18 April 2018

5 Maths Gems #87

Welcome to my 87th gems post. This is where I share some of the latest news, ideas and resources for maths teachers.

1. Regular Recall
Starting a lesson with mixed topic questions seems to be fairly common practice these days. Many teachers use resources like Corbett Maths 5 a Day. Taking this idea a step further, some teachers on Twitter have recently shared examples of tasks where students are asked a question on what they did last lesson, last week, last term and last year. Here's a great example from @MissBanksMaths.
And here's an earlier example from @JonONeillMaths, who was inspired by the original idea in @87History's blog post about retrieval challenge practice grids.
This is one of those rare ideas that works well in most subjects. Here's an example for physics by @alexpboulton.
2. GCSE Papers
I've blogged about CrashMaths (@crashMATHS_CM) before. Their website is a good source of practice exam papers for both GCSE and the new A level. They've recently added a new set of Edexcel-style Higher GCSE papers (Set B), which includes this nice non-calculator question:
They've also recently added a couple of Higher AQA-style papers to Set A and some helpful GCSE worksheets.

Another useful set of resources on CrashMaths is for the Edexcel A level large data set. This includes an information and guidance document for students and six practice questions.

3. Goal Free Problems
If you've read Craig Barton's book 'How I Wish I'd Taught Maths', you'll already be familiar with Goal Free Problems. In Chapter 4, which is all about focusing thinkingCraig explains that while most exam questions are goal-specific, he now makes use of goal-free problems in the early knowledge acquisition phase. He also uses goal-free exam papers to kick-start the revision process. If you haven't already done so, read Craig's book to see some examples of these problems and to fully understand the goal-free effect and how it relates to Cognitive Load Theory.

Thanks to @MrMattock who has now created a free website - goalfreeproblems.blogspot.co.uk - which shares a large number of these problems for both Higher and Foundation tier. In each of these exam questions, the actual question has been removed and replaced with the words 'Work out what you can from this information'.
4. What Went Wrong
Thanks to Year 6 teacher @MrBoothY6 who has shared a large collection of common maths misconceptions on TES:

See my misconceptions page for more resources relating to common misconceptions.

5.  GCSE Revision
@AccessMaths has been busy making resources - his latest revision resource 'Progressive Overload' covers a number of key algebra skills and works well printed on A3. @podroberts helpfully worked out the answers too!
Also check out his new 'Fill in the Blanks' graph revision resources.
For more GCSE revision resources check out my GCSE 9-1 Revision post. I also have an A level revision post for the legacy specification.

My 300th blog post was 'New GCSE: Bounds' - in this post I took a close look at the GCSE specification and resources for this topic. Before that I wrote 'BCME 9 Reflections' which included slides from my recent workshop 'Ideas that transformed my teaching'. Next week is the fourth anniversary of my blog, which means it's time for my annual gem awards!

Here's some other news that you might have missed:
  • MEI have archived all of their Monthly Maths and M4 magazines and categorised their classroom resources by GCSE topic here.
  • Tickets for the JustMaths conference are on sale. It takes place at Alton Towers on Monday 25th June (I'm looking forward to presenting at this one!).
  • I've added a few new events to my conferences page - including Don Steward presenting at an MA/ATM event in London in June.
  • I love MathsPad resources and this excellent new similarity proof resource is no exception! I've added it to my resource library.
  • For legacy further maths revision materials, check out drolivermathematics.com. Thanks to @gismaths for sharing this website with me.
  • If you teach A level maths in the London area, do take your students along to the IMA 16+ Lectures on 28th June at UCL - the programme is fantastic. 
  • If you're an MA member and willing to help out on the MA bookstand at #mathsconf15 in Manchester on 23rd June, please get in touch.
  • Thank you to Hannah Fry for sharing @oliviawalch's wonderfully illustrated "Some Myths about Math". 
I'll leave you with this excellent maths joke, created by @treemaiden and illustrated by @aap03102. Have a great week!

