Revision Time Again

Algebra Snippets 2

Algebra Snippets – select image for details

I recently created a new page ‘Revision Activities’ as I could see from my WordPress statistics that posts on revision are popular.

Time to say a little more on the first item on the revision page. I am a huge fan of Corbettmaths 5-a-day. I have been using these regularly with my Year 11 GCSE class; they like them and have come to expect these at the beginning of many lessons. I print the questions for them and hand them out as they come into the room so they can get straight to work. I find that using the Windows snipping tool I can easily fit two sets on an A4 landscape page making them economical to print or copy; this is a size that can easily be stuck into exercise books which my students choose to do.

Corbettmaths 5-a-day

Corbettmaths 5-a-day

The above image shows, appropriately the higher questions for January 31st. I tend to hunt the collection looking for sets that include particular topics. Following their earlier mock exam we decided that we needed more trigonometry practise so I made sure that a trigonometry question appeared in each day’s set for several sessions; it has been very rewarding to see the speed and confidence they now seem to have on for example the sine and cosine rules. I have also sought question on topics that we have not met for some time.

I do believe that asking students to recall topics regularly is very valuable, see my earlier post  “Highlighting is a Waste of time”. Using short GCSE questions like this fits in with the distributed practice idea. Short tests can be useful too – on Monday Year 11 will be getting 10-a-day under timed exam conditions!

Thank you so much Mr Corbett from myself and my students!

Venn Diagrams

With Venn Diagrams on the new UK GCSE Mathematics specifications (an excellent addition I believe), and also on other exam specifications, I thought collect some great resources together.

A completely updated version of this post with several additional resources can be found here.



Finding things ….

Finding thingsOne of my resolutions for (Maths) teachers is to organise resources and ideas in such a way that it is possible to find them all again. My own answer to that is Evernote which I use on a daily basis on every gadget I own!

Staying with the subject of finding things, reviewing the statistics for this blog for the past year and considering popular posts and pages has prompted me to reorganise and add new pages so that I hope readers will be able to find resources and posts more easily.

To highlight some of the changes:

Right hand menu
Maths for StudentsI have added information on the latest posts on my other blogs, Mathematics for Students, Mathematics Starters and Plenaries and Mathematics Games. There is overlap between the blogs but my aim is to have collections on the appropriate blog. Mathematics for Students is (unsurprisingly!) addressed to students.


New pages

StartersNoting that the Starters link is very popular I thought I would add a page to make this even more prominent. I will update this page with information on the Starters site. On the subject of starters, my Year 9 students have been enjoying the 2015 Year Game and my Year 11 students appreciate their recent starters. I have been using the fantastic Corbettmaths: 5-a-day site; they like the idea that we are revising regularly.

Revision Activities Mentioning Mr Corbett’s 5-a-day leads me naturally to revision, a consistently popular subject. I will keep this page updated with revision ideas.

Desmos series Regular readers will know the Desmos graphing calculator is a resource I use a lot. I have re-ordered all the Desmos pages and added some new ones so that all the documentation and graph pages I have on Desmos can be found in this collection.

Reference As an element of lesson planning I consider vocabulary. I frequently display definitions for students from resources such as Jenny Eather’s dictionary or the glossary for teachers.

Other new pages include Homework, Videos, and Endings.

I have created several presentations which can be found in various posts on this blog and are available on Slideshare; I have also created a series of Presentation pages to make these easier to find.

Under Reading, I have updated the Mathematics blog page with several new entries. A little Histogram Hysteria from Maths Sandpit is exactly what Year 11 need!

The UK Assessment series includes Assessment Without Levels KS3 which I keep updated with any news / announcements.

Finally – I have updated and will continue to do so the ‘I’m Looking for…’ pages; a notable new entry is Calculators and Toolsthere are several excellent applets available for both demonstrations and checking work. See for example these for A Level Statistics or the applets on the Calculus page.


Happy New Year

Hattie - Visible Learning

Hattie – Visible Learning

So it’s that time of year again – time to reflect and time for (updated) resolutions! Several posts linked to in the presentation have also been updated.

Select the image, or this link for more information on Hattie’s work.


It seems to be traditional to look at number properties for the year, 2015 in this case obviously and happily The Mathematical Association of America have already done that (…and how’s this for a resolution? Don’t waste time creating some whizzy resource, somebody may well have done it already, worry about how your students are learning) – see the MAA post 2015 (for fans of number properties you will enjoy their blog!). We could of course also use Number Gossip, or WolframAlpha.

Your students might like the Math Forum Year Game. How many numbers from 1 to 100 can you generate using the digits of 2015? Unlike Countdown which uses only the four operations and brackets, additional operations are allowed – but see the detailed rules.

It seems traditional at this time of year to look back at the last year and see which posts have been the most popular; I have seen so many post of this kind today that I suspect everyone will be weary of them (I’m inclined to agree with my daughter who said of her own blog Statistics “nobody cares but me!”)

Having said that many of these have in fact been popular since I first wrote them (before 2014). This is a useful exercise in that it shows the interests of readers and I will revisit many of the topics here in the coming year. (At this point I shall choose to believe WordPress who said in their end of year report “Some of your most popular posts were written before 2014. Your writing has staying power! Consider writing about those topics again.”). So here they are – feel free to ignore (but I promise to note what seems to work well).


Happy 2015

Select for geoGreeting

to educators and students everywhere. Thank you so much for reading in 2014. (See Symbols post if you like the calculator font).