15 January 2022

#mathsted22


UPDATE 18TH JANUARY: ALL 120 PLACES FOR THIS EVENT HAVE NOW BEEN TAKEN


Since I started researching Ofsted's recent maths feedback for my upcoming conference session, I've been contacted by teachers who are curious about how Ofsted would view particular aspects of their practice. For example, some people think that Ofsted favours mixed ability over sets, and some people think that Ofsted favours certain teaching styles over others. We're all aware that Ofsted's focus is currently on curriculum, but it's hard to know what elements of our curriculum design and delivery they might find fault with. We want to do the very best we can for our students, but in the absence of detailed guidance which directly tells us what best practice looks like, it can be difficult to know whether we're getting it right. 

My own school is expecting an Ofsted inspection imminently, so I thought it would be wise to talk to people who actually know what Ofsted are interested in, rather than trying to guess. So I contacted Steve Wren, the excellent Maths Subject Lead at Ofsted, and invited him to come and speak at my school. 

As it's my 'mathsjem philosophy' to support all maths teachers as much as I can, not just my own colleagues, I decided to make an event of it. If you live in London or the South East, then read on!  

I'm holding an after-school event on Thursday 3rd March from 5pm to 7pm. This will take place at my school which is in Sutton (South London/Surrey area). Steve Wren will speak first, and then I will follow him with a talk on depth, challenge and retrieval. AQA have kindly sponsored this event, meaning the tickets are free. 

I welcome Heads of Maths and maths teachers from the local area to come along (or from further away, if you can get there by 5pm on a school day). You can either come on your own or with your team - all welcome! 

It's followed by optional drinks in the local pub (weeknight drinks, so nothing heavy!).


I appreciate that the time and location won't suit everyone (that would be impossible), but of course other teachers could set up similar events in their local area if they wish to. 

I don't have Ofsted's permission to film/stream this event, so please don't request this. Sorry!

Hope to see you there! It's been a while since I hosted an event so I'm looking forward to this.






28 December 2021

What Secondary Teachers Should Know About The Key Stage 2 Maths Curriculum

How confident are you that you know what your students were taught at primary school?

Look at the questions below. How many of these skills are covered by the Key Stage 2 curriculum?


I'll give you a clue: three of them are covered at primary school, the rest aren't. Do you know which ones?

For an upcoming talk I'm planning, I've been busy researching the feedback that maths departments have received from Ofsted (and 'mocksted') deep dives. One thing that I've noticed come up a few times is:

"Teachers of mathematics do not know enough about what students have learned in the past"

Secondary teachers should definitely know what's on the primary curriculum. And it's not good enough to have a 'rough idea'. Knowing the primary curriculum well helps us build a strong Key Stage 3 curriculum, and improves the effectiveness of our teaching, particularly in Year 7. 

This is easy to fix. The main problem is time. I think most secondary teachers agree that it would be good to know what's on the primary maths curriculum. But we struggle to find the time to find out. 

So I have tried to be helpful! I researched the primary curriculum from a secondary teacher's perspective (I had a pretty good knowledge of the primary curriculum already, but there were a few things I didn't know, so it was a very worthwhile activity for me). I then made a presentation summarising the key points. And then I recorded it and put it on YouTube:


 


This is only 43 minutes long, so if you want your whole department to watch it together then it should be short enough to fit in a department meeting.

The majority of the presentation is me describing the key features of the primary curriculum. In the last ten minutes I offer some advice for Key Stage 3 teaching.

The slides are here.

I hope this is helpful! Basically from reading Ofsted reports I identified a gap in maths teacher knowledge and decided to try and fix it.

This took quite a chunk of time out of my Christmas holidays, so if you find it helpful and want to say thank you, you can buy me a drink here. Cheers!





22 December 2021

5 Maths Gems #152

Welcome to my 152nd gems post. This is where I share some of the latest news, ideas and resources for maths teachers.

1. Equivalent to One
Thanks to Amie (@alcmaths) for sharing two activities to expose students to how different one can appear on the surface. Great stuff.



Amie also shared a surds version of this activity. I love this!