13 April 2018

New GCSE: Bounds

I like the bounds content in the new GCSE. I think that the introduction of error intervals has provided some clarity. Previously some students just couldn't get their head around why we use 3.65 as the upper bound for 3.6 ("but Miss, 3.65 rounds to 3.7. This doesn't make sense!"). The use of inequality symbols (in conjunction with instruction using number lines) really helps with conceptual understanding here.
3.55 ≤  x < 3.65

Of course error intervals aren't new - they just weren't previously assessed at GCSE. Upper bounds and error intervals are clearly explained in this extract from the CIMT MEP textbook chapter on Estimation and Approximation from the late 1990s:
I also like the inclusion of truncation in the new GCSE specification, because it means that students need to think more carefully before answering a bounds question. Previously, bounds questions at GCSE were predictable, and students only really needed a superficial, procedural understanding of the topic. Things have changed.

Age is a good way to teach truncation, given that students will already be very used to truncating their own age, rather than rounding it to the nearest integer.
Ed is 36 years old. His age is represented by x. Give the error interval for x.
 36 ≤  x < 37
Jemma Sherwood has written a helpful post about truncation resources.

Discrete Bounds
My Year 11s really struggled with a bounds question in their mock exams this year. It's from a recent AQA paper so I can't share the actual question here, but this question is similar:
Two integers are rounded to the nearest 10. The rounded numbers are added to give to 40. What's the maximum total value of the orginal numbers?
Let's say that both numbers were 20 when rounded. The maximum each number could be is 24, so the highest possible total is 48. The common mistake here is to take the upper bound to be 25, giving an incorrect final answer of 50. So why was this such a common mistake? I expect it's because most of us teach bounds in a context of measurement, not counting. We spend a lot of time on continuous bounds, and very little (if any) time on discrete bounds.

Interestingly, my GCSE textbook doesn't contain a single question on discrete bounds. A bit of internet searching shows that BBC Bitesize has one question on discrete bounds:
The number of people on a bus is given as 50, correct to the nearest 10. What is the lowest and highest possible number of people on the bus?
The OCR Check-In Test on Approximation and Estimation has this question:
 Explain why the error interval of 400 cars to the nearest 50 cars could be written as  375 ≤  c  424 or 375 ≤  c < 425.
and the AQA Rounding Topic Test has a couple of discrete bounds questions, including this one:
Two performances of a show are each attended by 175 people, to the nearest 5. Work out the maximum possible difference between the numbers of people attending.

It's worth noting that the Government's GCSE subject content doesn't specifically refer to discrete bounds. This is the official content for bounds at GCSE:

"15. round numbers and measures to an appropriate degree of accuracy (e.g. to a specified number of decimal places or significant figures); use inequality notation to specify simple error intervals due to truncation or rounding

16. apply and interpret limits of accuracy, including upper and lower bounds"

OCR's specification does mention discrete bounds though, saying that students must "Understand the difference between bounds of discrete and continuous quantities".

AQA's excellent Teaching Guidance has this:
"Upper bounds do not necessarily require use of recurring decimals. For example, if the answer to the nearest integer is 7, the maximum could be given as 7.5, 7.49.... , or 7.49.
If this value of 7 represented £7, £7.49 would be expected for the maximum.
For continuous variables, students may be asked for the lower and upper limits rather than the minimum and maximum values."
The money example here is interesting - it's not something I have explicitly covered with my students. Don Steward has a good bounds exercise including money questions - I'll  make sure I use this next time I teach this topic.

Edexcel doesn't specifically refer to discrete bounds in either their specification or supporting material, but of course that doesn't necessarily mean they won't come up in an Edexcel exam.

Exam Questions
Bounds questions involving calculations can be fairly challenging for students, particularly as sometimes it's not immediately obvious that the question involves bounds. Here's an example from an old Edexcel Linked Pair paper:
"Sian is driving on a motorway.
Sian drives for 2.8 miles, correct to the nearest tenth of a mile.
It takes her 200 seconds, correct to the nearest 5 seconds.
The average speed limit on this part of the motorway is 50 miles per hour.
Did Sian drive at a speed within the average speed limit? You must explain your answer."

