8 November 2015

5 Maths Gems #43

Hello and welcome to my 43rd gems post. This is where I share some of the best ideas I've seen on Twitter.

1. Vocabulary
Maria Howard (@MrsHsNumeracy) has created a new resource to assess and develop students' literacy. Maria's Mathematical Literacy Assessment for Year 7 is one of the best vocabulary resources I've seen. Two extracts are shown below but you must look through the whole assessment to appreciate how good this is.
Reflecting on the importance of developing literacy in maths lessons, Maria says, "I realised I needed to assess their level of understanding of Mathematical vocabulary, that way I would know what words I needed to teach them and embed them in their everyday Mathematical conversations in class". 

I look forward to seeing the literacy resources that Maria plans to create for Year 9 and Key Stage 4. I think these will be incredibly useful.

Do check out the rest of Maria's website too - it's a goldmine of resources for numeracy across the curriculum.

2. Addition
I liked Cristina Milos' (@surreallyno) recent tweet showing an expanded form of addition. This explanation will help students understand why we 'carry ones' when we do long addition.

3. New Resources
I'm so pleased that Don Steward has started creating new resources again, including the lovely common dechocolateater.
The clever people at MathsPad continue to produce wonderful new resources too - here's one of their latest activities (subscription is only £3 per month).
4. Returning Tests
If you haven't yet discovered #maths TLP then you're missing out. Every Sunday night hundreds of maths teachers take part in our weekly 'Twitter Lesson Planning' hour, sharing ideas and resources for lessons in the week ahead. A few weeks ago Mark Horley (@mhorley) asked this question:
I expect that many of us feel that the lessons in which we return assessments could be better. I don't look forward to these lessons at all.

Mark was inundated with excellent ideas so he wrote a blog post about it which you can read here. It's worth a read.

Speaking of Mark's blog, I'd like to draw your attention to another of his posts - Finding the nth term - in which he shared a lovely resource for linear sequences. This resource is all about patten spotting - students compare each sequence to a previous sequence in order to identify the nth term.
5. Animations
Thanks to Siobhan Allen (‏@SiobhanA1969) for sharing this animation of the volume of a cone - I've not seen this one before.
This led me to discover a nice collection of gifs including this one on the surface area of a cylinder.
Thanks also to Ed Southall (@solvemymaths) for sharing Don Steward's angle bisection animation. I've never seen this method before. It featured in Don's presentation which you can read about in Ed's post.
There are more mathematical animations in my post Animations and Simulations.

I uploaded some fantastic new Pret Homeworks today. If you've not seen Pret homeworks before then check out this post which explains all. Last week I created a new page of A level Mechanics Resources. I also had a post published on the new blog Starter for Five which provides advice to new teachers.

I've been a bit quiet on the blogging and tweeting front this week because it was my eldest daughter's 4th birthday on Wednesday, plus work continues to be very busy.
Happy birthday mini-Morgan
Timetabling Maths
I'm really interested in timetabling and curriculum design. In my opinion my school doesn't have enough maths on the timetable. I'm often rushing through topics. My GCSE students have significant gaps in their conceptual knowledge and I think the main cause of this is that they haven't had enough time to master topics at Key Stage 3. But I do wonder how other schools fit it all in - if you increase the number of maths lessons, what gets dropped from the timetable? I'd appreciate it if you'd email me to let me know how it works at your school. If you have loads of maths lessons, what subjects are absent from the curriculum?

I recently did two 24 hour Twitter polls to find out how much time is spent teaching maths in Years 10 and 7. Here are the results:
The Mathematical Association did a Sixty Second Survey which had a similar number of respondents but provides more detail:
Without the context (eg type of school) both sets of results are of limited value, but they do provide some starting points.

It appears that many schools have increased the number of lessons at Key Stage 4 in response to the change in GCSE specification. Although my sample size is small, I believe that schools with only three hours a week of maths lessons at Key Stage 3 and 4 are behind the national average.

Do let me know your thoughts and experiences.

I'm very excited about my upcoming event and am pleased to announce that Colin Hegarty will now be speaking too. I'll publish a full programme soon. For information and tickets, see christmaths.weebly.com.

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