Writing with Charlotte

Little Women review

Reading Time: 5 minutes I can’t remember what age I was when I read Little Women but I remember the edition. It was a hardback, part of a children’s classics set that included The Secret Garden. It had an oval frame of colour on the front with a picture of the opening scene and every so often inside there were four colour illustrations. I loved it, the book and the story. It’s one of those stories that really rewards a reader who returns to it over and over again: there’s always something different to find or another way of looking at the characters and events …

“Books are mirrors, windows, or sliding-glass doors”

Reading Time: < 1 minute

Rudine Sims Bishop [the author and educator] says that books are either mirrors, windows or sliding-glass doors, and that’s important in the act of resistance. You need that mirror to see yourself, to know what you can be and know what you are. And then you need that window to see into someone else’s life so you can understand what’s happening around you in the world that you may not notice at first glance. And you need the sliding-glass door so that you can step into someone else’s life and walk in with some empathy and use that empathy to make yourself heard.

Angie Thomas Q&A with The Guardian

Performing the good girl

Reading Time: 6 minutes Chris Curtis’s latest blogpost – https://learningfrommymistakesenglish.blogspot.com/ – chimes with some things I’ve been writing / thinking about for a while now, about the ways that girls adopt different personas depending, in large part, on the expectations they experience in different places. I’ve had conversations at parents’ evenings that reveal the dilemma he describes, that “The home persona will say something and challenge things when the school persona will not, because they are worried they’ll get told off. Life for them is the battle between these two versions of themselves.” Working at a girls’ school for a decade, I’ve had lots of …

Overwhelm: 5 ways to manage stress

Reading Time: 4 minutes “Overwhelm” seems like it’s becoming a bit of a new buzzword for the wellbeing / mindfulness vocabulary. For me, it most often manifests as procrastination: I simply can’t get started because it seems like there’s so much to do, I don’t know where best to focus first. Or, just as often, it’s when I realise I’m doing something desperately searching for ‘fun’ because I feel like I have so much to do I spend all my time on ‘serious’ things. So Sophie Cliff’s latest blog resonated with me, and I’ve been thinking about some of the strategies I have used …

Writing the comparison question for OCR A-Level

Reading Time: 2 minutes The OCR English Literature specification is great in lots of ways, but the AO balancing is a little strange. The comparative question, for which I teach Rossetti’s poetry and A Doll’s House, is 50% AO3 – Demonstrate understanding of the significance and influence of the contexts in which literary texts are written and received. Examiner training is explicit that the way to determine a mark is holistically (is it competent, good or excellent) then shade the mark within the band to fine-tune the mark. However, it feels as a teacher that you do need to foreground the dominant assessment objective to meet …

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