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?!?