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 ‘blog’ Category


Posted by willkay on August 29, 2013

Hello. It’s been a long time hasn’t it? For those of you who don’t know, my job has changed. Calm down, calm down. I’m still a sixth grade teacher, but I am the ONLY sixth grade teacher. The school decided that it would be a good idea to put the two fifth grades together, and make one sixth grade. There were several reasons for this, one of the reasons was that this would release Mrs. Kay to teach maths to the fifth and fourth grades. This she agreed to do. However, as brilliant as Mrs. Kay is, taking on both fifth grades and both fourth grades would mean that she would never see the light of day. Therefore, I was asked to take a fourth grade for maths. How does this change my life? Well, as regular readers will know, I struggle for time to write this blog on a regular basis. Now, with my usual job (the sixth grade) plus the fourth grade, I am really struggling for time. This means that the blog will suffer. I just don’t have enough time to keep this as up to date as I would like.

BUT I will still be writing a blog!

The posts will be few and far between, but there will be posts. Hopefully there will be more photos and videos though. These I will try to post on here as regularly as possible.

Are you ready for 2013-2014? Because here we go….

Posted in blog, stuff | 2 Comments »

So, how was it for you?

Posted by willkay on August 28, 2012

If you rush over to Miss Lilian‘s blog, you can read how her first day back at school went.

And if you go to Rachel Velasco‘s blog, you can read how her first day in the sixth grade went.

Posted in blog | 1 Comment »

This morning…

Posted by willkay on August 23, 2012

….as I walked into my classroom, I saw something at the back of the room, on the floor.

As I walked to my desk, to drop off the books I was carrying, I wondered if it was something that had fallen off the wall. This made me slightly worried as I was now thinking that the whole of my display was about to fall down. However, I dropped off my stuff, wandered over to the back of the classroom and, lo and behold, turned out to be a lizard.

So, I went and got my camera, took a couple of pictures of it, and called for Mrs. Kay. She got a piece of paper and a plastic cup. She carefully coaxed the lizard into the cup, and then set it free outside the school’s grounds.

Obviously, there is at least one person thing that wants the school year to start!

Posted in blog, stuff | 2 Comments »

Guess who’s back?

Posted by willkay on August 22, 2012

Hello, did you miss me? I’m back, and I’m going to give this “blogging thing” another go.

So, what is this “blogging thing”?

The point of this blog is a way to keep parents informed of what is happening in the sixth grade. It is to give them an insight of what happens in the classroom and, in some cases, the thoughts behind what happens in the classroom. It is also for the students. Many parents cannot read English, but their students can! This blog is a chance for the students to show off their English, by reading and translating this blog to their parents. [Also this would be a moment for parents to talk about the school day with their children, because we all know how communicative 6th Graders are about their day at school!]

Is it going to be the same as before?

Maybe, maybe not. Writing a blog every day can be incredibly time consuming (especially as I have no internet in my classroom at the moment, which means that all of this will have to be done at home), plus (sometimes) I do actually have a life outside of school. So, I am not promising that this will appear every single day. However, I do know the rules of blogging (I’ve been writing a blog for nearly nine years, in some form or other), and rule one states: Update regularly. So, I will promise to write [at least] three times a week.

Will Mrs. Kay be writing a blog?

No! I will try to write as much as possible about the whole sixth grade. Obviously, Mrs. Kay and I work very closely, and it is our intention to try to keep the sixth grade as one group, rather than have them as two separate entities. We will try and spend as much time as possible in each other’s classrooms, assisting each other, working together, with the intention of offering the students the chance learn from both of us. This will mean, that I will talk about both sixth grade classes, but I will view them just as a single sixth grade. Plus, Mrs. Kay is far more intelligent than I am, so there is no way she would volunteer for this job!

Will you stop again?

During Book Month we interviewed an author, Alex Pruteanu, and one of the questions was: What inspires you to write? His answer was simply, “You.” If there are readers, then I will write. I can see how many people visit this blog a day, and when the numbers drop to single figures, it becomes very hard to motivate myself to write. This is why I stopped before. If it turns out that parents/students aren’t interested in the blog, then I will stop again.

