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 ‘geography’ Category

dreaming of a lazy Sunday

Posted by willkay on October 14, 2012

Last week we were talking to Nikos about how much the sixth grade at BAI read, and how impressed we were with them. [For those of you not quite up to speed on who Nikos is, he’s Mrs. Kay’s son, my step-son, and a sixth grader at Emma de la Vega.] At this point, Nikos mentioned that he would like to be on The Wall Of Fame. Obviously, this isn’t particularly possible. However, as neither of us wanted to discourage him from reading – could you imagine a world where Mr. and Mrs. Kay would actually tell someone to stop reading? Oh, hang on, I do that about seven times a day when I have to tell Andrea to put her book down and start listening to me – we told him to go for it. That was last week. One week later, this is a picture of Nikos, taken at 10:23 on a Sunday morning. Normally, by this stage, he has been on the computer, played on an iPad, watched some television, and is demanding that we do something because he is bored. However, this Sunday he is still on his bed, reading. He is desperately trying to get to the end of the book. Desperate because he wants to read book 2. You see, he’s already seen the film The Hunger Games, and he’s just discovered (in his own words) that the book is better than the film, it has more detail. Now he wants to read book 2, because he has no idea what is going to happen next. Oh, and the number of pages he has read so far, in one week? 367 (so far). This is enough to get him on The Wall Of Fame. So, if you can forgive a slight amount of parental indulgence (this is my blog after all), here’s a picture of Nikos doing his latest hobby:

Thursday seems so long ago. I remember we did some maths – changing improper fractions into mixed numbers, and changing mixed numbers into improper fractions. I know we read our Halloween stories. And I definitely know that we had a very long, very mature, very well thought out discussion about The Holocaust. Oh, and the SmartBoard in 6B exploded. I say exploded, but it was more like a rifle crack than an actual kaboom. Hopefully, Professor Victor spent Friday getting it to work, and Mrs. Kay will have something to use on Monday. Hopefully.

Friday there was no school. Actually, that’s not true. There was no school for the students, however there was school for the teachers. Eight o’clock in the morning saw us all try to squeeze into desks that were made for people a lot smaller than us.

It was a very interesting course, led by Miss Dulce. We discussed the reasons for evaluation, how to use evaluation better in the classroom, and all the new changes that are coming to the grading system. We worked in teams, we worked in pairs, we were told off a couple of times for talking, we were encouraged to participate, and we all came away better teachers for the experience. Big thanks to Miss Dulce for presenting the whole day. An even bigger thank you to Mrs. Kay who translated the whole day: as Miss Dulce spoke, Mrs. Kay typed away furiously, translating everything from Spanish to English, so that I could follow what was going on.

Saturday was spent at a volleyball tournament. However, there was a reward at the end of it all – birria tacos. And now it is Sunday, a day for chillin’ out, maxin’, relaxin’, all cool [and if you’re a student, and don’t know where those words come from, ask your parents. And, if they can’t receit the theme song from Fresh Prince, find it on YouTube, because really….in fact, here’s the original,

Ah, the 80s. Anyhoo, unfortunately this is not going to be a day for chillin’ out, maxin’, relaxin’, all cool because I have exams to write. Yes, the exam period has come around again, and I need to make sure that the exams are written, and ready for Monday, October 22nd. So, that’s my Sunday organised. Hopefully your Sunday is going better. You’ve already done your D.N.A. model, and that is ready to bring into school. Which means you can either read or try to beat my score on Subway Surfers. I’d suggest you read.



Posted in exams, geography, history, maths, reading log, science, smartboard, stuff | 4 Comments »

loads of stuff

Posted by willkay on October 10, 2012

Pablo was up early this morning to watch an attempt on the world freefall record. Unfortunately (for him) for the second day running the attempt was cancelled. The next attempt will be on Sunday. That’s good news for Pablo, he can go back to bed afterwards!

The Homeless World Cup is being held in Mexico City. Seventy-six countries are competing. You can catch up with all the details here.