2. MEI's Deeper Maths
MEI has launched a range of free Deeper Maths resources. This suite of resources is designed to support excellent practice in the teaching of secondary maths. Their carefully crafted materials focus on deep and sustained learning. So far there are packs available for angles and trigonometry, with algebra on the way too. Each topic pack includes an overarching commentary, units of work that map sequences of lessons, lesson plans, physical manipulatives, dynamic images and printable study packs.


These packs are similar to what I've tried to do with my Topics in Depth project, but way better! If I had time (if I wasn't a full-time teacher!), I'd have tried to produce something like this. It's great to see this high-quality project coming from MEI to support teachers at Key Stage 3 and 4.

3. Maths Challenge Preparation Courses
Thanks to Kevin Olding (@mathsaurus) for sharing a set of free preparation courses for the MA and UKMT maths competitions: 
Although registration is needed, the courses are totally free to access and there are no adverts. Each course consists of a challenge paper walk-through, with video hints and solutions. 


At my school we invite all students to try the UKMT challenges if they wish to, and we don't make the entire top set do it - it's totally voluntary. For the upcoming Intermediate Maths Challenge we have had fifty students sign up from Year 9 and 10. I've recommended that these students practise over the holidays using Kevin's course. We'll also run a couple of drop-in practice sessions at school in January.

4. Maths Video of the Week
Thanks to Emily Rae (@ECR_Maths) for sharing her "Maths Video of the Week" idea. She sends a weekly email to her A Level students to expose them to fun and interesting ideas in maths. She has two years' worth of videos ready to go - the list is here.


5. Order of Operations
It's worth checking out this thread from Jemma Sherwood (@jemmaths) on the order of operations. She's shared a number of great resources and ideas that provide food for thought on how to approach the teaching of this topic.

I particularly like her explanation of how brackets 'break' the order of operations:


Jemma's thread includes loads of great exercises, including this task which is from Dan Draper's blog post on the order of operations:


Events in 2022
There are a few maths events coming up in the first half 2022 that I'm involved in. 

First up, there's a #MathsConfOnline on 21st January. I've submitted a workshop proposal for this, so hopefully I'll get the chance to speak about the little bit of research I've been doing on 'deep dive' feedback. If you've recently been involved in a maths deep dive, please complete my survey to help out with this. I'm interesting in identifying any trends in what maths departments are being told to improve. I think there may even be a few myths that need addressing!

I'm doing a talk on 29th January for the London Branch of the MA and ATM. This 2.5 hour workshop is from the series of talks I've been doing over the last year looking at curriculum and pedagogy. The focus will be on providing challenge without acceleration, and we'll discuss how to teach maths in depth without rushing from topic to topic. You can register here.

On 3rd March I plan to hold an event at my school... information will be released in January - watch this space!

Shockingly for me, I can't attend #mathsconf28 as the date has changed to 12th March (I have tickets for a postponed Bridgerton Secret Cinema on this date and have already bought my regency fancy dress!). It's going to be weird for me to miss a mathsconf because I think I've attended more mathsconfs than any other delegate. And I've spoken at nearly all of them, because I think it's hugely important for females to speak at maths events. I'm gutted I'll have to miss one. Hopefully I can make the summer term mathsconf.

Over Easter, the MA Conference will be online for two days, followed by one day in-person. The programme has now been released and tickets are available to book. I'm doing a keynote on the second day - I hope you can join me.

Update
What a relief that the Christmas holidays are here! The end of term was insanely busy at work as always, but I had the joy of teaching quadratic simultaneous equations to my Year 10 class. This made me really happy. There's nothing quite so wonderful as teaching maths that you love to a class that you love.

My heart goes out to all of you who are unwell with Covid over Christmas. I went through that last year and it was so horrible. I hope you recover quickly and manage to get some rest and recuperation during the break from school.

Speaking of Christmas, it occurred to me yesterday that I should have promoted my book as a good Christmas present for maths teachers! Oops, too late now. But if you get any book vouchers for Christmas, then do consider buying a copy of A Compendium of Mathematical Methods. I think it would make a nice gift.

