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 ‘team work’ Category

I love it when a plan comes together

Posted by willkay on September 19, 2012


Brilliant start to the morning.

Mrs. Kay needed a little help with 6B, first thing in the morning, straight after morning line up. I turned to my class, told them to go into the classroom, and informed them I would be there in a minute (or two). Three minutes later, I walked into my classroom to discover:

  • a pile of homework diaries on my desk
  • every student sat at a desk
  • every student had their maths books on their desk
  • workbooks open to last night’s homework

It was perfect. What a brilliant way to start the day. And, you know what, from there on the rest of the day went well (for me).

In maths we went through yesterday’s work and corrected ALL the mistakes that were made in the homework – although that could have been my fault (bad teacher!). Then we moved on to the last topic before the maths exams, exponents. Fast, quick, and easy. Except, fast, quick, and easy does not mean you cannot concentrate. Sometimes it is when doing easy things that students make the most mistakes. [I hesitate to use the words careless mistakes, but you can probably see where I am coming from.]

Much to the students’ disappointment, it was straight into English and the new spelling list. I’m not sure that they were really disappointed, however they seemed to be looking forward to their Spanish lesson. That occurred after English and an explanation of the week’s words  [and no, a briefcase is not a case for briefs]. There was also time to fit in the first Earthquake practice of the year.

Spanish was working in teams, on projects. The students seemed to enjoy this tremendously, as they did not really want to settle back down to English again.

At the beginning of recess, we all sang “Happy Birthday” to Professor Marvin. This led to the first conversation of the year about “Cha-cha-cha“. In the sixth grade we don’t “Cha-cha-cha“. Ah, those sixth grade teachers and their grumpiness! After recess there was enough time to finish the spelling list and move onto the workbook. Then the day finished with computing and music.

Busy times ahead. On Sunday there is the Ice-Breaker. Mrs. Kay and I will be there very early! On Monday there is 6B’s assembly, and then there is the maths exam. Followed by a whole week of exams. Students should be organising their study guides, realising that they need to get these exams right, as good grades set the tone for the rest of the year.

Posted in english, exams, maths, spelling, team work | 2 Comments »

looking for the hook

Posted by willkay on September 18, 2012

Teaching maths is great, mainly because you get loads of “aaahhhhhhh” moments. In other subjects the “aaahhhhhh” moments can be few and far between. Let me tell you, no one ever goes “aaaahhhhhh” when you explain the difference between a vascular and a non-vascular plant. But maths lessons can be full of those moments – some days it can be like standing on Main Street at Disney, watching a fireworks display. Of course, the art of teaching is trying to get those “aaaahhhh” moments, those moments when everything clicks into place, everything becomes understandable, everything makes sense, and the student finally “gets it“.  And it is when your lesson is full of those moments that you know you’ve taught a good lesson. Of course, you can have a good lesson without those moments, but it is the most obvious moment that learning is “getting done“. Unfortunately, trying to capture those moments is like trying to capture lightening in a bottle. What works for one group of students, does not necessarily work for another group. And often, what works is never tangible. I talk to a lot of teachers, and eventually we all get round to telling a story about a lesson that was perfect – but the reason we tell the story, is we are hoping the other teachers will be able to point out what we did right. Often, I can have brilliant lessons, and I have no idea how or why – they just happen. However, the key to good teaching is experience. Everyone (EVERYONE) has one good lesson in them, most people have two or maybe three. What makes a teacher different to everyone is that they have 1000 good lessons a year. A teacher has the ability to teach one good lesson after another. A teacher can keep a group of children interested, excited, controlled, and awake lesson after lesson. That takes experience, an ability, and hard work. And so, it is with a heavy heart that I say, in all honesty, I had a really bad day today. Except, I admit this to the world with no regrets because, I did some real teaching today. It’s odd, because I don’t know how it happened, but I had a disaster of a maths lesson. It all seemed to go well, I taught the stuff, students answered question, on the surface it was successful. But when I saw the books at the end of the lesson, it was as if I had been speaking a foreign language.

I tried again in the English lesson. I thought I’d go slow, start with a spelling quiz which would settle me into my rhythm, but even a spelling quiz seemed beyond me. At that point I reached for my safety blanket – The Reading Logs.