Next Sunday (that’s the Sunday after this Sunday, this Sunday being the Sunday coming up, which means that next Sunday is actually the Sunday after the next Sunday…confused yet?) it’s The Mini Olympics. Yes, I know it is a Sunday. Yes, I know that it is early. However, this is an event not to be missed. This is the sixth grade, this is the students’ final year at BAI. As each day passes, they are slowly ticking off things they will never do again. This will be their final Mini Olympics. Many of the students will not compete again at sport for the rest of their academic career. None of the students will ever compete again at a BAI Mini Olympics. As each event rolls round, the students should embrace them, partake in them, and store the memories. True, at the moment they might not feel like wanting the memories. However, one day, they will look back on their time at school, and all they will have is memories. And, let’s face it, no one remembers the day they sat at home doing nothing, and thinks of it as a day well spent. However, this might be the year that Mr. Kay actually wins a race! And it would be a terrible moment if it was missed. [Please note: Mr. Kay will not be entering any races, so he won’t be winning any. But, who knows what he gets to say this year…I hope they have the theme tune from Rocky, I love that song!]

Maths was comparing fractions. English was regular and irregular plurals. Geography was WW2. The students also squeezed in a computer lesson, a Spanish lesson, and a music lesson. At some point I made Paola cry. With laughter. And there were a couple of other students laughing as well. So, that was a good thing. Oh, at another point the bell rang for recess, and no one wanted to go outside because they all wanted to stay in and listen to the lesson. So, that was a good thing. And Roberto has just become my friend on Game Center [sic].  (Center shows up as a spelling mistake on my computer, because centre should be spelt centre!) This should be a good thing. However, I can now see his scores on Temple Run (over 13 million), PvZ, and Where’s My Water. Suffice to say, all of his scores are better than mine. Plus, he finds time to read over 2000 pages a week! I need to go and practise a bit more. And read a bit more too.

Posted in english, geography, grammar, maths, olympics, stuff | 3 Comments »

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?]

Posted in geography, history, maths, stuff | 1 Comment »

growing pains

Posted by willkay on October 3, 2012

There is (at long last) some action in the cauliflower pots. Oddly enough, not in the pot we are just giving normal water to, but in the pot that we are just adding blue water. I thought that it would never grow, or if it did, there would be very little difference. However, the hot weather means that the blue cauliflower is now growing. Outside, the radishes have been struggling. Fortunately, Sr. Francisco has been planting other stuff on the side of the hill. This means that he has been tending his plants, and at the same time has been watering our radishes. Unfortunately, when I planted the seeds, I over planted – putting too many seeds in the bags, and not spreading them out far enough. To be fair, I was desperate for something to grow, because I wanted the children to see some “action”. However, this has meant that although there are some shoots, only a couple of those shoots have gone on to produce radishes. My cunning plan was to grow 40 radishes, so that every 6th grader could have one. It looks like there will be only four. Ooops. Never mind. Everything is in place (in my mind) for 2013. Once we get to March/April, I’ll have a go at tomatoes!

Yesterday, in maths, we did the rules for divisibility. That was so that today, we could work out the difference between a Prime number and a Composite number. First we made A Sieve of Eratosthenes. Eratosthenes was a Greek mathematician from the 3rd Century B.C. If you want to see exactly what we did in class today, click here to see an animation. [note: this is not an animation of the classroom, this is an animation of the sieve.]

English was fast, quick, and easy – it was Common and Proper Nouns. Then on to Geography which got very complicated, very quickly. We were supposed to be speaking about France. However, the conversation took a dramatic turn, and we ended up talking about politics. How good intentions can sometimes go very wrong if left in the wrong hands. How capitalism can change into Fascism and Socialism can move quickly into Communism. And also, how these two extremes can go badly wrong. There will be more of this conversation when we study Germany and Russia.

For me, the rest of the afternoon was spent on administration: exam grades have to be combined with classroom grades, to get an overall grade. These have then to be entered into Escualenet, so that the parents can see the final grades on Friday. The students had computing, followed by music.

On the way home, we stopped off at Randy’s (it’s opposite Wash Mobile) for a Torta de Loma. I can happily report it was delicious. It also appears that Randy (if that is his name) catered for the opening of BAI. I don’t know if that is true or not, I’m sure Miss Lilian might remember. However, I gladly recommend Randy’s Tortas! And I get no commission for that! Right, back to playing Temple Run to see if I can get anywhere near Roberto’s score!

Posted in english, geography, grammar, maths, planting, stuff | 2 Comments »

STOP! Hammer Time!

Posted by willkay on October 1, 2012

Last week, when Roberto announced that he had read 1033 pages there was an audible gasp in the classroom. However, if you listened very, very carefully, there was also a grumble. Andrea wasn’t happy! Andrea did not like the fact that Roberto had read more pages then her. At that moment, Andrea picked up her book and started reading. As the week progressed I watched her read at every possible moment. Recess – she read. Waiting to go home – she read. In between lessons – she read. After she had finished her exams – she read. There was no possible way that Roberto was going to read more than her,

In the classroom, on the wall, each student has their name. As they finish a book, they ask me for a small picture of a book, and the write the title of the book and (they are supposed to write also) the author of the book they have read. As the week progressed, Andrea has been sticking more and more books around her name. Of course, so has Roberto, but Andrea kept on reading. She’d read the most books. She would read more pages than Roberto.

