An English Teacher's Toolbox

An English teacher at a Secondary School in the UK. * Sharing and questioning the day job. * I teach KS3/4/5.
* Looking for inspiration and motivation, to share with others. * Looking to constantly improve and grow. * On Twitter at @MissBex_M *
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Posts tagged "Advice"

Fantastic resource for writing found on pinterest

Found this useful ‘Plot skeleton’ on Pinterest,

Reading is Sexy #amen #brilliant #truth

Reading is Sexy #amen #brilliant #truth

(via booksasdfghj)

I found this and thought it was really useful. Enjoy!

"Being a teacher is a hectic job, with lesson planning, grading, and actually working with students. Organized teachers find that getting all their work completed on time becomes much easier, eliminating wasted time hunting for handouts and allowing them to focus more time on student learning. Organization takes a little extra time at the beginning, which more than pays for itself in time saved down the road…." Read More Here (including tips and advice)

englishteacheronline:

1. Don’t have a full time job. If you are to teach a perfect lesson, then the first thing you must ensure is that you are not a full time teacher. Full time teachers haven’t got the time to teach perfect lessons. It’s only gurus who can do this because gurus don’t have pigeonholes to check.

2….

world-shaker:

This is by far one of my favorite posts of the year, and the best I’ve seen on feedback in a long time. It’s worth the time it takes to read and re-read (and you should re-read it).

I stole my scaffold for peer and self-assessment from Geoff Petty. I think he’s great because he shares so many wonderful resources for free online. Petty argues that too much of the feedback we give students is BACKWARD looking and often this feedback is quantitative (numerical e.g. 7/10; 70%), but even qualitative feedback (words e.g. ‘You didn’t begin your sentences with a capital letter.’) more often than not looks backwards at what WAS done or, typically, WASN’T done. Petty advocates for a method of feedback that is both backwards and forwards looking, and to do that he uses the ‘goals, medals, missions‘ protocol. It’s really neat because the language is accessible to all age groups and is non-threatening. Essentially the ‘goals’ are the criteria for the product (be it a short film, an essay or a presentation) and the ‘medals’ are what has been achieved (this is the backward looking stuff) and always takes the form of positive statements, e.g. ‘Your introduction is strong.’ The ‘missions’ are the important part of the protocol – this is ‘feed-forward’ as it is looking at what the student needs to work on to improve the product.

(via world-shaker-deactivated2013092)

hello-its-adanna:

wasntthatafunnyday:

inside-the-lenss:

Start the year with an empty jar and fill it with notes about good things that happen. On New Years Eve, empty it and see what awesome stuff happened that year.

(via adannadelrey)

On twitter this week myself and other tweachers have been posting ideas/ tips for those of you who are about to be PGCE/ GTP/ NQTs.

We’ve all been tagging these with: #toptipsfornewteachers (go check them out). 

I thought that I might try to sum up some of my key ideas here, and then as I go along, tag any other posts/ reblogs with this tag so that they can be found more easily. As a PGCE Secondary English Mentor in my school, I deal with new teachers all year round, and I give them this same advice.

