#8 Exam Support Materials

The English Language Unit 1 exam is notorious for its difficulty. Over the years, I have seen students struggle with a range of questions in both Section A and B. There’s no doubt that the most formidable requires students to analyse and comment on the effectiveness of language features in a text. What’s more, comparing or linking presentational devices frequently leaves student bewildered and frustrated.

With this in mind, I have been inspired to create various resources to support analysis and remind students of the skills required in each question. In the examples below, you can see how each overlay contains clear steps to aid learning. Both overlays feature support QR codes that link to exemplar responses and each contain analysis prompts when considering the effectiveness of a specific feature.

On the ‘higher tier’ overlay, I have included a viewfinder in order to train students to look for small details within a text. This concept was taken from @siancarter1 who introduced the idea in her Unit 1 resource materials – this has also been adapted by @theedukator who created the fabulous acetate overlays pictured below.

The ‘SOLO Squares’ have been extremely useful in encouraging students to focus on deeper analysis of presentational devices – in other words explaining what the features look like and (more importantly) how they are effective and what connotations they have. This strategy is effective for both more and less able students as it provides a more visual way to see the process of analysis. In the picture below, the student has colour coordinated his points for Source 2 and Source 3. This was a useful method that resulted in a great plan for his mock question.

Keep a look out in the future for more Unit 1 resources. I’ll continue to update this post.

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#4 Analysis Squares/’Dynamite Paragraphs’

The ‘Dynamite Paragraph’ method of analysis was created by Rachael Stevens (@murphiegirl) and is a fantastic way of encouraging students to extend their ideas so that their analysis is detailed and sophisticated. Please click the here to Rachael’s blog to find out how to use this strategy effectively.

Over the past few weeks, I have used this resource with D/C grade Year 11 students. The step-by-step approach and words/phrases allowed them to stretch their responses; this ultimately resulted in them  achieving B/A grades on their Controlled Assessment pieces.

From the original idea, I created the comic-book style resource and designed the ‘Analysis Squares’ mat – please see below. Both can be used as posters and are an effective way of embedding these skills at KS3.

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