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Anxieties, worries, stressing, resources, ideas, lessons. Moments of upset and moments of learning brilliance.

Sunday, 6 October 2013

Correct the Celebrity Tweets.

After marking my Y7 books I was extremely shocked at their general lack of punctuation. I mean the whole lot: full stops, capital letters, apostrophes etc. Everything seemed to be lacking. So I put it to the lovely tweachers on Twitter for some good ideas and I had a perfect response from the lovely @Englishlulu here, suggesting using celebrity tweets and asking pupils to correct them (originating from this article) . 

I love this idea, and shamelessly went about stealing it and collecting celebrity tweets with a range of mistakes, from capital letters to the wrong there/their/they're. I see this is a long term need for many of my classes, and fun starter for some (depending on issues that arise when I mark!)

Here is the link to the first set of tweets (there are 30 tweets so far - I will update regularly as I start to run out...). The tweets range from members of One Direction to Alan Sugar to Wayne Rooney. Feel free to use, share and enjoy. I hope they are helpful. I have included some suggestions of ideas to apply the tweets below - these have popped into my head as I have been finding them. 

Correct the celebrity tweets!


  • Make it cross-curriculur: How about in maths correcting the tweets and then counting the characters to check if they still reach the limit? Or subjects comparing different celebrities relevant to their field (P.E could compare footballers and rugby players etc).
  • To make it even harder, include tweets that are actually correct but pupils normally add wrong punctuation in (its as a possessive etc) then try and spot the odd one out - which is right?
  • Create responses to the tweets explaining the correction - don't just correct them!
  • Give each table/pair/group a celebrity, once a week give them their twitter feed. Least amount of mistakes wins?
  • I'm thinking of using them as a starter and having green, amber and red. Once green is complete, move on to amber etc. Red will be a STOP and think - harder/multiple mistakes. 
  • An excellent tutor time resource...
  • Homework to find three more tweets and correct them? Harder to find mistakes and means you have more to share with other classes (as suggested by @agwilliams)

Saturday, 5 October 2013

AQA Relationships Poetry : A Playlist

So I have been playing with the idea of writing a playlist for the Relationships poetry section of the AQA anthology, and today I had fun asking my family "What is a song about two women having feelings for the same guy - and being sisters?". With my sister and husband looking at me rather confused they still dutifully shouted out a range of songs for me to think about. I have put them here and included lyrics that I think fit well (and also as some people won't know all of the songs!) ... Enjoy. 

The Manhunt (Simon Armitage) - Fix You (Coldplay)"And the tears come streaming down your faceWhen you lose something you can't replaceWhen you love someone but it goes to wasteCould it be worse?Lights will guide you homeAnd ignite your bonesAnd I will try to fix you."I like the idea of linking the sentence "When you lose something you can't replace" to the question of what the soldier may have lost - confidence? Pride?  

Hour (Carol Ann Duffy) - Little Wonders (Rob Thomas)"Our lives are made In these small hours These little wonders,These twists & turns of fateTime falls away,But these small hours,These small hours still remain"Personally, I would link the language (the repetition of the word hours) and the general idea of the importance of time, even if it is only a small amount of time.

Quickdraw (Carol Ann Duffy) - Hangin' on the telephone (Blondie) (Suggested on Twitter)"It's good to hear your voice, you know it's been so longIf I don't get your call then everything goes wrongI want to tell you something you've known all alongDon't leave me hanging on the telephone"The whole song places emphasis on the power of speaking to someone on the telephone, but is perhaps more positive than the ideas in the poem - I would ask students how the Western language changes the poem from the more positive lyrics in the song.

Praise Song for My Mother (Grace Nichols) - Because You Loved Me (Celine Dion)"You gave me wings and made me flyYou touched my hand I could touch the skyI lost my faith, you gave it back to meYou said no star was out of reachYou stood by me and I stood tallI had your love I had it all"This verse mirrors the natural imagery in the poem, but also links to the final line of going to wide futures, and the mother's support of the child and whatever future they might choose. 

Harmonium (Simon Armitage) - Father and Son (Cat Stevens)

"How can I try to explain, when I do he turns away again.It's always been the same, same old story.From the moment I could talk I was ordered to listen. [...]All the times that I cried, keeping all the things I knew inside,It's hard, but it's harder to ignore it."This song is about a different kind of relationship, but both the poem and the song explore what can't be said - the idea of death, and the difficulty of being honest to someone you love and respect. 

To His Coy Mistress (Andrew Marvell) - Let's Get It On (Marvin Gaye) 
"I've been really tryin, babyTryin to hold back these feelings for so longAnd if you feel, like I feel babyCome on, oh come on,Let's get it on"Perhaps a discussion over why Marvell is slightly less obvious with his intentions than Gaye? 

Sister Maude (Christina Georgina Rossetti) - That Boy is Mine (Brandy and Monica)"You see, I know that you may beJust a bit jealous of meBut you're blind if you can't seeThat his love is all in me"Of course we could discuss the reliability of the narrator - do we know for sure the speaker's love wasn't interested in Sister Maude? Is she justifiably damned?

Nettles (Vernon Scannell) - Just the two of us (Will Smith) "From the first time the doctor placed you in my arms/ I knew I'd meet death before I'd let you meet harm [...]Throughout life people will make you mad /Disrespect you and treat you bad /Let God deal with the things they do (things they do)/Cause hate in your heart will consume you too" In the song the father is aware that outside influences will affect his son so warns him against them - in the poem, what does the father do? Does he realise he has no control over these outside influences (the nettles)? 

Sonnet 43 (Elizabeth Barrett Browning) - How Deep is Your Love? (The BeeGees) "And it's me you need to show/ How deep is your love? I really need to learn [...] You're the light to my deepest darkest hour / You're my saviour when I fallThe song questions a lover to the validity and strength of their affection - the poem answers a similar question and defines the speaker's feelings towards the  lover who has asked the question. How does the poem work as a response to the song? What imagery of love in the song (light etc) is mirrored in the poem? 

Any suggestions for the final poems welcome!

The Farmer's Bride (Charlotte Mew) - 

Sonnet 116 (William Shakespeare) - In Paris With You (James Fenton) - Ghazal (Mimi Khalvati) - Brothers (Andrew Forster) -
Born Yesterday (Philip Larkin) -