This blog forms part of June’s #blogsync. #Blogsync is a wonderful showcase for sharing great examples of teaching practise. This month’s calls for our best classroom explanation. I can’t offer you my best one as it is of a very sensitive nature. I can offer you one of the more amusing ones courtesy of my lovely class.
My class as I’ve told you before are a mixed KS2/3 class of 9 boys and one girl. They cheer up my days as they are so down to earth and see things in a very practical and easy going way. This term we are covering ‘Lord of the Flies’ by William Golding. As you will know this is a classic text aimed at KS 3 or 4 it’s an intricate story based on how a group of boys cope with being stranded on a deserted island. The normal rules of society begin to crumble as time goes on. This text is difficult to differentiate for P4 – NC 2 but that is the task I’m charged with. Now obviously I can’t just read the book. My class would think I was speaking a foreign language to them! They adore a good story and generally they understand the gist of it if not the finer details. I need to ad lib the story as I’m going along. Ad libbing my way through ‘Lord of the Flies’ keeps me on my toes, I can promise you that.
I have set the scene for my sensory children. We have sand trays to signify the beach and fans blowing to give the feel of the wind. The children’s faces are painted just like in the book and there is an assortment of branches and leaves and shells on the table to make them think of the island. We have our PE parachute going up and down to give them an idea of how the pilot of the aircraft would have looked when the wind caught hold of his parachute. My class were quite keen to tie one of our smaller children to the parachute to see if he would come down. ‘Goodness me, No!’ Said I! That’s dangerous! They were unconvinced so I moved swiftly on.
The outcome of the lesson is to discover what would happen if there were no teachers and no TAs in school. The answer I want is that there would be no rules. Without rules people go wild and school wouldn’t be a very good place to be. Did I get that? Absolutely not!
Here is what happened when we tried chapter 4. I’m gaily explaining that the ‘little uns’ hair has grown long and unruly. I asked my class what would they want to do if they were on a deserted island and their hair had grown very long. One boy said ‘Have they got fleas’? Another replied ‘No, they’d put hair gel in it and fleas don’t like hair gel do they Cherryl’? Another boy declared that he would get his brother to massage conditioner in to his hair to make it feel nice. A further response came that a nit comb would sort the fleas out for the ‘little uns’ but it does make your hair curly. By this point I’m beginning to think they’ve not quite got the point. Calmly I explain that there are no fleas and they are called nits anyway, no nit combs, no hair gel and no conditioner. There is nothing. It’s a deserted island. Silence reigned while this information sunk in.
I’ll try again said I. The ‘little uns’ have long hair and its annoying them. Who usually manages the ‘little uns’ hair? What do they need to do with it although they probably can’t? I’m guiding them rather a lot by now but I’m sensing they’ve not quite got it. One of my little boys chirped up ‘Why are they called ‘little uns’ anyway? I’m on to a winner here, it’s a sensible question. Simple said I. They are little and they are young. ‘Well you’re little but you’re not young’ came the response. By now my TAs are greatly amused and I’m beginning to lose faith in this chapter. Law and order is required in my class by now, never mind on the deserted island.
One last ditch attempt. I ran in to our KS 1 class and brought back a doll with very long hair all neatly tied up. I let down her hair in the style of Rapunzel and shook it. Right said I. ‘What are we going to with her hair’? I told you you’d need that hair gel said one little boy. Bet she’s got fleas said another. That’s it I thought. Only one thing for it. I took a pair of scissors and chopped off her hair. ‘Now do you see?’ I asked them. There was total understanding. Everyone now knew that the ‘little uns’ needed their hair cut and I was happy. Mission accomplished.
My happiness lasted for about 2 seconds. Then, from the end of the table hair gel boy whispered ‘Where would you get your scissors from?’ Now a large part of me wanted to run over and give him a hug. He’d understood! Yay! But then I remembered that the point I was trying to make was that their hair needed cutting and they couldn’t do it. This was just one aspect of the lack of rules and law and order. I had allowed myself to be distracted by the hair saga. Secondly I would now have to creep back in to KS 1 and return the newly cropped doll to our own ‘little uns’.
The moral of the tale is that my best explanation was also my worst explanation. I had proved a point which didn’t need proving and given a doll the best hair cut you’ve ever seen.
You’ve got to love children with SEN! :))