Another type of challenging GCSE question is one that says "by considering bounds, work out the value of x to a suitable degree of accuracy, justifying your answer". For examples of questions like this, see Dr Frost's 'Full Coverage: Bounds' resource which has an example of every different question type from past Edexcel papers.

I've already mentioned Don's excellent resource, the CIMT resources and Dr Frost's full coverage GCSE questions. For a comprehensive list of bounds resources, see my resources library.

It's worth noting that John Corbett has helpful videos, textbook exercises and practice questions on limits of accuracy and limits of accuracy: applying. And Edexcel's new content resources include a helpful worksheet on bounds.

I'm doing a revision lesson on bounds with my Year 11s on Monday and will be using this excellent bounds GCSE revision resource from Maths4Everyone. 

For Interest
Finally, in my research into how mathematics was taught in the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries, I've found few references to rounding. However, in 'Practical Mathematics for All' (McKay, 1942) I found this nice explanation of 'limits of error':

If anyone knows of any earlier references to upper and lower bounds, I'd love to see them.

Thanks for reading! This was my 300th blog post, so a bit of a milestone for me. To read other posts about teaching specific GCSE topics, you can view my topic collection here.

7 April 2018

BCME 9 Reflections

I spent the last four days at BCME 9 at the University of Warwick. It was brilliant. The British Congress of Mathematics Education only takes place once every four years. This was my first BCME. In fact, it was my first residential Easter conference, so this was a really big deal for me! I am extremely grateful to my husband (who took a week off work to look after our daughters), and to the bursary committee of BCME (who awarded me a bursary so that I could afford to attend), and to the conference organisers (who did an incredible job of organising a huge conference with hundreds of speakers). It was a fantastic opportunity for learning, networking and socialising. I'm utterly exhausted now but luckily I have one more week of the Easter holidays in which to recover! In this post I'll share five of my conference highlights.

1. The Podcasts
Craig Barton and I recorded four podcasts over the course of the conference. We've had some lovely feedback. I'm so glad people find these podcasts useful and entertaining.

BCME Day 1 - Craig and I discuss probability, variation, how I changed my teaching over the last four years, and how the flipping heck you say BCME. (49 minutes)

BCME Day 2 - Craig and I discuss challenging GCSE topics, QLAs, a history of problem solving, manipulatives, pop-up maths, stretching the most able, why exams don't tell you everything, and the prospects of our quiz team. (1 hour 3 minutes)

BCME Day 3 - Craig and I discuss the difficulty of teaching primary maths, the difficulty of teaching A Level, and the difficulty of securing a seat near to Hannah Fry at the Conference Dinner. (1 hour 13 minutes)

BCME Day 4 - Craig and I talk about arithmetic strategies, aha moments, tricky GCSE questions and teaching low-attaining students. (44 minutes)

Thank you to Craig for inviting me to co-host these podcasts. I really enjoyed it.

2. The Evening Entertainment
The line up of evening entertainment at BCME 9 couldn't have been more perfect. The first night was a taste of MathsJam - we did puzzles, played games and enjoyed card tricks performed by Andrew Jeffrey. On the second night there was a brilliant quiz, which (unbelievably) my team won! I'm pretty sure this was the highlight of the conference for all members of my quiz team (shout out to Ed, Megan, Karen, Craig and Andrew). We had so much fun! Though the American Pie singalong was totally surreal. On the third night I went to the Conference Dinner where I hung out with my hero Hannah Fry. #starstruck

I met loads of lovely people throughout the conference and also enjoyed having so much quality time with good friends.

