A3: ‘What impression…’

Hello Year 10.

Here is a sample answer to the question we looked at this morning:

What impression do you get of Miss Snell in lines 7-22 of ‘Fun with a Stranger’?

I get the impression that Miss. Snell is a traditional, old-fashioned woman. She is ‘probably sixty’ and ‘seemed to smell of pencil shavings and chalk dust’. This makes her seem musty and old. It also gives us the impression that teaching is a big part of her life and has perhaps taken over her identity.

I get the impression that Miss. Snell is quite a harsh teacher. Her eyes are ‘sharp’ and when she speaks it is a ‘snap’. These words make us feel that she has edges – she isn’t soft. She speaks using commands: ‘Don’t mumble’ and ‘Stand up’ which give the impression of an authoritative, perhaps dictatorial figure and her tirades at the pupils are described as ‘lectures’ which emphasise her authority.

She is also highly perceptive; I feel as if she has eyes in the back of her head. They are ‘sharp’ and she ‘almost always’ catches pupils who are talking in class.

This also gives us the impression that Miss. Snell is experienced as a teacher. She4 is used to working with children and has her own idiom for teaching: ‘Proper Supplies’.

She also uses a lot of questions in her speech: ‘Is it…?’ ‘Have you…?’ which makes it seem as if she is interrogating her pupils. We get the impression that she is strict and intimidating. She certainly doesn’t seem much fun. The word ‘humourless’ suggests she never sees the lighter side of life and the word ‘determined’ implies that she will not let others do so either.

Finally, she ‘seemed to have no favourites, and ‘picked on’ one of the good girls. This makes her seem unfair and heartless, or perhaps even gives the impression that she is a bit of a bully. However, it could also imply that she is fair, which creates a slightly more positive impression of her.




Year 11 – Magazine Article

Hellooo. Here are the powerpoints from today’s lesson:

WJEC English Language Writing Paper

Writing Magazine Articles

Also, below is the magazine article we began writing today. The task was taken from the 2011 English Language paper:

Write a lively article for your school or college magazine with the title: ‘How To Survive Your GCSE Year’.

(How timely.)

Remember to PALL before you start, and structure your article using subheadings. Below is the beginning. Please hand in your completed article next Wednesday.


It’s nearly that time of year again! Exam season is almost upon us. Feeling stressed? Read on for some top tips on surviving the stress…

By Ella Coady-Bunge


You’ve probably heard it from teachers, parents and (if you’re really unlucky,) older siblings: Year 11 is the time to ‘get serious’ about your studies and ‘knuckle down’. Time is ticking and there are only X number of days left until study leave. Your heart starts thundering; you feel a rising tide of nausea in the pit of your stomach; Mr. Robertson is waiting outside your form room to find out why you weren’t at your lunchtime intervention session. It can feel overwhelming and you may be tempted to bury your head in the sand. Unfortunately, you can’t, and the sooner you accept that, the better. Ladies, it’s time to get serious.


Managing your time is going to be an essential part of your survival. There are some excellent websites online that offer tools to help you organise your hectic life. Try www.revisionplanner.com and www.revisiontimetable.co.uk to get you going. Make a list of all the topics you need to revise (I’m a sucker for a colour code!) and allocate them to the various slots of time on your calendar. You’ll probably find you’ve got more time than you realise! Use leftover time to plan FUN things to ease the tension. All work and no play can leave your feeling pretty down in the dumps…

A pile of books and a cup of coffee.
A pile of books and a cup of coffee.

GCSE English Language: How to write a Formal Letter

You may be asked to write a formal letter in the Writing section of your English Language exam.

Here is an example from a previous exam paper:

The following is an extract from a letter from a pensioner to your local newspaper:


Dear Editor,


Isn’t it about time we considered raising the legal age for driving from 17? Statistics show that a large proportion of accidents involve drivers aged 17 or 18. The number of casualties is really shocking and, as a result of this, it costs huge sums of money to insure young drivers. Many other countries set the age at 18 and it could make sense to raise it to 20 or even 21.


This may not be a popular suggestion with young people, but it will be for their own good in the long term. I didn’t drive until I was 25 and it didn’t do me any harm.

You decide to write to the newspaper giving our views on this subject.

Write your letter.

 What to do

 1. Jot down the following ‘ingredients’ in your answer booklet, so that you don’t forget them:

  •  Facts / statistics
  • Anecdote
  • Criticise the opposite opinion
  • Rhetorical question

(If you are the kind of person who finds it hard to think of things to say, this can be really helpful. You could even have one paragraph for each ingredient…)

 2.      Decide what your views are going to be. It doesn’t matter what they really are; think about which point of view you will be able to write about most easily.

 3.      Plan what you will put in each paragraph. This might just mean adding some details to the list of ingredients you wrote at the beginning, like this:

  • Facts / statistics – research shows that the majority of RTAs involve drivers aged 22-30. Make up some statistics…
  • Anecdote – tell a personal story about the time my older sister passed her driving test…
  • Criticise the opposite opinion – Explain one of the main reasons people think teenagers are dangerous drivers, and say why it’s not true…
  • Rhetorical question – Could start with this: If we treat teenagers as if they are irresponsible, won’t we ultimately be sending the message that they are?

 You should also number these in the order you think makes the most sense. It’s quite nice to start with a rhetorical question, for example…

 4. Write your letter.

  •  Start a new page in your answer booklet.
  • Write your ‘address’ at the top right hand corner. Write the date underneath.
  • Write the address of the recipient a little way down on the left.
  • Begin formally:

 Dear Sir / Madam,

Dear Editor,

To whom it may concern,

Dear Mr. Codswollop,

 You may want to include a ‘subject’ next, a bit like you would in an email:

 Re.: Raising the legal age for driving

  •  Write 3 – 4 paragraphs, following the plan you made at the beginning. Whatever it is you are writing about, sound as if you are an expert. It should give the reader the impression that you know exactly what you’re talking about. Pay attention to your vocabulary. Some good ways of beginning your paragraphs include:

 I don’t wish to be dogmatic, but I believe…

There are many erudite arguments for / against…

There is a substantial / extensive amount of research indicating that…

The need for action is exigent.

  •  Sign off:

 Yours faithfully, (if you don’t know the name of the person to whom you are writing)

Yours sincerely, (if you do)

Best regards,

 Click on the link below for an example, written by the lovely people in year 11:

 How to Write a Formal Letter

PAT ATE TUNA PASTA: Tips on Transactional Writing

Golly! What a rollercoaster of a lesson on the different types of Writing Tasks in the English Language exam!

Here are some of the highlights:

Writing Newspaper and Magazine Articles

How to Write an A*rticle

More to follow!

Don’t forget to use your ‘chatterboxes’ to revise Speech Writing: PAT ATE TUNA PASTA.

Homework: Read the handout on Transactional Writing for Monday (30th April). Choose ONE of the writing tasks and complete it by next Thursday (3rd May).

Year 11: Easter Holiday Revision


Over the Easter Holidays I would like you to do three things:

1. Focus on the Unseen Poetry section of the English Literature exam. Complete all the revision tasks in the booklet you have been given.

2. Design your own English Language exam. Have a look at this one: English Language exam

and use it as a template for creating your own. You will find it helpful to read this document on the The Six Different Types of Questions in the English Language Unit 1 GCSE exam

You should also write your own mark scheme.

3. Complete any of the revision tasks on this blog that are still outstanding:

Revision Tasks

Don’t forget to follow ‘English and Things’ on Twitter to receive daily Key Quotations for the texts you are studying!