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 ‘PE’ Category

it’s all about me!

Posted by willkay on September 29, 2013

The luvverly Mrs. Kay has been making some videos for my mum. You may have noticed some odd videos appearing on my youtube page, not odd, more “less to do with school”. This is because my niece has just got in contact with me and she lives near my mum. This means that when my mum goes round to visit her, my niece can show my mum videos of me. [Are you still following?] That explains why videos of me walking round the corner to the taco stand, the journey home by car, and other non-school related videos have been turning up on my youtube page. The reason that I am telling you this is that the luvverly Mrs. Kay has taken two videos this week, for my mum, that she thinks would be a good idea to put up on the blog.

As you know, every morning we have “morning line up”. I have already posted a video of the exercises that the children do (it’s here or scroll three posts down). However, every morning one teacher gets to talk about the value of the month. Last Friday it was my turn to talk to the school about Cooperation. I chose to talk about the “Beach Clean Up”.

The second video is of me teaching an English lesson. This year we are really concentrating on the children “reading to understand”. Using the new books, Learning Journeys, we read passages out of the book and then discuss what we have read. This week we have been reading to Compare and Contrast. Here we are reading about two different places the author has lived in, and how she writes about them.

Oh, and because there should be something about the students…here’s a bit of a PE lesson.

Posted in english, morning line up, PE, youtube | 1 Comment »

moments from a PE lesson

Posted by willkay on September 10, 2013

Posted in PE | Leave a Comment »

First PE lesson

Posted by willkay on August 29, 2013

Professor Rodolfo wants the children to concentrate on three main points in PE lessons:

  • Attention

  • Participation

  • Respect

The students are paying attention as he explains the rules:

listening to Professor Rodolfo

still listening

Posted in PE | Leave a Comment »

birds flying high, you know how I feel

Posted by willkay on December 13, 2011

That was a strange day. It never really got going from the start. Because of the rain, there was no standing outside, opening car doors – today the children came to us. Most remembered to bring their small gift for day two. In a moment of total niceness, Rodrigo’s secret friend made up for forgetting yesterday, with a huuuuuuge present today. Tomorrow is the big present. Yes, tomorrow is going to be Sharing Day. This means that everyone is allowed to come in in normal clothes…unless you are a teacher, which means you can’t wear jeans! Also, it means that you can bring in games to play. Do not bring in cameras or electronic games.

Anyway, strange day. The first lesson never got going. We were waiting for the late comers to arrive and [shock/horror] Hector never made it in to school! How ill must he be? It was interesting to see the total lack of belief that he hadn’t made it in. The first lesson was spent conversing in English! it was then time for yoga. This gave me a chance to sort out my mark book and start working out the grades. Except I was pulled out of my classroom to go take a video of:

No, I’m not sure exactly what it was I was supposed to be videoing – especially as they immediately started as soon as I walked in the door (hence the fact that there is a countdown and I only caught the end of it in the video). But, they seemed very excited about what they had done, so here’s the video.

Maths in 6B, and I did my origami lesson. I taught them all to make a box. Oh, sorry. If you are a parent reading this, pretend you didn’t see this bit – just in case, for Christmas, when you are handed a box and open it, expecting something inside...the box is the present! Your child made a box!! Whoot!!!

PE was in the library. Spanish was making Christmas cards. And then it was home time.

Mrs. Kay has just discovered that I have spent 89 pesos of her birthday present on Plants v Zombies (I bought her a 300 peso iTunes card and then used it to buy the game…sometimes I’m not a brilliant husband). Fortunately (because Mrs. Kay is a brilliant wife), instead of telling me off and banning me from playing on her iPad, she is demanding that I get full value from my purchase, and play the game! So, I’m off to save my garden. Don’t forget, tomorrow bring in your big gift for your secret friend. Bring in a game to play with friends. Do not wear uniform!

Mrs. Kay’s Interesting Fact Of The Day: Cézanne was rejected by the École des Beaux-Arts when he applied for enrollment.