  • 770 pages: Andrea

  • 720 pages: Roberto

  • 555 pages: Raquel

  • 382 pages: Luis Francisco

  • 300 pages: Osvaldo

You see, somewhere, somehow, no matter how bad things seem, there is always a ray of light. SEVEN HUNDRED + PAGES! FIVE HUNDRED +PAGES! How cool is that? And along with these five students, seventeen (SEVENTEEN) other students read over 200 pages. WOW! Aren’t kids brilliant!

And that is the point. Even though I can have a bad day, the real art to teaching, is making sure that your students don’t have a bad day. So long as everything is working correctly, so long as everyone is doing what they are supposed to be doing, then even if one person is having a bad day, the rest of the class will carry them through. And there’s the hook! TEAMWORK. Thanks to teamwork, hardly anyone noticed how bad my day was going. Oh, there were a couple of blips and bumps and bruises, and there were a couple of times that students asked what was wrong, but in the end, everything turned out well.

Now, does anyone know how to pronounce Lieutenant? Listen carefully to what the Oxford Dictionary says here.

Posted in english, maths, reading log, spelling, team work, wall of fame | 9 Comments »

(full of great moments) Friday

Posted by willkay on March 27, 2010

The day started with a staff meeting. We discussed the activities that would be happening through the rest of the academic year, and then we looked forward to the next academic year. The school wants to become renowned for its ecological awareness. At the moment we are working towards a paperless environment (as as paperless as a school can get), but next year we want to work harder at leaving a smaller carbon footprint. This is something that excites me – going green. I think that it is very important that children are educated about (and are aware of) what is around them, and what the future holds. This is something that I will gladly get behind, especially as it means that I might get a garden! Yes, those of you who know me, know that I like to grow things. I think it would be wonderful if the sixth grade could have a garden, grow their own tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers. The discussion then went on to another subject close to my heart, diet. The word diet does not mean “starving yourself thinner”, it means eating healthily. Children’s behaviour, the way the concentrate, they way they learn, can all be traced back to the food that they eat. As a teacher you can tell who had what for breakfast. Those who had a good, nutritious meal which will slowly fuel the student throughout the morning, until recess. As opposed to those who had a sugar-fueled breakfast, they tend to crash-and-burn one hour in to the school morning. And then there is lunch time. Again it is possible to see which child had a lunch that will equip them with the right fuel to work until home time, as opposed to the child who cannot concentrate in the afternoon. Realising that these were things the school was going to treat seriously was very encouraging.

At morning line up a teacher normally talks about the value of the month. This morning there was no teacher prepared to speak, so Miss Lilian asked for volunteers. A third grade boy, Jose Antonio, spoke for five minutes about Honesty. It was a wonderful moment. He spoke clearly and precisely, and showed great maturity in his choice of concepts and examples. He demonstrated a great understanding of what has been discussed, and he explained his understanding wonderfully. It is moments like this that make being a teacher worth while. Jose Antonio demonstrated that he has learnt and understood all that has been taught to him. Well done Miss Miriam! Well done Jose Antonio.

Into the classroom for a very reduced maths lesson. This was a practical lesson, an origami lesson. We made boxes out of construction paper.

And then there was the football match, the teachers played the sixth grade boys. An excellent start for the boys, scoring two early goals. However, experience and size helped the teachers pull back. Yes, size. When you are the size of someone of the sixth grade boys, it is a long way round some of the teachers! This is the bit where I mention my two goals: one a dipping volley that was glorious in its execution; the other bounced off my foot. I will still argue that my header was a goal…but that is me just arguing. An excellent game that was very close, finishing 10-9. Throughout the game the girls kept up a chant for the boys, cheering them on, and supporting their efforts. It was a wonderful moment.

Fridays are the day I take in the reading totals. If there was any doubt that the day couldn’t get any better, that doubt was about to be dispelled. Four pupils had read between two and three hundred pages. This is a fantastic amount, and they should all be proud. However, seven pupils had read between three and four hundred pages. Think about those numbers. This means that they read a book in a week (some of them read a book and a bit). One girl, Andrea, read three books in the last week. Three books. She read 949 pages in one week. This is an exceptional amount, and in any normal circumstances this would be the largest total. Except these are normal circumstances. Scarlatte read 1371 pages this week. This means that in the last two weeks she has read 2500 pages. Two and a half thousand pages! She has now, since the beginning of the year (and that is January – so in three months), read 32 books. Congratulations.


