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 ‘values’ Category

Grow, grow,

Posted by willkay on August 27, 2012

grow your boat – oh, hang on, this has nothing to do with boats.

This year, I have decided to do some planting, and some growing. Those of you who are long term readers, might remember last year’s failed attempt to grow avocados. Well, the good news is, I’m trying to grow avocados again this year. However, realising that I might fail, I have come up with a backup plan. Above you is a picture of two bags of soil. I have cut out four strips of plastic, and I have planted seeds in the soil-strips. Yes, I am trying to grow radishes! Hopefully, by the end of the month, I should have a crop of 40+ radishes, so that each child can have a radish.

Obviously my cunning plan might fail, and once again I will be proved to be a failure in the growing-department. However, do not despair! I have yet another backup plan, and this one is cunning. This time I have recruited the children in my mad scheme. EVERY sixth grade student has planted two (2) sunflower seeds. I have also convinced Mrs. Kay to plant some seeds as well. In other words, eighty (80) sunflower seeds were planted today. At least one of them must grow. Exciting? I think so.

Oh, hello to all those new readers and welcome. I realise that there are a lot of new people arriving here, wondering what is going on. Well, this is my blog, in which I record what happened at school during the day. Normally there are pictures/videos to look at – in case reading isn’t your thing – however I can’t put pictures up of the students until I have the parents’ permission. I note went home today and, depending on the outcome, I will start posting pictures tomorrow (or the next day or the day after that).

So, how was the day? It started straight away at 7:30am. Everyone turned up with their books, equipment, and an exciting new eraser that smells of strawberry. Maybe not everyone had a new eraser. Once the books were checked in, we made our 6th Grade Passports. The sixth grade is the best grade, and it is Mrs. Kay and I’s target to make it the most fun filled year. It is our intention to try to keep the sixth grade together as much as possible. Mrs. Kay spent two hours in my classroom today, and I spent two hours in hers. This way we can make sure that the children are being taught exactly the same way, and they also benefit from having two different ways of teaching a problem – in case they don’t understand one of us.

After the Passports it was on to the rules of the sixth grade, and the problems caused by me being English. New words for the day: bin; tissues; mum; colour; shed-ule; and box. (Although, to be fair, I think it is also called a box in American.) Once we had gone through how I expected the students to do the work, it was time to do some work. English. In the sixth grade we have a writing assignment every week. It is set on Monday and is expected to be in school on Friday, completed. All of this was explained to the students, and what was expected from them in the assignment.

Recess.

After recess it was Values. This year I (and Mrs. Kay) will not be teaching Values. No, this year sees the return of Professor Israel (again?), who will be teaching Values to the whole school! Which is nice. Then it was a science lesson and planting. Oh, we did manage to teach one thing: MRS. GREN. Don’t know what MRS. GREN is? Ask a sixth grader.

All in all, a brilliant day! It was a good start to the year – a year that I am sure will be an excellent one. However, for now, I am very tired. I seem to have been on my feet all day. My feet hurt, my back hurts, and I am tired. I think it’ll be an early night for me, so I am up and ready for day two.

Posted in avocado, english, planting, science, values | 5 Comments »

exams – not the best time in school

Posted by willkay on October 25, 2011

We are fully into exam week now. This is not the best of week’s for students or teachers. There is a lot of pressure on the students. The parents demand good grades, the teachers demand good grades, their peers are watching them closely. The focus of the students falls totally onto the exam. Nothing else matters. In the sixth grade, I try to juggle the timetable round so that the students sit their day’s exam as close to first thing in the morning as possible. This morning, rather than wait until 1pm when they had Miss Claudia, I set the Spanish exam in my maths lesson. This is good for the children. It is when they are at their most alert and ready – assuming they all had a good breakfast!

[Although this is probably a good time to mention breakfast! Breakfast, for a child, is the most important meal of the day. They haven’t eaten all night, they are about to go into school and work for 3/4 hours before their first break. On some days they have PE in the morning, which will burn off a lot of “fuel”. Breakfast is really important. And, while I’m here, the second most important thing in a child’s life is sleep. It is while a child sleeps that they make sense of all the information that they have been bombarded with throughout the day. A sixth grade student should be winding down by 8:30 and heading to bed by 9. The more hours sleep they get, the better they will understand the days proceedings.]

