Mr. Kay's Blog

The day to day happenings of a 6th grade classroom teacher

  • In The Sixth Grade We Read

    Every week I take in how many pages each student has read. Below is the "Wall Of Fame", the top readers for the week, and "The 200+ Club", all the students who have read more than 200 pages in a week. Congratulations to all those mentioned!
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Archive for May, 2010

(yes there was school) Monday

Posted by willkay on May 17, 2010

Four students missing from this morning’s assembly? Three students missing for the whole day? Why were they missing? Had they decided that my throw away comment: See you Tuesday was to be taken seriously? Who knows? Anyway, they missed a cracking assembly from the first grade, about what profession/job you could do when you grow up. The thing that puzzles me the most is, the teacher. Why, when children do a mime of a teacher is it always with one hand on their hip and the other hand is wagging a finger? I don’t do it? Do I?

In the maths lesson we went through the homework from last week. I don’t know if I was rusty from a long weekend, playing on my Wii (did I mention that I got a Wii on Friday? If I didn’t, I should probably mention it. My absolutely, fantastic, wonderful students got me a Wii. Which I then proceeded to play with all weekend – except for when I was writing exams), or if my brain was going through Monday-morning-itis but I actually blanked on the first question. Totally and utterly couldn’t do it. Fortunately, my amazingly-wonderful-Wii-giving students came to my rescue. Hurray! They understand it enough to teach me. That counts as a success.We than studied looked at Surveys and decided if they were random/not random or fair/biased. I managed to squeeze in another story about my dad and his ability to not share his Chinese food: Of course you can have some son. Which would you like first? Some of these very tasty albino worms, or maybe a chew on this sweet-and-sour crispy battered dog? Ah, my dad. The master manipulator.

The writing assignment for the week is: A Memory. In two weeks time it will be the last assembly of the school year, and (more importantly for the sixth grade) the sixth grade’s last assembly at BAI. Some of the students have been here for over seven years, some for a year. However, in that time they should have a memory of the school. It can be a good one or a bad one. A happy one or a sad one. The writing assignemnt is to tell that memory. Next week we will then shorten the memory (summarise it), and the students will read it out at assembly. We are also going to sing Rihanna’s Umbrella. After a week of learning the lines, I can say that everyone knows them! I can say that, but it would be a lie. Let’s go with, 75% of the class know the whole song. The rest of the lesson turned into reminiscing about the fun time in Kindergarten.

Recess. I forgot my swaps! Did I mention? On Friday Professor Rene gave me my birthday present, which included a FIFA World Cup Sticker Book and ten packets of stickers. Have I mentioned how lucky I am to have great friends and students? But, on Friday I was wearing a different jacket, and the stickers I want to swap are in the other jacket!

English was a Grammar lesson, adjectives. Some students have a strange idea about what a vivid adjective is.

Something New: Santos Laguna! 7-1. Into the finals.

Favourite Moment Of The Day (FMOTD): A Double Windsor knot gets gasps of amazement.

The boys, on Monday, have to wear a tie as part of their uniform. This tie is a clip-on tie. It is wrapped around a piece of plastic that clips over the collar button. Sometimes (often) these ties come undone from their plastic clip, and then there comes the task of trying to get the tie back on to the clip. This is something I cannot do. However, I can tie a tie. There was a moment today when all nine boys were stood in front of me, learning to tie a tie. Just a simple knot. It was incredibly difficult, they felt. So, in a moment of showing them what is actually incredibly difficult, I tied a Double Windsor knot. As everyone knows, a Double Windsor knot is the fattest knot you can get with a tie. This knot was very much appreciated by everyone – or maybe they were just laughing at the silliness of it.

Attendance: Three absent.


  • Maths: Reteaching 11-5 Nos: 2 – 6 Practice 11-5 Nos: 3 – 10
  • Grammar: Workbook page: 88
  • Writing Assignment (for Friday): A Memory of your school years at BAI.
  • Reading: This is not an option. You should be reading 20 minutes every night.

