Week 13 – Lucky, lucky you

While this is a short week – for you anyway – don’t be mistaken for thinking that you can take your foot off the gas. November is notoriously a difficult month in terms of NABs and Critical Essay in particular so keep on top of things. It’s about to get tough! Keep in mind, what you should be working on.

100 words on The Catcher in the Rye

‘November’ Critical Essay for Wednesday

Tuesday 15th

I’m returning Discursive essays today. While it has been a while since you’ve seen them, I’m hoping that you’ll be able to put into practice all of the things we’ve been working on in terms of sentences structure, tone etc. Remember that language is not learned in isolation. It affects everything we do. I’m reasonably happy with the topics you’ve chosen but it will take a more concerted effort as it is a Folio piece remember.

Wednesday 16th

In the double period today we’ll be doing quite a bit of writing. I want to return to the Class page on Glow and show you how the Class Blog works. This is where I want you to post your final discursive pieces but you will also be helping and commenting on each others’ work: which is how a blog should work. Don’t be afraid of this: last year the class loved it after initially being nervous and it really helped. Writing should be for a real audience, not just for me.

We’ll also be looking closely at the ‘November’ essays. I want you to, again, read each others’ essays before you hand them in. I expect a high standard this time as we’ve already completed one Critical Essay but let’s go back to the Marking Criteria and see where we’re at.

Thursday 17th

Textual Analysis is a really difficult assessment to pass and the ‘Great Expectations’ passage was a tough one. It would be unfair if I didn’t go through this one in great detail- at least so you had the structure of the answers required. So, that’s what we’ll we do. This is more about skills than marks so I’ll be asking you to think about lay out as much as anything.

Friday 18th

Wee bit of a change of direction today. Group exercises allow you to share your confusions as well as help each other find answers and I think that is really important. We are starting a mini project which will take about five or so periods. It will require a lot of focus and team work. Music an biscuits may well ease the pain.


Newspaper Work due on Friday 25th

Discursive essay on Class Blog for Wednesday 30th


Week 7 – And the leaves are falling…

Hope you had a great weekend and are refreshed and ready to go. I’m looking forward to lots of writing this week; both your creative drafts and discursive work. You’ll be surprised at how quickly October week comes around so let’s get moving. Five words for this week?  Gold, ring, anonymity, help and penguin. Oh, the suspense, the suspense!


Tuesday 27th

So we got there eventually. Holden’s story comes to an end and we start to question just what it was all about. What answers does he find? How does he get there? What questions are we left with? And how do the symbolic references come together? Be prepared to talk today as I’m stepping up the interaction thing this week.

Wednesday 28th

I’d like to take a close look at the ending today. What references are there to Holden’s ‘so-called’ realisation that he has to grow up. Are there any? And what is the significance of ending up at a carrousel?

In the second period we’re going to be looking at two passages on the same subject. Have a look tonight if you get the chance.

Should internet commentators use their real names?

This is a real issue in the age of online interaction and mobile communication. It also allows us to compare two styles and discuss how different wri
ters present their case. Should be a good one.

Thursday 29th

As it’s a short week, I’d like to finish off discussing Holden Caulfield by investigating his inability to stay on his feet throughout the novel. He falls a lot and is afraid of disappearing. What is the significance? Why should we care? This will form the basis for our first Critical Essay.

Friday 30th

As it’s Friday we’ll have a bit of a catch up today but I’m aware we lost a couple of periods earlier on. I want to have a wee bit of a chat on what’s coming up before October break. Critical essay has been put off for long enough so be prepared. Music and biscuits may well be on the cards…if I remember. Although I’m sure you lot will remind me.


Language Revision – Close Reading NAB on its way.

Symbolism plan for Wednesday

Week 6 – Almost first holiday…

After last week’s shouting  it seems that this will be a wee short week in school; that doesn’t mean we cut down on the work load however. After September weekend we will be starting our first Critical Essay on ‘The Catcher in the Rye’ and there is loads to be getting on with. It is amazing how quickly September weekend has come around. Time is flying. Five words to describe this week? Broken, record, links, shouty and lie- in.

