Year 7 are now studying the novel 'Underground to Canada', written by Barbara Smucker.
Before diving straight into the novel the students have been utilising their research skills to gain a contextual understanding of the novel's setting and themes. In carefully constructed groups, the students were tasked with researching an example of modern day slavery and presenting their information to the rest of the class. They were encouraged to present in a unique and memorable manner, using video clips, music and role plays if needed.
For such a young group of students, I was blown away by the maturity of the students as the tackled quite sensitive issues. They learned that unfortunately, slavery still exists in various forms and affects people their age and younger. The research has given them a greater appreciation for the lives they live, the education they have access to and they are all very excited about the novel.
Year 8 have been developing a sense of empathy for the main character, Martin, in Zephaniah’s novel 'Face'. In class, we’ve been identifying key events and looking closely at the author’s careful use of italics to express internal dialogue and rhetorical questions as a means of gaining an insight into the thoughts and feelings of the protagonist. Students then turned their focus to their own writing task, putting themselves in Martin’s shoes and attempting to empathise with how he feels having woken up in a hospital bed and endured severe facial injuries.
Year 9 have been exploring the links between leadership and language in William Golding's 'Lord of the Flies'. We have been examining the way in which political figures around the world express their view points and present leadership qualities within their speeches. The students have thoroughly enjoyed using their knowledge and understanding of this text to create their own leadership platform adopting the role of an additional character on the island in order to convince the characters why they would be the best leader for the boys on the island. We are looking forward to listening and assessing everyone's speeches which will be held in the Globe.
Year 10 students are slowly becoming creative writing experts. They have been challenged with a number of creative writing tasks. For example, being given an image as a stimulus to create three paragraphs of engaging writing. Similarly, they were given only a title to create a well written piece under timed conditions. The advice remains the same: keep reading a variety of texts to enhance your vocabulary. The students that read regularly produce higher quality written work. The exercises have stretched them, and they are now ready to start drafting their Imaginative Writing coursework pieces.
Year 11 have shown great focus as they put the florishing touches on their coursework. With their mock examinations around the corner, they have been improving their study and revision skills. We wish them the best of luck, may their hard work pay off.
Year 12 have been working diligently on William Shakespeare's 'Othello' expanding their understanding on the text through extended critical readings. We have been using this as an opportunity to generate class discussion on identifying interesting comments from critics about the play. The students are learning to substantiate their interpretations of the text with perceptive and well-formed opinions. Additionally, we have been exploring a variety of theatrical productions of 'Othello' in order to enhance their appreciation of characterisation and the social, cultural, historical context which the students have enjoyed exploring.
Year 13 have been building on their knowledge of Shakespeare in their detailed study of 'King Lear'. They've had a lot to juggle, as they're also comparing 'Handmaid's Tale' with 'Never Let Me Go' and learning all about the Romantic poets and their work.