‘My Polish Teacher’s Tie’ Helen Dunmore
Carla Carter is on the catering staff in a school. Joining the school’s Polish penfriend scheme, she forms an unlikely, but ultimately satisfying, relationship which enables her to discover more about poetry, about herself and about her Polish roots.
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'My Polish Teacher's Tie' by Helen Dunmore
A copy of the story.
A series of suggestions for exploring 'My Polish Teacher's Tie' with your students.
A pre-reading activity in which students uncover patterns of meaning by sorting words from the first three paragraphs of 'My Polish Teacher's Tie' into categories.
The songs my mother taught me
A range of questions focusing on a short passage from the story to help students develop analytical skills. This resource includes different task sheets: page 2 is intended for Higher Tier students and page 3 for Foundation Tier.
Here's looking at me
Students consider what defines us as individuals and relate this understanding to the story. Two differentiated versions are included: the first is aimed at Higher Tier students and the second at Foundation Tier.
Explore the meaning of Stefan's tie before thinking about symbols to represent the other characters. There are two versions of this resource: the first is intended for Higher Tier students and the second for Foundation Tier.
Structure in the story
Match the key terms to their definitions and then use your knowledge of the story to complete a plot diagram. There are two differentiated versions of this resource: the first two pages are aimed at Higher Tier students and the final page is intended for Foundation Tier.
Flip reverse it
A Magnet activity in which students match character traits to the appropriate characters and find evidence to support their views. Double-click on the shaded tiles to see antonyms. Move the tiles around the screen and/or colour code them to sort them into character groups.
Talk the talk
Analyse the patterns of Carla's speech and explain how it changes throughout the story. Two versions of this resource are included - first version is intended for Higher Tier students, while the second is for Foundation Tier.
From Poland with love
Students write a letter from Stefan to Carla - intelligent, witty and thoughtful.
In the hot seat
A speaking and listening role play in which students take on the roles of Carla, the Head, Valerie Kenward and Stefan. Includes teaching notes and a de-briefing activity.
A selection of drama-based approaches for exploring this story's central ideas.
Social and historical context
Background information about Helen Dunmore and the short story 'My Polish Teacher's Tie'. This information is also available as a web page in the 'Social and historical' section.