The next focus of our angles work was angles in triangles. We spent a lesson looking at calculating missing angles in scalene, right and isosceles triangles. Most of the questions I set were from a school textbook but for extension I used these sheets from Don Steward.

The pupils have not had any formal algebra teaching but they tackled these as problem solving questions.

Then we looked at angles and parallel lines. I used old fashioned tracing paper to demonstrate corresponding and alternate angles. The pupils responded really well to this and quickly spotted when two angles are equal.

After a time spent on a textbook exercise we then moved on to these sheets from Don Steward (I use his website a lot).

These questions allowed my pupils to use all the different angle facts they had learned last week as well as angles and parallel lines. Many of them drew out the diagrams on whiteboards whilst others used their jotters and highlighters. My S1 class is mixed ability so when some of the class worked on these problems others spent more time gaining confidence with basic angle calculations.

The final piece of work I did with the class was an activity to review all the different angles calculations my pupils have met. This activity is called Red Amber Green Angles. I have blogged about this kind of activity before – Red Amber Green Trigonometric Equations.

## The idea is: There are three levels of questions – Red Amber and Green. The questions increase in difficulty with Green being the basic core skills and Red being the most challenging. Pupils work in pairs or small groups – it works best if they work with others of a similar pace and ability to them. All the questions are placed in trays at the front of the room (or stuck on the whiteboard) and pupils come up and take a question back to their table. Pupils choose their own starting level, taking a new question when completed the previous one. They must have answers marked at that level before moving on to another level. If they have made any mistakes pupils must make corrections first. I go round and offer assistance where and when it is needed and mark answers

Here are the instructions that I gave to the pupils and the question cards and answers.

This activity allowed all pupils to work at their own pace and at a level appropriate for them. It took quite a while to draw all the diagrams but I will definitely use this again so it will be worth it.

Here are the pdf copies of the activity and answers.

Red Amber Green Angles Questions

Red Amber Green Angles Answers

If you would prefer the Word document to allow you to edit, please let me know.

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After a quick discussion about their prior knowledge we took a note about the different types of angles. These covered acute, right, obtuse, straight, reflex and full turn.

I then set the class this challenge:

This provided some interesting chats especially about where 0º would belong. This was followed by a quick quiz where pupils were asked to name the type of angle and give an estimate for the size of the angle. For this I had pre-prepared angles drawn on my interactive board. Pupils shared their responses via mini whiteboards.

The next lesson started with a favourite of mine from Transum

We then measured the angles and compared our total estimate to the total accurate measurement.

Our attention then turned to measuring angles. This always scares me as a lesson as using protractors with a class can turn into a nightmare. However, I demonstrated various examples on the interactive board and this time the pupils didn’t struggle as much as other classes.

This is the measuring angles task I set for the class.

This task really emphasised using knowledge of the type of angle to help with the estimate. This then ensured that when pupils were measuring the angles they knew the range of degrees that the measurement should be in. Now it wasn’t perfect. Some pupils placed the protractor at the end of an arm and not the vertex. Some still read from the wrong scale on the protractor despite the estimation.

After this we moved onto drawing angles accurately. We looked at how to name angles using three letters, which confused some of my pupils who couldn’t understand why three random letters could represent an angle.

After a whole class demonstration of drawing angles I displayed these angles for the class to draw.

I loved seeing the different ways some of the class tackled drawing angles larger than 180º. Some measured 180º then added on the extra angle required whilst others subtracted the angle from 360º and measured the angle anti-clockwise.

So far these lessons have taken 3 periods. The next few lessons were spent on angle calculations involving complementary, supplementary, vertically opposite angles and angles around a point.

For the examples I used my visualizer. I worked through an example of a complementary angle calculation then I set a question for the class to do. Then I repeated this for supplementary, vertically opposite angles and angles around a point. I really like using this technique “I do, you do” as the pupils get the opportunity to tackle questions immediately and I get instant feedback on their understanding.

The class were then given these two worksheets to work through.

The worksheets were designed to alternate between complementary, supplementary, vertically opposite angles and angles around a point. This meant that my pupils were not just repetitively subtracting an angle from 90º or 180º or 360º but having to think about each individual question and the correct method to use to solve it. I found that my pupils asked lots of questions, mostly wanting to verify they had chosen the correct method, but at the start of the next lesson I set these questionsand the majority of the class were able to answer them all correctly with no help from me. Most of the class had completed sheet A so the class then had the opportunity to complete worksheet B or consolidate their angle calculations with some more practice from a textbook.

The next part of the angles topic is angles in triangles and parallel lines. I will share about these once we have completed them.

Here are the worksheets I created:

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However, not every day is a great day. There are lessons which go wrong for many reasons. Days when I feel like I’m right back at the start and feel completely lost.

It is important to share the lessons that didn’t go to plan, to share days where I’ve struggled just to make it to the end of the day. Teaching is hard. Teaching is demanding. Teaching is learning.

