My "Teaching and Travel" blog has ended up being skewed toward the travel end of things, but I honestly do teach much more than travel! Today was a big day for my Year 1 Class, the day of our class assembly. Here at Stocks Green, each class has one day a year to show the rest of the school what they've been learning. For our class assembly, it just made sense to do what we do every day, sing our way through the school year. I love to sing with my Year 1 kids, and I do have a song for just about everything, so we narrowed it down to just 20 songs, including songs about some of our science topics, religious education, literacy, math and songs about some of the American holidays that we've celebrated. We also tossed in a few little ditties that we sing every day to help us transition from one activity to another, like our lunchtime, clean up and time-to-go-home songs and some refrains from our favorite books about our class mascot, Pete the Cat. Four of the children were the narrators of the story of our school year and beautifully read their parts, setting up each song in turn. As we sang, different members of the class stepped out front to share some of the art projects we've done this year to support the topics we've covered. It all went very well, and we got great reviews from the audience. We had LOTS of parents show up, which was kind of amazing since the assembly was at 9:00 in the morning. It was also pretty incredible that we actually did get the show on the road by 9:00, as school starts at ten minutes to nine. I was really proud of my class for the fine job they did at the assembly, but I think my favorite part really was after it was all over. Typically after a class assembly, the kids go back to work and the parents gather for tea and biscuits (that's cookies to you and me, if you're American) but somehow it just didn't seem right for the kids and parents not to get a chance to connect on this rare occasion that the parents are allowed in the school. So I decided to buck tradition and get them together for a bit of a hoedown. For the past few weeks, the most-requested song in my class has been the "Crawdad Song", an old camp favorite. The kids love it because it gives them a chance to get up and dance. I thought it would be nice for them to get to dance with their parents, so after the rest of the school had gone back to work and the parents were heading toward the tea, I had my kids invite their mums and dads to join us skipping around and swinging our partners as we belted out the song about the crawdads. It was fun, and just really sweet to see the parents enjoy this time with their kids. Then it was right back to work as usual. Later that day, our head teacher (principal) said to me that she wished OFSTD (the dreaded school inspectors that supposedly are supposed to descend upon us at any moment) had come while we were dancing, as that's what she'd like them to see, a school filled with spirit of fun and partnership.
And speaking of assemblies, yesterday it was my turn again to lead a Key Stage 1 assembly (90 kids, ages 4-7) on the topic of Wesak Day, which is Buddha's Birthday. That's not something I'm really an expert on (to tell you the truth, I'd never heard of it before) but we all learned a lot about Buddha, did some yoga, and of course, sang a song, a catchy little tune that has been stuck in my head for 2 days, even now at 3:00 in the morning. Once again, I'm learning more than the kids, but I think that's what this exchange is all about. Okay, time to catch a few hours of sleep before heading back to school for more fun!
P.S. Sorry no photos, but I was too busy playing the guitar at the assembly to take any. If I can get any from the parents who were at the assembly, I'll try to add some later.