As the impact of lockdown is felt, there’s rightly been a lot of talk about students in Year 11 who’ve lost the chance to take their GCSE exams. But it’s not only Year 11s who are facing uncertainty: for Year 10 students, not even halfway through their GCSE careers, this is also a worrying time. How will they make up the missed work? What can they do to keep their brains ticking over? Here, we look at some useful English activities to keep them enthusiastic and engaged.
The English syllabus is always a challenge because, unlike most other subjects, we usually fit two GCSEs into our classes: GCSE English Language, and GCSE English Literature. Let’s look at each of those GCSEs in turn…
GCSE English Language for Year 10
English Language is all about developing reading and writing, so it’s important to keep these skills ticking over during lockdown. The exact text-types your year 10 child will study depends on their exam board, but reading comprehensions are always a useful way of stretching reading muscles. Beyond has a large range of comprehensions on a huge variety of subjects from conspiracy theories to famous authors. This Diarists of The Second World War comprehension , for example, is a great way to keep students in touch with vital exam skills. All reading comprehensions come with answers, too, so you can check their work once they’re done!
Students will need to be able to read and understand pre-20th century texts, too. This Victorian Texts Homework Booklet has lots of tasks for helping to develop their skills in this area.
To encourage fiction writing, these Creative Writing Prompt Cards can provide the stimulus for a great short story.
GCSE English Literature for Year 10
For GCSE English Literature, your child will be studying a Shakespeare play, a pre-20th century novel, a contemporary novel, a contemporary play and a selection of poetry. The exact texts will depend on your exam board, but Beyond has a range of resources for most of them.
A great place to start is by looking at characters with a resource such as this Great Expectations Character Cards Pack. These help your student to explore the roles of the different characters within the text.
It’s also important to be familiar with the plot; using a resource such as this The Woman in Black Plot Storyboard Template can be a fun way to cement narrative knowledge.
And it is really important that your child knows the context for each text, so studying the background of the novel or play is vital. Resources like this Frankenstein Context Lesson Pack are very useful for this.
If your child is already very familiar with the text then practising some essay-style questions is also a useful approach. Most GCSE English Literature texts have an exam pack on Beyond, such as this Macbeth Mini Exam Pack, which includes sample exam questions and a mark scheme. If your child is struggling with essay writing skills, then resources such as this Sentence Starters for Essays Word Mat is a great way to support them.
Finally, Beyond has produced guidance on every poem in the GCSE English Literature poem anthologies, so there are lots of resources to help your child get to grips with poetry. And, if they are using the AQA syllabus, there are bespoke revision guides for each cluster of poems, like this AQA Poetry Love and Relationships GCSE Revision Guide.
SPaG: Spelling, Punctuation and Grammar
Spelling, punctuation and grammar are the bane of many year 10 students’ lives, but they are hugely important at both GCSE English Language and GCSE English Literature. Beyond has loads of quick worksheets to help with SPaG, such as this Paragraphing Worksheet or this Complex Sentences Revision Worksheet. If you prefer, there’s even some Cake Crush SPaG Activity Mats, which offer enough SPaG exercises to last an entire school year – although we’re all hoping that lockdown doesn’t last that long!