We did this lesson this morning. Fuelled by last-day tiredness, meaning I was searching for something more creative, and also because that class is feeling a little burned about the amount of revision ahead (particularly as they have just complete d revision essay based on last year’s text, and feel like they don’t remember much!)
It was so simple, fun, and awesome.
They wrote the name of every character they’ve studied on a piece of paper.
From Jane Eyre, Lord of the Flies, Much Ado About Nothing, and the Love and Relationships poetry cluster – a recall exercise which had them reaching for every character, and as they started listing, they started talking. We got plot, theme, imagery and symbolism all coming in as they tried to remember. Comments I heard around the room included the religious significance of Mr Brocklehurst and Helen Burns, “that poem about the vine wrapped around the tree” and, of course, checking tricky spellings like Benedick!
Once they had everyone they could recall, down to Mr Singh and Mrs Singh (Singh Song!), their next task was to draw comparisons between different characters across different texts.
It was a joy to hear them. We had conversations about the femme fatales of Celine Varens and Porphyria, of villains, anti-heroes and innocent victims. We had the “sad men” of the Winter Swans and Farmer’s Bride, the Christ-like Simon and Helen Burns, and the boy in Walking Away linked with Perceval Wemyss Madison from the Lord of the Flies.
Following that, several groups also started putting images beside the characters, building the language and visual memory that we’re aiming for: the bird of Jane Eyre, the vampire of Bertha Mason, the masks of Jack and Don John.
It was a great lesson. They were so enthusiastic – itself a feat on the last day of a long half-term! – and went out having had a great time realising ho w much they actually know.
Revision guides for GCSE English: https://www.audiopi.co.uk/