To bring this term to a fairly pleasant end, the year 5s (and remaining year 6s, who are off to different high schools to the majority) have been taking part in a challenge modelled on tv's The Apprentice. Working in groups of five, they have to price, make, and market some school bags. Team leaders have been nominated and it's all being taken very seriously. The children have been told they'll get no advice from staff - it's all up to them - so I've been enjoying myself just watching the teamwork, or lack of it. While the class teacher has been doing assessments, I've wandered around being bossy and pointing out good and bad practice, awarding ticks or crosses as appropriate. The children love it and are very quick to bring my attention to other teams' mistakes: 'Look at their messy table. They should get a cross for that. And that team's arguing. Would you like a chair? Do I get a tick for being thoughtful?'
That's it. You're all fired.
So far today, Ms Fab has burnt her fingers countless times on the hot-glue gun, we've had tears and tantrums (the children, that is, not us...not yet...), and we've had slide-shows put together which actually bear no relation to the product made but do contain a wide range of amusing sound effects. The children have also learnt to haggle, after making lots of expensive mistakes. 'Will you sell me this (huge swathe of ancient Laura Ashley-style fabric) for a pound?' I was asked. 'Sure,' I replied, and waited until they subtracted it from their accounts before adding, 'you could have had it for 20p, but a pound's good.'
I like this sort of classroom activity because the children's personalities really show themselves. We have the organiser, who gets voted in as Team Leader, sorts out everyone's jobs well, then sits back and takes it easy as he watches them work. We have the future teacher, who tries to put together a slide-show from someone's notes and wails, 'What does this say? Your writing's awful. And this sentence doesn't even make sense.' We have the drama queen who preens and laughs extra-loudly so everyone looks at her, then sulks when people turn away and work. And we have the walking disaster area who knocks containers of buttons to the floor, mistakes white paint for PVA glue and staples her skirt to a piece of paper.
I'm pleased we get to keep most of this lot for another school year. It looks like we're in for an entertaining time.