This week – no.2

I felt like a part time teacher this week. Our senior pupils were out of school on study leave so I only had my S2, S3 classes plus my S1 numeracy period. However on Wednesday there was a power cut so the school was closed by 12pm. This meant I only actually taught 7 periods in the past week. Despite that I was still busy – marking prelims, attending department meeting and SLT link meeting, doing lunch duty and more.

So here’s what my classes were doing this week:

S2 –  On Monday before starting the new topic we did a mini test on bearings. Continue reading

This week – no.1

Last year I started writing a weekly post on what had been happening in my classroom that week. I managed to keep this going for 25 weeks then I stopped. I can’t remember why. I really enjoyed reflecting on my week and so am going to start it up again.

First week of 2020 and the school was calm. It had been a tough few weeks in the run up to Christmas so it was nice to finish the week feeling positive again about my job.

Here’s what my classes were doing:

S1 – I have a class for one period a week to provide extra numeracy. I’ve found that often my pupils are ok with completing calculations but struggle when faced with contextual problems and reading instructions. For our first lesson I wanted to see exactly how well my new class could follow instructions so I found this task in a book we have in the department.

The class took well to the initial task but as expected, stumbled when faced with reading and interpreting the follow on instructions. This meant that I was giving far more input than really should have been given. Hopefully as the weeks go on I can work on improving this area with my class. 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
  • S3: factorising quadratics
  • 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
  • Advanced higher – matrices

Continue reading

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: 20190209_1341166122175435526542096.jpg
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