After recess it was the music lesson, and it was supposed to be the talent show. However, as the boys had played football in the morning, it was the turn of the girls. Yes, the sixth grade girls played the teachers. Before the match, in an effort to give the girls some encouragement, the boys dedicated a song to them. Altogether, as a group, the boys sang “Hotel California”. A very moving moment. This was followed by an excellent game of football with some wonderful performances. Alejandra saved several shots on goal; Miroslava and Larizza ran until they were red in the face; and Scarlatte scored as many goals as Miss Irene and Mr. Kay, she got two as well. The girls drew with the teachers, 3-3. And through this event the boys cheered on, and supported the girls, in the same way that the girls had supported the boys earlier. It was a fantastic sight, and wonderful to hear.

A fantastic day to finish off the term*. The reading scores were (and have been now for three weeks) excellent. It was brilliant to see the students so united, thinking of each other, supporting each other. It was fantastic to hear about the direction the school is taking.

Something New: Tidy your cubbies before you leave.

Favourite Moment Of The Day (FMOTD): Professor Israel’s assist.

The football match, against the boys, was full of wonderful moments: Señor Francisco’s goalkeeping; Miss Rosi’s heading prowess; Professor Humberto’s total commitment. But for me the highlight of the game was Martin’s goal. Not the actual goal, because that was a simple “my mum could have scored that” goal. It was the build up to the goal, it was he move that made the goal so easy to score. Professor Israel had the ball and was surrounded by three opposing players. Using his left foot, he rolled the ball up the back of his right leg, flicked the ball into the air, hit it of the back of his left heel. The ball sailed up into the air, over the heads of the defenders, and dropped perfectly at Martin’s feet. All Martin had to do was move his foot to score. It was played perfectly, with great precision. I have just read an article titled: Man…Superman…Leo Messi, maybe it should be retitled: Man…Superman…Leo Messi…and then there is Professor Israel.

Attendance: One absent (and one popped in for ten minutes to say goodbye)


  • Relax
  • Have fun
  • Read

*In England the school year is divided into three terms, semesters.

    Posted in maths, reading log, stuff, team work, values | 1 Comment »

    (sugar high) Thursday

    Posted by willkay on March 25, 2010

    Did anyone else think that today went really quickly up until recess? And then, did anyone else think that today went really slowly up until home time? Or was it just me?

    Everyone in through the front gate and onto morning line up. My first thoughts, that today was going to be difficult from a teacher’s point of view, were confirmed in morning line up. Normally the sixth grade are quiet, settled, and attentive. However, today they were all over the place. It was Jose Manuel’s last day and the students were planning…

    In computer class, Erika and Scarlatte designed a PowerPoint show. They managed to get everyone in the classroom to write something, and then produced this: A goodbye message to Jose Manuel. (Hopefully this will run when you click on it. I should remind you: It’s powerpoint.) The maths lesson suffered slightly from people having to leave the classroom to go write on a giant card that was signed by everyone. This made the maths lesson a lot more complicated than it needed to be. We were doing a calculator crossword – you know, where you do a calculation, turn the calculator upside down, and read the word – or that was the plan. It became very difficult to a draw the actual crossword, difficult from a teaching point. Did I mention that the kids were all over the place?

    English and diagramming sentences. This sounds more fun than it actually is. You don’t really get to diagram anything, you have to decide what part of speech each word is. Whether it is a noun, verb, adverb, adjective, preposition, conjunction, pronoun, or interjection. Again I found myself repeating myself, time and time again. Students really weren’t listening to what was being said. At the end of the lesson, as we were going through the answers, the students became even more excited as they spotted Maria outside the classroom. We finished up, put away our books, and then posed for pictures. And that’s when the pizza arrived. The pizza, and the spaghetti, and the crisps, and the Takis, and the soda, and the lollies, and the thirty tons of sugar that was pumped into each and every students’ bloodstream.

    Recess – which wasn’t long enough to run off the excess sugar. It would never have been long enough.

    After recess we went to the library to fall asleep push the chair of the person in front of us fidget watch a BBC documentary called Wonders of the Solar System. This is the most fantastic series, the episode that we watched was about the sun. It included a total eclipse and shots of the Aurora Borealis (the Northern Lights). We needed a break half way through, to run round the playground. Then settled in to watch the second half. I don’t know about the students but I learnt a lot!

