Most classes of Year 5 kids take a VERY long time to do tasks that you would consider absolutely basic.
What I thought was a five minute sorting activity today took 30 minutes. There goes the lesson!
I had given them pieces of paper with different foods, taken directly off food pyramids (that I was going to explain to them in the second part of the lesson). The instruction was to decide as a group how to sort them into categories, and then sort the pieces of paper. Write down what your categories are. Let me take a photo of them.
So, I had kids dividing it into some pretty bizarre ways, but that's okay! The thing that wasn't was that they took soooo long to do anything at all. We had one table that was Girls Against Boys, another where the boys refused to do any work, so the girls did it all and the boys sat and grinned at me every time I asked them to participate. We had The Meltdown. One of the boys melted down, because he didn't like that I'd given him no mark for the assignment he'd not done, and he refused to participate and sat ripping pieces of paper up. We had the table where they wanted to get it Perfect, and therefore couldn't agree how to do it or took years to move pieces of paper around. And we had the group that worked really well together, but then couldn't tell me why they chose their categories for the foods. Even the people who were on task took foreeeeeeeverrrrrr. I swear I can't remember things taking this long when I was a kid!
... Next Time: I will give a definite time limit. "You have 10 minutes to do this task". I might make them work in pairs so this group fighting thing won't happen again. :( I will have a demo version with different foods and do it very quickly on the smart board, plus give them categorising options (even though I was hugely curious to see how they would divide it up).
But even WITH those things, observing it done better by my mentor teacher, I'm surprised how long they take to do really simple things. Ruling up a page takes 5 minutes.
Patience, teachers, patience. Find some balance between trying to force them to work faster, being efficient in your teaching, and also allowing them to be slow- they're kids, simple things are not simple for them.
This blog was originally created to document my trying to help out my best friend in his endeavours to get back to Australia.
It now talks about the websites we work on together, my life, the books I read, student teaching, Australia in general, and anything else I can think of.
He and I drink tea together. I'm going to miss it a lot.
Want to ask me a question about Australia or teaching? Feel free to comment and ask!