Wow, this half term has gone really quickly! Although, I’m sure you’ll totally agree with me that you can’t wait to have some time off next week. I hope you all enjoy whatever you have planned and come back ready for more ME fun in the new half term.
It has been great to see higher attendance in classes this half term and as a result of this some great work has been produced – well done to you all! Let’s keep this up after the holiday.
Over your break, if you find yourself with some free time and are unsure what to do with it, have a look some of the links below.
Formula was a big part of this term and also a big part of your end exam, have a go at some of these exam questions to test your skills:
This half term was all about geometry – it was rather fun wasn’t it? Now you are armed with all of the key knowledge to be able to answer exam questions effectively. Test your skills by having a go at these questions:
This week you all took the writing assessment, which will give you a good idea what the questions in your end exam will look like. These will be marked and returned to you after half term, so you will be able to see if there are any areas that we need to work on together.
If you would like to have a look at other sample writing papers to see the different questions types that could be asked, click here.
This half term has seen you finalising the work required to complete 15% of your GCSE English qualification - doesn’t it feel great to have that done?
If you still haven’t completed this assessment, or any of the other controlled assessments, make sure you get in touch with your tutor as soon as possible and they will arrange with you a time to complete this.
3/2/2017 - THIS WEEK'S ROUNDUP
‘Target setting’: a term you will have heard a lot this year in your time at College. It is important that you know your targets for your full study programme at College, including maths and English.
Make sure that you are aware of your target and the steps that you must take to help you reach your target grade. If you are not sure of what you need to do, speak with your teacher. Don’t forget we are running extra support sessions outside of classes that you can attend; these are a great way of helping you meet your targets - please see last week’s post for the schedule.
Bisector, radius, perpendicular, equidistant and segment - can you remember what all these words mean? In case you were wondering, we honestly didn’t make these words up just for fun this week to make maths sound more complicated!
Knowing these words will help you create the accurate drawings needed in the exams and score those ‘easy’ marks. Just remember, resist the temptation to get your ruler out and draw what you think looks like an accurate drawing. Instead, take out that ‘pointy thing’ (as many of you described it this week - otherwise known as a compass) from your geometry set, along with your protractor if needed, and create the drawing complete with the constructions lines - which you don’t rub out once you are finished.
If you want to have a go at some further questions click here and once finished you can check your answers here.
Measure conversions: why are there so many of them? This is a view which has been shared many times in classes this week. Yet wouldn’t you rather know which one of the following to choose: 1 bag filled with 1000mg of your favourite chocolate or 1 bag filled with 100g of your favourite chocolate – I certainly know which one I would go for!
I can’t emphasise enough how knowing your conversions will be such a big help to you in your exam. Try to learn one section each week: this will make them seem easier to remember rather than trying to do it all at once.
After preparing for it since before Christmas, this week we finally had the extended literary reading controlled assessment, AKA ‘the one about Of Mice and Men’. You should have completed the two-hour assessment on atmosphere and mood in chapter 5. That means you will have just earned another 15% of your entire GCSE English qualification!
If you missed this, or any of the other controlled assessments, get in touch with your tutor as soon as possible to agree when you will catch up.
We’re heading towards the end of another half term – where does the time go? – and that means it’s a time to reflect on the progress we’ve made, and wrap up anything outstanding.
This week, you will have been finishing off any speaking and listening assessments you didn’t manage to complete before Christmas. This is a vital part of your functional skills English qualification – you can’t pass without it! – as well as helping you develop really useful tools for communicating appropriately with those around you.
27/1/2017 - THIS WEEK'S ROUNDUP
Hopefully you all saw the post yesterday about our support sessions that will be running from next week. These will be a great way to support the work that you are doing in class and increase your chances of achieving or exceeding your course targets. Please check the timetable from the last post and see which sessions you can attend next week, we look forward to seeing you there.
I hope you enjoyed this week’s lesson; once you cracked what corresponding angles, alternate angles and supplementary angles meant, answering the questions became a lot easier - didn’t it? Why don’t you refresh or test your knowledge of identifying these types of angles by taking this quiz.
