Thursday, March 15, 2007

Bloggily catching up and a bit about work

Here's an update, through the snotty haze of my cold...

Wednesday was a good one. In the morning Leo watched some of the schools' TV programmes – including Watch, which was about making books. He got out the Pritt stick and scissors and made a flap book all about spooky things in the night.

Meanwhile, Pearlie and I had taken a Maths book out into the hallway and started looking at it. Somehow we never really did look at it – but got sidetracked into written methods for division sums. Pearlie has a method she likes to use to multiply numbers – using boxes. She wanted to be able to somehow use this ‘in reverse’ to do division. When she couldn’t make this work we discussed the way that I do division sums. I know I’ve shown this to P before but we had a really good conversation about how and why it works. I remembered that I’d once seen a good illustration of this on the Portico blog – using a base ten set. We don’t have a base ten set so I drew pictures. But I think a base ten set would be a good thing to own – I can see it being useful for explaining and experimenting. Anyway, P and I enjoyed a bit of conversation and then we did use the book to find some sums to use the method we’d been discussing. It is odd that I remember there being a lot of fuss at school about ‘long multiplication’ and ‘long division’ and yet the distinction doesn’t really mean anything to P. She uses her box method for all multiplication of whole numbers and division is all the same to her if she’s dividing by 6 or 16.

I had to rush off to a meeting at work and Dani took the kids to Sports. After the session they went to the park, where one of the other kids got bitten by a dog. She was more frightened than hurt (luckily she was wearing jeans) but it was a horrible thing to happen.

Capoeira happened as usual and P played a good game with one of the adults.

Thursday
is the day I barely see the family, as I do cleaning and then my real job. Dani was on the rota at Kids’ Club, where there was lots of outdoor play to take advantage of the sunshine.

When I got home tonight, P and I had the following conversation:

A: “How was Woodies?”
P: “It was the best ever.”
A: “What did you do?”
P: “I went to the pub with Callum.” (ten year old friend at Woodies)
It turned out they’d been touring local businesses begging for things to auction in aid of Comic Relief, rather than just training for adult life in this part of Brighton!

I don’t usually blog about work but I want to say a bit today. I have been working on enquiry desks for about 10.5 years now – in academic libraries. It has its down sides - every job does. But today I was struck, when helping train a new colleague, that I have learned loads from this part of my job. I help people find the right information sources, use the databases efficiently, locate the journal articles they need – and so on. But what I really enjoy is the fact that my role is essentially an enabling one and when I do it well people go away feeling more confident – more able. I do some teaching (in the sense of showing people how to use things - telling them things they didn’t know) at the moment when they really NEED to know the answers and have come to find them – and so what I’m telling them is usually very much appreciated. They then take what I’ve shown them and go away and use it for themselves – that’s the point of librarians like me. I think I’m lucky to have a job that enables me to be useful in that way – and I think that maybe there is a link with the way we home ed.

1 comment:

Alison said...

I made hundreds, tens and units on coloured card when Violet was young - cheap and cheerful version of the Montessori golden beads resources which I'd been reading about - and we played with them a lot. And you could easily make a couple of thousand cubes too. I bought the plastic set because I went half with Jax on another friend's 'spare' one (it's probably Jax's turn again for it!), but it's a pure luxury, lol.