There are currently a number of job opportunities at my school with start dates of September 2022, so if you're based in South London or Surrey (or looking to move!) then do check them out. We're a growing school (we'll have Year 11 for the first time next year) and a fantastic place to work. Behaviour and attitudes are excellent - it's a pleasure to teach maths to such wonderful students. Positions include Head of Year, Assistant Principal and Maths Teacher. Do email me (resourceaholic@gmail.com) if you want to chat about the school or the roles.

It's too late for me to share Christmas resources as we've all broken up from school now, but thanks to Tom Bennison (@DrBennison) for making his annual Christmas Calculated Colouring resource for A level mathematicians.

Finally, I'd like to wish Rob and Leonie a wonderful wedding day today. Many of my readers will know Rob from mathsconf. I'm so happy for Rob and Leonie and wish them a lifetime of happiness.

I'll leave you with this gorgeous colour-coded trig function table, which is from this tumblr and was tweeted by @mathladyhazel. It might make a good activity for Year 13 - perhaps give them a blank version to complete.




Merry Christmas to all my readers. 








5 December 2021

5 Maths Gems #151

Welcome to my 151st gems post. This is where I share some of the latest news, ideas and resources for maths teachers.

1. Interwoven Maths
@nathanday314 has launched another brilliant new website. Interwovenmaths.com is a repository for tasks interweaving different maths topics together. Questions are carefully chosen to reveal the structures underpinning and connecting the different topics. The website includes fully editable PowerPoints and solutions. Teachers are invited to submit their own tasks.




2. Starting Point Maths
@ChrisMcGrane84 is a great task designer so it's been fantastic to see him share a series of new tasks to his website Starting Points Maths.

Here are two examples. The first is a scaffolded task for those who teach the grouping method for factorising non-monic quadratics.


And here's a task on fraction addition



Chris has also written a blog post 'Task design and why Bob Dylan was wrong' which is well worth a read.

3. Range
@MrAlleyMaths shared a nice set of tasks on range.


4. Equation Solving
@jshmtn shared a good idea for equation solving practice. This activity creates 45 potential questions to answer.


5. MathsPad Booklet
I've featured MathsPad booklets before. The Year 7 Place Value booklet is free, the rest are only available to subscribers. I highly recommend a MathsPad subscription - I use mine every day. 

The team at MathsPad have now published Year 8 booklets for Expressions, Angles, Area & Volume, and Forming & Solving Equations. There are more booklets still to come. These booklets are packed full of exercises and puzzles. Here's an example of an activity in their area booklet:


And here's a great puzzle from their equations booklet:


Update
My lovely school is recruiting a maths teacher! We're a new school so we expand every year (we currently have Year 7 - 10, and it won't be long until we open our new Sixth Form). We'll need three new members of the maths department in September. These roles are suitable for ECTs and more experienced teachers. We're based in Sutton, South London (Zone 5). If you're interested in applying, feel free to get in touch to chat about the role. The closing date is 7th January and full details are here.

Did you see my last blog post about my new Angles in Polygons CPD? I've had some lovely feedback about this CPD - I'm glad people are finding it helpful.

Here are a few more things you might have missed on Twitter:
  • @draustinmaths continues to publish new resources on her excellent website. I'm a big fan of her 'Fill in the blanks' activities and have added many of these to my resource libraries.
  • @El_Timbre shared a link to an online book about ratio tables that I've not seen before.
  • On the MA Facebook group I spotted a link to the History of Mathematics Project from Momath and Wolfram. This is a a virtual interactive exhibit of maths artefacts, a bit like an online maths museum. It's awesome. I like the timelines they have created and think these might be useful in lessons.
  • @riley_ed published a post about his lesson sequences. This is well worth a read. This is exactly the sort of discussion we should be having about curriculum in maths!
  • @MathigonOrg has launched its annual puzzle calendar with 24 challenging daily problems. 
  • GCHQ is setting a special Christmas Challenge on Monday 13 December, and they are keen to get secondary schools and colleges involved. There will be seven puzzles as part of a special Christmas card, with each puzzle being aimed at a specific age group. Schools are invited to sign up and share their progress each day using the hashtag #GCHQChristmasChallenge. There will be a resource pack for schools available from 10th December.