Posted in assembly, english, maths, morning line up, stuff | Leave a Comment »

(three days late) Wall of Fame

Posted by willkay on May 17, 2010

Sorry. In all the excitement of Friday (I got a Wii, I got a Wii), I left school in such a rush (I needed to play on my Wii), that I forgot to take the new reading figures with me. This meant that I couldn’t update The Wall of Fame. Which is a terrible shame because this week there are eleven (that is exactly half the class) students who have read more than 300 pages. So, three days late here is the new Wall of Fame:


  • 1630 pages: Scarlatte
  • 867 pages: Ana Elena
  • 467 pages: Valerio
  • 450 pages: Carlo Ivan
  • 410 pages: Paulina R.
  • 400 pages: Monica
  • 352 pages: Andrea
  • 327 pages: Shai
  • 317 pages: Larizza
  • 316 pages: Miroslava
  • 302 pages: Camila
  • With three students in the 200+ Club, it has been another excellent week for reading. Congratulations to all the students on the Wall of Fame and in the 200+ Club. You should be very proud of your achievements.

    Posted in wall of fame | Leave a Comment »

    (Wii) Friday

    Posted by willkay on May 14, 2010

    Can’t post. No time. Too busy. Gotta say…my students are the best. They are awesome.

    As a joint birthday/teachersday present they got me a Wii. A black Wii – which the gamers, in the shop that maria went to to get me Animal Crossing, reckon is the bestest!

    Yes, I’ve got a Wii. So I need to be playing with that, and not writing on here. Which is what I am doing.

    How excited am I? Excited enough that I forgot to make a note of the reading log numbers for the wall of fame and the 200+ club. I am that excited.

    Thank you, thank you, thank you. Now, I’m off to play! See you Tuesday Monday.*

    *This was a joke. I said Tuesday because I was implying that I would be too busy playing on my Wii to come to school. Of course there is schoolon Monday, of course I will be there.

    Posted in stuff | 6 Comments »

    (it’s not my birthday) Thursday

    Posted by willkay on May 13, 2010

    Who would have thought it? Thirty years ago I made decisions that led to be becoming a teacher. I had never thought of teaching as a profession, however, due to circumstances in my life, I ended up sat in the Vatican, ice cream in one hand, glass of wine in another, being offered a job teaching in a seminary in Kenya. I said yes. I never got to Kenya – long story, involves Idi Amin, which is never good – and instead ended up in Ware (where? Ware, in Hertfordshire) teaching eight year olds instead of trainee priests. From there I went to London University and studied education, maths, and sociology, qualifying with an honours degree. And, long story short, ended up teaching at a school in Mexico. The ironic thing in all this (if you don’t understand the word ironic, don’t ask Valerio because that would be ironic) is that my birthday, 15th May, is Teacher’s Day. Now, Mexico, as I have come to understand, is the country that really celebrates people’s birthdays. Up until moving here, birthdays were something to be ignored, or apologised for having. Definitely not something to shout about. So, I move to a country that celebrates my birthday, and celebrates my profession. Except they are both on the same day! The school has come up with a foolproof system! Celebrate my birthday on a different day! This year, as Teacher’s Day falls on a Saturday. the school is celebrating teachers on Friday. Which means, I get Thursday! Suddenly I feel like the Queen. I have two birthdays, my official birthday and my real birthday. Today, according to the school calendar, it is my official birthday. This means that at morning line up the school sang Happy Birthday in my honour. And Larizza gave me a hug!

    Maths was more logic problems. Rather than using a logic table to solve these problems, this time it needed a full understanding of the work we had covered, and how to apply what we had learnt. It was interesting to see which pupils enjoyed the lesson, and which students were asking if they could do something else, the lesson was too hard!

    After recess, in geography, we finished naming the countries that make up South Asia, and talked about some of the geographical features. Of course, we talked about Mount Everest, which was very relevant at the moment, and the rivers Indus and Ganges. We then moved onto Reading Street and finished the story.

