Year 8 English

“we strive to…inspire a curiosity for and provoke a love of learning.”

Philip Morant English Department

Curriculum Intents

While studying English at Philip Morant School and College, we aim to ensure our students are exposed to a wide range of challenging, stimulating and thought provoking fiction and non-fiction materials to inspire a curiosity for and provoke a love of learning. Students are encouraged to consider their world and the wider world around them as they read, discuss and explore novels, plays and poetry from a number of different perspectives across a variety of cultures and countries from different centuries. Guided sensitively, students are encouraged to appreciate texts through the lens of others while developing an intriguing insight into the broad spectrum of the human experience and condition. While reading such materials, students will analyse and evaluate a writer’s skill and expertise, as they explore the masterful use of language and literary methods of great writers throughout different literary and artistic movements as they begin to recognise patterns and develop their ability to further contextualise the progression of forms of Literature and the English Language itself.

How

Throughout the Key Stages, students are given the opportunity to develop their confidence with their writing skills: both creative and transactional to simultaneously improve their own flair and creativity while strategically and deliberately improving vocabulary through careful instruction. Students will explore a wide range of fiction and non-fiction forms while exploring writers’ craft and competence when presenting their perspective and viewpoints on a number of contentious and provoking topics to engage, enthuse and motivate them. Teachers carefully guide students through the fundamentals of grammar and text construction to equip them with the confidence and aptitude to compellingly articulate their viewpoints – whether imagined or genuine – with sophistication, worldliness, and finesse.

Why

Our curriculum is sequenced in such a way to support the students’ development of schema and, consequently, knowledge and understanding. Teachers strategically guide students to make authentic connections to previous and future learning and cross-curricular study through carefully considered and deliberate activities: from low-stakes testing and recall tasks; questioning and promoting discussion and debate; imaginative and inspiring written tasks; and refined and tailored teaching episodes following carefully spaced diagnostic and summative assessments to best meet the needs of students. Our aim is to develop considered, informed, independent, and academically talented thinkers that leave us with a range of skills and an astute ability to be critical and confident as they navigate their way through their academic career and adult life.

Autumn Term 1

Poetry

Grammar

Students will also study a range of poems from various time periods and cultures to understand key poetic techniques.

Dialectic

Students will develop understanding of how to examine and analyse different forms of literature through class discussion, practical performance and written analysis. Students will use ‘Big Questions’ to critique the choices the author has made.

Rhetoric

Diagnostic assessment will be used frequently to allow teachers to refine their teaching to meet the needs of the pupils. Students will also complete a spoken assessment to develop confidence in speech writing and articulating ideas to their peers.

In school...
How can I support this unit at home...

The focus of this half term is developing the student’s skills within poetry. Throughout this half term teachers will use a brand-new anthology designed to expose students to a variety of poems, as well as linking poems with other forms of literature including song lyrics and play scripts. Within this unit students will study three key areas: Greek myth, Romance and War. The selected poems are from a variety of time periods and various poets, including some poets included within the GCSE anthology. Each poem has been carefully selected to ensure students are exposed to a range of; poetic devices, structures and themes.

Throughout this half term students will develop their skills in analysing poems through class discussion and poem annotations. Alongside this, students will develop understanding of how to write analytically about the poems they have studied and how to structure exam style responses. This will involve students writing about individual poems as well as developing comparative techniques.

This unit is designed to encourage student’s enjoyment of poetry by covering a variety of engaging and challenging topics. Some key ideas within the poems have been chosen to enhance exposure to cultural capital and cross-curricular links, especially with Drama and History.

Encourage rereading of the set texts: There is no better preparation for Literature exams than rereading the set texts. It is certainly true that reading the texts as frequently as possible will improve students’ understanding of the texts in their entirety as they will develop a better understanding of the plot and characters. It will give them greater familiarity and confidence with the text which stands them in a stronger position of recognising the extract provided to them in the exam.

Watch film adaptations/online lectures: Sit and watch film adaptations to develop understanding and improve memory of the plot, characters and themes. Remind students of the possibility of differences: teachers are more than willing to highlight these to students if they are uncertain. The school has subscriptions to MASSOLIT and Digital Theatre which the students can use for free.

