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 Post subject: Year 6 woes
PostPosted: Wed Sep 11, 2013 9:40 am 
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Dd enjoyed the first week back but came home fed up yesterday. Teacher asked her what area was, holding up a piece of paper- she said "base times height", and was told "no, it's not. That is volume. It's the space the object takes up." She said she looked surprised. In the next class after break, with a different teacher, was told off for being slow getting ready, and told "none of your faces, now"- obviously to her she had been discussed in the teacher's tea room.

She asked for more work in maths as multiplying a list of 10 figures by 10 and 100 doesn't take long, and was told no, so she got out her reading book and was told to put it away. She said she had to sit there staring straight ahead for 7 minutes - I think that's a long time for a bright ten year old. Meanwhile, boys around her were chatting instead of doing the tasks, and when they make faces or whine "oh, man!" The teacher smiles indulgently (her words).

I feel frustrated as she has worked so hard, has so little chance of passing for a superselective with the competition, then feels punished for it at school. I told her to keep her head down for now as she will soon be set luckily with another teacher who had her last year and didn't take offence at her attempts to do well. I'm starting to dread year six though! My older dd was really bored when she did it and really lost enthusiasm for school.


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 Post subject: Re: Year 6 woes
PostPosted: Wed Sep 11, 2013 5:59 pm 
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Area isn't base times height.

The area of a rectangle is its length multiplied by its height, is that what she meant?

Areas of other shapes don't follow that formula.

However, on topic, this teacher is scoring points and it should be nipped in the bud. Go in and talk to the teacher.


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 Post subject: Re: Year 6 woes
PostPosted: Wed Sep 11, 2013 7:01 pm 
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Yes she meant that, she knows that it wasn't worded right and only applies to certain shapes - but she also knows it's not instead a description of volume, which she has also been studying at home. Volume calculation hasn't been covered at school yet for her year group. Teacher fell down in her estimation with this response, which she felt was unkind as well as inaccurate. Yes it does sound like point scoring.

She has always been quiet in class so it's a shame this new teacher has already made her feel pegged as a stupid troublemaker by the teachers, who she holds in high regard, for showing a bit of confidence at last, even if it was a bit misplaced.

She has been reading a book I have, "I Know My Child Can Do Better" (it was remaindered from the library for 20 p a few years ago, I couldn't resist a bargain!), and it has a chapter about bright kids and possible problems with teachers, and, she tells me (as I have forgotten) about how teachers praise boys for things that girls are told off for. I saw her looking but didn't think she would actually read it through. Better re-read it I guess.

I'm not impressed anyway - once her GS exams are over next week I am going to figure out what to do about school. The other teacher has showcased her work a bit too much last year and the other kids resented it so I need to have a friendly word anyway. It's a good class with some very talented kids, but teachers love quiet bookworms-who can blame them. They don't want her to come out of her box (now they see what I get at home!)


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 Post subject: Re: Year 6 woes
PostPosted: Thu Sep 12, 2013 3:48 am 
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Joined: Tue Jul 21, 2009 9:56 pm
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silverysea wrote:
Dd enjoyed the first week back but came home fed up yesterday. Teacher asked her what area was, holding up a piece of paper- she said "base times height", and was told "no, it's not. That is volume. It's the space the object takes up." She said she looked surprised. In the next class after break, with a different teacher, was told off for being slow getting ready, and told "none of your faces, now"- obviously to her she had been discussed in the teacher's tea room.

She asked for more work in maths as multiplying a list of 10 figures by 10 and 100 doesn't take long, and was told no, so she got out her reading book and was told to put it away. She said she had to sit there staring straight ahead for 7 minutes - I think that's a long time for a bright ten year old. Meanwhile, boys around her were chatting instead of doing the tasks, and when they make faces or whine "oh, man!" The teacher smiles indulgently (her words).

I feel frustrated as she has worked so hard, has so little chance of passing for a superselective with the competition, then feels punished for it at school. I told her to keep her head down for now as she will soon be set luckily with another teacher who had her last year and didn't take offence at her attempts to do well. I'm starting to dread year six though! My older dd was really bored when she did it and really lost enthusiasm for school.


I agree it is rubbish, but I kind of wonder if your daughter has put 2 and 2 together and got 5. The first teacher was just expecting to hear the words length times width or such-like and when she heard base x height was not quick witted enough to think that your daughter was meaning the same thing, or to ask her some secondary questions to establish what she meant by her base and height. She has recognised that your daughter knows about volume, but has jumped to the conclusion that your daughter is muddling area with volume and was incorrectly assuming that your daughter was meaning to say area of base x height. Which would have been a very odd answer as there was no third dimension. So really, this was a bit of poor questioning (and listening) technique, (hopefully), rather than an intentional dig at your daughter. Maybe the class was noisy and she thought she had heard area of base x height.

Not having any other work for your daughter other than multiplying by 10, 100, and 1000 is another bad patch in the lesson. She had not prepared a lesson fit for everyone in the room, and had nothing up her sleeve for some children. Your daughter should not have been the only year 6 child in the room to find she had run out of work to do at that point. If she was, the maths standard of year 6 there is low at the top end of the class.