    The final lesson of the day was geography. Time to name and place some of the countries of Africa. Then it was time to say goodbye to Jose Manuel – although there might be another chance to say goodbye again tomorrow when he pops in to pick up his books.

    Something New: The best excuse since “the dog ate my homework”. You may have read Heriberto’s comment yesterday (if not you can read it here), in which case you already know that he and Jose Manuel had their backpacks stolen yesterday. Of course, not just the backpacks were stolen, everything in them was also stolen. Which means that their homework, workbooks, homework notebooks were also stolen. This led to the reply to a request for homework: some hobo has got it.

    Favourite Moment Of The Day (FMOTD): Best. Lunch. Ever.

    It was a day full of wonderful moments. Oh, I know that I’ve mentioned it was hard work, but no one ever said teaching was going to be easy. Within all of the excess-sugar moments there was still a really feeling of friendship and bonding between the students. As some of them mentioned in the PowerPoint file, they might not have known Jose Manuel well, but they recognised him as a wonderful person. There was a feeling of unity, a feeling of friendship, and a genuine sadness to losing one of their classmates – a classmate who had only been in school for eight months! So there were plenty of FMOTDs for me. The one that I’ll write down here was the quandary that Camila faced. Today she brought lunch (as we all did), but it wasn’t any old lunch. According to Camila it was the best lunch I have ever brought to school. Unfortunately (for Camila) Jose Manuel’s dad also bought lunch…for the whole class. What should Camila do? It would be rude to turn down the party food, but she had the Best. Lunch. Ever. in her lunchbox. Isn’t that always the way?

    Attendance: All present

    Signed Homework Notebooks: 21 out of 21. (That means there were 2 homework notebooks missing – the hobo’s got them.)


    • Reading Log
    • Eggs
    • Construction Paper
    • Talent Show in Music
    • Reading: This is not an option. You should be reading 20 minutes every night.

    Posted in computer class, english, geography, link, maths, morning line up, reading log, science, team work | 2 Comments »

    It’s ermmm, Thursday.

    Posted by willkay on February 18, 2010

    It’s Thursday, which means that the day starts with computer class. The class are now looking at leaders. Some interesting choices have been made: Shakira and Rosa Parks, to name two. Spanish was followed by maths. Last night’s homework was a lot more successfully done than the previous night’s. However, that success was not carried on into the lesson. For some reason, logic seemed to escape the students. Trying to follow a simple step-by-step path to arrive at a solution, became: too hard, it’s too hard Mr. Kay. Except it appeared that the difficulty was not in the understanding of the topic, more with a failure to understand the 0.5 times table. By the end of the lesson the work was: easy, it’s so easy Mr. Kay. Tomorrow we shall see how well the homework was done.

    The English lesson crossed over recess. Before recess we finished with the spelling workbook, and this week’s spelling list. Tomorrow there will be a spelling quiz and we’ll discover if everyone remembers which words are compound words and which are two word expressions. The second half of the lesson was taken up with Troublesome Verbs. Verbs that have almost the same meaning but are, in fact different. Borrow and lend are two verbs that can often be used the wrong way round, and lie and lay are equally confusing. Do I lie on the couch or do I lay on the couch?

    During recess the majority of the sixth grade have taken to sitting together around one table. It can be very crowded, and can get a bit messy. However, the table is normally left in a good condition, clean and tidy. And, let’s not forget that the value of the month is: Neatness. So it was a bit disappointing today when everyone got up from the table and walked away, leaving it in a very messy state. A little bit more care please. When you leave the table, look at it.If there is rubbish on it, deal with it. Even if it isn’t yours, it is your classmates’.

    Geography continued our look at Russia. We are still looking at the physical features of Russia. So today we found out about the tundra, taiga, and the Russian steppes. There was just enough time left in the day to have a quick look at the periodic table in science. We are mainly concentrating on the first 20 elements. Which is still a lot to learn.

    Quick note: EGGS. We have recently, as a group, done really well in the Punctuality competition and (until recess today) the Neatness competition. Quick reminder to keep making those eggs filled with confetti please. In the long run, I get the feeling that you are going to get most of the fun out of these things – and the more of them you have, the more fun you will probably have! So, don’t forget to keep filling and painting those eggs, please. Thank you.

