Hints and tips - 6 minute read
Isobel Woodger, OCR English Subject Advisor
In this blog, we’re expanding on our Twitter list of resources for distance learning, to share what’s out there for you and your students.
We’ve been working hard to put together some introductions for your students about using our teaching and learning resources, as well as ways to use past exam material. Both articles provide lots of ideas for how students could use the content we’ve got available, in order to build their own confidence in using resources without teacher direction.
Teaching and learning resources
If you’ve not looked at the teaching and learning page on your qualification web page in a while, it’s worth a visit. The most useful sections are below.
Delivery guides are fully resourced webpages (and often PDF documents too) covering key topics. These pages have subject content, conceptual and contextual ideas about the topic within the qualification. Lots of activities and information summaries available.
Teaching activities are straightforward activities for use in the classroom that could be adapted for distance learning methods.
Teacher guides is an area for guides to teaching particular skills as well as additional resource booklets.
We’re also in the process of making our CPD materials from courses that ran this academic year available to you online. These include the presentation materials and any additional exemplars or activities provided in the session. These can be found on our professional development page, under ‘Past courses’.
KS3: This is an ideal opportunity to explore some wider reading beyond class readers. Book reports are a first port of call, but it’s worth thinking about moving this beyond a summary and a review. Nothing’s to stop them picking an audiobook, like the ones Audible has made available for free, but student choice is key. Students could select five tasks from a range, such as:
Another project that could be made as individual or collaborative as you’d like is setting up a class newspaper.
KS4: Of course students are able to use past exam materials but, there’s lots of other things to do.
The RSC’s new streaming collection is great for consolidating understanding of Shakespeare (see the information about this below.)
Students could also have a listen to some short pre-1900 fiction via Audible, I’d suggest Four Classic Ghost Stories, featuring Poe, Wharton and Stevenson.
Moving beyond reading to writing, Irish Children’s Laureate Sarah Crossan is running a daily poetry challenge. Using short stories as style guides for students to emulate can be really generative (as per our blog on creative writing). Please get in touch with us over Twitter @OCR_English if you want some short story recommendations!
KS5: Podcasts and article summaries can be valuable ways to develop contextual awareness at A Level, but I wanted to focus on some activities that can be done with and without internet access.
Subject associations and charities
English and Media Centre have created some free work-packs for KS3 and KS4 students from their fabulous resources. They’re made Barbara Bleiman’s speech about What Matters in English available, as well as running an excellent blog series on learning from home, starting here.
The National Association for Teaching English has also made some of their resources freely available during this time, for example, their spring issue of their magazine Teaching English.
The Chartered College of Teaching has made available some resources for home-learning in the wake of the coronavirus lockdown that, while not subject-specific, might prove valuable.
The RSC will be broadcasting six of their productions via the BBC in coming weeks: Macbeth (2018), Hamlet (2016), Romeo and Juliet (2018), Much Ado About Nothing (2014), Othello (2015), The Merchant of Venice (2015). They’ve also expanded their learning zone and made productions freely available as well through Marquee TV.
The National Theatre’s approach is an NT live broadcast every Thursday, starting on 2nd April with One Man, Two Guv’nors on their YouTube channel.
G-Suite for Education and Google Classrooms: This is Google’s suite of tools that enables using its programs like Google Docs and Slides in an educational setting, creating an platform for online learning. The suite also includes Jamboard, which is an online canvas tool for sharing ideas as a group, and Forms, which enables you to run quizzes.
Microsoft 365: If your school uses Microsoft 365, you will have access to OneDrive, where you can share files easily with other staff or students; as well as online Office programmes like Word, PowerPoint and Excel. Particularly useful for teachers are OneNote, which can be used to set up Class Notebooks (a guide) and Forms which can be used for quizzes.
Kialo: This online platform is built for discussion and debate. It enables students to respond to discussion topics set by you, with a commenting feature so you can offer feedback. This is a way to make exploratory talk virtual.
Two other quizzing platforms with lots of pre-created sets of questions are: Quizlet and Kahoot!
If you have any other resources you’d like to share, tell us about your suggestions in the comments below, or over email English@ocr.org.uk or @OCR_English on Twitter. Do sign up to our subject updates and receive information about resources and support.
Isobel joined OCR as a member of the English subject team, with particular responsibility for A and AS Level English Literature and A and AS Level English Language and Literature (EMC).
She previously worked as a classroom teacher in a co-educational state secondary school, with three years as second-in-charge in English with responsibility for Key Stage 5. In addition to teaching all age groups from Key Stage 3 to 5, Isobel worked with the University of Cambridge’s Faculty of Education as a mentor to PGCE trainees. Prior to this, she studied for an MA in film, television and screen media with Birkbeck College, University of London while working as a learning support assistant at a large state comprehensive school.