Thursday, December 07, 2006

Press Start

Boing boing boing. I am getting excited.

It's 24 hours until the Nintendo Wii comes out, and I WANT IT NOW! Me and The Elmo are heading into town tomorrow night to pick up our machines and a pile of games at the midnight launch that Gamestation is doing, and I can't wait. There will be a few beers, a game or two of pool at the new place that's just opened in town (a place I want to go out to in Milton Keynes? Surely not!) then roll down to get the new toys. I am such a geek for Nintendo machines - I always have been and always will be, unapologetically. 360s and all manner of Sony systems may come and go, but there will always be a little place in my heart for everything that Kyoto's finest can offer. Bring it on!

School news: This week, I've been visiting the school I'll be working at for the first six weeks of the Spring 2007 (eeeek!) term. This is the cross-phase part of my training, where I experience the opposite Key Stage of the one I'm currently with. In my case, I teach Year 5, who are KS2, so the new bunch are little 'uns - KS1, which covers Foundation and Years 1 and 2. Basically, four to seven year olds. I spent today in Foundation, where one of the youngest (Angela, who is 4, and reminds me a lot of Lola) took me under her wing and re-introduced me to life as a small person. We played all day, making giant towers out of Duplo, pretending to work in the Post Office, putting on a production of Whoops-a-Daisy Angels using finger puppets, reading stories, and speaking Spanish - I don't speak Spanish at all, but Angela does, and she took great delight in her teaching me.

When the day had ended, I was exhausted. You forget how much energy you expend just playing about. The class teacher sat me down, gave me a cup of tea, and we talked about the day. She asked what I thought I had taught today, and when I replied "nothing" (as to me, all I'd done was play with a class full of small people) she told me to take a minute and think. Ten minutes later, we'd compiled an A4 list of stuff that we'd done, and what the children had learnt. Concepts like tallness (the Duplo tower of Doom, which ended up taller than me!), fine motor skills (using a hammer and pins on a tap-board), phonics (playing with magnetic letters), ICT skills (drawing snowmen in MS Paint)... the list was huge. Made me think that perhaps lower years is what I want to do - but we'll see if I still think the same in mid-February, shall we?

Of course, last week saw me perform the ultimate test for any male teacher in a primary school... I had to dress up as Santa Claus for the Christmas Fair. Me, the one who dislikes anything festive with a passion, was (for two hours) the embodiment of the whole damn thing. And shockingly enough, it looks like I pulled it off quite well. I only made one child cry, but she was only six months old so I don't think it was entirely my fault... I saw over 50 children over the course of the whole thing, gave out a ton of presents, and have had lots of good reports from parents and teachers over the past few days, so all in all it was worth doing. The children seemed to enjoy themselves, and that's what I'm here for. Oh, and here's what I looked like, along with my fellow student Kate the Christmas Fairy:

Anyway, enough of that. I may have done more work in the last few weeks than I have in the whole rest of my life. All I care about at the minute is getting my hands on that Wiimote and Zelda tomorrow night - and as soon as I can tear myself away from it, I shall post my first impressions and stuff. Bring it on!

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