17 04 2008

Finished reading the book last night (I let pacepusher on my laptop to write up his blog on the marathon and he spent 4 hours on it so I had plenty of time!) so here are a couple of ideas for challenging activities:

  • Beat the teacher – the teacher goes over something like a concept or procedure, or they look at a piece of writing etc and work out mistakes themselves, then go over these with a partner and then have a class discussion on it.
  • Be the teacher – give the pupils 15 sums, some correct and some wrong and the pupils have to work out the answers and correct them as a teacher would.  They should write in comments, especially thinking about feedback that would be useful to the child who did the sums.
  • What number am I? – Have a secret number and the class have to guess it losing as few marks as possible.  A direct guess would cost 3 marks but a good question would only cost 1 ie is the number even.  You could later use decimals or negative numbers and then let a child pick the number.  To introduce the idea you could give out a few random numbers and ask the pupils to group them how they think.
  • Cross out game – Children write five different 2 digit numbers on a whiteboard and teachers gives statements to get them crossed out.  Can reinforce concepts by having a 100 square next to you.  More able pupils will pick higher numbers, less able can stick to numbers under 20.
  • Talk about numbers – put a sum on the board and ask the children to work out how they know it’s true.
  • Children teaching – Have five groups of 6 and give each a different task/procedure to produce a summary on ie different things about WW2 or different maths concepts.  Then change the pupils to six groups of 5 with each group now having a different person from each of the initial groups in it.  The children now teach each other from their summaries. 

Thought some of these would be really interesting to try, particularly the last one.

Extra question:  Are any other teachers out there also regular marathon (or ultra) runners?  I am beginning to think they are not very compatible as by the time you have got to the marathon (particularly a spring marathon) you are so tired from the intensive training and teaching that you are unlikely to perform at your best.  Then of course there are also all the germs flying about all the time and if you are training hard for the marathon you can be more susceptible to getting things as you are riding a thin line from doing too much.

Shopping went better than the marathon!

16 04 2008

Just got back from London last night and am still trying to get over the marathon (thats psychologically rather than sore legswise).  I was bitterly disappointed to only run 4.32.17 when I had been going for sub 4.10 but you will have to read my running blog to learnn more (be warned – it’s a lengthly post!).  In it I probably beat myself up about it quite a bit, I would say I have stopped doing that to myself so severely about teaching but definately not in terms of running.

I did take some work with me and despite meeting two fellow runners on the train on the way down on Friday I started to fly through writing my presentation for the HT conference.  It was really flowing and I am sure that it is because like the presentations I have done on Malawi I know what I am talking about and it was easy to put in the structure.  Unfortunately waves of sickness suddenly came on and I was forced to stop for a couple of hours.  Instead of going back to it later I spent the time doing some reading of AIFL stuff, which I found really interesting and took a lot of notes on, and reading gossipy mags that Debs brought on the train.  By the time we finally ate dinner at 9pm that night after being on the bus, train and underground all day I had motion sickness and the whole restaurant was moving!

I made up for the lack of a good time in the marathon by visits to the amazing Imperial War Museum (It would be amazing to be able to take your class there during a WW2 topic) and the Cabinet War Rooms and Churchill Museum.  Then there was the shopping where I did walk a lot of miles (on Monday and Tuesday) which actually helped my legs with their recovery, don’t get me wrong though they are still not right and won’t be for a while and I was a fine sight going down stairs sideways (believe me if I could have gone down backwards I would have but I thought was going to look just a bit too odd!).

Some things I picked up or was reminded of from my reading (‘Asking Better Questions’ by Ian Smith) were:

  • Ask the pupils to identify ‘fat and thin’ questions
  • Don’t give the question – give the answer and ask why it’s correct ie Why can 7/9 not be simplified?
  • Turn the question into a true or false statement and ask why its true or false
  • Ask big questions ie philisophical
  • Ask for 5 ideas – it stretches those that need it
  • If someone says they do not know ask “What would you say if you did know?”
  • Get an answer and gather others, then go back to the first pupil and ask ‘which answer do you like best?”

I have not quite finished it, the last section is the most interesting.  It is titled ‘How to devise Challenging Activities’ and has some good ideas in it.  I will post them when I have finished it.