Blogging Task #4

Students, this is a special, new blogging task just for you. This term has been a crazy one with so many things happening and lots of unpredictable ups and downs. But, what events or activities stick in your mind? Was it the swimming? Was it the faction carnival? Perhaps you were devastated when your favourite teacher (me) took time off sick. Did the Meccano or the QR Maths hunt leave you exited and wanting more? Whatever it was, write a post about it. Remember all the things we’ve been doing with our writing, especially our engaging openings and descriptions.

Quality Revision

Teachers never switch off! It’s just our nature, whenever we’re walking around (or doing pretty much anything) we always have our job subconsciously at the back of our minds. Quite a few years ago I started using QR codes, a Japanese technology which was invented for tracking automobile parts during the manufaturing process. The original purpose was quite dull, but in the hands of teachers they can have a much more enjoyable role. This week the students were allowed to run (well, walk quickly) around the school on a treasure hunt. Not that there was any treasure at the end of this particular hunt, just the satisfaction of completing a revision exercise on our previous Math concepts. A number of QR codes were placed around the school with a selection of questions covering the topics we’ve covered this year. The answer to each question was a clue to the location of the next question. The students carried their Math books with them so they could refer back to jog their memories. The students all had fun (with a little frustration added in) and learned, at least remembered, what they’d forgotten they’d done before!

Tough Times

Term three has been “one of those” terms. It feels like it started slowly, somehow got a little lost, then ran completely into a brick wall. However, despite all this, the magnificent students of LA1 have kept going, sometimes smiling, sometimes sneezing, but always pushing forward with as much strength that their flu ridden bodies can muster. Of course, what’s good enough for the students is also good enough for the teacher and I, too, am limping on with about as much energy as a small slug towing a large car. Amidst all our ups and downs we’ve still been able to enjoy some real success. Have a look below at the students making their Father’s Day gift, and collaborating on their Asia research projects.

The Sky’s The Limit

It’s always nice to get a visit from the family up the road. Well, not quite family in the usual sense, but our local high school, the one where so many of our students will be moving to, paid us a short but exciting vist. One of the courses on offer at the high school centres around aviation and the students gave us a demonstration using handmade rockets and several drones. Their course ofers so much, including learning about the rules and regulations which govern the aviation industry. Below are a few photos from the day.

Fish in a Tree

Dragging a class, kicking and screaming, through a full novel study can be as much fun as teaching a duck to herd cats. It can be a very tricky balancing act to find a novel that is not only interesting to both boys and girls, but also contains the necessary topics and depth of literary content to be of educational value. Well, in my humble opinion, I found just the perfect novel for the job – Fish in a Tree by Lynda Mullaly Hunt. The novel tells the story of a year 6 student who faces difficulties and challenges, particularly at school. However, her journey becomes an inspiration to readers and, just as important to me, the literary content provides so much material to help move the students forward with their reading and comprehension skills. It’s too difficult to list all the work we’ve done on this great novel, particularly with our study of symbolism, so if you’re a parent please discuss this post with your child. Below are some images of the students working in their groups to develop detailed character maps from the novel.

Setting Our Sights High

How can you measure the height of a flagpole when, even stood on a ladder, you’re barely two metres tall? Well, the answer is Maths! Only a few weeks ago, some of the students couldn’t make heads nor tails of using a protractor. Now, they’re charging off and using angle measurements, lengths, conversions and a very specialised measuring device to gauge the height of various items around the school. Having stuck some sights (rolled up card) to our straight trigonometric inclinometer consideration kit (S.T.I.C.K) the students were ready to begin measuring the heights of the block, flagpole, goal post… The practical uses of maths is always something I strive to include in class so the students can see how it applies to the real world, and have fun at the same time. This time the students practically rose to the challenge and aimed high so they could stick to their task and reach new heights – (ahem, I’m here all week).

STEAM Power!

As a kid I’d sit for hours letting my imagination run wild as I constructed all kinds of vehicles, bridges, cars and much, much more. Now, as part of our STEAM (integrated Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math’s) activities, we’ve been using Meccano in the classroom, the toy I enjoyed all those years ago. Meccano has strong connections to the topic of robotics and digital technologies, which some students will be choosing to follow in high school; in fact Meccano is a fabulous tool with a huge educational value. Besides helping the students develop their problem solving skills and their construction skills, it is also great for their literacy development. The students are having to cooperate in pairs (boy and girl where possible) as they attempt to read, decipher and follow the fairly complex instructions. The instructions are all visual, the type that Ikea tend to use, but a lot more detailed and complex with steps having to be followed in clear stages. As well as requiring good reading skills, the students have to use clear, polite and constructive conversation skills to overcome any difficulties they encounter. The instructions are very similar to an algorithm and must be followed closely. When finished they should have a great model with working parts and can post about their experience on their blogs, as long as they stay on track and don’t come off the rails!

What Holiday?

When is a holiday not a holiday? When it would’ve been far more relaxing to stay at home and go to work each day! A full seven weeks away from school may sound like bliss, but four weeks of my seven were spent racing across England catching up with all the friends and relatives we haven’t been able to see since the world locked down for Covid. It was great meeting everyone, but racing to Liverpool for lunch, then Manchester for dinner… The three weeks that followed my English break began with me finally succumbing to Covid, although the upside of this was that I had a full three weeks lying flat on my back, recovering from my race across England. Every cloud..! Anyway, LA1 are back together and are ready for term 3. This is going to be a HUGE term and I’m sure we’ll end up feeling like we’re trying to squeeze two term’s worth of work into one. If I thought my so-called holiday was a race…

Blogging Task #3

We all need to take care of ourselves! I can’t think of any issue on a personal level more important than our own mental well-being. For too many it’s something that we come to realise mostly when it’s way too late, when our mental health has taken a hit and we are left with the stressful and debilitating consequences. The problem is that we tend to take good mental health for granted, a bit like a well running car; why tinker with it if it’s all fine? However, to keep running smoothly we need to maintain ourselves, especially during the good times, or one day we may just find ourselves in a big mess.

One way of staying mentally healthy is to make sure we give ourselves time for something we enjoy. My stunning little MG F isn’t only my car, it’s my hobby, my interest and a thing that I thoroughly enjoy. I suppose part of it may lie with the fact I used to be a car body repairer, dismantling smashed vehicles and fixing them up like brand new. I’ve still maintained a great interest in cars and I’m always looking to tinker with my MG and improve it (although it does drain my bank account a little). Doing this ensures I make time just for me, to do something I like and that takes my mind off the pressures of everyday life. This new blogging task is to take a photo of your pastime or hobby and post it as a new header with an explanation of what it means to you. How does your hobby make you feel? Does it give you space and time alone? How long have you been doing it? If you don’t have a hobby, how do you find time for yourself to relax?

Deep Breaths

Sometime you’ve just got to “stop and smell the roses”. An old quote, but one we can all benefit from. Year six can be a real slog, we have so much work to get through and sometimes we have to simply push on and “grin and bear it” (another one). So, for a few minutes a couple of weeks ago, we took the old quote at its word and set off, iPads ready, and followed our noses. All creadit to our gardner, Kevin, we had plenty of opportunities to grab some very cool photos, four of which I’ve added below. It may be a saying, one you’re possibly familiar with, but the message is nonetheless a serious one. The demands on our time and the pressures in our lives can sometimes sneak up on us, and when they do it can often be too late. I know just as much as anyone else, that the need to breathe, to stop for a moment and to take care of ourselves is so strong that we shouldn’t ignore it, not in ourselves or in those we love. Check in with yourself, check in with another, see what’s around you and appreciate the side of life we too often ignore.