Unfortunately, once the students have sat the exam, they tend to “explode”. The pressure is off, and they need the stress relief. Their next target is tomorrow’s exam, and they have very little interest in anything else. This makes it very hard to actually teach. The children aren’t receptive to new information, all they are concerned with is, “is it in the exam?” If it isn’t, then they aren’t interested. And, of course, it isn’t in the exam. At this point in the proceedings the exams have been written, the lessons have been taught. It becomes, for the teacher, a very difficult period of time, where he has to make sure that the students still stay focused, but doesn’t over do the pressure.

Then there is the returned exam moment: the joy of a good grade, the disappointment of a bad grade. And, of course, it is how the student reacts to these two things. As a teacher you always hope that a good grade inspires the student to maintain the average, push for higher grades. But sometimes, because students are children, it can lead to over-confidence and an air of “been there, done that, let’s relax“. As a teacher you hope that a bad grade will inspire the student to greater heights. Will make them study harder, will focus their energy. However, sometimes it can cause an implosion. The student sees him/herself as a failure and gives up. And so it becomes a very fine line for the teacher to tread. Handing back exams still means you have to inspire and motivate. For some studetns you have to encourage, for others you have to keep them on track.

The exam period can be a difficult one in school.

After the students sat the Spanish exam I went through the maths exam. Ten pupils managed to score over 9.0, and four of those students managed to score 10. So, there were a lot of happy people in the classroom. Unfortunately, there were some students who did not achieve what they had set out to get, and there were some students who had made mistakes that they hadn’t foreseen. Some had failed to simplify fractions, some had done addition when the question asked for subtraction, and some had turned multiplications upside down. Often, those who had made the mistakes were the ones who had “handed their exam in early“.  It appears that no matter how often I mention that “there are no marks for finishing, check your work carefully“, there are always those students who want to wash their hands of the exam, and just move on. But, this is a school. A place to learn. Hopefully, they will learn, and it will all be alright in the end.

The rest of the day was spent in yoga, PE, history, and reviewing for the English exam. Tomorrow there will be two exams: English and History. At first, the history exam was supposed to be next Thursday. However, we thought (Miss Claudia, Miss Esther, and I) that doing a review on Monday (in costume), going on a field trip on Tuesday, having a day off on W*dnesd*y, wouldn’t be the best preparation for an exam. So, we decided that putting on tomorrow would be better. We realise that this will mean two exams in one day, however Miss Esther and I are not convinced that there is a lot of studying to be done (or *is* done) for the English exam. This means that the students’ calendar would be free to study history.

Homework:

  • English: exam
  • History: exam
  • Read: 20 minutes each day
  • Book: to read for when you finish your exam

Posted in english, exams, history, maths, values | 2 Comments »

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 »

(and how long was that week?) Friday

Posted by willkay on January 22, 2011

The thing about routine is, it’s routine. Once you are back into a routine, one day just drifts into another. It seems ages since we were all on holiday, and yet it was only two weeks ago. This morning, even though all the alarm clocks were turned off and I went to bed slightly later than I normally do on a school night, I woke up at 6:14am and watched the alarm clock tick over. Yes, my body clock is now retuned to school time, and even though I can sleep in – and weirdly enough, every week day I really could sleep in – by 7 o’clock I’m staring at the ceiling, thinking about work. Yes, I can be that dull.

Friday started with the good news: all class teachers present and correct! The music teacher is still AWOL, but that won’t be a problem for me until next W*dnesd*y. It’s been a long week having to teach my normal time table with the added pressure of the Instituto México exams, added into the equation there have been lessons to teach in the third, fourth, and fifth grades. Plus there have been exams tests to write, lessons to plan, parental meetings to prepare/debrief, and then there has been the assembly to think about. So, it was a relief to know that Friday would just be spent with the sixth grade, and my non-contact time would be available for all the administrative work that goes with the job of a teacher.

Monday sees the start of this month’s exams tests – I refuse to call them exams. We’ve only been back for two weeks, and in the case of the sixth grade, we’ve spent most of the time working on revision of older topics. So, the maths exam test will consist of 5 questions. Of course the danger with so few questions is that one mistake can destroy a good grade. In this case, get question 5 wrong (it’s about sales tax) and you lose three marks, three out of a possible twenty-five. So, even if you get the rest of the exam test correct, that still means your best possible score is: 25-3 = 22; 22 out of 25 = 88%; 88% => grade of 8.8. In other words (or numbers), the exam test might be easy but care has to be taken.

After making sure that we all knew what we were doing in the maths, it was time for some science! A lesson with a lot of drawing today and, it should be said, successful drawing! Yes, the thing I put on the board was instantly recognised as a bird – yay me!

