OK, I’ve titled this post organiser tips, but really I’m just showing you my favourite ever bit of stationery/planning tool: my gorgeous personalised planner from Cordwain Higgler. This was a birthday present and I’ve had it for almost six years now and it’s showing no signs of wear, although it’s popped into my bag on practically… More Stationery Addict: Organiser Tips
In various A-Level English Language tasks, you’re asked to analyse text. This may be to comment on the meanings and representations created within it, or it may be in relation to a particular topic, such as child language acquisition or ethnicity. Whatever the task is, many students are tempted to jump on features that they… More Textual Anaysis: Why Use a ‘Meaning First’ Approach?
genre(s): fantasy read it for: hilarious monster hi-jinks, and a lovely warm story of self-discovery and found family This book STINKS . . . of monsters! A hilariously funny debut, perfect for fans of Pamela Butchart and David Solomons. When Alice is sent to stay with her Uncle Magnus, she soon realises that his job… More MG Review: Help! I Smell a Monster, Justin Davies
OK, so this question roughly equals ‘What do I REALLY need to learn about these fifteen (yes, FIFTEEN) poems that I’ve been given for this exam?’ My answer to you is that, actually, you do not need to know quotes for all the poems – but you do need to be strategic about which poems you learn quotes for.… More How do I revise the Power and Conflict poems?
Writing is fraught with danger, mostly related to myth and ritual. Obviously, as a writer I love myth and mythmaking – the lure of the woods, the charm of the chosen one – but that’s not the kind of myth I mean. In this case, I mean the dangerous myths about writing itself: I can… More Writing and Ritual: beware of mythologising
Proud is Stripes Book’s third YA anthology and the second to consciously focus on a representation gap in the YA market. Like last year’s A Change is Gonna Come, this book is a triumph and strongly recommended as an addition to classroom and library shelves. The genius of boosting representation by anthology is in the implicit… More YA Anthology feature: Proud, compiled by Juno Dawson (review and link to teaching resources)
I’m often asked how I read so much – or people say ‘oh I wish I had time to read’ (often in that passive aggressive way that implies that they’re just doing much more important things, actually – but that’s a different issue). Firstly: I don’t read that much. I average about 50-60 books a… More But how do you read so much?
I have added to and adapted this slightly since its original run. There is more here for A Level Language in particular. Age range: YA (12+) Themes: as this is an anthology, these are really varied, but include: love, sexuality, racism, islamophobia, bereavement, refugees, OCD, friendship, punishment, fantasy, time travel, fairness, identity. Narrative style and genre:… More YA Book Feature: A Change Is Gonna Come Anthology (review plus teaching resources)
1 Forest App This really does come first. I’ve used a timer for motivation in all kinds of work for years, and it helps So Much. When I’m struggling to focus (i.e. cataloguing socks is suddenly looking ridiculously tempting), just setting a simple kitchen timer for 15 minutes, putting the phone away, turning wifi off and doing… More My Top Five Must-Haves for Writing
As teachers, we’re pre-programmed to sigh – or roll our eyes – when students write or say that fateful phrase ‘it makes the reader read on’. But here’s the thing: when we’re talking about things like chapter ends, cliffhangers and clever titles, writers DO choose things to keep us reading. After all ‘page-turner’ or ‘I… More Why can’t I write ‘it makes the reader want to read on’ – and what on earth do I write instead?