This week in class…
- In my first lesson with each class I have been talking to my students about being gritty and green! The green refers to our engagement with learning assessments where we traffic light students green / amber / red for their engagement with their learning. They certainly all listened and understood the message and clearly want to do well.
- I have used the name cards I described here; I printed the address of my homework blog on one side for them to see and note and they wrote their name on the other. I find these really helpful, seeing the name beside the student means you can use their name when you talk to them and I already know many names. I collect them in at the end of the class, providing another opportunity to use their name thanking them for returning the card. (The ‘cards’ are actually folded A4 paper.)
- I read Tom Sherrington’s post “Empowing students to own their learning solves maths problems“; a great idea to start with a diagram with no labels at all as a way into a problem. I tried this with Year 10 (very able students) in their first lesson, presenting them with only Tom’s diagram and was very pleased indeed with the outcome. I didn’t even give them the question – just the diagram (a small copy each) and we started by deciding what the question might be. We quickly got onto areas as a possibility so then answered Tom’s original question ‘what fraction of the shape is shaded?’. The class happily discussed how to solve the problem and a student asked ‘can we write on the diagram?’ which of course was perfect – absolutely they could write on it. We solved the problem, revising some basics and had the discussion about what to do when you don’t know what to do! I will certainly use diagrams with no labels again.
- Nrich now have modules for STEP preparation which look excellent. Note also their related resources such as preparing for university.
- The wonderful Desmos graphing calculator keeps getting better and better and now has animations.
- I tried an Android app I rather like, Numbers which is similar to Countdown. Use the given numbers to achieve the target. There are over 200 levels. I’m not sure the levels have a lot to do with increasing difficulty – look at level 61 here for example – this is much easier than some of the earlier problems. When I first started playing I didn’t realise you could click on intermediate results as you see in the illustration here and actually managed several levels without doing do! Dave Gale has written a post on the app here. I think I’ll try some of the problems this week with my Year 7 class when we discuss order of operations because we could write out the solution on several lines as in the app but then discuss how we could write the solution with brackets. I really want this on my interactive whiteboard (as well as my tablet and my phone!)
- Maths News
- In the news recently we have information on the UK GCSE and A Level reforms.
- I have written before on Jane Hart’s Top 100 Tools for Learning, the 2013 list is now published.
- The News and Reading pages have both been updated.
- The Starters blog has several new additions see for example MEI GCSE Starters and on the collections page we have a great collection of starters on Tick Tock Maths from Richard Tock. If you like the idea of giving students a diagram and asking them to write a question as described above then this post has some resources you could try.
- If you ever ask students to find images, do they know how to make sure they are copyright free? See Copyright Free Images
- For general information on learning which apples to all subjects see ‘Learning‘.
Thank you Doug Belshaw, I enjoy your Thought Schrapnel every week.
Great ideas, thanks again. I like the empowering comments, and use similar things myself, and do it entirely without talking. For example, I printed a net of a prism on card, supplied scissors and glue sticks, and left them to it for a good while. Then I ask the ‘what questions could you be asked?’ bit, because all of mine are exam focused. We usually get at least ten unique questions.
A really good idea Colin, you have reminded me that I want to have another look at Geoff Petty’s ideas for teaching without talking!