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 ‘spanish’ Category

Radio Shows: Part Two

Posted by willkay on October 29, 2012

And here are the 6B Radio Shows. Enjoy:

Group One:

Group Two:

Group Three:

Group Four:

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Posted in spanish, youtube | 2 Comments »

Radio Shows

Posted by willkay on October 27, 2012

On Thursday, as part of their Spanish lesson, 6A had to write and present a radio show. Here are four of the five radio shows. I’d like to apologise to the fourth group. Miss Claudia has always invited me to the lesson, to watch the children’s presentations, and I normally video them. However, in most years I have managed to fit all the radio shows on my camera. This year the radio shows went on for over five minutes each, and I discovered, twenty seconds into group four’s presentation, that my memory card was full. So, there is no copy of their radio show. Sorry.

Group One:

Group Two:

Group Three:

Group Five:

Posted in spanish, youtube | Leave a Comment »

the day after the day before

Posted by willkay on October 15, 2011

I’m not going to apologise again this week, but yet again I failed to post yesterday – you probably noticed. I had everything ready, I was full of good intentions, and then it turned out that Daniela was at a book fair at UABC. We went to pick her her, one thing led to another, and here I am writing again on a Saturday. Hey, ho.

And on the fourteenth day (of the tenth month which is named after the number eight), the back notice board finally gets something put on it.

The laptops are slowing down. This is because they are not laptops, they are notebooks. They don’t have the processing power of a laptop, and nowhere near the power of a desktop computer. As far as I can tell, most students have taken to downloading as much stuff as possible on to their notebooks. When they open them, they open all of these programmes and the computers freeze. They are not designed for this. Also, with multiple downloads comes multiple risks. So, a bit of time was spent this morning discussing notebook care. I still believe that the one thing everyone should download is AdAware from Lavasoft. It will clear out a lot of rubbish that computers pick up. Also, when you uninstall a programme, you cannot just “put it in the trash“, you have to run remove programme from the control panel.

From there is was on to the DNA models. Everyone got to stand at the front of the class and show off their models. I have uploaded the pictures to here, and you can see them all – or you can click on the link in the sidebar. If you just want to see the models without having to look at the pictures of all the students:

Then it was time for the maths pop quiz. Hurray! Two students achieved a 10, well done them. A couple of students managed to score a 9.7, and five students picked up a 9.2. The annoying thing? The mistakes were fairly simple mistakes. Too often answers weren’t simplified, too often addition was done instead of subtraction. Most of the students can do these questions, most of them, with a little more concentration, could be getting a 10. What I have to instil into these students is a desire to achieve their best. They should be producing work which is a true representation of their abilities.

After art we showed our DNA models to 6B and they showed their models to us, 6A. We then had a discussion about the graduation party. Yes, we are already having discussions about the graduation party! This got a little bit heated, as some students really don’t want one of the options. I understand that sometimes the majority choice wins, however it seems a shame to choose something that will eventually lead to students not having the best memories of their graduation party. And, to be honest, it is all about the students. It is their graduation.

After recess, in the Spanish lesson, the students started to write/prepare/rehearse their radio programme. Normally I get invited to the final presentation – which is nice – if it happens I promise there will be some pictures and maybe a video or two. It was then time for The Wall Of Accomplishment treat. We haven’t really had any fun activity in the sixth grade this year. I am asked by the administration, every week, to do something fun. As I tend to feel that most of my lessons are fun (hahahahaha), I tend to feel that I have that covered. Also, as the Junior High exams loom large on the horizon, I try to get through as much stuff as possible. But, I had promised. So, to celebrate our achievement, we watched Babe. The story of a pig who was won at a fair and was destined to be eaten by Christmas. However, he wanted more. He wanted to achieve a lot more. So he became a sheep-pig!

Right, I have to go watch the Rugby World Cup semi-finals (and dream that England are playing in them). And then I have to mentally prepare myself for The Steel City Derby on Sunday. Yes, tomorrow my beloved Sheffield United (The Mighty Blades) take on that other team from Sheffield, Sheffield W*dnesd*y. Now, if that goes wrong, I might not be in on Monday! Back to growing a beard!

