English team leader Marie Clapham talks us through the resources that are on her mind. Browse through her list at the top of the page and click the images to link through to the resources on the Twinkl website. For a fuller explanation on the thought process behind them scroll further down this page.
AQA English Language Paper 1 Question 3 Resource Pack
I don’t know about you, but when the new GCSE came in, the question I was most worried about was the structure one on the English Language Paper One. It wasn’t that I didn’t know what structure was, but I’d never explicitly taught it before and wasn’t sure how to get it across. Plus there were no clearly defined structure ‘terms’ – it all seemed a little vague. Thankfully, my colleague Paul Brand came to the rescue with this resource pack presenting structure in a few different ways. The structural devices flashcards gave some definite terms to use which made things clearer of the students. And in terms of how they thought about structure, I really like the Tracking the Journey sheet which showed the text as a road with various features along the way – it really helped to clarify that process of looking at the text as a whole, but then tracking the structure from beginning to end which is what the question requires. The great thing about a resource pack is that you can pick and choose the resources that suit you and your teaching style the best – and this one definitely saved me time and a certain amount of anxiety!
Literary Terms Bingo
They say the old ones are the best ones, and in Twinkl Secondary terms this is an ‘old’ resource – it’s one of the earliest we made and possibly one of the most useful. I love it because it’s a bit of fun for a starter or plenary and you can always offer a prize to give extra incentive to the students (it never ceases to amaze me how a lolly motivates!!!) but at the same time it’s super useful because they have to know those literary terms! The differentiation is also a bonus, you really can use it to suit most levels of ability.
It’s not a one hit wonder either – you can use it as many times as you want to revise those terms! You could even use the lower ability one to introduce one set of words and then gradually work up to the higher ability one as new terminology is learned. It’s one to keep on hand I think to pull out when things aren’t going to plan…!
Macbeth Knowledge Organiser
Oh my, oh my, this reminds me of a past student, a protracted revision session and a long piece of wallpaper. This particular student struggled with reading through copious notes and needed the main information on a text presented at a glance, so we both laboriously drew and wrote all the vital information about Macbeth on quite a lengthy piece of lining paper so that he could have it on the wall. Then this came along – all the key information about Macbeth such as themes, key quotes, main characters, symbols, motifs and context on two A4 pages. You could even enlarge it to A3 if that’s helpful for students. It’s such a neat idea and is replicated with many other GCSE texts – we’re working on getting one for all of them eventually. I don’t know who invented this, but my writing arm thanks you!
AQA English Language Paper 1 GCSE Exam Revision Booklet
Near exam time, I hear the constant refrain ‘But Miss, how do we revise for English? You can’t really can you?’ – step forward the revision booklets please! Not only do these give an overview of the exam (including timings), they contain practice questions, sample answers and potential sentence starters and vocabulary.
If students work through these at home, they can note down any questions or difficulties they have and ask their teacher when they next see them. It’s an efficient way of revising, identifying areas of difficulty and also helping the student to feel more in control because they know what’s coming in terms of the type of questions they will be asked and the times they’re working to.
It’s also very cool for parents – in fact, not a bad idea to give them out/email them at parents’ evening. I find often parents really want to understand what’s required of their offspring so that they can give them a hand and this is the very thing. We have revision booklets for AQA, EDEXCEL and EDUQAS English Language GCSE for papers one and two.
Fancy A Trip To Space Resource Pack
There comes a time in your teaching life when you need some of your students to be working on a project over a number of lessons – maybe those times when you have 32 mock GCSE exams to mark or 60 reports to write. If one of your classes is doing a project that doesn’t require much planning or marking, it takes the pressure off a little bit. And this is just the thing. It’s absolutely relevant to the curriculum and the tasks are grounded in the GCSE assessment objectives – it’s a non-fiction text with comprehension questions, a writing task and a research project. You can do as many or as few of the tasks as you wish and in whatever order suits you. You can make it last one lesson or two weeks and you can use peer or self-marking as all the necessary mark schemes are included. The subject matter could possibly appeal to your less enthusiastic pupils as well – you know the very science/maths students who get fed up with there being ‘no right answer’ in English? It’s a winner all round and I’ve pulled this one out of the bag on a couple of occasions when I can see my workload going over the top and it’s been a lifesaver.
Sinister Stories Whole Unit Pack
I have to confess to not having taught this scheme – yet. But it makes my list of favourite resources because it’s just such as good preparation for the English Literature and Language GCSE. I’m also blown away by the fact that the sinister stories in question were all written by my colleague Penny Sandle-Keynes, so they are totally original and stomping good reads too.
This 12 lesson pack can be downloaded at the touch of a button and is ideal for KS3 students prepping for GCSE. By examining three short stories, students can explore making inferences, critical reading, language and its effects, narrative conventions, structure, symbolism, context and narrative voice. The lessons then lead to a piece of creative writing which is a perfect warm up for the GCSE English Language exam. There’s so much in one scheme and no planning is required – take a look at the unit overview, you’ll see what I mean!
Introduction to Shakespeare Lesson 1: Development of the English Language
Do you ever get serious resistance to Shakespeare? ‘Miiiiiissss, do we have to do Shakespeare? It’s soooooo boring.’ I find that this lesson helps – purely because it puts some perspective on the language of Shakey and actually makes it out to be relatively easy when compared to Old and Middle English.
The lesson takes the students on a journey into the past to see what the other versions of English looked like. Oh and their faces when you reveal that Shakespeare is actually written in Modern English! It’s a sight to behold and a great discussion point. But once your students have grappled the complexities of Beowulf and wrestled with the word order of Chaucer, they should see that Shakespeare was Mr Straightforward in comparison. I’ve taught this lesson to all abilities, and it’s always gone down well. The students like the challenge and the translation activities and can have a real old laugh at the teacher who attempts to read Old and Middle English out loud!
Emotive Language Word Mat
This little, unprepossessing resource is actually a really handy tool when you’re teaching persuasive writing. It presents students with a pick and mix of emotive words to use in their work and would particularly suit those students who may struggle to connect ideas with emotions, or those students who believe emotive language to be talking about emotions, rather than stirring them. Great for preparing for the GCSE English Language Paper Two writing question as well. You’d hope once the students have used this a few times that some of the words would stay with them for later exam hall retrieval!
Living in the Victorian Workhouse Differentiated Reading Comprehension
Who doesn’t love a reading comprehension, right? They have been the backbone of an English teacher’s repertoire since time immemorial. The great thing about this one is that it provides some fantastic 19th century context information which is valuable for the English Literature GCSE exam and could also help with the 19th century text in the English Language GCSE exam too. The text gives loads of information about the poor laws and the union workhouses along with links to how the poor are portrayed in literature and art.
There are three lots of questions too, in higher, middle and lower ability versions so you really can use this with just about any class or student. And of course, answers are provided should you want to give your pupils a go at self or peer marking. It’s also perfect to leave for a cover teacher if you’re ever allowed out on a course again!
And if you’re not keen on the notion of a comprehension (they could be seen as old fashioned – I mean, I did them at school and that was practically back in the Victorian era!), just use the text as a starting point for a discussion or working on the skills needed for the English Language GCSE. Definitely one to have on standby.