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Peter Slater's Shop: Finding a Path through the Trees

I'm an English teacher with many years' experience specialising mainly in GCSE English, although I teach at different levels. I am also an established GCSE English examiner in both Language and Literature. I consciously tailor my resources to meet the needs of those many pupils who can't yet quite get the hang of English analysis, but who are perfectly capable of gaining an excellent grade once understanding clicks.

I'm an English teacher with many years' experience specialising mainly in GCSE English, although I teach at different levels. I am also an established GCSE English examiner in both Language and Literature. I consciously tailor my resources to meet the needs of those many pupils who can't yet quite get the hang of English analysis, but who are perfectly capable of gaining an excellent grade once understanding clicks.
Language and Structure techniques
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Language and Structure techniques

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12 Language and Structure techniques simply explained in a handout/worksheet. Ideal for students starting to study GCSE English language, but certainly not beyond the reach of younger students.
Analysing a Story Maupassant: A Vendetta
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Analysing a Story Maupassant: A Vendetta

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A detailed resource with a mixture of cloze and other exercises woven in. The aim is to enable students to see how how a writer uses language to achieve effect. Suggested answers are provided at the end along with some teaching notes. There is material enough here for a whole lesson with extension creative writing work.
GCSE Comparing Texts - an introduction
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GCSE Comparing Texts - an introduction

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A relatively straightforward comparison resource. The two texts are my own and I have written them in a deliberately easy to understand manner with lots for pupils to find and comment on. There is some guidance on how to structure an analysis. Six pages
Analysing a text for GCSE English language
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Analysing a text for GCSE English language

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An extract from Dostoevsky’s Crime and Punishment with questions embedded throughout the text to encourage a close and intelligent reading that will help students understand how to analyse fiction and deepen their understanding of a writer’s methods. Typical questions include: • Highlight a phrase in the passage above that, in this context, creates a sense of urgency and danger. • How has the writer shown the character’s confusion and fear in the above paragraph? • What word would best fit the gap - ‘climbing’ ‘tramping’ or ‘walking’? • Why did you choose that word? Note that this extract was used in the Edexcel June 2018 GCSE English Language exam, but I have adapted the text and made some changes.
Analysing a text in prep for GCSE English
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Analysing a text in prep for GCSE English

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A series of nineteen questions on a passage taken from an H.E. Bates story featuring the Hartop family. Suitable for all GCSE students, but especially for those studying the AQA GCSE English Language paper. The passage was used in the June 2019 exam. The questions here are devised so that students may practise a close reading that will help in particular when tackling questions 2 and 4 in the AQA paper. Questions include: • How would you describe the Hartop family? tick the adjectives that you think apply: healthy/jolly/miserable/happy/afraid/ill For each of the ones you have chosen, explain why, using a quote. • Highlight the two word phrase that tells us that the women are feeling nervous. • Highlight all the words or phrases that seem to show that Mr Hartop is a bully.
Analysing Language The Baskerville Hound
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Analysing Language The Baskerville Hound

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A dramatic extract from ‘The Hound of the Baskervilles’ with questions embedded within the text enabling pupils to explore the kinds of language analysis skills they will need for GCSE English Language Paper One. A longer question at the end invites pupils to analyse the language and structure throughout the whole of the text. The notes they have made will be helpful for this. Suggested answers for teachers are given at the end.
Macbeth  Quotes ppt quiz and worksheet
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Macbeth Quotes ppt quiz and worksheet

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A powerpoint quiz where quotes are shown and pupils invited to supply the missing words. The missing words are supplied on an A4 sheet - this could either be given to pupils, or laminated and the words cut out. A basic worksheet offers half a dozen quotes, inviting pupils to identify them and construct an analysis based around themes. Three pages My worksheet on quotes in A Christmas Carol is more detailed.
Creative Writing: how to start
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Creative Writing: how to start

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Two resources, ten pages in all, aimed at encouraging pupils to improve their creative writing skills by focusing on openings. One of the exercises involves rewriting a dull opening describing a man’s arrival at a castle. To introduce this, teachers might like to show that part of Todd Browning’s classic movie Dracula where Renfield first arrives at the count’s castle. It can be found here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KjDfOAhtWwo By working through the exercises, pupils will learn: • How to identify what makes for good writing • How to hook their readers at the opening of a story • How to use a range of language techniques to improve their creative writing
Exploring Language in a 19th CenturyText
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Exploring Language in a 19th CenturyText