So, here goes…

  1. Invest in a good bag.
    As a new teacher, you will no doubt be in numerous rooms/ sites/ buildings for your lessons and that means carrying around all of the books and equipment you need. A good bag is essential in helping you do this, and stay organised too!
  2. Invest in a good external Hard Drive/ USB memory stick.
    You will likely be working at home when planning, writing reports, doing assignments etc. Having somewhere you can back up all your work and access it easily anywhere within work/ home will make life easier. Trust me. 
  3. Erasable board pens. Buy some. Then buy a few more and keep them stashed in that good bag I told you about. You will always need one, often when you don’t have one. People will ‘borrow’ them and not return them - annoying, but true I’m afraid!
  4. Have a good support network. This is divided up - you can’t have all your eggs in one basket. What I mean by this is that you need family and friends around you, to love you and listen to you (as well as spend time with you away from work). However, these people often think that you’re job starts at 9, ends at 3 and often requires little or no effort  - so they DON’T always understand the pressures you’re facing or the emotions you’re feeling. In this case, you need your other basket of eggs. This is where you have somebody who is like you, a teacher, and understands what you’re dealing with. They might be your mentor, fellow PGCE/ GTP/ NQT, or even just a friend who is also a teacher. 
  5. Take time out. It is SO easy for this job to take over and rule your life, but find time every week that is for you. I often set aside Saturday as a non-working day. Use this day to see your friends, family and loved ones. Alternatively, read a book, watch a film, etc. Just don’t do work!
  6. Be organised. What I mean here is - use your diary, use your teacher planner, use your calendar and know what’s happening when. Things like parents’ evenings, department meetings, staff meetings, data input deadlines, report deadlines, assessment hand in dates - they all sneak up on you. Get them in your diary and know when they’re coming, so you can start working on them before hand. 
  7. Be Organised - part 2. Now you’ve got your dates and deadlines  -start organising everything else. Keep classes separate - a plastic wallet/ folder for each so that resources, marking, homework, lesson plans do not get muddled and lost. Do the same on your USB/ external hard drive - keep planning separate. It is important to know what you’re doing, when and with which class. 
  8. Have somewhere to work. This is crucial. When I did my PGCE, I sat up for hours every night, sitting on my bed, trying to mark, plan and write assessments, because I didn’t have somewhere to work. So, my mum helped me buy a small desk and a chair. Bingo. Minimal room-much better working environment. Now, I often stay after hours at school - in my room/ library PC and work for a few hours. Printing done there, without costing me money! When I work at home, I have my new desk (so long as my fiancée isn’t hogging the PC too much!).
  9. Healthy Lifestyle. OK, so I’m being a little hypocritical here. This is something I’ve only just begun to understand myself, but yes - eating clean and taking part in some kind of activity/ exercise will help you feel better. There are some dark days/ months ahead and eating cake 24/7 might seem like the only way to cope, but eventually it’ll catch you up and you’ll feel bad for it. Also - there are times when you think you’re too busy to eat and drink - no. You’re not. Eat your lunch and drink plenty through the day - your body needs it so you can do your job, and do it well.
  10. Enjoy, reflect and rethink. Teaching is a rewarding and enjoyable job. There are moments when you will not believe you’re lucky enough to do this every day. In contrast, there are days when it really was hell and you want to cry. But, no matter which day it was - take the time to reflect on what did/ didn’t go well and identify what you need to do again, and what it is you need to change. Then do it.

Hope this has been useful. It’s certainly helped me the last few years.

September’s nearly here - good luck all! xx

amandaonwriting:

Barnaby Conrad: On Writing

6 rules for writing a great story

1. Try to pick the most intriguing place in your piece to begin.

2. Try to create attention-grabbing images of a setting if that’s where you want to begin.

3. Raise the reader’s curiosity about what is happening or is going to happen in an action scene.

4. Describe a character so compellingly that we want to learn more about what happens to him or her.

5. Present a situation so vital to our protagonist that we must read on.

6. And most important, no matter what method you choose, start with something happening! (And not with ruminations. A character sitting in a cave or in jail or in a kitchen or in a car ruminating about the meaning of life and how he got to this point does not constitute something happening.)

Hone your opening words, for just as stories aren’t written but rewritten, so should beginnings be written and rewritten. Look at your opening and ask yourself, ‘If I were reading this, would I be intrigued enough to go on?’

And remember: Always aim for the heart!

Conrad is the author of The Complete Guide to Writing Fiction.

Source

(via misslokenglish)

amandaonwriting:

20 Quotes from J. K. Rowling
1. And so rock bottom became the solid foundation on which I rebuilt my life.
2. We do not need magic to change the world, we carry all the power we need inside ourselves already: we have the power to imagine better.
3. As is a tale, so is life, not how long it is, but how good it is, is what matters.
4. The wizards represent all that the true ‘muggle’ most fears: They are plainly outcasts and comfortable with being so. Nothing is more unnerving to the truly conventional than the unashamed misfit!
5. I bumped into a woman I hadn’t seen for nearly three years. The first thing she said to me? ’You’ve lost a lot of weight!’ ‘Well, the last time you saw me I’d just had a baby.’ What I felt like saying was, ’I’ve produced my third child and my sixth novel since I last saw you.’ But no — my waist looked smaller! Forget the kid and the book: finally, something to celebrate!
6. It is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all – in which case, you fail by default.
7. I’ve never set out to teach anyone anything. It’s been more of an expression of my views and feelings than sitting down and deciding ‘What is today’s message?’ And I do think that, although I never, again, sat down consciously and thought about this, I do think judging, even for my own daughter, that children respond to that than to ‘thought for the day.’
8. Part of what makes a language “alive” is its constant evolution. […] I love editing “Harry” with Arthur Levine, my American editor — the differences between “British English” (of which there must be at least 200 versions) and “American English” (ditto!) are a source of constant interest and amusement to me. 
9. I always advise children who ask me for tips on being a writer to read as much as they possibly can. Jane Austen gave a young friend the same advice, so I’m in good company there.
10. I’ve no idea where ideas come from and I hope I never find out, it would spoil the excitement for me if it turned out I just have a funny little wrinkle on the surface of my brain which makes me think about invisible train platforms.
11. Those who choose not to empathize enable real monsters, for without ever committing an act of outright evil ourselves we collude with it through our apathy.
12. [On Fame] One of my regrets would be that I will never again have the pleasure of sneaking into a cafe, any cafe I like, sitting down and diving into my world and no one knowing what I am doing and no one bothering about me and being totally anonymous, that was fantastic.
13. Probably the very best thing my earnings have given me is absense of worry. I have not forgotten what it feels like to worry whether you’ll have enough to pay the bills. Not to have to think about that any more is the biggest luxury in the world.
14. Bigotry is probably the thing I detest most. […] I really like to explore the idea that difference is equal and good. Oppressed groups are not, generally speaking, people who stand firmly together — no, sadly, they kind of subdivide among themselves and fight like hell. That’s human nature, so that’s what you see here. This world of wizards and witches, they’re already ostracized, and then within themselves, they’ve formed a loathsome pecking order.
15. I love freakish names and I have always been interested in folk lore and I think it was a logical thing for me to end up writing even though it came so suddenly.
16. As you stand on the threshold of what is sometimes called “real life”, I want to extoll the crucial importance of imagination.
17. Half my lifetime ago, I was striking an uneasy balance between the ambition I had for myself and what those closest to me expected of me.
18. There is an expiry date on blaming your parents for steering you in the wrong direction.
19. I imagined being a famous writer would be like being Jane Austen, being able to sit at home in the parsonage and your books would be very famous.
20. Writing for me is a kind of compulsion, so I don’t think anyone could have made me do it, or prevented me from doing it.
Source: The Quotabl.es Blog 
Image: Digitopoly

