The kind people at Twinkl have given me a free account on their website and, in return, I said I’d review, occasionally, some of their resources.
This month’s finds are:
As the dust settles on the new GCSEs, it gives us chance to look more at KS3. One of the hard things at the moment is deciding and finding texts. If you are like me, you have jettisoned ‘Holes’ already and are looking at what to fill that hole with something in the curriculum. One of the things I like about Twinkl is their extracts from texts to support teaching.
I was looking at building up our ‘Gothic Fiction’ unit and I thought I’d have a look and, aside from the usual extracts from ‘Dracula’ and ‘Frankenstein’, I discovered some nice extracts from ‘Carmilla’, ‘Northanger Abbey’, ‘The Picture of Dorian Gray’ and others. In addition to this, I came across ‘The Oval Portrait’ by Edgar Allen Poe and ‘A Night-Piece on Death’ by Thomas Parnell in their units on gothic fiction. There’s also a travel writing unit of work which covers some nice extracts from Charles Dickens and Robert Louis Stevenson.
One of the challenges we have in teaching is time. We never get the time to find new texts, so we stick to the old faithful ones. This year I am aiming to push and try new texts: bring something new to the students’ plates. That's why it is always nice to fine a new one.
It’s sad to say that spoken language has been elbowed out of the curriculum. One of our big changes this year is to squeeze more of it in to the curriculum and find a way where it supports the learning without it feeling superfluous or being unneeded. The GCSE Paper 2 writing sections has really highlighted a need for students to articulate one clear opinion and communicate that opinion with skill. That’s why we are using a debate a term with each class in KS3. We will give them time to prepare, time to rehearse and then the actual debate. The debate packs on Twinkl are a good starting point.
I am not a big fan of display as I find them distracting for students, teachers and SLT – say, when was the last time you changed that display? I like the focus to be on the front of the classroom and not on some shiny piece of card on the ceiling. The sentence posters present a nice opportunity. They give students an example to model their writing on. My plan is to have them reduced to A5 and laminated. Students then will have to opportunity to pick them up, if they want to revise how to use them.