In Year 7 students begin to consolidate core skills and strong foundations for future success in English. The curriculum aims to enthuse and engage students in English, develop confidence and a love of reading and writing as well as introduce them to their literary heritage and the different functions language and literature can perform. We embed speaking and listening and discussion skills in every scheme we teach in order to encourage students to think for themselves on a range of topics and to begin to see each other as resources. In year 7 we really want to build that assurance that they can speak openly about their interpretations as this will only serve them in their school career to come.
We begin the year by studying Susan Cooper’s ‘The Dark is Rising’, a powerful bildungsroman that teaches the students to be brave in face of adversity; that resilience pays off and to fight for what you believe in. Throughout the study of this text, we will analyse writer’s methods, characters and themes and also have the opportunity for more creative tasks such as descriptive writing and autobiographical writing. For their assessment,students will be given a choice of tasks to give them some autonomy over their own learning and be allowed to write about themselves in the style of Cooper - an added advantage of the project being that we all get to know each other better from this piece of writing.
Students then move on to studying ‘Poetry from Different Times and Traditions,’ a topic which aims to cultivate an appreciation of poetry in all its forms and practices. We begin our study looking at Chaucer’s ‘The Canterbury Tales’ and analyse how poetry can be used to tell stories and entertain audiences, before enjoying a journey through history ending in the study of the current Poet Laureate and assessing how poetry can be used to aid our mental health and well-being. Again, this topic allows our students to meet their literary heritage and gives them the chance to connect with their emotions, and explore personalities from the past. Throughout the topic the students will do a range of both reading and writing tasks- analysing and exploring poet’s methods and motives for writing and creating their own poems to be published in NHGS’s Year 7 Poetry Anthology. They also participate in the Poetry By Heart Competition.
In the Spring Term students begin their News Report project. In this project students develop language skills in real-life contexts and are taught to understand how powerful language can be in shaping interpretation and opinion. We look at bias in articles and writer’s rhetoric in order to understand how and why we should make up our own minds about the world around us. We have a focus on Fake News and internet safety as well as teaching the students the conventions of transactional writing to add to their skillset. This topic aims to equip them with the tools they need to navigate our fast-paced, ever changing, news driven world and how they can become a part of it.
Throughout their school career students will read a Shakespeare text in English every year. In Year 7 we begin by reading ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ with a focus on the representation of female characters and the concept of gender representation. Students will study the text, exploring big ideas and character, as well as themes and messages. They will have the opportunity to act in class and bring famous characters such as Puck to life through their own interpretation of character, before giving a speech on how the female characters in this play are presented in accordance with other female Shakespearean characters. As a farcical play, the students will enjoy the fun and comedic elements of this play but will also be given an appreciation of Shakespearean language and how gender roles have changed throughout time.
Following Shakespeare, the students continue to be challenged with canonical literature as we move on to study George Orwell’s ‘Animal Farm.’ ‘Animal Farm’ is an allegory which on the surface tells the story of self-governing farm animals but is really an analogy of the Russian Revolution. Students will begin to see how novels and language can be used to shape understanding of contextual and historical events through character and theme. It is a classic satire that will not only allow students to develop their exploratory skills for English, but also teach them about totalitarianism, political tyranny and the importance of British values such as: Democracy, Rule of Law, Respect, Tolerance and Individual Liberty.
Finally, students build their drama skills through the study of classical Greek Theatre. Greek Theatre brings together elements of myth, ritual, religion, dance, music and literature, builds on work done on Greek myth in Cultural Studies, and gives students an opportunity to study the origins of well known narratives still used today.
Throughout their time in English the students will also have the opportunity to visit the LRC and engage in our reading challenge: NHGS 99, read widely around the topics discussed in class and have the opportunity to undertake their own research to assist their understanding and their learning. They are also encouraged to participate in extracurricular activities such as Poetry By Heart, Debating and Creative Writing.
Visits by writers are arranged where possible. They also are encouraged throughout the year to engage in a range of projects and competitions such as the BBC 500 word story and the Calderdale Book of the Year.
- ‘The Dark is Rising’ and Autobiography
- Poetry Across Different Times and Traditions
- BBC News Report
- ‘A Midsummer Night's Dream’
- Animal Farm
- Greek Theatre
Homework is set regularly by subject teachers. Students are expected to read daily.
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