  • BIG Gift for Secret Friend
  • Game to play
  • Stuff to share
  • No Backpack: unless your name begins with rod and ends in go :^)
  • Laptops: charged
  • Read: 20 minutes

Posted in maths, PE, yoga | 3 Comments »

I’ve broken my little finger

Posted by willkay on December 8, 2011

“Worst. Birthday present. Ever.”

Three years ago, playing football with the sixth grade, I broke a bone in my right foot. Two years ago, putting kids in a car outside school, I fell over and broke a bone in my left foot. Mrs. Kay (or maria as she was known then) was not a happy person. She loves me, and likes me whole and in one piece. I promised to take more care of myself. I stopped playing football at recess and limited my participation to one game a year, at the end of the school year. I’ve also stopped doing most physical activity, unless eating tacos can be considered a sport. And, totally against the general wisdom about this, I haven’t missed a day off school in two years, and I’ve not had to see a doctor in two years.

This has been fairly hard on me because I like my sport. I played football, rugby, cricket, and hockey through school. Rugby and hockey at university. As a teacher I taught all four sports and even taught PE for four years. And I would play six-a-side football every Monday night. I enjoy getting involved. But, let’s face it, I’m not getting any younger. Maybe Mrs. Kay was correct, maybe I should avoid any physical activity at all.

And then I took a PE lesson today.

The students missed some of their PE lesson at the start because Miss Claudia needed to complete a review for the history exam. The students missed the last fifteen minutes of their PE lesson because Professor Rodolfo left. Last week I let them play in the playground. Unfortunately, one student took a nose dive off the swings. So, today I decided to drag a PE lesson out of mothballs, and taught PE. Because I wasn’t prepared to teach the lesson, there came a moment when I needed to go to the staff room to get more equipment. Caught up in the moment, suddenly involved in physical activity, not really thinking, totally forgetting that i am now 50 years old, I jumped over the fence that surrounds the playground. Half way over, I suddenly realised that this could all go terribly wrong, and if it did all go horribly wrong then Mrs. Kay would kill me. Good news, it didn’t go wrong. I landed safely, took off into the staff room, grabbed the stuff I needed, turned quickly, and jammed my little finger on my left hand.

I’ve broken my little finger, on my left hand.

Mrs. Kay is not happy. “Worst. Birthday present. Ever.”

Ah well, perhaps a meal out at a Japanese restaurant will cheer her up – and I will only have to use chopsticks! So, that’s me out of here:

  • science exam
  • computer lesson
  • rehearsal
  • English/maths lesson
  • history lesson
  • PE lesson with Professor Rodolfo
  • PE lesson with me

Mrs. Kay’s Interesting Fact Of The Day: Claude Monet would work on 5 paintings at a time in the grassy fields of the Etretat cliffs. As the hour changed he would switch paintings.


  • Exam: History
  • Something to read: when the exam finishes, what else are you going to do?
  • Maths: Pair of compasses, ruler, and protractor
  • Voluntary Writing Assignment: Best Christmas (for Friday)
  • Laptops: charged
  • Read: 20 minutes

Posted in exams, PE, thriller | 4 Comments »

I’ve got the sniffles!

Posted by willkay on October 18, 2011

I woke up this morning after a night full of dreams. In my dreams I was snoring, sooooooo loudly that I could not sleep. This meant that when I woke up I was not very rested. Mind you, at least I woke up! maria had not slept all night because someone was snoring soooooooo loudly that she could not sleep. At first I thought that I was snoring because my beard had grown so thick during the night that I was unable to breathe properly. This was not so. My beard wasn’t the problem. my nose was the problem. I have the sniffles. [Although, according to maria, I don’t have the sniffles. Sniffles, I am informed, are cute. I have the growling, roaring, thunderous, monsters! So, we can probably guess who didn’t get much sleep last night, and is in a grumpy-pumpy mood!]

I know what you are thinking now. You are thinking: NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! Not on a Tuesday! NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! Tuesdays are the new W*dnesd*ys! NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! Mr. Kay can’t go into school on a Tuesday with very little sleep. The students might kill him! He might explode! Well, it is nice of you to be so considerate and worrisome over my lack of sleep. However, (shush – don’t tell anyone – whisper quietly – but) I had the most awesome of starts to the day. The students were quiet at morning line up, they exercised, they did nothing to annoy me, they went into the classroom, and ALL the homework diaries were signed! (I know.) AND (wait for it) everyone had done their homework. Whoot! It is just like teaching a sixth grade. Be still my beating heart!