How can I get you to keep writing?

Make comments. Join in. Make comments. Keep visiting. Make comments. There, below, where it says “leave a comment”. Press it. Leave a comment. Become part of the sixth grade community.

Whoot! What happens if I have a question?

Ask away.

But it is in Spanish?

Ask away. I can (just about) read Spanish, I know how to use Google translate, and I happen to live with someone who can translate .

Will there be cake?

Probably not. Sorry.

Everybody happy now? Good. So, let’s go:


Posted in blog | 8 Comments »

Just found this

Posted by willkay on January 20, 2012

I’m sorry. Just a bit. But, I’m sorry. I realise that I have not been posting on here. And I realise that maybe some of you have been missing it – oddly enough, only one student has made any comment about it [hello Marissa]. However, I’ve been struggling to keep up with everything, and the blog has become the least of my worries.

Primarily, we no longer have internet in the classroom – well, we no longer have wifi in the classroom. This means that the odd moments I would get through the day, so that I could write some of my blog, haven’t occurred. I can’t get onto the internet and start writing the days events. This means that all my writing has to be done at home – and here comes the really big excuse…

…I’m not getting home until a lot later. With maria Mrs. Kay now working at school, it means that all those little tasks that need to be done, don’t get done until after school. Instead of getting home before 3:30, I’m not getting home before 5 most days. Obviously there is still school work to do, and there is time to spend with Mrs. Kay maria, and there is all the house work to be done (I should never have given that sock to the house elf!), and at some time I need to cook, and we need to eat. By the time I’m actually ready to sit down and write a blog post, it is already past eight at night. As much as I enjoy the blog, I really do enjoy married life. So, there is normally enough time to sit down and zone out to some television – although, I have read a whole book this week, the excellent The Hunger Games.

However, I haven’t forgotten this blog. Every other day I intend to come back and write about the days events, I just don’t seem to find the time. I’m sorry. But, to make up for my failure to write a blog post because of lack of time, here’s a video from three years ago (?) that I found on my hard drive. Enjoy.


Posted in blog, stuff, youtube | 1 Comment »

so long and thanks for all the fish

Posted by willkay on January 25, 2011

A year ago I had an idea, I’d write a blog. I wasn’t new to blogging, truth be told it was writing a blog that had resulted in me moving to Mexico. However, instead of just writing for writing’s sake, this time I had a purpose.

I don’t speak Spanish.

On the whole, this isn’t a problem in my job when it comes to the teaching part, however it was a problem when it came to the “communicating with parents” part. I therefore decided that it would be a help to both parents and students if I wrote a day-to-day diary of what happened in the classroom. This would give some point of reference to both the parents and the students, so that they would be able to discuss the days events. As a parent I know that often, when a sixth grader is asked what they did at school, there answer is “Dunno”. I also thought it would be useful in explaining some of my teaching methods, some of my thoughts.

So, on 18th January, 2010 I published my first blog post on Mr. Kay’s Blog. And it worked. The students would read, comment, join in. In fact, at one point, the whole class kept individual blogs for a month. Parents were constant visitors. The pictures gave them some idea what was happening, the videos covered events that they might have missed, and the actual posts themselves gave conversation starting points.

The blog was a success. It was hard work, having to come home every night and immediately settling down to write about the days events, but I felt that the hard work was useful. The students were getting something out of it, the parents were getting something out of it. There was a point.

Then came August and a new group of students and parents.

As expected, the numbers of readers dropped off considerably. I assumed that as the year got going, students and parents would start to read regularly, and the stats would start to improve. However, they didn’t. maria kindly offered to translate the blog into Spanish, as it was pointed out to me that some parents might appreciate it in Spanish. However, the visits to the Spanish blog could be counted on one hand. It was a lot of hard work for little return and, after thanking her for all her hard work, I shut down the Spanish version at Christmas.

