The week that was (no. 21)

This week saw the return of my senior classes after study leave. This meant I was back to a very busy timetable. It can be tough returning prelims to pupils. It’s great if they have done well as there are big smiles but it is tricky if they haven’t done well. I become torn between the sympathetic tone of “it was a tough paper, don’t get too upset by it” and the harsher tone of “if you had actually worked hard you might have done better”. Here’s what my classes have been up to this week:

  • S2: bearings – measuring, writing and drawing
  • S3: volume of prisms
  • N5: solving trigonometric equations
  • Advanced Higher: Gaussian Elimination

New plan of the week

Last week I wrote about my plan for building up the retention of skills and knowledge with my S3 class. This week it began. The class seemed keen to buy into the process. I think the fact that they had all struggled with the assessment meant they knew something had to be changed. The topics I chose to start with were rounding, solving equations and circumference/area of circle. After three starters on Monday, Wednesday and Thursday, the pupils sat a mini  assessment on Friday which we then peer marked. The majority of the class were successful in answering the basic questions and some managed the extension questions. This coming week there will two new topics introduced. These will be mixed up with the topics from last week with the aim of seeing if the class can retain the knowledge from last week. Hopefully as we continue with this we will all see an increase in retention of knowledge.

Feedback of the week

My N5 and AH classes returned from study leave and I knew that I needed to give feedback from their prelims. Over the years I have tried many different ways to do this but never really found a way that I thought was really beneficial. One thing I was definitely sure of was that I didn’t want to stand up at the front of the room and spend two periods going over all the questions. I know that the best way to learn maths is to do maths so I didn’t want to waste time. I had my classes complete a prelim analysis form which took about 20 minutes then we moved on.  I am not overly convinced that having a question analysis really works as the pupil might only focus on those particular areas and not think about the whole course. However, I wanted them to know where their errors were coming from. Was it level C questions? Was it A/B questions? Often pupils think that the reason they fail N5 maths is that they “can’t do quadratics”. However, there are many areas which they lose marks on but don’t seem to worry about. From this form, I am encouraging my pupils to identify the basic questions where they lost marks. If they can improve in these areas then their marks will improve. I haven’t got a copy of the form to put on here just now but will update tomorrow.

Worksheet of the week

I love the worksheets produced by Corbett Maths. My S3 class were looking at volume of prisms this week and I used this sheet from Corbett Maths.

This sheet provided those who needed it straight forward “find the volume of” questions but also gave others the “apply” questions which provided a nice bit of problem solving.

Success of the week

This question is one that N5 pupils often struggle with. trig graphThe usual first thought is “how can I do this without a calculator?” I think part of the problem in the past is that I have never given over time in class to it. It is one of these questions where I used to think pupils could just apply knowledge to solve without being explicitly taught. After discussing a few examples at the board, I set the class these questions from www.startingpointsmaths.blogspot.com  created by Chris McGrane.

TRIG ASCEND

It was perfect. A small collection of questions to allow practise using trigonometric graphs to order values.

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