Thursday, August 25, 2011

Teaching, teaching, teaching!

Well I must admit I have been rather neglectful of my little blog.  I have been busy teaching full-time for eight weeks.  It was going to be four weeks but it stretched into eight.  I stepped in to take class six when their teacher left unexpectedly.  I knew the class as I had taught them for small blocks here and there, since they were in class three.
Not having taught class six before it was rather daunting but with the help of a wonderful class five teacher to support me I manged to make it work.
The first main lesson we worked on was 'The Aeneid'. This was used as an introduction to the founding of Rome.  I got to do my very first chalkboard drawing which I must admit was a bit intimidating.  Chalk is a difficult medium to work in but I was quite pleased with the result.
I also got to work on my painting skills and the children produced some wonderful work. 
The next main lesson we worked on was Geometry.  When I first told the children we were going to do Geometry a few groaned saying 'Oh no, that's boring'.  Well with that response I had my work cut out for me.
First we looked at Parabolas. I drew on the board what they had to draw in their books, then I ruled two of the lines then the children completed the rest. As they worked cries were heard of 'Oh look, it's making a curve' and 'I didn't know that would happen'. The children then used string to create their own mathematical curves on card. It seems 70's string Art still has a place today.

They couldn't get enough of them and after completing the basic ones moved on to more complex designs. By the end of the main lesson block the class was covered in them.

We also looked at the 'Mystic Rose' and explored how different points of the circle would create different designs. I used this very large knitting loom of my daughters to demonstrate to the children. 

So far the children had not been bored as they had expected.  Their main lesson books were filled with colour and exploration of the concepts of Geometry.

To help the children understand why it was so important to be accurate with their shapes and measurements I had them make Star and Dodecahedron lanterns. I found with the Star Lanterns that it is best to make them in a lightweight paper first then once the children have the technique they can use the heavier painting paper.

What I love about Geometry is that it uses all the different parts of math that they already know and puts it to use in a beautiful, engaging and fun way.  I had one student who said 'I'm so glad we're not doing Maths, this is fun'. I often find that students who struggle with other areas of Math do well in Geometry.
We did lots more than this but I thought it might be useful to share the hands-on activities I used as they are what hold the students and allow them to really explore the subject.

I had a wonderful time teaching the students of class six even if it was only for a short time.


  1. Wow! What a challenge to jump into Class 6!
    The geometry looks wonderfully artistic and you describe their spirit of discovery wonderfully!
    I look forward to more posts about your journey as a teacher!
    x Jo

  2. @Jo Windmill
    Thanks Jo. I really enjoyed my eight weeks teaching them. I want to do more but I am back working as a CRT (casual relief teacher) so I will have to see what comes up.