As usual – although it still seems a surprise to some students – Friday is the day I take in the Reading Logs, take in the numbers and publish The Wall Of Fame:

THE WALL OF FAME

  • 857 pages: Ana Paola
  • 444 pages: Ninotchka
  • 338 pages: Miguel
  • 325 pages: Polette
  • Just a top four this week, and there are three people in The 200+ Club. Slightly reduced numbers this week. I’m hoping that this is just a settling in period, what with “back to school” and “Junior High exams”. However, they were also set the task of writing a book review, and some of the students took the easy way out. The book report is supposed to be about a book that you have read recently, not one you read back in the fourth grade!

    There were some interesting examples chosen for Endurance. Nice to note that four students chose their mum as someone who has endured. Hopefully we will be able to put those examples together into a coherent assembly in ten days time. If not, we’ll still be able to sing the song “Sing”.

    It was Daniela’s birthday, and everyone went to her party, which was a great way to celebrate the end of a long week. Well, I say everyone but I wouldn’t know for definite…I wasn’t invited. Have a good weekend, and don’t forget, 23rd January is International Pie Day!

    English Word of the Day. Trainers. You call them tennis shoes or sneakers, I call them trainers.

    Homework:

    • Endurance: find an example of an individual (or group of individuals) who have endured through hardship to achieve success.
    • Reading: you should be reading for 20 mins every night.

    Posted in assembly, exams, maths, reading log, science, values, wall of fame | 4 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 »

    (I’m The Batman) Monday

    Posted by willkay on October 11, 2010

    [I’ve always been a great believer in using the The in front of Batman’s name because, let’s face it, he is The Batman as Frank Miller pointed out in the graphic novel The Dark Knight Returns. Sorry, there are moments that my comic-geek shines through.]

    I woke up this morning with a very sore throat. No particular other symptoms (I was tired but it was Monday morning which I always find tiring) to a major illness, just a very, very sore throat. It hurt to swallow, and it also changed my voice. The best way to describe how I sound at the moment? Go put The Dark Knight in the DVD player and listen to Christian Bale speak while he’s wearing the Batman costume. That’s how I sound, except a bit rougher.

    Last week did not go well for the sixth grade. It’s a familiar story, a new start to the year means that everyone is keen and enthusiastic to work. Unfortunately, the joy of being a sixth grader can also lead to disaster. I expect a lot more self-discipline, a lot more self-awareness, a lot more responsibility. This, at first is great, the students like the whole “self-determination” idea, except it does mean that they have to be permanently “on the ball”. There is no one to pick up after them, there is no one else to blame, if it goes wrong then it is the individual’s fault. And five weeks into the year is normally the time when students suddenly get over the newness and decide to ease off on the effort. This is what led to homework notebooks not being signed, computer exams being failed, homework not done, and a general air/attitude of relaxation. I’m all for relaxation, at the right time. However, if targets are set, requests are made, expectations are present, then I insist that the sixth grade meet all the requirements. The sixth grade is supposed to be the best year in elementary school, in both ways. The best year memory wise, and the best generation academically/behaviourally. That is my philosophy, Be The Best You Can. But it all got a bit sloppy last week. So, new week, new start. Time to batten down the hatches, tighten the screws, make everything ship-shape and Bristol fashion, and basically: start being the best we can be. And not a moment too late. One girl didn’t have full gala uniform, one boy had not done a homework from last week, and six students had not brought in the material needed for Spanish. Grrr! Arrrgh!

    Maths was G.C.F.s and L.C.M.s, which I was informed: you taught us that last year. I really don’t want to criticise my teaching but: obviously not very well. It is easy to confuse the two ideas. What makes the whole concept a lot, lot harder is when the students happen to forget everything that they had been taught on Friday (never mind a year ago)!

    The spelling lesson turned into a Grammar lesson. Plurals and Possessives means that you have to be careful where the apostrophe goes, OR if it even goes at all. This managed to confuse enough students, so we quickly moved on to the actual Grammar lesson which was Plurals. Some words pluralise easily: you just add an ‘s’. Some you need to add ‘es’. And then there are the ‘y becomes ies’ words. And just when you think you’ve got the hang of it there come the irregular nouns: tooth, foot, man, and child. At least the plural of sheep is easy.

    After recess I got to teach the third grade. A chance to put the value of the month through its paces: Creativity. We’ve all played ‘Snakes and Ladders’ (well, all except for one boy). Now was a chance to design, to create, your own version of a board game. The board could be anything you wanted, the counters, the rules, the game itself, all of it fell under the creative eye of each individual. And then there were some very interesting results!

