Get Revising!

Posted: January 28, 2016 in Uncategorized

It’s never too early to start revising. By now you should have sorted out your revision timetable and gathered all the revision materials you need. But if not, don’t worry, it’s never too late…

To get you started, here are some useful hints and tips:

To create a revision timetable: create a timetable

Apps to help revision: best revision apps

Revision tips from AQA: revision tips  interactive tips top ten tips

If you need inspiration:

How to become a scholar: Becoming a scholar – v 1 Form time


English revision sites:

For revision videos for the AQA Language paper (H and F) from Mr Bruff

BBC Bitesize, English Language

BBC Bitesize, English Literature










As we approach the end of term, it’s good to spend some time reflecting on how you did over the last term, but it’s also good to focus on what you will do differently next term.

January will be a busy time, there will be new units of study to start and mock exams to prepare for. Here’s a run down of what’s to come…

Year 10 – we will be heading into the dark world of witchcraft and regicide in Shakespeare’s iconic Scottish play, Macbeth.

Year 11 will be continuing with their literature course, studying Susan Hill’s classic Victorian pastiche The Woman in Black with it’s fabulous blend of gothic and ghost story elements.

Year 12 will be starting their year with mock AS exams focusing on: The Tempest or Twelfth Night (Component 1 Shakespeare), The Great Gatsby (Component 2 Prose post 1900).

Following the exams, they will embark on new units: Alan Bennett’s play The History Boys (Component 2 Drama post 1990) and selected poems of Christina Rossetti (Component 1 Poetry pre-1900)

Year 13 (A2) will be completing coursework and covering the work of William Blake to compare with John Ford and studying Shakespeare’s The Tempest with Mrs Statters.

Don’t forget, you can find a range of resources to support your learning, right here on the Blog. Details of courses and units can be found at the top of the homepage.

PS It’s never too soon to start revision! 🙂





Image  —  Posted: December 10, 2015 in Uncategorized

Big boom in stats

Posted: May 18, 2015 in Uncategorized

Thanks for using the blog. I hope you’re  finding it useful. Keep me posted on what resources you want/need. Don’t forget yr 11 and 13, you can still use Edmodo for exam practice too. Follow me on Twitter for regular revision tips and resources: @mrsjgibbs. Good luck for the rest of your exams. 😊


Write here, write now

Posted: March 31, 2015 in Uncategorized

Write here, write now

I’m in awe (and frankly jealous) of one of my friends who set themselves the challenge of writing a haiku poem every day for a year. So far, the results of this have had me enthralled, not least because he has enlisted the artistic talents of a colleague to bring his words to life with an accompanying image. The results can be seen here: 

So far the subjects of these literary canapés have been wide-ranging and have included: work, teenage daughters, the eclipse, a garden shed and, most poignantly, the death of a family pet, proving that haikus can capture ideas so much bigger than themselves.

The thing I really love about this is the commitment to an idea. I wonder whether I’ll ever have the motivation and staying power to do something similar. 

Right now revision is probably taking all your commitment and motivation, and rightly so, but if, like me, you envy the creativity and discipline of my friend’s venture but you’re always putting things off, then maybe it’s time to start something of your own, write here, write now.

New App to submit homework

Posted: March 13, 2015 in Uncategorized

edmodoI’m trialling a new way to hand in homework. Since there’s always a drama with printing and emails, I’m now using a free app called Edmodo. It’s easy to use, simply register as a student. Login in and set up a password. Every time I set you homework, I will give you an access code. Log in to Edmodo, enter the code and you’ll see what assignment you need to complete and your deadline, you can even submit your work simply by uploading your completed work. I welcome your feedback, so let me know what you think.

How do you eat an elephant?

Posted: February 12, 2015 in Uncategorized

In just 12 weeks, the exam season will begin. Right now, that seems like a long time away but, believe me, it will soon pass. For many, revision can seem like a daunting task. I’ve been asked questions such as ‘where do I start?’ and ‘how do I revise?’. And of course, there’s the problem of juggling parental expectations with having a life, not to mention the fact that revision is actually pretty boring.

In my recent flexi lesson, we talked about  the best ways to approach revision. We began by creating an overview. In other words, write down or mind map everything you need to know for each subject. Actually, the students were surprised at how much clearer everything seemed once they could see a list of the skills and topics they needed to know. Knowing what you need to know sounds obvious but do make sure you understand what exams you have and what topics you will be questioned on. Understand the assessment objectives and if you’re not sure, ASK!

Next, we looked at all the resources available to make the job a bit easier. From revision guides to online videos, we discussed where to get the help you need. Your text books and exercise books, teachers, each other, websites, blogs, documentaries, past papers… the list is seemingly endless. So do some research and find out what you need to give you the information you need and test your skills.

