After nearly two months away from a classroom, returning on Monday morning was weird.
I had a fairly restless night’s sleep on the Sunday night and I awoke early Monday morning being very nervous. I noticed a tense feeling in my chest and it was something I would have for the majority of the week. Stepping back in to the classroom and I immediately remembered the table names – Red, Blue and Yellow. The names sprung to mind quickly as it reminded me of the first three Pokemon games (although I sincerely doubt that was the logic behind choosing the names).
I had been in contact with the teachers for the class about what lessons I was to teach for Monday – a PE lesson. I went in Monday with a plan in hand for the PE lesson and observed the teacher in action. They took the time then to ask me about what I had observed and what I’d take from that and if there was anything I’d do a little differently. It was a very helpful conversation and helped calm me somewhat. The PE lesson, rather surprisingly went off without a hitch. I had set out five activities all related to throwing and aiming and had each station numbered to avoid confusion when moving groups from activity to activity. I also had a chat with the other teacher about targets for the placement, organising a visit from a university tutor, and what the areas of focus are for the term. All in all, Monday was busy but a nice start to the first week back.
Tuesday did not go as well. I taught a writing lesson which I thought I had prepared sufficiently for but I had underestimated the length of time and the amount of instruction that was needed and suffice to say, I was very disappointed with it. I left the school on Tuesday rather annoyed with myself but went in to the university to use the IT facilities to prepare for what I wanted to be a great lesson on subtraction. I prepared a game on Powerpoint using hyperlinks with subtraction questions, making an effort to use some of the different words for subtraction – take away, minus, subtract, less. I was, in a sense, cautious of relying too much on a memory stick for what I thought was a good method of teaching subtraction and so I made sure to save the Powerpoint on my memory stick, Google Drive and printed out the slides – just in case.
I was hoping the lesson on subtraction would go well on Wednesday and beforehand, that now familiar tense feeling was present. Thankfully, the Powerpoint game worked perfectly. It opened from my memory stick with no problems and the children loved the smiley face that popped up if they selected the right answer. Smiles all around and as a result – the tension dissipated for the day. The teacher told me they were very impressed with the use of the different words for subtraction as it was important that the children become familiar with them early on.
Thursday I used a similar game as the subtraction lesson for a lesson on ‘br’, ‘cr’, and ‘dr’ words. I thought it had worked well but there appeared to be a little confusion on mixing up the ‘br’ and ‘dr’ words so I spoke to the teacher about this afterwards and they assured me that the lesson went well and that the confusion didn’t mean the lesson was the cause of confusion but just a sign that more work was needed in that area. I also took a mental maths lesson in which the focus was on counting backwards from 20. I used a large number line to count backwards with them first time round and then blocked the number line from view. We then played a number game show in which I would hold up a card with a number and they had to tell me the number before the one displayed. They loved it and I was pleasantly surprised to see some of the class’ quieter characters put their hand up to join in on the game show. To finish off, we sang Ten Green Bottles. I won’t lie, I found that terrifying! Obviously, I can give a virtuoso performance of Blame It On The Boogie and other similar classics when I’m singing into the shower head but I felt terrified by singing in front of an early years class. What made it even scarier for me was the class teacher returned in to the classroom when there was 8 of the bottles still on the wall! ‘Oh sweet Jesus’ I thought when I saw the teacher walk in. Thankfully, after hearing that another green bottle had accidentally fallen, they joined in with the class singing the story of the final seven bottles. The children loved singing the song and I think I’ll be more ready to sing in a class again.
Friday I was taking another writing lesson and another PE lesson. Both lessons went very well and when the class teacher and I were discussing them afterwards, they told me that they thought the lessons had went well but gave me an area for improvement. They told me that they felt the class sometimes gets too noisy. We agreed that a noise-ometer would be an appropriate way to lower the volume in the classroom. All in all, I thought the week had gone well and so I relaxed sufficiently to allow myself a game of pool or two with a friend from work on the Friday evening and an episode or two of Scandal when I got home.
I have a nice bit of work to do now for today, including a noise-ometer to make! One of the lessons i’m currently planning involved using A Bug’s Life (as gardens and mini-beasts is the topic for the term) to inspire us to write our own story for Flik. Admittedly, I’m looking forward to that lesson particularly.
Anywho. That’s all my news I think for this week. so I’ll post this and close the tab, maybe share the post on Twitter and then return to planning for the week ahead. Busy busy busy.