    Geography was all about Western Europe. This lesson emphasised why I love my SMARTboard. In seconds, inspired by a simple question, “Why when I think of Ireland do I think of green?”, it was possible to show how the Gulf Stream brings warm weather and rain to Ireland. Of course, this lesson all managed to remind me how much I dislike the computer to which the SMARTboard is connected. By the end of the lesson, it was refusing to acknowledge the pens were writing on the board. Hey, ho.

    Get the homework done! Get the homework notebooks signed! If you need material for Spanish, get it! Be the best you can.

    Homework:

    • Maths: Practice: 3-4 Nos: 1-12, 27-35
    • Grammar: Workbook pages: 21, 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, geography, grammar, maths, smartboard, spelling, values | 3 Comments »

    (just a quick one) Monday

    Posted by willkay on October 4, 2010

    Can’t stop and philosophise, got to keep moving. I’ve only just got home from school and it is just after five. Worse, I’m supposed to be at a friend’s house by 5. Which means I’m late. So, bullet points:

    • fifth grade assembly on Creativity, in the rain.
    • it wasn’t really rain, it was more mizzle rather than drizzle. Yes, I’m English, we have 42 different words for rain.
    • Geography exam.
    • new writing assignment: My Favourite Book.
    • new maths topic: Exponents.
    • Professor Rene was away, I taught fifth grade maths.
    • new topic in geography: Geography.
    • for some reason I ended up talking in an Australian accent when describing the people of Alaska.
    • letter home about a trip to a museum in Los Angles.

    Right, must dash.

    Homework:

    • Maths: Reteaching 3-1
    • Writing Assignment: My Favourite Book (due Friday )
    • Reading: you should be reading for 20 mins every night. (That’s 20 mins homework. Not including any time you have read in the classroom.)

    Posted in assembly, exams, geography, maths, rain, stories, values | 1 Comment »

    (I’m English, donchuno) Monday

    Posted by willkay on September 27, 2010

    My mum phoned me yesterday (thanks Mr. Martinez). She wanted to discuss the Pope’s visit to England. At one point in his visit, the Pope had gone to the university I attended as a student, to hold a conference about education. He had celebrated mass in the church there, and had held his conference in the college’s private drawing rooms. My mum was very excited about all this, mainly because she had been to all these places, thanks to me, and she felt that the Pope was visiting my university. In her opinion this was because when I met the Pope, I had made such an impression on him, he had decided to visit my old stomping grounds. The fact that I met the a totally different Pope, John Paul II, wasn’t the point in my mum’s mind. Anyway, after discussing the Pope we then went on to talk about the cricket, how Sheffield United were doing, and finally arrived at the weather. This always makes maria laugh. At some point, in every conversation with my mum, we have to talk about the weather. English people love (love) to talk about the weather because it is constantly changing. I have lived through days where I have worn a T-shirt because it is hot, a raincoat because it is raining, into hat and gloves because it has started to snow, and finished the day BBQing outside with a snowman for company and the weather is fine. All this can happen in a day, the weather is a constant source of discussion. So we talked about the weather. My mum has had the heating in her house on for nearly a month now. Yesterday, when she phoned, it was 10 °C and getting colder as the sun set. I, as the polite son that I am, sympathised along with her accepting and understanding how terrible the weather was. It would have been wrong of me to mention that I was about to go through the hottest day of the year, so I bit my tongue and agreed with everything she said, because it couldn’t get any hotter could it? I mean, it’s the end of September, there is no way, no way it could get hotter.

    It’s my week for opening car doors in the morning. It was there that I heard the news Miss Claudia will not be in today (and maybe tomorrow). The good news/bad news (you decide) part of this meant that I would be teaching all day, I would get to spend the whole day in the classroom with my students.This morning’s assembly was presented by the fifth grade. They talked about/recited a poem about the value of the month, Bravery. And then it was into the classroom for the maths’ exam. Well, that was the plan. Unfortunately my exam folder hadn’t been cleared out since the end of last year. Faced with a choice of two exams to print out and photocopy, the wrong one was selected, and the students faced the task of sitting an exam from May 2010 rather than from September. Eek! This was eventually rectified, the correct exam made an appearance, and everyone was (pretending to be) happy!

