This week was one of those weeks where time disappears so fast and the to-do-list seems endless. I had lots of extra prep this week as a few in the department were off for a few days. I’m not very efficient at sorting cover work and it takes me twice as long as it probably should. It was also the senior parents evening (4.30-7pm) which took it out of me. By the last few appointments I’m not sure I was speaking in coherent sentences.

So, here’s what my classes were doing this week – although there were a few disruptions as I was running between various classrooms checking on other classes.

S2 – we started a short block of work on probability. I introduced it the way I often do – with a game of dice bingo (find sum of two dice). When the totals produce more 6, 7 and 8’s the class start to think about why. We worked through this sheet that I had cobbled together from a few different resources (apologies, I can’t remember where they are from).

The main sticking point seemed to be around what prime numbers were. Great chance to revisit different types of numbers. A copy of the sheet can be found here.We also did a few revision quizzes to help prepare for an upcoming assessment. I made up some short multiple choice quizzes using questions from www.diagnosticquestions.com I’m sure I’ve raved about this site before but it is so good I’ll do it again. Such a fabulous collection of questions which provide lots of challenge for pupils.

S3 – after our great introduction to Pythagoras last week using area of squares we looked at the formal working for the theorem. The class took to it so easily. This was so surprising for me as the class often struggles with new concepts. We jumped straight into finding the hypotenuse and shorter sides and the class aced it. I think having seen the visual representation last week really cemented their understanding.

After completing a treasure hunt from www.mathsbox.org.uk we moved onto isosceles triangles. The class did have to think much more with these but found it very helpful to highlight the right angled triangle on the diagram before calculation. I had trouble finding a good resource for these so I put together this selection based from questions from www.goteachmaths.co.uk

N5 – the class sat an assessment this week and also finished up some work with fractions. The assessment was not well done at all. As I marked it I reflected on why this was the case. It came down to lack of work on the part of the pupils. There were many straightforward calculations that many left blank, which if they had completed any study at home they would have managed without any trouble. Yet again, I am finding it very difficult to motivate most of this class to work outside of lessons.

H – almost a sense of deja-vu. The higher class had an assessment on differentiation and trigonometric equations and there were some excellent results and some poor results. There was a real lack of understanding with how to tackle different types of trig equations. Lack of practice. I am trying to stress repeatedly that the best way to learn maths is to do maths. Many in my class need to do more maths.

After the assessment we started work on integration. We covered integrating polynomials, writing expressions in integrable form and integrating powers and quotients. I put together this sheet for the class to practice – it includes a few questions where you have to find the derivative. I wanted to make sure they were remembering the difference. The answers are given as well to provide a self-check for the pupils.

S1 Numeracy – we started the lesson with pupils completing a times table grid. The pupils thought it would be easy but when they saw that the grid was not in order from 1 – 12 it provided more thought. I was pleased to see that most of the class were confident with most of the times tables from 1 to 12. We then completed some cross number puzzles from www.cleavebooks.co.uk The pupils were engaged with the task for the whole period and it provided good consolidation of core numeracy skills.