    At the end of the day, as we were all going home, I spotted a bird of prey eating its victim on top of the hill behind the school. One of the (many) wonders of moving to Mexico is the different wildlife I get to see. For example, I had never seen a humming bird in real life before. Now, I see them quite often. However, it is still a sight that makes me stop and stare. Same with lizards. I am pretty sure that there are birds of prey in England. In fact I have seen them – I once came across an owl, sat on a fence, that made me jump. However, I don’t remember seeing this many, this often.

    Something New: No matter what the calendar says, it is NOT my birthday.

    Favourite Moment Of The Day (FMOTD): Glor-or-or-or-or-or, or-or-or-or-or,or-or-or-or, ria. Hosanna in excelsis.

    My dad was a brilliant, wonderful man, in so many, many different ways. He was also very singular in his likes and dislikes. He disliked religion but loved Christmas. He loved Christmas carols as well. As a child, my mother would take us (the children) to midnight mass at Christmas. My dad would come too. He wouldn’t come into church with us but would hang around outside, avoiding all the “religious mumbo-jumbo” that he didn’t like. However, he would come in to the back of the church and join in with the singing, when the carols started. My mum used to sit us up near the front (first or second pew), but we could hear my dad singing in the background. I love my dad, and it is always brilliant when I get to share a story about him with the class.

    Attendance: All present


    • Maths: Worksheet
    • Assembly: Learn the words to the song!
    • Reading Log
    • Reading: This is not an option. You should be reading 20 minutes every night.

    Posted in english, geography, maths, mexico, morning line up, stuff, youtube | 5 Comments »

    (happy day) Wednesday

    Posted by willkay on May 12, 2010

    All the homework diaries signed! All homeworks done! All students present! Great start to the morning – although the rhythm was a bit off with the marching, at morning line up. How off? It was one of those moments that I wished I had a camera with me at all times. Larizza’s face popped out of the two straight lines, and she had such a look of concern over the non-rhythmic marching, it was wonderful.

    We started the day off by singing a song, we have assembly in 19 days, and need to get it right. Then onto maths and checking the homework. I was right yesterday, everyone understood Stem-and-Leaf Plots. Hurrah! And then onto, possibly, my favourite topic – Logic Tables. I love logic problems, really enjoy solving them. Of course, this could lead to problems in the teaching. Yesterday, we had a discussion, while waiting to go home, that started with Maradonna and went on to the conclusion that, often great footballers don’t make the best managers. Someone then added that, maybe, the best mathematicians don’t make the best maths teachers? (I said it!) This could be true in some circumstances, I know some excellent mathematicians who are awful teachers. Their most comment statement is: but that’s how it works in my head. And it is true, I do maths in a totally different way to how I teach it. Maths works differently in my head. Fortunately though, I have a good understanding of how maths works in other people’s heads, which makes me a teacher. However, then there are Logic Tables. Logic is something that is almost impossible to teach. You can give the students the tools, show them how to use the table, but in the long run, if they don’t get it, they don’t get it. The good news: They got it!

    Science started with a youtube video. Drop a hammer and a feather from the same height, which hits the ground first?

    Then onto Newton’s Second and Third Laws of Motion. I will assume that this is where most student’s FMOTD occurred. It appears that my jumping up, by jumping up not pushing down, was funny enough to reduce several members of the class to tears, tears of laughter. Mind you, it seemed to be the day for finding things that Mr. Kay does amusing. My picture of a thin dog and a fat dog was one point of amusement for the students, my reminiscing about exploding a golf ball in my bedroom (as a young child) cheered me up – until I remembered the story about the vase…but I won’t repeat it here. Once we fully understood, To every action there is an equal and opposite reaction, we settled down and watched an episode of MythBusters. This episode busted the myth that two cars, each travelling at 50mph, hitting head on, would have a combined force equal to one car hitting a wall at 100mph. Busted! To every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. So, although the speed of the collision was doubled, so was the mass, thus the force stayed the same! Physics in action. In this case, driving cars at a wall at 100mph! Thanks for the heads-up about the programme Scarlatte.

