15 March 2015


I had a great time at La Salle Education's National Maths Teacher Conference in Birmingham yesterday. It was well worth going up there on Friday night - I had a fantastic evening, enjoying a delicious dinner and the company of fellow tweeters @solvemymaths, @tessmaths, @7puzzle, @MrPatelMaths and @DocendoTim. I was in the bar at midnight to see the start of Pi Day but up bright and early the next morning to make the final preparations for my workshop (with a slightly sore head due to too much wine the night before...). I was a bag of nerves over breakfast pastries but thankfully the lovely Craig Barton (an experienced and popular conference presenter) reassured me with words of wisdom.
@MissBsResources, me and @MrPatelMaths at 12.01am on Pi Day -
thanks to @El_Timbre for the posters and @jennypeek for the photo
At the conference, I really enjoyed David Thomas' session '3 Techniques You Should Know (but probably don't)'. It was helpful to see good examples of bar modelling, algebra tiles and double number lines. I already use some aspects of these methods in my teaching but the presentation gave me plenty of food for thought and there were moments where I could really see the advantages of these approaches. In the second session I saw Robert Wilne speak about developing reasoning. He was an entertaining speaker with lots of good ideas including his 'olympic podium' of operations.
The TweetUp at lunch was fun - Bruno Reddy did a great job organising it. It was amazing to see so many teachers trying to solve @solvemymaths' puzzles on 'the back of an envelope' so to speak. His puzzles are awesome but are all pretty challenging. The few that I've tried to solve have involved a long period of concentration and frustration (followed by satisfaction, so well worth it!). I was really impressed to see teachers getting stuck into these tricky problems.
TweetUp: @MistryMan6's selfie with me and the lovely @MissBsResources 
I presented in the final session of the day to an audience of around 100. The aim of the session was to discuss different approaches to teaching topics such as sequences, linear graphs, surds and quadratics. I had lots of ideas to share and I was pleased that I learnt even more methods from delegates after the session. It was a wonderful opportunity to swap teaching ideas (this is the sort of collaboration we should all do at school but never get time). I was careful not to label any methods as right or wrong, but just to suggest alternatives and - hopefully - encourage people to think about their subject knowledge and delivery. I was pleased to see @danicquinn and @BodilUK enthusiastically discussing methods at the end of the session.
Me presenting at MathsConf III - thanks @DrBennison for the photo
If you were at my session then you'll already have a copy of this workbook which is full of links, and here's the presentation as promised. If you weren't at my session then the presentation won't make much sense, but I'll write a blog post soon to explain all. Give me a week or two to get it written though!
It was nice to end the day with a quick drink at the bar with @letsgetmathing, @MrPatelMaths and @MrKMorrison. One of the best things about these conferences is meeting up with like-minded maths teachers who enthusiastically give up a Saturday for professional development. Over the weekend it was great to catch up with people I met at the last conference and I enjoyed meeting lots of new people too.

Many thanks to the La Salle team for the tremendous effort they put into organising the conference. I'm sad that I probably won't be at the next one (it's on 20th June - the weekend of my 10th wedding anniversary) but I will definitely be at MathsConf V in September and I'm already looking forward to it.

Me in the conference programme :)

Best mug ever? Thanks @solvemymaths

Blog posts that review/mention my workshop:


  1. Lovely to read the goings on of the day. Well done to LAsalleEdOnce again a shame I missed it. Maybe next time!

    1. Hope to meet you next time - these conferences are well worth attending!