tried and tested lessons such as….

1. Education Related Videos: Thank god for Baz Lurman’s Romeo and Juliet! Switching the swords for guns means the boys in the class are hooked from the first minute.

2. Movie Maker: Had a great lesson creating movie trailers today for Odyssey: The Movie.

3. Poster Lessons: I’ve nearly run out of coloured paper!

4. Group mindmapping on flipchart paper. Big Paper. Felt tips. Discussion Time. Does the trick and ticks educational boxes!

5. Drama activities (requires a lie down the period after!)

Looking forward to the holidays where I can really get into my blog and start blogging more regularly!

To read or not to read: Is Shakespeare just too complicated?

18 Jul


Let me not to the marriage of true minds
Admit impediments. Love is not love
Which alters when it alteration finds,
Or bends with the remover to remove:
O no! it is an ever-fixed mark
That looks on tempests and is never shaken;
It is the star to every wandering bark,
Whose worth’s unknown, although his height be taken.
Love’s not Time’s fool, though rosy lips and cheeks
Within his bending sickle’s compass come:
Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks,
But bears it out even to the edge of doom.
   If this be error and upon me proved,
   I never writ, nor no man ever loved

I heart youtube! My top 5 videos.

17 Jul

See full size image

I know blogging about youtube is probably considered very old-fashioned, considering it has been around for like forever, but I am currently having a laptop clear out and just realised that I have over 100 youtube videos saved in my favourites! As I’m blogging from a laptop that I use mainly for planning my lessons, most of these are resources I’ve used in the classroom. Unfortunately, I have to hand said laptop back and thus have to delete all my favourites. In honor of this,  here are 5 videos that have made my teaching life so much easier!!

1.  Let Him Have It, Part 6.

This is one of my favourite films ever. I originally watched it to help with a lesson but it really endeared itself to me. It is such a tragic tale that really gets you thinking. I have used lots of times to discuss the death penalty and it’s provoked some pretty fierce debate! Also shows how the english language can be misinterpreted in different ways.

2.  Onomotopeia.

A cute little video to help onomatopoeia stay in pupils heads.

3. A disturbing and disgusting take on the original Sandman story.

This cartoon  (the sandman is pictured above) is very engaging and definitely for older pupils (unless you want to give the younger one nightmares!) Great for discussing genre, textual interpretations and I imagine it could lead to some fantastic creative writing.

4. Skydiving.

Man decides to film himself jumping out of a plane. Cue an utterly engaging video that pupils love. Fantastic way to discuss the senses and can lead to a piece of descriptive writing.

5. Last but not least: Dragon’s Den

I absolutely love this show. I think it’s amazing. It’s also great for looking at how to deliver a persuasive speech. There are also some very funny ones on how not to deliver one too!

That’s it, until tomorrow where as usually I’ll present my Sunday sonnet! Happy watching! (The English Language makes no sense!)

12 Jul

“i before e, except after c. “

What a perfectly good well-rhymed rule. It’s ingrained into all of our minds by the age of 5 and has helped kids across the country score 10/10 in spelling tests. Except for the fact that it’s absolutely rubbish that is! 

I am currently tutoring a primary school girl with her spelling and it has only just occured to me how many spelling rules there are. Not only spelling rules but spelling rules with about 100 exceptions. Surely this means it is not a rule!

Here are some of the 212 words that have just decided to ignore the rules altogether.


I’m getting bored now so I’ll stop there.

No wonder kids today find themselves lost in a maze of tricky spelling relating conundrums. Truth is, the English language is made up of a lot of half rules and we’re just expected to pick it up along the way. 

Oh well, perhaps with the use of computers in every classroom it won’t be long until we give up on spellings and throw the dictionaries out all together. That’s what spellcheck is there for after all.

SATS and another sunday sonnet!

11 Jul

I am sorry I have not blogged for a week or so. On a positive note, I got the job! This is my third time that I have used that poem for an interview so it worked a charm eventually!! I am really excited about the new job and very much wanting to wind down with 2 weeks (10 days!) until the holidays!!!

Anyway with year 7 parent’s evening looming and with some angelic year 6’s making their way to my school last week for ‘induction’, I am blogging about SATS. Now as a relatively new teacher my experience with y9 SATS was pretty limited anyway (they ended a year after I started teaching). I do not know much about them except that some year 7 pupils I teach seem to  not be working anywhere near the SATS level they recieved at the end of primary school. Thus making me seem a bad teacher, them seem like a bad pupil and their parents gasping in belief when their pupils are labelled by the school as ‘regressing!’ From my primary trained friends it seems that the intensive teaching in year 6 that goes on means that pupils end up with a highly inflated level that reflects fantastically on their primary school, but not so when they can’t achieve it in secondary school. Anyone got any thoughts on this??

Moving on to my sunday sonnet, which I appear to be making a tradition (if only for the alliteration in the title)

Shall I compare thee to a Summer’s day?
Thou art more lovely and more temperate:
Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May,
And Summer’s lease hath all too short a date:
Sometime too hot the eye of heaven shines,
And oft’ is his gold complexion dimm’d;
And every fair from fair sometime declines,
By chance or nature’s changing course untrimm’d:
But thy eternal Summer shall not fade
Nor lose possession of that fair thou owest;
Nor shall Death brag thou wanderest in his shade,
When in eternal lines to time thou growest:

So long as men can breathe, or eyes can see,
So long lives this, and this gives life to thee.