Don’t forget that when answering the exam questions, your reasons for how you worked out the angle can give you just as many marks as getting the angle correct, so make sure you include all of the key words that your tutor told you about this week in session. For example, Angle A = 60 ° because corresponding angles are equal.
Exam techniques are key skills that are vital to ensure that you are able to read the questions correctly and score the maximum marks available. This week, your teacher will have shown you the best way to approach an exam question and the key things to look out for. Remember, the layout of your answers are so important - if you have completed a calculation, no matter how easy it may seem, make sure you write it down. Even if your final answer is incorrect, you can score marks for showing correct calculations in your previous work for that question.
Remember you can always access practice papers for your target level by clicking here. Once completed, you can check your answers and ask your tutor to help you with any that you were unsure of.
Over the last three weeks in functional skills English, you should have covered the three related topics of: presentational features; fact, opinion and bias; and persuasive techniques.
While understanding of persuasive techniques mainly tested for on the level 2 paper, everyone should learn about this valuable topic. Every day, we’re bombarded with adverts, slogans, and personalities, all fighting for our time, money, or both. Understanding when someone isn’t giving us the full picture (remember bias from last week?) and the techniques they may use to convince us, helps us to make more informed choices about who we listen to and what products or services we buy.
Not only that, but you can begin to use these techniques yourself to get your point across more effectively in a debate, a text message, a letter, or anywhere else.
As always, check with your teacher if you’ve missed out on any of the valuable learning for any of these topics. In the next two weeks before half-term, we’re going to wrap up the Speaking and Listening and complete a mock exam paper to check your progress.
I hope you all enjoyed the screening of Of Mice and Men on Wednesday afternoon. So, Lennie got shot at the end – who saw that coming?
This week you will have looked at how to structure your controlled assessment essay, and will have put your knowledge of chapter 5 into practice in a mock assessment. If you found yourself struggling to have enough to write about, then you really need to have another look at any independent learning activities your teacher has given you, and have a chat with your teacher about how you can get ready for next week’s assessment. Don’t wait until next week: act now.
As a reminder, your essay question is:
"How does Steinbeck create drama through changes in mood and atmosphere in 'the barn scene' of Of Mice and Men? Show your understanding of how this relates to the rest of the novella.”
Once next week’s assessment is completed, you will have achieved 30% of your GCSE English qualification!
26/1/2017 - LAUNCH OF MATHS AND ENGLISH SUPPORT CLASSES
Do you feel like you could benefit from some extra help and support with your maths and English in addition to attending your classes?
All of us in the maths & English team want to give you as much support as we can to help you reach or exceed your target grades this year, so we have set up some sessions that will start next week from Monday 30th January.
Attending these sessions will help you work on any topics that you are finding challenging or would like extra practice on. Now is the time to start working on those areas, so don’t wait until the week before your exam; act now. If you need to know which topic that you need to focus on ask your tutors, they will be more than happy to help you.
There is no need to book into any of the sessions if you would like to come, just look at the timetable here and see which sessions you can attend.
We look forward to seeing you next week!
20/1/2017 - THIS WEEK'S ROUNDUP
Another week has passed already!
It’s been great to see so many of you in classes this week, but make sure you keep this up until the end of the year!
Attendance to your maths and English classes is so important to make sure that you don’t miss out on any of the key subject content delivered in class, which will help you progress your skills in preparation for your exams.
Remember those with higher attendance in class have a greater chance of achieving their target level.
This week in ME classes:
Calculating the interior and exterior angles of polygons was the topic for this week – can you remember how to explain what a polygon is?
Interior and exterior angles of polygons are a part of your geometry study which will definitely appear in your final exam, so make sure that you learn the formulae that your teacher shared with you this week.
Once you have completed them you can check your answers and ensure you have shown your calculations here.
I hope you enjoyed looking at formula this week and at the end of your session you agreed with what I said last week; it really isn’t too hard – you just need to work through it step by step and remember to write down all the calculations that you have done.
