Despite having complete solutions for examples on PixiMaths PowerPoints, I never actually use them. Students often ask me why, and it occurred to me the other day that it is maybe something I should clarify here too. Mathematical modelling is vital to secure students’ knowledge and understanding of mathematical processes. Emphasis on certain steps and justifications of how or why things work or do not work can be the difference between learning by rote and actually understand
Following on from MathsConf15 and Mr Barton's workshop, I’ve played around a little bit more with variation theory. Previously, I’ve experimented lots with concrete, pictorial and abstract conceptual variation, and have found what works for me. Procedural variation is something I’ve not done much work on in the past. Courtesy of Jurassic Maths Hub Procedural variation is used to support pupils' deeper understanding of a mathematical procedure or process. This might be to comp
I was really excited about my first maths TeachMeet that was very well organised by Sheena and Nicola! As I had hoped, I got loads of brilliant takeaways. Mo Ladak presented the keynote speech and spoke about how once you’re a mentor for someone, you are always that person’s mentor! I definitely agree with this. Mo set us a challenge too: teach a lesson with only four things: A planned outcome; A pen; Our subject knowledge; and Our personality. It’s very easy to become depend
We’re always trying to be creative in order to make lessons more interesting. If I had a Pound for every time a student asked, “When am I going to need this?” I’d be so rich I could retire! However, relating topics to real life isn’t always the best way to pique the interest of your students. Where appropriate, I like to pose a question at the start of the lesson that students should be able answer by the end of the lesson: A brick and a sponge are the same size. In water, th
I’ve written a couple of times already this year about MEI’s Teaching Advance Mathematics course. Someone on Twitter recommended it to me last year and it’s definitely the best course I’ve been on for professional development. I had my second (and final) observation today and I was thrilled with how well it went. I was worried that the observation would have to be rearranged at the start of the lesson, as five sevenths of my class were out on a trip that I didn’t know about.
I love a maths conference! I started the day meeting up with Rose, Vicky, Adam, Neil, Marcia… and many more! With nearly 400 people, there were a lot of people to say hello to. We had a warm welcome from Mark McCourt. Again he encouraged us to share what everything we would see and hear, but to also question everything! He explained how speakers with opposing views were always present to encourage discussion, thinking and debate. Andrew Taylor spoke to us about the great work
Following #MathsConf10, I promised myself that I would stop ‘marking books’ and start giving real feedback to my students. I had attended @Jemmaths’ workshop on developing a feedback (not marking) policy. I returned to school excited, knowing that I could bring this high-impact development to my new school the following September. Five months later, and (finally!) we’re using exit tickets to give timely and personalised feedback to our students. There are still some restraint
I’m starting to use more and more rich tasks in my lessons. I’m finding that it’s developing my subject knowledge (particularly at A Level) and my students’ understanding of the topic we’re covering. A rich task is usually a task that doesn’t have an obvious answer when it’s first looked at. It doesn’t have to be open-ended, but should have multiple different routes that students could take to get to an answer. It should stretch and challenge all your students, but still have
Every TAM experience I have makes me further question the way in which I teach A Level maths. I’m not saying all my lessons lower down the school are fun, but they’re definitely more engaging and interactive than what I usually do with year 12.
In Birmingham earlier this week, I was stretched, challenged, questioned and questioned myself too, on approaches, teaching styles, course content and how best to support students to make progress.
On Monday we focused largely on i
I went to my third La Salle maths conference yesterday. If you haven’t been to one yet, the next one is in Kettering in March – you need to go! It was another day jam-packed with networking and CPD that started, as always, with a warm welcome from Mark McCourt and Andrew Taylor from AQA. Andrew was keen for us to talk to him throughout the day about post 16 and encouraged teachers to take their time with choosing exam boards for the new A Level, in the same way that we did fo
I have been known to doubt my own maths ability, but after Day 1 of the TAM course I feel reassured that I know much more than I thought. I was pleased that I was able to get involved with discussions and even lead the way with some tricky problem-solving questions. Moving forward I look forward to implementing what I have learned with my own A Level class. When teaching KS3/4 I use games, puzzles, mini whiteboards and discussion, but my lessons are decidedly “dry” when teach
The weekend kicked off with an early finish from school to enable us to travel down to Park Lane for the early start of the TES Awards. We had missed the reception drinks so headed straight to find our table in the humongous room downstairs. Seated at our table were other shortlisters for the Bev Evans award, including TeacherCellar and ALutwyche. We were also fortunate enough to be sat with Magda and Amy from the TES resource team who were keen to hear our feedback. The even
As we approach summer lots of the students have the same question on their lips, "Can we do something fun today?"
Firstly, ALL my lessons are fun! And after we've discussed this for a few minutes, I establish that what they want to do is something easy. Something that doesn't require effort. Something that's going to lead to a lack of learning that lesson.
In all seriousness, many of my lessons do include bingo, a pair/group activity or a game (which I maintain are all fun
Each time I finish explain a new topic, I set the students off on task feeling confident that there’s no way they could have not understood my explanation. However, as I walk away from the board… “I don’t get it!” “Which bit?” “All of it!” I find it really frustrating that many students won’t even attempt tasks without me sitting next to them talking them through. They can be given clear steps, several examples, and shown exactly why every step needs to take place. It seems t
It’s that time of year again. Everyone is starting to think about that dreaded E word. Exams. As teachers, we know it’s not just subject knowledge and content we need to pass onto our students, but also exam skills and technique. The best way for this is practising exam questions. I am a great advocate of this – hence the revision booklets and intervention packs (and many of the RAG worksheets) are comprised of exam questions. But it’s important to not over-do it as many stud
I went out for dinner with a friend this week. At the end of the meal we decided to split the bill in half. We asked for the bill and each put a debit card on the table. The waiter came over and we informed him we would like to put half of the bill on each card. Unfortunately his response was not, “Of course, madam” or equivalent but instead, “I can’t do maths”. Why is it socially acceptable to say this but not ok to say “I can’t read”?! At year 11 parents’ evening a couple o