3. Pop Up Maths
I got a lot out of every session I went to and if you listen to the podcasts you will hear me discuss each session in detail. My favourite session of the conference was run by David Sharp of Spaghetti Maths. My friends Megan and Ed made a last minute decision to join me, and we ended up having loads of fun (not only making mathsy stuff out of paper, but also downloading the Boomerang app and playing with it for the first time!).
Spaghetti Maths are keen to hear from people who want to get involved in running their sessions in primary schools. I love what they do and I hope their business grows so that more children can benefit from the enrichment they offer.
By the way, if you're not familiar with flexahexagons then do watch Vi Hart's fantastic videos about them. They are awesome.

4. Markit.Education
I went to a session by Nikki Gupta in which she talked about problem solving and misconceptions at A level. I really like her website markit.education and have blogged about it a couple of times before. It's full of great A level questions that I've recently started to use in my lessons.

I'm really keen for A level teachers to have a look at the 'step-by-step' functionality on this website. It's very clever - it's a bit like a student receiving guidance from a one-on-one tutor.

I've tried to capture the process in this gif but it's better if you try it yourself. There's an online demo that you can have a go at without logging in.

Register on the website to access all the questions. You can set around three hours worth of A level homeworks for free once you've registered, and then it's £15 per student if you'd like to set more work. I think it might be worth subscribing in September and using this for all A level homeworks next year. It's high quality stuff and would really cut down on my marking workload (A level is where I do all my homework marking). Something to think about...

5. My Presentation
Thank you to everyone who came to my session on "Ideas that transformed my teaching". What a lovely group of people! I promised that I'd share my slides, so here they are:

PowerPoint: Ideas that Transformed my Teaching

The slides won't make a huge amount of sense without my commentary but if you listen to BCME Podcast Day 1 you'll hear me explain some of what I covered here.

In my session I talked about joining Twitter four years ago - at the time I was feeling pretty uninspired and bored by maths teaching. Twitter provided so much inspiration and enthusiasm that since then I have absolutely loved being a maths teacher and am now constantly developing my teaching practice and reflecting on what I do. I looked ahead to BCME 2022 and talked about what I might change between now and then.

I'd like to end this post by thanking a few people for an absolutely fantastic conference: the organisers of BCME; my friends at The Mathematical Association; the speakers who generously put so much time and effort into preparing and delivering their sessions; and my conference buddies Ed, Craig, Megan and Andrew. I really hope I can attend the joint MA/ATM conference next Easter and do it all again.

30 March 2018

5 Maths Gems #86

Welcome to my 86th gems post. This is where I share some of the latest news, ideas and resources for maths teachers.

1. Matching Games
Henk Reuling (@HenkReuling) has produced some fabulous applets for use on an interactive whiteboard, laptop or tablet. In one applet, you have to calculate the radius of each coloured circle - it's more challenging than it looks!
Another applet involves working out areas.
There are loads more applets covering topics such as Pythagoras, fractions and quadratic graphs.

2. TES Secondary Maths Collection
Over Christmas I contributed to a project for TES where a group of us carefully handpicked the best free TES resources for every topic. These have now been published on the secondary maths collection page. We're hoping that this helps support the lesson planning process. For example, if you're planning a lesson on bearings then you'll find some excellent bearings resources here.
Read Craig Barton's post for more information about this collection.

3. Mathonyms
You probably already subscribe to Chris Smith's maths newsletter (which I blogged about here and here). If so, you may have already seen Mathonyms, which he featured in Issue 432. The website Mathonyms.xyz was shared by Australian teacher Andrew Wrigley - his student Mitchell Hamilton created this website for Pi Day. It produces “Mathonyms”: words characterised by Mathsy symbols. Great fun!
4. Resources for Kenya
The creator of website mathsbox.org.uk, Sandra (@mathsbox1), is going to Kenya with volunteer organisation African Adventures to work with children living in deprivation. In order to raise money for resources to take to Kenya, she's sharing a new or popular Mathsbox resource for free on Twitter each day for 60 days. In return she hopes that people will make donations on her Crowdfunding page. Resources shared so far include 'Graph Detectives', structured problem solving questions, a higher GCSE revision relay and a foundation GCSE revision relay. Follow Sandra on Twitter for the daily links.
5. SATs Revision
I wrote about David Morse's (@Maths4Everyone) resources here. Lately I've made good use of his resources with my Year 11s, including his great set of 'show that' questions on forming and solving quadratics.

