I confess, I love labelling things as a ‘challenge’ and making them a regular part of what happens in the classroom (see our weekly writing challenges and our weekly reading challenges for evidence of this). We firmly believe that regular practise is important and so we make time, every fortnight, for our year 11 students to respond to a Literature essay question in a lesson. Thank you to my fantastic Second in English @mscchapple for coming up with the idea and also discovering pretty quickly that it’s best not to use the acronym… (FEC).
In creating these Fortnightly Essay Challenges, I decided to include a ‘Do Now’ activity which involves them reading an opinion about the set text and being prepared to share their responses to it in a discussion before starting on writing their essay. I’ve tried to link these to the essay questions to give students a different perspective; that may not always be possible but I think it’s good for students to have the opportunity to engage with academic perspectives on their texts even if it’s not going to have immediate utility. I think students reading full critical essays is a great thing – and something I encourage – but it’s a real challenge. These ‘Do Now’ activities offer a way in which all of my students can engage with some literary criticism and be supported in their understanding of it through class discussion.
Students follow their writing of the essay with a quick self-assessment before I take the essays in to give feedback on in our next lesson.
Below are the Fortnightly Essay Challenges I’ve created so far. We study: Macbeth, Jekyll and Hyde, An Inspector Calls and the Power and Conflict collection. Feel free to use/adapt for your set texts (Googledrive folder here). I’d welcome any feedback about the essay questions I’ve created and any suggestions for future ones. You might also like to read my question stem posts here and here for generating Lit essay question for AQA Paper 1.
Fortnightly Essay Challenge 1 (AQA Lit Paper 1 Section A):
Fortnightly Essay Challenge 2 (AQA Lit Paper 1 Section B):
Fortnightly Essay Challenge 3 (AQA Lit Paper 2 Section A):
Fortnightly Essay Challenge 4 (AQA Lit Paper 2 Section B):
Fortnightly Essay Challenge 5