Formulae is topic that will most likely be tested in your final exam – do you remember seeing it in your mock paper? – so it is important that you keep practising your skills to make sure that you keep them current. To help, you can have a go at these previous formula exam questions for level 1 or level 2.
We’re really gearing up for the Of Mice and Men Controlled assessment now and, at 15% of your overall grade, it’s a biggie. As you should know, your assessment will be on the atmosphere in section 5, the ‘barn scene’ – that’s the dramatic part where Lennie accidentally kills Curley’s wife, but we’ve all seen it coming way before it actually happens. You’ll have been looking very closely at this section this week. To achieve the best marks, you will need to be really familiar with this whole section (it’s only about 13 pages), so it’s worth re-reading a couple of times before the assessment. To help with your preparation you can access some revision material for Chapter 5 by clicking here.
OF MICE AND MEN SCREENING
There will be screenings of the film Of Mice & Men next week on Wednesday 25th January, at both Hitchin & Stevenage Campuses. We look forward to seeing you there – this will be great way to help refresh your memory of the plot before the controlled assessment the following week.
Hitchin – 3pm in the main atrium
Stevenage – 3pm in the community hall.
‘Fact, opinion and bias’ was the topic this week, and being able to identify these three correctly is a vital skill not just for the exam, but for everyday life. Advertisers, journalists, and politicians all use one-sided arguments (‘bias’) and disguise their opinions as facts in order to get you to buy something, believe something, or support a particular person.
Being able to confidently tell when you’re not being given the whole story is a powerful tool to stop you getting caught out when you need to buy something expensive, when you’re reading or watching the news, or when you need to decide who to vote for. If you missed out on this essential lesson, make sure to contact your teacher so you can catch up.
13/1/2017 - THIS WEEK'S ROUNDUP
The November re-sit results for GCSE English and GCSE maths were released yesterday and overall they were great set of results, with over 60% of students obtaining a Grade C. Well done to all of you who achieved your grade C, the ME team and all at NHC are delighted for you, all of your hard work has paid off.
This week in ME classes:
You all completed you calculator paper mocks completed this week *, results will be given to you next week. Make sure you take the time to review your papers once given back to you, to identify any areas that you still need to work on, your tutor will support you with this.
*If you have not yet taken/completed your paper you need to arrange with your tutor to do this next week.
Next week you will start your geometry module, don't forget to bring your equipment with you to class (protractor, compass, pencil, rubber and ruler).
FUNCTIONAL SKILLS MATHS
This week you studied the lovely subject of scale, hopefully now you feel more confident calculating the real life measurements would be from a scale drawing and also be able to create a scale drawing from using a given scale. If you would like to test yourself on what you have learned this week, why don’t you complete this quiz (select your target level).
Next week we will look at formula, another great subject, which isn’t as hard as you think – so make sure you are in class for this.
In this week’s lesson, you will have started an in-depth analysis of the novella- Of Mice & Men. It will have helped you to gain further understanding of the expectation of exam requirements. This is inclusive of character analysis, symbolism of the dead mouse, exploring loneliness of the characters, foreshadowing and the relationship between George and Lennie.
I really can’t say it enough, but having a confident knowledge of the book as a whole is what will help you maximise your marks in this assessment so please make sure that you have read the full text.
Notice for Hitchin Campus students – there will be a screening of the film Of Mice & Men in the main Atrium at 3pm on Wednesday 25th January, all students are invited to attend (what a good way to refresh your memory of the plot).
FUNCTIONAL SKILLS ENGLISH
‘Presentational Features’ was the subject of this week’s lesson. That’s a fancy term for things like headings, sub-headings, pictures, links, etc. (how many more can you name?) These are the things which organise texts and stop them being boring blocks of plain writing.
Now that they’re in your mind, you might start noticing them everywhere: on signs and posters around the college, in resources for your vocational lessons, at the bus stop or train station, in the supermarket or on websites.
Make sure you look over your notes from this week to help you in next week’s session.
6/1/2017 - WELCOME BACK AND HAPPY NEW YEAR
Welcome back and happy New Year everyone! I hope you all had a lovely break and are refreshed and ready for the new term ahead.