David has now extended his range of resources into the primary phase by producing compilations of maths questions for KS2 SATs Revision. They are organised by topic and full solutions are provided. These excellent free resources are worth sharing with Year 6 teachers.
In case you missed it, my latest post was about a wonderful maths textbook from the 1700s: Hodder's Arithmetick. If you have some spare time over Easter, you might enjoy this and my other posts about what I've found in old textbooks.

Last week I updated my multiple choice questions post to add a great new set of quizzes produced by Grace Horne (@GSmithlar).
I am ridiculously excited that it's nearly time for BCME! I've really enjoying preparing my workshop, and I'm looking forward to recording my daily conference podcasts with Craig Barton. If you're not coming to BCME, look out for the podcasts next week.

If you're planning to come to #mathsconf15 in Manchester on 23rd June, note that La Salle have now announced the venue for both the conference (Manchester Enterprise Academy Central) and the pre-conference drinks (the Manchester Piccadilly Premier Inn).

If you teach Year 11 or Year 13 then no doubt you will be running revision lessons after Easter. You might find these posts helpful:

If you know any science teachers, you might want to tell them about diagnosticquestions.com where there are now almost 4,000 completely free science multiple choice questions. Also, it's worth reading this excellent post by @Benneypenyrheol on the use of the bar modelling in science lessons. It occurred to me when reading this post that maths departments could support science departments by offering bar modelling CPD using examples relevant to science.

I'll leave you with this area puzzle that your students might enjoy, shared on Twitter by @SteveJLyon. Have a lovely Easter!

18 March 2018

18th Century Arithmetic

My fascination with old mathematics textbooks continues. I've previously blogged about an algebra book from the 1950s and a Victorian textbook from 1885. But now... well, hold the front page, because @BTNMathsJam sent me a link to a digitised arithmetic textbook from over 300 years ago. Bear in mind that this was way before The Industrial Revolution. In the early 1700s the population of England was only around 5 million and most people lived in poverty. Education in England was mainly for wealthy boys, and focused largely on Latin and Greek, morality, discipline and the Bible.
I've been reading the 22nd edition of Hodder's Arithmetick which dates from 1702 (there are also some earlier editions on Google Books). In this post I'm sharing some cool stuff from this fascinating book, just because I love it and you might find it interesting.

The Earliest Maths Textbooks
According to 'Early Schools and School-Books of New England' (Littlefield, 1904), the earliest arithmetic printed in English was Robert Record's 'The Ground of Arts: Teaching the perfect work and practice of Arithmetic, both in whole Numbers and Fractions, after a more easie and exact form then in former time hath been set forth'.  This book, with its excellent snappy title, was written in 1540 in the form of "a dialogue betweene the master and the scholar; teaching the art and use of arithmetic with pen". This book remained popular for well over a hundred years, during which time a number of other arithmetic texts were published including works by Baker, Wingate and Oughtred. In 1661, the first edition of 'Hodder's Arithmetick' was published in London and was hugely successful, both in England and America. James Hodder was a master of a writing school in London.
In the 18th Century, arithmetic was taught in a similar way to writing. The teacher would provide a example from a book that students would work out on a separate sheet of paper and, once correct, it would be copied into a notebook known as a ciphering book. This sounds a bit like a modern approach involving students having a go on a mini-whiteboard before copying a neat worked example into their exercise book.

Much of Hodder's Arithmetick is devoted to 'vocational' arithmetic - working with money, measures and time (for example 'the addition of wine measures' which involves carrying hogsheads! Plus a whole chapter on 'The Rule of Barter').


