Class Charts - example student report

Class Charts – example student report

For behaviour management and seating plans an outstanding and easy to use system is Class Charts.

I have written previously on the system Year 7 and I are using for recording learning behaviours, my aim is to document their learning behaviours; it is absolutely not a traditional ‘reward’ system which I think can be a minefield! I want something accessible to all and is clear to us all that it is about each student being the best they can be. In deciding on the points we should have we had some excellent discussions on being a good learner. We have very few negative behaviours, just a few such as forgotten books / calculators and so on that we agreed will really not help learning.

Having used our system this year I would say it is essential that all understand when and how each behaviour point will be awarded. I have simplified our system slightly which I believe will help ensure consistency; in our enthusiasm I think we created a few too many points – some of which are hard to measure!

Thinking ahead to summer examinations I have created a Revision point but to earn that they have to answer some questions on their chosen topic to provide some evidence! In fact I want them to be generally proactive in letting me know what they are doing to help their own learning.

We have been using ClassDojo as you will see in my earlier poststhis works really well but I have found that a real strength of ClassCharts is that each student can log in to their own account and see their complete record (currently ClassDojo allows students to view just the current week and whilst it is possible for me to print a complete report for them I have decided I want them to have their own complete online record).

My own primary reason for using Class Charts is to record learning behaviours – I may well experiment with the seating plan aspect later.

To get started create a free account (note that upgrades refers to SIMS integration, all the functionality you need for recording behaviours and creating seating plans is completely free). You can then create classes and customise the learning behaviours to suit your needs.

In case it’s useful I made a note of some instructions here and there is plenty of help available on the website.

The following document provides a summary from Class Charts: class charts summary



At a pet store, there are 23 animals. Among the animals in the store, 15 are white, 5 are white dogs and 7 animals are neither dogs nor white. How many dogs are at the pet store?


Mathematics competitions can often be an excellent source of resources for problem solving and the competition series from MATHCOUNTS is a wonderful example. For US students MATHCOUNTS are currently running their third annual “Math Video Challenge”, a competition for 6th to 8th graders that encourages student innovation as they create and star in their own math videos. Entry to the competition is for US middle school students only (see full rules here) but we can all enjoy the resources. Entrants must create a video based on one of the problems in the 2013-14_MATHCOUNTS_School_Handbook; students entering the competition make a video teaching the problem and showing a real-world application of the math concept on which the selected problems is based. Teams will be able to submit videos until 5:00 PM ET on March 14, 2014.

The 2013-14_MATHCOUNTS_School_Handbook is a great collection of problems; I have seen many in this collection that would make ideal starters. All the answers are provided (page 56 of the pdf) and the index (page 62 of pdf) makes the document really useful because the problems have been assigned to a category such as Algebraic Expressions & Equations (though as the authors note many problems fit into more than one category) and given a difficulty rating from 1 to 7, with 7 the most difficult. The difficulty ratings are explained just before the answers (page 56 of pdf). Note that the references are to the US Common Core State Standards. The question categories are: Algebraic Expressions & Equations, General Math, Number Theory, Problem Solving (Misc), Statistics, Probability, Counting & Combinatorics, Proportional Reasoning, Solid Geometry, Percentages & Fractions, Coordinate Geometry, Plane Geometry, Logic, Sequences, Series & Patterns and Measurement.

MATHCOUNTS ice cream problem

MATHCOUNTS – Problem 102 – Warm-Up 8

I like the look of the combinatorics problems – I could use these with Year 7 or more formally with Year 12! One of last year’s semifinalists License Plates, Questions, and Arguments could be good to show Year 12!

MATHCOUNTS offer the materials from their resources in an interactive format which students can use through NextThought; this platform allows access to all the problems from the Warm-Ups, Workouts, Stretches and competitions. It is free to create an account. Solutions to all the problems can be checked online and full explanations for all solutions are available. To return to the pet store problem which is from Warm-Up 3 the solution available on NextThought is as follows:

NextThought - MATHCOUNTS

NextThought – MATHCOUNTS

As well as the latest handbook two previous editions are also available as well as numerous competition questions. The NextThought platform looks excellent and something I wish to explore further – it allows students to discuss problems and I see it has a whiteboard tool available.

All material is copyrighted by the MATHCOUNTS Foundation.

Happy Valentine’s Day

Click on the image and move that slider!

Click on the image and move that slider!

In what happily seems to have become an annual tradition Desmos have provided you with the means to send a math-o-gram to the mathematicians in your life!
Desmos Valentine instructions

This year you can even use the Desmos API …

Elsewhere – express your feelings for WolframAlpha!

and here’s a logic starter from Transum for Valentine’s Day!

Wishing Mathematicians everywhere a happy day and if you are a UK teacher about to start half term – have a lovely week!

By Colleen Young Posted in Desmos

Dilbert and Mathematics

Dilbert on WolframAlpha

Dilbert on WolframAlpha

An accidental discovery today when I came across information on a favourite character of mine on one of my favourite websites! This actually came about because I have completely reorganised and added to the series of pages on WolframAlpha which I hope makes the information here on WolframAlpha easier to find. Note the new slideshow on Statistics; WolframAlpha is useful for calculating normal probabilities for example and illustrates queries with diagrams. I like many teachers I am sure always advise students to sketch diagrams when answering questions on the normal distribution.

Back to Dilbert and we find that associated characters such as the Pointy-Haired Boss are also there!

The Dilbert site may amuse you if you have not seen it before. It is possible to search the site; using a keyword of Statistics returns these stripsRelated to Statistics we have made up numbers (I do like that second entry!) or data or try Math. How’s this for a job title? Mordak is the Preventer of Information Services!

Perhaps I’d better get back to some work!

Transformations with the Desmos Graphing Calculator

This week Year 10 (UK age 14-15) have been exploring different graph types and also transformations and graphs.

For homework I asked them to draw just a small number of graphs by hand but wanted them to check their work and explore further graphs using the Desmos graphing calculator. Early in the week I made sure they could all use Desmos including the use of tables so in an IT room they used the slideshow here and created several graphs of their own.

Once all the students were confident to use Desmos to create various lines and curves I asked them to explore a series of graphs so that this coming week we can discuss transformations and graphs. Using Desmos allowed them to explore many graphs in a short space of time and several students chose to take screenshots and make notes for themselves.

Desmos - simple transformations example

Desmos – simple transformations example

Having used sliders they were able to create
this type of graph page.

I have created the slideshow below to use in class to summarise our work and act as a revision aid for them.

These slideshows are both available here for students.