QotW: 23 July 2018 (#50)

For a perfectionist, it’s an opportunity: time to produce something better than ‘good enough’ …

BH here comes the sun
Sun, sun, sun, here it comes …

It seems like years since it’s been here. [a]

So many people seem to resent our summer holiday.  They bemoan having to take responsibility for their own offspring (my favourite pet peeve); whine about the cost of holidays; whinge about the number of tourists clogging their area (without appreciating how their local economy depends on that tourist pound, or how often they are the problem in other parts of the country).

Continue reading “QotW: 23 July 2018 (#50)”

Pay attention, there’s a test (part 2)

At 18, students ought to be able to handle History plays, but the exam boards don’t seem to like them?

BH KS5 texts

Following my recent KS4 post, I extended my research to A Level – that is the exams taken by 18-year olds before they hit university.  Again, I’d love to hear from students or teachers, especially in other countries.  Here are a few thoughts of my own:

Continue reading “Pay attention, there’s a test (part 2)”

QotW: 25 June 2018 (#47)

All the world IS a stage, where Richard is concerned …

BH chameleon

Year 12 face their mock exam this coming Friday, with varying degrees of panic.

So, this week’s QotW is actually a BOGOF offer.  I often talk about Richard III being a ‘season finale’ to the History plays.  The chameleon quotation above comes from the penultimate episode, as you might remember, people.  Richard is – at least until it all begins to unravel for him – the consummate actor.

But don’t just take my word for it:

Continue reading “QotW: 25 June 2018 (#47)”

Forensic Friday (#4): RIII III.ii.39-42

 

BH mexico germany
A nice positive GIF for my Y12 class … you CAN score, people!

‘SQUEAKY BUM TIME’:  the point towards the end of a football game, or season, when you hold a slender lead but are almost shitting yourself, in case something goes horribly wrong …

– – –

I’m publishing this with a exactly a week to go before my Y12s face their end of year exam –  a full exam on everything we’ve done this year: Tennyson‘s ‘Maud’; Marlowe‘s Edward II; and of course, Richard III.  Evidence suggests my students are in full ‘squeaky bum’ mode, despite my best efforts to reassure them.  And, hey, it’s the World Cup:  if Mexico (one of ‘my teams’ can hang on to a 1-0 lead for an hour against Germany, I think you can hang on to what I have taught you this year for another seven days?

You know what to do: especially (for the first question) if you have been reading these …

Continue reading “Forensic Friday (#4): RIII III.ii.39-42”

Forensic Friday (#01): RIII I.i.20-21

We can give those long dead words tone, inflection, pace … and meaning.

THIS is what we do, students.

We are archaeologists of the written word.  Remember that.

BH skeleton2We take our soft brushes and gently but resolutely stroke away the accumulated layers of popular misconception, plain bullshit, and systemic Shakesnobbery that surrounds a text until we are left with the bare bones – the words themselves …

Then – armed with contextual knowledge that keeps us somewhere on the Continuum of Plausibility – we ‘perform’ (and that is precisely the word, so enjoy the performative aspect of the work) forensic autopsies on those long-dead words: we dissect, analyse and record our findings.  

Occasionally, what we’re looking at might seem as alien as some of the stuff Scully chops up in the X-Files, but we persevere, we find points of reference, and with care we perform a kind of necromancy: we can practically bring the sample in front of us to life.  

We can give those long dead words tone, inflection, pace … and meaning.

THIS … … … is OCR H472/01 (Drama and Poetry pre-1900), A Level English Literature, section 1, question A … your Shakespeare extract task.
Continue reading “Forensic Friday (#01): RIII I.i.20-21”

Cultural Capital 01: Dante’s Inferno

Flatterers … are destined to mud-wrestle each other in a lake of diarrhoea … representing the crap they spoke whilst alive, I suppose!

BH george michael choose life
The ultimate HAMLET tee-shirt?

Subtitled:  Big Mouth Strikes Again (The Smiths – my students will know why, today of all days)

This article was written for a forthcoming in-house newsletter/magazine.  First, hopefully, in a series of articles (Cultural Capital) about influential, dare I say essential works that our students need to get under their belts.  I set myself a STRICT word-count of 750, including quotations but excluding titles and references, tried to avoid being too professorial, and I’ve prioritised other texts related to what I’ll be teaching as part of the OCR A Level Engish Literature course.  If I’m spared 😉

Inferno is a valuable source of AO1 and AO3, people.  This won’t replace you reading the original, but it might at least persuade you to give it a go.

Next up?  James I‘s DaemonologieMachiavelli‘s The Prince or The Book of Genesis:  open to suggestions …

[…] Midway on our path in life,

I came around and found myself searching

Through a wood, the right way blurred and lost.

I know the feeling.  More importantly, so begins Dante’s Inferno, the sexiest-titled poem no-one’s read.  Perhaps only at a certain age do you start asking Really Big Questions:  ‘What am I doing with my life?  What’s the point?  What’s left?’  Tennyson’s like a dog with a bone on this.  Ponytail Shakespeare readers – you’re fed up of hearing this sort of thing from me.

The most important question, though, is surely ‘what’s next?

Continue reading “Cultural Capital 01: Dante’s Inferno”

Quote of the Week: 20 November 2017

Fair’s fair: if you think it is important for me to learn what a ‘360 No-Scope’ is, why can’t you get a grasp on similes and metaphors?  

BH periodic table
image:  https://othmarstrombone.wordpress.com/2014/03/14/the-elements-of-language-a-periodic-table-of-sorts/

BE MORE LIONEL MESSI, STUDENTS …

Today’s quote is taken from:  David Crystal, Think On My Words – Exploring Shakespeare’s Language (Cambridge Uiversity Press:  Cambridge, 2008)

To my knowledge, the displays in my classroom had been up since 2012/13 – until this week, at least.

The non-existent magic money tree has been given a shake, and someone in the school has now been given paid time to do this for us.  It’s a bit bizarre, given we’ve had to do it ourselves, unpaid, in the past, which is part of the reason I didn’t bother.  Continuing the general thrust of this post, I felt that making me choose between covering my back by marking students’ work or prettifying the walls was an Rq.  See what I did there?

Anyway …

Continue reading “Quote of the Week: 20 November 2017”