So with the new curriculum under way, and being one of the first to be trained in the new curriculum. I find myself constantly on the quest for resources which can encompass this problem solving aspect while still not detracting from the core maths skill that I am trying to teach. I am a bit of a sucker for resources as you may have noticed so I have been trying to combine both a strategy based problem solving type game and combining it with the core mathematical skills for that topic.
This also allowed me to get students to work in pairs to answer the desired question for the groups who found it more challenging. The students absolutely loved it, I did have a starter for 5 minutes playing the original squares game to avoid half the class giving me the 'I don't have a clue how to play this' look. Definitely worth it as they were off like rockets when I gave it out.
If you would like to download the squares game  factorise (1) then follow this link. Alternatively you can visit the algebra resources page here. Let me know how it goes, it's always nice to hear that others are finding these things useful :)
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So here it is! Game number two 'Gold Lines'. In this game players battle it out to collect the most golden nuggets by inputting straight line equations! I have made the game so that the game board randomly generate golden nuggets. This means that it can be played over and over with different scenarios.
Managed to get ahead of myself this week and finalise these worksheets that have been lying in my 'to finish' folder for quite a while! There are 9 basic multiplication practise sheets from 312 and have a range of 50 questions.
Couldn't stay away from the superhero theme I'm a little bit obsessed I think! Hope you find them useful! :) There's about another 30+ of these sitting in that same folder so if people are finding them useful then let me know and I'll try and get them finished asap! Here's a link to all of the files that you can find on the numeracy resources page Haven't really had much time to do an update recently! Just about managed to create a few homeworks this week though. After finding and using the PRET homework sheets this year on http://prethomework.weebly.com hosted by @mathsjem and @DIRT_expert I decided I should try and make a contribution! If you haven't already been using these homework sheets then head over and have a look. There are tonnes of fantastic homework's covering almost every topic. I've added these few to the homework page, so that you can access these ones there if you like!
Algebra smash goes live! The first instalment in my interactive game series! The game is only a 1015 minute game for students to play either at home or as a starter activity in a lesson. The game is based on basic algebra and adding terms up a brick wall or pyramid. The game builds up in difficulty.
There will be a few updates to this game coming such as some more time pressure in later rounds and also an arcade mode! So keep you eyes peeled! You can play algebra smash here The game is a simple drag and drop of boxes! Just don't make The Hulk angry! :) Spot the cookies! Literacy and attention GameSo here is a bit of a game I designed for one of my classes. I do have to say that this was put together very specifically for the individuals in this class, but turned out to be really successful across other classes in the end! The idea is to keep the students fixated on watching the board, and specifically during periods when I was modelling a lot of examples. I had a small group who were as fast as lightening to switch off once we started certain tasks, so I made this to liven them up during the lesson. It definitely worked with this class so hopefully someone else may find this useful! :) The idea is that throughout your powerpoint/notebook etc lesson you hide some cookies into the work or onto the worksheets, this does take about 5 minutes to do so probably not best to start hiding cookies onto every lesson. And as I said this was for a specific year 8 class so this won't be for everyone! What the students also have to do is spot the keyword or keywords used in the lesson and tally them up. The aim then is to score 7 points for each cookie they find and 9 points every time the keywords are used. You can allocate the keywords at the start of the lesson, and then students can add up their totals at the end and see who wins! Here's an idea of how you can hide one of the cookies in your lesson! I have also animated them as explained below. It's like 'Ultimate Where's Wally?'. If you would like to download spot the cookies maths resource you can do so by following this link. You can download the cookie image here, once entering it into slides etc. just click on format and set it to 'behind text' or click on 'send to back' to hide it behind objects. I also had then appear for a second on slides such as the learning objectives to really keep them on their toes! That way they never know when they might appear! Here is a fantastic resource that I found on Miss B's Resources @missbsresources that I'm going to start using with some of my other classes, students have to choose three key words. Once these words have been selected the students have to calculate the value of each word and tally them up for some competition! This also gets students working with monetary amounts which I really like!
