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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Archive for the ‘assembly’ Category

Assembly Rehearsal

Posted by willkay on September 4, 2014

Obviously, before we did the assembly, there were rehearsals. I managed to video one of the rehearsals. I’m sorry, the quality is not good. The sound is awful. And the camerman isn’t that good at his job. But here it is, enjoy:

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rehearsal for assembly

Posted by willkay on August 29, 2013

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The Honour Guard

Posted by willkay on August 29, 2013

We are presenting an assembly next Monday. Need to practise The Honour Guard.

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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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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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and so it begins…

Posted by willkay on September 24, 2012

I don’t have much time to write today: I’ve got a set of exams to mark; I’ve got my student coming round; and I’ve got a new iPad to play with. Oh, did I mention the new iPad? The luvverly Mrs. Kay won an iPad, a year ago, at a school event (for the teachers). From that moment on, she promised to get me my own iPad. She nearly managed to get one for my birthday, but she ended up getting me a rowing machine instead. However, yesterday, when we left the icebreaker, we went to the Apple store and I got….

It’s not really that big. It’s just me, I’m that tiny. The iPad could turn out to be a the bestest thing ever. My poor old laptop has been struggling over the past few months. And I don’t want to talk ill of a faithful war-horse, but I was starting to get mildly frustrated with it. Now I have a super new iPad, I can get on with everything else, while my MacBook pretends it is a PC. So, onwards and upwards….

It was 6B’s turn to present the assembly this morning, and what a jolly good presentation it was too! All of the children spoke loudly and clearly, but the best bit was the song/dance. Although Mrs. Kay had tested the CD several times during the week, this morning the school’s PA system did not want to know. The only way forward was to play the CD in an other player, put a microphone next to the player, and hope. Unfortunately, it didn’t work very well. However, the children were wonderful, and made up for the failings of the PA system. Instead of going quieter, they went LOUDER. They sang very well, and danced brilliantly. A great start to the morning.

From assembly we straight into the classroom and sat the maths exam. Oh, there was still time to talk about yesterday: the time spent sitting in the shade; the time spent throwing-Mrs-Kay-to-the-floor; the fact that Roberto brought a fridge/freezer; and the most important thing – I got an iPad [have I mentioned that yet?]. But then it was into the exam. I can’t tell you what the results were, because I haven’t marked them yet.

After the maths exam, it was time for the Reading Logs. Are you ready for this? I suggest you sit down to read this. Here it comes…


  • 1033 pages: Roberto

  • 812 pages: Andrea

  • 670 pages: Kristina

  • 370 pages: Luis Francisco

  • 350 pages: Jorge

  • 340 pages: Pedro

  • 310 pages: Pablo

  • 306 pages: Hector

  • 301 pages: Anafernanda

WOW!! Do you see those numbers? Oh, quick request – does anyone have a copy of the third book in the Twilight series? It’s not for me, it’s for Kristina. She has read the first book three times, I’ve managed to get hold of the second book for her, but we can’t get the third one. She desperately needs it if she is to stay up there with Roberto and Andrea. As usual, congratulations to all those students on The Wall Of Fame, and a big “WHOOT!” to all of those who got into The 200+ Club too.

The rest of the day was spent studying Science. We still have ground to cover before we are ready for the science exam – which is on Thursday! Eek. Anyhoo, that’s me finished, world’s to conquer, work to do.

Posted in assembly, exams, maths, reading log, science, wall of fame | 5 Comments »

Next time, let’s be LOUDER!!

Posted by willkay on September 10, 2012

So, the assembly was fun. EXCEPT, all week Mrs. Kay and 6B were complaining how LOUD we were in the classroom. When we hit the playground on Thursday and Friday, I got complaints from teachers that we were too LOUD. And then the assembly came along and…well, we weren’t very loud. You only get these opportunities once. You will never get to sing Firework in front of the whole school ever again. However, school is a learning experience, and (hopefully) we have learnt. Next time, and there will be a next time AND a next time, we will be louder. But, the dancing was brilliant!! Well done.

Maths was back to addition and subtraction of integers (positive and negative numbers). The cunning plan that Mrs. Kay and I had devised, to teach it once on Friday and then again on Monday, seemed to work. Instantly, most students immediately remembered what they were doing and how to do it. This should have led to ultimate success! Unfortunately, some studetns took it to mean that they didn’t have to think too hard, and when it came to the exercises there were some mistakes.

In English the Reading Log numbers were taken in. At the side of the blog (up there, on the left), you can see how well everyone did. It was then time to explain how a Book Report is written in the sixth grade. Rather than a synopsis of the story, we like the students to write about their favourite character. We feel that this gives them a chance to express an understanding of what they are reading. Also they get to tell their feelings about a book, which makes it a lot more interesting (for the writer AND the person having to mark it). We then moved on to the next spelling list, after a spelling test.

In science we studied the differences between vertebrates and invertebrates, and divided the vertebrates into five different groups. Although we talked about mammals that lay eggs (duck-billed platypus) and birds that can’t fly (go on, you know you can name three), we didn’t have enough time to talk about the fish that lives on land. So, here’s a short video:

There was enough time to squeeze in the different ways we can classify plants (vascular/non-vascular), before it was time to go home. Although, in 6B there was singing at the end of the day. Me thinks that they are now practising for their assembly. Let’s home that they sing LOUDLY.

