I do like to organize. I like pretty folders and files. I like colourful drawers and trays. I like labelling boxes and shelves. I like to organize cupboards and rooms. Disclaimer – even though I try to be organized, it doesn’t always go to plan. I do end up with piles of messy papers, misplace things and my pen drive is a mess.
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? Continue reading
Often there is a pair of rose-tinted glasses on my blogs about awesome lessons and amazing students. While there are great things going on in my classroom there are also periods, classes, days, weeks etc where I am faced with behaviour issues that impact on learning.
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. Continue reading
It’s a funny thing to think about first day plans after the summer holidays as in Scotland we start with our new classes for a few weeks in June before the holidays. So most of my first days with classes have passed. However, I will be meeting my S1 class (11-12 years old) for the first time next week. (Small lie: I did meet them briefly in June when they visited the school for a few days)
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: Continue reading
I have published 76 posts since the start of 2016. Only 4 of these were published in 2017. What happened?
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. Continue reading
“It doesn’t work” claimed a pupil to me in class last week. “Of course it does” I replied. “Yeah ok, I suppose it does but it’s not a proper answer” replied the pupil.
This is a discussion about solving equations where the answer was not a whole number. It really made me think. Why is it that pupils don’t accept fractions (or decimals) as a solution to an equation? It’s not that my pupils aren’t familiar with fractions and decimals.
The problem is the type of questions I ask my pupils. It is fairly typical when first learning to solve equations to have “nice” whole number solutions. Maybe non-whole number solutions should be introduced right from the start.
Then I thought about some other areas of maths. Angles, area, perimeter, volume, Pythagoras, statistics, algebra, … do I focus on “nice” solutions too often in these areas too?
The positive is that I’ve already started planning to correct this. I’m currently writing a new S1 course in which this will be a focus. I wrote calculating new angles worksheets which contain decimals and algebra as well as whole numbers. Hopefully my pupils in the future won’t be so confused or bothered by answers that are not whole numbers.
A while back I blogged about one of my favourite tasks Red Amber Green. This is a task structure that I used to use regularly but recently I have not. I have no idea why not as it is a perfect task for any year group and perfect for mixed ability groups. I am hoping that by refreshing my memory of Red Amber Green tasks I will start to use again in class.
Here is a brief reminder of the task: Continue reading
I’ve been teaching for quite a while now and homework is an area I still feel I’m not getting right. Whether it be forgetting to set homework, not setting homework that doesn’t impact learning or poor feedback on homework handed in. Recently I read a blog post about 2-4-2 homework. This homework sets 2 questions on the current topic, 4 questions on previously covered topics and 2 extension questions.
Instantly I was intrigued by this format. So often I complain about my pupils poor retention of previous topics. This 2-4-2 format would provide spaced and interleaved practice giving pupils to revisit and review topics throughout the year.
My aim is to write a collection of these homeworks for National 5 maths that will be ready to use at the start of the next session. Hopefully having a set of homeworks prepared in advance with proper planning
put into them will help pupils next session.
My other consideration for homework is feedback. I have seen a lot around Twitter about Marking Crib Sheets. These are used to provide whole class feedback. Here is an example of one that I’m considering of adapting.
I would love to hear other opinions on setting homework.