Summer Reading

Hi everybody,

As the summer draws ever closer we begin to wonder what we will do to fill the minutes, hours and days that stretch ahead. Will we go abroad; sun ourselves on sandy beaches in the day and soak up a new culture at night? Will we laze at home and finally catch up on all the telly we missed whilst we were working? Will we finally learn to knit, draw, swim (insert skill here)?

One thing we may not have though of doing is improving our critical approach to texts. Something that we must do as we progress through English is to read widely around a subject.

I may have said this before but I’ll say it again. The British Library is amazing and the online resources there are fantastic.

Here is a link to some articles that are interesting and informative as well as being accessible. Have a look. Have a read. Have a think. Have a great summer.


Football’s coming home…


I’m not sure if it is. However, the song itself is interesting from an English Language perspective.

Three Lion’s was originally released in 1996 and had nothing to do with England winning the world cup.

Initially the song referred to the fact that England was hosting the world cup.

It’s interesting that over the years the song has come to mean England winning the World Cup with various bands producing covers.

This process is called semantic change: the change in the meaning of words over time.

This is an interesting article about semantic change both in British English and in English spoken in other countries.

It is well worth a read.


This is just a quick post.

A year 10 pupil, after being told to keep his football still whilst walking between lessons replied with ‘A football isn’t made to be still’.

I think this would make a great first line for a poem.

Anyone who fancies it, write the next lines in the comments.

If any are really good I’ll give you a, as yet undetermined, prize.

Extract from Chaos by G. Nolst Trenité

The English language has some of the strangest pronunciations in the world.

Here are just a few examples from a brilliant poem.

Dearest creature in creation
Studying English pronunciation,

I will teach you in my verse
Sounds like corpse, corps, horse and worse

I will keep you, Susy, busy,
Make your head with heat grow dizzy.

Tear in eye your dress you’ll tear,
So shall I! Oh, hear my prayer,

Pray, console your loving poet,
Make my coat look new, dear, sew it!

Just compare heart, beard and heard,
Dies and diet, lord and word,

Sword and sward, retain and Britain.
(Mind the latter, how it’s written).

Made has not the sound of bade,
Say said, pay-paid, laid, but plaid.

Now I surely will not plague you
With such words as vague and ague,

But be careful how you speak,
Say break, steak, but bleak and streak.

Previous, precious, fuchsia, via,
Pipe, snipe, recipe and choir,

Cloven, oven, how and low,
Script, receipt, shoe, poem, toe.

Letter from the editor…

Let’s get started…

Do you see what I did there? I’m in lesson planning mode at the moment. I don’t know if students ever thinks about the effort that goes into created lessons when they’re at school (I know I didn’t). This time of year, post exams, is a chance for teachers to look at old schemes of work and consider how they could be changed, improved, re-vitalised.

I’ve been helping to create the new scheme of work for The Merchant of Venice and I came across this quote from from the title page of the first quarto.

‘The most excellent historie of the merchant of Venice. With the extreame crueltie of
Shylocke the Jewe towards the sayd merchant, in cutting a just pound of his flesh: and
the obtayning of Portia by the choyse of three chests.’

This makes me think several things.

And Finally…

Have our ideas and prejudices really changed that much since Shakespeare’s day?

Some of you may remember the furor some weeks ago around anti-sematism and the Labour party; many of us watched the news reports from the Nazi march in Charlottesville and the Presidents subsequent comments about ‘good people on both sides’, with horror. Here is my question, why are we still fighting about the same things today that we were fighting about over 500 years ago?

If nothing else this has shown me that the ideas and values we see in Shakespeare’s plays are still relevant to us today.

A sobering thought, but one that motivates me to continue with my lesson planning.