There was a good news/great news moment at morning line up. Good News: no school on October 28th. Well, no school for the students. There will be school for the teachers. Hmmm, not sure that that is good news. I’ll have to go away and think about that. Anyway, there is definitely Great News: there will be a trip to the Long Beach Aquarium on November 1st. This is very exciting and I am really looking forward to it – maybe not the six hours in the coach with 42 sixth graders, but the actual aquarium? Looking forward to that. All of this means that it is going to be a very strange couple of days at school:

  • Friday October 28th: no school
  • Monday October 31st: Halloween
  • Tuesday November 1st: Trip to the Aquarium
  • W*dnesd*y November 2nd: Day of the Dead (no school)

In totally unrelated news, maria crossed the border today to go buy a wedding dress (or at least a dress to get married in), and she managed to pick me up a costume for Halloween. And no, I’m sorry Diana, she did not go for the “Bacon and Eggs” costume!

We rushed through the maths lesson.Once again everyone seemed to understand what was going on, although some students still decided to go off on their own route when it came to doing the exercises in their books. Then it was off to yoga. For the students that appeared to be a certain amount of colouring in, for me it meant I got time to mark and correct maths, English, spelling quiz, and some geography books. In Science we finished off body systems and moved on to the make-up of bones. I also remembered a video I had seen over the weekend. It shows how a spore has adapted to reproduce (and therefore survive). This spore takes over the brain of an ant, forcing it to climb up a tree, and lock itself in there with its teeth. Then the spore grows out of the ant’s head, to reproduce and burst into thousands of other spores, hoping to take over more ant’s brains, and thus continuing the cycle. Now this is truly horrific.

After recess, while the students had PE, I spent time with Professor Richardo. We planned out the next month’s maths lessons for the fifth grade, and we discussed some of my ideas for teaching English. It is always good to get time to sit down with fellow teachers and discuss teaching methods. Just because I am a teacher it does not mean that I know everything, and I am always the first to accept that I can improve in my teaching. So, I enjoying discussing teaching, I love seeing it from different angles. The Spanish lesson seemed to take up some of my time with sorting out confrontations and accidents. Not so much fun.

And then the final lesson of the day. We started rehearsing for Thriller. It was my intention to take some photos, maybe some video. However, I think we’ll leave that for another day. At the moment I can assure you that we are fully prepared for the first ten seconds! We know the first ten seconds. We are really good at the first ten seconds! It’s the next 3 minutes 20 seconds that we aren’t too sure about. Oh, and when I say we, I mean me. However, the first ten seconds look awesome! [Don’t worry Miss Lilian, I promise you, we will produce something that will make you happy/proud. We are the sixth grade…and if there is one thing I can assure you of, we can all move like zombies! I can teach that much :^)]


  • Maths: Reteaching 4-4 Nos: 16-20 Practice 4-4 Nos: 19-24
  • Writing Assignment: Book Report
  • Read: 20 minutes
  • Homework Diary: signed
  • Permission Slip for Trip To Aquarium: signed

Posted in maths, morning line up, PE, science, stuff, thriller | 3 Comments »

guess who’s back

Posted by willkay on October 11, 2011

It’s Professor Israel. Yes, back at BAI is Professor Israel. Once again the teacher’s football team is back to strength. I was a bit worried when Professor Humberto left, but now Professor “sweet feet” Israel is back, we should be alright. In other exciting news: the official trailer for The Avengers is out. I know, I know. It has absolutely nothing to do with school, but I’m pretty definite that the blog’s title is: The day to day happenings of a 6th grade classroom teacher. Which means, I can get my geek on in my own blog.