Create revision resources: Help prepare for assessments and exams by creating a range of revision resources. These could include: mind maps, knowledge organisers, cue cards, posters, key quotations displays with analysis, timelines of major events and plot, contextual displays, etc.

Encourage exam practice: Considering the GCSEs are 100% exam based, students need to prepare effectively by planning and writing exam responses and essays as often as possible. Students should make an effort to reflect on previous assessments and address any gaps in knowledge or skills by redrafting and improving work.

Autumn Term 2

Modern Drama: Journey’s End by R.C. Sherriff 

Grammar

Students will study the play ‘Journey’s end’ where students will explore conventions of a play, plot and characters whilst covering key themes such as impact of war and friendship.

Dialectic

Students will develop understanding of how to examine and analyse different forms of literature through class discussion, practical performance and written analysis. Students will use ‘Big Questions’ to critique the choices the author has made.

Rhetoric

Diagnostic assessment will be used frequently to allow teachers to refine their teaching to meet the needs of the pupils. Students will also complete a spoken assessment to develop confidence in speech writing and articulating ideas to their peers.

In school...
How can I support this unit at home...

In the first half term of the academic year, students will study ‘Journey’s End’ by R C Sherriff. Teachers will draw on their experience to bring the text alive through drama while developing their students’ verbal and non-verbal communications skills and confidence. By making thematic and contextual links between the world presented on stage and in cinema and our own society in which we live, teachers will bring to life the relevance and importance of the play. Themes ranging from friendship, fear and war will be explored and debated in a sensitive and insightful way.

Throughout the unit, teachers will aim to enhance students’ artistic and creative abilities while encouraging them to consider ideologies and belief systems throughout the twentieth century while exploring their relevance in today’s modern world.

Encourage rereading of the set texts: There is no better preparation for Literature exams than rereading the set texts. It is certainly true that reading the texts as frequently as possible will improve students’ understanding of the texts in their entirety as they will develop a better understanding of the plot and characters. It will give them greater familiarity and confidence with the text which stands them in a stronger position of recognising the extract provided to them in the exam.

Watch film adaptations/online lectures: Sit and watch film adaptations to develop understanding and improve memory of the plot, characters and themes. Remind students of the possibility of differences: teachers are more than willing to highlight these to students if they are uncertain. The school has subscriptions to MASSOLIT and Digital Theatre which the students can use for free.

Create revision resources: Help prepare for assessments and exams by creating a range of revision resources. These could include: mind maps, knowledge organisers, cue cards, posters, key quotations displays with analysis, timelines of major events and plot, contextual displays, etc.

Encourage exam practice: Considering the GCSEs are 100% exam based, students need to prepare effectively by planning and writing exam responses and essays as often as possible. Students should make an effort to reflect on previous assessments and address any gaps in knowledge or skills by redrafting and improving work.

Spring Term

Lord of the Flies by William Golding

Grammar

Students will study Golding’s ‘Lord of the Flies’ During this unit students will explore fundamentals of plot and characters whilst covering key themes such as human nature; good vs evil; leadership and civilisation.

Dialectic

Students will examine the writer’s craft and develop understanding of how to analyse the novel through class discussion, debate and written analysis.

Students will use ‘Big Questions’ to critique the choices the author has made.

Rhetoric

Diagnostic assessment will be used frequently to allow teachers to refine their teaching to meet the needs of the pupils. Students will then complete a final reading assessment that will showcase their understanding of how to analyse a text.

In school...
How can I support this unit at home...

Students begin this half term by studying a novel ‘Lord of the Flies’ by William Golding in its entirety. While studying the novel as a class, students will learn to interpret questions and ideas while supporting their opinions with quotations and textual reference. Students will explore writer’s craft and appreciate a range of methods used by a writer to achieve a desired response from their reader. Intertwined with this, will be the teaching of the novel’s themes from leadership to savagery and civilization and man’s interaction with the natural world its relationship with the world around them, as students will learn to become critical thinkers surrounding text production and reception.

