Pure Randomness!

Pure Randomness!

Monday, July 27, 2009

Unit Test1 results

There are 4 unit tests in every academic year in our school. I think it is pretty much the same for other schools also. The unit test for our school started on 17th July and finished on 24th. I didnt see any seriousness in the students for the unit test, which was very surprising to me. Though I have made them write the timetable for the unit test in their diary, most of the days when I asked random students on what the subject for the unit test that day is, they gave me random answers. So only one or two have really prepared for the unit test.

When the students didn't write any answers for the computer exam in my colleague's class, the supervisor for the high school told her that till 4th standard, we will have to spoon feed the answers during the exam to the kids. Then the computer teacher and the supervisor together dictated the answers for all the questions in the computer question paper in that class. I am not sure whether my kids are used to this spoon feeding and were expecting that to happen in their tests this time also.

If I look at the results as seen here, it is not too bad. But the numbers are skewed by the marks of WE (work experience), PT (physical training) and drawing. I do not think these subjects really matter as much as English or Maths. If I remove these subjects the result is pretty pathetic.

One funny observation is that all but one of the students who have failed last year and is repeating in 4th standard have passed in all subjects and have ranks 1, 3 and 6. I am not able to quantitatively analyse my impact on them, though the fact remains that I am spending extra time with them after regular class to make sure that they catch up.

9 out of the 13 students have 60% marks, but in the next unit test it will have to become 80%. English and Maths will continue to be the focus areas. Basics basics basics.....

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Lost and Found

Mr. Fraukh finds an umbrella near his shop. He gives an advertisement in the news paper that he has found an umbrella and who ever is the owner can collect fit rom his shop on 26th morning. On 26th morning, he has 550 people in front of his shop who have all lost their umbrellas. Farukh then starts describing the umbrella.
Its red, yellow and green - 300 hundred people went away.
It has a red handle - another 150 went away.
It has a red flower at the tip of it - 50 people went away.
In the 5 people left, one small child shouted after seeing the umbrella "it's mine, it has 3 small scratches on its handle". She gets her umbrella back.

This is the story of a lesson in Balbharati (English text book). For each lesson I break my head for some time on how to keep the kids involved and engaged all the time. The attention span of 9 year olds are 9 minutes. If they need to listen to you for more than 9 minutes, you have to do something special in that 9 minutes.

I create 13 different descriptions of umbrellas.
Red, yellow, green. Red handle. Red flower on the tip of it. 3 tiny scratches.
Red, yellow, green. Red handle. Red flower on the tip of it. No scratches.
Red, yellow, green. Red handle. No flower on the tip of it.
Red, yellow, green. Red handle. Yellow flower on the tip of it.
Red, yellow, green. Green handle. Yellow flower on the tip of it.
Red, yellow, green. Blue handle. Yellow flower on the tip of it.
Black, blue. Blue handle. Red flower on the tip of it.
Red, blue. Black handle. Red flower on the tip of it.
Red, yellow, green. Black handle. Yellow flower on the tip of it.
Yellow with red flowers all over.
Black. Black handle. Black flower on the tip of it.
Dark red. Black dots all over.
Black. Blue handle. Yellow flower on the tip of it.

Then I become Farukh at the shop and my kids all the people who lost their umbrellas. I start describing the umbrella and each one of them read their description and match it with what I have read. Showing disappointment, they go away if it doesnt match. Finally there are only 2 kids left, the ones with the first 2 descriptions. Finally I give off the umbrella to the first kid and the kids listen to me, though making merry, all the time.

Then I show my umbrella and ask the kids to describe that. One by one hands start going up. "Didi its all colours of that thing in a flower". Then didi - that thing in a flower is called a petal. "Its silver colour inside". "it has orange handle", "it has an orange string in its handle", "it has an orange button at its tip", it has a panda on it".

Thank you class. EI standard 4.8 done.

Monday, July 6, 2009

My special kid

I noticed her on the first day, since she could speak English in almost full sentences. A feat which is not possible for any of my other kids. But now we have a love-hate relationship. I love the challenge and she hates my pushing.

She came into my focus much more sharply when she brought her father (6 feet, 125kgs) into class to tell her teacher that she should let the child sit where ever the child wants to sit. I have moved her seat from near the window to the back, as she kept looking out of the window. She wanted to sit near the window. So while the dad is in class, I let her sit near the window. Then I sweet talked the dad about how smart his child is and how nicely she can understand English etc. The moment dad is out of class, I moved her away again from the window. I was expecting the dad to land up again next morning, but he didnt.

It took me more than a week to realise that her proficiency with English starts and ends with listening and speaking. At the age of 11, a child should be able to read and write too. When I asked the whole class to write a few sentences about "my family", she barely managed to write one sentence - "my moreth nert nict". She decoded it for me as "my mother very nice". To compensate for the lack of writing skills, she has shown her drawing skills, by drawing nice borders and a plant and flower.

I gave her a KG level book to read. Any child who has read 3 story books will read the first sentence, which is "Once upon a time" and she couldnt. Since she was struggling with each word, finally I asked her to just look through the 2 pages she could and see and just show me which ever words she can read. She has 2 words which she can recognise "to" and "one".

She doesnt struggle with English alone. Math is the same story. Since I saw that she was not following many lessons in Maths, I wanted to find from which level I should start. I asked her to write 1 to 200. She got stuck at 100. After that she doesnt know. I told her it is one hundred and one. Then made her do addition of 100 and 1 (yeah, I have taught her addition before that itself) and she did it and got 101. I asked her to read it and she read "eleven". I back tracked to the place where she has written 11 and asked her to read that and thats also "eleven". Then 101, again "eleven". After she managed to get 101, she struggled every time she reached a 9. After 109, it becomes 200. After 119, it becomes 230. I jumped up and down and clapped like a silly goose, when she said 150 after 149. But the joy was pretty short lived as she said 600 after 159.

She is smart. When I am called to the office, she comes to me and asks whether she can mind the class. I tell her yes and she pulls out a thick wooden ruler from her bag. I almost fall down. Then I have to ask her whether she has ever seen didi using a ruler to mind the class. She sheepishly goes and keeps the ruler, but still minds the class. If she knows that she is gonna be asked a question, which is she is not gonna be able to answer, her small finger will quickly go up for a toilet break, though she knows that I never allow any one to toilet during class.

I will write in another post, what all I am doing for remedial teaching to bring her to 4th standard level before mid year.