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 the ‘beardwatch’ Category

marked the exams!

Posted by willkay on December 3, 2011

I got a phone call from Professor Rene yesterday (Friday), and he was asking if the beard was still there! Yes it is. Except, it had grown so long that, while eating an iced doughnut (that’s a donut to you) , I ended up with a collection of food in my beard. For anyone who has read Roald Dahl’s The Twits (and why haven’t you?) they will know that this is the most disgusting thing about beards. So, today I went out and bought a trimmer for my beard – so that I am neatly groomed for school! Unfortunately, I haven’t worked out the settings, and I trimmed my beard a bit too close. It now looks like it did in week three. Never mind, I still have a beard. And yes, I will be keeping it for the foreseeable future. It is Mrs. Kay’s birthday on Thursday (you knew that didn’t you?), Christmas is also coming – so it’s a cheap birthday/Christmas present for Mrs. Kay. Now I’ll just have to convince her to buy me a camera :^) Anyway, a picture of my beard.

It has been a really good Saturday. We had a long lie in this morning, as the kids had nothing to do. We then went out to buy my beard trimmer, and stopped off for tacos at my favourite taco stand – Sergio’s, which is just off Las Palmas, near Instituto México. When I got home I watched some rugby, Australia v Wales, trimmed my beard, and settled down to mark the maths exams.

Let’s do the bad news first: no one, in either group, scored 10. However, there was a 9.9 in both groups! In fact, in both groups, there were six students who scored 9.0 and above. Well done to them! Overall I was very happy with the results. It was a hard exam and most people did very well. There were some people who made silly mistakes [in 6A 7 (SEVEN) students forgot (FORGOT) that the area of a triangle is half (HALF) the area of a parallelogram], and there were others who made mistakes because of confusion. But, overall, I am a happy maths teacher.

Now, long time readers of this blog will know that I have, over the years, had extra sections added to this blog:

  • Interesting fact of the day
  • English word of the day
  • Favourite moment of the day

So far, this year I haven’t added a new section. However, Mrs. Kay told me an interesting fact on Thursday night, a fact that I did not know before. It appears that Archduke Franz Ferdinand was so vain that he had his uniforms sewn (yes, sewn) onto his body, so that they would not crease. This probably led to his death. For those of you who remember, the Archduke was assassinated, and his death provoked the start of The First World War. Now, Mrs. Kay states that when he was shot, his life could have been saved. However, because his uniform was sewn (yes SEWN) onto his body, the doctors couldn’t get to treat the wound quickly enough. Thus he died, the world was plunged into war. Of course, the result of The First World War led to the rise of Hitler, and therefore The Second World War, and all the atrocities that occurred there. Amazing. One vain man’s actions could cause the death of so many people. However, Mrs. Kay remembered where she had discovered this fact, in a book. As everyone knows, Mrs Kay has a huuuuuge library (why haven’t you emailed her and asked for a copy of a book?), and so she quickly found the book and started spouting “interesting facts“. Therefore, the blog will now have a new section:

Mrs. Kay’s Interesting Fact Of The Day

Every day, she will send me an interesting fact and, when I write that day’s blog entry, I will also add that to my post. Hurray! So, here goes:

Mrs. Kay’s Interesting Fact Of The Day: Every year, the Yellow River in China drags enough yellow chalk sediment from the deserts to build a wall 91 cm. thick, and 91 cm. tall, that would extend around the earth 23 times!


