Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Show and Tell

Every Tuesday morning I help out in Climber's classroom. It's part of the 'parents as classroom helpers' program at our school. In our first year at school, under the super-organised Tim, we:
  • had a roster.
  • had 2-4 parents on each day.
  • heard reading from a group of kids, usually including our own child within that group.
  • helped out with a variety of literacy activities.
  • were greeted when we arrived and thanked when we left.
It was great fun.

Our teacher this year, K, is less talented administratively and thus the 'parents as classroom helpers' has been far [far!!] less structured. This year:
  • I think it's only me who does it on a regular basis.
  • It took a few months for K to work out what he wanted me to do.
  • I ended up working predominantly with the kids who are struggling with reading, which given that I am not a literacy specialist was slightly daunting at first. NB They are both getting a LOT of specialist literacy support, the school is really well set up for these situations.
  • I was never greeted or farewelled, which I missed because it's so cute ..."Good morning Caroline" ... I've taken to engineering my own greetings etc by announcing breezily as I walk in "Good Morning 1K!" And they all answer in chorus, they know what to do even if K doesn't.
K thinks I'm a good thing now and always looks crestfallen when I say I have to leave, and has muttered forlornly once or twice about how nice it would be to have help every day. Which, you know, K, if you'd been organised you could have had... there were well-trained parents willing to volunteer at the start of the year who drifted away, so to speak. He's a nice bloke is K, but he needs to get his act together.

I still have fun. I like hanging out and getting to know all the kids, plus I get a bit more insight into classroom dynamics (like for example the fact that K has now separated Climber from Angelina because they got too distracted together.) And I've developed a special little relationship with the 2 boys who can barely read. Today I had quite a result with one of them; I got him to read a 'd' level book to me (he is still on 'a' level with his home readers) and afterwards he was just SO proud of himself, and all fired up about reading. It was great.

But the real bonus to doing all this help is that I get to watch Climber doing his weekly Show-and-Tell. I love the concept of Show-and-Tell, the fact that the kids are getting up and articulating in public about things they like or have done. The reality, however, of Show-and-Tell is fairly humdrum. Oh look, another boy has brought in his Footy Swap cards. Oh and here's a little girl showing us the latest addition to her sticker book. Wow. And here's another lego creation. Seeing as how I get to witness K's ennui at this sort of presentation, I do my best to send Climber off with something mildly interesting. Which is not always easy to do, especially when you only remember what day it is 10 minutes before you leave for school.

But I am pleased as punch to announce that Climber blitzed his Show-and-Tell presentation this morning! And it's all thanks to Nell and the way that she follows through, in a practical manner, subjects in which the boys have expressed interest. (We are very lucky to have her.) So, stemming from the Harry Potter fixation round our way, the whole concept of writing with a quill and ink became reality for Climber recently. Nell's mother Daphne made Climber a proper quill from a goose feather and Nell bought some ink.

Turns out that the class has been focusing on The Olden Days and K's eyes lit up when the quill and ink were produced this morning. A lively lesson ensued, to which the kids all paid fascinated attention. No squirming, wriggling or talking! And Climber was thanked at the end of it for bringing in such a great Show-and-Tell and his little face beamed proudly as he sat down.

Way to go, Nell and Daphne!!


  1. What a darling little boy you have! Great quill, too.

    You're doing a good thing helping K and the students out. Hopefully he'll eventually get his sea legs, although one never knows ...

  2. Aaah, parent help. Keep it up. Such a diminishing resource.

    I, too, love helping in the classroom. Gives me a great look at what's going on. In the first half of this year we parents were a bit 'iffy' about our yr 1 teacher so it was amazing how many parents volunteered to help in class (to check her out)! She's now left and we have a fabulous (male!) teacher who immediately got Padawan Learner's attention by playing the guitar and loading new software on the class computer!

    I've never been in to watch news 'though... would love to be a fly on the wall.

  3. A quill! He'll be the most popular boy in class!

  4. We love Nell!

    So it stands to reason that we will love her mum.

    So...we love Daphne!

    Yay for Climber!

    Hope the goose didn't suffer. :)

  5. How cool is that!

    I'd love to volunteer in the classroom. Can't see it happening in the near future. Well, not unless we win lotto and I can chuck in the job.

  6. Oh I am glad to read about the ten minute rule generally in vogue for figuring out what to take to show and tell as that is the way here - mostly. Though last week I had the idea for the diva to take the Sound of Music cd to school and play her favourite song. Chip off the old block that one. Though I hope she doesn't repeat a favoured show and tell from my early years - a stick figure made from tampons! I fortunately don't remember a thing about it!

    And I loved your flashback to poncho days. That house just screams Canberra. I also could draw the floor plan of nearly every house I have lived in!

  7. Oh he's gorgeous! I loved parent help too, and I had that job, with the struggling readers. I really bonded with them, and was so proud of them. Keep going for as long as you can, it's a treasure allround. As they get bigger, there's never enough time or opportunity. Oh and 'news' is just the best!

  8. I listen to kids read in Son #3's class about once a fortnight. But today an official notice came home from school saying all those assisting in the classes need to go through the whole Dept of Justice rigmarole of registration, passport photos and references.

    And won't that encourage people to help out in the classroom, hmmm?

    (I hasten to add it's a new govt rule, not a requirement of our school alone).

  9. I used to love helping in the classroom. That seems so long ago! Hang in there, the opportunity will be gone before you know it. Besides, sounds like k needs your help more than Tim, even though Tim was more fun..... Such a wide variety of teachers out there. That Nell is a genius!

  10. That Nell.

    Does she sub-contract?

  11. He's a 'keeper' as we American's say. I do so sympathise with the woes of school, but the payoff for 'being there' and observing the dynamics is priceless. Good for you.

  12. What an awesome way for kids to experience a bit of history by using the quill :)


    That is unspeakably brilliant.

    In fact, I hereby beg you to cajole the details from Nell's mother and post them here.



  14. I can see the huge eyes and still bodies of fascinated children hanging on Climber's every word! I used to LOVE picking out stuff for show and tell. I think the blog kind of works that way.... a little show and tell about our lives.

  15. I always dreaded show and tell when I was little; I never knew what to bring and I wasn't enthused about getting up and talking about whatever it was I'd decided on.

    Climber, though, obviously a pro. The quill sounds like it was a great choice!

  16. Our rostered show and tell day has just moved from Monday to Tuesday, which makes things much easier. Also every week has a topic. Tho somehow or other it always seems to include a lego sculpture or two.

  17. I have to say that Climber is an exeptionally beautiful child. And that this post is very timely , because as I have said before I am a VERY BAD mother and now in some kind of twisted revenge the universe (or at least Joes' teacher ) has asked that i help out with Year 2 maths group. oh...bloody....hell - I hate maths - hate it hate it - don't care if is only 7 year old maths i hate it.....

  18. Every family needs a Nell...you should franchise her!

    Good on you helping out in the classroom!

    I wish I could watch show and tell at the Impossible Princess's kinder...I'm sure it would be very *enlightening*. The teachers at her school have a saying, "We promise to believe only half of what your child tells us about you, if you believe only half of what they tell you about us." Seems fair to me!

  19. Thanks SG - I have been inspired by you to post about Will's birth!M

  20. Boy is Climber ever handsome. Look at that honey-blond hair. WTG Climber!

  21. What a lovely post Stomper. And what a lovely Mum you are too. Climber looks so proud.

  22. Um Wow - 22 comments!! Will you read this? Oh well - just had to say that I loved reading your post, so relevant to anyone with kids!


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