Events
La Salle shared the locations of their upcoming conferences:

It's been a while since I hosted an event myself, but I've decided to hold one next term. In early March my school will host an event for maths teachers which will feature talks from myself and Steve Wren, who is Ofsted's subject lead for maths. Look out for details in early January!

I'll leave you with this lovely Square Puzzle which was shared by Chris Smith (@aap03102) in his weekly maths newsletter. To subscribe to this excellent newsletter, email aap03102@gmail.com.





20 November 2021

Angles in Polygons CPD

Loughborough University Mathematics Education Network (LUMEM) offers free access to online CPD videos for maths teachers. I've recently produced another video for their collection. It's from my Topics in Depth series, and it's all about angles in polygons.

You can access it here.

This CPD takes a detailed look at the Key Stage 3 topic 'angles in polygons', examining its place on the national curriculum and how it is assessed at GCSE. My presentation features a range of methods and discusses various pedagogical approaches. I share ideas for how to enrich the teaching of angles in polygons, adding depth and challenge that goes beyond the national curriculum. 

Like all my Topics in Depth CPD, this workshop aims to enhance teachers’ subject knowledge as well as providing teaching ideas and inspiration. You could watch the video directly before you teach the topic, to help you plan really good lessons. 

If your whole department is going to be teaching angles in polygons, you could watch it together and discuss it in a department meeting.


You can download the slides here.

To see more free CPD from this series, view my Topics in Depth page here. And for more CPD from me, visit my YouTube channel

I hope this is helpful.




14 November 2021

5 Maths Gems #150

Welcome to my 150th gems post. This is where I share some of the latest news, ideas and resources for maths teachers. 

1. Tasks
I've spotted several great tasks on Twitter recently. Here are three of them:

@TickTockMaths shared an introduction to bounds calculations.


@canning_mrmaths shared a trigonometry task, based on an idea by @DanielPearcy.
 

@jontheteacher shared some tasks designed to introduce the concept of 'like' terms. 


2. Mrdaymaths.com
@nathanday314 shares fantastic resources on Twitter so it's great to see that he's launched a website where we can find them all in one place. Check out mrdaymaths.com to download his displays, tasks, resources and presentations. 

Nathan always has great ideas and presents them beautifully. For example, in this thread he explains how he designed a sequence of lessons that took Year 7 from substitution through to solving equations. The resources featured in this thread are available to download from his website.


I also love Nathan's 'No More Primes' game. Read his post to see how it works.


3. Angles and Ratios Interweaved
Thanks to @blatherwick_sam for sharing a lovely couple of tasks interweaving ratios and angles.


4. Quadratics Questions
I love these clever quadratics questions from @boss_maths


5. QLA Workbook Generator
@PiXLMattTheApp is always sharing free tools and resources for maths teachers. His latest is an online tool which allows you to create a student workbook from a QLA. 


I recommend that you watch Matt's video if you want to find out more about how this works.
 
Update

Over half-term (which feels like months ago!) I wrote three blog posts:

I also updated my conferences page which lists national maths education conferences. Please let me know of any additional events that I should add to this page.

Note that the MA Annual Conference is now open for booking. I'm one of the keynote speakers at this conference and am really looking forward to it.

Speaking of the MA, did you see that they have made the latest issue of their journal Mathematics in School freely available to read online? I'm a big fan of this journal and always look forward to receiving my copy in the post.

It was a busy week for me at work last week. One of my big responsibilities is to run the Key Stage 4 Options process. I launched it last week, running events for both parents and students. At the same time, my school was treated to a MAT review (basically a Mocksted, though we're not meant to call it that...). This was stressful, mainly because we're all 100% sure that our school is outstanding - in every sense of the word - and we really wanted to make sure that the inspectors saw that. The entire maths department made me immensely proud, as did my Year 9 class (I was observed teaching them some experimental ideas that I picked up at the last mathsconf... It was a bit risky for me to go ahead with that lesson but thankfully it went well! Phew).

