Questions that promote thinking

I came across this document awhile back on Twitter.

The link to this document is here. The poster has 100 questions for teachers to ask students to promote mathematical thinking and classroom discussion. I was really drawn to these and wanted a way to implement these in my classroom. Many of these questions I ask on a regular basis but felt that many of these questions would be very useful for my students to ask themselves as well. My problem was how to interpret these and display these in a helpful way.

Then yesterday I saw these on Twitter: Continue reading

Integers Misconceptions

Why is it that so few of my pupils have a real understanding of performing calculations with negative numbers.

I have recently been working on finding the equation of a line in slope-intercept form with my S3 class. They investigated how to calculate gradient and have a great understanding of how to calculate gradient. The problems arose when actually calculating the gradient. So many errors with calculations such as -4 – (-5).

Listening to conversations at various tables I hear statements like “two negatives make a positive” and “I hate negative numbers”. The main misconceptions seem to be that since 6 – (-3) = 9 then -3 + (-4) = 7 since two negatives make a positive. Continue reading

#MTBoS12days Looking forward to …

What am I looking forward to in 2016?

There are a few things that come to mind straight away:

  • writing my blog – this is very new to me and so far I have enjoyed writing my posts. It has helped greatly having the #MTBoS12days to base my posts on. When I don’t have them I will have to think a lot more about what I want to blog about and why.

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#MTBoS12days Moment that challenged me

As a maths teacher I face new challenges every day but my biggest challenge recently involved my other job.

As well as being a maths teacher I am the Principal Teacher of Achievement. This is a promoted post that I have been in since September 2014. The post involves recognising and celebrating achievement in the school.

I was asked to lead an improvement team to develop a new merit award system. The moment that challenged me – when the Head Teacher informed me that I had to speak at assemblies to launch the new system.

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#MTBoS12days One thing to improve

One thing I want to improve this term … this is the Yule Time Challenge set. This is incredibly difficult to decide upon because there are so many areas where I feel I need to make improvements.

However, if I want to make significant changes and have them be effective then it is wise to focus on one or two small changes and build from there.

One area which has always been a struggle for me is dealing with pupils who have been absent. Whether an illness or appointment or school trip or family holiday, pupils tend to expect to walk back into class and somehow magically catch up with the rest of the class. One of my biggest frustrations is when a pupil leaves a homework or test question blank and says “I was off when you did this”. Continue reading

#MTBoS12days Tried and Tested Task

I call this task “Red Amber Green” – not the most imaginative name I know. 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.

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#MTBoS12days Reflection on last term

The fifth task for the Yule Blog Challenge is to reflect on last term (or semester) and consider what will I start, stop and continue. I’m new to blogging and this is the first task which has really made me think about my teaching and learning over the last term.

What will I start:

I am going to start using these Problem Solving Bookmarks that I found online (don’t have the original link). I find that my pupils are very quick to say they “cannae dae it” when they see a tricky problem before even giving themselves time to think. I would like to give all my pupils a copy of the bookmark and make a real effort to refer to it during lessons.

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#MTBoS12days Books Books Books


I love to read but don’t always make time to read.

My early Christmas present to myself is “Make It Stick” P C Brown.

I have seen lots of recommendations for this book on Twitter and really want to read it and hope I can use it to help my pupils improve their learning.

I have borrowed a copy of “War and Peace” Leo Tolstoy from my mum.  Haven’t started it yet and now the BBC is showing a six part series in the New Year. Dilemma – do I watch the series then read the book or vice versa?

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