    It was at this point that I realised it was not going to be my day. No Miss Claudia, the SMARTboard was refusing to work, the exam was the wrong exam, and the temperature was rising. In England they are trying to agree on shutting schools when the temperature rises above 30 °C in the classroom. There is some argument about whether it should be 30 °C or 32 °C, but no argument about if it gets higher because, as everyone knows, an Englishman can’t work in temperatures above that, it makes no sense! By recess the thermometer had already hit 36 °C, by the end of the day it would pass the 40 °C mark. (In Professor Rene’s room it would pass the 47 °C point). It was going to be a very long day!

    Maths exam, English lesson on Independent/Dependent clauses, recess, reading from the English book, values, my story. Day done. Now I just need to mark the maths exams.

    And now I need to go sit in the freezer for a bit.

    Tomorrow is the Spanish exam. As hard as it may be, please study for the exam because I will be giving it to you – which means if you have any questions, it will be a struggle. PLUS, don’t forget your swimsuits and a towel.

    Homework:

    • Spanish: exam tomorrow.
    • Swimsuit: there will be some swimming tomorrow.
    • Reading: you should be reading for 20 mins every night.

    Posted in assembly, english, exams, maths, smartboard, values | 2 Comments »

    (here we go again) Monday

    Posted by willkay on August 30, 2010

    Hurray! We’re back at school. A new year starts with a brand new 6th Grade. Still in the same classroom, although there are some changes – and there is one big change to come. The window at the back of the classroom has gone, and I have a second bulletin board. Also there is a brand new door, so there is no chance of being locked in the room classroom because we are unable to open the door. The fan has been moved (it’s been taken out of the corner) to the middle of the classroom (eventually). This should allow for a better circulation of air. And, the whiteboard has gone. Yes, the nightmare of my life has been disappeared. No more writing on a board that refuses to erase. However, there is nothing in its place…yet. Yes, at the moment I (we) am (are) awaiting the arrival of a brand new digital SMARTboard. I am incredibly excited about this. I have never used one before, however I have seen videos about how to use them, and we have a new teacher (hello Miss Alexandra) who has used one and is willing to train me in its use. So, that’s me very excited and desperate for the new year to begin. What about the students?

    Back to school is that double edged sword: it means the end of the holidays; it means the renewal of old friendships. You get to meet up with your classmates and talk about the holidays. You get to choose a new desk. You spend the day with your feet in agony because of the new shoes your mum bought you. And, above all else, you get to move up a grade. In this case, you move into the sixth grade, the top of the school, the sixth grade with all that it entails. And that was the first shock of the year – sixth grade means that you have to be ready to be in the Honour Guard at a moment’s notice. Fortunately, six students were up for the task and an Honour Guard was formed for this morning’s assembly. National Anthem sung, flag saluted, new students introduced, new teachers introduced, and into the classroom.

    It is a long, hard morning when you haven’t been in school for seven weeks. The desks are hard, the classroom is warm, the teacher just goes on and on and on and on and on about all the ways he wants you to work, all the things he wants you to do. The timetable was interesting as it now includes Yoga. Every Friday morning the sixth grade will be yogaing yogarising yogaed doing yoga. Otherwise, it was the same old mixture of Maths, English, Spanish, etc.

    After a long introduction to life in the sixth grade, we spent another long period of time discussing writing assignments. In the sixth grade, I expect a lot of reading and writing to be achieved, so it is important to set the ground rules early on. Afterwards, History followed by recess (hurray!), followed by an hour and a half of Spanish, and then Geography to finish off the day. Somewhere we managed to cram in a conversation about bravery (the value of the month).

    A good, but tiring, day. I wouldn’t say it was long, the time seemed to fly past and I don’t feel that I got half the work done I wanted to do. However, it was a good day. Everyone left happy. Roberto (the new student in the 6th grade) informed me that it had been fun and he would come back tomorrow, which is always a plus in any teacher’s book. And no one cried. Well, I say no one cried but Mariana (one n) gave it a good try when some nasty teacher told her there was no recess in the 6th grade!

    Homework:

    • Writing Assignment: My Holiday (due on Friday)
    • Geography: 7 Wonders of the World: Ancient and Modern.