I have given this blog two weeks into the New Year. I have mentioned it regularly in class and encouraged the children to visit, but the numbers haven’t risen. Yesterday I asked all the students who read the blog to say hello, two students did so. Yesterday I had more visits to the blog from Google searches looking for “Santos Laguna” than I did from students. This academic year has also seen an increase in my working hours, the school now goes on until 3pm. This means that I am often finishing the blog after 5pm, and that is before I can start my other school work. Added to this fact is that, unfortunately, I have had to cover colleagues who are absent, every day this calendar year. Time is at a premium. If this blog still had a point I would gladly sacrifice my time, however at the moment it has no real point.

My Flickr account is also up for renewal, and again the amount of visits that the pictures receive do not justify the expense of maintaining the account.

Obviously I still believe that a blog can be a useful tool, as a method for communicating between my classroom and the students’ homes. However, in this case it is not effective, it just isn’t working. Therefore it is time to close this down.

Thank you to those who have read and enjoyed the blog. Thank you for the compliments when we’ve met. Thank you for the comments.

Shall we try this again next August?

Posted in blog | 31 Comments »

2010 in review

Posted by willkay on January 2, 2011

The stats helper monkeys at mulled over how this blog did in 2010, and here’s a high level summary of its overall blog health:

Healthy blog!

The Blog-Health-o-Meter™ reads Wow.

Crunchy numbers

Featured image

The average container ship can carry about 4,500 containers. This blog was viewed about 14,000 times in 2010. If each view were a shipping container, your blog would have filled about 3 fully loaded ships.

In 2010, there were 230 new posts, not bad for the first year! There were 239 pictures uploaded, taking up a total of 493mb. That’s about 5 pictures per week.

The busiest day of the year was April 12th with 194 views. The most popular post that day was (back to school) Monday.

Where did they come from?

The top referring sites in 2010 were,,, and

Some visitors came searching, mostly for mr kay blog, mr kay blogs,, miss lillian blog, and

Attractions in 2010

These are the posts and pages that got the most views in 2010.


(back to school) Monday April 2010


About January 2010
1 comment


Miss Lilian writes March 2010


(earthquake) Sunday April 2010


(here we go again) Monday August 2010

Posted in blog | 3 Comments »


Posted by willkay on November 27, 2010

That Was, The Week, That Was was the name of the television programme that launched Sir David Frost’s career. The title of the show was shortened to TW3.

In 1882 the Australian cricket team beat the English cricket team for the first time. The Times newspaper published an obituary talking about “the death of English cricket” and how “the body had been cremated and the ashes taken to Australia“.  The next year, when the English team travelled to Australia to play the return match, the tour was called “The Quest to Regain The Ashes“. This is how legends are made. England play Australia every two/three years over five games for a small urn of ashes. This is cricket being played at its most competitive and is a fantastic event. Each game lasts five days. Each day lasts seven hours. There are moments of great excitement, huge confrontation, amazing athleticism. However, the thing that I love most about cricket is the moment to moment. To the untrained eye it can often appear that nothing is happening but if you know the game there is always something happening. I was brought up watching cricket, and when I say watching I mean watching. From a very early age I was taught to use a scoresheet and how to keep a record of every single ball bowled, every run scored. Because I am who I am, I loved the statistical analysis of each and every ball. However, there was also the playing of the game. Cricket, although it is a team game, is very much an individual sport. Often it boils down to just one player against one player. It can become like chess, but with more physical activity. I love my football (soccer to you), I really enjoy my rugby, but the game at my core, the one that means the most to me, is cricket. And there is nothing more exciting than The Ashes series. Often people will ask me if I miss England, miss stuff. What people don’t realise is that the world is getting smaller and smaller. Two years ago I missed The Ashes series in England (where England won!). However two years later, thanks to the moving forward in technology, the speeding up of connections, I can catch every single ball bowled in The Ashes. Even better, I’m in Mexico. This means that the games are played between 4pm and midnight my time. Yes, thanks to the internet I am watching cricket. Gotta lurve progress.

