‘Of Mice and Men’ Revision: Quotation Hunt

As I’ve said in previous posts, students waste a fair amount of time, in the exam, searching through the book for a quotation to use in their essay (the evils of open-book examinations). The quicker students can navigate their way around the text the better and the following activitiy can serve as a quick, competitive starter to help achieve this.

How you want to arrange this is up to you – students in pairs, in teams or a few standing up with the winner staying on but the ‘Quotation Hunt’ is simple: you shout out an event from the book or a key quotation and the first person to find the page it’s on wins e.g. the first person to find the page where Curley’s Wife tells Lennie about her dreams.

Hopefully this will build up students’ confidence with navigating their way around the text and reinforce the idea that the better they know the text the easier it will be to find useful  quotations in the exam.


‘Of Mice and Men’ Revision: Speed Dating


A lot of students waste a fair amount of time in the exam hunting for quotations to use. There’s a common misconception that you either don’t need to revise (because you’ve got the book in the exam room with you) or that you can’t revise for English. Both of these, of course, are rubbish.

Get your students to work together to come up with a list of key quotations for the novel – relating to key themes, characters etc. (they can do this in groups). Give each student one of these quotations. Individually they need to analyse their quotation for the language Steinbeck has used/effect and comment on how this quotation is important.

Now the logistics…students need to be in pairs facing each other. You need to arrange the room so that every student will meet every other student – so perhaps an outside circle moving one way and an inside circle moving the other. I would suggest that you give about 5 minutes per date and, if you can, have some kind of bell to signal the time to move on.

At each ‘date’ both students will share their key quotation, their analysis and why they think it is important. They can add to eachother’s notes and I would encourage higher ability students to discuss alternative interpretations.

By the end of the dating, students will have a list of key quotations with linguistic analysis and comments on their importance. They can use this to learn key quotations for the exam and be in a strong position to already meet the objectives of analysing the language. It will also save them time searching for quotations to use in the exam. In later stages of revision you could always give students past questions and see which of the key quotations they would use – we don’t want them shoe-horning quotations in just because they’ve learnt them.

Of course, just the process of discussing quotations, the lanage used and it’s significance is worthwhile without students learning the quotations.

Poetry Consequences

I have been revising ‘Poetry From Different Cultures’ with my year 11s recently and tried this approach with them to get them linking poems together. In the Paper 2 exam they have to compare/contrast two poems and the ways in which the poets present a particular theme or idea.

Basically this involves students writing what they know about the theme/interpretation/language/structure of a poem on a piece of paper before passing it on to somebody else. The next person needs to try and think of a poem that links to the first and compare/contrast it in terms of interpretation, language and structure and pass the piece of paper on. The next student has to decide which poem links to the second and so on and so forth.

The aim is that each student will end up with a piece of paper that shows links between poems which should hopefully be a useful revision tool. In fact, the very act of playing the consequences game is to practise their skills of comparing and contrasting as this is the key element in the question they will be asked. I will try and scan a copy in of one of the consequences sheets produced last lesson so you can see what it looks like.

 I think this could be easily adapted as a revision tool for the Literature paper where students have to link four poems. The first student could write about a Duffy poem, the second would link this to an Armitage poem and the final two would be linking pre-1914 poems. It might be better, in this case, to restrict students to a particular theme, for example ‘death’, as comparing and contrasting four poems is that bit more demanding.

Revision Game: Splat


This is not a game of my creation but it is certainly a revision tool that I have used and my class have enjoyed it. Essentially it can be adapted to suit any revision – for example you can use it to revise poems, a play, prose and even literary devices. I’m sure it can be adapted beyond this but the couple of times we’ve played it we’ve used it to revise poems from the anthology….

Right, so going a bit post-it note crazy you write poems from the anthology onto sepearate post-its. You place these up around the room and for fun you might scatter them high and low to make it a bit more difficult. You divide the class into two competing teams and each team has a representative (runner – these can be changed and you could even attempt some relay action). You might give a quotation from the poem and the students have to run to the correct post-it note, put their hands over it and shout ‘SPLAT’. The first there scores a point for their team. You might want to move on from giving quotations to talking about the key theme of a poem or anything else you can think of. Adapt away.

The game gets quite interesting as teams can help their representative but they need to try and do so without giving the point away to the opposition. This encourages cooperation and a bit of tactical play which is always amusing. I find this game is a good kinaesthetic way of getting a bit of revision in.