December 08, 2010

"To Mrs Knap

It's been quite a nice week so far. In at attempt to get well again, I'm doing a miniumum of work and getting lots of sleep. So I did almost nothing all weekend, which was great. Monday and Tuesday after school I went to bed, got up a couple of hours later to eat and did the bare miniumum of an hour or so's work for the next day. Then a nice early night at 10 or 11 pm. I feel more well already, although still aching with a cold, and my teaching has improved as a consequence.

I had a lovely lesson with Year 7 on Monday, we started with a mental arithmetic test which I thought would be a nightmare - I had to time exactly 5, 10 or 15 seconds between questions and they weren't allowed to call out or ask for help when they didn't unnderstand. That's something they struggle with! But they were fantastic and after we finished they sat silently waiting. I basked in the moment by collecting in the sheets myself then asking them to move back to their seats. More silence once they were back in their usual seat. I want to start every lesson with a mental test now! The rest of the lesson went really well, objectives met, pupils happy and confident, and a great atmosphere throughout.

I got my first Christmas card from a pupil, to "Mrs Knap". Married and misspelt! Adorable. It was from a very sweet girl in my tutor group and maths class. She might not be so sweet as she seems though, she knew a bit of a swear word that she accidentally said in front of me! Her endless "oh miss, I'm so sorry, I meant to say...., I really didn't mean to, I'm really sorry" and obvious embarrassment was punishment enough so I just very seriously asked her never to say that again in front of a teacher and she equally seriously promised not to. Ah bless little year 7's. So sweet.

I did the money project today with our Year 10 class. They had to deal with various bills and demands from their "children". Do they buy their daughter a new backpack? Do they let their 18 year old son get a credit card? It was wonderful how their decisions later impacted on them "weeks" later - eg if they let their son have the credit card, then he racked up a £325 bill that he can't pay so you have to. Much complaints at that! They wanted to change their mind - nope, you can't time travel in real life! Another "husband and wife" found their balance was in the negative numbers - "can we just write zero because we can't go below zero?". Nope! No bank manager will do that for you! It was a satisfying painful process for them having to take money out of their savings to cover it. A lot of them did some excellent maths without thinking about it. From another class, one couple decided they were going on holiday to Florida while their 3 kids were being sent to Cornwall - so they worked out 2/5 and 3/5 of the costs and calculated accordingly. Impressive for a low Year 10 class! I was impressed not only with the dedication to the task shown by my class but also the reasoning they came up with and how they related it to their own lives. "No, I'm not buying Sky TV for my kids, that's way too expensive! ..... my mum bought Sky TV for me, and we have extra packages." So I'm very fond of this project, as is the main class teacher so we're going to spend an extra lesson on Friday to complete the whole project (we were due to finish last lesson). I might have to make my own one of those at some point!


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  1. Andrea Pitt

    Glad to hear that you are feeling better. A test can be a useful strategy to use to get pupils silent and focussed. Pupils are so used to being tested that they generally conform to expected norms of behaviour. This can be used at the start as you have or as fall back during a lesson if for example pupils aren’t using resources correctly.

    09 Dec 2010, 12:17


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