Homework:

  • Reading Log: signed
  • Read: 20 minutes

Posted in graduation, laptops, maths, photos, spanish, values, youtube | Leave a Comment »

(snow day) Tuesday

Posted by willkay on November 30, 2010

This morning, before I left for school, I checked my computer for emails/updates/news as I usually do, and noticed a comment from a friend who is working in Sheffield. She was at home. No school today for her. Snow day! Yes, there was so much snow that had fallen during the night that the schools had shut for the day. This sounds brilliant, but only works if she had been informed of the closure while still in bed. Unfortunately she wasn’t informed in bed, she was told as she entered school, two hours after setting off on a 15 minute journey to work. It took her another two hours to get home. She commented that it must be great working in hot, sunny Mexico! Well, the good news is: the wind has returned. This means that the cold area is being moved on to some other area on the map and the thermometer will start to rise the rest of this week. The bad news is: today was windy! I’ve mentioned it before, but some things bear repeating, kids on windy days are slightly uncontrollable. ‘Twas going to be a hard day at the office! Could have done with a snow day.

A quick morning line up with no morning-exercise-warm-up as it was so windy. Maths exams handed back. There were no score of 10. However, that said, there were some excellent results. Many students had obviously worked hard, studied well, and produced some good exams. However, there were signs that some students had enjoyed themselves too much in class and needed to get their heads down and work a little harder. The it was time to review for tomorrow’s English exam.

After the review it was Art, followed by a quick rehearsal of thatthingIdon’tmentionincasesomeoneisreadingthis. With ten minutes left before recess, the students had some time to study before the Spanish exam. That would be the Spanish exam that I ended up giving! Miss Claudia was called away, and although she came back, I took the exam and the lesson. After the Spanish exam we looked at letters and how often they occurred. After a certain amount of research (counting letters on a page), we discovered that ‘e’ is the most common letter. Using the results of what we had found, we then went on to look at codes. Would our knowledge of letters (and English) help us to crack a code? By this stage of the lesson, some students were very interested, while others had given up – you can tell who was in what group by looking at the picture above. While all this was going on, the auditions were taking place. Surprisingly, although on Friday there were several boys who were interested in auditioning, only one boy tried out. Several of the girls also auditioned. The results will e announced shortly. Although, I might have a word with the sixth grade and see if I can encourage some of them to have another go. [Inside information: no one has tried out for the role of the prince yet!]

English Word of the Day. Hopscotch. Which led to a discussion about that childhood fascination of never stepping on a crack in the pavement: Step on a crack, break your mum’s back.

Homework:

  • English
  • 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 english, exams, maths, morning line up, smartboard, spanish | 2 Comments »

(anniversary) W*dnesd*y

Posted by willkay on November 17, 2010

Unusually, I have a life today. I say unusually because normally, I get home (sometimes after shopping), sit down, blog, play some Wii, cook, eat, do some work, watch some tele. Today I am already home but preparing to go out. Yes, I’m having a night out on a school night! The reason is: it is the fifth anniversary of my arrival in Mexico. On November 16th, 2005 I packed one suitcase, and started a journey that took me just over 37 hours, across eight time zones, and over 6000km. I used one taxi, four trains, two airplanes, and a car. I crossed the border just after 8pm on November 17th. Somewhere, on the bookshelf, I have a Spider-Man notebook in which I wrote the story of my trip. Anyway, we are off out, to celebrate. So, not much time to say:

  • 20 out of 21 homework notebooks signed.
  • PE lesson.
  • maths homework done very well.
  • music lesson.
  • maths lesson where we did area of a circle [N.B. you only use the radius!]
  • recess
  • Spanish
  • geography

English Word of the Day. Recorder. It isn’t a flute, it’s a recorder. Google it and look at the images.

