Geoff Tennant - Promoting access to mathematics for all
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01/03/12: visit to Golden Grove Pimary School

What an amazing day!  Had an invitation from Dezmonica Smith, one of the teachers who came to Reading in 2010, to her school, Golden Grove Primary at the extreme South East of the island.  Dezmonica is in the front row in the middle in the grey trouser suit:























Whilst as the crow flies the journey wasn't all that far - maybe 40 miles - it took somewhat over 2 hours to get there, with the roads deteriorating very noticeably as we got further out of Kingston.  I think the ditty, "You drive on the left, you drive on the right, you drive in the shade" comes from Malta.  The issue here isn't so much shade, it's pot holes.  Convinced that my little 206 would have been rattled into non-existence by the travelling today.  Somewhat alarming when, to avoid the worst of the pot holes, cars would be on a collision course, only swerving out of the way at the last moment.

Had hominy porridge for breakfast at Juici Pattis on the way - thank you, Dezmonica!  And then arrived to a huge welcome.  I went to see all the classes with map of the UK to hand:














leading a chorus or two of, "Hurrah for her Majesty the Queen" before inviting questions.  What do you eat in England?  Have you seen Big Ben?  And then one which threw me rather: is it true that you kill Rottweilers in England?  Amazing the stories which travel across the seas....

Had been asked to do a class on measurement with grade 4, the girl is pointing to an outsize ruler on screen:














and then a grade 6 class on 24 hour clock time:














This class was very crowded - actually 2 classes joined together - the next picture gives a bit of a sense of that, I think:














Pleased to say that Tarsia activities (ie. jigsaws with triangular pieces and matching statements on the edges, making up a hexagon) travel very well:














If there are any of my current PGCE or GTP trainees reading this, have belatedly discovered just how time consuming it is getting this activity ready for a large class!  But it's worth it!

Couple more pictures for the fun of it:



























Finished off talking to the teachers, pictured at the top, sharing some thoughts on measurement.  Aware that they'd seen me on my hindlegs in front of children through the day and that not all of the activities, particularly the 'follow on' or 'loop' cards, had worked particularly well.  But I think that facing up to that upfront provoked a good discussion.  More than anything else was wanting to discuss why we might want to measure things, and how activities can use measurement and then build on that.

Couple more pictures from around the site.  The following is a key message from the Ministry of Education:














Jolly good motto, I think!  And the following picture is from outside the school gates, one of several celebrating local and national heroes:














After the end of the school day went with Dezmonica and two colleagues to the Morant  Point Light House.  Maybe 6 miles from the school, but an hour's drive along tracks through sugar plantations.  Here are some pictures of the light house and surrounding area:





























































































And then finally back to Kingston, arriving just after 9pm., via the roadside jerk chicken vendor (I'll write about this key part of Jamaican life some other time).

So, a brilliant day.  My thanks particularly to Dezmonica, and also to the principal, staff and children of Golden Grove Primary School for having me.  Your hospitality was wonderful, so pleased to have had the opportunity to work with you.  And.... not every day is accounted for before I leave!

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