With so many unseen texts in the new GCSE and an emphasis on challenging texts from KS3 upwards, it’s becoming all the more important for students to unlock the meaning of unfamiliar words on their own.
To prepare students for this daunting experience,...
National storytelling week
24th January 2017
From 28th Jan to 4th February it’s all about telling stories. So rather than rolling your eyes when your students tell you that their homework was eaten by their sibling, or that the school bus broke down, instead congratulate them on their vivid imagination...
Teaching the Gothic
12th December 2016
Teaching Gothic literature? There’s a good chance that if you’re not teaching it now, you will be soon. As Victoria Walker explains in our latest newsletter, the Gothic is pervasive in English classrooms, and it’s appropriate at every key stage.
Anti-bullying week (14th-18th November)
2nd November 2016
With rising levels of anxiety in children and an increasing atmosphere of intolerance, anti-bullying week feels particularly important this year.
There are a number of thought-provoking resources on Teachit English you could use with your classes to...
Assistive technology for writing
10th October 2016
Many of you were grateful for the advice on assistive technology for writing in our recent e-newsletter by Malcolm Litten. One in six people struggle with fundamental literacy skills at some point in their lives, and unlocking some of the barriers at...
Shakespeare celebrations: a round up of events
3rd February 2016
This year marks the anniversary of 400 years since William Shakespeare’s death, so there are even more Shakespeare themed celebrations going on than normal. See below for our highlights and a selection of websites covering all events.
Macbeth at the...
Talk in the classroom
11th January 2016
Our recent e-newsletter by Stuart Scott on ‘talk in the classroom’ has got us thinking about how you could harness the talk in your classroom, to improve students’ engagement. Stuart featured his Oliver Twist character card game, a role play task. He...
Election 2015: Speaking and listening activities
29th April 2015
With the up-coming election putting the spotlight on oracy skills, we've chosen some of our favourite speaking and listening resources – guaranteed to generate plenty of discussion!
For student-friendly election information and news, The Day, a current...
#VeryRealisticYA: how writing reflects audiences and purposes (KS3)
8th April 2015
#VeryRealisticYA - a Twitter hashtag that went wild last week – led teens across the world to consider how the heroes of dystopian fiction could possibly find the time to save the world, never mind finish their homework.
Some teaching ideas:
The Ed 'two kitchens' Miliband row
13th March 2015
AO3 Compare writers' ideas and perspectives, as well as how these are conveyed, across two or more texts.
Using two newspaper articles from The Telegraph ('Ed two kitchens Miliband under fire in bizarre row' and The Daily Mail 'Why their kitchen tells...
Mission to Mars: focus on language
20th February 2015
Read this article, written by Hannah Earnshaw, explaining why she wants to be part of the Mars One mission. The aim of the mission is to establish a permanent human settlement on Mars.
Summarise what the article is about in a sentence
Superheroes for girls: a consistent point of view
10th February 2015
A letter from an 11-year-old girl recently caught the world’s attention, because it challenges DC Comics’ representation of female characters. Use this letter to elicit strong viewpoints and lines of argument in your students’ writing (AO5).
The prisoners’ book ban: writing for impact
14th January 2015
The controversial ban on anyone sending in books to prisoners is no longer in place having been ruled unlawful by the High Court. Use this article by Frances Crook, leader of the campaign to reverse the ruling, to help students write letters for impact...
Restaurant review: vocab analysis
6th January 2015
Use this restaurant review, published in The Telegraph, to explore the author's choice of vocabulary and how it contributes to the effectiveness and impact of the article (AO2).
Read the article through, highlighting the words...
Summary and synthesis at KS4
10th December 2014
summary and synthesis | comparing texts
Please note some of the source material is explicit and may not be suitable for your students.
It’s World Human Rights Day today, and The Guardian is bringing together some of the most damning evidence from the report on CIA torture post-9/11 here....
Social media and its role in society
5th December 2014
Kirsten Dunst has made a short film with Matthew Frost exploring the role of the selfie. Show your students the film and discuss some of the issues raised:
Have a discussion about how they feel about the message in general. Can they...
Remixing classic literature
27th November 2014
Malorie Blackman recently called on young people to remix great works of literature. Choosing from creative writing, comic strips, cover designs, trailers or music the aim is to reignite students’ creative sparks. It's a competition open to 13-19 year...
Read the article about Bob Geldof’s Band Aid 30 single release to help your students understand a non-fiction persuasive text.
Ask students to comment on Bob Geldof’s language. How is he trying to build support for the cause?...
Analysing the John Lewis Christmas advert
7th November 2014
Use the popular John Lewis Christmas advert to support some media and non-fiction activities.
Watch the 2014 advert. Analyse the advert using the conventional techniques, e.g. soundtrack, types of shot, colours used, overall...
10 hours of walking in NYC as a woman - Street harrassment debate. KS4
31st October 2014
Speaking and listening | discussion | feminism | gender | equality | video | PSHE | topical debate
Show students this short Youtube clip of an actor walking through the streets of New York and being subjected to numerous cat-calls and comments.
Ask students for their initial thoughts/reactions.
Then use these to prepare, in groups, for a...
Into Film Festival - teaching ideas and activities
23rd October 2014
The Into Film Festival is coming up soon (4-21 November) and includes free trips to the cinema and a range of film screenings as well as film-making opportunities. Films and resources appropriate to the English curriculum include: Much Ado About Nothing,...
Exploration of WW1 and soldiers' mental health.
17th October 2014
With Remembrance day coming up, use the following presentation from BBC iWonder to explore issues of mental health.
Think about WW1 and the conditions that the soldiers would have had to endure. How might this have affected soldiers...
