It’s the middle of the school holidays but I am writing this post in response to the article today by the Secret Teacher in the Guardian. I read a great post by Miss B Lilley about spreading the positive message of teaching instead of all the negativity. Here’s the invitation:

I invite you to become the Not So Secret Teacher, send me through your positive experiences of teaching, just focus on one particular thing that you love about teaching, or that makes your day, or that reminds you of how lucky you are to spend your days teaching young people, let’s inspire people to take on (and keep) a career that is more rewarding than so many others.


Before I write about why I love teaching I want to share three things:

  1. there is a lovely website One Good Thing where teachers all over the world share one good thing from their day. Make sure to check it out here.
  2. teaching is a challenging profession but through debate, discussion, sharing and support it can be the most wonderful job.
  3. Some maths teachers back in August started using the hashtag #mathsrockedtoday as a way to highlight positivity in the classroom. I would love to see others joining in.

Continue reading

Numeracy Grids

I previously blogged about my discovery and creation of Challenge Grids. I experimented using them with a few classes but didn’t feel I was using them as effectively as I could.

Moving to my new school a few weeks ago, I now teach mixed ability junior classes. My initial query was how can I have a starter task that all in the class can do which supports the lower ability but also challenges the more able?

Numeracy grids – every Wednesday the class is given a Numeracy grid like this: Continue reading

The Traffic Light Game

I love playing strategy games with my classes. The games don’t have to be overly mathematical but help to develop logical thinking. I also love these games as everyone in the class can compete and win even if they are not as confident with maths as their opponents. I always hope that there are an odd number of pupils in the class so that I can play too!

Here is a game that I only discovered last week. It is from one of my favourite sites NRICH.

These are the rules: Continue reading

Mixed Ability Classes

I have always taught junior classes that have been set by ability. Even within these classes there has still been a need for differentiation. In my new school the S1 and S2 classes are not set. This means I will need to rethink the way I teach these junior classes. I am going to have to spend time learning how best to teach mixed ability classes.

One thing did pop into my mind immediately: Challenge Grids.

I discovered these on Twitter, but not for maths. So I made some. Continue reading

Teaching Surds

My introduction to surds this year was by setting a problem to my class:

Calculate the exact value of the length of each missing side:

surds intro

Initially the class knew exactly where to start. Pythagoras. Great. The problem arose when calculating the length of the hypotenuse of the red triangle. The class wanted a calculator. This led to a discussion about exact values and accuracy.

Then I set the class the challenge of drawing the Spiral of Theodorus and to calculate the hypotenuse of each triangle and also to calculate the area of each triangle. Continue reading