    Geography was a quick introduction to South Asia, mainly India, Afghanistan, and Pakistan.

    Good Great news. Mexico play England in a warm up game, before the World Cup, on May 24th. Miss Monica has let me watch the match. Oh, why is this good news? Because I get to watch the match in school with the kids! Hurray!

    Something New: The UK has a new Prime Minister, David Cameron.

    Favourite Moment Of The Day (FMOTD): When the socks flew off, people clapped.

    There were two story lines in the episode of MythBusters we watched today. The second myth they were trying to bust was whether you could actually knock someone out of their socks with one punch. They couldn’t. Not with a punch. However, when they drove a truck at a dummy, at 65 mph, hitting the dummy in the stomach with a steel girder, the socks flew off, up into the air. This was such an achievement that students applauded.

    Attendance: All present


    • Maths: Reteaching 11-4 Nos: 1 Practice 11-4 Nos: 1
    • Assembly: Learn the words to the song!
    • Reading: This is not an option. You should be reading 20 minutes every night.

    Posted in geography, maths, mexico, science, youtube | 4 Comments »

    (at last a tuesday that is a) Tuesday

    Posted by willkay on May 11, 2010

    Beep. Beep. There’s a strange beeping noise coming from somewhere. Beep. It is 2:47am and I’ve been woken up by a strange beeping noise. I sit up in bed. The noise stops. I lie down again. When my left ear touches the pillow, I hear a beep. I sit up. No beep. I lie down. Beep. Up. No beep. Down. Beep. Up. No beep. Down. No beep. No beep? Ok. It’s finished. The strange beeping noise has finished. I can get back to sleep.

    her: Did you hear that noise?

    me: The strange beeping noise?

    her: Yes.

    me: Yes.

    her: What do you think it was?

    me: A strange beeping noise.

    her: Yes, I know that. What was making it?

    me: My left ear.

    her: Your left ear?

    me: Yes. Every time my left ear touched the pillow I could hear a beep.

    her: What?

    me: So, I rolled over.

    her: You rolled over?

    me: Yes. Now my right ear is on the pillow, there’s no noise.

    her: I’m going to check. [maria gets out of bed and leaves the bedroom] WILL! GET HERE NOW!

    me: What? What? What is it?

    her: Look. It’s the microwave.

    me: Oh yes. It’s on. That must have been the noise.

    her: It’s on!

    me: I’ve noticed.

    her: Who turned it on?

    me: ….

    her: I think there’s someone in the flat.

    [In the back of my head, all I can hear is the phrase: The calls were coming from inside the house. If you don’t understand the reference, ask a parent. It was tough to get back to sleep again.]

    I started the day off congratulating the sixth grade. We had had a brilliant end to the week, last Friday. It was the first time I had taken them for the last lesson of the week, a lesson when classes are notoriously fractious, and it had been a good lesson. The bonus was that they had managed to get themselves out the door and onto the pavement in time, without adult supervision. This morning they lined up perfectly, were quiet after the second bell, went to class in silence. A fantastic start to the day.

    Straight into a maths lesson, and a quick look back through work we had done on Thursday – it has been that long since we had a maths lesson. Once we’d worked out that no one got the correct answer, because no one had actually answered the question, solving the problem was quite simple. I say quiet simple, when I actually mean: it was like swimming in treacle. It’s been a long time since the students were sat in a lesson, thinking. Then onwards and upwards with Stem-and-Leaf Plots. Surprisingly simple, once one understood the concept.