What is it about Tuesdays? For several years now, it has always been W*dnesd*ys I haven’t got the hang of – as opposed to Arthur Dent who could never get the hang of Thursdays. [What? You’ve never read Hitch-Hikers Guide To The Galaxy? Voted the second greatest novel of the 20th Century. Go away and don’t come back until you have.] However, this year it always seems to go wrong on Tuesdays. I came in to school, this morning, determined to be upbeat and ready. I was positive and prepared. This was the Tuesday that was going to break the pattern. I even tipped the class off – told them to be on their best behaviour, just get through morning line-up without anything going  wrong and we’d be golden. Unfortunately, we didn’t make it through morning line-up. Well, we did up to the point when they all walked off, except Miss Gaby was still talking, and yet they all walked off! When I brought them back, they all stood there talking to each other and telling jokes. Then, when asked to walk off in silence, they didn’t. Tuesday morning started with me having to tell the class off, again! Grrrrr, arrrrgggghhhh.

In the maths lesson I explained my reasoning as to why I want the work set out in a particular way. I’ve taught for 25 years (ooooo, this is my silver jubilee year) and I know a thing or two about solving fraction questions. I also teach for perfection. I want all my students to get every thing correct. I want them all to score 10. Every time they sit down to do maths work, their target should be 10. Sometimes students just want to finish the questions with no thought or desire to get everything correct. [becomes grumpy old man: the problem is computer games! They give you another life. Too often children think they have another “life“, and so they don’t take enough care. In the long run, I am preparing these children to sit exams into Junior High. The school of their choice won’t give them another chance, they have to get it correct first time. :becomes happy old man] So, I teach a way of doing these questions so that it works every single time. Follow it and you get them correct all the time. And that is surely the point?

Science was all about DNA or deoxyribonucleic acid (ha! I spelt it correctly…or at least that’s what my spell checker tells me.) Have you every tried to draw a strand of DNA? It is very hard/difficult. Anyway, the task for the week is to try and construct a strand of DNA. Friday will be an interesting day.

Recess seemed to be full of hand-clapping games. And PE was full of a sort of volleyball game.

There are other videos available at my youtube page.

We finished the day off with a grammar lesson on proper and common nouns.

  • Maths: Reteaching 4-2  Practice 4-2 All the subtraction questions that you didn’t do yesterday.
  • Science: Construc a model of DNA (for Friday)
  • Geography: 5 (interesting) Facts about Greece and 10 (interesting) facts about other countries in Western Europe. (by Thursday)
  • Writing Assignment: Survive! (for Friday)
  • Read: 20 minutes
  • Homework Diary: signed

Posted in grammar, maths, morning line up, PE, science, youtube | 4 Comments »

in passing

Posted by willkay on October 6, 2011

Can’t stop and write much today, stuff to do, worlds to conquer, fish to fry. So, bullet point blog post coming up:

  • still people talking in morning line up
  • 20 out of 21 homework diaries signed
  • 20 out of 21 people did their homework
  • fractions in maths, becoming a disaster. This is “bubble” teaching. Students aren’t carrying their understanding forward. Seeing each lesson as a “bubble” and not connected to the previous lesson.
  • Spellings in English. One group of girls decided to talk in Spanish – in the middle of an English lesson! Right!
  • extended PE lesson. (Not really – Professor Rodolfo goes home at 1:45, I let the class stay out for 15 minutes.)
  • looked at the school I used to teach in on Google Earth
  • Enrique showed some minerals to the class
  • got visited by four “old” students who told us about life in Junior High. Exams every week. No homework means a zero. No date/name/title on work it means a zero. 41/42 students in class.


  • Maths: Reteaching 3-9
  • Spelling: Workbook pages: 23, 24
  • Writing Assignment: The Race – in tomorrow!
  • Art: Empty (clean) milk carton and old magazines – needed tomorrow!
  • Read: 20 minutes
  • Homework Diary: signed

