Sunday, 26 July 2015

Kid's Activity - Junk robots!

I know the term "found materials" is preferred over "junk" these days, but "found material robots" just don't have the same ring about them.

This activity was eagerly anticipated by the children as soon as they saw it on the Holiday Plan, and their imaginations were already fired up and ready to go.  I actually had to do very little.

First we raided the Recycle Bin for any robot components.  We found plastic lids, cardboard boxes and cans.

Next we laid out our chosen materials on the dining table.  C thoughtfully laid out newspaper before we got started, and I fetched scissors, PVA glue and brushes, kitchen foil, and selotape.  The children also fetched their craft boxes and zippy bags (full of pom poms, pipe cleaners, scraps of patterned paper, craft foam, tissue paper, googly eyes and any other craft paraphernalia you care to imagine).

I sat next to them and worked on my own robot.  I tried not to make suggestions, but every now and then gave a commentary on how I was doing something.  For example I mentioned how I was cutting tabs at the ends of my toilet roll tube to make it easier to stick on, and how I was trying to stick the foil on flat before adding the face features.  I also commented on how they were doing things, for example the choice C made about his robot's eyes.  Here's my robot:

Here's C's:  
 I love the hose coming out of the arm.  I think it's so that he can put out fires.  C is delighted with it.  The face features apart from the eyes are done with Sharpie permanent pens.  See how he's done the tabs on the toilet roll tubes too?
 Here's Bug's:
 It's cardboard boxes are still showing through on the front.  This is a design feature apparently.  It is silver on the back, with feathers for a special robotic decoration.
 I note that this one also has a hose.  It also has an important added feature in that the head is removable.  This is a design feature, so that it can get under low furniture or bridges apparently.
After our creative session the children cleared up most of their stuff, and then set about playing an elaborate game of hide and seek with their robots for the rest of the afternoon,

Wednesday, 22 July 2015

Absentee Blogger

Hello.  I've been a bit of an absentee blogger just lately haven't I?

It all got a bit exciting with two teaching job interviews on two consecutive days, and not having been in front of a class since 2008 - eek!!!  As you can imagine I buckled down and did some homework, catching up on the curriculum changes and reminding myself what I actually used to do.  I didn't get the first job, which was a Full time, year-long post teaching Year 1/2 at my own children's school.  It would have meant teaching C's class.  I didn't get the job, but I was confident that I'd done my best.  The feedback was positive too, which helped a lot!  Basically my exemplar lesson (maths problem solving) let me down, and I agreed with everything the Head said afterwards.  Being a little out of the loop, I had made the mistake of pitching Year 1 at C's level.  Turns out he's pretty bright, so there were some children in there who just couldn't access what I was doing.  Also I could have brought things back together with a better plenary.  The next day I had the second interview, this time for a term-long part-time contract teaching Key Stage 2.  My lesson this time was teaching figurative language writing to Year 5/6.  I got the job!!!!

So the last few weeks were filled with baking for school and pre-school bake sales and PTA stalls, visiting the school I'll be working at, school productions and then the preparations for C's 6th birthday which was on Saturday.

Now we're on holiday.  I'm having a major clear-out of my belongings to get the place tidy and clear my mind of detritus ready for September.  Have you heard of "The Magic Art of Tidying" by Marie Kondo, or the Konmari tidying method?  The book has sold millions and having read it, I can see why, and I'm giving it a try.  We've also been for a bike ride, been swimming, been to the library, been to the skate-board park, and done some cooking and some science experiments.  As well as the very exciting school planning I'm doing ready for September (is it really sad that I'm so very thrilled to be going back to work?), and tidying, I've also had 14 articles commissioned in the last couple of weeks, mostly on various aspects of learning to drive and on various aspects of American Summer Camp.

I'm going to be returning a bit more regularly to update the blog, but possibly with shorter, picture based posts about some of the things we are up to and making - as long as I remember to take the camera out with me each time!  Post about robots should be following in the next couple of days.