Year 9 English

Unit Content
Unit 1

Dystopian writing

Students read a range of dystopian texts and produce a piece of creative writing using the knowledge they acquire over the unit. They learn to craft the opening scene of a dystopian novel. Students are introduced to an advanced vocabulary which they can use in their writing.

Extracts include: Divergent by Veronica Roth, 1984 by George Orwell, Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro, The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas by Ursula K. Le Guin, The Supreme Lie by Geraldine McCaughrean, Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury, War of the Worlds by H. G. Wells and The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood.

Key knowledge developed:

  • Understanding the drop-zoom-flash-echo technique used in creative writing
  • Understanding the purpose of dystopian writing and the common features of the genre
  • Understanding how writers use different linguistic and structural devices to create atmosphere, character and narrative

Key skills developed:

  • How to draft and edit a piece of creative writing over a series of lessons, using the techniques studied in this unit
  • How to use an advanced vocabulary in creative writing

Assessment: Over the course of the unit, students meticulously craft the opening to a dystopian novel, focusing on descriptive writing and the creation of world and character. The skills and knowledge developed in this unit are also tested in the second formal assessment, in Term 5, where students write a descriptive piece inspired by an image.

Unit 2

Novel study

Students read Susan Hill's The Woman in Black, developing their understanding of how to annotate a text and construct analytical point-evidence-explanation paragraphs. The novel prepares students for their work in English at KS4 by providing opportunities to learn from the writer's complex language choices, interesting structural devices and nods to the themes and style of nineteenth-century fiction.

Key knowledge developed:

  • Understanding the characters, plot and themes of Hill's novel
  • Understanding how the writer uses linguistic and structural devices

Key skills developed:

  • How to learn, recall and interpret a range of quotations from across a book-length text
  • How to select and deploy relevant information from across the full extent of the text
  • How to produce a confident, personalised response that explores and engages with a range of aspects of the book

Assessment: Learning is assessed through an exam-style assessment at the beginning of Term 3. Students are expected to explore and analyse ideas from the text and then to produce a piece of creative writing in a style similar to Susan Hill's.

Unit 3

Romeo and Juliet

Students explore and understand Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet. They read the text in its entirety and have the opportunity to see an adaptation of the play. This unit provides a context in which students develop their exam technique and their skills in written analysis.

Key knowledge developed:

  • Understanding the characters and plot in Shakespeare's play
  • Understanding themes of love and hate, fate, conflict, family, youth and age
  • Understanding Shakespeare's use of linguistic, structural and theatrical devices
  • Understanding the context of Elizabethan society and its influence on the play
  • Understanding what the text reveals about the time at which it was written and the time in which it was set

Key skills developed:

  • How to navigate, interpret and analyse a play confidently
  • How to learn, recall and interpret key quotations from an entire play
  • How to select and deploy relevant information from across the full extent of the text
  • How to produce an assured and personalised response to the play, exploring different aspects of the text

Assessment: Students are assessed in class at the end of the unit. They are given an extract from the play and required to write an extended essay response building on skills they have developed in previous units. Demonstrating their understanding of how Shakespeare creates interesting characters will be key.

Unit 4

Taking a Stand

Students explore a number of powerful speeches on a diverse range of topics. These provide inspiration for speeches of their own, which they present to the class at the end of the unit. Students explore what contributes to a successful and inspirational speech and attempt to replicate these features in their own writing. They also develop essential skills relating to presenting ideas and responding to questions.

Texts studied: A range of contemporary speeches by David Attenborough, Emma Gonzalez, Katlego Kolanyane-Kesupile, Suriya Aisha, Amanda Gorman, Michelle Obama and poet Tomfoolery will be studied as part of this unit.

Key knowledge developed:

  • Understanding how writers use linguistic and structural devices to engage an audience
  • Understanding how speakers use intonation, cadence and other devices to engage an audience
  • Understanding the conventions of a formal presentation

Key skills developed:

  • How to identify and replicate linguistic and structural devices in written speeches
  • How to use a sophisticated vocabulary
  • How to write, edit and produce a coherent speech using a range of engaging devices
  • How to make an effective presentation using appropriate intonation, cadence and other spoken devices
  • How to listen and respond appropriately to questions and feedback

Assessment: Students are required to write their own inspirational speech in response to a given brief. Students present their speeches in front of their peers and take questions from the audience.

Unit 5

Poetry from World War One

Students learn to read and explore a number of poems from a specific time period: World War One. They develop the skills required to analyse contextual influences on poetry, building on the knowledge of poetic forms that they gained in Years 7 and 8. They utilise their knowledge of conflict from their studies in the History curriculum and explore, through poetry, how attitudes towards conflict change over time.

Poems studied: 'The Soldier' by Rupert Brooke (1915), 'Who's for the Game?' by Jessie Pope (1915), 'War Girls' by Jessie Pope (1916), 'In Flanders Fields' by John McCrae (1916), 'Dulce et Decorum Est' by Wilfred Owen (1917), 'Aftermath' by Siegfried Sassoon (1919), 'Mametz Wood' by Owen Sheers (2005).

Key knowledge developed:

  • Understanding what a poem means
  • Understanding the different linguistic tools a poet can use to create meaning
  • Understanding how poems are structured to create meaning
  • Understanding the context of a chosen poem and how it contributes to meaning

Key skills developed:

  • How to navigate a poem and to interpret it and analyse it confidently
  • How to learn, recall and interpret a range of key quotations from a poem
  • How to select a range of relevant information from a poem
  • How to produce a confident, personalised response to a poem that explores a range of aspects of the text
  • How to compare poems written on similar themes
  • How to present ideas in a clear, succinct and logical manner
  • How to respond to questions about a chosen poem

Assessment: In this unit, students will be assessed on their ability to explore how attitudes towards war and conflict change over time. They can choose to write a formal essay on this topic or to present their ideas in a more creative way.