The first thing that jumped out at me in Hodder's Arithmetick was the use of the word cypher for zero.
"Numeration is that part of arithmetick whereby one might rightly value, express, and write any number and sum propounded. To the attainment whereof, that all numbers are expressed by these characters following, whose simple value by themselves considered, you may here take notice of
one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, cypher.
 1       2       3       4       5       6       7       8       9       0
The Cypher serves to make up the number of places, but of itself signifies nothing"

It's fascinating to see the word cypher listed here. A century later, Victorian textbooks used the word zero. You may be aware that the word zero comes through the Arabic literal translation of the Sanskrit śūnya, meaning void or empty, into sifr. The word cipher or cypher was once commonly used for zero in the English language, but has come to refer to encoding.

Hodder goes on to explain place value.

'A prick with your pen between every three figures' - now known as a comma.

Multiplication and Division
The times tables are presented in Chapter 4:
Note the sensible lack of duplication (ie 7 x 6 is not listed because 6 x 7 has already been listed).

On learning multiplication tables, Hodder says "You must of necessity get it very perfectly by heart, before you can make any further progress in this art". I'm with him on that.

In describing how to do long multiplication, Hodder tells the reader to keep track of workings by crossing out digits in the multiplier when they've been dealt with.
"And having done with the first Figure of the Multiplier, cancel it with a Dash of the Pen, and proceed to the next..."
Cancel it with a dash of the pen! I love this.

The description of the method for division is a bit hard to follow. It's similar to the short division method we now use, though the digits are placed in different positions throughout the calculation (eg the answer ends up to to the right of the 'crooked line' instead of at the top).
Hodder later goes on to describe 'a more easy way of division, and with fewer figures'.
"I will not stand to shew you more of this common way of division, which is indeed very tedious and burdensome to the memory, and hath caused (to my knowledge) many to despair of attaining it, and to proceeding further in this art. But proceed by the method following, which will enable one to go on with far more ease and delight then commonly is seen". 
I tried to follow Hodder's 'easier method' but started to lose the will to live, so gave up.

The section on division ends with a glorious yet terrifying example which takes up an entire page.
The next chapter in the book is reduction, then we have fractions followed by 'The Rule of Three' (also known as 'The Golden Rule', which involves proportional reasoning). However, after reading the division chapter, my brain needs a rest! I will continue to share the delights of Hodder in a subsequent blog post. In the meantime, you can read the whole book here. Enjoy!

16 March 2018

5 Maths Gems #85

Welcome to my 85th gems post. This is where I share some of the latest news, ideas and resources for maths teachers.

1. SSDD and Venns
In case you haven't heard, Craig Barton (@mrbartonmaths) launched two new websites last week: ssddproblems.com and mathsvenns.com.

I first blogged about the 'Same Surface Different Deep' idea after Craig introduced it at the JustMaths conference last June. The idea is that we have a set of problems where the surfaces are similar (eg all isosceles triangles) but the deep structures (ie the topics) are different. It's brilliant to see this idea taking off in classrooms all over the world now that Craig has shared a large collection of SSDD problems.
Craig explains how and why to use these problems, and invites contributions, on ssddproblems.com. It's also worth reading Michael Pershan's (@mpershan) post "When is it helpful to make a bunch of different problems look the same?" and Karen Campe's (@KarenCampe) post "Looking Below the Surface".

Craig's second new website, mathsvenns.com, features a large collection of Venn-based rich tasks.

These tasks are excellent. Again, Craig is inviting contributions to this site so if you have a great Venn idea, email it to Craig for inclusion.

2. Pi Display
If you're looking for a display to brighten up your maths corridor, you might like this lovely 'First 1000 Digits of Pi' display from Jae Ess (@jaegetsreal). This display sparked some lovely conversations between students at Jae's school.
I've added this to my page of maths display resources.

3. Convince Me That
Daniel Kaufmann (@KauDan721) has created a set of 'Convince Me That' problems. Giving students the answer, rather than asking them to find the answer, allows them to focus on different aspects of the problem (the how, the why, the process).
Teachers are invited to contribute their own problems to this collection.

