Essay topic brainstorming strategies

1. Teach students to recognise a main idea and a discussion point in a topic Generally, essay topics contain a main idea – a focal point of examples which have to be discussed – and a discussion point – a part of the essay topic which invites interpretation or qualification. It’s important for students to…

Something a little bit fun

Safety signs and warnings are important. After all, we want people to be aware of dangers and risks they wouldn’t otherwise know. But sometimes the warnings on safety signs are symptons of an over protective society: Yes, apparently people do die from doing this to vending machines, so perhaps it’s not such a silly warning.…

Uplifting Texts

Choosing new texts to teach in the English classroom is always difficult. There are any number of “worthy” or “worthwhile” texts to teach and we often choose texts about difficult subjects, like racism, refugees, or the holocaust. While these sorts of narratives play a valuable role they are often far removed from many students’ experiences…

Daily 5 Revision For Exam Success

A little bit of practice goes a long way – a message we’ll be reinforcing next week at our workshops on how to prepare students for their Literature, English and EAL exams.  We’ll be sharing basic strategies such as this one: Organising information for retrieval: In order to effectively retrieve examples when they need it…

Three reasons to teach poetry

At about this time, English teachers are usually looking ahead to text selection for the next year. To help teachers of VCE in Victoria with this process, we’ll be running our annual Choosing The Best VCE Texts workshop next week. One of the text types we’ll be strongly recommending to teachers is poetry for these…

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…

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…