So here is the first of my lesson fails.

**Indices Investigation**

I had planned an introductory lesson on indices which would involve pupils investigating some of the laws of indices. The class had prior knowledge of how to write powers in expanded form. The worksheet looked like this:

My intention was that pupils, working in pairs, would write numbers and letters in expanded form and then generalize the results. Perfect, right!

However, in reality, whenever a pair reached the “generalize your results” part they would call me for help. They had no experience of this type of question and didn’t understand what to do. I explained it to pair after pair, then stopped and explained to the whole class.

I thought at this point that the pupils would be able to proceed with the rest of the investigation. I was wrong. They struggled all the way through and at the end of the lesson I reflected on a few things.

- the pupils were more confused by indices than they were at the start
- I had done more work then the pupils had
- I had wasted a period of their class time
- I was going to have to reteach the rules again

This lead me to the realization that sometimes teaching “what” before the “why” would have been far more useful.

This doesn’t mean I will never use investigative approaches again but that I will need to ensure my pupils have a clearer understanding of how to tackle them.

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During this podcast the issue of common misconceptions that pupils have and how to address them in class arose. Here’s what I picked up: when a pupil has made a common error it would be useful for the whole class to see this error as others may have made the same mistake. How can this be done without embarrassing the pupil? Make it a positive experience for the pupil – as the whole class can benefit from seeing it and showing examples of errors and misconceptions can be invaluable to pupils. Doug Lemov suggests – normalizing it, try to make it positive, globalize it – note that others will have made this error and be struggling with, be appreciative of the mistake as it will help us all get better, validate thinking whilst highlighting the mistake.

This reminded me about a new idea I have been trying at school this term – the Common Mistake Wall. I created this display in the corridor.

The idea was that when I spotted a pupil making a common mistake the pupil would be given a copy of a mistake sheet, would write down their common mistake and what the answer should be. This would then be discussed with the class and stuck onto the display in the corridor.

I have not used this as much as I hoped I would, partly because lessons are always so busy and partly because I keep forgetting about it.

Listening to the podcast today reminded me about this. I am going to re-focus on this over the next few weeks as it is important to highlight common errors and share with my class but also for other pupils to see.

]]>Here is how the game works:

On the whiteboard I put up a 1 to 100 grid as shown below and choose one of the numbers as the winning number, which is written on a piece of paper and hidden away.

I have a set of questions and answers prepared in advance (and all numbered to help marking).

The pupils, who were working in pairs, take a question and work out the solution. They bring me the solution for checking. If it is correct they get to select a number on the 1 to 100 grid. Then they take another question.

If the pupils answer incorrectly, they take the question back to re try. If still incorrect I will provide a hint.

This continues until all the numbers are taken.

The winning number is then revealed and a small prize awarded to the winners.

I like this game as the more questions each pair answers correctly the higher the chance of choosing the winning number and I get to check every single question completed by the class. This allows me to see all the common errors and misconceptions.

This game works well with a relatively small class as it can get quite hectic. I will definitely be using it again.

It can be used for any topic at all. Here’s an example.

]]>So here it is: Team Post-Its

I first saw the idea for this activity on this tweet:

I loved the way that it allowed for lots of practice and provided opportunities for pupils to work together collaboratively. I also thought that it was great that pupils could look at the other answers posted and see how they compare to their answer. It provided a great self-checking mechanism.

The first time I used this activity was with my Higher class when solving polynomial equations. Pupils completed their working on mini whiteboards then put the solutions on the post its up under the question. Each team had a different colour of post it so that I could see exactly which team had correctly answered each question. [Note to self – get more variety of coloured post its as I had to give my nice arrow post its to one group].

The pupils were so engaged with this task. They enjoyed being able to compare their answers with others. If they found they had a different answer to a group they told the other group and discussed who had made a mistake. This led to some great conversations.

I repeated this activity with the same class the following week when finding the intersection of polynomials.

I am hoping to use this activity with my other classes over the next year. It has been incredibly successful so far.

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Life is very hectic as a teacher. Constantly changing from one class to the next. Being handed jotters and pieces of paper. It is very easy to lose important documents, pupil work and feel chaotic.

For me, how do I cope?

The main thing for me is what happens at the end of the day. I don’t leave work unless my desk is clear and tidy. This means I have tidied away any resources and books used that day that I no longer need. I have put away any borrowed pencils, rubbers and rulers. Any pupil work is put into their class folder. I have all the work ready for the next day, including photocopies, resources, textbooks and anything else I need.

This way when I arrive in the morning I walk into a room to see a neat and tidy desk. I can sit down, check my email and look over my plans for the day. This provides me with a calm start to the day, knowing it may not last!

I find that time at the end of the day invaluable. Setting up for the next day rather than leaving it for the morning takes a lot of stress out of my day. Arriving in the morning, running around getting photocopies then finding a paper jam, trying to track down a particular resource and not finding it leads me to panic and is not a great way for me to start the day.

