Mr. Kay's Blog

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

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    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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six birthdays!

Posted by willkay on October 9, 2012


In the six years that I have been sixth grade teacher, I have only had four birthday parties in school for students. [I should, at this point, mention that I have been fortunate enough to have had six birthday parties and one pre-wedding party for me! Thank you parents.] In fact, I haven’t had a birthday party in my classroom for so long, that I had forgotten all about “Birthday Party Tuesday”. So, last month, when we actually had a party for Alfonso, it came as a bit of a shock to the system. This morning was a bigger shock. Not only would there be a birthday party in my classroom (again!), but it would be for six students. Yes, one third of my class were born in the month of September. So, pizza and brownies for lunch today! (Oh, and tea*.)

Maths turned into yet another extended lesson. Throughout the school there has been a timetable change. Every classroom gets seven hours of maths a week, except the sixth grade. When the changes were first presented Mrs. Kay and I discussed how many hours of maths we would we need a week. Realising that the entrance exams to Junior High come in January, we were prepared to teach two thirds of the maths’ course before then. This meant that after January, we wouldn’t have a lot left to teach. So, we declined the extra maths lessons, preferring to teach more science and geography. Except, that is after January! Before January comes, we have to cram in extra hours of maths. This, in my head, I know. I know this because I’ve been doing this now for nearly seven years. However, it always comes as a surprise to me when I end up having to teach extra maths. I suppose it is because Mrs. Kay and I plan our week’s/month’s lessons very meticulously. But when we plan, we still plan a certain amount for science and geography. Of course, this only leads to a mental pressure build up when we end up teaching more maths. It will all sort itself out in the long run, this I know. However, until I get to the middle of February, there will always be this nagging worry.

Anyhoo, as I was saying, maths turned into another extended lesson. We’ve arrived at fractions. I love fractions, as all true mathematicians do. There is something fantastic about fractions. I love the fact that there are an infinite amount of ways that you can write the same fraction. I love the whole common denominator/diagonal cancelling/change the top-change the bottom symmetry of the subject. I also love the fact that when the answer is a vulgar fraction, that’s the answer. No messing about with decimals for me! However, I am in a minority of one in my classroom. Fractions seem to be every child’s worst nightmare. It is my job to convince the children that they are wrong. That fractions can be a quick and easy answer to all the problems they face. The best way of going about this? Start all the way back at the beginning. Get them to ignore everything they’ve struggled with the first time round, and this time look at fractions with the eyes of a sixth grader. Of course, this isn’t a simple task. Some children are still stuck in the nightmare of fractions that is known as the fourth grade – that moment when the concepts suddenly get more confusing and the brain isn’t really mature enough to understand what is going on. We shall see how it goes. We will be stuck with fractions for the next 3/4 weeks (depending how much time the exams take out of the maths timetable).

I did remember to take a picture of all the children who read more than 300 pages. Following Mrs. Kay’s advice (she’s a professional photographer donchu’no), I took the picture in a different place – less sun should have led to less squinting. I’m not convinced that I got the best picture ever, but at least I remembered:

Geography turned into a history lesson. Trying to study Germany is impossible without mentioning the fact that it used to be two countries. This is impossible to mention with out talking about the Second World War. WW2 cannot be mentioned without talking about the Holocaust. You can’t talk about the Holocaust without mentioning Hitler. And you can’t talk about Hitler without talking about the National Socialist Party. Of course, you can’t mention the rise of the Nazi Party without actually explaining why Germany was in such a situation. S0 (are you following this?), today’s geography lesson was all about The Great War, or World War I as it is now called. We got as far as talking about the soldiers playing football in No-Man’s Land on Christmas Day. And I was building up to my grandpa’s role in the war, when the bell rang. Another day done.

[*tea – a mid-afternoon meal. Yes, in England, everything stops for tea. There are tea breaks, there is elevenses, there is afternoon tea, there is an evening cuppa. But these are all to drink tea. As far as meals go, there are: breakfast, brunch, lunch, tea, dinner, supper. Now do you realise who J.R.R. Tolkien based the Hobbits’ eating habits on?]

One Response to “six birthdays!”

  1. Elenitaaaaa :) said

    My Birthday!!!!!!

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