Happy teaching! Keep your eyes peeled for the next blog post I will be unveiling the first of my interactive maths games! :)
So I am planning to teach transformations which I haven't had to look at for the past 6 years! Argh! Totally keeping my cool and everything (not!) And I couldn't think of an interesting way to look at the core skills needed when looking at translations and understanding how to interpret a vector. I decided a game was necessary (because everything can be solved with a game ha!) So, I've come up with this game! I've called it Vector Stars! Basically it's a two player game, and players have to move around the game board collecting points by inputting their vector translations and collecting the appropriate stars. Each different coloured star has a different amount of points allocated to it, and students can gain bonus points by collecting three stars of the same colour (tried to get some strategy in there, or should I say problem solving?). Any way I hope you find it useful, I'll be using it at the end of this week :) Let me know if you use it and have any ideas for a sequel/extension or any tweaks once it's been tested. I may update it after it's been used at the end of the week. Hope your enjoying the maths resources! I'm having tonnes of fun creating them :) You can download this maths resource here The vector translations game can be downloaded here or you can find it via the maths resources page under shape, space and measure here
Following on from my previous blog post I thought I would talk about something else that was an integral part of my teaching in 2014. And this really was something that I just stumbled upon while doing my research into motivation during the first term. And this is growth mindset. Growth Mindset Motivating pupils to be willingly interested during lessons is one of the most significant aspects of mathematics teaching. It is a critical feature of the Department for Educations Teaching Standards; successful and effective teachers should be able to differentiate and motivate the less attentive students as well as those who are highly motivated. One of the biggest influences on motivation within the classroom is the concept of growth mindset, Carol Dweck (2012) in her book Mindset said ‘A simple idea that makes all the difference. Teaching a growth mindset creates motivation and productivity in the worlds of education.’ Dweck describes growth mindset as a form of selfesteem, and having the courage and determination to address weaknesses. This is reinforced by John Hattie (2011), who proposes that teachers would have greater success if they addressed student’s low selfefficacy before trying to increase achievement. Dweck works with how to implement this by promoting a growth mindset in the classroom. This looks at the core internal processes that drive students to achieve and will play a crucial role in my research. Matthew Syed (2011) said: ‘Where motivation is internalised, children tend to regard practice not as gruelling but as fun’. In terms of using this in the classroom, some of the key ideas which I focussed on was the use of language, and in particular praising the process behind the work. Helping the pupils to internalise the process and become more reflective as a result. Using praise in the lesson such as: “What process did you use with this task?” “I like the way you’ve thought about this task” “Could you think about this question in a different way?” “The way you’ve approached this is excellent but now think about this…” “I think that you are ready to teach this to a small group in the class now… how might you teach this?” The use of this in the classroom undoubtedly had an incredibly positive impact, especially upon particular students who would be considered by Dweck to be within a 'fixed mindset'. This is something I will be pursuing long term throughout my practice and has sparked a real interest into the potential of growth mindset within the classroom. I'd be really interested to hear some ideas from people as to how they have incorporated growth mindset strategies in their lessons! You can purchase all of these books on amazon: Dr Carol S. Dweck  Minset (Click to follow the link) Matthew Syed  Bounce (Click to follow the link) Barry Hymer & Mike Gershon  Growth Mindset Pocketbook Here is a really interesting talk on TED by Dr Steve Peters around his book 'The Chimp Paradox' looking at the human mind. Dr Steve Peters is a Consultant Psychiatrist working full time in Elite Sport. His career began with teaching Mathematics and then moved on to Medicine. His specialist interest is in the working of the human mind and how it can reach optimum performance applied to all walks of life. Here is a link to his book:
