With the examination season upon us, both teachers and students are frantically trying to revise the key topics to boost students up a grade in time for the GCSE Exams. There is more pressure than ever on maths results within schools with one set of bad results often meaning relegation in the terms of Ofsted. However it is important that we remember the real reason why we as teachers are bending over backwards and putting many extra hours in to support and push our students over the final hurdle.
The new maths GCSE passports are a resource designed to encourage students to have independence of their revision. However the maths GCSE passport resources also provides direction for the students about how to revise maths, which maths topics to revise and where to look for maths resources. Commonly students struggle to be able to correctly revise mathematics. Many believe reading through a revision guide is enough no matter how many times you tell the students the need to complete maths questions.
After a lot of rethinking last year, I decided to take the GCSE maths passport resource one step further. They focus on both numeracy and maths skills. I was lucky enough to be given a little time to be able to develp the new passports when I moved schools last year. We launched them with a very cheesy assembly to year 11 and placed incentives behind the students completing them such as an iPad prize draw for every completed passport.
The new maths GCSE passport resources are more detailed than ever before. Instead of there being only three passports there are now five. the new maths passports support students with basic numeracy skills up to the complex mathematical concepts. They are seperated into GCSE grades A/A*, B, C1, C2, C3.
Who needs frogs when you can have bunnies? Poundland pedagogy is something I try to use within my practice to help engage students into the learning. It’s cheap, resourceful and practical. Above all else though students more often than not love the Poundland pedagogy lessons. I hear the cynics in the background bemoaning that this is a fad and a gimmick around the learning. Maybe it is or maybe it isn’t but Poundland pedagogy is a very useful classroom and maths resource. I’ve mentioned a few ideas before in presentations, however I thought it was time to share some of these ideas with fellow teachers on my Miss B's blog.
This half term I managed to get out and about and do some high street shopping. Here the lure of Poundlands bargains tempted me in. I discovered a couple of useful items for this half terms lessons. Some of the fun items I have bought are bright florescent sales stickers ready for teaching fractions and percentages. A cheap mini mouse height measurer to go on my wall. As well as some cardboard pirate cut outs for when we do algebra solving equations and rearranging formula revision, as I always teach it as you are balancing a pirate ship.
My top three maths resources for improving conceptual understanding of maths topics though are:
Last week I helped organise and run our very own Acklam Grange School teach meet, AGSInspire with Jon Tait. It was a great night with lots of teachers sharing their experiences, tips and engaging ideas from the front line. For the evening I presented on my ‘Tip Top Tips’, these consisted of the little things that I’ve found can have positive impact in the right conditions.
There is a need to try and build a culture of independence and resilience within our students now more than ever with the New GCSE reforms across all subjects. The balance can be a tricky one between offering support, guidance and structure and allowing students opportunities to grapple and struggle with a problem or concept. I’ve found there is a fine line between support and dependency on support. How can we offer both support and challenge in the right way, so our students can apply their skills without support afterwards and also so the students don’t switch off from the challenge?
Is it time to stop our moaning?
There are many hang ups that both teachers and students have over presentation, with many students determined to miss out the direction of how they got from A to B. I worry without a sat nav would they ever survive? They refuse no matter how many times we countlessly nag them to “Show thier your out” to actually show their working out. Staff are fed up of saying it and students are fed up of hearing it.
Is it time we remarketed and branded this differently? Companies will often tweak their brand and marketing campaigns to increase their popularity and market standing. Take the old marathon chocolate bar that is now a snicker or how opal fruits became starbursts. Brands were changed to gain uniformity around the world, alongside the shock publicity increasing sales and many other reasons.
Another more recent example is Kentucky Fried Chicken changing its name to KFC and McDonalds recent pursuit of looking healthy by serving salads and simulating a fast food version of Starbucks. The point is this has all been done due to market trends towards a healthy lifestyle. Are the market trends telling us it’s time to rebrand ‘show your working out’?