Just a reminder and to ensure you don’t miss out on the important skills that you will need for your exams, attending all of your maths and English classes is essential. If you know you missed some classes last term, why don’t you make your New Year’s resolution to attend all of your English and maths classes for the rest of this year.
Now let’s get going with this week’s roundup:
Hopefully you all enjoyed reviewing the non-calculator paper that you completed before Christmas. Don’t be disappointed if you didn’t score as highly as you wanted; use this as an opportunity to know what you still need to work on, set targets to help you learn these skills and with the support of your tutors you can work to achieve these.
Next week, you will be completing the second part of the mock the calculator paper. Please make sure that you remember to bring a scientific calculator with you. Luckily if you don’t yet have one, the lovely January sales will allow you to get one cheaply, like this one from Tesco.
If you need a quick refresher on how to use all of the functions on your calculator click here or you would like to have a go at a practice paper before next week click here for foundation tier or click here for the higher tier.
FUNCTIONAL SKILLS MATHS
The assessment feedback you have been given from the assessment before the Christmas break will have helped you focus on any areas that you may still need to work, remember to ask your tutor if you need any extra help.
I hope you enjoyed (re)reading Of Mice and Men over the Christmas break. What’s your favourite part? For me, the death of Curley’s wife in chapter five has to be the stand-out moment: everything throughout the whole story has been leading up to this event, and this one careless act of Lennie grabbing her a little too hard leads to George having to make that awful decision at the end.
Because chapter five is such a key part of the novella, we’ll be writing our essay about this chapter during the week of the 23rd January. In your lesson this week you will have looked at the structure of chapter five, some of the terminology you’ll be using to describe it, and you’ll have had a go at writing some PETER paragraphs ahead of next week’s mock assessment.
You’ll also have done a recap quiz to check if you know Candy from Carlson, the bunkhouse from the barn, or your mice from your men. And if you’re not sure about any of these, then now’s the time to talk to your teacher, because this is the biggest controlled assessment – 15% of your overall grade!
FUNCTIONAL SKILLS ENGLISH
What better way to jump into a new term than a practice exam paper? Okay, it may not be everyone’s favourite activity, but now that we’ve wrapped up speaking and listening*, it’s time to see how far we have to go until you’re exam-ready. This is really important as it will help us get a clear picture of where your strengths and areas for improvement lie.
Don’t be disheartened if you struggled on this first paper: if you’re getting 100% at this point in the year, then that suggests you’re not on the right level. Just think about how, when you pass at the end of the year, you’ll be able to see how far you’ve come from that first attempt.
16/12/2016 - WELCOME TO OUR BRAND NEW ME BLOG
Throughout this last term, it has been wonderful to see some of the great things you have been doing in your ME classes and hearing stories of the brilliant progress that you have been making. Thank you for all of your hard work – keep this up!
It’s been fantastic to talk with so many of you about how you feel your English and maths classes are going – for those of you who I haven’t yet met, I will definitely be visiting some of your classes in the New Year, so please look out for me.
WHAT IS THIS ALL ABOUT?
As you all know, maths and English is a really important part of your course and we want to ensure that you are successful in achieving the qualification that you are studying with us this year. To help support you, I have created this blog. I will be giving you a weekly summary of the topics that have been covered in class and I’ll also give you some links to access support or practice materials that will allow you to cement your skills – remember practice makes perfect!
This first blog update is an introduction and a summary of term 1, so please excuse the length: there is just so much I want to share with you all!
TERM 1 ROUNDUP
As it is the end of term, I thought it would be useful to do a round up for each maths and English qualification so you can check that you are up to date. Check each qualification that is relevant to you and if there are any areas that you haven’t completed for any reason, please contact your tutor for more information on how to catch up.
This has been a fantastic term for GCSE maths. You have all looked at the full module of number and covered my favourite maths topic, one which I’m sure you all now love as much as I do – algebra! You should have all now completed your Christmas non-calculator mock and are in the process of revising for your calculator mock w/c 9 January 2017.