So both these two examples are bad blips in the lesson, hopefully, rather than anything personal towards your daughter. As you say, hopefully it will be sorted out by setting and a different maths teacher.

The bit about faces after the break with a different teacher - hopefully this was not connected with the teaching blip before break.

I would encourage your daughter to go and tell the first teacher what she meant by base x height and explain her knowledge of area versus volume. The area of a triangle is frequently described as half base x height. There is no reason really why base x height could not be used to describe the area of a rectangle or any other parallelogram.

The teacher was, at that moment, questioning with a very closed mind.

Hope it gets better! I am sorry it has been hard to prepare for a superselective from that school. It would be. However, the blessing of a superselective is that it is extremely hard to get in to, like a lottery really, so the comprehensive will have lots of very able children still and it should be possible to get a long string of very high grades in the top sets.

Good luck. Hope year 6 bucks up a bit after a highly inauspicious start.


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 Post subject: Re: Year 6 woes
PostPosted: Thu Sep 12, 2013 7:02 am 
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You are right she is probably catastrophising which is one if her talents - me too, as I am feeling I have probably not done her any favours with the sudden crash course in maths. If we had started sooner .... oh well. She's been about 3rd in the class for maths and definitely one of the others finished in about 20 seconds. I'm surprised that experienced year six teachers don't have any suitable enrichment activity to hand for those who complete everything correctly before the others though. Decades ago I was handed puzzles when done (the bored unhappy face was commented on by my desperate teacher who was focussed on the low end but at least she responded) and my school was failing in today's lingo.

I asked her to think of three positive things about school, she's still working on it! Not being abducted by space aliens was one. Also she doesn't need a calculator for her pencil case (we can't find it). Yesterday we were too busy after school to dwell on it for now.


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 Post subject: Re: Year 6 woes
PostPosted: Thu Sep 12, 2013 11:16 am 
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That teacher was definitely badly prepared. And yes I am sorry to say I look back at my old state infant and juniors which was closed in the nineties for being rubbish, and which our mother thought was rubbish in the 70s, and I compare with what one of my children is receiving right now and think uh-oh.

If your daughter is game for it, and this teacher carries on wasting their time, she could take in a maths workbook from home?

My year 3 child read over 70 pages of her chapter book at school yesterday. That seems strange to me.

Is your daughter's teacher on supply perhaps?


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 Post subject: Re: Year 6 woes
PostPosted: Thu Sep 12, 2013 11:45 am 
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No far from a supply, she's been there and in this year for years, as has the TA who seems to be similar- even MOTS (more of the same) would be better than being made to sit doing nothing. I had a rotten time at school but at least the teachers let me read a book when I got done early. It would be torture for DD to have nothing to occupy her. Another mum had older ones go through this teacher who were good at maths and she was not impressed nor looking forward to this year. I think Dd would refuse as she'd likely be told off for bringing in her own maths book, they wouldn't even let her read the reading book they supplied her. She hates being shown up, blushes beet red. So I guess I'll have to see them myself if it doesn't improve v soon. I hate this.

There's a new head who keeps coming into the class, DD said the teachers are over-explaining everything more than ever for his benefit and they had little time to do any work themselves at all yesterday in some subjects. But maybe he is stirring things up.

And there is no actual calculation of the area being done, they aren't looking at formulas or measurements at all. Next I imagine they will be colouring in triangles blue, squares red, etc. That's what my older daughter brought home when she was in year six-nursery level. I couldn't believe it. I had to go in then as well, on her request.


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 Post subject: Re: Year 6 woes
PostPosted: Thu Sep 12, 2013 12:15 pm 
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It is early days yet, but don't let it go too long. Do you have hope for the setting to sort this out still? What are their maths KS2 results like?

There really is no excuse for kids sitting there doing nothing.


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 Post subject: Re: Year 6 woes
PostPosted: Thu Sep 12, 2013 1:47 pm 
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I'm sure they will be set soon, seems that this teacher always took the top set before but is not getting them this year, there is a new teacher who told me he is organising level 6 testing. They got very few last year so I think there is a reorganisation going on- its a well resourced ofsted-outstanding school in an affluent area but not a GS area, so parents don't do much pushing at home. The previous head retired and the new one is in mid-career not the end. I always do the opposite of everyone else, showed Dd2 the grammar option I'm willing to drive her to if she passes, and she has worked her cotton socks off and loving it. Some people LIKE sitting doing sums and VR and exams - turns out she is one - this is the best summer she has ever had, not being forced to socialise with kids that she can't relate to. Plus she appreciates her nice friends more having had a break from them. It's hard to change gears, from fourth to reverse!


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 Post subject: Re: Year 6 woes
PostPosted: Thu Sep 12, 2013 1:57 pm 
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Hard to imagine them remaining outstanding unless something changes. It sounds as though she did not want your daughter reading in case the new head spotted it.

Hope it all changes soon. It sounds as though the new head is on the case.


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