Posted in english, maths, morning line up, PE | 4 Comments »

the homework is *in* your notebook

Posted by willkay on September 13, 2011

Maths is what I call a “building block” subject. Every lesson, builds on what you did in the previous lesson. You cannot progress from one concept to another without fully understanding the previous concept. On Friday we did divisibility rules. Yesterday we studied prime numbers. Today we were supposed to study prime factorisation. In mathematics you “define” each number by it’s prime factors. This is it’s unique definition. 24 can be written using several multiplications, but its individual/unique definition is 2 cubed  x 3 squared. There are two ways to find the prime factors: using a factor tree; Mr. Kay’s Upside Down Method. Personally, I prefer MKUDM! Again, an understanding of MKUDM needed a knowledge/understanding of divisibility rules and also a memory of how I introduced doing single digit division in week one. All the blocks were provided, all were in place, it just so happened that some people couldn’t build on top of them. There is an expression in English: You can’t see the wood for the trees. This means that sometimes we focus too much on the tree in front of us, not managing to pull back and see that we are in a forest. Basically, failure to see the big picture. This is what is happening at the moment. Instead of seeing every lesson as part of a whole, students are focusing on just one thing at once, dismissing what has happened before. Hopefully, in a few weeks days this view will change. They will start to realise that each lesson links to the next lesson. Each topic flows into the next. Something learnt one day, should be learnt for life, not dismissed only to half remember it for exams and then totally forgotten.

Science was the study of cells.

In recess it is my turn to work in the shop. I spend today handing out slices of pizza and bags of crisps! Yes, I said crisps. To an Englishman (and a Northern Irish woman) chips are what you might call French fries. When i work in the shop, my insistence that everyone speaks English can cause the odd problem. mainly because the English for quesadilla is  quesadilla. Yipee!

After recess it was PE. With 6B having Spanish, Miss Esther sat outside doing her marking, and the Honour Guard practising for this afternoon’s Flag Ceremony, this gave many of the class a chance to talk to Miss Esther. Quiz her on the important differences between Mr. Kay and herself. In other words: Do leprechauns exist? Then it was time for PE.

I also took some other pictures which can be found in the folder PE lesson, Art lesson, and other pictures.

In the Spanish lesson, Miss Claudia was doing auditions for the Christmas presentation. It was slightly strange to walk in and here her say: so you two gils will be Miss Lilian, and you three will be Miss Cecy. However, there wasn’t time to complete all the auditions as we were needed outside to show our respect to the flag. The Honour Guard marched, the school sang the National Anthem, the flag was raised. It will fly over the school for the rest of the month.

Posted in honour guard, maths, PE, science, youtube | 4 Comments »

(end of a long week) Friday

Posted by willkay on December 4, 2010

One of the single worst things you can ever do is: wake up on a Tuesday and think that it is Friday. I have spent most of the week thinking it was Friday, and so it seems to have taken ages to finally get here (or there, as I am writing this on Saturday morning). When I did finally arrive at Friday afternoon, I must admit that I came home and fell asleep for two hours. Yes, it was a long week!

Friday started with yoga (for the students) and then moved on to the returning of the science exam. Two students scored 10. Fourteen students scored over 9. So, it was a fairly successful science exam. The rest of the day was spent preparing for the geography exam or, as one student called it, “a tourist guide to Europe“. There was a long discussion about Le Tour de France, which is something that I really love. Maybe we should try to get Miss Lilian to enter? As for the rest of the day, there was one interruption for the history exam, one interruption for a PE lesson, and then the day was finished with a BBC documentary about the solar system.

It is Friday and as everyone knows, Friday is the day I take in the reading log numbers. Except, when I say everyone, I actually mean “only 14 students“. Unfortunately only 14 out of 21 students brought in their reading log numbers. There is still The Wall Of Fame:


  • 1150 pages: Ana Paola
  • 366 pages: Octavio
  • 337 pages: Francisco
  • 326 pages: Daniel
  • 306 pages: Jose Luis
  • However, there is no 200+ Club this week. After those five students no one scored over 200 pages. There were still some good results, don’t get me wrong. anything over 140 pages in a week is a good score.

    English Expression of the Day. Golden Duck. If you are out after scoring zero runs in a cricket match it is called “scoring a duck“. Yesterday the captin of the Australian cricket team was out on the first ball he faced. He was out for a Golden Duck.


    • Geography exam
    • Circular signed (yes I know that most of you don’t do extra lessons but it would be nice to have them all back signed).
    • Reading: you should be reading for 20 mins every night.

    Posted in exams, geography, history, PE, science, wall of fame | Leave a Comment »

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