4. Minimally Different Questions
Jess (@FortyNineCubed) has created a new collection of minimally different problems. These are carefully structured so students can make connections between each question. Topics covered include solving equations with brackets, ratio, dividing negative numbers, multiplying negative numbers and solving equations.
5. Literacy
On Twitter I shared some word trees from membean.com that I use when talking to my students about vocabulary. For example when teaching percentages, I like to ask students where else they have heard the word cent. Their answers are always brilliant!
Other root trees with mathematical links include bi, uni, dia, equ, multi, tricircum and poly. I'm grateful to Maggie Harnew (@skillsworkshop) for sharing her lovely word maps for the numbers one and two. There's so much to explore here.
I had a great time at the Kettering maths conference last weekend - you can read my write up here and listen to my post-conference podcast with Craig Barton here.

In the podcast I promised that I'd set up a page to share knowledge organisers. My colleague Andy has been using knowledge organisers very effectively this year and he has given me permission to share some of his to get the page started. If you've made knowledge organisers that you're happy to share, please send me a link and I'll include them on this page.

On Monday I ran a 20 minute CPD session on GCSE revision for my colleagues (mainly focused on resources). My slides are here if you'd like to borrow them. Links are in the notes section on each slide.

In other news...
  • Dr Madas has published some IYGB papers for the AS pure content of the new A level (Paper L, Paper P, Paper Q and Paper R). Given how little exam practice material there is for our current Year 12s, these are really helpful!
  • Dr Frost is organising another maths teacher social event on Friday 13th April in Surrey. All welcome!
  • Chris McGrane wrote a great post on planning a lesson on integration which is worth a read if you teach A level.
  • If you're looking for an Easter-themed resource for the end of term, try Chris Smith's Easter relay
  • There are only a few residential tickets left for BCME!  It starts in two and a half weeks - I can't wait. 

I'll leave you this with excellent puzzle from Brilliant, shared by Mark Horley (@mhorley). 

11 March 2018


I had a wonderful day at #mathsconf14 in Kettering yesterday. Kettering is my favourite La Salle conference venue! Normally after a conference I write a detailed blog post about all the new things I learnt, but I've promised my daughters that I won't spend Mothering Sunday on my laptop, so today's post is very short.

I had a lovely time on Friday night, starting with celebratory drinks with my Twitter besties Craig, Ed and Tom (between us celebrating three new books and one new job).
I then had a lovely dinner with friends, including my former colleague Mariana who was attending her first ever conference. After dinner we joined the rest of the delegates for drinks - what a fantastic turnout! I was really grateful to Martin Noon who gave me another beautiful old textbook to add to my collection.

I had to arrive at the conference ridiculously early on Saturday to set up the MA bookstand, which I helped out on between workshops. We gave free goody bags to the first 100 visitors, and had a busy day selling lots of excellent books. I didn't get time to visit the rest of the exhibition but I was very pleased to meet Rob Eastaway on the Maths Inspiration stand, where I picked up a free truncatable prime pencil (when you sharpen it, the number remains prime!). Here's Lucy Rycroft-Smith modelling a giant version:
I loaded up on sweets to keep me going - thanks to Rob Smith for stocking the tuck shop with plenty of astro belts (my favourite!).

I enjoyed all four workshops I went to, and was gutted to miss the rest. It's always so hard to pick workshops. I won't go into detail about the sessions I attended here because I have already done so in my podcast with Craig Barton. Craig and I sat down immediately after the conference (well, after he'd finished giving autographs) and recorded a chat about what we learnt from each workshop. It's a relatively short podcast, so if you can spare 40 minutes then do have a listen.
If people like this 'Conference Takeaways' Podcast idea, we'll make it a regular thing, so do let us know your feedback.
I'm all fired up for BCME now, which is only three weeks away. Hopefully see you there, or at the next La Salle conference in Manchester.

Thank you to Mark McCourt, the La Salle team and everyone involved for another fantastic day.