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

(can’t stop, addicted to the shindig) Wednesday

Posted by willkay on May 26, 2010

7:30-8:00 Students come in. Morning line up. We learn that the rest of the school is annoyed with sixth grade for watching footy match.

8:00-9:00 Civics. Guillermo sits his exams from yesterday. I finish editing the memories for the assembly, prepare Science mark sheet.

9:00-10:15 English exam. Three mistakes in the exam – that’s three mistakes by me! Fortunately I spotted them before the kids could tell me. Although this did open up the chance for students to question repeatedly. Haven’t marked any exams yet, so have no idea of how they were done.

10:15-10:40 Memories written out on to index cards. Read through for the first time. Need to slow down and breathe, instead of rush through them.

10:40-11:30 Science. Exam tomorrow so a last chance to discover that some people, when they have days off school, don’t catch up on missed work.

11:30-12:00 Recess.

12:00-12:40 Practise dance for assembly. After having been assured by the girls that they would choreograph something for the last verse during recess, discovered they hadn’t. Boys spent a lot of time, stood around, doing very little, apart from staring at their umbrellas (and breaking them).

12:40-12:48 Takes eight minutes to get from playground into the classroom. Really? Eight minutes? What were the students doing? I don’t really know, but it took eight minutes to get settled back into the classroom.

12:48-1:00 Twelve minute talk about being “adult”. When you spend 40 minutes on a playground, wandering around, playing with an umbrella – you can’t really ask for another 8 minutes of doing nothing.

1:00-2:00 History in the computer room. I started watching the fifth grade PE lesson, and ended up taking it as Professor Dandy was called away.

2:00-2:30 Going home.

Something New: Spanish*, English Exam, Write Memory, Recite Memory, Practise Dance, Study Science, Recess, Study Science, Practise Dance, History*

*Subject to change

Favourite Moment Of The Day (FMOTD): Wow! That drawing is worse than Mr.Kay’s! He’s standing behind me isn’t he?

Yes, he was.

Attendance: One absent

Homework:

  • Umbrella
  • Reading: This is not an option. You should be reading 20 minutes every night.
  • Science: Exam tomorrow.
  • Circular: Signed and returned


Posted in assembly, english, exams, morning line up, PE, science, stuff, values | Leave a Comment »

(is it already) Friday

Posted by willkay on May 8, 2010

Started the morning off taking Miss Yin’s class for maths. It is always good to take other classes. If you take the same group, every day, every lesson, it is possible to not see any positive motion. It is like being a parent, and never noticing how your own child grows. It takes a visitor to announce, “Haven’t you grown?” It is the same when you take a different class. When I teach the sixth grade I know how they learn, I can predict how the learning happens in a lesson. True, I can still be surprised when a student suddenly hits their stride and leads a class. However, when you teach a group you have little to no prior knowledge about, it is great to see the learning occur, reminds me what I like about teaching. Also, it’s good to see that my lessons are fun!

Science lesson. Yesterday we ended the lesson badly – my fault. I didn’t time the lesson very well and we finished in the middle of an explanation. Rather than wait until next week, when the ground work might have been forgotten, I decided to teach science today. We studied how the moon causes high/low tides on Earth, and then moved on to discover Newton’s First Law of Motion (not that we really discover it, more a case of we came across it for the first time).

Friday is the day that I take in the pages read. Last week was phenomenal, with 20 students having read more than 200 pages. Of course, this week there has only been two school days so…either everyone took the extra time to read a bit more OR people didn’t read. Ana Elena took the first option, and in the biggest upset since the last big upset, Scarlatte is not top of the list. That said, she read over 1000 pages! I still call that successful. I also know that she got three new books yesterday (because I read her blog here), so Ana Elena has her work cut out for her if she is to keep the top position.

THE WALL OF FAME

  • 1193 pages: Ana Elena
  • 1130 pages: Scarlatte
  • 480 pages: Paulina R.
  • 307 pages: Monica
  • 300 pages: Miroslava
  • Eight students became members of the 200+ Club, which means that 13 out of 22 students read over 200 pages this week. Still very good, well done! The rest of the lesson was spent explaining how the General Election went in the UK. I’m not sure that I explained it very well, but I’m not sure that everyone was that interested. However, it is still all knowledge, and one day a life might depend on answering a question on the UK political process. Hmmm, probably not.