    The English lesson turned into a three part lesson. The first part was preparing for the final assembly of the year. Working on the principal we did a song, then a poem, I’ve decided (because it is MY decision) to do another song. [We will do a poem for the end of year presentation.] With twenty days to go before the assembly it was time to have the first attempt at singing the song. The good news? It can only get better! Spelling, and a quick run through a page of the workbook, to remind everyone of the spelling words for this (bi-) week. We now all know that you can eat dandelion leaves in salad. I’m not sure that anyone is going to go out and put dandelion leaves in a salad, but no one is going to be weirded out if they are presented with some in one. The final part of the lesson was reading more of the story from the textbook, which led to the second best moment of the day. In the story an older couple are getting married, on their wedding invitations they write: Just your presence, no presents. I explain that when you get married, later in life, often you don’t need another toaster, salad spinner, set of tea towels. Often people get married and don’t want presents. This statement inspired the question:

    No presents? Then why would anyone get married if there were no presents?

    After recess, PE. Professor Dandy had the sixth grade playing a gigantic game of ??? I know that the students had to roll dice, to move around a giant board (that Professor Dandy had drawn on the playground). Then, as they landed on different squares, they had to do some sort of exercise. A sort of ‘Snakes and Ladders’ with no snakes or ladders, just exercise. It looked like a great amount of fun, and everyone seemed to be enjoying it.

    Something New: Which hits the ground first? A bullet shot horizontally from a gun, or a bullet dropped from the sam height as the gun?

    Favourite Moment Of The Day (FMOTD): Miss Irene returned from the Geography competition.

    Today a student took part in an inter school geography competition. Miss Irene went with the student. Which meant that her classroom was without a teacher. I had been selected to teach the period after recess…but Miss Irene returned before I could take the lesson. Yay for me!!!

    Attendance: All present


    • Maths: Reteaching 11-3 Nos: 1 Practice 11-3 Nos: 1 – 4, 8
    • Spelling: Workbook pages: 87, 88
    • Reading: This is not an option. You should be reading 20 minutes every night.

    Posted in english, maths, morning line up, spelling | 3 Comments »

    (mother’s day) Monday

    Posted by willkay on May 10, 2010

    Twelve students present for morning line up, four girls and eight boys. The art teacher cancelled the lesson, and so we were thrown together for the day. Started the morning with an art lesson, with me! This lasted for a short period of time as the students ran out of things to draw (and colour). At least Valerio found something to keep himself occupied – one handed origami.

    Alejandra went to practice with the choir, Valerio continued to fold paper, and the rest of the students divided into two teams of five. Each team wrote down ten film titles, and then the game of Charades started. I say this expecting you to understand what I mean when I say “Charades”. However, you probably don’t, mainly because I didn’t recognise the game they were playing. It seemed to be just students stood at the front of the class with team mates shouting at them. If, at some point, someone shouted a word that sounded a bit like a word that might have, or not, been in the title, then the person at the front would claim victory. This would lead to the opposite team shouting at the other team that they weren’t playing fair. Here, have a go at these two:

    Just after ten o’clock mums started arriving (and Isaac put in an appearance). At this point people started to leave, with their mums. So, by the time the choir started to sing, we were down to nine sixth graders. The choir sang beautifully, and were then joined by the rest of the school on the upper patio. A song was sung to the mums; gifts were given; a raffle was held; winners were announced; and we all went home. Except for Shai and Alejandra who had to wait for their mums to turn up.

    Something New:

    • Chivas  X
    • America  X
    • Pumas  X
    • Santos Laguna  ✓✓✓✓

    Favourite Moment Of The Day (FMOTD): You know, there should be a day for children as well as a day for mothers.

    You know, there is. It’s called Children’s Day and it was 10 (TEN) days ago. Oh, how quickly the young forget.

    Attendance: For ten minutes there were as many as 13 students present.


    • Reading: This is not an option. You should be reading 20 minutes every night.

    Posted in special event, stuff, youtube | 1 Comment »

    Happy Mother’s Day

    Posted by willkay on May 9, 2010

    It isn’t Mother’s Day in England. In England Mother’s Day is the third Sunday in Lent, this year it was 14th March. It isn’t Mother’s Day in Mexico either, that is on May 10th (or tomorrow as it is also known). It is always on May 10th, a fixed date, as opposed to everywhere else in the world, where it changes date every year. It is, however, Mother’s Day in the USA. So, the question you should be asking is: Why are you writing about your mum today? Well, it’s because I am cooking pancakes. Obviously!

