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 ‘yoga’ Category

saturday morning

Posted by willkay on September 8, 2012

Up early this morning, so early that Sheffield United hadn’t even kicked off. This meant that I got to follow the game via text from the BBC. This was not fun! Two players sent off in the first half, and then we conceded a goal early on in the second half. Fortunately, we managed to equalise, and it finished 1-1. I think I’ll have a lie-in next week and just check on the final score. It did mean that I was up-and-about when my mum phoned. She’d just been to (one of) her granddaughter’s (my niece’s) wedding, where she had been dancing! This might not sound like much to you, but my mum is 84, and she doesn’t dance that often. And now, I’m waiting to watch the Australia v South Africa rugby match, followed by the penultimate stage of La Vuelta. So, I thought there would be enough time to sit down and write a blog post – last night was pizza+film night with our kids, so there wasn’t that much time.

Odd start to Friday, because there hadn’t been that much homework 12 people decided not to get their homework diaries signed. However, the brilliant news, we were settled down and ready for maths very quickly. We are doing addition/subtraction of integers – positive and negative numbers. This can get very complicated, very quickly. So, it is necessary to listen carefully and try to follow what is happening. Thankfully the new-and-improved sixth grade are all about listening carefully! This still doesn’t make the subject any easier, however we will return to it again on Monday and hopefully it will not be as complicated, after a weekend’s break.

Geography was all about Ireland, and how it became Northern Ireland and Eire. Also, why we celebrate St. Patrick’s Day at BAI. I’m still not sure why we do, and why we don’t celebrate St. George’s Day (or St. Andrew’s or St. David’s) as well. Then, while my class had Spanish and Art, I went off to teach the fifth grade some maths. I like teaching other classes, because it gives me a better perspective of my own class. Sometimes 6A have to suffer comparisons with previous sixth grades that I have taught. So, it’s good to go teach a fifth grade because then I can remind themselves that this is where my students came from. With that in my mind, I can use that to springboard them off to where they are going. It makes sense to me.

After recess we read our writing assignments. This week we were writing stories from an animal’s point of view. There were some stories that really got the idea of the assignment. Unfortunately, some stories were more like stories from cartoon animals – a chicken wearing a blindfold? However, it did give us a chance to see a video of the mimic octopus:

After the stories, we quickly squeezed in a final rehearsal for Monday’s Assembly. It was the end of the week, it was late Friday afternoon. Everyone was tired. It will be a lot better.

Back in the classroom there was just enough time to mention the Channel Tunnel. We’ve spent two weeks studying United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. Next week it is Europe. Hmmm, might be time to tell the story of my dad’s plan to “do Europe and film a re-make of Sound of Music in ten days“.

MONDAY: don’t forget your READING LOG, signed. Don’t forget your MOUSTACHE.

Posted in assembly, geography, maths, stories, yoga, youtube | 1 Comment »

happy start

Posted by willkay on September 4, 2012

When the bell rings, at 7:30am, my job starts. One week I am stood on the pavement, in front of the school, opening car doors. The next week, I am stood inside the school, supervising children. The week after, it’s back to opening car doors. To tell you the truth, I like the car-door-opening duty, rather than the supervising duty. The main reason is, I get to be positive when I open car doors. I say,”Good morning!” I say, “Good bye!” (to parents) However, in the playground, it can be a bit negative: speak English, please; don’t run; don’t go there; don’t do that. Oh, there is still time to have the odd conversation, but it can still dissolve into “no-don’t-no-and-speak-English” moments. Today was different. Today, for the first time in [think of a big number, double it, multiply by 8, and then add another 1000 to it] days, I didn’t have to say, “Speak English” once. At all! I was amazed. Well done the sixth grade! Well done in deed.