    After recess, as the students had a music lesson, I set about hanging the drawing the students had done for their mothers. Monday is Mother’s Day and the school puts on an art exhibition. All the students have drawn a picture for their mothers, and it was my job to hammer in the nails and hang the pictures in the sixth grade. (In passing, I assume that you all read Miss Lilian’s blog? In which case you have probably read her post about mothers. You haven’t? Click here to read it then.)

    Miss Claudia and I have changed the timetable. She used to take the last lesson on a Friday afternoon. However, the students are restless/tired/not in the best frame of mind to actually study. So, instead of them having one of their two history lessons in the last hour, they now have me! Today we read their film reviews. The assignment was to pick a film and then write about an act of Loyalty (the value of the month). Some very good examples, and some very good examples that came from waaaay out of the left field: Bad Boys anyone????

    A brilliant end to the school day. On Thursday, at the end of the day, when names were being called, the sixth grade were not very good at listening. Actually, they were awful! They were so bad that in the end I had to come in, from off the pavement, and remove them from the classroom. I explained that I did not want the same to happen today, and trustingly, went back out onto the pavement to put kids in cars. Success! No sixth grade student was called twice!

    I was picked up by maria and taken over the border. We spent the afternoon shopping for a camera lens. She now possesses a new camera lens that puts everything in focus, except for the stuff that it puts out of focus. Yes, I don’t understand it either, but in matters photographic I differ to her. Expect new photos appearing on her Flickr page soon! Then it was an early night, I was in bed by nine o’clock. Saturday was going to be an early start. maria had a photo shoot and she wanted to take pictures at sunrise – the light is much better – and with make-up and hair to do for her client, it meant a 5am start. Which explains why this post is late! Have a good weekend.

    Something New: England does not have a Prime Minister with a mandate.

    Favourite Moment Of The Day (FMOTD): Can you believe that no one choose Twilight as a film that had any Loyalty in it?

    Attendance: Two absent.

    Homework:

    • Reading: This is not an option. You should be reading 20 minutes every night.

    MONDAY

    • no backpacks
    • no lunch
    • wear a white shirt/blouse
    • if you have white trousers (not jeans/shorts) wear them, if not khakis will do.

    Posted in english, science, values, wall of fame | 2 Comments »

    (back to work) Thursday

    Posted by willkay on May 6, 2010

    [Sorry this is late. There is a General Election in England. I’ve been sat watching the results come in. There could well be a new Prime Minister tomorrow.]

    Happy Birthday Professor Rene! (Although it was actually his birthday on May 3rd – the day before Star Wars Day [May the Fourth be with you] – but the school has a way of celebrating people’s birthdays when it isn’t actually their birthday. Something to think about next Thursday, when the school calendar says it is someone’s birthday, yet it is their birthday on Saturday.) [Can you see what I have done there?]

    Back to school on a Thursday, which means that I don’t get into the classroom for the first two hours: computer and Spanish lessons. This gave me enough time to prepare the notice boards for the students’ paintings, for Mother’s Day. And to mark the piles of books that had sat unwanted and unloved on my desk for the last five days. Good news – spelling quiz scores were very good.

    The new value of the month is Loyalty. The sixth grade haven’t been very forthcoming with answers at morning line up, especially with questions about the value of the month. So, we discussed the value of the month. The homework tonight is to pick a film, and write about a moment of loyalty in that film. We then started the new spelling list…and the earthquake alarms went off! It was a practice. Once we were all out on the playground, we took the opportunity to sing “Happy Birthday” to Señor Francisco. Then back to the spelling list and: Words from a Different Culture. Thanks to Ana Andrea, we now all know the difference between an ape and a monkey. And thanks to Andrea and Ivan, we now know the three ways that crocodiles are different to alligators.

    Recess and a chance to catch up with stories of how the holiday went. Ruben wins the prize for best story. Read it here.

    In geography we finished the topic of Africa, specifically with South Africa. We talked about Nelson Mandela and his imprisonment, his release after 27 years, and his becoming the first black President of South Africa. Science was all about gravity, and how the pull of the moon changes the tides on Earth.