Posted in assembly, english, maths, reading log, science, spelling | 5 Comments »

saturday morning

Posted by willkay on September 8, 2012

Up early this morning, so early that Sheffield United hadn’t even kicked off. This meant that I got to follow the game via text from the BBC. This was not fun! Two players sent off in the first half, and then we conceded a goal early on in the second half. Fortunately, we managed to equalise, and it finished 1-1. I think I’ll have a lie-in next week and just check on the final score. It did mean that I was up-and-about when my mum phoned. She’d just been to (one of) her granddaughter’s (my niece’s) wedding, where she had been dancing! This might not sound like much to you, but my mum is 84, and she doesn’t dance that often. And now, I’m waiting to watch the Australia v South Africa rugby match, followed by the penultimate stage of La Vuelta. So, I thought there would be enough time to sit down and write a blog post – last night was pizza+film night with our kids, so there wasn’t that much time.

Odd start to Friday, because there hadn’t been that much homework 12 people decided not to get their homework diaries signed. However, the brilliant news, we were settled down and ready for maths very quickly. We are doing addition/subtraction of integers – positive and negative numbers. This can get very complicated, very quickly. So, it is necessary to listen carefully and try to follow what is happening. Thankfully the new-and-improved sixth grade are all about listening carefully! This still doesn’t make the subject any easier, however we will return to it again on Monday and hopefully it will not be as complicated, after a weekend’s break.

Geography was all about Ireland, and how it became Northern Ireland and Eire. Also, why we celebrate St. Patrick’s Day at BAI. I’m still not sure why we do, and why we don’t celebrate St. George’s Day (or St. Andrew’s or St. David’s) as well. Then, while my class had Spanish and Art, I went off to teach the fifth grade some maths. I like teaching other classes, because it gives me a better perspective of my own class. Sometimes 6A have to suffer comparisons with previous sixth grades that I have taught. So, it’s good to go teach a fifth grade because then I can remind themselves that this is where my students came from. With that in my mind, I can use that to springboard them off to where they are going. It makes sense to me.

After recess we read our writing assignments. This week we were writing stories from an animal’s point of view. There were some stories that really got the idea of the assignment. Unfortunately, some stories were more like stories from cartoon animals – a chicken wearing a blindfold? However, it did give us a chance to see a video of the mimic octopus:

After the stories, we quickly squeezed in a final rehearsal for Monday’s Assembly. It was the end of the week, it was late Friday afternoon. Everyone was tired. It will be a lot better.

Back in the classroom there was just enough time to mention the Channel Tunnel. We’ve spent two weeks studying United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. Next week it is Europe. Hmmm, might be time to tell the story of my dad’s plan to “do Europe and film a re-make of Sound of Music in ten days“.

MONDAY: don’t forget your READING LOG, signed. Don’t forget your MOUSTACHE.

Posted in assembly, geography, maths, stories, yoga, youtube | 1 Comment »

I love teaching

Posted by willkay on September 6, 2012

What a brilliant day! Not perfect, but so much better. And this is why I like teaching. Every day is different. You can have good days, you can have bad, but one day is not like the next, they are all different. I realise that the last couple of posts might have been a bit grumpy, but that is because Mrs Kay, Miss Claudia, and I all want the best for the children and from the children. We know what they are capable of, and when we see it going wrong (or off track) then we worry. I get to express my worries on here – which is nice for me. But today was a good day!

It started with a talk, and then into an English lesson. Today we did grammar, Subjects and Predicates. We settled quickly, and got on with efficiently. And, hopefully, we learnt to listen. Not just to listen to the teacher, but also to listen to our classmates – those that listened to Luis Francisco’s where-the-verb-is theory, discovered that finding the verb was easy!

P.E. included a chance for the Honour Guard to practise. That was followed by Spanish, and then it was time to really work on the song we will be singing for our assembly. This was really good fun! Everyone worked together, coming up with ideas, and helping each other. What has often been a fairly frustrating experience for me (my choreography skills are not my best), went really, really well. It was TeamWork in Action!

In geography we talked about Scotland, how they like to wear kilts and strangle cats until they cry play the bagpipes. I also got to tell a story about my dad, which always makes me happy. My dad was a brilliant, fantastic man who (occasionally) had weird and wonderful ideas. I have already told the students about his “two-year-plan-to-walk-the-Pennines“, and the holiday we spent walking along Hadrian’s Wall. But his “week of Nessie spotting” was today’s story. My dad was convinced that The Loch Ness Monster exists. (I say convinced, but honestly I just think we wanted it to be true.) So, we spent a week, sat beside Loch Ness, monster hunting. Actually, that’s a lie: my dad spent a week monster hunting, we (my mum, sister, and brothers) spent the week sat in a caravan playing cards, as the rain fell. Five days in, my dad got very excited, as he announced that he had seen Nessie. Not only was he convinced that he had seen the monster, he had also managed to capture the image on Super8. Later, when we got home and saw the film, we were all convinced that it was just a seagull, swimming along, making the ripples in the water. Not my dad! My dad had his proof. And who am I to argue with him.

There was just time, at the end of the day, to run through the whole assembly one more time. And, not that I want to jinx it or anything, it went really well. True, it is hard for some people to sing-and-dance at the same time. And some of us aren’t as fit as we think we are – out of breath in the first verse???? But it was a really good end, to a much better day. Time for an empanada!

Posted in assembly, english, geography, grammar, stories | 7 Comments »

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