Monday 19th

In this week’s section we read about Holden’s eventual return home. What changes do we see in him as he gets there? At which times does he appear happiest? There is a real feeling of him descending into depression until he gets home. We’ll discuss his persistent attempts to connect with what he thinks is the adult world. And Little Shirley Beans? Surely symbolic. No, honestly.

Tuesday 20th

It might be just a hat but it’s my hat and I love it. Holden’s connection to the red hunting hat is clear. Some sort of comfort blanket? The symbolic references become clear but let’s spend today pulling those ideas together.

Wednesday 21st

So how does it all link together. I’d hate to think that Holden’s hat and his concern for the ducks were not linked; clearly we will need to investigate that. We’ll finish reading the book next week and forming a stronger understanding of what this book is really about.

In the second period, which is becoming a regular language period, we’ll be looking at the Link question. Link? See the link? Not a sausage in sight, however. The link question is easy but needs to be done.

Thursday 22nd

Today is the day to get started on our Discursive/ Persuasive writing. Plans in hand, a whole period to get started and a week to finish. Remember that passion and anger you felt when screaming yourselves silly last Thursday. Good luck.

Friday 23rd

Have a lie-in. You deserve it.


Finish novel for Tuesday

Draft of Discursive /Persuasive for Thursday

Newspaper work for Friday

Week 5 – Yes. It is Only Week 5

Okay, troops. I trust you’ve all had a good weekend. I’ve been busily reading your Creative Writing; more of which later. Five words to describe this next week?  Loneliness, Ducks, Figurative, Passion and Biscuits. Sounds like a very bad seventies Rock band. Or the five Teletubbies who failed the interview. Anyhoo, let us proceed.

Monday 12th

The next section of Holden’s journey sees him venture further into, what he sees, as the adult world. How does this experience confirm or contradict his view of adulthood. I think there are some very funny scenes in this section but also some heart-breakingly sad parts too. Is his real problem becoming clearer? Today we’ll talk about this section in detail.

Tuesday 13th

What’s with Holden’s curiosity with the ducks in Central Park? Symbolically, we’ll see that the Ducks hold a very special place in our study of symbolism in the novel as well as in Holden’s childhood. Where do they go? Isn’t it obvious? Even the cab driver could see it..well…if he cared…

Wednesday 14th

Creative Writing returns. I’m giving you quite detailed comments but you’ll notice that your writing will not be corrected. Specifically against SQA rules I’m afraid. In the first period today, I’m giving you time to read, ask, and begin to work on your writing, which is very impressive, I might add. Really enjoyed reading those.

Candidate Guide to the Higher English Writing Folio

In the second period we’ll be taking what we learned about the Ducks yesterday, in terms of symbolism, and seeing how that knowledge relates to language in general. How does imagery work? We may look at a couple of exam questions but, hopefully, you’ll be able to do this very easily.

Thursday 15th

After last week’s intiial discussion on Discursive writing, I’m hoping you’ll have something on your mind today. Don’t worry if you haven’t thought it through fully, but have some things spinning around in your head. Today we’ll discuss how to develop our ideas and take them forward.

Friday 16th

I’m really enjoying the way we end the week. It’s good to summarise the week and round off any little bits we’ve missed or go over certain problem areas. Usually with a foot-tapping, head-nodding soundtrack. Will try and avoid Michael Jackson as certain members of the class get a wee bit over excited….

Newspaper homework again, though. Don’t forget.


Read to page 150 of ‘The Catcher in the Rye’ for next Monday

Creative Writing for Wednesday

Clear outline/ plan for Discurise Writing for Wednesday

Newspaper work for Thursday

Week 4 – The Plan

Last week was a good one and I hope you liked the opening to ‘The Catcher in the Rye’. Remember that I love it so much that you are entitled to tell me to shut up if I get too carried away! Now we’re getting into the course a bit more, this week I want to pick up the pace a little. A little bit of everything, I think.

Monday 5th

I asked you to read up to page 52 (end of chapter 8 ) of the novel for today. I’d like to spend some time picking out key points and, perhaps, begin to shape a few of the early symbolic references. I think you will pick up on his references to ‘depression’ and ‘crazy’ but what did you make of the hunting hat? Holden’s fear of falling and disappearing? I think it is essential that we take time to look at his departure from Pencey Prep – the beginning of his journey.