    A good day back at school, with a lot of ground covered. Shame it was ruined at the end of the day with no one listening carefully for their names being called.

    Something New: General Election in UK

    Favourite Moment Of The Day (FMOTD): 57??

    Professor Rene is how old????  [He’s not!]

    Attendance: All present

    Homework:

    • Reading Log:
    • Story: Loyalty. Pick a film and write about a moment of loyalty in that film.
    • Reading: This is not an option. You should be reading 20 minutes every night.

    Posted in english, geography, holiday diary, morning line up, reading log, science, spelling, Uncategorized, values | 1 Comment »

    (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.

    Recess.

    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)

    Homework:

    • 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 »

      (onwards) Thursday

      Posted by willkay on March 4, 2010

      Every other weekend I phone my mum. We talk on the phone for an hour, and I’m fairly sure that we talk about loads of different things. However, after I’ve hung up and I start to tell Maria all that we talked about, it appears that we discuss the weather. And that’s it. Very little else, just the weather. Probably because that is what English people like to discuss the most, the weather. I realise that, on the whole, I don’t discuss the weather very often on here. Well, not often enough for this to be the blog of true Englishmen. So, time for a weather report: It rained today, for exactly nineteen minutes. Señor Francisco had spent the time before 7:30, mopping the playground so that we could have morning line-up. At 7:30, just as the bell rang to let the students into school, the first drops fell. By 7:35 the rain was hammering down. By 7:40 it started to ease off. The last few drops fell as the bell rang at 7:50. All of Señor Francisco’s hard work had been to no avail, there was no morning line-up.

      Computer class was followed by a visit from Miss Lilian. She came to talk to the sixth grade about how important their last remaining months at the school were so important, not just to the students but also to her, me, and the school. It has been a happy stay at the school for many of the students, and the school has enjoyed their attendance. It would be a shame to ruin all those good memories with a poor attitude for the remaining time. However, the opportunity is there for everyone to pull together, to work as a team, and to make this the best year yet!

      Straight into a spelling test in English: Greek Word Parts. This was followed up with checking last night’s homework. It still surprises me that students can write a word ten times in a short space of time (three days), and yet when it comes to the spelling quiz they don’t recognise the words as I say them. I start to wonder if they actually realise that the words I am giving them are coming as part of a spelling test? One hopes they do, as we moved quickly on to the next list of words: Prefixes That Change The Meaning. In case anyone is reading this and wondering, there will be a spelling test on the twenty words we did today!

      Recess. I think the message is getting through. It was nice to see the sixth grade still playing together – boys with girls, different groups scattered around the playground – and it was great to hear them encouraging each other to speak English. It was even better to hear one student thank another for reminding him to speak English. Long may this continue.

      Maths lesson: after correcting the homework from two nights ago (I had already corrected last night’s homework), we set about learning how to draw a graph without having to plot the points. The first part of this process is learning how to recognise the slope (gradient) of a line. Today’s lesson was about how to calculate the slope of a line.

      Geography was a two part lesson. The first part was “finishing off” Russia. Discussing the huge changes that Mikhail Gorbachev  brought to Russia with just two policies: Glasnost and Perestroika. Then it was onto a new topic: South Western Asia. Sometimes it is easy to forget that Asia stretches as far west as Turkey (Istanbul being a city in two continents). Today we found Israel, Jordan, Iran, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey on the map.

      Home time. Every student took home a letter to their parents. This letter had a reply slip that needs to be signed and brought back into school tomorrow, please.

      My favourite youtube video, at the moment, happens to be called: This Too Shall Pass by OK Go. It is not just the title of the song that I love (although I find myself repeating the words), nor is it just the song that cheers me up (although it really does). Just watch the video and at the end wonder how many times they had to try to get it right – the clue is probably the paint that is all over their overalls. The fact is, often in life, things don’t work out right. The best thing to do though is not give up but try again, and try “better”. In the end, all the little bits and pieces, all the little things that could go wrong, don’t go wrong. In the end, everything works. This too shall pass.

