Yes, I know. It’s Saturday. Sometimes I really don’t have time to write these things, and they get put over to the next day. Plus, there was a little case of England playing in the quarter finals of the Rugby World Cup in the early hours of this morning. Because I get to see the games very late in the day (today), I try to avoid the internet as much as possible – so that I don’t know the result. This means that I am only just sitting down to write this entry now, at 4pm on a Saturday afternoon, when I should be outside the CECUT looking at the art exhibition that is happening there. Because I was so distraught over the England result, maria decided that it would be a better idea to leave me at home, while she took Daniela and Nikos instead. So, that’s my excuse for not writing!
On Thursday some “old” students came back and visited. They mentioned that they have “exams” every week in maths, and this got me thinking. Every year group (generation) is different, and so they need to be taught in different ways, using different methods. What I need to find is a different way of teaching this group of students, as the normal methods I have been using haven’t been successful – the grades in maths could be a lot better. What I have discovered is that this group don’t see the connection between one maths lesson and the next. They don’t get the idea that each concept builds on to the next concept. Instead of seeing each lesson as another step to achieving a final result, they seem to be approaching each lesson as a final result. Once the lesson is done, they dismiss the idea and approach the next lesson with “a clean slate”. As the topic we are doing (for three/four weeks) is fractions, each lesson is really important for the understanding of the next lesson. Simplifying fractions is needed every single time we do an operation. Yet, once the lesson was completed, some of the students decided that they would never use it again. Two lessons later, when asked to simplify some fractions, some students had already forgotten how to do it. With addition of fractions coming up, I am worried that they will have already dismissed equivalence and how to change an improper fraction into a mixed number. Something had to be done to get them to retain information for longer than a day. And that’s when my ex-students gave me the idea – an exam every week! Every Friday (except during exam week) we will have a Pop Quiz in maths. Hopefully, this will inspire the students to retain information a little longer than a day. Also, it will also help in their preparation for exams. All of this will, I hope, lead to better grades.
And the results of the first Pop Quiz? Excellent! Four students got a 10, and nine students scored 9.0 or higher – in other words, thirteen students got 9.0 or higher! If these results carry through to the actual exam, then I am going to be a very happy man indeed! There was no art teacher today (which was fortunate for the students who did not bring in a milk carton), and so we had an extended science lesson. In science we are doing asexual reproduction, which gives me the chance to tell the story of the star fish (that’s a sea star to you). The star fish were eating the oysters, so the fishermen decided to catch the star fish and chop them into pieces. However, they then threw them back into the sea. What the fishermen did not know was that star fish reproduce asexually – if you chop a star fish into six bits, you get six star fish! In other words, by not knowing their science, the fishermen made their problems a lot worse! After telling the story, we drew a comic-strip in our science books (did you see how I managed to still get the art lesson in there?). Now, as anyone will tell you, I am not the world’s greatest artist. In fact, drawing is one of my (many) weaknesses. However, thanks to the Smartboard and the built in functions it possesses, I was making a good attempt at making my own comic-strip. So good in fact that one student started to comment:
Mr. Kay, when you grow up you could be….
At that point he went silent. I will never find out what I could be when I grown up!
In the afternoon we read our stories. The idea of the writing assignment is to write to very specific instructions. In this case, it was to write a story about a race in 20-25 short sentences. Many students decided to ignore the assignment and set off to write a story about something else, that went on for way too long, and might have included a race in to somewhere, maybe, possibly, or not. The problem was, I had thought that the lesson would be over very quickly, and had prepared several videos to watch. Unfortunately, we didn’t get all the stories read – I think there are still five to read on Monday – so we never got to see this, which is well worth watching. All the effects are done by lights and shadows.
Oh, that reminds me, we did manage to watch this video recommended by Miss Lilian:
Have a good weekend. I will spend the rest of it sulking about the England Rugby team. Although, the England Football team did manage to qualify for the European Cup in 2012. So that’s something to cheer about!
- Reading Logs: in on Monday
- Read: 20 minutes a day