Thought this would be apt given the fact it’s about 30 degrees in my appartment at present!!!

Interview Nerves and a bit of Caribbean dialect.

29 Jun

Well I have an interview tomorrow. I love teaching but I’m looking to teach more Primary and less GCSE classes. That’s where the new job comes in! I have to teach a 30 minute lesson on a poem of my choice. I love this part as the kids are always up for it but hate it as I’m so nervous in case I’ve got the vibe of the school and lesson totally wrong! With that in my mind, I’ve posted the poem I am going to be reading with the kids.

Talking Turkeys

Be nice to yu turkeys dis christmas
Cos turkeys jus wanna hav fun
Turkeys are cool, an turkeys are wicked
An every turkey has a Mum.
Be nice to yu turkeys dis christmas,
Don’t eat it, keep it alive,
It could be yu mate an not on yu plate
Say, Yo! Turkey I’m on your side.

 I got lots of friends who are turkeys
 An all of dem fear christmas time,
Dey say ‘Benj man, eh, I wanna enjoy it,
But dose humans destroyed it
An humans are out of dere mind,
Yeah, I got lots of friends who are turkeys
Dey all hav a right to a life,
Not to be caged up an genetically made up
By any farmer an his wife.

 Turkeys jus wanna play reggae
Turkeys jus wanna hip-hop
Havey you ever seen a nice young turkey saying,
‘I cannot wait for de chop’?
Turkeys like getting presents, dey wanna watch christmas TV,
Turkeys hav brains an turkeys feel pain
In many ways like yu an me.
.I once knew a turkey His name was Turkey
He said ‘Benji explain to me please,
Who put de turkey in christmas
An what happens to christmas trees?’
I said, ‘I am not too sure Turkey
But it’s nothing to do wid Christ Mass
Humans get greedy and waste more dan need be
An business men mek loadsa cash.’

So, be nice to yu turkey dis christmas
Invite dem indoors fe sum greens
Let dem eat cake an let dem partake
In a plate of organic grown beans,
Be nice to yu turkey dis christmas
An spare dem de cut of de knife,
Join Turkeys United an dey’ll be delighted
An yu will mek new friends ‘FOR LIFE’.

I must admit having a soft spot to the Turkeys United pun. Will hopefully show the panel I like to do things a little differently. This leads me to poetry in general. The best thing I’ve found in teaching poetry is rap. Pupils love to listen to chart music, songs are essentially poems. They rhyme, they use different techniques e.g. metaphors and their designed to be read aloud (the only difference being the music in the background). So my tip is to encourage kids to listen to all sorts of music, as long as their willing to discuss purpose, language and viewpoint of it afterwards. Dizee Rascal always goes down a storm!

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

27 Jun

I’m going a little of topic here, but as it’s a Sunday night I though I’d indulge myself and post my favourite sonnet from Mr William Shakespeare.  It’s not totally irrelevant as in the UK, this sonnet appears on several GCSE exam boards. Here we go…..


My mistress’ eyes are nothing like the sun;
Coral is far more red than her lips’ red;
If snow be white, why then her breasts are dun;
If hairs be wires, black wires grow on her head.
I have seen roses damask’d, red and white,
But no such roses see I in her cheeks;
And in some perfumes is there more delight
Than in the breath that from my mistress reeks.
I love to hear her speak, yet well I know
That music hath a far more pleasing sound;
I grant I never saw a goddess go;
My mistress, when she walks, treads on the ground:
And yet, by heaven, I think my love as rare
 As any she belied with false compare.


Ah, it’s just gorgeous! I know a lot of people struggle with the language but I actually think this is one of Shakespeare’s more simplier sonnets. My favourite part is “my mistress, when she walks, treads on the ground.” It totally wins the war against those long, Petrarchan sonnets which just build up an ideal woman who doesn’t exsist.

Shakespeare: yay or nay? Thoughts please!

Another picture to get you thinking!

24 Jun

How did this statue get built into the wall?  Answers on a postcard…or comment below!

What is that weird thing staring down at me?

24 Jun

I’ve just added a picture to my blog. This is a picture I took when I was stranded in Thailand due to the volcanic ash! I absolutely love the statue, there are so many ways to interpret it, and that leads to my next point……..Creative Writing.

I think using a visual a stimulus or a short youtube clip is a really fab way to get pupils engaged in writing. It’s something that parents can easily do at home with their children. Kids need to write, they need to sometimes write purely for pleasure and see where their ideas can take them! I’ve added some images that can take writing in all sorts of directions! Creativity is key!

Imagine you're stuck in this traffic!

Describe this scene.

My foray into blogging

24 Jun

Hello blogging world!

Welcome to my first blog. I’m not blogging for money or for popularity, but because I geniunely love to write! I’m an English teacher and tutor so decided to write about my subject. My aim is to provide useful information about the English curriculum in schools to parents and fellow teachers. I’ll also be including general posts applicable to adult learners or those new to the language all together. I’d love any comments or queries. Just post a response.