    Sunday morning is the moment that I normally phone my mum. We discuss the weather, football, cricket, the weather,  how my brothers/sister/nephews/nieces are doing, anything important in the news, the weather. And, as we move from topic to topic, I know when we have finished talking about something because my mum always says: I must be going now. You have to cook your pancakes, it’s getting late, and this is costing you a fortune!

    My mum is 86 years old, she was born on 14th January, 1924, in Sheffield, England. She lived very close to Bramall Lane. At the time, this wasn’t just the home ground of Sheffield United Football Club, but also Yorkshire County Cricket Club. My mother spent most of her youth watching cricket, playing cricket.

    In 1939 war was declared between England and Germany. As the war progressed from its staggered start, through the Phoney War, and onto the Blitz, sacrifices had to be made my many people. Men were conscripted into the armed forces, and the jobs were filled by women or children. My mum left school, at the age of 16, and went to work, during the day, in an office. She learnt shorthand and touch typing (although, in those days it was more like hammer-typing), two skills she failed to pass onto me, although she spent hours trying to teach me. The only thing I actually learnt was the lyrics to Osmond songs (either by the brothers, Donny, or little Jimmy – I would practice typing by using their lyrics, and then sell them in school the next day. It was before the internet or photocopiers were around). However, my mum also had a job at night. Sheffield was the centre of steel manufacturing in England, and it was felt that it would be a major target for German bombing raids. It made sense, Sheffield was where they made the basic ingredients to weapons manufacture. To avoid German bombers being able to find targets, England was “blacked-out” at night. There were no street lights, and everyone had to cover their windows with thick black drapes (called blackout curtains) to make sure that no light escaped. Without GPS (it hadn’t been invented) and no lights visible from above, it was hoped that the Germans wouldn’t find Sheffield. And it worked. Sheffield escaped being seriously bombed. The steel refineries stayed running. The war effort continued. My mum’s job, in all this, was to ride around Sheffield, when it was dark, checking that there were no lights showing from people’s houses. She was on Air Raid Patrol, she was an ARP Warden. Sheffield is a very hilly city (legend says it is built on seven hills, I think it is actually more!), and it was my mum’s job to cover the area she was assigned to, on her bike, in the middle of the night. Her only contact with people tended to be her shouting at them to: Turn off that light!

    While the war raged there was food rationing in England. Full rationing continued after the war, and items were only taken off rationing from 1949 onwards. In fact the last item to be rationed, sweets (candies), wasn’t removed until 1954. This meant that my mum did not encounter a wide variety of food, it just wasn’t available in England. She would often joke that she didn’t see her first banana until she was twenty five, and it was brown. [My father was in the Merchant Navy and he smuggled some bananas into the country after a trip to Brazil.] I don’t know if this lack of ingredients is what led to my mum’s cooking being what it was, but she wasn’t a great cook. There were some dishes that she did, which were wonderful. However, there were many meals that were…not so good. My mother also didn’t believe in waste. She was of the opinion that, if you asked for something, you ate it. All of it! And, if you didn’t, you would sit there until you did. I spent many nights, sat at the dinner table, with a plate in front of me, with half eaten food on it. Dinner time wasn’t a moment I looked forward to in my house. However, there were some culinary moments that I did love. Sunday lunches, a full roast with all the trimmings, were brilliant. Christmas and Easter lunch were always magnificent. The meal the nights before it was time to return to boarding school are fondly remembered. And Shrove Tuesday was the best.