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A series of questions interwoven inside the text ‘Greenwich Fair’ by Charles Dickens. This resource is especially suitable for pupils studying GCSE 9 - 1 English. This text was used by AQA as part of their Specimen Material for GCSE English Paper 2, so this exercise could be used by teachers as a means of introducing the practice paper. The full paper may be found on the AQA website. Teachers not working with this board, or simply wanting something to guide their students when analysing a nineteenth century text, will also find this useful. The first preview pane gives an example of some of the questions - in the actual resource these questions are embedded inside the text. Suggested answers are provided at the end for teachers.
GCSE AQA Creative Writing handout
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GCSE AQA Creative Writing handout

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A four page resource offering ideas as to how students might approach the creative writing question in the AQA English Language paper. The planning might be done on the handout or in the student’s exercise book. The picture is creative commons.
Analysing a Fiction Extract
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Analysing a Fiction Extract

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A language analysis exercise of 4 pages based around a short fiction extract. The questions are embedded within the body of the story and encourage students to discover how to understand the deeper meanings within a writer’s use of language and structure. A bonus question at the end is in the style adopted by AQA for their Question 4 in GCSE English Language Paper One Further extension work is provided in the form of a suggested creative writing exercise. In addition, teachers might want to set specific questions in the AQA style (e.g.: ‘How does the writer use language in the first section to create a sense of menace and threat?’ Typical questions include: • Highlight the words and phrases in the paragraph above that create an atmosphere of menace and threat • Which word would best fill the gap? – hiding, resting, lurking, sleeping. Explain why you think this word the best • What is the predominant language technique in the paragraph above? Suggested answers are supplied at the end.
GCSE The Power of Language
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GCSE The Power of Language

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A great worksheet simply helping students to discover why writers use the words and phrases that they do. Ideal for an introduction to language analysis class.
Creative Writing description inspiration
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Creative Writing description inspiration

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A simple exercise, involving a look at an edited (and simplified) extract from ‘Holiday Memory’ by Dylan Thomas in order to identify the language techniques that he uses, leading to a creative writing task based on a picture.
Macbeth Getting to know the play
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Macbeth Getting to know the play

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Macbeth Getting to Know the Play Act by Act A series of handouts with questions that can be used for individual work or pair and group discussion. There is a separate handout for each of the Acts.
Creative Writing: flash fiction.  How to structure and write a complete very short story
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Creative Writing: flash fiction. How to structure and write a complete very short story

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Creative Writing. KS2 - GCSE English. Objectives: to plan, structure and write a complete short story in easy to follow steps. A creative writing resource aimed primarily at 15+ pupils, but would also suit younger. It is very adaptable: in practice it has been found that pupils of widely-varying abilities will all enjoy and profit from this. The activity very loosely follows the story structures outlined by Vladimir Propp in his 1928 study on Russian folktales, but is much, much simpler. The plan takes pupils through the writing of a story step by step and there is also a sample story based on the structure. The sample story may be laminated and cut up and matched with laminated headings corresponding to each stage of the story development. There are also story ideas and some suggested first lines.
GCSE Poetry - Teaching the iamb
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GCSE Poetry - Teaching the iamb

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An introduction to rhythm and metre in poetry, focusing on the iamb. This resource contains explanatory handouts and exercises, including some first lines in iambic tetrameter that students could use to get started on writing their own poems. Many students find it difficult to understand rhythm and metre in poetry and, as a consequence, a lot of teachers tend not to teach it. This is a pity because it can be fun to discover and it can help deepen a student’s love and understanding of many poems. I have set out some active ways to help students get to grips with the iamb. Students will learn how to write about it when answering an analysis question – something that examiners love to see! – and they will get a chance to have a go at writing their own iambic poems. There is a very brief supplement at the end on Shakespeare’s use of the trochee in Macbeth – handy for anyone teaching that play.
A Christmas Carol Quotes Worksheets
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A Christmas Carol Quotes Worksheets

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A series of worksheets with guidance notes presenting a dozen quotes from the novel, inviting pupils to identify themes and write a theme-based analysis for each one. The handout notes make clear that pupils do not need to learn as many as a dozen quotes, but that they can choose which ones they find easiest to remember The layout is pupil-friendly, and an example is given. Pupils will learn: how to use quotes in an analysis how to connect quotes to themes the kinds of questions on themes that they might get in an exam
Creative Writing; Using Sound
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Creative Writing; Using Sound

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A tried and tested resource with a suggested lesson sequence that includes all you will need for one or more creative writing lessons centred around the use of sound. There are a variety of activities with lots for pupils to do and I include a couple of relevant youtube links that may be shown in the classroom.