Week 11 – We’re back!

We’ve made great progress this year already and I’m delighted with the turn out at Supported Study last week. I expect to see more of you on Wednesday.


Monday 31st

While it is clear that ‘November’ by Simon Armitage is not the cheeriest of poems, we have to investigate the real meaning. All poems are, I think, influenced by personal experience so we have to analyse the poet’s true meaning. After discussing the ‘Understanding’ part of the task last week, we’ll look closer at the analysis today. How does the poet use effective language techniques to allow us to understand the true meaning of the poem? Look at this document:


Textual Analysis November

We’ll also have a wee chat tomorrow…Critical Essay assessment. Perhaps a Glow Chatroom?

Tuesday 1st

The first Critical Essay timed assessment of the year. The Catcher in the Rye. Go for it. Don’t do what Holden did in his History exam. No wee notes at the end..



Wednesday 2nd

I hope that you are beginning to see the links between Understanding, Analysis and Evaluation. If you can get these then everything will begin to fall into place. Analysis is all about recognising the effect of techniques and how they help the writer to make his or her point. Today we’ll look at how evaluation recognises the effectiveness of that language. How successful was Simon Armitage in using language to get his point across?

Thursday 3rd

The imagery question. As this is the focus of the newspaper work this month, I’ll be expecting you to be able to do this with your eyes closed – though not literally. Remember: quote, literal meaning, figurative meaning. Can’t go wrong. Lots of practice today.

Friday 4th

As always, a wee catch-up day on a Friday. Saying that we are facing a big load of writing coming up so I want to draw some ideas together on November to see what we need for a Critical Essay.



Newspaper Friday 11th

November Critical Essay Monday 14th


Week 9 – We Made It!

Don’t make the mistake of switching off in the last week before October holiday. The NAB is very important and the work we do on the poem will be vital if you are to hit the ground running after the holiday. So, let’s get the first NAB out of the way, dust ourselves off and pat ourselves on the back on Friday.


Some language work today, as we prepare for the first NAB. I want to look at an article from The Guardian by the great Douglas Copland –  you MUST read some of his books – about a guy called Marshall McLuhan. He talked a lot about the media way before anyone else. You should check him out too. Anyway, here’s the link to the article.

Why McLuhan’s chilling vision still matters today


‘November’ by Simon Armitage. As a wee introduction to the poetry element to the course, I’ll issue and read a copy of the poem. It is one we read in June, but let’s have a wee moment of contemplation. It deals with many issues, not merely ageing and the inevitability of death – cheery stuff, eh? – so let’s try to get our heads around it.


Close Reading Assessment. No problems. Don’t panic


I’m not lying to you so I wouldn’t say that NABs or The Catcher in the Rye Critical Essays will be marked before you break up for the holiday. I’ll do my best though. What I will say is that today we’ll start to get a bit deeper into the Armitage poem. Might look at some of the language, discuss some of the issues.


Last day before the holidays. Well done, you’ve earned. Let’s go over a lot of the things we’ve done this term,. Cleaning out the debris. Ready for a big term up until Christmas.



Week 8 – October? October? You’re Kiddin’

Two weeks today you’ll be on holiday. On holiday. Think about it. No school. No Pieper rabbiting on about hats and ducks and kit kats. Bliss! But let’s earn it, okay. Big couple of weeks of assessment coming up so Focus, Focus, Focus. Five words to sum up this week? Criticism, Help, Parenthesis, Ouch and Filling. Yes, of course I just make this stuff up.

Monday 3rd

So what do you need to do to do well at Critical Essay? I’ve held back from this task as I wanted you to get a good feel for ‘The Catcher in the Rye’. It is, in many ways, a simple tale which takes place over the course of about three days. However, I think it is far more complex than that. Our task will be to analyse the writer’s use of symbolism and how it allows us to understand the nature of Holden’s problem. Today we are turning to the marking scheme for Critical Essay and you will be assessing two past essays from students of mine. Give them a grade. What did they do well? What did they do wrong?

Tuesday 4th

You have more than enough information to get on with writing. Three periods to work on Critical Essay quietly with me in attendance, helping out where required. After that – Homework! No discussion today. Get on with it! Remember that in the exam there’ll be no books or notes but for the first one it is essential you have a plan. I promise that while you write I will not talk too much about anything really. Permission to tell me to shut up.

Wednesday 5th

Second period of writing the essay.

In the Period Four we’ll be discussing specific aspects of punctuation and its purpose. In particular, colon, semi-colon and dashes. This all goes under the heading of Sentence Structure but we’ll be looking at various examples.

Thursday 6th

Third and final period of essay writing. Now you’re on your own. I’ll be looking over your shoulder and pointing you in the right direction but I’d expect you to be finished today.

Friday 7th

The usual Friday catch up day. I want to spend a bit of time going over newspaper work as it needs to become a more regular part of your daily studies. We’ll also be revising the link question and looking closely at imagery. With all the usual add ins.


Close Reading Assessment on Wednesday 12th so get working on Language – Sentence Structure, Link, Imagery etc.