Classroom Curiosities XXV

It’s been a fortnight full of birthdays, sniffles and report-writing. Here is the latest from the classroom:

Does that make sense?
My primary classes were grappling with the homophones who’s and whose. The first is the contraction of who is, whereas the second is about who the object belongs to. The students had to complete questions and choose the correct word. I gave them a clue and told them to read it with “Who is bag is this…? Does that sound right? No, so we use whose.” One student did not heed my advice and ended up with “Who’s hair is the longest?” I read it aloud as “Who is hair?” and she burst into a fit of giggles.

I’ve opened some new pre-reading classes with six year old students who need to get blending ASAP. As part of their education, I am presenting sight (or common) words to assist them with the basics before they join our reading programme. At the end of the lesson, we tested our memory as well as our phonics skills by reading a simple book together as I pointed to each word. One page read, I like Peter. You like Peter. We like Peter. Peter was pictured on the opposite page jumping in the air. One girl kept inserting the word eat. “I like eat(ing) Peter.” I asked her to repeat. Then, I realised she meant pizza.

I’m dead
I was playing the more politically-correct version of Hangman called Jaws. The premise is the same, with blanks representing the missing letters. If a letter is guessed that doesn’t feature in the word, the stick man falls into the water, a shark approaches, he floats closer until he ends up in its belly. It was a 1-2-1 lesson and we’d finished a few minutes early, so I wrote _ _ _ _ _ on the board. It was one of the vocabulary words we’d just studied. Anyone who has worked with children knows that they guess all the rarer letters first, not knowing about frequency of use. It was not looking good for the stick man. The boy eventually guessed four letters to form ‘_ a t c h’. Then he said h. I explained he already had that letter and it would appear twice if that was correct. He then said c. I smiled and repeated myself. Then he tried one more time, “Is it capital C?”

We’ve been practicing word order and the students were then given the opportunity to demonstrate their learning in a short test. So many of my eight year old students wrote the following sentence: “The postman was delivered by the parcel.” I clearly need to go back over passive form and how we use ‘by’.

For those of you who are blissfully unaware of its presence, durian is a spiky demon fruit that has pulp so pungent it is banned from public transport and some buildings. A university in Melbourne was recently evacuated because they thought there was a serious gas leak. It turned out to be some forgotten durian in a cupboard. My reading class were covering the sound /ɜː/, which for those not familiar with IPA phoneme symbols, is pronounced /ir/ or /ur/. Some examples, girl, curl, her, world and heard. We roll with our own simplified symbols at school but it was confusing to the children who kept pronouncing it as /r/. So girl became grill. To help, I told them I didn’t like durian and asked them to remember the sound I make when I smell it: “Eurgh!” It worked.

Locked up
My primary students were given a storyboard to base their narratives on. It depicted a woman shoplifting one CD. The main thing I realised from this task is that the penal system imposed by my class is harsh. The lady was jailed for life in 99% of cases. One girl wrote, “She was in Jill forever.” Very OITNB.

A scary day out
We brainstormed some vocabulary for the beach and common spelling errors included sunscream, icescream and sandwitches. 

High praise
I speak with RP but I do have a bit of a Yorkshire twang on my /u/ owing to living in Sheffield for four years. I was given this card which tickled me:


Sharing some sage advice from one of my students:


That’s all for now. Expect some musings on report writing and part two of my Creative Writing Workshop post soon. Until then, I’d love to hear your stories so comment below!

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