Thursday, 13 December 2007

Thursday 13th December 07

A really good day apart from a runny nose. I had been invited into school to do a lesson for year 4, my youngest son's class. So I signed in and arrived at the lines in the playground just before they went in. My 'lesson' started with an introduction as my lad's dad and told them I preferred to be known as John, not Mr Cossham, and that I was also called Professor Fiddlesticks when I was out earning my living.

I started with devilsticks, I love it when they all gasp with amazement when the stick goes up and it looks like it's done with magnets! I showed them how it worked with the centre line being a balance point and then how if it is balanced off-centre, it begins to fall down and it can be caught with the other stick, and it then starts to fall in the other direction. I then did the trick where I balance the stick on my nose (cries of 'awsome' and 'beautiful'!) and explained how this works, moving the base in the same direction that the top is starting to fall in. Then got a third of the class out to balance a peacock feather on their hand or finger for a few minutes, followed by the second third and then the final group.

Then moved from this easy skill to a more difficult one, juggling three balls. The children had been given homework before the weekend to make 3 balls from a filler (rice or other seeds) and three balloons per ball. I showed them my basic juggling skills and how the curved throw worked with the three forces (how much it is thrown vertically up, how hard it is thrown horizionally and how much gravity pulls it down. I then explained how they could learn, starting with one ball being thrown up with one hand and caught in the same hand, then to try that with the other hand. Then onto the 'rainbow shape' throw from one hand to the other, making sure that the catch was in a hand in front of their tummy or chest, and not reaching up to grab the ball or clutch it to their chest. The next stage is to spot the top (used the word 'apex') of the curve which shows the juggler when to throw the second ball, in the same 'rainbow' shape. I showed them the juggling pattern I didn't want them to do, which I call the 'schoolgirl pattern', which is a throw up with the same hand each time and a pass from the other hand into the throwing hand, a roughly circular shape. I knew quite a few of them would get stuck on this, and that relatively few would get to the 3 ball flash and the 3 ball cascade. I was delighted that one child did get the 3-ball flash, and others had seemingly got the idea at least. Th eteacher showed us his juggling prowess, slightly better than me. Then I finished off with a diabolo demonstration with my pet diabolo 'Derek'.

Then I went onto the next classroom, year 3, and they got a shorter demo, with devilstick, hands-on feather-balancing and the diabolo show. Finished at 11am, and was invited up to the staffroom. I had a conversation with a volunteer who is also a mum with children in our children's classes, and she was really happy and impressed with what Id just done. I don't think she'd seen my skills before. We also strayed into the subject of my recent diagnosis, and she said that she now felt she understood me a bit more now I was 'out' as having Aspergers Syndrome with Hyperactivity. She was really lovely and I felt warmed by her comments.

Gill was out in town when I got back, I went on the computer to do emails and after lunch did a stint if splitting logs with my hydraulic/electric splitter, as I have been unable to do these rounds from Woodlands with my axe, the wood is too tough. Some logs split really easily, these don't.

I brought the children home, my eldest was too tired to go to cubs. I, amazingly, fell asleep after tea... this is a rare event! Only for 30 minutes though, and woke to make the kids their supper and put them to bed.

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