Homework:

  • Maths: Reteaching 8-4. Just the areas.
  • Writing/Presentation Assignment: Invention. (for Friday)
  • Reading: you should be reading for 20 mins every night.

Posted in geography, maths, PE, spanish, special event | 4 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!

Homework:

  • 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 »

(it’s already) W*dnesd*y

Posted by willkay on November 3, 2010

Monday mornings are hard. For some reason, two days out of school means that kids normally forget everything – academic work and classroom behaviour. Throw in a Friday like last Friday, and Monday was going to be difficult. Except, there was no Monday. Nor a Tuesday. This week starts on a W*dnesd*y, which makes everything really difficult. Oh, don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining about the two days off school, I’m just telling you how it is. To make matters worse, the day started with PE and then (thirty minutes after that) into music. Add in the fact that the thermometer kept climbing all day, and there was a geography exam to sit.

Morning Line Up – new value of the month. This is going to interesting as I will spell it Honour!

PE – Look carefully at the picture, very carefully. Can you see who forgot it was a W*dnesd*y and was wearing the wrong uniform?

Science – returned the science exams. Over 17 students got 9.0 or above, which is good news.

Music – take everything!

Geography – time for the exam. Of course, the exam started with two trick questions! I say “trick” but what I actually mean is “youhavetoreadthequestion”. Although I explained (three times) what the questions required, I still had to send back nine students who hadn’t read the question and failed to answer it fully.

Spelling – final syllables. Outspoken – some students are outspoken, some are not. Oddly, the ones that I would think are outspoken all announced, loudly, that they were the quiet, shy, retiring students in the classroom.

Spanish – final lesson before tomorrow’s Radio Show presentation.

Grammar – Action and Linking verbs. The cheese does not actually smell, it just smells. And, did you know that Mr. Kay could fit a whole drumstick in his ear?

Homework:

  • Spelling: Workbook page: 31, 32
  • Grammar: Workbook page: 31, 32
  • Reading: you should be reading for 20 mins every night.

 

Posted in english, exams, geography, grammar, morning line up, PE, spanish, spelling, values | 3 Comments »

(in the groove) Tuesday

Posted by willkay on October 26, 2010

I like teaching sixth grade. They are still excited about learning, and they are old enough to make intuitive leaps. They can think for themselves, they have the ability to answer their own questions, they desire knowledge. School is still exciting for them, it hasn’t yet become a chore, and they still want to learn. Of course, there are still some things that make no sense – I challenge anyone to convince me that knowing the difference between a complex sentence, a compound sentence, or a compound-complex sentence is of any particular use outside of “Are You Smarter Than A Fifth Grader?“. However, being able to come up with a way to clean your body, without using water (could you use a balloon?) just shows brilliance.

Exam week is difficult. The students’ attention is focused totally on one hour a day – the exam. The rest of the day suffers from an inability to focus (or self motivate). Also, it is a bad idea to try to teach anything new. With focus gone, targets set with the exams, new information is just confusing, and the kids are unreceptive. However, we soldier on.

Half an hour in the morning to study for the Spanish and Civics exam, followed by maths and the return of the exams. Eight students got a 10, five got 9.0 or better. Excellent results.

Review for the English exam. Art lesson, and making spiders? Pacman ghosts? Wooly-scary-thingies? English – reading story. After recess (and cleaning up after recess) it was time for the Spanish and Civics exam. Then a review for tomorrow’s History exam (English and History exams tomorrow). The day was rounded off with finishing the story we are reading, and a bit more of the story of Odysseus.

Onwards and upwards.

Homework:

  • English: exam on Wednesday
  • History: exam on Wednesday
  • Reading: you should be reading for 20 mins every night.

