Wednesday, January 12, 2011

All Supply Days Should Be So Good

I've just finished a two day stint in a wonderful Grade 6 class.  Now it is not often that one can place 'wonderful' and 'Grade 6' in the same sentence.  It will be interesting to see if the same can be said after Easter in the same class, once the hormones start to flow. And yes in case you are wondering, it is like an on/off switch to puberty, gets bumped on Good Friday.

These two days were booked before Christmas and I've actually kind of looked forward to them over the break.  I had the class across the hall for the full week, just before Christmas and they were great.  This class was described as 'even better'.  And they certainly lived up to their reputation.

The fact that I was given free reign to teach drama was a bit of a bonus too.  The regular teacher, knew I liked the drama side of things so asked if I could work on that with the group.  I was able to scrounge up a bunch of photocopied scripts of various short plays (Aesop's fables, Emperor's New Clothes etc).  Early in the morning, I divvied the class up into groups according to the number of characters in each play.  We had four good solid groups to work with.

I'm always amazed at how creative kids can be on their own, without adult intervention.  I forewarned them, right off, not to get caught up in props.  I know students can quickly get bogged down up in building stuff, or getting a costume together and miss the whole point of an impromtu play.  They took my advice to heart.

The emperor had about six coats, quickly grabbed from friends lockers.  The Miller and His Son, dropped orange magic markers across the stage to lure the donkey to the barn, to take him to market. A yellow highlighter doubled as the candle that no one could blow out, for the Snook Family.  And the Fox and the Goat fell into a well created from four chairs placed back to back -- most creative I thought.

I had each group assign their own parts and practice reading the script for about half an hour.  Then I called them all together and had them perform the first five minutes of each play in front of their classmates.  They all enjoyed the chance to act in front of their peers and some definitely showed theatrical flair. It was one of those fairly impromptu lessons that worked and worked well.  I think a lesson that involves everyone and has them role-playing, in some capacity, is bound to be successful.

The afternoon saw gym class.  As a supply, gym can be a challenge.  Some schools are very competitive and the students know all the rules to every organized sport. Heaven forbid if you dare to deviate from said set of rules!  However, today we had the option of a shared gym class with the Kindergarten students.  I love combined classes of Kindergarteners and older students.  Even the most introverted or aggressive older students seems to be able to rise to the occasion when asked to mentor little ones.

The kindergarten teacher said that her charges could hardly wait to get to the gym to play with the 'big kids'.
I was a little apprehensive when I announced to the sixes that we would be sharing the gym with the K's, but their reaction was very positive. "Yeah......can we play dodgeball?"  Of course, lets bean a four year old, knock him cold and call it fun!

We decided to do some sort of tag/obstacle course.  During my prep period I checked out the gym supply closets and found scooter carts and bean bags.

I paired a little person with a big one first.  Then four of these pairs were chosen to go to one end of the gym.  The little people perched on the cart, hands on their heads ( to prevent fingers getting run over or stepped on), with five bean bags in their laps, each.  The bigger counterpart steered and pushed the scooter and cargo.

The rest of the class was split into octopuses (four big children, with linked left hands, each with a little person attached to their right hand.  The little people became the tentacles that tried to tag the scooter people and  get beanbags. Tagged teams had to give one beanbag to the octopus team that touched them. Because all the octopuses had to remain seated and linked on the floor, they were very creative in their attempts to tag the scooter teams.

The winner was the team who got to the far end of the gym, with the most bean bags left.  Then one of the octopus teams became the 'it' scooters, and the former scooter teams, an octopus team.  This way everyone got a turn at riding/pushing the scooters, as well as being octopi.

Kids of all ages cooperating

It was great to see the cooperation between the two age groups and observe the care exercised with the little ones.  The little guys felt special to have been part of a 'growed up' gym class. The way that paternal/maternal instincts manifest in the older students, is a pleasure to watch.

Hopefully my next day will be as much fun.  But I guess that remains to be seen.  After all, as a supply, every day is a new school, a new class and a new challenge.

And that is about all I have to say today.

Musings and meanderings from the Musical Gardener.

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