It is something very simple but I wouldn’t do it any other way.

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I would like to regularly share stories about difficult situations I have faced in my classroom (or corridor) to paint the realistic view of my teaching life. Some of these stories will have happened as recently as last week or as long ago as I can remember. All the names have been changed.

So here’s story number 1 – Bread.

A lesson taking place straight after lunch. My class arrive, many hyped up by junk food and fizzy juice from lunch. It’s a large class of 28 but eventually they settle. As I’m explaining an example to the class I notice Danny is eating. I give him a warning and ask him to empty his mouth. A short time later while the class are working I find a small piece of bread on the floor. Then I spot another and another. I don’t worry about it and carry on helping students with their work. Then I hear a loud yell. It is Danny, who jumps out of his chair and starts shouting at another student. He is shouting that someone had just thrown a pencil at him. I send Danny outside to cool down. I ask the class who threw the pencil and Adam admits it was him. Why? Danny had been throwing bread at him. I go over to Danny’s table and see a loaf of bread in his bag. Both boys were sent to the isolation class within the department and referrals are sent. This incident took up quite a bit of my time during the lesson and allowed many other students to stop working and not learning. All the time and effort I’d spent planning for that lesson had been wasted.

Now I hadn’t seen any of this happen. I didn’t see the bread being thrown or the pencil being thrown. It makes me wonder what else I miss.

]]>So what will be my first day plans for my new S1 class? How do I decide what to do on the very first lesson. I’ve had many first lessons over the years so I began to think back over what i had done previously and here’s what I found:

- I will start the course officially – hit the ground running – set these expectations for the year ahead
- I will set problem solving tasks to see how pupils work together and follow instructions
- I will give a numeracy task to evaluate where pupils skills are

So my thoughts are: is there something I can do to cover all of the above?

Here’s what I have come up with:

My starter task – pupils using mini whiteboards will tackle some of the following problems from @1to9puzzle. If you are not following @1to9puzzle you should as there are great daily puzzles and you can access all previous puzzles and answers.

I am hoping that my new pupils can demonstrate perseverance to solving puzzles as well as accuracy with addition and multiplication, there by covering some numeracy and problem solving and allow me to discuss the importance of always trying your best and not to give up.

I then want to give the pupils the chance to work with their partner on a more substantial task. My thoughts jump to nrich (of course).

**Sweets in a Box**

A sweet manufacturer has decided to design some gift boxes for a new kind of sweet.

Each box is to contain 36 sweets placed in lines in a single layer in a geometric shape without gaps or fillers.

How many different shaped boxes can you design?

The sweets come in 4 colours, 9 of each colour.

Arrange the sweets so that no sweets of the same colour are adjacent to (that is ‘next to’) each other in any direction.

Arrange the sweets in some of the boxes you have drawn.

Now try making boxes of 36 sweets in 2 , 3 or 4 layers.

Can you arrange the sweets, 9 each of 4 colours, so that none of the same colour are on top of each other as well as not adjacent to each other in any direction?

See if you can invent a good way of showing your arrangement.

Try different numbers of sweets such as 24 or 60 in each box.

This will allow pupils to demonstrate knowledge of multiplication, layout of solutions and give them the chance to pursue their own questions and take ownership of the investigation themselves.

You can find the problem here.

That’s it. My first day lesson with my new S1. After that I will probably get straight into the official course – sounds dreary but it includes loads of problem solving, puzzles, paired work, group work, independent work, numeracy so should be a great year.

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I’m not sure really. It could be that work became incredibly busy but more likely I didn’t feel I had a lot to share that was new. I had written so much in the first year of my blog and I had run out of things to say.

So I was so excited when I read this on Twitter:

This was exactly what I needed to get me back in my blogging ways. It might be that I don’t manage to blog every week but I am definitely going to try.

The first blog prompt set was: “Goals”. As I was considering my goals for the upcoming year I read this blog by @druinok and loved the structure of it so decided to use it as well.

Here’s my Start – Stop – Continue Goals for 2017-18.

Start:

- being more open about my feelings and opinions as I often keep my thoughts and feelings to myself and end up burying them away rather than dealing with them

- working with other teachers in my department on shared planning. I am guilty of planning by myself at home and using the online world for resources and support. This is good but it could be better. By planning together at school I can share my thoughts and ideas but also learn from others

Stop:

- jumping from one new idea to another. I can get a bit carried away when I read about what other teachers are doing via Twitter or blogs. I then automatically want to try them out. This has led to me starting lots of different techniques or strategies but not seeing them through. My goal is to focus on implementing what I am doing already and making them the best they can be

Continue:

- learning how to be an effective Principal Teacher. This is a job I have been doing for a year now and I still have so much to learn.

I am hoping to review these goals at the end of the first term to see how I am getting on with them.

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