    Attendance: One absent (thanks Monica)


    • Maths: Reteaching 9-4 Nos: 1,2,3 & Practice 9-4 Nos: 13 -> 18
    • English: Grammar Workbook pages: 53 and 54 (1-8)
    • Story: An Autobiography (in tomorrow)
    • Reading Log: It would be brilliant if everyone (everyone) brought them in tomorrow.
    • Reading: This is not an option. You should be reading 20 minutes every night.

    Posted in computer class, english, geography, maths, reading log, science, spelling, team work, values | 1 Comment »

    Ash Wednesday

    Posted by willkay on February 17, 2010

    Morning line up, and The Honour Guard put on a final demonstration before they leave for competition. Plus, good news! Thanks to keeping a clean and tidy classroom, the sixth grade win an extra five minutes of recess on Friday.

    Yesterday’s maths lesson wasn’t as successful as I had hoped. When we got went through the homework it turned out that working out the formula might be a little harder than it seemed. Time to track back with the return of the Maths Factory machines. Yes, Mr. Kay’s supply of “dodgy” input/output machines that all have either no input tray or no label on the machine! Suddenly it all seemed a lot easier. Hurray for input/output machines!

    Yesterday’s English lesson was a great success. This morning I was inundated with some fantastic pictures of amazing creatures (and plant life). Also I was introduced to many new words. Some sounded very intriguing, some scary, some weird and wonderful, and some sounded downright horrifying. With seven girls away, competing in The Honour Guard, I divided the class into two groups of eight, and set them the task of casting (and reading through) a play. It was good to see how some of the groups interacted. Fortunately, there were many people who could work as a team, taking it in turns and thinking of others. Although there were a couple of moments when voices were raised, as some people got “demandy” , these were few and far between. On the whole the two groups worked well casting the play, and then read through it very successfully. I was impressed with one group, who realising that they had cast some students with very minor roles, switched all the characters at the halfway point.

    Recess and The Honour Guard returned. An excellent performance, under a great amount of pressure, did not win one of the top three places. However, it was a good experience and all the girls enjoyed the event. They were happy with their performance, felt that they did their best, and made few mistakes. As one competitor was heard to remark, “We weren’t last. I’d say we were fifth or sixth.”  Although Miss Lilian felt, “The girls performed extremely well, and according to my humble opinion, they should have gotten 2nd. place. But, alas, I was not a judge.”  [I suddenly feel like a journalist with all these quotes.] Congratulations to all those who took part.

    Geography and the return of the midterm exam. There were some very good results, but overall the average mark was less than for all the other subjects. One ten and one 9.95. Yes, a 9.95 because I feel that a 10 is perfection and there was one slight blemish on the exam. Then onto Russia. Onto studying the country obviously, not actually going to Russia. Although, in Paulina A.’s case, Russia came to her. After pinning the map to the noticeboard at the back of the classroom, it managed to fall off and cover her. Science was an introduction to Elements and the Periodic Table.

    [Sorry for the lateness in posting but I’ve had a shower!]

    Attendance: All Present


    • Maths: Reteaching 9-4 Nos: 4,5,6,7 & Practice 9-4 Nos: 1-12
    • English: Spelling Workbook pages: 55, 56
    • Story: An Autobiography (in Friday)
    • Reading: This is not an option. You should be reading 20 minutes every night.

    Posted in english, exams, geography, honour guard, maths, morning line up, science, team work | 2 Comments »


    Posted by willkay on February 15, 2010

    Monday. There are many reasons to dislike Monday: it is the day after Sunday; it is always harder to get up on a Monday; it is the furthest point away from the weekend (as time tends to move only forward in my universe). Of course there are always extra reasons to dislike a day: twenty miles north the schools are all shut because it is President’s Day; geography midterm exam; yesterday was Chinese new Year; last week was a very hard, very long week. However, one of the joys of teaching is that every day is different, no day follows its planned course. Often this means that just when you think a day isn’t going to go well, something happens to help turn the corner, and suddenly the day is full of happiness and chocolates and bunny-wunnies and joy.

