In the classroom
Age of child and year group
8 years old, year 4
Child A was in his form group and the lesson was Home Economics. All the children in the class were planning to make a salad. They were shown a list of food items on the board and had to choose at least 1 from each of the 3 columns. The first column consisted of pasta and rice, the second of tuna, bacon and cheese, and the third of sweet corn, carrots, cucumber and lettuce. The children were then asked to write their choices in their books and then draw pictures of them. Child A started drawing pictures. A female teaching assistant asked child A what he was doing. He said “I’m drawing my salad”.
She told him he needed to write the names of the food first and then draw them. He did not respond. She then asked him what the drawings were. He said “A strawberry, a banana, some grapes and an apple”. She told him he needed to choose some of the food that was listed on the board. He said “But this is what I’m putting in my salad”. She rubbed out his drawings and asked him what food he was going to choose. He said “A strawberry, a banana, some grapes and an apple”. He started picking pencils out of a pot. She told him he needed to choose some food from the board; he started drawing his fruit again and repeated what the fruit was. She rubbed out the drawings again and told him if he didn’t finish the task he would have to stay in at break time. He then chose some food from the board but still drew the pictures of the fruit.
In the classroom
Age of child and year group
8 years old, year 4
Child B was starting a numeracy lesson; the class had to all sit on the floor and listen to the teacher. Child B chose to sit at the back of the group of children. The teacher explained that the class were going to learn about distance and asked the class to put their hands up if they knew what distance was measured in. Child B shouted out “Miles!” The teacher told him that he needed to put his hand up and asked a child with their hand up. Child B looked disappointed. Child Bs attention then seemed to be focused on the tree outside the classroom which was knocking on the window a little due to the wind.
The teacher continued to explain about distance and the measurements. When the teacher asked how many centimetres there are in a metre, Child B said “100” without putting his hand up. The teacher then raised her voice and said “I’ve told you to put your hand up”. The children had been sitting on the floor for around 10 minutes; Child B started to scratch the leg of a table with his nail and started speaking to the child next to him. The teacher then asked “How many centimetres are there in 10 metres?” Child B put his hand up but shouted out “I know I know its 500!” The teacher then said in a loud voice “That’s the wrong answer and I’m fed up with you interrupting me; you can see me at break time”. Child B then started crying quietly with his head in his knees.
In the classroom
Age of child and year group
8 years old, year 4
Child C was in a literacy lesson and was starting a comprehension activity from a text book along with other children in the class. The activity involved reading some text and answering questions. Child C started to lean back on his seat and looks at a wall display while the other children on his table opened their books and wrote the title. The teacher looked over and said “Come on C, open your book and write the title.” Child C then opens his book and writes the title, after this he starts to use the table as a drum. Other children on his table tell him to stop, he laughs at them.
The teacher says “Come on c, stop that and get on with your work.” Child C reads the text for a short time and then picks up a pencil sharpener and looks at it closely, he then picks up another one. He then puts them down and picks up some pencils. After around 10 minutes Child C has still not answered any questions while the rest of his table are half way through them. The teacher says “Right, you have 15 minutes until break time; you should all have completed this activity by then, if you haven’t you need to stay in at break.” Child C then shouts out “Oh no!” and drops the pencils in his hands and looks at the text book. The teacher says “Don’t shout out C”. Child C completes the exercise in time for break but with lots of fidgeting and talking out loud.
The children were shown a litre carton of drink and a litre bottle of drink; they were then asked which one they thought had the most liquid in. The children were then shown different sized measuring cylinders and discussed what each measurement was. They were then shown 7 different shaped containers and had to estimate whether the capacity of the containers was more than 500ml, less than 500ml or about the same. They then recorded there estimates on a table on a sheet of paper. The children took turns to tip water into each container and then into measuring cylinders to see if their estimate was correct. They then measured exactly how much liquid there was
The activity was completed outside the classroom in a corridor with 3 children, child A, child B and child C. At the start of the activity all 3 children seemed excited, child B said “what are we doing, what are we doing?” I told them that they had to listen really carefully if they wanted to do the activity. Child C picked up one of the cylinders and said “What’s this for?” I told them that I didn’t want anyone to touch anything until I had explained what they were doing; they all then stood still and were quiet. I then picked up the litre carton and bottle and asked them to think about which one had the most liquid in and to put their hands up when they had decided. Child B pointed to the bottle and shouted “That one!” I reminded him that he had to put his hand up. All 3 children put their hands ups up, I asked child A first.
