Monthly Archives: May 2012

Reading Progress

Week 12 – Continued…

This weeks task was similar to weeks 4 and 5 but without the sounds/digraph testing.

When I got into school, after signing in at the office I grabbed a ‘Volunteer’ lanyard from the basket, slipped it over my head and made my way to Mrs A’s class. I waited for her to finish telling the children about their lunchtime reading club, then she grabbed her clipboard and on her way towards me held it up and asked ‘do you remember doing these?’. I recognised the sheets: reading assessments, they were different but similar. I told her I did and quickly confirmed the allowed number of incorrect readings before each child had to stop and if they were to be timed, which they weren’t.

Mrs A then proceeded to ask if I’d had a nice Easter break which I replied to as ‘yes thanks’ – I’d rehearsed this response so as not to forget to reciprocate, obviously I asked her in return ‘you?’ Any conversation from there on was doomed for an abrupt end as I smile, nod and either respond with a cut off or notably have nothing in my head for a response!

I went and photocopied the sheet to cover all 50+ children and then took the first child on the list for a quick one to one read working my way through the classes during the course of that week. The improvement seen based on the 6 weeks prior was noticeable, very few children had trouble with the b’s and d’s and they were able to read further down the list with fewer scattered errors. I was impressed with their progress.

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Posted by on May 19, 2012 in School, Year 2


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Staying focused

Week 12

Mrs HT came into the class while the children were reading their ERRs on the white board. During this time I sit to the side and wait for them to finish before I start to take them for 1:1 assessment. Mrs HT lowered her voice, said hello and proceeded to ask me a question while waiting for the children to finish. My thoughts however, were on the children trying to concentrate while she whispered over in the corner, so I was very hesitant to respond and briefly answered.

Children hear a whisper, something to look over at and lose their place, miss important information and disrupt other children. Yes they have to learn to stay focused but does that mean we should talk during their lesson?

As it happens, the children were doing well but seeing their HT standing over by the door, led to a sequence of loss in concentration. A split second but enough to break the flow and send them into a confused tis of who should be reading; that was it, they had lost momentum and hesitated at each word.

You could see by their body language that even though they are young, they were self conscious, it slowed them down and made them hesitate. They were motivated by Mrs A to get them back in the flow, the zone, but the damage had been done. They’d been interrupted by a senior member of staff and their bodies twisting slightly in her direction when previously they had been set straight facing the board, was enough to see.

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Posted by on May 15, 2012 in School, Year 2


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Learning at a distance

Weeks 10 & 11

During these two weeks my Psychology course materials arrived. I ticked everything off against the check sheet that came with the delivery and then put the package to one side until I was mentally prepared to start looking through the work.

My previous course was in mathematics and I managed to get so far behind I was struggling to get the assignments in on time, working all night just to finish the work. I started off extremely well but by the time I was on the third assignment, I was flicking through the study books trying to make sense of what I should already have learnt. That was one of the many difficult times in my life and the stress from that, trying to stay on top of my job and dealing with a lot of home issues started to take its toll. However, I was lucky, I passed my course, changed all areas of my life and started to move forward in a positive stream. I had a make a gamble and so far its been the rignt choice!

Eventually I sat down and un-packed the materials, putting the book behind my bed (easily accessible, this is where the books I’m reading and my notebooks go), looking over the website only to find it still wasn’t active and read through the introductory booklet that came with the work.

During the 2nd week the site opened enough for me to start on my course ahead of schedule. I was expecting to be dumped straight into the abyss but surprisingly this wasn’t how it was at all. The first weeks work was set to concentrate on how the course website worked, how to navigate the webpages and links, understand the basic terminology and different types of material (such as web or book) and introduce us into the world of Psychology.

I didn’t complete the full weeks worth of work during this time, although I managed to complete half of it and set aside time for the last bit when the course actually went ‘live’.

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Posted by on May 11, 2012 in Home, Psychology, Study


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Length, mass and capacity

Weeks 7, 8 & 9

This was a very long task that extended into three weeks, completing one to one testing and observation with 50+ children to see how much they had learnt during their lessons that covered Measurements.

The areas of measurement being checked were: – whether they could find from items, which was the heavier and how they did it; tell which was the longest of three items (the same type); be able to tell from three objects, which held the most and how they worked it out; give their understanding on what units of measurement are and then tell which unit of measurements are used to determine the capacity, weight and length of three items I told them.


I found during some questions, that I had to re-word them so that the children understood what I was asking. For example: I said “lighter” and they took that to mean ‘lighter in colour’ as opposed to ‘lighter in weight’ and some didn’t understand it at all! I also had to be explicit in my questions so that nothing was left open for interpretation, which often was. The year groups ability like usual was broad with some estimating weight with their hands while others used the size and thickness of the item which wasn’t always correct. Not many remembered or were able to read the unit markings and therefore used the size, height and thickness of the materials to estimate their capacity.

Most were not able to use the measure on the ruler correctly, a few actually drew a line wherever their pencil landed on the paper as opposed to starting from a specific mark on the ruler.

It was interesting to see how each child reacted to explanations and reasons behind what they were being taught; a few would nod and say they understood but you could see by their blank expressions and hesitation that really they didn’t. As I said in an earlier post, there is only so much I know and able to tell a child; I’m not in a position to teach them, I do not have the knowledge and won’t push the boundaries. I made my observations and wrote their answers as applicable for their teachers to look into.

While this task became tedious towards the end (for the amount of time it took), it was needed and gave further insight to me, into how different they all are, how you have to adapt your teaching skills to accommodate each child. Its hard! The question is: do you learn those different skills in teacher training or does that come from experience? I’d be concerned if it’s from experience alone – until you have that experience, how do you not fail a child who needs to learn in a different way?!?

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Posted by on May 8, 2012 in School, Year 2


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