It’s that time of year again – back to school we go.
Time for a revisit and update of “Resolutions for Maths Teachers”.
There are several new slides here for those familiar with the previous edition. I am happy to say that I have been keeping my own resolutions and several of the posts linked to for those have been updated.

I think this year I really want to concentrate again on making things stick and making sure I really am convinced about what they are learning – hence the ‘don’t be fooled by poor proxies for learning’ and trying RAG123.

The Rich Tasks page here is consistently popular – so a complete tidy up, a check that everything links to the right place and some additions.

AQA Problem Solving Questions

Note the excellent AQA Problems and Teacher’s Guide which includes indices by topic and also by strategy.

squeaktime.com – Danny Brown

Additions include Craig Barton’s excellent collection of rich tasksand problem sets on Danny Brown’s squeaktime.com.

Time Numeracy – Jonathan Hall

On Mathematics – Starters and Plenaries, see Form Time Numeracyfrom Jonathan Hall’s Form Time Ideas site which could be a simple start to a lesson; the questions can easily be printed so could make ideal ‘Bell Work’ giving you a quick and calm start to a lesson; give the questions out at the door or have them displayed on the board as the students come into the lesson.

Thinking about returning to school, I will be checking and updating my resolutions for (Maths) teachers in the next few days.

Jane Hart of the Centre for Learning and Performance Technologies is still accepting votes from educators for the Top 100 Tools for Learning 2015. This list is based on contributions from learning professionals around the world. Voting closes at noon GMT on Friday 18 September 2015 and Jane will reveal the 2015 Top 100 Tools list on Monday 21 September 2015.

So my own top tools for learning (note these are not subject specialist sites apart from the last two which I just have to include!)

Evernote – an outstanding note-taking tool and something I use every day. I have a notebook for each of my classes to which I upload any resources I want for that class; I also jot down any ideas I have for each class. I can use it on any PC or my tablet or my phone. It is also a good way to share for example a list of websites with students – using a shared notebook. (Blog post on Evernote).

WordPress – obviously – you are reading a WordPress blog right now! I have several other blogs, Games, Starters and for students I have created Mathematics for Students and something I am very pleased with is a blog I use to give the details of homework for each of my classes. I created ‘What was that homework?’ as a result of a survey of students across several schools where many students said that they would like homework details online. No student can ever say to me that they didn’t know what their homework was! I also have blogs on useful tools for students and teachers generally. (The very first post on this WordPress blog – which includes some useful WordPress links).

Twitter – great for professional development – I have contacts in education all over the globe and have been led to many useful resources by my virtual colleagues! See Mathematics Conversations. and this post on Twitter.

Slideshare – it is very easy to upload presentations to this (free) presentation sharing site; the two shows above are examples. Presentations for teachers or students could be uploaded for example.

PowerPoint I can’t really have Slideshare without including PowerPoint in my list because that’s where I start with my presentations, often with a little help from the interactive whiteboard software. It is interesting to see how popular PowerPoint was last year at number 4 in the 2014 list, other tools such as Prezi makes a change, but it’s so important to remember that it’s the content that matters!

Excel(43)is something I use everyday in my job to present data to staff; I also use many spreadsheets for teaching. Of all the applications in the Office suite this stands out for me, the changes from Excel 2003 to 2007 with the massive improvements to conditional formatting for example make this one outstanding application. There are also many Excel spreadsheets out there too to help in Maths lessons – see Maths Files for example.

Diigo I have saved many hundreds of bookmarks using this social bookmarking / annotation tool; I can even find them again! There are numerous examples of Diigo lists on this site – see this on Statistics and Probability for example; (Digital Tools blog page on bookmarking). I think it is because I find Diigo so easy to use that I still like it. Always liking the idea of a backup plan – all my Diigo bookmarks are sent automatically to Evernote (8) via ifttt (a new entry in 2014). I also have Diigo set up to send the bookmarks to Delicious.

Now obviously the list is not about specialist sites for various subjects, The Top >10 Mathematics Websites is another story but I am choosing these ten tools because I use them so much in my job. So the last two sites on my list are mathematical in nature.

WolframAlpha. WolframAlpha is not just all about Maths, it covers so many subjects and even though they would love us to pay for WolframAlpha pro, the free model still offers unlimited queries everyday!

Desmos, the outstanding graphical calculator deserves a vote in my opinion, it is wonderful for learning mathematics, accessible for young students yet has the sophistication required for university students. Brilliant.

Here’s the 2014 Top 100 Tools; it will be very interesting to see the changes in 2015.

And whilst not strictly Mathematics blogs these personal favourites on Teaching and Learning and more by many excellent writers have something to say for teachers of any subject.