On Lit Paper 1 Section A (Shakespeare) Question Stems

shakesepare

AQA have said that they will not print any more sample assessment material for the new Literature GCSE. Although I can understand why, it does present us with the challenge of generating questions for our students. To help with this, I’ve created some question stems that can be adapted to create example questions.

You might want to use the question stems to create your own example questions by filling in the blanks or you may want to give them to your students so that they can write their own (finding relevant extracts from the play text to go with their question).

Regularly writing full essays is key to developing an analytical voice and developing strategies for thinking/writing in timed conditions. However, when there’s a bank of questions to choose from, students can gain a lot from engaging with example questions in a variety of ways.

How you might use these Questions Stems:

  • Use a lesson to do timed plans. Revisit an extract from the play as a class and then display a question. Give students ten minutes to plan their response (you may want to model one with them first). Using the same extract, display another question and so on. The idea is to get students thinking more quickly and writing decent plans quickly.
  • When students have planned a response, get them to talk through their essay with a peer. What points would they make? How would they support them? How would they analyse the quotations they’ve selected? What links would they make to context? In discussion with their peer they can develop their arguments and perhaps consider alternative interpretations.
  • Plan a response together and then challenge the whole class to write the best introduction or one of the main paragraphs.
  • Show students a question without an extract. Which extract would be most useful to answering this question?
  • Show students an extract and get them to write their own question using the question stems. How many different questions did the class generate?

The Question Stems:

1.

Starting with this speech, explore how Shakespeare presents attitudes towards ________ in [play text].

Write about:

  • how Shakespeare presents attitudes towards _______ in this speech
  • how Shakespeare presents attitudes towards _______ in the play as a whole

2.

Starting with this speech, explain how far you think Shakespeare presents [character name] as ________.

Write about:

  • how Shakespeare presents [character name] in this speech
  • how Shakespeare presents [character name] in the play as a whole

3.

‘[Statement about a character]’

Starting with this speech, explore how far you agree with this statement.

Write about:

  • what [character name] says in this speech
  • how Shakespeare presents _____ in the play as a whole

4.

Starting with this speech, how does Shakespeare explore ideas about _______ in [play text].

Write about:

  • what [character name] says about _______ in this speech
  • how Shakespeare presents ideas about _______ in the play as a whole

5.

Starting with this conversation, explain how far you think Shakespeare presents [character name] as _______.

Write about:

  • how Shakespeare presents [character name] in this extract
  • how Shakespeare presents [character name] in the play as a whole

6.

Starting with this moment in the play, explore how Shakespeare presents [character name]’s use of ______.

Write about:

  • how Shakespeare presents [character name] at this moment in the play
  • how Shakespeare presents [character name]’s use of _______ in the play as a whole

7.

Starting with this speech, how does Shakespeare present [character name]’s feelings about _______?

Write about:

  • how Shakespeare presents [character name] in this speech
  • how Shakespeare presents [character name] in the play as a whole

8.

Starting with this speech, write about how Shakespeare explores [theme] in [play text].

Write about:

  • what [character name] says about [theme] in this speech
  • how Shakespeare explores ambition in the play as a whole

You might also be interested in my post on encouraging students to write essays people actually want to read here.

Link to Google Drive with Paper 1 A Question Stems: here.

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