Thursday, 17 July 2014

All in a Year's Work

What does QTS mean I do?

First of all, I'm a class teacher, computing subject leader and a year group leader who is part of SLT. That gives this post a setting. So, here are the roles that stand out from year eight of 'being a teacher':

Removal man: In September I changed classrooms. I moved things from one room to another. Incidentally, I'm on the move again as I write...

Interior Designer: Where shall I put the furniture and what shall I put on the walls?

First Aider: (Unofficially, as I have no qualification). A child hurts themselves and informs the teacher. While en route to find a first aider, I've often needed to begin triage.

Computer Technician: "This is not working - make it work (now)".

Senior Buyer: Finding new resources and 'kit', finding the best price and then initiating a purchase.

Social Media Manager: Upkeep of social media streams.  

Security Council: Mostly between children from my class, year group or playground duty, and occasionally the adults! 

Referee, umpire, judge: PE lessons. 

Travel Agent: Planned and carried out a residential. Not one of those organised by a company, oh no, one sorted out by yours truly.

Judge, jury and 'executioner': Getting the truth out of children, deciding what the consequences are and dealing with out fallout. 

Dance Troupe Performer: Christmas dance.

Actor: Literacy play.

Director and Editor: Creating films and supporting that. 

Many of the above may not be required, but they add to an interesting and enjoyable job. Wanted to reflect on how diverse the 190 days that make up the year in the classroom can be. I'm sure there's more I've missed and look forward to hearing from others about what they've been up to.


Friday, 11 July 2014

You Need To Speak Proper (Like What I Do)

In my NQT year, I noticed teaching assistants and other teachers correcting children's speech:

"Er, say thank you."

"Use please next time."

"You mean 'David and I'."

And so on...

In that year, and some since, I was more focused on some of the more basic aspects of the job. However, more recently, I have become aware of the need for children to speak correctly and then how that impacts more widely their ability to communicate, read and indeed write.

This year, a boy in my class had been frequently asking, "Can I go for a toilet?" This, in the past, was something I hadn't corrected with other children. Every time he asked, I corrected and he repeated. Then, last week, with a huge smile he came over and asked, "Can I go to the toilet please?" Of course, the answer (to a Year Five child) was, "There's only five minutes of the lesson left - see if you can wait." But, also, "I'm so pleased you asked correctly." And, I was pleased. I had been persistent and succeeded - I'd taught something (after all, I am a teacher)!

It's so easy to let these slip by. Does it mean the child doesn't know how to speak (and possibly write) correctly, are they being lazy or is it something else? You don't find out if it's not challenged. 

You and I (see what I did there?) have a duty to ensure we teach and, where required, correct children.

Monday, 7 July 2014

Looking for Sport's nth Term

I noticed that in the 2014 FIFA World Cup there are 32 participating nations and 64 matches. That's half participants to matches. 1:2 if you like. I noticed that as a possible pattern and wondered if it'd continue for a competition of 16 teams and therefore 32 matches. However, I didn't investigate. I'm going to get my class to...


Feel free to edit and adapt for your own class.

Thursday, 3 July 2014

Here's What It's Like Around Here

On Monday of this week, a Tweet was posted:




At the time of writing, that Tweet has 14 ReTweets (even one from Brian Moses) and 19 Favorites. That's a lot for Liam: he's convinced most of his Tweets don't get read by anyone! Lots of interest out of the blue, and to something we though everyone would be doing. Wrong!

It's my 8th year of teaching and this is something I've done every year. Two weeks before 'Transfer Day', I give the children a home learning task to write a letter to a pupil in my next class. Here's how that was worded: 
The results were very impressive. Here are some extracts:

"Finally, you do lots of literacy and maths, but the teachers make it fun!"

"The Isle of Wight is really worth all of the five hours it takes to get there."

"The more time you spend in this year group, the more you will love it!"

"If you get my teacher, you're lucky: he's awesome!"

"The homework's not difficult if you listen in class."

There's a trip to the National Space Centre (not Space, in Leicester) and it's fun."

Your new class get to hear from those who have just experienced a year in your year group, classroom and presence. They tell it how it has been. Good points, not so good points and, at times, pick out aspects of the teacher's personality. They're useful for the teacher to evaluate the year too. 

Most of all, it's impressive to see the time taken by many of them to produce something that shows real empathy with the child who is going to be reading the letter:









Tuesday, 24 June 2014

Saturday, 10 May 2014

Ninth Collection of Apps for Your Primary Classroom

Another bunch of apps that we've given a go in our primary classrooms. We've found them useful and others may do too. Links are to the Apple App Store as we are operating iOS devices.

E-SAFETY
 
GENERAL
 
MATHS


LITERACY
 

Saturday, 26 April 2014

Averaging Speed in Maths

Driving along, observing the speed limit and I entered a section of road covered by average speed cameras. I understand how these work and therefore know a driver should drive at a constant speed, at or under the speed limit, in order to avoid encountering a conviction. However, I observed a young lady speeding in between cameras and then slowing for each one. She clearly did not understand the term 'average'. This lead me to think about how 'average' could be taught using these cameras as a real life context.

I have two possible methods for carrying out this investigation:

One: Using the formula for calculating speed: Speed = Distance ÷ Time. Give the children a set of data. The data being that for time taken for drivers to travel the distance between cameras. The data can be put into the formula and then the children work out which motorists are within the limit and those who are not.


Two: Giving the children the driver's speed in between each camera on a road and then the children calculate an average of those speeds. Again, from this the children work out which motorists are within the limit and those who are not.

Also: See Stuart's very useful and helpful suggestions below.

The first idea is more inline with how the system actually works. However, the second would work better in a primary classroom for calculating averages. We've made a resource to accompany the latter.