Now that was quite a week! I certainly won’t need convincing to go to sleep tonight.
Monday morning saw us return to school for our first 4 week block of teaching placement. I was eager to get back all last week and I had a very enjoyable week in which I learned a lot. First thing I learned was that the students missed me. How do I know? The first question I was asked was – “What’s today’s riddle?” Here it is –
The instruction was that they had to fill in the box/complete the sentence but it had to make sense. If you want a chance to attempt it, I’ll put the answers to the riddles at the end of the post. A lot of the kids had done some research at the weekend to have riddles for me when I returned.
For our first week, we were instructed to take a maths group lesson each day. It was nice to finally start teaching after listening to lecturers talk about teaching for the last few weeks. Monday was assisting the middle ability group but myself and the class teacher decided that it be more challenging (and more beneficial) to work with the lesser able group. Tuesday, I took the less able group and we worked on two and three digit addition. I had seen this group struggle individually the previous day so I thought it would be a good idea to start with harder questions as a group and move on to the slightly easier questions as individuals – to boost confidence. I was pleasantly surprised with the results. To start with, there was quite a gap in understanding but the group worked through these. We practiced on difficult questions and I praised everyone for not just getting the right answer but also for neat work, correct methods and overcoming difficulties. When I asked them were they ready to work with the textbook alone – they took one look at the page and tore in to the questions. All of them were delighted when they got all the answers correct. One thing I noticed Tuesday which I felt could be a major obstacle for me, was one student’s serious behaviour problems. This student walked away before the lesson and decided to walk around the room rubbing out other people’s answers. On the Wednesday, this particular group went out for extra support lessons and so I worked with the middle ability group.
Yesterday (Thursday) I stumbled across what may be a strategy for dealing with the student with the behavioural issues. This student loves to break every rule put in front of him – so I used a little bit of reverse psychology. I told this student that they could not do maths today because of their behaviour. Two minutes later – the student sits down with rest of the group with the textbook and copy/jotter and asks what page we are on (This strategy could have been a once off but it worked again today so I will keep using it if/when appropriate). Yesterday however, we weren’t working from the textbook. We were playing Maths Who Wants To Be A Millionaire – the rules were fairly simple – i) all questions were subtraction questions (which is what we were covering) ii)The whole group were playing in the same game iii) We could only move on to next question when everyone had answered the questions correctly. iv) Unlimited use of ‘phone a friend’ but they couldn’t ‘phone’ the same friend every time. The group enjoyed this so much that when the lunch bell went – they said “One more question…”. I wouldn’t have ever volunteered to stay in a minute longer than necessary on my lunch hour when I was a primary school student – and nothing had changed as a teacher, I said “I’ve better things to do” and walked out. Joking, obviously not. I was delighted with the enthusiasm and we did the extra question, which took the group about 5 minutes to complete. They were delighted as they got to the end of the ‘show’ with £250,000 won so far. Regarding the misbehaving child – how did he get on? He was the quickest answering the questions and volunteered to assist those that were struggling. Not only that – but he asked me to write him a Who Wants To Be A Millionaire question sheet with even harder questions to do at home! Today, the same group chose to finish Who Wants To Be A Millionaire rather than go to a school assembly which would have meant an afternoon of doing nothing on a Friday.
Next week I have to look after the Literacy/English lessons – it’s supposed to be just work with one group but the class teacher and I agreed it would be worthwhile trying a whole class lesson for at least Tuesday (no school Monday) to see how it goes so again, naively, I’m excited by the prospect of this. I have a fair idea of my plans for these lessons. I also know that week 3 we will be watching (at least some of) Shrek to open up a discussion about stereotypes and treating people differently because of the way they look, what they believe, what they eat, how they dress, etc. Week 4 – we are going doing comic strips. I overheard a student talk about how he was going to spend the weekend reading comics and I asked him would he like to make one in school. He said he’d love to. I could immediately see the potential for it – I am going to give them a theme – e.g. bullying. They are going to pick the context. They will have to use organisation skills, art skills, literacy skills and social skills – to make sure they get their comics to press by the deadline!
Thankfully, I didn’t hear myself utter too many cliches over the course of this week – apart from “I didn’t come down in the last shower”. When I heard those words come out of my mouth – a little part of me died inside.
The other riddles that featured this week –
Tuesday – Finish this sequence M, T, W, T… (Answer – F, S, S – as in Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, etc)
Wednesday – Finish this sequence e, o, e, r, e…(Answer – it’s the last letter of the numbers 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8..etc)
Thursday – If you give me food I will live, give me water I will die, what am I? (Fire)
Today’s – What begins with p, ends with e and has thousands of letters in it (Post Office)
AND FINALLY, the answer to the riddle in the photo is four.
Friday evening is finally upon us so I might just take an hour or two more to myself and do a bit of reading.
Right so, good bye! Bye, bye, bye, bye bye bye bye bye bye!