If you click here, you will find a full list of all the topics covered this term use this to self- assess how up to date you are.
Over the Christmas break, whilst eating that 4th or 5th mince pie or tucking into the second tub of Celebrations, I’m sure, like me, you will have that feeling of maths withdrawal. So why not complete the GCSE maths BKSB diagnostic? This is an excellent way of reviewing your skills from this term and will identify any areas that you still need to work on. Once you have completed it, support modules will be generated for you to complete. These modules can be completed at your own pace. You can access the diagnostic by visiting: www.tinyurl.com/nhcbksb2
FUNCTIONAL SKILLS MATHS
I hope you have all enjoyed this last term in functional skills maths studying a range of useful topic areas that you can use in your everyday life, such as fractions and measures. Particularly useful to you over the next few weeks as you hunt for those last minute presents and grab those bargains at the Boxing Day sales will be the work you completed on money calculations and percentages.
If you click here, you will find a full list of all the topics covered this term. Check to see if there are any topics that you have missed or need to catch up on any work for.
Each of you have also completed a mock assessment last week in class at your target level (entry level 2 to level 2). Thank you for taking the time to complete these to the best of your ability.
I’m sure you will be thinking a lot about maths over the Christmas break and feel the urge to do some practice, so take 30 minutes over the break to work on one of the modules that was identified as an area to work on from your BKSB diagnostic assessment. You can access the diagnostic by visiting: www.tinyurl.com/nhcbksb2
You’ve all been busy in GCSE English this term, flying through the first two controlled assessments for descriptive writing and narrative writing, and even starting preparation for the third controlled assessment; an extended look at John Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men. If you’ve completed both assessments this term, then you’ve already racked up as much as 15% of your overall marks for GCSE English, not to mention learning a selection of powerful descriptive and story-telling techniques which will be useful in your final exam and when writing for any future job.
If you missed either the descriptive or the narrative controlled assessments, or you think you might need to re-sit, you need to contact your tutor ASAP. As a rough guide, you should be aiming for at least 12/20 marks on each assessment. Resources to help you catch up can be found here and here
Looking towards next term, and while everyone bustles around, getting ready for Christmas, what better time to curl up in quiet place with a good book? You might remember a few things about John Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men from previous times you’ve studied it, but then you might be thinking “Did that happen in the book, or was it just in the film?”. The next assessment requires you to be familiar with the whole story, and especially chapter five. You probably have an old copy kicking around, or can find one in your local library, or just follow the link here. Of Mice and Men is a classic tale of friendship in a lonely time, so give it a try this Christmas.
You can also access a GCSE English diagnostic to help identify the areas you need to work on, here: www.tinyurl.com/nhcbksb2
FUNCTIONAL SKILLS ENGLISH
Functional skills English is great, because it covers so many practical writing and communication skills you will be using in work and in everyday life. Just in this first term you’ve practiced: formatting letters and emails; formal and informal communication; identifying and writing for different forms, audiences and purposes; and debating, discussing and (at level 2) delivering presentations. Remember to use what you’ve learned this term when writing your letter to Santa, and for the polite thank you emails you’ll send out after Christmas!
We finished up the term by working on the speaking and listening assessments. For entry level 2, you should now have had two discussions, while entry level 3 and Level 1 students will have had one assessed discussion and one assessed debate. If you’re working towards level 2, then you should have completed a debate and a presentation. If you haven’t done your two tasks, you need to get in touch with your tutor ASAP.
If you would like to look back on any of the material from this term, click here.
To keep English fresh in your mind over the long break, you might also like to have a look at the helpful modules on BKSB, by going to: www.tinyurl.com/nhcbksb2
If you haven’t yet completed the diagnostic assessment, you should do this here first, so the system can suggest resources tailored to your needs.
All of the tutors in the ME team want you to get the most out of your classes, so it is important that you access all of the support offered. If you need any extra support and aren’t sure where to go, simply ask your tutors. Alternatively, you can contact the department by emailing us on email@example.com.
I hope you all have a lovely Christmas break to recharge those batteries and I look forward to seeing you all back in your English and maths classes in the New Year.