Posted in art, english, exams, grammar, history, maths, recess, spanish | Leave a Comment »

(ohhhhh, I get it) W*dnesd*y

Posted by willkay on October 20, 2010

Teaching can be the best job ever. There are moments when you can stand at the front of the class and actually see teaching-in-action. Today I had one of those moments. One of those moments when, I finished teaching, turned from the board and just looked at the class. It wasn’t that you could see the light bulbs above their heads come on (because there aren’t actually light bulbs above their heads), but you could see the spark of recognition in their eyes. The best thing about the whole moment though is the sound. When you present something to a class, something that is difficult, there is a silence. No one wants to make a noise because it just draws attention to them, and if the subject is difficult, they don’t want attention coming their way. So students will sit in silence, hoping that they get it. And, when they do get it, they make a noise – no matter what their mother-tongue, they say: Ohhhhh. Probably the hardest thing I teach is subtraction of mixed numbers that include a decomposition (that’s subtraction-of-fractions-with-whole-numbers-that-includes-a-negative-fraction-that is bigger-than-the-positive-fraction). To actually do this operation involves two weeks of work, building each and every step along the way. It is a very logical step-by-step process, but if you fail to get one of the steps it is impossible. And, as far as I am concerned, it is the most complicated thing I will teach to the sixth grade this academic year. In fact, it wasn’t my intention to teach it today. With the exams looming, I was going to leave it to the other side of the exams, have a go, and then leave it until January, when a return to the subject might have meant a better understanding (two-times taught is more successful than first-time). But I had 15 minutes before the music lesson with nothing to do – it wasn’t worth starting a new topic – so I gave it a go.

And it was a total success.

No, seriously. Twenty out of twenty one students got the questions correct. They were so good at the topic before the music lesson that I decided to make myself a liar, and after promising them that I wouldn’t ask them any questions until next week, I hit them up with several questions today. And, BINGO. We have a bunch of mathematical wizards.

PE was spent in the classroom because of the weather. Music had some recorder playing that sounded excellent as I walked down the corridor. Maths was a total triumph. Recess was a disaster with Octavio managing to get his finger stuck in Daniel’s mouth (yes, I don’t get it either), and Gerry trying to stop Daniel from running across the playground, without realising basic physics: the force required to stop a body in motion needs to be greater if the mass of the opposing force is less. In other words: don’t get in the way of a person running at full speed if you are a lot smaller than them! Spanish was a preparation lesson for the radio broadcasts that they will be giving later. English was half a disaster as my workbook is totally different to everyone else’s workbook, and half a success as we finished the story…eventually, after Rodrigo managed to read four lines in ten minutes!

A good day over all.

And tomorrow is going to be even better! I am really looking forward to the trip, I love museums. I have been on the website and it all looks very exciting. Not too sure about the spider pavilion. I’m not very good about spiders, so I’ll probably have to stand behind some of the students and pretend to be brave. However, I’m hoping to get let loose to roam the rest of the museum. There will probably be lots of pictures, and I will try to write something. Maybe not tomorrow, because it is a long day, but over the weekend.

That said, don’t forget Reading Log numbers in on Friday!

Homework:

  • Maths: Reteaching 4-3 Nos: 4,8,11,13,21  Practice 4-3 Nos: 1-7,9,11,18
  • Reading Log: Numbers
  • Homework Diary: Please get it signed.
  • Reading: you should be reading for 20 mins every night.

Posted in english, maths, music, PE, rain, recess, spanish, stuff | 2 Comments »

(least said, soonest mended) W*dnesd*y

Posted by willkay on October 13, 2010

PE – Happy Birthday Professor Rodolfo.

Maths – homework checked. One student did the incorrect homework.

Music – Happy Birthday Miss Maria.

Maths – mixed numbers -> improper fractions and improper fractions -> mixed numbers.

Recess.

Spanish.

English – homework checked. One Two students didn’t do the homework. “Viva New Jersey” read.

Homework:

  • Maths: Reteaching 3-8
  • Spelling: Workbook pages: 23,24
  • Homework Diary: Please get it signed.
  • Science: DNA model. Be creative
  • Reading: you should be reading for 20 mins every night.

Posted in english, maths, music, PE, spanish | 2 Comments »

 
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