      Attendance: One absent

      Signed Homework Notebooks: 22 out of 22

      Homework:

      • Maths: Reteaching 10-3 Nos: 1-3  Practice 10-3 Nos: 1-3
      • English: Spelling Workbook Page: 65. Write the spellings 3 times in notebook.
      • Story: Biography of a Superhero (in tomorrow)
      • Reading Log: Should be completed and signed.
      • Reading: This is not an option. You should be reading 20 minutes every night.

      Posted in computer class, english, geography, maths, morning line up, rain, spelling, values, youtube | 9 Comments »

      (climb the mountain) Wednesday

      Posted by willkay on March 3, 2010

      New day, new beginnings. Five of the class, with Miss Claudia, were away at the start of the day, however we settled down quickly to work on maths. Drawing axes, calculating solutions to twelve equations, plotting those solutions, and then drawing and labeling the graphs, took a good hour. We then watched a video that Miss Lilian had asked me to show to the class: The Story of Stuff. After watching we discussed the fact how some things seem designed to be thrown away – especially Mr. Kay’s razor blades which, thanks to the new lubricating strip, seem to expire even faster!

      In English we went through the homework. I’m hoping that people’s failure to answer all the questions highlighted how much they had listened and understood in yesterday’s lesson. After that we read, around the class, Onto The Ice. This was a factual story about how men tried to be the first to get to the North Pole. After some discussion we discovered that (at least) three of the class had been in a hot air balloon. And their most treasured memories of their trips? How scary the heater was when it was turned on!

      The five Sixth Grade Olympiad atendees returned just before recess. Although questioned they were reluctant to tell any interesting stories…or boring ones. They seemed more concerned with handing their homework in and getting their homework notebooks signed.

      Recess. We had gone through the school rules in the morning and I had emphasised the speaking of English all the time. At the beginning of recess I reminded the class to speak English during recess. Having been banned from the little house, the majority of the class decided to go and sit in the house above the slides. Unfortunately they did not sit up there speaking in English. Although they admitted that some of the group spoke Spanish none of the offenders were willing to step forward and admit it was them. Therefore, instead of sitting on top of the slides for the last ten minutes of recess, we all went and sat in the classroom instead.

      In Science we covered two topics! Solutions and Acids and Bases. At first it was slightly confusing doing Solutions, considering it was a subject we had just covered in maths, but in this case it was a Homonym! (Which we have just covered in English.) Once we had worked out that a solution was when one substance was dissolved into another it wasn’t confusing at all…except for working out which was a solute and which was the solvent. Acids are fairly easy to understand. There are weak acids (vinegar) and there are acids that will dissolve flesh (stomach acid). Bases are a little harder to grasp – until you realise that they are the antonym of acids (yay for English class).

      We then watched a BBC documentary: How Earth Made Us. In it the presenter, Professor Iain Stewart, showed why people chose to live so close to fault lines, risking volcanoes and  earthquakes. He also managed to cover some of the mythology behind the Minator/Labyrinth story and the legend of Atlantis. The highlight of the programme was The Naica Mine of Chihuahua:

      A better day. A corner was turned. Now we need to keep remembering that we are in school, members of a classroom, and subject to the rules of the classroom and the school. It will continue to get better. This I believe.

      Attendance: All present.

      Signed Homework Notebooks: 17 out of 18

      Homework:

      • Maths: Draw graphs of: y=x; y=2x; y=1/2 x; y= -x; y= -2x; y= -4x
      • English: Spelling Workbook Page: 63
      • Story: Biography of a Superhero (in on Friday)
      • Reading: This is not an option. You should be reading 20 minutes every night.

      Posted in english, maths, science, spelling, values, youtube | Leave a Comment »

      (dog days) Tuesday

      Posted by willkay on March 2, 2010

      Before morning line-up I had to ask the sixth grade four times to speak English. During morning line-up I had to remind the boys that they had spent the last PE lesson practising marching. I did receive 23 signed circulars. Only two parents offered transport. Good job the MiniOlympics have been cancelled on Sunday because Thursday’s practice was already cancelled.