amandaonwriting:

20 Quotes from J. K. Rowling

1. And so rock bottom became the solid foundation on which I rebuilt my life.

2. We do not need magic to change the world, we carry all the power we need inside ourselves already: we have the power to imagine better.

3. As is a tale, so is life, not how long it is, but how good it is, is what matters.

4. The wizards represent all that the true ‘muggle’ most fears: They are plainly outcasts and comfortable with being so. Nothing is more unnerving to the truly conventional than the unashamed misfit!

5. I bumped into a woman I hadn’t seen for nearly three years. The first thing she said to me? ’You’ve lost a lot of weight!’ ‘Well, the last time you saw me I’d just had a baby.’ What I felt like saying was, ’I’ve produced my third child and my sixth novel since I last saw you.’ But no — my waist looked smaller! Forget the kid and the book: finally, something to celebrate!

6. It is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all – in which case, you fail by default.

7. I’ve never set out to teach anyone anything. It’s been more of an expression of my views and feelings than sitting down and deciding ‘What is today’s message?’ And I do think that, although I never, again, sat down consciously and thought about this, I do think judging, even for my own daughter, that children respond to that than to ‘thought for the day.’

8. Part of what makes a language “alive” is its constant evolution. […] I love editing “Harry” with Arthur Levine, my American editor — the differences between “British English” (of which there must be at least 200 versions) and “American English” (ditto!) are a source of constant interest and amusement to me. 

9. I always advise children who ask me for tips on being a writer to read as much as they possibly can. Jane Austen gave a young friend the same advice, so I’m in good company there.

10. I’ve no idea where ideas come from and I hope I never find out, it would spoil the excitement for me if it turned out I just have a funny little wrinkle on the surface of my brain which makes me think about invisible train platforms.

11. Those who choose not to empathize enable real monsters, for without ever committing an act of outright evil ourselves we collude with it through our apathy.

12. [On Fame] One of my regrets would be that I will never again have the pleasure of sneaking into a cafe, any cafe I like, sitting down and diving into my world and no one knowing what I am doing and no one bothering about me and being totally anonymous, that was fantastic.

13. Probably the very best thing my earnings have given me is absense of worry. I have not forgotten what it feels like to worry whether you’ll have enough to pay the bills. Not to have to think about that any more is the biggest luxury in the world.

14. Bigotry is probably the thing I detest most. […] I really like to explore the idea that difference is equal and good. Oppressed groups are not, generally speaking, people who stand firmly together — no, sadly, they kind of subdivide among themselves and fight like hell. That’s human nature, so that’s what you see here. This world of wizards and witches, they’re already ostracized, and then within themselves, they’ve formed a loathsome pecking order.

15. I love freakish names and I have always been interested in folk lore and I think it was a logical thing for me to end up writing even though it came so suddenly.

16. As you stand on the threshold of what is sometimes called “real life”, I want to extoll the crucial importance of imagination.

17. Half my lifetime ago, I was striking an uneasy balance between the ambition I had for myself and what those closest to me expected of me.

18. There is an expiry date on blaming your parents for steering you in the wrong direction.

19. I imagined being a famous writer would be like being Jane Austen, being able to sit at home in the parsonage and your books would be very famous.

20. Writing for me is a kind of compulsion, so I don’t think anyone could have made me do it, or prevented me from doing it.

Source: The Quotabl.es Blog 

Image: Digitopoly

(via ms-fagerstrom)