However, the cricket hasn’t been the only sport this week. On Thursday the mighty Santos Laguna won 2-1 against America in the semi-finals of Clausura. The New York Jets also won on Thursday. And earlier in the week the mighty Sheffield United came back from 2-1 down to win 3-2. And while all of this has been going on: my step-daughter, Danny, has had two maths exams; my step-son has been going through exams; I took maria out for a meal to celebrate the fact it was Tuesday (as you do); people we haven’t seen for ages have turned up unexpectedly; exams have had to be written; it has started snowing back in England and my mother has had to travel (which is a certain amount of stress); and with one thing and another something in my life had to be dropped. In case you didn’t notice, the thing that got dropped was this blog. Unfortunately Monday turned into a personal disaster area, and once I’d missed one day it became very easy to miss the next and the next and the next.

Monday: Third grade assembly was a re-enactment of the Mexican Revolution, which was fantastic. I love moustaches! In maths we covered volumes of rectangular prisms and cylinders. It was time to write the first Book Report of the year. I like my book reports written in a certain way. I do not like a breakdown, page by page, of the whole book. This took sometime to explain. It also led to the introduction of the book The Twits to the class. As I write this post at the end of the week, I can report that four different students have now read the book. This is what I mean by “a good book“. It is fun, it is enjoyable, and everyone has read it in one sitting. Then moved on to another book. Later in the day we read a story about a boy who had crashed in the Canadian wilderness and learned how to make fire. I’m not so sure that this was a good idea, having watched the class playing with fire at Alexa’s party.

Tuesday: we used protractors in maths. It was all about drawing and measuring angles. Homework was a worksheet that needed accuracy to complete to the satisfaction of the person marking it (that would be the person sat next to you!). In art the students made Christmas decorations. Yep, Christmas is coming. The geography lesson was really more of a history/politics lesson. The geography of eastern Europe is difficult to do without mentioning the dramatic changes that occurred in the 1980s. The next topic, Russia, is even more about history than geography.

W*dnesd*y: And there was no Miss Claudia. I have now discovered a new work-related-injury. When I first started work, over 25 years ago, I used to suffer a lot from chalk dust. This would find it’s way into clothes, hair, lungs and was a problem. The next year I got my first whiteboard. Unfortunately, the pens the school provided me with were alcohol based. This meant that come lunchtime I would suffer with chronic headaches. This year I am now suffering from hurty-finger-syndrome.  I love the SMARTboard, don’t get me wrong, however I do a lot of my wok on the board with my forefinger, especially the tip of my forefinger. Today we did constructions. All week I have been using the ruler and protractor that come with the board and today I added the pair of compasses to the mix. By the end of the day I has all but erased my fingerprint. Even now, as I type, I have noticed that I am not using my right forefinger because it is still so sore. Also learned that there would be no Gerry in school on Thursday and Friday.

Thursday: Gerry was in school. More constructions in maths and my finger has actually gone shiny! There will be a computer exam next Thursday and I was given a study guide. Not sure what I was supposed to do with it, but I have a study guide if anyone wants to borrow i..oh, no I don’t. Miss Lilian has the study guide. Miss Claudia was in school! Hurray! The auditions for The Little Mermaid will be on Monday. Parts of scripts were given out so that lines could be learnt. Of course, it is not just important to learn the lines it is also important to understand the lines, and to act the lines. In English we came across Hieroglyphs. On the internet we found a site that let you type in your name and it would translate it into hieroglyphs. So long as your name didn’t have an x or a z in it.

Friday: normal start for me, late start for the students. There was a staff meeting in which we discussed discipline. Because of the meeting there was no yoga lesson, so it was straight into the maths review. Maths exam on Monday and this month we have covered a huge amount of ground. In fact, in the three months we have been in school we have covered nearly half of the book. This is because in January there will be the Junior High School exams and I want to cover as much ground as possible before them. Hopefully, the rest of the school year will not be as mathematically full. It’s Friday, which means that it is Reading Log day. Now, I was pretty sure that everyone knew it was Reading Log day, however nine people forgot their reading logs – oops. But this means that there are some new names on The Wall Of Fame.


  • 1015 pages: Roberto
  • 648 pages: Polette
  • 438 pages: Ninotchka
  • 311 pages: Marianna
  • 293 pages: Octavio
  • 262 pages: Daniel
  • 250 pages: David
  • So, congratulations to those new names. And boo to those who forgot their reading logs. Some people also forgot their book reports! This was not a good thing to do. They must be in on Monday or they will score a zero! In the afternoon we watched The Little Mermaid so that everyone could have a chance to see the film, and get an idea of their roles. Then it was on to Alexa’s party!!!

