I love all aspects of my job but I am always reminded, every time I go into my classroom to teach, just why I came into the profession in the first place.

I have been promising @amsammons since the start of term that I would get my act together and upload the resources and lessons I have taught to my year 12 language classes…I have finally got round to it…well kind of.

I  finished the opening unit of work a couple of lessons ago and the easiest way for me to share what I have done is to write about them sequentially in a blog.  Woven throughout all the lessons are quick quizzes in terms of key terminology which we undertake as we go along.

The accompanying resources are available but as I am at home and they are saved on my computer at school, I have just referenced them here.  If anyone would like them, I will happily provide – in fact @amsammons may help me in terms of uploading them!

Hopefully for anyone teaching A Level Language, there is something in here of use…

Lessons 1+2

What are texts?

Activity 1: Share the hot chocolate text with students (Resource 1).  Simply ask students to tell you about the text.

The idea now is that you give students a series of clues – after each clue, they are to re-evaluate their discussion about the text.

Clue 1: It was found in a school.

Clue 2: It was found in a cafe.

Clue 3: The café was for sixth form students only.

Clue 4: It was written by the café manager who is employed by the school’s catering company.

Activity 2: Ask students to unpick the thinking process that occurred in the above activity.  What does this tell students about how texts are produced and received?  The activity should reveal that students instinctively know how to understand texts in their situational use but that they are unlikely to have the critical vocabulary to discuss this in an academic sense (both from a context and language methods point of view).  This is the point of the course!

Activity 3: Share and explain the context diagram with students. (Resource 2)

Activity 4:  Negotiation of reading activity.  (Resource 3)  Students to analyse the dating ads and answer the prompt questions.  Explore with students the idea that behind language use, there is a language user.  Explore the importance of always starting with the context of any text.

Activity 5: Ask students to analyse the Jaws extract. (Resource 4)  It is likely here, that despite the previous part of the lesson, students will forget all about context, and instead focus on language methods.  Ask students to rethink their analysis of the extract by starting with answering the context questions and then looking at the language used.  Discuss with students the difference in the thinking process that has occurred, the ensuing analysis of the text in light of each approach and what this tells them.

Activity 6: Analysis of Samaritans text. (Resource 5)  Teacher to model analysis based on model of: context – ideas and concepts – language methods.

Activity 7: Students to work in pairs on the texts provided. (Resource 6) Students to share analysis of texts with a partner pair.

Homework: Interpretation of pop lyrics assignment. (Resource 7)  Further activities appropriate to this can be found in Section 1 of the excellent (I know I am biased…) EMC Introduction to Language Frameworks resource.

Lesson 3

Why and how are purpose and audience significant in textual analysis?

Activity 1: Ensure students are familiar with the key terms in Chapter 2 of the AQA textbook.

Activity 2: Ask students to consider the letter I sent home to all parents on the first day of term. (Resource 8)  Ask students to consider who the implied writer / reader and actual writer / reader are.  Students to represent this diagrammatically (I have a photo of what my students did for anyone who wishes to see what I mean!)

Activity 3: Language investigators – ask students to go and find 3 examples of texts around the school site which demonstrate different audiences and purposes.  Students are to take a photo of each text.  Students to return and apply key concepts in Chapter 2 to each of their texts including how writers construct an image of an idealised reader who fits their own belief systems / messages about the company / products they want to portray and why.  Share ideas.

Activity 4: Text patterns – using the EMC resource, undertake activities in Section 2.

Lesson 4

What is mode and why is not quite as straightforward as it first looks?

Activity 1: Explain the concept of mode to students.  Ask students to create a venn diagram which considers the similarities and differences between writing and speech.  Take feedback and explain to students that this is an oppositional model of considering mode.  Explore the pros and cons of this approach.  Ask students to consider examples of texts where this approach would not be helpful.

Activity 2: Explain idea of blended mode to students and the continuum model of considering mode.  Ask students to take the examples from the activity above and place on the continuum justifying their positions.

Activity 3: Name 5.  Ask students to name the first 5 things that come into their heads in the following categories: fruit, drinks, vehicles, football teams.  Take each category in turn and tally up the responses.  It works best if this is represented visually on a whiteboard.  Ask students to comment on any patterns they can see.  Which is the most common thing and why?  Which are unusual and why?  What reasons might there be for this. Out of the total number of possibilities (number of students x 5), how many ‘things’ were actually named?  Ask students to consider why this might be?  Repeat activity for each category.  This should lead to some fascinating discussion about the influence of contextual factors on knowledge so for example you are likely to find that there is greater variety in the football teams named, and this is also interesting if you analyse it further in terms of the influence of gender on choices named in this category.  If you have any students who are not British, this can also have some interesting effects on ‘things’ chosen particularly in relation to fruit and drink.  Explain the idea of a prototypical way of categorising texts with students.

Homework: Ask students to choose 5 texts and choose either a prototypical or continuum to categorise them on in relation to mode.  Each text should be accompanied by a short justification of why.

Lesson 5+6

What is genre and why is it important?  Does intertextuality belong to the text or the reader?  What is register and what impacts on the creation of it?

Activity 1: Genre transformation.  Ask students to choose a fairytale.  Students should then use that story as the content / basis for one of the following types of text: recipe, newpaper article, song lyrics, instruction manual, persuasive speech.

Activity 2: Students to share texts.  Discussion and analysis of these – this led, in my classes, to some really interesting discussion on why students had chosen to transform particular aspects and how they had done this.  Many students (most unknowingly!) had created a humorous text which the students listening laughed at because of the way the writers had manipulated genre and used aspects of intertextuality.  Another student commented on the fact that it was humorous because we “all” knew the story of x.  We then had an interesting debate on whether we were all familiar with that particular fairytale and if we weren’t, would the effect be the same? Talking to @mmgiovanelli later that evening, we had an interesting discussion on whether intertextuality ‘belonged’ to texts or readers and he says @drofletJess has a great paper worth reading on this…

Activity 3: Ask students to find example of fiction and non-fiction texts which use aspects of genre / intertextuality in interesting ways and why.  Each students to ‘present’ their chosen texts and analysis.

Activity 4: In pairs, give each students a role card (teacher / student; police officer / member of public; friend / friend; boyfriend / girlfriend; hairdresser / client; employer / employee etc).  Ask students to create a short piece of dialogue in role.  The topic for every pair is the same: what they did last night.

Activity 5: Hear dialogues – can other students guess who the participants are?  How?  What does this tell students about language use?

Activity 6: Explain notion of register and situational characteristics to students.  Students to apply this idea to their own dialogue and produce a more critically aware commentary on their dialogue in terms of language choices.

Lesson 7

Baseline Assessment (Resource 9)

Hopefully by the end of the unit, all students will be able to tell you why the why of a text is just so important!

why.