    There was fourth grade assembly, followed by art, followed by the geography midterm, followed by a Spanish lesson, and then the values lesson. As part of the work we are doing in working as a team, two weeks ago I had asked the students to make a list of all their classmates. Then I asked them to list one positive quality about each of the class.Plus, when they came to their name, they should think of a value that they would like to improve in themselves. Today I asked them to think of another good quality about each of their classmates. The point of this exercise is to get the students to look beyond themselves, their immediate friends, and appreciate the goodness in each of their members of the sixth grade. That’s the theory. We then changed the groups. Recess.

    At this point I really don’t want to write about the rest of the day. Suffice to say that there was one moment of shining light in a dark afternoon. When one person stands up for what she perceives as bullying it is a wonderful thing. When two people go against what the rest of the class is doing (or what the rest of the class is letting happen), it is a wonderful moment. I’d like to thank two girls for doing what was right. Well done.

    Attendance: One Absent


    • Story Writing: Autobiography (in on Friday)
    • English: Spelling Workbook Page: 54
    • Reading

    Posted in english, exams, geography, stories, team work, values | 2 Comments »

    Thursday – a good day

    Posted by willkay on February 11, 2010

    At the end of every day I go back to the classroom for my laptop, my lunchbox, and the pile of marking that needs to go home with me. Since the value of the month is neatness, and the sentence of the week is: I will keep my school clean and tidy, I have been awarding extra points to the groups whose work area is (in my opinion) clean, neat, and tidy. Yesterday I expressed my astonishment that Miss Marcella hadn’t found the sixth grade “impeccable” (to use Miss Lilian’s expression). Yesterday afternoon, I encouraged the sixth grade to take special care of the floor, their desks, and their cubbies (it was especially good to see Alejandro sorting out another pupil’s cubby). Today that extra effort was rewarded as the sixth grade classroom was selected as one of the cleanest! This means that we are now in the running for an extra five minutes of recess on Friday. An extra five minutes! Let’s hope that the classroom was left in an impeccable state today.

    Professor Mauricio has added another dimension to the curriculum over the last couple of weeks. I am not a great believer in teaching IT for IT’s sake. I feel that it should be taught as an integral part of the curriculum, used in all subjects, rather than being a subject on its own. This Professor Mauricio has done. Instead of the computer lesson being a lesson about computers, he has instead picked a subject and integrated computers into that. This is, of course, the way that computers are used in real life. A computer isn’t the be all and end all in most people’s lives, it is an added aside. True, it is something that we all use, but it is a tool. In the last couple of weeks, Professor Mauricio has been working with the sixth grade, building their levels of teamwork. Last week this resulted in the lesson with “the parachute” (I published a set of pictures from the lesson here). This week’s lesson was still based on teamwork but involved computers. Working, as a team, the students had to try to keep a ball in the air, on a computer screen. Each person in the team had a key to press to help coordinate a computer image, as that image played keepie-uppie. I took some pictures of the lesson (which can be found on my Flickr page) and a video of the event:

    After the computer lesson, the science exam. This ended up taking far longer than expected. So long, in fact, that it seriously dented Miss Claudia’s time. She needed the lesson to review for tomorrow’s History exam. This meant that the History lesson went on after recess. The hour that was left of the day was spent in: returning the English exams; finishing reading the story “Learning to Swim“; and practice for The Honour Guard.

    I would like to add that I thought the behaviour in recess was wonderful. There had been a problem with the use of “the house” yesterday with the fifth grade. Today the sixth grade took the mature approach and altered their game so that it didn’t interfere with the fifth grade. I was very impressed with their attitude and their choice of solution to the problem. Well done!

    Attendance: All present.


    • History: midterm exam tomorrow.
    • Reading Log: Needs to be brought in tomorrow
    • Music Lesson: Any equipment/instruments needed for the talent show
    • Reading

    Posted in computer class, english, exams, honour guard, reading log, science, team work | Leave a Comment »


    Posted by willkay on February 4, 2010

    And we were doing so well with the whole Punctuality thing. So very well. So well in fact that when Miss Lilian announced that there would be another Punctuality competition this month and the prize would be no uniform, I started to plan what I would wear. Of course, that is exacty the point when two students turned up late. Ho hum. With all the students not speaking English before morning line up, followed by some not very good marching, I started to have the feeling that this was going to be a very long day. And then there was computer class.