Unfortunately, it didn’t go too well from there. Four homework diaries not signed, two homeworks not done, 12 people haven’t learnt their lines for the assembly, 14 people did not do what I asked to be done in the maths lesson. Fortunately, Miss Claudia + Mrs. Kay + Mr. Kay = solution. Listening! The students aren’t listening. They aren’t listening the first, second, third time of telling. They are still expecting to be told something several times, before they follow instructions. But, now we (the teachers) know what is going wrong, we can do something about it. We can say things only once.

What’s that? you ask. Say something once? Shirley that is counter intuitive? Shirley you should say something more times!

Well, first off: don’t call me Shirley! And secondly: I’ll take your counter intuitive and raise you a counter-counter intuitive. It makes perfect sense. if the students know that we are only going to say something once, they know they had better listen. Up until now, they have been used to people telling them what to do, and telling them again, and then repeating it, and then chasing them up to see if they have done it, and then being reminded (again). They have got aurally-lazy (I’ve just made that word up). They have to get used to listening once, and once alone, and then following the instructions. It’s a plan. I’ll let you know how it goes.

Maths was decimal division. Except, you can’t divide by a decimal! So, you have to change the question by moving the decimal point. Sounds complicated? Not if you see a couple of examples. I then went and spent 30 minutes with Miss Tere Rochin’s class. I’m getting old. It is getting harder and harder to get up from my knees. Oh, not that 2A drove me to my knees, I just got down there to teach one-on-one and discovered that I couldn’t get up.

Spelling was a new word list. Recess was followed by P.E. for the students, 57 books for me to mark. P.E. also included a practice session for the Honour Guard on Monday. Then History, and finally science. We discussed King Philip Came Over For Great Spaghetti and useful bacteria. Plus, after yesterday’s discussion about appendix-problems, I added a discussion about tonsils. Sorry. If your child starts having nightmares that part of his/her body might be trying to attack him/her – it might be my fault. Try increasing the dosage of Yakult.

Oh, and just for Alan Williams, a growing update. Who is Alan you are asking? Alan is a friend of mine who reads this blog. You might occasionally see his picture at the bottom of a post, because he has clicked on “Like”. The posts he likes are those about growing, because Alan is my go-to-bloke for gardening and growing. So, here’s some pictures of the sunflowers and the radishes. The radishes have gone mad. I was lazy, and didn’t trust the packet, so I sprinkled the seeds instead of placing them 2cm apart. However, my sunflower has actually started to grow, and is now 2cm tall!

And, as I happened to be walking past 6B’s yoga lesson (they were having it outside) I took some video. Enjoy;

Posted in assembly, english, honour guard, maths, planting, science, yoga, youtube | 2 Comments »

birds flying high, you know how I feel

Posted by willkay on December 13, 2011

That was a strange day. It never really got going from the start. Because of the rain, there was no standing outside, opening car doors – today the children came to us. Most remembered to bring their small gift for day two. In a moment of total niceness, Rodrigo’s secret friend made up for forgetting yesterday, with a huuuuuuge present today. Tomorrow is the big present. Yes, tomorrow is going to be Sharing Day. This means that everyone is allowed to come in in normal clothes…unless you are a teacher, which means you can’t wear jeans! Also, it means that you can bring in games to play. Do not bring in cameras or electronic games.

Anyway, strange day. The first lesson never got going. We were waiting for the late comers to arrive and [shock/horror] Hector never made it in to school! How ill must he be? It was interesting to see the total lack of belief that he hadn’t made it in. The first lesson was spent conversing in English! it was then time for yoga. This gave me a chance to sort out my mark book and start working out the grades. Except I was pulled out of my classroom to go take a video of:

No, I’m not sure exactly what it was I was supposed to be videoing – especially as they immediately started as soon as I walked in the door (hence the fact that there is a countdown and I only caught the end of it in the video). But, they seemed very excited about what they had done, so here’s the video.

Maths in 6B, and I did my origami lesson. I taught them all to make a box. Oh, sorry. If you are a parent reading this, pretend you didn’t see this bit – just in case, for Christmas, when you are handed a box and open it, expecting something inside...the box is the present! Your child made a box!! Whoot!!!

