Tag Archives: Huntington School

Last Minute English Language Exam Cramming

As we know, the Reading section is tricky! Most of you will have completed the past papers, so here are some texts that you can use to create your own reading questions. You should be able to guess which texts fit which question best! Of course, practising comparing texts is essential for that question 4 – worth a huge 16 marks.

Here are the three texts you can use for last minute prep – annotate/highlight and PEE analyse. Devise some questions and time yourself undertaking some answers. Remember: Higher – 1s) Information retreival 2) Linking language and presentational devices 3) Language used to convey feelings 4) Comparison of Language.

Source 1. Eng Lang Climate change article

Source 2. Bear Grylls fake article

Source 3. Eng Lang Adventure text

Mr M has helpfully provided a couple of Writing section questions to tackle tonight – give them a go to hone your skills:

Write a brief article for a website of your choice telling your readers about an interesting
or unusual place you have visited. Explain why it was memorable.
(16 marks)

Your school or college is inviting entries for a writing competition. The topic is
“Too many tests, examinations and assessments are ruining young people’s lives and don’t add to their education’
Write your entry arguing for or against this view. (24 marks)


English Language Reading List


Are you looking to study English Language at A level or at university? This reading list will give you a great head start! 

English Language

‘The Stories of English’, David Crystal

‘A Little Book of Language’, David Crystal

‘Language and the Internet’, David Crystal

‘The English Language: A Guided Tour of the Language’, David Crystal

‘Listen to your Child’, David Crystal

‘Mother Tongue: the story of English’, Bill Bryson

‘Eats, Shoots and Leaves’, Lynn Truss

‘Can You eat, Shoot and Leave?’, Lynn Truss 

‘The Adventure of English’, Melvyn Bragg

My Grammar and I (Or Should That Be ‘Me’?): Old-School Ways to Sharpen Your English’, Caroline Taggart

The Five-Minute Writer: Exercise and inspiration in creative writing in five minutes a day’, Margret Geraghty

AQA English Language B AS: Student’s Book’. Alan Pearce, Marcello Giovanelli and Mark Saunders

Usborne Guide to Better English: Grammar, Spelling and Punctuation’, by R. Gee

Through the Language Glass: Why The World Looks Different In Other Languages’, Guy Deutscher

Language Change: Progress or Decay? (Cambridge Approaches to Linguistics)’, Jean Aitchison

Child Language: Acquisition and Development’,  Matthew Saxton

Author Daniel Blythe Reveals the Writing Behind Doctor Who

Daniel Blythe 1

Daniel Blythe, author of the best-selling Doctor Who book ‘Autonomy’ and the recently released novel ‘Shadow Runners’ (aimed at children aged 11+), visited our school this term to work with Year 7 pupils.

All Year 7 were given the opportunity to listen to Daniel talk about his journey as an author, his passion for all things Doctor Who and his love of writing. They then had an opportunity to ask him questions – and quiz him they did: testing his knowledge of Doctor Who and tapping into his expertise as a writer. Many were fascinated by the process of getting a book to print and, over the course of the day, they interrogated him relentlessly about book deals, publishers and money.

In the afternoon, Daniel led two writing workshops for pupils, giving one group an insight into the formation of convincing characters and the other a lesson in how to create an engaging opening – sharing with them top tips for success, including the importance of a focused perspective. Samples of the pupils’ work will soon be showcased on our English blog: huntemf.wordpress.com/

Our Year 7 were an impeccable audience in the morning and the pupils chosen for the workshops demonstrated their skills as writers superbly. All were a real credit to the school.

Our Doctor Who novels in the library have since leapt of the shelves, surely proving that Daniel Blythe that day succeeded in inspiring a generation of readers who have an eye to becoming writers themselves.

Mrs Collins

Daniel Blythe 2

Daniel Blythe 3

Reading material – Looking for Section A style articles? Look no further

Look at these linked articles and practise your reading skills as part of your revision – can you scan the text for purpose and audience? Can you skim the text for key information? Can you do a PALT analysis (remember: Purpose, Audience, Language and Tone)?

1. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/9774109/Working-mothers-only-break-even-on-childcare-costs-after-four-months.html

2. http://www.adn.com/2012/12/31/2739314/shell-drilling-rig-is-adrift-again.html

3. http://www.nytimes.com/2013/01/02/world/africa/stampede-at-new-years-celebration-kills-dozens-in-ivory-coast.html?partner=rss&emc=rss&smid=tw-nytimes&_r=0

Remember to think which type of question the article would be suitable for – remind yourself of the question types and even make your own questions based on these texts and time yourself with a written answer (try ten minutes as a time limit to really test yourself).

Happy reading, well maybe not, they aren’t very happy articles, but they are useful.


The English Department

Creating Persuasive Radio Adverts – 9r/En4

One of the most important things for us as a faculty is to make the learning in the classroom as ‘real’ as possible for our students.  With this in mind I looked at how we could take the work from our Year 9 Advertising unit and allow students to bring their written creations ‘alive’.  They complete a mini-assessment that should inform their writing for their final written assessments.  The mini-assessment in this case was for them to first learn the techniques that advertisers use to persuade audiences and then, using these techniques, create an advert for a Christmas food advert.