Milestones
This is a milestone blog post for me. When I wrote my 50th gems post I was presented with a special cake at a conference (thanks Julia et al!). When I wrote my 100th gems post I recorded a special podcast with Craig Barton, and Chris Smith sent me a trophy which I still proudly display on my bookcase. Today I've reached 150 gems posts. Have you read them all?! You should! There's a gems index here
By the way, I know people love the gems posts, which are packed full of other people's great ideas, but I do also blog about my own ideas too! In fact I've written 274 posts which aren't gems posts, and the full archive is here.

Another milestone I recently passed (but failed to notice at the time!) was my ten millionth website visit. Thank you to all my readers for their support. I am immensely happy that my resource libraries save people time, and that my blog posts provide teachers with inspiration and ideas. Teachers who visit resourceaholic.com tend to do so on a regular basis, so I must be doing something right.

Finally, a personal milestone for me - my eldest daughter turned ten. A decade of parenting. 💖


I'll leave you with this tweet which made me laugh. I wonder what my students would write down if I asked them the same question.



 

25 October 2021

Thinking about Misconceptions

When I joined the teaching profession I was surprised by two things: 
  1. no book existed about the common misconceptions in each topic. 
  2. no book existed about the various methods that can be taught in each topic.
I felt that both of these should be standard reference books for trainee maths teachers. But they didn't exist. I addressed the latter (see my book 'A Compendium of Mathematical Methods') but no one has fully addressed the former. We still don't have an easy-reference book or website featuring all the common misconceptions in one place. Instead, we repeat the mantra 'inexperienced teachers should learn about common misconceptions from their experienced colleagues'. That's a great idea, unless you find yourself working in dysfunctional maths department where no one talks maths. Then you just have to work it all out for yourself. 

There have been a few occasions when I've tried to get conversations going on Twitter about misconceptions. Years ago, I set up a misconception sharing website but I didn't have time to maintain it. I also started a hashtag #misconceptionchat but I haven't used it often enough for it to gain traction. But I still believe that it's vital that this knowledge is shared widely. We all see misconceptions in the classroom every day. Some just need acknowledgment ('this is something students do, and our teaching should address this') whilst some are worthy of deep discussion.

There's a problem with sharing student misconceptions on social media though. Almost every time I've shared a misconception on Twitter, I've had replies from people criticising my teaching and suggesting that their approach is foolproof and would never lead to such misconceptions. Pfft. A more constructive dialogue (accompanied by a 'thanks for sharing this misconception, it's really interesting') would encourage teachers to share their observations more readily. Bear in mind that our students come to us with ingrained misconceptions that are not a reflection on our own teaching, but still need to be identified and addressed. We shouldn't hesitate to discuss these misconceptions with others - doing so enhances our pedagogical subject knowledge and makes us better teachers.

I think back to the time I tweeted a misconception that took me by surprise when I was marking a Year 7 fractions quiz.


I received a reply to my tweet from a teacher who told me I was making it up (unfortunately this teacher no longer has a Twitter account so his tweets have disappeared - I can't remember his exact words!). He said he'd give his students the same question the next day to see what happened, because he was adamant that this was not a mistake that any of his students would ever make. When he did so, he was absolutely shocked to find that they held the same misconception, and he later tweeted to apologise for not believing me. I guess it was a helpful misconception for me to share after all, as it alerted him to a gap in his students' understanding that he otherwise wouldn't have been aware of.

Just because we haven't personally seen a misconception, it doesn't mean it doesn't exist. Sometimes we just haven't asked the right questions.

A flaw in my explanation
Occasionally I see a student doing something in a lesson and realise it has resulted directly from my own flawed explanation. So I reflect on this, and I adjust my explanation the next time I teach it. I experienced this recently when I gave my Year 8 students a test on expanding double brackets. One student did well on every question, until he got to this one:

Expand and simplify (𝑥-2 + 4𝑥10)(𝑥2 + 5𝑥3)

I was delighted that this student knew that 𝑥2 ✕ 𝑥-2 = 1, demonstrating his knowledge of index laws (other students wrote 𝑥0 which was also acceptable).

