This week – no.8

This week was a pretty poor teaching week for me. I felt that most of my lessons were pretty lacklustre. I think the problem was that all my time was taken up with other school related tasks that my own planning got put to the end of my list. I don’t like when this happens but it’s the reality that occurs sometimes. After a tough week I was feeling like I didn’t want to attend the Moray Maths Conference on Saturday. However, I am really glad I went. The conference reenergised me and I came away with lots of ideas to implement. My only concern is that I won’t have time to do this – but I must try to make time as it is important to focus on teaching and learning.

So this post I am going to write about my takeaways from the conference instead of my lessons from the past week. Hopefully there is something useful for other teachers to takeaway too. Continue reading

Fraction Decimal Percentage Pyramid

After spending a few lessons looking at how to convert between fractions, decimals and percentages I wanted to find a task to check for understanding that was not simply a list of questions. This is what I came up with: pyramids. Continue reading

The New Term

It’s been a while since I have written a blog post. My last set of posts were written at the end of each week reflecting on what had been happening with my classes during the week. I really enjoyed writing these as it allowed me to look back to see the progress made with each class. I have yet to decide if I will continue with that style of blog post as it was a large time commitment. Maybe a monthly post instead.

In this post I want to share a few of the things that I am looking forward to working on during the next term. I am wary of taking on too much but these are areas which I feel ready to tackle. So here they are: Continue reading

The week that was (no.24)

This week was a good week. I found out that our department had passed our SQA verification. Whilst I was confident that we would, it was a relief to get official confirmation. Other than that, my week has been spent focussing on senior classes, trying to sort out change of levels and starting the build up to exam time.

My classes have been working on:

• S2: expanding single brackets and stem and leaf diagrams
• N5: vectors
• AH: inverse matrices, transformations and Euclidean Algorithm

Progress of the week Continue reading

The week that was (no. 23)

It was a four day week this week but it still felt really busy. It was mostly due to having the S4-6 parents evening on Wednesday. I had a full schedule which meant I was talking from 4.30pm to 7pm without stopping. I always find it so useful to chat to parents and wish there was a way for us to be able to do that more often.

My classes have been studying the following:

• S2 – expanding single brackets
• S3 – factorising expressions
• National 5 – vectors

How to teach? Expand single brackets

I was introducing how to expand single bracket to a class this week and it got me thinking. I have taught this hundreds of times and in many different ways but what is the best way? Recently I have used an area model to demonstrate. The examples I might use are:
I really like this method as it shows very clearly why 12(x + 1) = 12x + 12 and leads nicely into using a grid for expanding brackets.

So why did I want to change to a different method?

Whilst exploring Open Middle I came across this problem. Continue reading

The week that was (no. 22)

This week started with a snow day and ended with a holiday so I was only at work for three days. Even though, it was still a very busy week. We had a mini inspection, with a team from the Council in doing focus groups and observations.

My classes this week were working on:

• S2 – calculating bearings and simplifying expressions
• S3 – foreign currency
• N5 – trigonometric identities and percentages
• AH – no lessons this week since I only see them on Mon and Fri