Masterpiece Monday

26 May

Battling for a balanced approach to books?

Are our students surprised by the texts we choose? Image via Flickr user D Services under CC BY-SA 2.0 license

‘Balanced’ is one of the key characteristics that describes a well designed reading curriculum.  As an IB educator, I often have the discussion with my students about why being balanced is one of the most awesome Learner Profile traits.  My students often make the point that being balanced seems to contradict being a risk-taker. I tell them that, actually, being balanced can be a risk of sorts.  This is especially true when it comes to creating an interesting, balanced and stimulating curriculum as an English teacher.

The practical side of creating a balanced programme

It can be a big gamble picking out texts that create balance, and you have to juggle a number of factors to truly create a varied programme: different genres, varied themes, a mix of styles, a range of cultures, diverse countries and contrasting time periods.  There are other considerations too, such as:

  • Creating cross-curricular links
  • Matching the timing of your units with other departments if you want to create an interdisciplinary unit
  • Ensuring variety in the assessments and learning activities
  • What are your students going to be interested in reading?  Can you get them to be open-minded about reading a ‘classic’ text set in a completely different place and time?

When it comes to picking the reading for an English curriculum, it can often be tempting to stick to the same tried and tested texts because you have the resources and you know the books.  One of my aims with Book Snitch is to support other educators in teaching, suggesting new reads for their students and being mindful of the need for balance in education.

Masterpiece Monday  

I’ve decided to write a regular post called Masterpiece Monday.  In the interest of Book Snith balancing reviews, information and teaching ideas relating to current (published in the last decade) books, Masterpiece Monday will be focused on suggesting (my personal choice of) fabulous pre- 21st century classic literature for your students.  I’ll include links to useful resources, some of my own ideas for teaching these masterpieces using inquiry-based learning, plus some lesson ideas using great Edtech tools.  I hope you enjoy this feature!

Book Snitch


3 Responses to “Masterpiece Monday”

  1. Katy Jean Vance May 26, 2013 at 10:50 am #


    This is a great idea! I am looking forward to your recommendations. 🙂


    • chloe7ed May 26, 2013 at 10:54 am #

      Thanks Katy! What would you thinkt abouthe idea of a ‘Masterpiece May’ feature in libraries promoting classics?


      • Katy Jean Vance May 26, 2013 at 10:59 am #


        That is a great idea, especially is it came with handpicked reasons why these are texts students/library patrons would enjoy. Although, I think I like the Masterpiece Monday in the library idea even better because then it’s something that runs through the whole school year. Whether it’s monthly or weekly, you could pair it with a “modern” parallel text, have a book trailer and a quote based advertisement.

        I can’t wait until you’re a full-fledged librarian!


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