This week, 30+ maths teachers descended onto Ormiston Bushfield Academy (despite the thunderstorm!) for TeachMeetMaths. I had originally planned to film it, so that all you lovely people could see it for yourselves, but encountered a slight technical issue (I totally forgot to press the record button…). To atone for my sins, I’ll try my best to do a full write-up of what you missed 🙂
Bruno Reddy (@TTRockStars) shared some of the things he does to ensure that he gets 100% from his students, such as routines and chants to get students silent / settled / hyped up and ready to work. He also talked about using minimally different examples to build understanding of concept and method – e.g. instead of presenting a load of different triangles, why not fix one vertex and the length of the opposite side – as you move the variable points, what things change on the triangle?
What about when practicing division – do you simply throw up a bunch of questions , or do you work from no remainders, to one carry-over, to 2 carry-overs, to a remainder of 1d.p., to 2 d.p., to a recurring decimal answer, ensuring the questions take students through the concepts one step at a time….?
He also mentioned some of the research results that are coming out of his data from ttrockstars.com following the short survey each student completed, which will be published soon (I think).
P.S. Bruno managed to get a roomful of teachers chanting their 3 times tables (in French at one point!), as well as pretty much dancing along with him. It was an impressive sight!
Michelle Cole (@CNE98MFC) shared some ideas from http://www.inquirymaths.co.uk, using prompt graphics / questions to get students discussing maths. See her full presentation at tiny.cc/TeachMeetResources . The idea is to dispel the notion that there is always only one ‘right’ answer, by encouraging students to create their own questions etc. She shared some examples of possible prompts, as well as showing a write-up of one of her lessons using the prompts, which has been published on the site.
Mo Ladak (@MathedUp) – Mo shared the activities on https://teacher.desmos.com – we played on marbleslides – lines via the student section of the site as if we were his class.
The idea in this activity was very much like several games you’d play on your phone – cut the rope etc – in that you have to ‘collect’ the stars by graphing lines to guide the marbles as they fall. There are loads of great activities already there, or you can create your own. You can see what your whole class is doing via the teacher view, and it looks like a great way to encourage discussion between students!
Emily Hughes (@ilovemathsgames) – I shared some ‘little things that go a long way’. You can see the full presentation at tiny.cc/TeachMeetResources. I started with our marking stickers – I designed these to save myself writing ‘use a ruler and pencil’, or ‘show your working’ for the MILLIONTH* time. It is designed to go in the middle of a page, so that you have space underneath on the left for strengths, and the right for areas for development – much nicer than trying to fit them on the sticker!
We have a stash of Avery 3653 stickers in reprographics, and our template prints beautifully on them. The template is here (as are all the other things I’ve shared): tiny.cc/TeachMeetResources.
Next up, Numeracy Ninjas. We do this with all of KS3, once a week. It’s all free on www.numeracyninjas.com. You can buy beautiful stickers on the site to use as rewards for when students hit the next ‘ninja belt’ colour, but we simply don’t have the budget for that, so I made my own. They’re not nearly as good, but the kids seem to like them anyway. I’ve also sourced some really cheap black belts (real ones), and have taken the time to embroider ‘NN’ on them. Once a term, teachers nominate two students from their class, one boy, one girl, (different criteria each time – high performance, effort, perseverance…) and each nominee gets a ‘Grand Master’ certificate. They all go into a draw, and one boy and one girl from each year gets an actual black belt. Turns out, they’re pretty high value items to students!
I then made Bruno cringe when I talked about how much I love ttrockstars.com – it’s worth every penny (and really not a lot of money at all!). We have now run two events where we took a year group into the hall during a lesson for a Rock Battle to determine which student is the Ultimate Rock God. I ordered trophies from Kapoww Miniature Guitars for about £13 each, and have a playlist we use here. In the lead up to this, we scheduled in each class to have at least half a computer lesson each week to practice.
I showed some opportunities for ‘vandalism’ and ‘misbehaviour’ in the name of learning – drawing on the tables with whiteboard pens to label properties of shapes made of masking tape, throwing scrunched up post-its into a basket at the front of the room and working out the relative frequency of a shot going in. Next, the giant co-ordinate grid I made with a tarpaulin and black electrical tape – I use it for plotting graphs, demonstrating translations, co-ordinate practice…..
I talked ‘simple starters’ – see posts here and here, and then the Puzzle of the Week that I post here on the blog each week. I also mentioned that students should follow @MathsTopTips on twitter for a daily maths tip to prepare for exams.
Finally, I showed how a single roll of sticky-backed plastic, and some black electrical tape can go a really really long way towards making your classroom look cool (yes, I cut the letters out myself):
Thalia Alexander (@thththalia) shared www.symbaloo.com which allows you to collate all your bookmarks in a very visual, easily organised way. She has a section for her personal links (social media etc), a section for her favourite maths sites, a section for use in tutor time, etc, etc. I went home and set up my own that night! Here’s an example from @EJmaths: https://www.symbaloo.com/mix/mathsresourcewebsites
Emma Bell (@El_Timbre) shared her ‘maths hacks’. Some are about ways of making concepts more accessible to students, including using tracing paper to check for matching angles on parallel lines – that way students get the mark for the angle, even if they can’t state the rule. Putting a number on the board as a starter, and asking students to come up and write a multiplication /division question with that answer (Number Up). Also, using your set squares to find exact values for trig because you can take them into the exam! The fact that the word ‘differENce’ has ‘EN’ (N) in it helps students remember where to put the difference in the nth term. Using Gandalf to demonstrate what an asymptote is all about.
Fran Baker shared a lovely trick for dividing by 99 in your head. The best summary I can find is here: http://www.sapnaedu.in/how-to-divide-a-number-by-99/ It’s great for impressing students with your mental maths powers 😉
Lynne Webb (@LWmathsmatters) shared http://graphingstories.com. This is a great way to teach real-life graphs in a more interesting way… Can you map ‘bum height off ground’ against time in seconds, using the video (screenshot below)…?
We finished off with half an hour to chat with others, and then drew the raffle, with lots of amazing prizes kindly donated by Jackie Beere, Colin Beveridge, Mathster.com, Mathsbox, TTRockstars, Twinkl Resources, 7Puzzle, EMMAths, CGP books, and Crown House Publishing. We ate pizza and starbursts, and generally had a fab time!
Bring on the next one!! (14/9/16 – TeachMeetCORE)
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