Prof Steve Peters  The Chimp Paradox (Click to follow the link) Bibliography 1] Dr Carol S. Dweck (2012). Mindset, How You Can Fulfill Your Potential. London: Robinson. 213. 2] John Hattie (2011). Visible Learning for Teachers: Maximizing Impact on Learning. USA: Routledge. P234250. 3] Matthew Syed (2011). Bounce. London: Fourth Estate. 59. 4] Barry Hymer & Mike Gershon (2014). Growth Mindset Pocketbook. Hampshire: Teachhers' Pocketbooks. 62125. 5] Prof Steve Peters (2012). The Chimp Paradox, The mind management programme for confidence, success and happiness. Vermillion 6] Video: Accessed at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RKI1D5NPJs Well what an amazing year 2014 was! The first blog post is here, and with the wealth of fantastic teaching blogs that are about at the moment, I am not afraid to say that I feel terribly insignificant ha! So I'm just going to talk about a few things that I looking into in 2014 that really interested me and hope that someone else finds them equally so! This year was very new to me, a new career, a new school and absolutely tonnes of fascinating learning opportunities! But there were three really fascinating teaching strategies that I have explored over the course of this first term that I thought I would share, the first of these being spaced learning! Spaced Learning "Spaced Learning, developed by Monkseaton High School, is a method of embedding information in our longterm memory through repetition. Fundamentally, this is no different from how we learn all the time. When we hear, see or do something once, it can be stored in our shortterm memory. If we hear, see, or do it repeatedly, it can enter our longterm memory." (Bradley, 2011) Spaced learning is something that I used with my bottom set year 9 group, the process basically involves a five part lesson with 3 teaching inputs and 2 'spaced' breaks whereby students partake in an irrelevant activity. I opted for Playdoh! The idea being that the process of rapid structured repetition, separated by short breaks, embeds the information in the long term memory. A Spaced Learning lessons consist of three ‘inputs’ separated by two 10minute gaps, as follows: • Teacher input of key facts/information • 10minute break • Student recall of key facts/information • 10minute break • Student application of key facts/information. I used this concept with my year 9 class when looking at perimeter, area and volume. And the general idea behind the first teaching period consisted of an overview of the entire topic, ranging from the perimeter of a compound shape, through to the area of a cylinder, and finally the volume of a cuboid etc. After this 10 minute session we started the break consisting of a competition on who could make the best Kermit the Frog out of playdoh, brilliant! The second input then consisted of the same presentation we had at the start, except I omitted all of the formulae and facts from each of the individual sections, I then just bounced around the class asking different students to input what they could remember. The questions would then switch onto the formulae and facts on the board, and students inputted what it was showing, for example it would then say (length x width) and students would say the area of a square or rectangle etc. I then had the second break where I asked students what they wanted to create, and they had a resounding vote for Shrek so we had a Shrek making competition again out of Playdoh, again brilliant! We finished the lesson by sitting a basic selfassessment, this consisted of filling in all the formulae and facts within the topic, and also finished with a few basic questions on different aspects such as the surface area of a square based pyramid. I have to be honest I was very skeptical at the start of the lesson, and I was certainly questioning wether the lesson had any greater impact than any other regular lesson. But the students loved it! and they haven't stopped going on about it since, so it's definitely stuck in their minds. (That's good right? They all went away talking about maths... or Shrek I'm not sure). The question I was really wanting to answer was had it worked? Well, almost every student in the class on a quick hands up assessment scored 13 out of 15 facts with some of the class scoring 14 or 15 which was pretty shocking! And in their homework which was set after the lesson, I had 5 students in the class score 100% and all of the class handing it in and scoring to high success, which was previously unheard of! I am not sure exactly what it was that influenced this, as I was trying lots of different things to motivate this class, but I can't deny the results shown in the homework! Who knows? But I will definitely be pursuing some further investigation into spaced learning and trying to incorporate it into some of my maths resources. It has without a doubt sparked my interest into the neuroscience of teaching and learning. I would be really interested to hear if anyone else has implemented this strategy or anything similar, I am currently working on few short presentations to remember key formulae, and using images and text in this style of spaced learning. I'll report back on this in the future! Here's a few interesting quotes from some students that have used spaced learning: "Compared to the normal teaching method I personally felt that the Spaced Learning lesson allowed me to store/retain more information."  Dylan McGreevy, 17 "For me, Spaced Learning is a bit like my climbing. I don’t try to learn; I don’t write anything down, and I don’t review. It just seems as if I am seeing a movie in my mind that I have already seen before, and my understanding of the information presented becomes more precise – clearer – when I see it again."  Lucy Barratt, 16 Bibliography
1] Angela Bradley and Alec Patton, 2011. Monkseaton High School. Accessed at http://www.innovationunit.org/sites/default/files/Spaced_Learningdownloadable_1.pdf 
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