Week 23 – No Procrastinating

Well done for getting through the double Critical Essay last week. From what I’ve seen so far, there is real progress in the class and your understanding of more challenging literature is impressive.  However, after a month of newspaper work, do you really understand Sentence Structure? Many of you seem to be a wee bit unsure of how to analyse or, to be honest, are not giving that enough thought.

 Monday 30th

With Wednesday’s full Close Reading practice in mind, we will look at an article from Sunday’s paper and try to make our study of language a bit more real world. Why doe we study English; why do we study the language; how does it relate to everyday life? Let’s look at how the techniques we are learning can be applied.

Don’t expect the Tories to regret this bloody battle over benefits

Tuesday 31st

Hamlet essay. The first of two periods when I’ll allow you to work on this. However I want you to keep the grade related criteria (marking scheme) in front of you as you do so. It will allow you to focus on the correct areas.

Wednesday 1st

Full Close Reading practice. One hour forty five minutes. This may take five minutes of your break but, believe me, it’ll be worth it.

 Thursday 2nd

Hamlet. See Tuesday.

Friday 3rd

We are about a fortnight away from the Prelim and making good progress. Language skills will be the priority so we I’ll introduce the next ‘Newspaper’ theme for February. Word choice and connotation.


Monday February 6th Hamlet Critical Essay

Friday February 10th Newspaper Work

By Prelim leave – Discursive next draft


Week 21 – Critical Essay Week

As I said last week, one of the hardest things about writing two Critical Essays this week is the physically draining writing, non-stop for 90 minutes you will have to do. I’ve never known anyone to write for less than that and get a good mark. Keep that in mind. This will be a big test for you but you are more than capable.


Monday 23rd

A last wee chat about Wednesday I think but today we’ll draw together our final thoughts on Revenge in Hamlet. How does Hamlet’s procrastination affect the lives of others? How do we then assess Hamlet’s guilt? Could deaths have been avoided? Which sacrifices might he have had to make?


Tuesday 24th

This month we will be focusing on Sentence Structure and punctuation. Newspaper work will deal with this but today we’ll look at a more detailed example together. At supported study last week we talked about how good writers naturally know how to punctuate through speech as much as anything. They think about pauses and breaths.

Wednesday 25th

Double Critical Essay. No getting round that. Big day so no after school class this week. You will be exhausted.

 Thursday 26th

Returning Discursive essays. Next steps.

Friday 27th

I’ll give this period over to you to begin to write the Hamlet essay. We have been through everything you’ll need so a chat about the success criteria and you’ll be fine. Remember that writing about Revenge is not as easy as it sounds. You must not drift into a character study of Hamlet but reflect the theme and how he reacts to it.

A week to do it.


Full Close Reading practice Wednesday February 1st

Friday February 3rd Hamlet Critical Essay

Friday February 3rd Newspaper Work

Zero Hour Approaches…

Just over three weeks until Prelim time. Working hard is not an option if you want to pass Higher English. That means, if you haven’t started working yet you are already falling behind. Make this week the big one.


Monday 16th

I’m sure you have a good grasp of Revenge in Hamlet now. Last week was, more or less, about providing you with the information. I gave you a few very good handouts and asked you to try and bring some ideas together, especially on the ‘oh what rogue and peasant slave am I’ soliloquy. This week we’ll try and bring everything together. Today’s question. How is the theme of revenge first introduced to us?

Tuesday 17th

Even though Hamlet knows who murdered his father, he procrastinates and fails to take his chances. Why does he do so? What evidence do you have to say that? Oh, we’ll also be visiting the library today so make sure you bring books etc.

Wednesday 18th



Square Pegs in round holes? Slightly more interesting after the Independence row this week. Does that definition apply to Scotland? Today will be all about blogging your thoughts and your writing. I’d like you to engage with your Glow Blogs more from home this term. Blogging is a great way to practice writing and work on errors without any pressure. Try it. It is the future.


Thursday 19th 

Next Wednesday you’ll be attempting your first double critical essay assessment. I don’t think you are ready for Hamlet yet so the other two will suffice. Some revision then. Bit of mindmapping? Let’s get out of our seats today.

Friday 20th

What effect does Hamlet’s procrastination have on other characters? Think about how revenge affects the actions of Laertes, especially. How is he used to place a mirror up to Hamlet? Does it work?


Double Critical Essay next Wednesday

Newspaper Work next Friday

Hamlet essay due 30th January

Happy New Year

Happy New Year everyone. Hope you had a relaxing break and are ready to get up and work again. I don’t need to remind you that the Prelim is only about five weeks away so we need to hit the ground running this week. Hopefully the more conscientious of you will have been reading over the holidays. If not, you really should be thinking about it. Reading is the one thing guaranteed to make you a better reader. Think about that…

Monday 9th

First day back and we’re heading straight for Hamlet. A complex character, wouldn’t you say? We spoke about his contradictions before the holiday – reread notes – and one of the first things we’ll talk about is his inability to make decisions, or his procrastination. Is that a particularly human flaw; is it one that we all have at times? We’ll spend time looking at his first soliloquy in Act One Scene Two –‘O That this too solid flesh would melt…’ Read over it before hand to give yourself a bit of an advantage. How effective might his be as an introduction to Hamlet and his problems?

Tuesday 10th

While we have focused on the character of Hamlet so far, it would be hard to argue against the fact that this play is about Revenge. In what ways could that be? Hamlet clearly wants revenge but find it difficult to act on that impulse. But are ther any other characters to whom this might apply. think about Revenge for today’s lesson.

Wednesday 11th

I have been impressed by some of the writing you lot have been doing for the Folio but I’m still looking for more. Today we’re going to talk about square pegs in round holes. This could apply to Hamlet and Holden Caulfield. The expression really refers to someone or some thing which does not quite fit in. Has that ever happened to you? Do you ever feel like an outsider? Next writing challenge.

Thursday 12th

I will be issuing a critical essay topic for Hamlet today even though I don’t expect the completed paper for a couple of weeks. It will focus on the theme of revenge but I want you to consider how having a topic in mind will help you to focus on the understanding of that theme and how it helps you to understand the rest of the play.

Friday 13th

On the first Friday of the new year we will be returning to the Newspaper work we left in December. I would hope that reading quality Newspapers would be part of your regular day; at least part of your regular revision. It gives you a greater understanding of the world – crucial for all subjects – and helps you to improve vocabulary and an understanding of how language works.

Anytime left could be used to catch up on the week’s work.


Double Critical Essay assessment  Wednesday 25th January

Close Reading timed assessment  Wednesday  1st February

Creative Writing Friday 27th January