George Monbiot: An Invitation to Annotation (A Body of Work)

Here's a simple activity, but one that, when managed well in the classroom, can lead to significant learning. If you have already been working with George Monbiot's essays as a non-literary body of work, using the resources we have created elsewhere on the site, you'll find this page a useful addition. Even if you haven't, you can still work with this activity, helping your students to prepare for Paper 1. The activity asks students to read and annotate Monbiot's essay, 'Natural Language'.


The activity is very straightforward: Ask your students to read and annotate George Monbiot's essay, 'Natural Language' (see exact instructions in the document, below). This can be done digitally, or it can be done with pen and (A3) paper (first printing the essay). Ask students to pair and share their ideas with a classmate. Then, ask students to compare and contrast their ideas and annotations with the modelled (with annotations) example. You and your students will quite likely find things to highlight that are not considered in the modelled example. That's great. And, you and your students may diasgree, more or less, with some of the annotations/comments. Again, that's great; we want to encourage critical thinking! Where you place this kind of activity in a sequence of teaching doesn't much matter, but what students can identify does obviously depend on prior teaching and knowledge. It is interesting to use activities of this kind formatively. Used at the beginning of a unit of study, students are likely to show quite limited understanding. Used at the end of a unit of study, and as your course develops, students will hopefully demonstrate improved understanding. 

Natural Language: Without Annotations

 Natural Language: With Annotations

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