    English Word Letter of the Day Week: z. It is pronounced “zed” not “zee”.


    • Reading: you should be reading for 20 mins every night.

    Posted in art, assembly, blog, english, exams, geography, history, maths, reading log, smartboard, the little mermaid, wall of fame | 6 Comments »

    (radio, radio) Thursday

    Posted by willkay on November 4, 2010

    I moved to Mexico because of a radio programme. No, seriously, let me explain. When I was a 13 years old I was sent away to Boarding School – yes, just like Harry Potter, I went to a school where you had to stay overnight, for months at a time. We were all sent to bed at 9:15 and the lights were switched out in the dormitory at 9:45. This meant that there was nothing to do except sleep or listen to your radio. Listening to the radio was strictly forbidden, we were supposed to sleep. However, I was not always the honest, truthful, law-abiding person you know now. Once upon a time I was a rule breaker, and I broke rules! As soon as the lights were out, I would slip an ear phone into my radio and tune in to BBC Radio One for the John Peel Show at 10pm. It was listening this way that, in 1976, I heard my first punk rock songs: The Sex Pistols, The Clash, The Damned. I formed my own punk band, we played three gigs, and we disbanded. John Peel, however became a constant in my life. The man who introduced me to all my musical likes, affected my political beliefs, and helped me grow old youthfully. I cannot tell you how proud I felt, twenty four years after my punk band split, standing in a bar watching my own son’s punk band perform. Unfortunately, John Peel died October 25th, 2004. I wrote a tribute to him, and my tribute was published on the internet. The same day The New York Times published a list of the most influential, female bloggers in the world. Here in Mexico, maria read this list and followed a link to a blog in Scotland. That blog mentioned a blog in Wales that was wonderfully designed. On that blog visitors were told to go read a tribute to John Peel, the tribute that was on my blog. Through a circuitous route, maria found herself at my blog…and the rest is, as they say, history. A year and a bit later I packed a single suitcase and moved here to Mexico. And yet, we would never have met if I hadn’t written that tribute to a radio DJ.

    I mention all this because today I attended the Spanish lesson. I enjoy watching my class in different lessons, it gives them the chance to shine in subjects that I don’t teach, so when ever Miss Claudia offers me the chance to go to a Spanish lesson I jump at the chance. Today the pupils were presenting a”Radio Show”. It was good to see the effort that was put into the presentations. Some groups had spent hours preparing sound effects and edited music-bites. Other groups had commercials and comedy items. All the groups seemed to have prepared well for the event, and it was all very enjoyable. Pictures in the usual place.

    In the morning I returned the geography exams. Again there were some fantastic results, but the annoying thing (for me) was that there could have been so many more. If only people read the question! If only people answered the question! However, this is a school and it is all about learning. I am sure that this is the first time anyone has ever told the students to read the question, but now I’ve mentioned it, I’m sure that it will not happen again. After that we did multiplication of fractions in maths. This was followed by science, which was all about muscles. Oh, and tonight, if your child comes home and tells you to press your arm up against the wall for 30 seconds, try it. You will be amazed at the results!

    During the last lesson of the day we had visitors to our classroom from 2A. Miss Alexandra also takes in the Reading Log numbers, and then picks a star reader! This week I invited the top 5 readers to come to our classroom and tell the sixth grade how many pages they had read. There were some very impressive totals (722, 711, 466, 406, 180) and it was nice to be able to hear that 2A wouldn’t just have a 200+ Club but could probably have a 400+ Club!


    • Maths: Reteaching 4-4
    • Geography: 5 Facts about each: France, Germany, Spain, Italy.
    • Reading Log Numbers.
    • Reading: you should be reading for 20 mins every night.

    Posted in blog, maths, photos, science, spanish, stuff | 10 Comments »

    En Español

    Posted by willkay on September 27, 2010

    Si, de veras, este blog, pero en Español.

    Haz click aquí.

    Posted in blog, spanish | 2 Comments »

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