And then came the moment for the Reading Log numbers. Because Roberto is before Andrea in the alphabet (yes, I know, but I use their surnames when I put the numbers in my mark book), I asked him first:


The classroom went quiet. I asked him to say the number again: 2738 pages! What a fantastic amount of reading! What an excellent result! But, at that moment, I was torn as a teacher. I knew I had to celebrate Roberto’s excellent achievement. I knew I had to congratulate him. I knew that I could not ignore such a fantastic moment. However, what should I do about Andrea? As a teacher I realised that this could go one of two ways. It could mean that she took on this new challenge, rose to the target that Roberto had set OR she could just give up.















There was a third option. One that I hadn’t really contemplated. I quietly turned to Andrea and asked her how many pages she had read:


She had beaten Roberto by 17 pages.

Of course, there aren’t just two students in the sixth grade who are reading. As the numbers came in, both Mrs. Kay and I were really proud of what the other students had achieved. Andrea’s brother, Julien, had managed to read nearly 900 pages (it must have been very quiet this week in their house). Anafernanda and Kristina both read over 500 pages, while Ana Sophia and Luis Francisco read over 400 pages. Arantza, Paulina, and Carlos made The Wall Of Fame by reading over 300 pages. And there were 13 students who read over 200 pages, which puts them into The 200+ Club. What a fantastic day for reading. Congratulations to everyone, and congratulations to the sixth grade as a whole.


  • 2800 pages: Andrea

  • 2783 pages: Roberto

  • 897 pages: Julien

  • 568 pages: Anafernanda

  • 508 pages: Kristina

  • 480 pages: Luis Francisco

  • 461 pages: Ana Sophia

  • 356 pages: Arantza

  • 311 pages: Paulina

  • 305 pages: Vianette

  • 302 pages: Carlos

Simply Brilliant!

Geography exam in the morning. After that, I set the writing assignment for the week. This week’s assignment involves some investigation and some reporting. The students have to ask their parents what it was like when they (the parents) were in the sixth grade. Then they have to write a story about their mum (or dad) and their time in the sixth grade. Hopefully there will be some differences, and there will be some similarities. However, the idea is to get the children to listen to a story from their parents, and then report it in the third person. Maths was all about scientific notation, and science was all about mitosis. And everything was about the weather. Hot isn’t it? Do you know what would be nice? Sitting in the shade, sipping on a Sprite, reading a book. Go on, read a book!

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

too hot

Posted by willkay on September 15, 2012

I’m not sure that I can remember very much from yesterday, my brain gave up working just past 3pm, and I haven’t been able to contact it since. The heat is terrible. How terrible? Well, my laptop seems to suffering terribly…I hope it’s the heat. However, I think I can remember:

  • we did averages in maths
  • in geography we looked at France
  • we used Google Earth to travel round Paris
  • while my class had Spanish and art, I visited all the classrooms, and spent 30 minutes in the fifth grade
  • we looked at Italy, and visited Rome on Google Earth
  • I messed up the lesson timings, and we only had 30 minutes of yoga
  • because we had had such a good week we watched Wallace and Grommit’s Grand Day Out
  • I told a story about a wedding that went wrong, and a golden apple

No school until Tuesday! Remember to bring in READING LOGS!


Posted in geography, maths, stories | 4 Comments »

this was not my idea

Posted by willkay on September 12, 2012

I have blue fingers. No, it was not an exploding pen, it was food colouring. I love ideas. There is nothing better in my day than that moment when a student says something/asks something that leads to something else. Let me give an example: we are studying Europe and we were looking at Switzerland. I mentioned that it was land-locked, completely surrounded by land, with no access to the sea. (Did you see what I did there? I did some teaching without you noticing.) At this point, Jose Antonio raised the idea that Switzerland’s position should make it a very powerful country in war. However, no one in the class could remember Switzerland ever being mentioned when it came to war. In fact, as Mr. Kay pointed out, during The Sound of Music the Trapp family escaped into Switzerland – where there was no war. Switzerland was neutral, Switzerland is neutral, and Switzerland will remain forever neutral. And the odd thing about all this neutrality? The Swiss flag is a white cross on a red background, in other words, the opposite of The Red Cross emblem which is a red cross on a white background. I love it when we end up discovering something new and different!

