Close Reading of Shakespeare

Next week we’ll be running our free workshops (at Northcote and Ringwood) launching our new version of Macbeth and sharing some great strategies about how to teach the text (whether you buy our book or not). One of the things we’ll be emphasising is that if you’re doing Shakespeare you need to saddle up to…

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Macbeth is coming

In two weeks, we’ll be launching our new edition of Macbeth – Shakespeare’s Tragedy Macbeth and How To Write A Truly Impressive Essay On It. Like our previous version of Romeo and Juliet, this edition of Macbeth will scaffold students to think about the play at a language level, not just a plot level. It’s…

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The gradual reduction of scaffolding

The best scaffolding procedures are implemented with the intent that eventually students will be able to do something on their own. In other words, there needs to be a plan as to how, over time, we’ll remove pieces of scaffolding to allow students to practice tasks with increasing independence. Here’s a very simple example that…

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Using Prepositions to add extra detail

Often in class, we give students vocabulary lists with nouns or adjectives to help them develop the detail in their writing. However, one of the easiest ways for students to add detail to their writing is to use prepositions instead. This activity helps students practise using prepositions to create more interesting sentences. How to use…

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Reading Comprehension: Learning Tasks vs. Assessment Tasks

If we give students a a reading piece and ask them to answer five comprehension questions about it, then we’re essentially assessing their reading skills. Yes, it’s a practice task in that they’re practising comprehension skills, but it’s not an effective learning task because we’re not teaching them to use or be mindful of inference…

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Rewritten Example To Scaffold Reading Analysis

If you’ve never heard of Doug Lemov or his impressive Teach Like A Champion book then it’s well worth checking out. Lemov codifies and explains a series of no frills teaching procedures and practices that we can use in every classroom to improve our practice. He’s one of the influences for the current craze about…

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Creative Paragraphs

We can spend a lot of time when we teach analytic and persuasive writing in teaching paragraph structure. You’ve all heard of one of these and will probably have your own variations: TEE – topic sentence, evidence, explanation TEEL – topic sentence,evidence, explanation, link PEE – point, evidence, explanation But how do we approach teaching…

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Creative story openers

Yep, soon it’ll be NAPLAN again and your students may have to write a creative piece. Routine writing practice has enormous benefits in the English classroom and one of the things you can do in the lead up to NAPLAN is to get your students to crank out a story a week. Each time they…

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Differentiated writing tasks

If practice is the key to improving literacy skills, English teaching is often an excercise in finding different ways to do the same thing: practising reading, writing and speaking. Certainly at Ticking Mind we think of our mission as one of giving teachers a range of strategies to implement explicit writing instruction and practice. Here’s…

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