However, a misconception relating to expanding arose that I wouldn't have spotted if I hadn't used this particular question.


Can you see what he's done? He seems to have assumed that the two diagonal cells can always be simplified. So there's a misconception in his underlying algebraic knowledge that needs to be addressed (i.e. that 4𝑥12 + 5𝑥 can be simplified). There's also a step in the expansion procedure that he has fundamentally misunderstood. A couple of other students did something similar.

I take the blame for this one, even though I don't teach the popular 'sausage method' which could directly lead to this misconception. In case you don't know what the 'sausage method' is, check out the video here to here to see it in action (there are dozens more videos like this). Basically it involves drawing a ring around the two diagonal terms that can be simplified (the ring is sometimes referred to as a sausage, balloon or peanut).

 

Of course, the circled terms can only be simplified in certain expansions, so we should be careful to avoid implying that this ring can always be drawn.

So what did I do wrong in my teaching? Well in my initial modelling I always completed the grid then wrote out the four terms underneath the grid before simplifying them. I did that every time, until my students had built up some fluency in using the grids. Then I got a bit lazy and rushed my modelling, to the point where sometimes I skipped writing out the four terms underneath the grid, and took to drawing a ring around the like terms. I distinctly remember doing this when demonstrating a triple bracket expansion. So although I never said that 'drawing a sausage' is part of the procedure, and I certainly never said 'these two terms can always be simplified', I may have accidentally implied this in my modelling. Lesson learnt! Not every misconception is a direct result of a flaw in my explanation, but I think this one probably was.

Misconception baggage
As I mentioned earlier, our students come to us with ingrained misconceptions that need addressing - sometimes the student has been carrying that misconception around for years. On a daily basis I'm furious at whoever was responsible for inventing the acronym BIDMAS because it leads directly to a totally avoidable misconception. I'm not opposed to mnemonics at all, but they should have chosen a better one. Even BIDMSA would have preferable. Anyway, I'm not here to rant about BIDMAS (I have a video about it here) but this is something that we know is a big problem. I shouldn't have been surprised when I saw the classic mistake recently, but what surprised me was the context:
I have a class of very strong mathematicians in Year 10, and one of the best students in the class asked me for help on this question: 
'Write as a surd in simplest form: 10sin60 - 12tan30 + 8cos30'. 

This was in a task on simplifying expressions involving exact trigonometric ratios, which is basically an exercise in manipulating surds. 

 "Miss, can I just check something with this question. I have to add 12tan30 and 8cos30 first, right? Because of BIDMAS?"


Who knew that the order of operations would be a problem in my lesson on exact trig values...

Pre-empting misconceptions
There's some debate about whether we should show our students common misconceptions up front. Some people think it might confuse them, but I'm all for it. In my teaching I directly show the mistakes people make and we discuss the reasons, and I make it clear what's gone wrong. That's not to say it always works though. 

When teaching angles on a straight line, I'm careful about the wording (I always very specifically say 'adjacent angles on a straight line sum to 180') and I talk up front about how the angles need to be next to each other - they need to form a half-turn - in order to add up to 180. As a class we explore and acknowledge the common misconception. Yet still I have one or two students who do things like this:


Even though I don't have 100% success rate at eliminating all misconceptions, I still think addressing them head-on is worthwhile.

We can also address misconceptions through task design and curriculum sequencing. I recently had a Year 8 student who was factorising this expression:

4abc2 + 10a3b2c

He put up his hand to ask me whether the index in the first term only related to the c. A good question! It then occurred to me that I hadn't explicitly addressed this in my teaching, but I had previously designed a resource exactly for this purpose. I have an exercise on substitution that aims to draw out misconceptions around algebraic notation - see extract below.


I used this in a subsequent lesson with the same class. When circulating during the lesson, I spotted that a number of students had incorrectly evaluated Questions 10 to 15 by multiplying first. I know this is a common misconception so I should have probably done some more work on mini-whiteboards at the start of the lesson to draw it out and address it. 