    Computer class was brilliant. Professor Mauricio continued with his theme of team building, working together. Today’s was spent in an exercise with, what can only be described as, a parachute. Much fun was had by everyone. I took lots of pictures which, after Maria has worked on them, I will upload to my Flickr page.

    Before I started the Maths lesson it was time to give out team points. Yesterday I had been very remiss in my points giving, I had not been action-positive. After this morning’s bad start, I decided to be action-positive from the get go. Points for teams who had left their work area tidy, points for girls whose hair was correct (hey, if I give points for boys with their shirts tucked in I should give points for hair too), points for homework diaries that were signed, points for the groups who I didn’t have to ask to stop talking yesterday. The class really need to come together, to work with each other. This is their last year at Elementary school. This will be the year that they remember the most. It will be more fun if they are together as a team, a single group. Hopefully, my being action-positive will help enable this. Points all round!

    Maths was a continuation of yesterday’s lesson: review, review, review. Fractions under the four operations, algebraic expressions, solutions to equations, prime factorisation, and percents. Recess was spent trying to help Valerio out with his blog, which was slightly unsuccessful, since the internet was intermittent.

    After recess it was Science, and a chance to review the experiments that we set in motion a week ago. The evaporation from the saucer had gone fairly successfully. It would have been improved if the weather had been warmer. The “frozen” water wasn’t. There was too much salt in the water, which meant that the freezing point had been lowered, lowered to a point below the school’s freezer’s ability. Jose Manuel’s experiment had started to work, it too suffered from a lack of warmth. We decided to try these experiments again, in May, when the weather would be more helpful.

    While the Honour Guard practised, the rest of the class did Geography.We discussed the different revolutions that had happened in Central Europe. Each one with the same outcome, the release of their countries’ governments from Russian control. While the lesson was happening, I noticed a wonderful thing. Three students (Valerio, Carlo Ivan, and Miroslava) had collected The Honour Guard’s geography books, and were copying the notes down, into their books. This they did with out being asked, or even the idea having been suggested. I think this was a wonderful act, and they should be congratulated on their thoughtfulness and caring. And I got the chance to finish the day action-positive: points all round!

    Attendance: One Absent


    • Maths: Study and Review: Four Operations with Fractions; Algebraic Expressions; Prime Factorisation; Percents
    • Reading Log: Reading Logs should be completed and in tomorrow.
    • Reading

    Posted in computer class, geography, honour guard, maths, morning line up, science, team work | 4 Comments »


    Posted by willkay on February 2, 2010

    Everyone on time! Which would have been good if the value of the month was still Punctuality. Except it is a new month, therefore a new value: Neatness. We shall have to see how good we are at that. The bad news is that not every team can remember their score from last week. As I mentioned on Friday, the super efficient cleaners had erased the chalkboard, and so I lost the team totals. However, the one thing we can all remember is that VIPs had the top score. Therefore we have decided to award VIPs the winners’ prize for the month of January. No idea what the prize is yet. There might not be one because the judge (me) might just count it as a trial run for the February competition.

    Started the day with a maths lesson. Corrected the homework from Thursday, and then moved on to a new topic: Number Sequences. We looked at arithmetic and geometric sequences. Tried to find the rule, how a pattern emerges, and then continue the pattern. At first it was very easy but, round about question 7, it got a lot harder to see the pattern, and follow the rule.

    English was the new spelling list: Just Enough Letters. We had the quiz before we saw the numbers – so that the students can discover what words they can spell already. Also because it gives us a chance to discuss the meaning of the words. Then copied the words into the English notebook three times. Only one team (VIPs) managed to copy all twenty words without making a mistake. Worked through a couple of pages in the spelling workbook, and had a discussion about how to generate electricity. This started with the question: What is nuclear power? One of the spelling words is nuclear.

    After recess it was History followed by PE. The science experiments have not worked over the long weekend. It was not warm enough, so evaporation has not taken place. While the PE lesson took place (and The Honour Guard practised) the experiments were put out in the sun to help speed them up.

    Attendance: One Absent


    • Maths: Reteaching 9-2 (All of it) + Practice 9-2 Nos: 9-12
    • English: Spelling corrections. Spelling Workbook Pages: 51 and 52
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    Posted in english, maths, PE, science, team work | 2 Comments »

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