Tuesday 6th

Today, we’ll be working on symbolism in the opening chapter of ‘The Catcher in the Rye’. Remember that we are introduced to Holden standing on top of Thomsen Hill looking down on everyone else. Metaphorically very interesting.

Wednesday 7th

Blogging today and we’ll return to Glow. I want you to get into a regular habit of Blogging as I think it will help you improve your confidence in Writing for an audience. Look at the following examples of why Blogging works.

Could Blogging Be the Key to Raising a Generation of Great Writers

You should also read the following article. I think you may find it interesting.

5 Reasons Our Students Are Writing Blogs and Creating E-Portfolios

In the second period, we will be looking at sentence structure questions, in particular, at those in the 2007 Close Reading you completed last week. Remember that Close Reading is not about how to pass the exam but how we increase our understanding of how language works.

BBC Bitesize Sentence Structure Revision

Thursday 8th

As you’ve, hopefully, handed in your first attempt at Creative Writing, this is an appropriate time to introduce the second Folio piece – Discursive/ Functional.  What is happening in the world that you’re really passionate about? And when I say passionate, I don’t exactly mean….ah, forget it. What angers you, excites you, enthuses you? These topics always make the best pieces of writing. We’ll talk about how to go about narrowing down your choices.

Friday 9th

Again, a summary day. There’ll be chances to catch up with Writing and Sentence Structure work but I’m changing my mind on the Reading part. Last week there was no real opportunity to read the novel quietly so we’ll leave that for home, thank you very much. Newspaper work is due today, however.


Read to page  102  of  ‘The Catcher in the Rye’ for Monday

Choose a  Discursive/ functional topic for Wednesday

Newspaper Work for Friday

Week 3 – The Plan

Welcome to the Class Blog. Every Monday you’ll find information about what we’re doing each week.  You’re welcome to throw in your own thoughts and ideas using the comment box afterwards. I’m always keen to hear what you’ve got to say.

Monday 29th

We’re going to be looking at the Close Reading Practice assessment you completed on Wednesday. I’ll return your papers and, while I know you’ll want to go through the whole thing, I’m going to focus only on the Analysis questions marked (A) at this stage. Things will become clear later. Lots of sharing today.

Tuesday 30th

This will be the first day we start to think about J. D. Salinger’s ‘The Catcher in the Rye’.   This will be our main Prose text for the year. I love it and it has had a major influence on me; but don’t let that put you off! The following links may help.

Salinger’s New York

Holden Caulfield’s Goddam War

The Praises and Critcisms of J. D Salinger’s ‘The Catcher in the Rye’

BBC’s Obituary of J. D. Salinger

Generally, I’ll give you the books and we’ll spend time looking at the opening paragraph which is filled with unanswered questions and intriguing moments.

We’ll also be discussing the ‘invention’ of the teenager and how the role of the teenager has changed over the years.

Some of this discussion will, inevitably, cross over in to the writing aspect of the course, which makes sense, I think.

Wednesday 31st

Chapter One of ‘The Catcher in the Rye’ introduces us to many of Holden Caulfeld’s problems and we’ll discuss these in more depth. You will be writing your first Critical Essay on the opening chapter so pay particular attention to what is going on. This week I expect you to read the opening 50 pages or so and focus on the beginning of his journey. Are you beginning to notice some recurring themes? The red hat? The Ducks? Anything else? Why do you think they might be significant?

In the second period of the double, we’ll start to flesh out some of the ideas we’ve been developing in Creative Writing. Thinking back to the opening chapters we read the other day, how can you use those ideas along with effective description and sophisticated style and language to write an effective opening to your story? I’m giving you a week to go away and write your story so get cracking on with it today.

Thursday 1st September

Today we’ll look, in more detail, at the context question. It is the focus of this month’s Newspaper homework and it is not as difficult as you may first think. I will have  a wee note for you but not much as a few examples will be more than enough to get you going. Newspaper work due tomorrow.

Friday 2nd September

Catch up day. A nice free end of the week where you can work on any of the tasks I’ve given you this week. I’ll be here to answer and questions you have or you can simply get on with things.


Opening 50 pages of ‘The Catcher in the Rye’ for Monday

Creative Writing piece by Wednesday

Newspaper work for Friday