PE was in the library. Spanish was making Christmas cards. And then it was home time.

Mrs. Kay has just discovered that I have spent 89 pesos of her birthday present on Plants v Zombies (I bought her a 300 peso iTunes card and then used it to buy the game…sometimes I’m not a brilliant husband). Fortunately (because Mrs. Kay is a brilliant wife), instead of telling me off and banning me from playing on her iPad, she is demanding that I get full value from my purchase, and play the game! So, I’m off to save my garden. Don’t forget, tomorrow bring in your big gift for your secret friend. Bring in a game to play with friends. Do not wear uniform!

Mrs. Kay’s Interesting Fact Of The Day: Cézanne was rejected by the École des Beaux-Arts when he applied for enrollment.

  • BIG Gift for Secret Friend
  • Game to play
  • Stuff to share
  • No Backpack: unless your name begins with rod and ends in go :^)
  • Laptops: charged
  • Read: 20 minutes

Posted in maths, PE, yoga | 3 Comments »


Posted by willkay on August 30, 2011

Hmmm. Yes, a hmmm start to the day. Way too many students speaking Spanish before morning line up, three homework notebooks not signed, three homeworks not done. This is sixth grade and I expect better, especially when it is only week two! Ho hum. Rather than let that get me down, we moved quickly on to do maths. Addition and subtraction of integers (positive/negative numbers). Not as easy as it looks. If there are any old students reading this, I did managed to sneak in the “baddy v goody” story. And, as everyone knows, a baddy and a baddy make a goody!

After the mind stretching problems of mathematics, it was on to the body stretching activity of yoga. I did stick my head inside the door, to check that everything was going well, and everyone was happy. Unfortunately, I get the feeling that my camera was more of a distraction than anything else. I left quickly. And then it was time for geography.

The geography lesson was all about the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. The UK (for short) is actually made up of four countries: England; Scotland; Wales; and Northern Ireland. Both Miss Ester and I are British but I tend to call myself English and she insists on claiming to be Northern Irish. While introducing the four countries, there was a chance to cover a little bit of history. When I asked the class if they could name any of the kings or queens of England/Scotland/Wales/Northern Ireland/UK, they managed to come up with two: Queen Elizabeth I and Queen Elizabeth II. They got close with Queen Diana (I say close, but as her ex-husband is still only a Prince, it wasn’t that close). The rest of the kings named: Philip, Carlos, Fernando – weren’t even close. I therefore took a little bit of time to tell some of the story of King Henry VIII. Of course, the best thing about Henry VIII is the fact that he had six wives, and what happened to those six wives. Which is best remembered using the childhood rhyme: Divorced, beheaded, died. Divorced, beheaded, survived!

And then I left school. Oh, don’t panic. I came back later. However, I had to renew my papers, to allow me to work here in Mexico, and my presence was insisted upon by the government. Actually, to be more accurate, I wasn’t renewing my papers, I was moving another step closer to becoming a Mexican! To work in Mexico, as a foreigner, I have to have a permit. This is called an FM3. I have worked now at BAI for over five years, and this means that I now qualify for an FM2. Today my status in Mexico changed from “non-immigrant” to “immigrant“. I am half the way to becoming a Mexican citizen! Another five years and I can claim citizenship. It is all getting very exciting. Well, the students found it very exciting and I received a huge cheer when I got back to class. And maria found it exciting as well – we’ve been out for tacos to celebrate! (Which is why this post is a little late in appearing.) Who knows, I might still get married in November.

The last twenty minutes of the day were spent reading through the assembly. It was awful! But, it was awful in that way that a first read through always is. Now we know what we are supposed to say, now we know how we are supposed to say it, I am certain it can only get better. And that is what drives me onwards and upwards. It might have been a hmmmm start to the morning, but the day got better. And tomorrow will be better too. Or I suppose I should now start saying: mañana.

Posted in assembly, geography, maths, yoga | 21 Comments »

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