Tuesday, 22 October 2013

Mealworms and Locusts

It was break time when the whisper went around the staff room that a kid in Year 4 had brought in a locust as part of a class study on Egypt. Slowly a stream of teachers and assistants sneaked off the classroom (it was wet play) to see this for themselves.
     When I arrived a small crowd of children surrounded a boy who was holding a plastic tub in one hand and, sure enough, a locust in the other! Not only that but the boy next to him also had a plastic tub and no less than five small creatures that turned out to be mealworms.
     "They bite," he told me, "do you want to hold one?" Then he placed one in my hand where it proceeded to walk backwards (don't know why).
     Meanwhile the locust, which was about the size of my finger, with some pretty powerful legs, was beginning to hop. Fortunately the boy was quite protective of his unusual pet and put it back in the box.
     Just another day in school.

Wednesday, 16 October 2013

A child's view of evaporation

A group of children were asked to explain what happened during evaporation. One replied, "Water is drunk (usually at night or when no-one is looking) by a small animal."
     This is an impressive and well thought out statement and I feel should have been commended by the teacher. I wish that it was true, because it is a much more imaginative and amusing way for water to disappear. I also wish I could catch one of these small animals in the act of drinking, although clearly that would be impossible.
     Ah, kids, they make teaching worthwhile.

Wednesday, 9 October 2013

If only people would write like they speak

As I enter my seventh reading of the day (each one ranging from five to twenty-five pages) I notice that they are all written in a certain way, and that way is to make it as hard as possible to understand. They all use too many long words/sentences and I'm sure no-one really knows what on earth they mean. If only it was written in the way they would say it if they were stood in front of me, I'm sure I'd be fine and we could move on quickly, instead I'm stuck using my precious time trying to decipher:

"This chapter deals with the strategies needed for this elicitation phase of a constructivist approach..."

Please put any interpretations in e-mail to me with the heading, "Let's make things easy for ourselves"

Monday, 7 October 2013

Memory of a maths lesson

All this primary school work reminds me of when I was just a lad, sat at the tiny tables, trying to work out how to divide 15 by 3 and why it mattered.
     One particular maths lesson springs to mind, from Year 4. We were having a quiz, with each table as a team. After four questions three teams were tied in first place so the teacher decided that each team would have a tie-break question, but only one person from each team could answer it, and she would choose that person.
     I did a quick scan of my table and concluded that I was the best at maths. It wasn't arrogance, it was competitiveness, I wanted my team to win and knew that the best chance we had was if I took the question. However, how was I to get the teacher to choose me?
     In a moment of genius I began fiddling with my hands, making it appear as though I was distracted and bored. The first team answered their question and got it wrong, everything was going well. Now it was our turn. I remained thoroughly interested in anything but the teacher and the quiz. Then I heard her say, "Jonathan, you will answer the question."
     It had worked! I had gambled on her picking on someone who wasn't paying attention, as teachers often do, and she had fallen for my trap. Desperately hiding the joy at my success, I turned to hear her ask the question.
     It was easy, I responded immediately.
     "No," said the teacher, "that's incorrect."
     Of course it was, what had I said! I knew the correct answer, but as they say, 'pride comes before a fall'.
     The third team got their answer right, and I was left looking more than a little foolish, despite my moment of brilliance. Ah, the trials of childhood!

Friday, 4 October 2013

A day off

Today is a day off, by which I mean I am not required to be in either University or School, but of course am still reading, writing and trying to find all the bits of work I need to do, which Bath Spa have hidden all over the internet! (Getting there slowly).
     In other news, where did that storm come from last night? I've lived in Bath for over three years and I've barely even heard a roll of thunder let alone a full blown lightning display! Pity I was too tired to properly appreciate it.
     Consequently I'm having a very 'in' day today, but I should probably get on with some reflecting or reviewing or re-writing soon.