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Tip Top Tips

Teacher Tip Top Tips

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?

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Poundland Pedagogy, Who needs frogs?

Poundland pedgagogy cheap maths resources

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:

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Exam Questions Data Handling

Data Handling Exam Question Practise

I have been in the process recently of creating personalised exam question topic sheets for my intervention groups. This allows me and the students to identify individual areas of strengths and weaknesses. The students then work on the skills needed to improve. I don't allow the students move forward till they gain 90% plus on the tests. I've started creating topics for the New GCSE content also to hopefully ease the workload next year.

All of the tests are two pages and less than 20 marks. I find it easier to print as two pages per sheet. Once I have finished editing the last few into a sharable form for Data Handling I will upload the spreadsheet I use to track the results students results in. This is a work in progress and I will be adding to this over time please be patient.

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Show your working out!

Frustrated students not showing working out

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’?

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The Homework Workload

Speeding up the homework workload

Homework in general is one of the most debated topics amongst teachers. Several teachers believe homework has a great deal of purpose and value while many others feel it’s a box ticking exercise to please parents and SLT. Let’s face it who honestly likes the workload homework creates? Extra planning, marking and feedback time is needed for the teacher and the students are spending several hours after school completing extra work. This all sounds pretty negative? It isn’t honestly.

Homework can play an integral role in a student’s educational life and learning of a topic.  The real key though is homework needs to be planned for and have purpose. There are three main areas which many teachers successfully implement which have an impact on learning at the same time as reducing the workload. 

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“Miss B is always coming up with great new ideas. I have been delighted to work with her on linking numeracy and literacy”

Simon Blower 
Simon Blower
@simonpobble
Co Founder of pobble.com

 

“Makes Maths interesting, relevant and accessible.”

Mark Anderson 
Mark Anderson
@ICTEvangelist
Author of ‘Perfect ICT Every Lesson’ and international speaker.
www.EducationEvangelist.Com

 
 

“Maths teachers looking for inspiration and quality resources? Look no further than @MissBsResources.” 

Jon Tait
Jon Tait
 @Teamtait
Olympic torch bearer, deputy head teacher and international speaker.
www.edutait.co.uk

 
 
 

Danielle Bartram

Maths Lead Practitioner

Acklam Grange School
Middlesborough
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