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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Possible Creative Task: Write a narrative piece which ends with this dialogue.


Possible Creative Task: Write a narrative piece which ends with this dialogue.

(via classroomchaos)



I really like this lesson idea, shared by Joselyn Anglin, in which students look beyond classroom walls to find inspiration. Check it out:


Students would be invited to study outside and interact with a student/class in another geographic locale: 1st-Observing their…


Where is this car off to in such a hurry? Great story prompt


Where is this car off to in such a hurry? Great story prompt


Pixar’s Storytelling Rules 

Pixar story artist Emma Coats tweeted a series of “story basics” — guidelines that she learned from her more senior colleagues on how to create appealing stories.

Alex Eylar, aka ICanLegoThat, took 12 of those rules and illustrated them using Lego pieces. 

#1: You admire a character for trying more than for their successes.

#2: You gotta keep in mind what’s interesting to you as an audience, not what’s fun to do as a writer. They can be v. different.

#3: Trying for theme is important, but you won’t see what the story is actually about til you’re at the end of it. Now rewrite.

#4: Once upon a time there was ___. Every day, ___. One day ___. Because of that, ___. Because of that, ___. Until finally ___.

#5: Simplify. Focus. Combine characters. Hop over detours. You’ll feel like you’re losing valuable stuff but it sets you free.

#6: What is your character good at, comfortable with? Throw the polar opposite at them. Challenge them. How do they deal?

#7: Come up with your ending before you figure out your middle. Seriously. Endings are hard, get yours working up front.

#8: Finish your story, let go even if it’s not perfect. In an ideal world you have both, but move on. Do better next time.

#9: When you’re stuck, make a list of what WOULDN’T happen next. Lots of times the material to get you unstuck will show up.

#10: Pull apart the stories you like. What you like in them is a part of you; you’ve got to recognize it before you can use it.

#11: Putting it on paper lets you start fixing it. If it stays in your head, a perfect idea, you’ll never share it with anyone.

#12: Discount the 1st thing that comes to mind. And the 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th – get the obvious out of the way. Surprise yourself.

#13: Give your characters opinions. Passive/malleable might seem likable to you as you write, but it’s poison to the audience.

#14: Why must you tell THIS story? What’s the belief burning within you that your story feeds off of? That’s the heart of it.

#15: If you were your character, in this situation, how would you feel? Honesty lends credibility to unbelievable situations.

#16: What are the stakes? Give us reason to root for the character. What happens if they don’t succeed? Stack the odds against.

#17: No work is ever wasted. If it’s not working, let go and move on - it’ll come back around to be useful later.

#18: You have to know yourself: the difference between doing your best & fussing. Story is testing, not refining.

#19: Coincidences to get characters into trouble are great; coincidences to get them out of it are cheating.

#20: Exercise: take the building blocks of a movie you dislike. How d’you rearrange them into what you DO like?

#21: You gotta identify with your situation/characters, can’t just write ‘cool’. What would make YOU act that way?

#22: What’s the essence of your story? Most economical telling of it? If you know that, you can build out from there.

Source: Pixar Rules

Source: Illustrated in Legos

Creative writing prompt: Set your story in this world, where daily life is lived under water.

Creative writing prompt: Set your story in this world, where daily life is lived under water.

(via my-s1n-my-s0ul)


The A to Z of Alice in Wonderland

illustration by Claudia Varosio :: via

(via teachingtomastery)

Here you will find everything you need for delivering exciting, engaging and informative English lessons for all ages. Our resources include exclusive Guardian content, written by expert teachers, materials created and uploaded by teachers worldwide and Guardian articles on key topics. Browse and use the resources, add your favourites to your personal lesson planner, and download individual components for use in your own lessons.

Book Description…

Every day, Mr Grinling the lighthouse keeper cleans and polishes his light to make sure it shines brightly at night. At lunchtime he tucks into a delicious and well-deserved lunch, prepared by his wife. But Mr Grinling isn’t the only one who enjoys the tasty food. Will Mrs Grinling think of a way to stop the greedy seagulls from stealing the lighthouse keeper’s lunch?

Teaching Ideas…

Book Description…

Matt Collins is eleven and lives with his mother at number 27, Calmore Road, Chesterfield. One morning, towards the end of the summer holidays, a letter arrives from a firm of solicitors, with a cheque made payable to him for over £1 million – so that he can buy anything he wants!

Teaching Ideas…