Teaching the 3 states of H2O


via Photo Challenge: H2O

Immediately, a memory of a lesson on the ‘three states of matter’ arose. It was a science topic for the (NZ Intermediate School) Year 7 class. As we’d done, by the end of the school year (approaching Christmas and the eight week summer break), every other topic in science, I had left it to the end-of-year, for no particular reason.

We discussed the solid state, the liquid, and the gaseous. I demonstrated the difference between water as a gas and a vapour, not wanting them to think steam is the gaseous state.

I held the last science lesson over until the afternoon of the very last dismissal, letting them know they had to pass a practical test in that lesson.

At five minutes to three, I sent a runner to the school office for Mrs. X’s science test kit. He returned with a chilly bin (‘Eskie’, in Aussie), in which were thirty-two ice-blocks.

The practical test was to turn them from their frozen state to a liquid as rapidly as they could. They would pass the test and be dismissed for the holidays as soon as they’d completed the test.

image

Excited cries of delight as they saw the brightly coloured packages of lemonade flavored ice locks, ripping off wrapper, slurping and sucking. They all passed the test and were dismissed one by  one, although one early finisher stayed back until the others had all passed through the door.

He blew me away (and made me laugh uproariously) when he commented…

“I know how we turn that liquid into gas, Miss.”

I waited for the expected punchline…his cheeky grin showed something was coming.

“We’ll fart it out as gas!” he called as he turned and ran from the room.

~ ~ ~

Only in the last moment of the school year could he get away with that…but I would’ve laughed at any stage in the year – in the staffroom!

 

B is for Book, Bored and Below Compulsory School Age


Wonderful outlook on progress of early reading.

summerbornchildren

IMG_1859I’m not an early years teaching expert, but I have witnessed firsthand how ingrained a hatred of reading can develop in some children, and was acutely reminded of this when I watched the BBC 4 documentary ‘B is for Book‘.

As a former secondary school teacher who has tutored numerous children in English (boys in particular) for more than 15 years, I could plainly see how easily a love of books can be jeopardised very early on in a child’s life.

Shockingly, the BBC film showed children who were not yet naturally interested in reading and writing independently (much less the daily monotony of phonics and lacklustre books) being deprived of precious playtime as punishment for academic failure at just 4 and 5 years-old.

Why are we doing this to children???” I wanted to know.

View original post 1,065 more words

Calling NZ Primary Teachers


How deep in your memory can you dredge? Back to when you, yourself, were a pupil in a New Zealand classroom?

As far back as your junior years? Your middle school years? Your intermediate years? Your secondary school years?

Great – here’s what that means to me…

  • You are your own expert on your classroom experiences as a pupil/student!
  • You the best person to contribuute a piece of your memory to my nonfiction book in progress.
  • You will be given credit (and shared copyright) for your contribution.

Please write your memory in the first person, preferably in the “voice” of yourself at that age:

  • give me your name, the class you were in (Year 3, e.g.) your age at the time, and the year
  • change your name within the story
  • mention the school’s name, by all means.
  • change classmate’s names to something not recognisable to that person
  • show what happened to you, to the teacher, to the classmate
  • share the interactions between the people in your memory
  • include conversation where possible
  • write between five-hundred and eight-hundred words
  • (optional) write as if at that age–including spelling you know now was wrong, punctuation as you used it at the time

Send me the piece, attached to an email at this address:

  • McAennyl [at] outlook [dot] com
  • Set a Read Receipt so you are notified when I’ve read it; I will respond

In the email, tell me what you want done with your contribution if it is not included in the manuscript:

  • May I post it as a Guest Post on this blog?
  • Would you prefer it returned to you, unpublished?

Think about it…anything you blush now remembering, any ocassion in which you were the bully/perpetrator, any incident in which the class got out of hand (and what part did you take – heheh), the most engaging/exciting/fun lesson you took part in. the one thing you’ve always remembered about the classroom, the teacher, the building/s…whatever.

More than one contribution is welcome, especiallly if each covers a different class level or school.

2015-05-16 10.59.33

(Look at the lass with the class sign. She’s “zero”. Now count to your right 1 – 2 – 3. That’s me, back in the day, at Harley Street School, Masterton, Wairarapa; teacher was Mrs McBean)

Thanks for your interest, colleagues…

 

 

 

 

 

Oh, That Could’ve Been Harsh (Daily Post)


Daily Prompt: Sad, but True

“Tell us about the harshest, most difficult to hear — but accurate — criticism you’ve ever received. Does it still apply?”

1970, and as a second-year teachers’ college student I’m on a week’s ‘section’ (a practical practice trial of teaching for real) at a local school, in a class of eleven-year olds.
I’d had a mildly wild first year – “wild” because as a kid from a small country town, on realizing no-one in the city knew my mum I could do what I liked, and I got high on the freedom to speak my mind; “mildly wild” because I didn’t get into drugs of any kind. In fact I’d rubbish those who did – quite loudly.

Anyway, back to that section. My goal was to plan, prep and teach a science lesson, while class teacher took notes, assessing my abilities (if any). My lesson was Geology – how rocks were formed. The Igneous, Sedimentary and Metamorphic, with a set of samples provided by the school and augmented by a collection of mine of semi-precious gem stones. Chunks of obsidian,  scoria and pumice; Crystals – rose quartz, amethyst, peridot and opal. The class were quite a high level of interest, as for a change there were enough samples of every type of rock that every child got to examine and describe more than one.