Finally, we talked about all the different ways to revise. People learn in different ways. The best advice is to mix it up. Combine mind-maps of topic areas with flash cards or post-it notes with quotations or key vocabulary. Do a practice exam question one day and design acronyms for formulas the next.

Making a timetable will be really helpful but don’t be so rigid that you can’t change your mind according to your mood. Some days you just can’t face quadratic equations! Aim to spend one hour per week on each subject, increasing this as the exams get nearer to 2 or even 3 hours. Break each hour up into 20 minute segments, doing a different revision activity every 20 minutes. For English this could be: read and summarise the main points of a chapter of your prose text, then mindmap the language, context and themes of a poem followed by a practice exam question from the language paper (12 minutes for an 8 mark question with 5 minutes reading time.)

Tackling the thorny issue of revision early on makes sense. Leaving it to the last minute will mean stress and possible failure. You just can’t cover 4 years work in one night! So don’t leave it to the last minute.

So how DO you eat an elephant? One bite at a time, starting today! Good luck.

I’m happy to mark any practice questions.

Flexi timetable

Posted: January 27, 2015 in Uncategorized

Dear students, please see my flexi timetable that goes right up to the exams. Please note that these dates may be subject to change. Other members of faculty will also be providing poetry flexis and details will shortly be published.

Mrs Gibbs Flexi Programme

Looking for silver linings.

Posted: January 12, 2015 in Uncategorized

So far, January has been a bit bleak. Bleak weather and even bleaker news. It would be easy to see only the negative things around us. For some, this may also include disappointing mock exam results or progress reports. But as spring approaches, it’s time to look with positivity towards the future. With every mistake comes the possibility to turn things around. How do you plan to do this?

What’s important now is to get a plan of action together and get on with it! So if you’re down in the dumps, look for those silver linings…

Get revision plans underway
Find out when flexi lessons are so you can plan which ones you need to attend
Complete any missing coursework- it’s YOUR responsibility
Know your target grade!
Grasp every learning opportunity
Do your best!

I hope this term will be a positive one for all my students. 🙂

As we come to the end of another busy term, it’s time to reflect on your successes, and perhaps more importantly, where you need to improve. Hopefully you have received lots of helpful feedback this term to help you improve your skills. The use of DITs seems to be paying off and you’re now much better at responding to the feedback you have been given.

The Christmas holidays will obviously be a time to rest and have fun, but for some, there’s still work to be done. For year 12 this means working on the first draft of their AS coursework as well as reading Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray.

Year 11 might like to buy their own copies of Susan Hill’s The Woman In Black and get reading so that they keep one step ahead of the spooky goings on!

But to all of you, I hope that you have an amazing holiday and I look forward to welcoming you back in January 2015!

Celebrating Success

Posted: October 9, 2014 in Uncategorized

We’re now well into the Autumn term and so far, I’ve been amazed at the hard work and enthusiasm shown by all my students.

Year 8 are currently grappling with grammar and I’m loving our fast-paced lessons. I’ll let you into a little secret too… these lessons are reminding me of some of the grammar rules I had forgotten, so my own writing is also improving!

Year 9 are LOVING ‘Of Mice and Men’. So far we’ve had great fun reading, hot-seating and role-playing characters as well as building on our year 8 progress and writing some great PEE+E paragraphs. I’m so impressed with how they are seeing Steinbeck’s skill as a writer and are able to infer deeper meanings from the text. Great stuff!

Year 10 have already tackled one piece of coursework for their GCSE English Language and are fast approaching their second. Their dedication to their work and their determination to improve their reading and writing skills is truly humbling. Go for it!

Year 11 are about to embark on their second text for their English Literature Coursework. We’ve just finished Macbeth and I’ve been blown away by the quality of their written work. Not only are they becoming truly skilled writers, but they are able to comment on Shakespeare’s use of language structure and form with real confidence. Impressive!

Year 12 are getting to grips with Shaffer’s intense play ‘Equus’ and learning what it means to be an academic writer. I think some were a bit bemused by the horse that came to school, but I hope they saw the value in spending time up close and personal with this fascinating animal that is at the heart of the text we are studying. Larkin’s poetry is also on the menu and they are responding really well to the challenge of his cynical style.

Finally, year 13 are loving the revenge tragedy of the Renaissance period and we’re so looking forward to our trip to the Jacobean Theatre at the Globe in November.

Don’t forget to keep checking the Blog for extra resources to support your learning and, if you haven’t already done so, please complete my short survey on homework (link in my previous post).

Well done again for a fantastic start to the term. 🙂

Mrs G