  • READING LOG: Do not forget to bring your Reading Log in to school on Monday.
  • Laptops: charged
  • Read: 20 minutes
  • Homework Diary: signed

Posted in beardwatch, exams, laptops, maths, reading log | 3 Comments »

waiting to exhale

Posted by willkay on November 14, 2011

I am *not* closing the blog down, but I am giving you fair warning: there might not be a lot of posting on here this week. My visa expires today. Now, as a UK citizen I have a whole different method of renewing a visa – I just have to try and cross the border. As everyone should know by now, I’m getting married on Thursday, and I’m getting married in San Diego. I need a visa for this, and I don’t intend to leave it until the Thursday to sort it out. So, tomorrow I will be crossing the border after school. This means that there might not be a post tomorrow. On Wednesday, it will be the day before the wedding. At this point in my life, I am convinced that everything is in order. However, there is a chance that something might need doing, something might need attending to do, something might stop me from writing a post. On Thursday, I’m getting married. Don’t expect a post. Friday I will be back in school, but after school I will be celebrating with maria’s children and with friends. There will not be a written post on Friday. I will (if I have any) publish a photo – so you can all go’ “Ahhhhhh!”. So, this could well be the last blog post this week. Enjoy. Oh, and here’s the last BeardWatch picture. I’ve also had my pre wedding haircut as well.

Strange day today. The students were very restless. They wouldn’t settle at morning line up, the were fidgeting through assembly, they were talking throughout the day. We started the day off by finishing Friday’s English lesson. The students have designed their own aliens. Some of them chose to draw their creations, some chose to make their creations. We sill had five students who hadn’t demonstrated and explained their aliens. This was how the first fifteen minutes of the day was spent. We then started to go through last Friday’s maths quiz.

Our review was interrupted by a rehearsal for “Thriller“. Three weeks ago we were really improving at this. Today we took a step backwards. It was as if the kids’ hearts weren’t into the task. This is a shame because they have learnt this dance on their own. Although I’ve been around to help, most of what they have learnt they have taught themselves. It would be terrible to present something which didn’t reflect the hard work and effort they have put into learning the dance. And, let’s be honest, is there anything cooler than learning to dance to Thriller? I know that it is hard to believe it when you are only 11/12, but when you are 20+ and you can dance to Thriller, your street cred goes through the roof! I explained this to the class, they took the information on board, and the second time we danced, we produced something we could be proud of showing to the school. As the saying goes: Practice makes perfect. And my other favourite phrase? Failure to prepare, is preparing to fail.

Back in the classroom, I continued to go through every.single.question. in the maths exam. After each question, I checked three times that everyone said they understood what I had just explained. And then? Then I gave them the test to redo. Homework tonight is to redo the exam. Everyone (EVERYONE) should get a 10. Otherwise, I have to ask, what were you doing in the lesson? It was then time to take in the new Reading Log numbers for the pages read last week. Six (SIX) people failed to produce a reading log. This astounds me. Fourteen weeks in and people are still forgetting to bring in their reading logs. Plus, there are still some students reading under 100 pages a week. However, there is (as always) some good news:


  • 562 pages: Gerry

  • 456 pages: Diego L.P.

  • 361 pages: Arturo

  • 355 pages: Diana

  • 319 pages: Azereth

  • 313 pages: Maria Rita

There are also six students who have read more than 200 pages and they are in The 200+ Club. Then it was onto a new spelling list: Schwa. This is when a vowel sounds like a different vowel. For example, the second e in different sounds like a u. This can be a little bit complicated. It becomes incredible more complicated when, as an Englishman, I pronounce the words differently to how an American pronounces them: vitamin anyone?

There was just enough time at the end of the day to study some geography, and to learn a little more about Russia. Here’s hoping that tomorrow is a better day. The students will be more settled, and less chatty.

  • Maths: Redo maths test from Friday
  • Spelling: Spelling Workbook page:34
  • Writing Assignment: Day in the life of your Alien
  • Read: 20 minutes
  • Homework Diary: signed

Posted in beardwatch, english, geography, maths, spelling, thriller, wall of fame | 7 Comments »

but what about your beard?

Posted by willkay on November 9, 2011

There was a complaint from my class today, that I hadn’t posted a “BeardWatch” photo. This I found rather strange considering that they can see my beard. I would have expected the complaint to come more from people who can’t see my beard. However, I am easily persuaded, so:

I am quite happy with it – the growth that is. It still itches and irritates me. However, the beard is for our wedding photos, and that is more important. Yesterday I had to trim the moustache part of the beard. I will take that as a sign that it is now fully grown in around the front of my face, it is just the sides I have to worry about!