    Posted in assembly, english, geography, history, spanish, stories, values | 11 Comments »

    (assembly) Monday

    Posted by willkay on May 31, 2010

    Ohrwurm is German for “earworm”. However, this is not the name for a worm that lives in your ear. No, it is a word that was invented for that small piece of music that gets into your head. That song that you end up singing without thinking about, humming throughout the day, mumbling along to when you aren’t concentrating. As I wandered throughout the school, during the day, I came across 5th graders, 3rd graders, 2nd graders, and even 1st graders, singing odd snatches of a song: “…ella, ella, eh, eh, eh, under my umbrella, ella, ella...”. So that was a successful assembly then! And it was. Everything went well. The stories were told well (did anyone notice Miss Tere Rochin wiping away a tear?), the dancing was wonderful, the singing was audible, and everyone went away happy. A couple of students have told me “how cool the sixth grade assembly was”, and the teachers liked it as well – which was nice.

    The Geography exam. The last exam!!! Well, until the next set of exams at Junior High. But until then: LAST. EXAM. EVER.

    On Friday the students forgot (except for three of them) to bring in their reading log numbers. So, for once, it isn’t my fault that The Wall of Fame was late. Last week was an exam week, so there wasn’t (in theory) a lot of reading going on. That said, six names on The Wall of Fame, and ten students in The 200+ Club, is very impressive:

    THE WALL OF FAME

  • 1181 pages: Scarlatte
  • 8o3 pages: Ana Elena
  • 480 pages: Monica
  • 430 pages: Paulina R.
  • 350 pages: Andrea
  • 300 pages: Camila
  • The Assembly is over and done with, time to move on to the next thing. There are a busy couple of weeks ahead of the sixth grade. Just because we have done our last set of exams doesn’t mean that the work has finished. There are still spelling lists to learn, grammar points to cover, countries to discover, science to understand, and numbers to crunch. The new value of the month is: Pursuit of Excellence. And, if there is one thing I wish the sixth grade to take away from this year, is that they should do their best, try to be the best, pursue the prize. However, it is not all work, work, work. There are Bees coming (but that is more work, I hear someone moan). There is a trip to Disney. There is a Graduation Ceremony. There is The Final Presentation. The bad news, this year it is going to a much smaller event. My first year, the sixth grade produced a 35 minute performance (that included two Shakespeare plays, one song, one poem, and countless other attractions – ask Ana Fernanda). Last year was also an interesting presentation, with the sixth grade each choosing their favourite “interesting fact” and presenting it. This year we shall just do a poem. HA! Just a poem! This year the sixth grade will put on a performance of Neil Gaiman’s Crazy Hair. I’m excited already!

    Something New: Already killed the first set of batteries on the Wii remote.

    When the sixth grade gave me a Wii for my birthday, they also gave me the money for Animal Crossing, because I had expressed an interest in it. The game is wonderful. There is no killing, no running/jumping/needingtogetanextralifebeforemovingontothenextlevel. I catch fish, hunt insects, grow oranges/flowers, chat with my neighbours. It is a wonderful stress-free existence in Animal Crossing. Oh, maria’s kids have me charging around Mario Galaxy and MarioLand and MarioKart, but me, I’m at my happiest with a butterfly net in my hand, chasing butterflies around an orchard. And then maria started playing. The good news: we are watching a lot less television. The bad news:  we’ve gone through the first set of batteries on the Wii remote in exactly two weeks.

    Favourite Moment Of The Day (FMOTD): To misquote Blanche DuBois: I am always stunned by the kindness of strangers.

    There were some great moments in school today. The Assembly went really well. The fourth grader who told me that the sixth grade “were cute“. Andrea and Camila getting the giggles. Miss Tere Rochin admitting to shedding a tear. Discussing Vin Diesel with Scarlatte. Arguing about Taylor Lautner. However, my favourite moment happened outside school. As those of you who read my blog know, on Friday I bought stickers for my FIFA World Cup Album. However, in a totally freaky moment, every single sticker went into my album. There were no swaps. I had nothing to bring into school on Monday (today). In theory, this should have been excellent…but I wanted to swap with the students. So, today I stopped off at the OXXO on the way home, and bought some more stickers. As I was paying for them, the person behind me asked if I had any swaps. I explained that I had failed to get any swaps, and those that I already had, had been swapped at school. I was asked to “wait outside, I might have something for you.” The person behind me in the queue at the OXXO gave me 20 stickers. It appears that she has been collecting them as well, and has some double swaps (two copies). So, she just gave me them. Right there. In the OXXO car park. And that’s how I live my life.

    Attendance: All Present

    Homework:

    • Learn Poem
    • Get Homework Notebook signed
    • Reading: This is not an option. You should be reading 20 minutes every night.


    Posted in assembly, exams, geography, reading log, values, wall of fame | 4 Comments »

     
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