      At morning line-up Miss Monica talked about the value of the month, Honesty, and how the most important part of honesty is to be honest to yourself. She also asked the school to make a promise to themselves, pick something positive, something that they could do to improve themselves, and try to follow it through. This is something we have been trying to do in the sixth grade – or at least, it is something that I have asked the sixth grade to do. Every two weeks, pick a quality, and really try to improve that quality within themselves, their lives. Every day one should try to be a better person than the one we were yesterday. Every day we should try to improve as people. Not just academically but also emotionally and socially. This is something I believe that the sixth grade should be old enough, mature enough, to understand and to attempt to achieve. However, there is only so many times that a teacher can explain this to the class, eventually it comes down to each individual student to make their decision as to how they will live their lives.

      The maths lesson expanded the theme of graphing equations to looking at solutions to equations.

      The English lesson started well as we went through the homework, forty homophones. However, as we then went through the new spelling words for the week, some of the students became disrespectful. It is important to remember that a classroom is not a dinner table, a teacher is not a colleague, and your classmates are not an audience to be entertained.

      Recess. For the sixth grade this was spent, once again, inside “the house“. One of the reasons that the sixth grade like to go and sit in the house is because they are out of earshot of the teachers. This means that they can speak in Spanish. This means that they are hiding from teachers, ignoring the school’s policy of BAI being a 100% English speaking school, and disrespecting their parents who are believing that they are talking English all day.

      After recess I taught the second grade while the sixth grade worked with Miss Claudia. They then had PE.

      Tomorrow, five of the class compete in the Sixth Grade Olympiad. They represent the best of our group of students, the best of the sixth grade, the best of the school. They should be proud of their selection, and I hope they do well. Good luck – or better still: Clear eyes, full hearts, can’t lose.

      Attendance: All present.

      Signed Homework Notebooks: 22 out of 23

      Circulars signed and returned: 23 out of 23

      Homework:

      • Maths: Practice 10-2 Nos: 1-12
      • English: Spelling Workbook Pages: 61, 62
      • Story: Biography of a Superhero (in on Friday)
      • Reading: This is not an option. You should be reading 20 minutes every night.

      Posted in english, maths, morning line up, values | 1 Comment »

      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)

      Homework:

      • 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 »

      新年快乐

      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

      Homework:

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

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

      Thank Geoffrey It’s Friday

      Posted by willkay on February 12, 2010

      A long, long week. Several times this week, I have woken up convinced that it was finally Friday (I’m pretty sure that I thought it was Friday on Tuesday). So it was with great delight that I bounded out of bed this morning, happy in the knowledge that the final day of the working week had arrived. Yipee! More good news when I arrived at school, the sixth grade classroom had been selected once again as one of the neatest, tidiest classrooms in the school. And then at morning line up it was “free hug” day, in honour of St. Valentine. Excellent start to the day.

      PE was the first lesson of the day. Professor Dandy had organised a fun, exciting lesson. After the warm up, the students moved on to twirling (what I can only describe as) the twirly-whirly things. Perhaps a video would help:

      This was followed up with another game:

      And finally some skipping practise:

      Geography review for Monday’s exam after the PE lesson. In fifty minutes we managed to cover: Mexico; Central AMerica; South America; The United Kingdom; Western Europe; Central Europe. How much of it actually sank in will be discovered on Monday.

      After the history exam we updates the scores of pages read. Four students have read over 2000 pages so far. Paulina A. has read 2185 pages, Ana Elena 3311, Valerio 3459, and Scarlatte has read a whopping 3851 pages in eleven weeks. Fantastic! Then it was time to return yesterday’s Science exams. An impressive set of results. Three students scored a perfect 10, fourteen others managed to score 9.0 or better. When 17 out of 23 students manage to get 9.0 or more on a midterm exam it means that they have been working exceptionally hard. Well done.

      Chocolate time Recess. A chance for a last practice before the music lesson talent show. Except, for some it seemed it was the first time to practice. Then it was time for the show. I was lucky enough to go to the music lesson and see everyone’s performance. I also managed to take some video, which I will load up to my youtube account over the weekend. (Yes Shai, I have a youtube account. It is where I post videos. Hope you are reading!)

      For the last lesson of the day Miss Claudia took the sixth grade into the library to watch a video. Then, full of sugar, it was time to go home, for the weekend.

      Attendance: All present.

      Homework:

      • Geography: midterm exam Monday.
      • Reading

      Posted in exams, geography, PE, science, values, youtube | Leave a Comment »

       
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