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 January, 2013

safe and sound

Posted by willkay on January 25, 2013

Last year, 6B did an assembly. The song they sang/danced to was Safe and Sound. Unfortunately, no recordings exist of their performance – or, at least, no recording exists with either Mrs. Kay or I. It has been an incredibly hard couple of weeks for the sixth grade. 30 out of 38 students took the entrance exam to Instituto México on Tuesday. There had been a tremendous build up of pressure, before the exam, and after there was a great release of that pressure. In 6A, we watched a BBC documentary about Africa. In 6B, because they still don’t have a SmartBoard, they freestyled to Safe and Sound. Enjoy:

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Posted by willkay on January 22, 2013

Monday, it was 6B’s turn to present an assembly. The value of the month is Optimism. So, 6B took the time to interview people on what they were looking forward to in the future. They also reported back on what they, themselves, were looking forward to:

After that they sang (and danced) to Lilly Allen’s version of Mr. Blue Sky:


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Posted by willkay on January 20, 2013

wall of fame

It’s 1:30pm on a Sunday. I’ve just prepared two chickens (massaged pepper and olive oil into the skins, filled them with lemons and garlic), thrown them in the oven (I’m English – I do most of my cooking in an oven), and sat down at the laptop. I have to write several exams. It was my intention to write the exams yesterday but we spent the morning doing Saturday morning things (shopping, paying rent), the afternoon watching volleyball matches (and cheering on Danny, Mrs. Kay’s daughter), and the evening reading. I went to see the Jack Reacher film ten days ago. I fell in love with the character and became determined to read one of the books. So, last Friday I made an effort to finish off Racing Through The Dark, which is David Millar’s autobiography (that’s David Millar the British cyclist), and then took on Killing Floor by Lee Child, the first Jack Reacher novel. I finished that, read Die Trying, and am now 62% of the way through The Hard Way. In other words, I have read  1484 pages in a week. Which means I could be on The Wall Of Fame next week. Of course, that all depends on if Mr. Kay gets round to putting up The Wall Of Fame, because I’ve noticed that he hasn’t put up last week’s Wall yet!

Oh, hang on. I am Mr. Kay! Maybe I should stop reading and….


  • 2170 pages: Andrea

  • 1994 pages: Roberto

  • 1329 pages: Luis Francisco

  • 902 pages: Arath

  • 700 pages: Paola

  • 371 pages: Alexa

  • 371 pages: Kristina

  • 360 pages: Elena

  • 318 pages: Pedro

  • 313 pages: Anafernanda

  • 311 pages: Pablo

  • 307 pages: Julien

  • 300 pages: Jose Antonio

Please note: I am reading, not playing Temple Run 2. Actually, I’m writing exams – but after that, I’m reading!

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Edgar Albert Guest

Posted by willkay on January 15, 2013

In the assembly that 6A did on Monday, 14th January, the students recited two poems. Both poems were written by Edgar Albert Guest. I had never heard of this poet, nor any of his poems, until I was watching BBC Sport Review of The Year 2012. Last year was a remarkable year for Great Britain in sport. The highlight of the year were the Olympics and the Paralympics. I realise that to outsiders Great Britain seems like a great country, but it is a very small country, with a small population. Especially when it is compared to China, the hosts of the previous Olympics. Also the world was facing a financial meltdown, which meant that 2012 was not the year to be hosting the Olympics. There was a feeling that the Olympics could be the breaking point for Great Britain – look at Greece! And so, it was with great trepidation that the nation prepared…and achieved. There had been a feeling that “It Couldn’t Be Done”, that it would be too big a task. However, there were people in Great Britain who ignored the nay-sayers, they just buckled right in, and they did it. And so, it was while watching the BBC Sport Review of The Year 2012 that I heard this poem for the first time. I thought it was wonderful, and decided to teach it to the students.

It Couldn’t Be Done

Edgar Albert Guest
Somebody said that it couldn’t be done
      But he with a chuckle replied
That “maybe it couldn’t,” but he would be one
      Who wouldn’t say so till he’d tried.
So he buckled right in with the trace of a grin
      On his face. If he worried he hid it.
He started to sing as he tackled the thing
      That couldn’t be done, and he did it!
Somebody scoffed: “Oh, you’ll never do that;
      At least no one ever has done it;”
But he took off his coat and he took off his hat
      And the first thing we knew he’d begun it.
With a lift of his chin and a bit of a grin,
      Without any doubting or quiddit,
He started to sing as he tackled the thing
      That couldn’t be done, and he did it.
There are thousands to tell you it cannot be done,
      There are thousands to prophesy failure,
There are thousands to point out to you one by one,
      The dangers that wait to assail you.
But just buckle in with a bit of a grin,
      Just take off your coat and go to it;
Just start in to sing as you tackle the thing
      That “cannot be done,” and you’ll do it.

After hearing the poem (it was recited by Idris Elba) I did a little bit more research and came across more of Edgar Albert Guest’s poems. It was then that I decided we (I say “we” but I mean “the students“) would also learn another poem for the assembly.

See It Through


Edgar Albert Guest

When you’re up against a trouble,
Meet it squarely, face to face;
Lift your chin and set your shoulders,
Plant your feet and take a brace.
When it’s vain to try to dodge it,
Do the best that you can do;
You may fail, but you may conquer,
See it through!

Black may be the clouds about you
And your future may seem grim,
But don’t let your nerve desert you;
Keep yourself in fighting trim.
If the worst is bound to happen,
Spite of all that you can do,
Running from it will not save you,
See it through!

Even hope may seem but futile,
When with troubles you’re beset,
But remember you are facing
Just what other men have met.
You may fail, but fall still fighting;
Don’t give up, whate’er you do;
Eyes front, head high to the finish.
See it through!

So, now you know what happened at the assembly.

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