After briefly analysing current adverts, the students go on to use the techniques they have learnt to plan their own advert.  However, before they did this I wanted them to prepare a pre-task response and this was to create a radio advert promoting their own school: Huntington.  In so doing I knew that they could start with a subject matter that they had direct experience of, thus allowing them to be more confident in their work.  However, the revelation came when they realised that we would actually create these pieces.  Every single learner was desperate to do as good a job as possible – mostly because it was going to be shared amongst them all and placed into a real ‘industrial context’.

The writing was completed for a homework task and the adverts recorded in one lesson.  I chose to use iMovie for the radio adverts.  The reasons for this were that the students could add simple sound effects and music and that within the lesson they could also save the pieces to our WebDav folder.  Moreover, those who wanted to could add images (this was not part of the task but I was impressed by some who began to match images to the words – remember, this was all in one, single hour lesson).

The results are impressive.  Yet, more impressive for me was that at the start of the next lesson, ‘Bell Work’ consisted of answering the question below.  We then shared our ideas as a class.  I had to stop taking their suggestions after 10 minutes.  It was refreshing to see such retrieval from all students…

From here we then used this information to ‘score‘ the adverts that we played back – using the student suggestions to rank the adverts.

The ‘top 5’ are here:






Having a ‘real’ audience and creating ‘real’ products is absolutely vital to creating a sense of vibrancy in the classroom.  The students know that what is happening goes beyond those four walls.  This is akin to how they think in their bedrooms and how they think as they use their mobiles on their way into school.  We have to always keep that in mind – otherwise they’ll pull the plug on us!

Huntington English & Media – ‘Making the Learning Visible’

In September of 2012, Wilberforce block at Huntington School, housing the English and Media classrooms, was redesigned. We didn’t have a glossy new building, but money was invested in giving the classrooms a new lick of paint, de-cluttering the classrooms and storage spaces and significantly enhancing the technology provision, including a set of twenty-four iPads and a wireless infrastructure, for the newly branded English and Media Faculty – HuntingtonEMF.

There was a great deal of thinking that went into the building redesign. At the centre of all our thinking was how to improve pedagogy. We reviewed what were the best tools to enhance our pedagogy, eliminating any distractions from the core business of learning in the classroom – such as clutter and unnecessary furniture. Some core principles of how we work as a department was central to our design. We have a system whereat each classroom  has six group tables to enable better collaborative learning. It also allows for real consistency of seating when classes and teachers use different classrooms. It is something we have developed over a few years and is integral to our approach to teaching and learning.



Another key aspect of the redesign was to make a simple addition of multiple whiteboards on the classrroom walls to allow for greater flexibility in using the walls for different teaching and learning strategies. The concept of ‘making the learning visible’ emerged from the idea to improve how we use the classroom spaces, including the walls – not simply as wallpaper, but as something more active. We had the idea for using multiple whiteboards to allow for more flexibility; for example, guided writing; or to allow for writing lesson objectives, key words and ideas that could be used throughout the lesson up on the different boards, whilst allowing for the projector and the ‘main whiteboard’ to be free and clear at all times. We also had the idea to subtlety de-centre the classroom – again linking back to the use of group tables – to move away from the fixedness of facing the ‘front’, and to encourage us as teachers to use the whole classroom space more actively. It also has had attendant benefit in allowing for ‘competitive writing’ between the different whiteboards; drawing contrasts between the ideas on the different boards etc. These ideas and teaching strategies are still developing and we have embedded sharing our ideas and pedagogy into our coaching programme to ensure we can all develop using the simple new tools.

Main Whiteboard

Extra whiteboards

Another integral aspect of the classroom design was embrace the best of technology as a tool to enhance learning. After undertaking a great deal of research, we invested in twenty-four iPads – giving us the best tools on the market – allowing us to continue to be flexible with our teaching by using these mobile devices. We undertook our research and formed our own clear focus for using the tools. Our research document (with suggested apps):

iPads at Huntington School

English & Media Faculty iPad Project.apps to buy

To further embed the concept of ‘making the learning visible’, we invested in Apple TVs and our Head supported us by invested in a robust wireless system (crucial in supporting tablet devices for truly ‘visible learning’). This has allowed us to ‘mirror’ student work through the iPads directly to the projector instantly – a truly powerful tool for learning. With many of the EMF owning their own iPads (and with an investment in two faculty iPads), we have been able to embed the iPad as a ‘visualiser’ amongst many other things, to show examples of students work, such as: iMovie, ExplainEverything presentations, or images of students prep book work, immediately through Apple TV to the projector. Plenaries that involve sharing the work from the lessons have been taken to another level, with students taking even more pride in their work knowing it could appear projected at any moment.

Some of our iPads with their sturdy tyre-style covers:

With the new design changes and the new technology we are busy learning every day, whilst keeping focused on the core business of great teaching and learning. In many ways, there has been an enhanced sense of pride in our English and Media lessons, from students and hopefully teachers alike, and we have shown a willingness to try to keep getting better. More exciting times are surely ahead!