A misconceptions journal
I made a note of a few misconceptions this term because I thought they might be interesting to blog about. So I ended up with a notepad on my classroom desk where I jotted down some things students said in lessons. This made me reflect on whether I should make a habit of doing that - keeping a log or journal of misconceptions that I could later reflect on and discuss with colleagues. Perhaps all teachers should do this. It's probably totally impractical though -  over the course of a day's teaching we process dozens of misconceptions. And this isn't a bad thing - good teaching should be designed to draw them out and address them! If we're not seeing misconceptions, it doesn't mean they don't exist. They may just be hiding.

Finally, I will end on a positive, with a lovely quote from the late Malcolm Swan:

"Frequently, a ‘misconception’ is not wrong thinking but is a concept in embryo or a local generalisation that the pupil has made. It may in fact be a natural stage of development."


Misconceptions posters from classicmistake.nhost.uk






22 October 2021

5 Maths Gems #149

Welcome to my 149th gems post. This is where I share some of the latest news, ideas and resources for maths teachers. 

1. Entry Level Maths
Entry Level Maths is a qualification designed to provide a progression route to GCSE Maths for the lowest attaining students. To support schools using this qualification, @MarsMaths has shared sets of questions for each topic at each of the different stages. A lot of time and effort has gone into creating the resources at marsmaths.com and I'm sure this will be helpful for SEND departments and Entry Level teachers.

2. Make Your Own Codebreaker
@PiXLMattTheApp shared an activity generator which gives teachers the opportunity to create their own codebreaker tasks. Select a topic and write a joke or sentence to encode. It's very easy to use. This is one of a range of tools on mathswhiteboard.com that are worth checking out.

3. Oops, I Forgot!
I like this idea shared by @fawnpnguyen.


Read the thread for more information.

For an idea of how it works: you read a series of instructions to students while they use mini-whiteboards and adapt their answer each time. For example:
"Sketch a quadrilateral"
"Oops, I forgot - it should have four right angles"
"Oops, I forgot - it should have an area of 24". 
"Oops, I forgot - it should have a perimeter greater than 24". 

4.  Linked Maths
Thank you to @l88belle for sharing a task on expanding double brackets that interweaves fractions, surds, area, volume and solving equations. It's helpful to think about the ways we can make links between different topics. I look forward to seeing more from Belle on her website linkedmaths.weebly.com.

5. Resources
Thanks to @jshmtn for sharing a lesson on index laws with lots of good ideas to borrow. I never thought of using pi as a base!

@draustinmaths continues to add new resources to her website. Latest additions include some excellent surds tasks

Update
Half term has finally arrived, much to everyone's relief. My school gets a two week October half term (I know, we're very lucky) but my daughters only get one week off. So I've had a week to myself - it's the only week in the entire year that I get a little bit of 'me time' (in between dropping them off and picking them up from school), so it does wonders for my mental health. As well as taking a bit of time to chill, I also used this week to contribute to some discussions about maths education. On Monday I attended an MEI Curriculum Committee meeting, and on Tuesday I participated in a Sheffield Hallam Uni/Royal Society roundtable on textbooks and curriculum materials. On Wednesday morning I chatted to Julia Smith about methods, and in the afternoon I recorded a new Topics in Depth CPD workshop on angles in polygons for Lumen (watch this space!). On Thursday evening my husband and I went to see Harry Baker perform, which was absolutely lovely. Harry is a mathematician and poet - I must book him to come and speak at my school. 

Did you see my latest blog post? I wrote about curriculum sequencing and shared the slides from my recent conference session. 

Speaking of conferences, you only have a couple more weeks to sign up to speak at the MA Conference which is taking place between 12th and 14th April 2022. I really encourage teachers to propose a workshop, even if you've not delivered at a conference before. The MA's 2021 online conference was a huge success. The beauty of online conferences is that they are widely accessible - people who are unable to attend in-person events can easily participate. In 2022, two days of the MA Conference will take place online and the final day will take place in person in Stratford-Upon-Avon. I plan to attend both the online and in-person days. In fact, I'm delivering one of the keynotes.

Finally, I'll leave you with this tweet from @mansbridgemaths which made me laugh! It's a great task, similar to 'What's z?' from MathsPad.


If you're on half term this week, have a good one!