Feminism discussion and project-based activities. KS4/5.
6th October 2014
Use Emma Watson's recent UN speech to spark feminist discussion.
Before you watch the video get students to discuss what feminism means to them. Have they seen or read anything in the news recently related to feminism – what are their thoughts...
So what has Ed Miliband got to offer young people? Discussion activities.
24th September 2014
This article is the first in a series to be published by the Guardian, written by young people in the run up to the UK 2015 general election. It’s ideal for getting your students talking about how the election might impact them – especially if they...
Breathing life into descriptive writing KS3/4
12th September 2014
These ‘creepiest abandoned places from around the globe’ are perfect for kick-starting discussion, triggering creative writing or getting students to think about how a carefully chosen setting can impact powerfully on a narrative.
A good starter...
Writing and discussion tasks with global pictures. KS3.
10th September 2014
Use the following photos to explore how children live around the world.
Ask your students to draw their bedroom and label the drawing, paying particular attention to the bits that ‘represent’ them – this could be a picture on the wall, or...
Photo journeys (KS4). Creative writing and discussion.
18th July 2014
Play this video of images from the latest Travel Photographer of the Year competition to transport your students' imaginations. NB. Some of the images are graphic.
Print out some of the images and display these around the...
Article analysis and discussion tasks on immigration. KS4.
4th July 2014
Analyse two articles - one from the Daily Mail and one from the Independent - on the same subject, focusing on language.
Depending on your school's context and your students' backgrounds, discuss their thoughts on immigration...
Research and film making task (KS3). Animated Guardian video.
4th June 2014
Use this video from The Guardian to support a research task on recycling or a video making activity.
After watching, discuss how students get rid of their rubbish. Do they recycle? Do they have any systems set up at home? Could...
Speaking and listening or a writing task (KS4). BBC video exploring female stereotypes.
20th May 2014
Use this BBC video about a photo project to spark discussion and explore female stereotypes.
Before you watch the video, have a general discussion about how women are generally portrayed in the media today. Do they think women...
Speaking & Listening or creative writing stimulus (KS3). Guardian article on Earth's twin
8th May 2014
Planet Earth has a twin exoplanet, known as Kepler-186f, orbiting in another solar system. Use this article from the Guardian as a jumping off point for a range of KS3 activities.
Speaking and Listening:
After reading or summarising...
Random acts of kindness video. Discussion questions and independent project task (KS3).
24th April 2014
Watch the video and generate discussion about what Luke Cameron is doing and the issues it might raise.
Open up a broad discussion. Why do you think he’s doing this? Is it solely to be ‘kind’ or might there be other reasons?...
Kate Tempest performing 'My Shakespeare'.
17th April 2014
Get your students inspired and excited about poetry by showing them some of Kate Tempest's work. This particular poem focuses on what Shakespeare means to her.
Discuss their thoughts on the poem. Did they like it? Were they...
Language change (KS4/5). Guardian article on English pronunciation
27th March 2014
Extend students' understanding of the English Language with this fascinating insight into the process of phonological change.
As a pre-reading activity, ask students for their own mispronunciations and malapropisms, and share...
Letter writing task (KS3/4). Teenager writes letter to The Times.
7th March 2014
Read the letter that 16 year old Jenni Herd has written to The Times (also printed in The Guardian), expressing her exasperation at how young people are portrayed in the media.
Have an open and general discussion about whether...
Persuasive writing (KS4). Telegraph article asking: Should children be banned from museums?
20th February 2014
Use this Telegraph article, arguing ‘for’ and ‘against’ a ban of children from museums, to analyse and practise persuasive writing.
Click to read the article.
After reading the article, have a general discussion...
Creative writing for KS3/4. BBC video report on early human footprints.
13th February 2014
Use this video from the BBC, reporting on the discovery of the first human footprints found outside of Africa, to inspire creative writing.
Click here to watch the video
Students could imagine the first human on Earth...
Reading and writing activity – persuasive climate change adverts
24th January 2014
A number of powerful climate change adverts for students to analyse. Would work well with KS3 or 4.
Click to see the adverts
Show students the videos/images and ask them to explain which is their favourite and why. Which...
Writing activity - restaurant review from The Telegraph
15th January 2014
Use this restaurant review to analyse the language used and then get students to write their own.
Click to read The Telegraph review
Make a Wordle with an extract of the review. Display the Wordle and ask students...
Research/Speaking and listening. Feature from The Independent suitable for KS3.
9th January 2014
A fun (and slightly eye-watering) feature which lists the 20 most expensive cities in the world. This could be used with KS3 classes for speaking and listening activities or research tasks.
Assign each student (or each...
Article analysis - The Independent (Activities suitable for KS4)
17th December 2013
The following activities focus on a humorous, obviously biased article. It is perfect for language analysis at KS4 or with a media focus exploring the differences between online and print content.
Click to read the Independent article
Writing / speaking and listening - Guardian article (Activities suitable for KS3)
17th December 2013
This article looks at people in 2013 who have made an impact of some kind. It would work well with KS3 classes and offers plenty of writing opportunities.
Click to read the Guardian article
Read through the Guardian's...
Analysis of opinion article to demonstrate bias - Daily Mail
17th December 2013
This article explores the cost of the Royal Train and whether tax-payers' money should continue to pay for the upkeep. Would be suitable for KS4.
Click to read the Daily Mail article
Highlight the phrases / words which...
A selection of awe-inspiring photos from the Wildlife Photographers of the Year provides the perfect stimulus for creative writing. Suitable for KS3 and 4.
Click to see the photographs
write a piece...