Constructing Brighton Pier

Both my Year Eleven classes will be sitting mock exams for the new language papers in a few weeks time and so we are preparing by revising skills we covered in Year Ten and developing on written responses.

AQA have some helpful specimen papers so these have been the focus for each lesson as we build and develop responses. We are currently looking at Paper 1 and analysing an extract from Brighton Rock but have now arrived at the structure question…

Structure is notoriously difficult for students to analyse and there are also so many elements that go into the construction of a text. I wanted to find a way to ensure they understand the nature of construction and also revised the elements of structure at the same time. The tendency to just say ‘the structure of the text is…’ was something I needed to steer them away from.

So we begun today’s lesson like this…


Their faces were confused. Questions were asked. Then I explained…

They had to make a 3D construction of Brighton Pier using objects to represent the structural features. This worked in a few ways:

1. They had to work in metaphor and consider which object best represented the structural feature – we had lots of carousels to represent perspective change as the carousel moves round, the pier represented development as it is long and changes could be seen within it, and the sign represented an opening whereas steps into the sea signalled an ending.

2. They had to continuously use the words out loud to discuss where it would be better placed – this meant they were using the terminology regularly without thinking about it any more.

3. They understood the relation of the different parts to each other. They decided the sentence types and internal links should be the posts as these were central and supported the rest of the text. They understood that narrative perspective depends upon where the narrator is and who they are so they positioned their narrators in boats or with a partially blocked view. They realised that the development of a story is throughout the entire thing whereas shifts in focus might be seen several times within it and they engaged with motifs and how they are repeated. One group used red across their pier to show this.

4. And finally… they enjoyed it! I’ve never seen my groups so on task and discussing terminology with such open confidence. They asked for advice, help and didn’t once discuss anything other than the task at hand. A definite win for me!


The models are pictured below. I’ve taken pictures of these to use as the starter for next lesson before we begin looking at example answers and analysing Brighton Rock from a structural perspective. Hopefully this activity will have made the learning stick! #funfridays

pier 1pier 2pier 4pier 5pier 6pier 7pier 9pier 10pier 11pier 12pier 13pier 15image1 (2)image2image3image4image7image8image9image10image11image12image13


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