Wednesday, 22 August 2012

School challenges

At the end of last week I had a problem with my hand after writing on a chalk board for a week - something that I haven't done for 30 years. So I went hunting for chunkier chalks and was pleased to find sidewalk chalks which are much easier to hold - the size of sausages! They work well on the board, soft and they don't get so damp with your sweaty hands. 
I am trying very hard to make my lessons engaging, by doing lots of short activities and games. For instance this week I am revising basic arithmetic and negative numbers. So I've made number cards. The students have one each and mill around to try to make themselves into a sum - say it's multiplication. Then we have a judging session - those who are in sums read them out, the rest are judges - thumbs up or thumbs down? I think this kind of thing is worth doing as all the students get engaged in figuring out what numbers they need to match with 42 for instance. I don't think they'd be so engaged by pages full of drill sums...
However the school is more interested in me turning in detailed formal lesson plans preferably with high falutin' objectives. Fortunately they are on a weekly basis so I just need to swallow a dictionary on Sunday afternoons. 
More positively, I think maybe our efforts have unexpected positive consequences sometimes - for instance I was teaching about number line today, moving right and left - maybe these kids will have a better notion of how to give directions out in the street!

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