Mr. Kay's Blog

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

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(you can’t touch this) Thursday

Posted by willkay on September 23, 2010


I spoke at morning line up about bravery. I talked about someone’s actions that, at the time, I think were very brave.

In 1939, Britain and Germany went to war. It was expected that the Germans would bomb England, specifically the industrial towns of England. Seventy years ago there was no GPS, there were no satellites. In order to avoid the RAF (the Royal Air Force), German planes flew at night. This meant that they dropped their bombs when they flew over lit targets. In England it was decided to operate a Blackout Policy. All street lights were turned off, and people were encouraged to use heavy curtains to block the light from their houses. An Air Raid Patrol was organised. ARP wardens would move around cities at night, enforcing the blackout, making sure that no lights could be seen from above. However, as there was a war on, the men were fighting, the women were working in the factories. So, the job of filling the ARP fell to the very young or the very old. One member of the ARP was a fourteen year old girl. Every night she would ride her bicycle around Sheffield, ensuring that no lights could be seen by bombers. She was only 14 years old, and while the rest of the city hid (because people slept in bomb shelters), she would ride around the city, her way lit only by the stars and the moon. Nowadays, it is difficult to contemplate a 14 year old girl cycling round a huge industrial town in the day, never mind the middle of the night. Even harder to grasp is the thought of a young child doing that job in the middle of a war. However, that is what happened. Personally, I think that girl was very brave. She left school to do that job, because she was up all night, she slept all day. And it was only after the war she went back to school to finish her studies. That girl went on to get married to a naval officer, and they had four children. I am the third of their children. That girl is my mum.

Wow! One of those days when you manage to pack so much into a day, that you wonder why school doesn’t have longer holidays! Of course, it is all swings and roundabouts. Fairly certain that soon we will have one of those days when nothing gets done, but that is one of the (many) joys of teaching. Last night’s maths homework was done very well (although one student had managed to do tonight’s homework instead – how about that for planning ahead?). And then it was into solving equations. Woo-hoo. I love algebra. It might be the maths geek inside me, but there is nothing better than algebra. And, at its most basic, what is there not to love about algebra? It has everything the enquiring mind enjoys – a puzzle and a solution. Basically, the algebra we were doing today was “find the number” – although it was presented as “find what number the letter represents“. And as Mariana pointed out, when asked to explain what she did to solve it, “I just did it.” Which describes the lesson totally – we just did it!

The geography lesson was supposed to be about Mexico. Somehow we ended up discussing global warming and (obviously) global freezing. What did cause the ice age? What did kill all the dinosaurs? All fascinating stuff, which was made even more fascinating by the SMARTboard. I don’t know if I have given the SMARTboard enough love in this blog, so I’d like to big-it-up now. The SMARTboard is the best thing to have entered my teaching world since I got my first squared whiteboard in 1986. At one point, in the geography lesson, I was able to pull up a physical map and a population map of Mexico. Not just to display them in a large enough size that everyone could see, but to be able to label and colour on the maps was fantastic. I am convinced that my students have a much better understanding of Mexico’s geography thanks to the SMARTboard. And to those previous students reading this, remember how I would colour in a small photocopy and you could really see what I was doing? No more! Plus, thanks to the “recognise text” button, my handwriting is now turned into typeface, so everyone can read it, and my drawings are brilliant still awful. However, I can now cheat by pulling up preprepared images. Whoot!

The computer lesson was the final lesson before next week’s lesson. Which is important because next week they will be doing their presentations. Professor Mauricio has set each group the task of telling the life stories of different computer icons. How the students will explain the connection from Charles Babbage to the founder of Google will be very interesting. I think that next week, if you want to find me, I’ll be in the computer room listening to the presentations.

Tomorrow is Friday, which means that the Reading Log numbers must be in! Also, don’t forget, tomorrow is an 8:45am entrance. I will be there at the usual time, but I have to attend a meeting. Don’t forget the Reading Log!!

Homework:

  • Maths: Reteaching 2-2 Nos: 1-8  Practice 2-2 Nos: 5-17
  • Writing Assignment: Scared (due tomorrow)
  • Reading Log Numbers
  • Reading: you should be reading for 20 mins every night.

(There is a reason this post is called “You can’t touch this“. Don’t ask why though, because “if I tell you, I have to kill you“. What happens in the sixth grade, stays in the sixth grade.)

2 Responses to “(you can’t touch this) Thursday”

  1. Octavio said

    yeah what happens in sixth grade stays in 6th grade

  2. Polette^ said

    yyeaaah whhat haappeens thherre sstaays thheere:D

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