    Shrove Tuesday is the day before Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent. For my mother (and therefore also for my brothers, sister, and I) Lent was a time of fast and abstinence. Therefore, the day before was Fat Tuesday, the day when you ate all the food in your house, so that you wouldn’t be tempted the next (40) day(s). We ate pancakes. Loads of pancakes. My mum would start making them at about three, knowing that we wouldn’t get back from school until 5pm. She made really thin, very large pancakes, more like crêpes than American hotcakes. These we would cover in freshly squeezed orange juice, sprinkle sugar on them, roll them up, eat them, and have another one.The whole event was exciting. Not just because of the pancakes but also the sugar and the orange juice. We were very rarely allowed near the sugar, so to be able to sprinkle sugar was awesome. Also, this was England in the early 1970s. I still got a fresh orange from Father Christmas in my stocking pillowcase. Father Christmas (at great expense) had put a very rare (in those days) orange (at Christmas) in my older sister and brother’s stockings, so we still got them in our pillowcases. Freshly squeezed orange juice was unheard of in our house. Sometimes, if we were lucky, we would be allowed fresh orange juice in a restaurant, as the first course in a meal. So, to have fresh orange juice to tip on the pancakes was brilliant. [And when my mum’s back was turned, we (my brother and I) would slurp the orange-sugar mixture off the plate. Scrummy.

    Anyway, the point, if I can remember…oh, yes: Pancakes make me think of my mum, obviously. Every Sunday I phone my mum, I cook pancakes. Every Sunday is Mother’s Day for my mum. Happy Mother’s Day.

    Posted in stuff | 4 Comments »

    (is it already) Friday

    Posted by willkay on May 8, 2010

    Started the morning off taking Miss Yin’s class for maths. It is always good to take other classes. If you take the same group, every day, every lesson, it is possible to not see any positive motion. It is like being a parent, and never noticing how your own child grows. It takes a visitor to announce, “Haven’t you grown?” It is the same when you take a different class. When I teach the sixth grade I know how they learn, I can predict how the learning happens in a lesson. True, I can still be surprised when a student suddenly hits their stride and leads a class. However, when you teach a group you have little to no prior knowledge about, it is great to see the learning occur, reminds me what I like about teaching. Also, it’s good to see that my lessons are fun!

    Science lesson. Yesterday we ended the lesson badly – my fault. I didn’t time the lesson very well and we finished in the middle of an explanation. Rather than wait until next week, when the ground work might have been forgotten, I decided to teach science today. We studied how the moon causes high/low tides on Earth, and then moved on to discover Newton’s First Law of Motion (not that we really discover it, more a case of we came across it for the first time).

    Friday is the day that I take in the pages read. Last week was phenomenal, with 20 students having read more than 200 pages. Of course, this week there has only been two school days so…either everyone took the extra time to read a bit more OR people didn’t read. Ana Elena took the first option, and in the biggest upset since the last big upset, Scarlatte is not top of the list. That said, she read over 1000 pages! I still call that successful. I also know that she got three new books yesterday (because I read her blog here), so Ana Elena has her work cut out for her if she is to keep the top position.


  • 1193 pages: Ana Elena
  • 1130 pages: Scarlatte
  • 480 pages: Paulina R.
  • 307 pages: Monica
  • 300 pages: Miroslava
  • Eight students became members of the 200+ Club, which means that 13 out of 22 students read over 200 pages this week. Still very good, well done! The rest of the lesson was spent explaining how the General Election went in the UK. I’m not sure that I explained it very well, but I’m not sure that everyone was that interested. However, it is still all knowledge, and one day a life might depend on answering a question on the UK political process. Hmmm, probably not.

    After recess, as the students had a music lesson, I set about hanging the drawing the students had done for their mothers. Monday is Mother’s Day and the school puts on an art exhibition. All the students have drawn a picture for their mothers, and it was my job to hammer in the nails and hang the pictures in the sixth grade. (In passing, I assume that you all read Miss Lilian’s blog? In which case you have probably read her post about mothers. You haven’t? Click here to read it then.)

    Miss Claudia and I have changed the timetable. She used to take the last lesson on a Friday afternoon. However, the students are restless/tired/not in the best frame of mind to actually study. So, instead of them having one of their two history lessons in the last hour, they now have me! Today we read their film reviews. The assignment was to pick a film and then write about an act of Loyalty (the value of the month). Some very good examples, and some very good examples that came from waaaay out of the left field: Bad Boys anyone????

