10 December 2023

GCSE English Language at Christmas

GCSE English Language and Christmas? It allows teachers to approach the creative writing aspect of the course from a slightly different perspective. There is always a picture stimulus in the exams, but these images can be something of a chore to gather. These two sets of pictures, each containing 30 different Christmassy narrative or description writing prompts, can take the pain out the advent of numerous Google searches for them. 

Plus, they are all ethically sourced – all of the pictures have been made available by their creators, so there are no copyright issues to worry about either. 

Before I go on, you can find the links here:

If you are not in the know, in GCSE English students are given a picture and asked to create a narrative or descriptive response suggested by it. This comes right at the end of Paper 1 – Explorations in Creative Reading and Writing: this is where the writing comes in! They have around 45 minutes (if they have timed the exam properly) in order to do this question. This may sound easy peasy but there are twelve things that examiners look for in the responses – and I won’t list them here but they are classified firstly under “Content and Organisation” which is how the response is structured, the language used in it (and so on!). The second is “Technical Accuracy” which, very broadly speaking is spelling and grammar. 

I hope that these two packs of pictures will enable teachers to have a ready-made selection of Christmas-focused pictures to give a class a certain theme and to draw even the most reluctant learner into the story-making process. As such the pictures differ in tone and composition so the right picture can be chosen for the right student! 

Each question is formatted so that it includes the picture and the question on a single A4 sheet -  you can see an example above. In this way, learners can keep it next to them on their desk while working through their story – they don’t have to keep flapping back and forth. I have included PDFs of the sets and also a file with just the pictures (with each source credited) if picture-only is the preferred method – that is, without the question. 

I have used both sets with my students and they do like them!