But what has this got to do with blue fingers? you ask.

Yesterday we did the experiment with celery. At the end of the lesson, someone asked if you watered a plant with coloured water, would it change colour? Now, I know that originally carrots weren’t orange. Oops, should I have told you to sit down for that? Yes, carrots were originally purple, but those wild-and-crazy Dutch guys loved them soooooo much that they started breeding them so that they grew orange-coloured (orange being the Dutch’s favourite colour). So, what we have decided to do is, grow cauliflowers. Except, we are going to water one cauliflower normally, with normal water, and the other cauliflower with blue water.

I’m not sure that this is going to work. I’m also not sure that I can keep it going for long enough – never mind the fact that some student is going to end up distracted and so we have to abandon the whole thing, I’m worried about someone getting covered in blue food colouring. Someone like…me! Anyway, at the moment there are cauliflowers being grown in 6A. One of them is being fed blue water. I will keep you informed.

For the second day running, I didn’t make it outside to open car doors. Yesterday I was talking to Miss Julie about 5th grade maths, today it was Miss Miriam and Miss Addis. Then it was straight into lessons, and we started with maths. Mental arithmetic today – multiplication using the distributive law. The world has changed in so many ways. In maths we teach a lot more topics than we used to. We are constantly adding more and more to the syllabus, and not just in maths, in every subject. We tend to bombard children with more and more information, and more and more problems. When I was young (many, many, many years ago), we spent months and months (probably years) working on our number bonds and our multiplication tables. Now, students get to spend a day or two, and then we move on. The government demands we spend more time doing maths than doing arithmetic, and the basic skills are lost. We sometimes force children to run before they can walk, we deny them the basic tools to make them competent in subjects. Basically, what I am saying here is, often it amazes me that 6th graders don’t know their tables – and when I say know I mean know.

In English we looked at the difference between Independent and Dependent Clauses. And, in Geography, we have started to look at Western Europe. In the afternoon, the students had computing followed by music. I took the time to write my exams – actually, the sixth grade exams, and to get my fingers coloured blue.

Oh, I did talk to all the 6th grade today, to thank them. It suddenly occurred to me in recess that the whole sixth grade were speaking English. At no point did I have to remind any of them to not speak Spanish. I then realised that this was not unusual. This group are an excellent group of students when it comes to speaking English. Well done them!

Posted in english, exams, geography, maths, planting | 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 »

waiting to exhale

Posted by willkay on September 5, 2012

The sunflowers went home today. It’s a shame, because I wanted to keep them for another two weeks, but they had become too much of a distraction. At the end of the day, Mrs. Kay, Miss Claudia, and I had a meeting to discuss how we felt it was going in the sixth grade. Eight working days in, we feel that we have some sort of grasp of how things are going…and they aren’t going well. Out of every lesson, we are losing ten minutes because students aren’t settling quick enough. Then there are the constant distractions once the lesson actually starts. It is taking an hour and a half to cover an hour’s work. For Miss Claudia, this is a major difficulty as she only has hour lessons. At the moment, it is taking her two lessons to teach one lesson. I’m struggling the same way. In a 30 minute lesson this morning, it took seven minutes to get everyone sat at their desks. I then explained what they had to do, and told them they had exactly 60 seconds to do it. I then said, “MOVE!” Twenty seconds later, ten people were still sat in their desks. After the sixty seconds, only four people were ready. The rest were wandering round the classroom, chatting, checking on their flowers, asking what I had told them to do. Thank goodness I’m not a camel, because this would have been the final straw that broke my back. Instead, I breathed. In – and count. Out – and count.

The plants went home.

It will get better. We know it will get better. We’re working to get it better. The bad news is, we are now less than 100 working days away from the entrance exams into middle school. The time we have to get it better is running out. It needs to be better NOW.

Maths was an introduction to integers (positive and negative numbers). We also learnt how to multiply by 11 – if you are a parent, grab a calculator and challenge your child to a race, multiplying two digit numbers by 11. We didn’t have time for an English lesson. The geography lesson only had 23 minutes of teaching in it – but we still managed to mention kilts and bagpipes! The afternoon was computing and music, with a 30 minute 13 minute run through for assembly.

I’m going off now to practise my breathing.

Posted in english, geography, maths, morning line up, youtube | 3 Comments »

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