    A brilliant end to the school day. On Thursday, at the end of the day, when names were being called, the sixth grade were not very good at listening. Actually, they were awful! They were so bad that in the end I had to come in, from off the pavement, and remove them from the classroom. I explained that I did not want the same to happen today, and trustingly, went back out onto the pavement to put kids in cars. Success! No sixth grade student was called twice!

    I was picked up by maria and taken over the border. We spent the afternoon shopping for a camera lens. She now possesses a new camera lens that puts everything in focus, except for the stuff that it puts out of focus. Yes, I don’t understand it either, but in matters photographic I differ to her. Expect new photos appearing on her Flickr page soon! Then it was an early night, I was in bed by nine o’clock. Saturday was going to be an early start. maria had a photo shoot and she wanted to take pictures at sunrise – the light is much better – and with make-up and hair to do for her client, it meant a 5am start. Which explains why this post is late! Have a good weekend.

    Something New: England does not have a Prime Minister with a mandate.

    Favourite Moment Of The Day (FMOTD): Can you believe that no one choose Twilight as a film that had any Loyalty in it?

    Attendance: Two absent.


    • Reading: This is not an option. You should be reading 20 minutes every night.


    • no backpacks
    • no lunch
    • wear a white shirt/blouse
    • if you have white trousers (not jeans/shorts) wear them, if not khakis will do.

    Posted in english, science, values, wall of fame | 2 Comments »

    (back to work) Thursday

    Posted by willkay on May 6, 2010

    [Sorry this is late. There is a General Election in England. I’ve been sat watching the results come in. There could well be a new Prime Minister tomorrow.]

    Happy Birthday Professor Rene! (Although it was actually his birthday on May 3rd – the day before Star Wars Day [May the Fourth be with you] – but the school has a way of celebrating people’s birthdays when it isn’t actually their birthday. Something to think about next Thursday, when the school calendar says it is someone’s birthday, yet it is their birthday on Saturday.) [Can you see what I have done there?]

    Back to school on a Thursday, which means that I don’t get into the classroom for the first two hours: computer and Spanish lessons. This gave me enough time to prepare the notice boards for the students’ paintings, for Mother’s Day. And to mark the piles of books that had sat unwanted and unloved on my desk for the last five days. Good news – spelling quiz scores were very good.

    The new value of the month is Loyalty. The sixth grade haven’t been very forthcoming with answers at morning line up, especially with questions about the value of the month. So, we discussed the value of the month. The homework tonight is to pick a film, and write about a moment of loyalty in that film. We then started the new spelling list…and the earthquake alarms went off! It was a practice. Once we were all out on the playground, we took the opportunity to sing “Happy Birthday” to Señor Francisco. Then back to the spelling list and: Words from a Different Culture. Thanks to Ana Andrea, we now all know the difference between an ape and a monkey. And thanks to Andrea and Ivan, we now know the three ways that crocodiles are different to alligators.

    Recess and a chance to catch up with stories of how the holiday went. Ruben wins the prize for best story. Read it here.

    In geography we finished the topic of Africa, specifically with South Africa. We talked about Nelson Mandela and his imprisonment, his release after 27 years, and his becoming the first black President of South Africa. Science was all about gravity, and how the pull of the moon changes the tides on Earth.

    A good day back at school, with a lot of ground covered. Shame it was ruined at the end of the day with no one listening carefully for their names being called.

    Something New: General Election in UK

    Favourite Moment Of The Day (FMOTD): 57??

    Professor Rene is how old????  [He’s not!]

    Attendance: All present


    • Reading Log:
    • Story: Loyalty. Pick a film and write about a moment of loyalty in that film.
    • Reading: This is not an option. You should be reading 20 minutes every night.

    Posted in english, geography, holiday diary, morning line up, reading log, science, spelling, Uncategorized, values | 1 Comment »

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