Being a teacher has an advantage in that you get two new years. We all began the school year in September, full of postive intentions with a shiny, brand new class to teach and inspire. Now we get a second chance to take a breath and start again. We’ve done the longest part of the year (this last term seemed to go on forever) and have got to know our children well so we can really look forward to the rest of the school year.
2011 was an interesting year full of ups and downs. The worst part was being burgled on the night of the first day school. I am still missing things that I used to have on my laptop and that will take a long while to replace. Not to mention the scary lack of security you feel when your home has been invaded.
The biggest up was actually managing to pass the MaST course. Presumably I am now a fully fledged Primary Maths Specialist although none of us have received any official notification of this. A bit of a let down after two years of very intensive hard work. I hope that we do get something although I do realise that other networks are on slightly different time scales.
Another positive to end the year is my lovely class! After 2 difficult years you can lose perspective and forget just how rewarding our job can be. I had forgotten how much fun teaching can be and my current class have reinspired me. They aren’t perfect ( and I wouldn’t like them so much if they were) but they are enthusiastic and likeable and I feel as though I am making a difference.
So onwards and upwards. My new year’s resolution is the same as always, to try to be the best teacher that I can be. Hopefully I will achieve that and not end up feeling as though I should have done better.
We decided to finish our work on Space and light this term with a Space challenge afternoon. Our school focus this year is about giving the children opportunities to direct their own work and learning by offering them choices. So this seemed an ideal way to finish our topic this term. I came up with a list of activities that the children could do:
Use the laptop computers to create a space adventure story
Use books or the internet to research a particular subject and present to the class
Design and build a rocket
Design and make a space board game or quiz
Write a letter to NASA asking for a job as an astronaut and giving good reasons
Create a news report about an alien landing using the flip video cameras.
I told the children two days before what we would be doing and got them all to think about which activity they wanted to do. This gave them a chance to collect any materials they might want to use and to sort out their groups if necessary. I also have 2 autistic children who need time to assimilate any changes in their daily routine and need prior details of lessons that don’t follow the usual pattern.
The afternoon was a huge success. All the children settled very quickly to their chosen tasks. The majority of children chose to make a video report or build a rocket but each activity was chosen by at least 2 children.
Each group of children worked really well and children who can be disruptive and off task were incredibly focussed, especially bearing in mind that this is the eighth week of this half term and a lot of the children are very tired.
The only real drawback to the afternoon was that we had very little time to show what each group had achieved. We really needed another half an hour to allow for a proper presentation session. This was done on the following day but we all felt that it would have been better on the actual day when the work was done.