Throughout the half term, emphasis is given to reading skills as the students will complete a variety of questions to develop their ability to critically analyse and explore material in depth and to the students writing skills across a range of forms: from creative writing: descriptive and narrative; to transactional writing: articles, letters, speeches, leaflets and essays.

Encourage rereading of the set texts: There is no better preparation for Literature exams than rereading the set texts. It is certainly true that reading the texts as frequently as possible will improve students’ understanding of the texts in their entirety as they will develop a better understanding of the plot and characters. It will give them greater familiarity and confidence with the text which stands them in a stronger position of recognising the extract provided to them in the exam.

Watch film adaptations/online lectures: Sit and watch film adaptations to develop understanding and improve memory of the plot, characters and themes. Remind students of the possibility of differences: teachers are more than willing to highlight these to students if they are uncertain. The school has subscriptions to MASSOLIT and Digital Theatre which the students can use for free.

Create revision resources: Help prepare for assessments and exams by creating a range of revision resources. These could include: mind maps, knowledge organisers, cue cards, posters, key quotations displays with analysis, timelines of major events and plot, contextual displays, etc.

Encourage exam practice: Considering the GCSEs are 100% exam based, students need to prepare effectively by planning and writing exam responses and essays as often as possible. Students should make an effort to reflect on previous assessments and address any gaps in knowledge or skills by redrafting and improving work.

Summer Term

Current Affairs and Non-Fiction

Grammar

Students will explore key current events to support their understanding of the world around them. Students will examine a variety of different forms of writing including: articles, leaflets and speeches and how to craft their own.

Dialectic

Students will explore a variety of text types in order to develop understanding of how to match a given purpose, audience and form. Students will use research, class discussion and debate to craft their own non-fiction writing pieces and speeches.

Rhetoric

Diagnostic assessment will be used frequently to allow teachers to refine their teaching to meet the needs of the pupils. Students will then complete a writing assessment to showcase their understanding of how to write creatively and imaginatively.

In school...
How can I support this unit at home...

During this term students will develop their skills in reading and analysing different sources with a focus on topical events to keep students engaged and enthused.

Students will begin the term by looking at a variety of non-fiction sources. These will include articles, letters, diaries/blogs, reviews and speeches. Teachers will use a range of sources from varying time-periods to ensure that there is exposure to 19th, 20th and 21st century texts. The texts will be selected to include a topics such as The Titanic, War and Climate change to allow expansion of cultural capital and relevant context for GCSE Literature texts.

Throughout this half term, emphasis is given to increasing reading comprehension, understanding how to analyse language and structure and how a writer crafts a text to promote an opinion or viewpoint. Students will also learn how to compare two texts to identify differences and similarities in how they are written and how that alters meaning.

Students will use a variety of stimuli such as non-fiction sources, documentaries, and current events to inspire their viewpoint writing. This will continue to develop the students’ cultural capital and promote understanding of how to adopt a persona to create a piece of writing based on their perspective.

Encourage a wide range of reading across forms, genres and media: There is no better preparation for Language exams than to read widely. Reading a range of materials: fiction and nonfiction; newspapers, magazines and online articles will improve a student’s ability to write with creativity, imagination and flair. Not to mention, it will improve their vocabulary, punctuation and sentence demarcation.

Active reading of materials: When reading materials, ensure students are actively reading. Students should try to: annotate the piece with key ideas and information; identify methods and their effect; attempt to summarise succinctly; identify purpose, audience and form; explore viewpoints and perspective; draw comparisons with other texts.

Create revision resources: Help prepare for assessments and exams by creating a range of revision resources. These could include: mind maps, knowledge organisers, cue cards, posters, work around methods and subject terminology, vocabulary development work, sustained writing tasks, etc.

Encourage exam practice: Considering the GCSEs are 100% exam based, it is imperative students prepare effectively by planning and writing exam responses and questions as often as possible. Students should make an effort to reflect on previous assessments and address any gaps in knowledge or skills by redrafting and improving work.

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