Unbeknown to me, back at TTC, someone had complained to my lead lecturer about my big mouth insulting idiots in class, and correcting lecturers in mid-lecture when they gave faulty information.

Section over, I had to go see the HOD Science, who apparently was my mentor for the year (though nobody had told me that!), about the success/failure of the science lesson. She commented favourably (IK & NZ English spelling) on the high level of student interest and enjoyment, the high level I’d insisted on in their descriptive writing “as a scientist”, my ability to gain full class participation. Then she told me of my poor planning (gather the samples, and talk to the class. No Goals, Aims  or Objectives, or Ratings Scale for assessing individual learning. Tut, tut.

I made some remark (as I was wont) how “a good teacher shouldn’t need to push paper; their job is to interact on an individual basis with each pupil according to their needs”

“But shouldn’t their needs be recorded/” she asked

“A good teacher should be observing every pupil’s behaviour and conversations, social interaction and working ability, and remembering them.”

Silence.

An agreeable silence, but … a long silence. Then,

“You are readily vocal with your opinions.” A statement of her opinion, and true.

“Yes, i won’t take rubbish from anyone who is supposed to know what they’re talking about.”

“Do you know,” she said (was that a slight smile at the corners of her mouth?). “you’re like me, when I was your age. One day someone said to me something that applies equally to you,”

“Yes?” I asked, “what was that?”

“My professor said of me ‘One thing she does badly is suffer fools gladly’  You need to keep that in mind as you continue through your career. Oh, by the way, your section assignment –  I’ve graded it as an A-. Off you go – I’m sure your cronies will be waiting to share a cigarette or two with you.” and I was dismissed.

Her advice, that little jingle which had applied to her and now me, was intended as a criticism.

Such is the arrogance of youth, I took it as a compliment!

Does it still apply? Damn straight! I can be as critical as hell if faced with academics who teach subjects not students, with bureaucrats who make rules but don’t live with them, with young adults who whine “no one told us” or “I didn’t know”, after years of instruction at school re drug & alcohol abuse.

Just one little quote (and there are many just as succinct)…

“Those who will not reason, are bigots; those who cannot, are fools; and those who dare not, are slaves.” – – – Lord Byron

[Read more at http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/l/lordbyron124718.html#ch4j0fPDL3pdqoz3.99 ]

Writing While Teaching, and since


In my 30-odd years (or if I think about it, 30 odd years) of teaching I had to write to create lesson plans, learning materials, children’s progress reports. I had to teach writing – the three “strands” of the English Currioculum (brought into effect in the late 1980s) being Expressive writing, Transactional writing and (I think) Reportive writing. Want to learn how to do something well? Teach it!

I taught Intermediate level for most years, with some Junior class years and a couple of years of a Full Primary – 5 year olds to 12 year olds (Years 1 to 8). Then about five years of teaching at Secondary level (Years 7 to 13).

A four year stop, while I studied for a Bachelor’s degree in Information & Communications Technology (Applied). After a few placements with odd jobs, I ended up lecturing in Computer courses at the local Polytechnic. Once again, writing to create learning and assessment materials, reports to admin.

In the meantime, at about the time I started the computer degree, I discovered MSN Groups (R.I.P.) Image representing MSN as depicted in CrunchBase

and ran a group there for NZ native birdlife enthusiasts, as well as my personal blog.

I also found Blogspot/Blogger, Image representing Blogger as depicted in Crun...where I have a personal venting blog, and a couple of other blogs –
one on book reviewing (http://read-it-reviewed-it.blogspot.co.nz/ ),
and one on accidental gardening (http://gardeningaccidents.blogspot.co.nz/)

When MSN pressured members to remove to Multiply, I continued my personal blogging thereImage representing Multiply as depicted in Cru..., re-established a native birdlife group and joined groups for creative writing. I Loved those groups, Multiply is now dead as far as social networking goes. They made the decision to chase marketplace users, and threw all us social bloggers out. [Edit:: I am reloading my better/funnier pieces from multiply to a wordpress blog here  as from early April 2k13]

I found Blogster (http://www.blogster.com/lynnem-s/) – and a “Multiply Refugees” group which made the transition easier.
I’m there now— blogging away …

But after a horrific fall and the onslaught of a horrible health condition, I took up an online course in creative writing, working from my hospital bed at home with my laptop. I too two years to achieve the Certificate, and in 2012 I completed the Diploma course.

The Course work encouraged me to tackle NaNoWriMo in 2011 – but as I didn’t even find out about it until the 16th or so of November, I failed to get anywhere close to the 50,000 word target. Though my graph showed that if I’d started on the 1st of the month I’d’ve made it.

This year (2K12) I took on Script Frenzy The Script Frenzy logoin April, and achieved the page count required,

and took another crack at NaNoWriMo again this November. I made the 50K target, but have editting and more writing to do.

Currently I’m working to put together an anthology of some of my poems and short stories as an eBook, hopefully aiming to hasve it online by February.