He said “I think it’s the carton because it’s fatter. I then asked child B and he said “It’s the bottle”. Finally I asked child C and he said “the bottle”. I then told them that they actually had the same amount of liquid in which was 1 litre. “So it was a trick question then”, child A said. I explained that it was to show them that even though containers can be different shapes and heights they could still hold the same amount of liquid. Whilst I was explaining this child C walked away from the group and looked at a wall display. I told him he needed to come back to the group so he could take part. I then asked them to put their hands up if they knew how many millilitres there were in a litre. All the children put their hands up without calling out. I said “Well done, it’s much better when nobody calls out”. Child A and C thought there were 100ml, and child B thought 1000ml. I explained to them that there were 1000 and we looked at the different marks on the cylinder.
I asked them to put their hand up if they knew how many millilitres there were in half a litre, child B shouted out “500!” I reminded him that he needed to put his hand up and asked child A then C who both said 500. I then handed them a worksheet each, showed them 7 different containers and then told them they needed to guess if they thought the containers could hold less than 500ml, more than 500ml, or about the same. I also told them that they had to fill in the worksheets on their own and that it didn’t matter if they were right or wrong. Child C talked out loud a lot while completing his worksheet and kept trying to look at the other children’s work. Child B kept calling out his answers and kept asking me questions that were not relevant to the task. Child A filled out the worksheet and was quiet. The children all finished at the same time. The children then took it in turns to pour water from a jug in the containers and then into the measuring cylinders.
Child B became very excited and talkative, when it was the other children’s turns to pour the water he would say “hurry up, hurry up, I need my turn”. Child A kept asking me when they were going to finish and when break time was. When it wasn’t his turn child C would look around the corridor and start to walk away. After the children had found the actual measurement of the containers they compared them to their answers. The children’s answers were varied, but all had some correct estimates. I asked the children what they had learnt from the activity. Child A said “I have learnt to tell how much water can fit inside different things”. Child B said “I have learnt that some containers look bigger than they are. Child C said “I have learnt there are 1000 litres in a millilitre”. I asked him if he was sure there were 1000 litres in a millilitre and he said “no, no, no, I mean 1000 millilitres in a litre”.
The children were given a 500g weight to hold. They were then given different objects to hold at the same time as the weight. The aim of the activity was to estimate if the objects were heavier than the weight, lighter than the weight, or about the same. They then had to use some scales to weight the objects to see if their estimates were correct.
The activity was completed in an empty classroom with 3 children, Child A, child B and Child C. A teacher was present but not involved in the activity. The children came into the classroom and sat down. I explained to them what they were going to do and I handed them all 500g weights to hold. Child A said “This is heavy” and started throwing the weight from one hand to the other. Child B and C copied this. I told them not to throw the weight around because somebody could get hurt. Child B and C did as I asked but child A carried on. I told child A again to stop throwing the weight.
He said “but I’m weighing it in my hands.” I told him that if he didn’t stop then he would have to leave the classroom, he then stopped. I handed Child A the first object and asked him to write on his work sheet if he thought the object weighed more than, less than or about the same as the 500g weight. He held the weight and the object and started walking around the classroom saying “Which ones heavier, which ones heavier”. I told him he needed to stay with the group; child B and C started picking up some of the other objects. I then said in a firm voice “Right, I want everyone to put everything back on the table and sit down and be quiet”. The 3 children did as I asked and sat down. I explained to them that if they wanted to do the activity they needed to listen to the instructions carefully and do as they were asked; I told them I didn’t need them to walk around the classroom or touch the objects when they didn’t need to. I then started again, this time child A felt the weight and the object and wrote down his estimate.
Child B did the same but shouted out “This one is much heavier!” I reminded him to keep his answer to himself. Child 3 then held the object and weight, but before he had had a chance to write anything down, he dropped everything on the table and ran across the classroom and opened the door to the room and shouted “Mum, Mum!” Child Cs Mother was helping with reading at the school and had walked past the room. His Mother told him to go back to the group. When child C returned I said I understood that he was excited to see his Mum but shouldn’t run across the classroom. We carried on with the activity and the children felt all the different objects and wrote down their estimates. I then talked to the children about each mark on the scales and what they represented. All 3 children looked quietly and carefully at the scales.
The children then took turns in weighed the objects to see if their estimate was correct. Child B seemed to find it difficult to wait his turn to weigh the objects; he would rub his hands together and tap his foot. Child A would often get distracted by the workmen that were outside the window, on various occasions I would have to say “Come on child A, concentrate”. Child C kept looking up at the classroom door at people walking past and talked out loud to himself a lot. All the children’s answers were correct and they all seemed very happy with themselves. I asked them what they had learnt from the activity. Child A said “I have learnt that I am good at seeing if something is heavier than the other”. Child B said “I have learnt to look at scales to see the weight of objects. Child C said “I have learnt that I am good at weighing things with my hands and looking at scales”.