After having said yesterday that lessons don’t always go to plan, it was obvious that today it would all go wrong again. Except, it didn’t really go wrong. It went very well, thank you for asking. The maths lesson that I taught was not the lesson I had planned – in fact, after an hour, Diana asked me if this was today’s lesson. I think she had already guessed that we were doing something different. However, it was a very useful lesson. I think that by the end of it the class had a much better understanding of percents, and how to manipulate them in problems. This will come in very handy when we have to do “sales tax”. Of course, life is mainly “swings and roundabouts”. Where we used up an hour in the maths lesson not moving forward, we went through two lessons’ work in the English class. In fact, we were on such a roll, I had to go next door to check where the other sixth grade were. As they were two topics behind us in the Grammar book, I decided to call a halt to that, and we went to the spelling book – where we are two topics behind 6B!

A spelling test! How will Secret Agent 003½ escape the swinging pendulum of doom (doom, doom, doom, doom…..)? By using ancient techniques taught to him in a Tibetan monastery that I am forbidden to repeat on here. However, on a serious note: Secret Agent 003½ is so named because he is half of 007! This is a fact that had escaped the whole of my class. But, one thing that had not escaped notice was the fact that 003½ is male! Andrea pointed this out to me today, and I am really glad she did so. Although 003½ managed to escape from the pendulum, he has not managed to escape from the evil Dr. Evil’s hideout. Thus, 003½’s contact, Agent Cinnamon, will pass the task of saving the governor onto Secret Agent 004½, who might be female.

The day ended with Enrique, Andrea, and Hector designing a new method of train transport – the MagnaTrain. Look out for it in the future!


  • Maths: answer the following questions
  1. 35% off $4.72
  2. 12% off $129.42
  3. 40% off $58.00
  4. 33% off $52.13
  5. 85% off $25.30
  • Grammar: Workbook page: 36
  • Questionnaires: completed and returned
  • Laptops: Charged
  • Writing Assignment: Design An Alien (for Friday)
  • Read: 20 minutes
  • Homework Diary: signed

Posted in beardwatch, grammar, laptops, maths | 3 Comments »


Posted by willkay on November 4, 2011

Day 24 out of 36

There’s a lot more grey in my beard than there was four days ago.

Posted in beardwatch, Uncategorized | Leave a Comment »


Posted by willkay on November 2, 2011

Day 22 out of 36

Not earrings, baskets of tempura!

Posted in beardwatch | 3 Comments »


Posted by willkay on October 31, 2011

Day 20 out of 36

There’s me, in half a Ketchup costume.

Posted in beardwatch | 1 Comment »


Posted by willkay on October 30, 2011

Day 19 out of 36

Not. Feeling. Well. Think. I. Have . Caught. What. Nikos. Had. Yesterday. Brrrrrraaaaaiiiiiinnnnsssssss!

Posted in beardwatch | 4 Comments »


Posted by willkay on October 29, 2011

Day 18 out of 36

You know, I can’t help but think that there is something going on behind me. I’ll just smile for the camera. Oh, and I’ll post this video. Give it 46 seconds to get started, and then just sit back and be amazed. Now, if only I could teach this! Or do this! Or…did someone just say, “Brrrraaaaaaaaiiiiiiinnnnnssssssss!”????

Posted in beardwatch | 1 Comment »


Posted by willkay on October 28, 2011

Day 17 out of 36

I’m in school. The day started with a meeting at 7am. The rest of the teachers then left to go on a SEP course. I was left, alone in my classroom. I have marked the science exams. I have planned lessons for the next week. I have spent time on the aquarium’s website. I am just about to write the geography exam.

Posted in beardwatch | Leave a Comment »


Posted by willkay on October 27, 2011

Day 16 out of 36

I’m the one with the beard.

Posted in beardwatch | 4 Comments »

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