1 January 2017

Favourite Posts of 2016

A couple of days ago I published my ten most viewed posts of 2016. Today I've written a different list. These are my personal favourites from 2016 - the posts that I most enjoyed writing, or am most proud of, even if they didn't get many views.

1. Trigonometry Questions and Pythagoras Questions
In these two posts I featured some of my favourite new GCSE questions for Pythagoras and Trigonometry. There are some awesome questions here which I really enjoyed using in my lessons.

2. The Folder Experiment
I was surprised by how many people had a view on using ring binders instead of exercise books with Year 11!

3. New GCSE: Capture-Recapture
My school doesn't use Edexcel for GCSE so I don't need to teach this topic, but I had fun finding out about it. It's a lovely bit of proportional reasoning. If you teach Edexcel GCSE, you might find this post helpful.

4. Multiplying Negatives
I wish my blog was 100% subject knowledge posts. I'll try to do more of them in 2017. Here I talked about various approaches to explaining why a negative times a negative is a positive.

5. Maths School Trips
When Legoland invited me to visit, I was conflicted. I have strict rules about not advertising on my blog. But I really wanted to go to Legoland, and the opportunity to take my family there for free (on my daughter's birthday no less!) was one I couldn't refuse. Thankfully their Mindstorms workshop was amazing, so I had no qualms about giving it a positive write-up (alongside other destinations for maths school trips). I'm fond of this post because it reminds me of my daughter's 2nd birthday.

6. Useful GCSE Questions from Linked Pair Papers
I was a bit grumpy about having to teach Linked Pair GCSE last year but it turned out to be a useful experience. Linked Pair GCSE questions were often excellent and I featured some of my favourites in this post.

7. Gem Awards 2016
Two and a half years ago I joined Twitter whilst on maternity leave. I was overwhelmed by the quantity of teaching ideas and resources so I started writing a weekly gems post to keep track of it all. When I returned to work I couldn't maintain the frequency of the posts, but I still write one or two gems posts each month. I regularly refer back to them when planning lessons. In my annual Gems Awards post I featured some of my favourite gems from the previous year.

8. A Level Reforms: First Thoughts
I wish there were more maths teachers blogging about A level. With the new specifications launching in September, it's going to be important to collaborate with other A level maths teachers during 2017. I hope to play a part in facilitating discussions and sharing resources and ideas. 

One of the best things about writing this post was the tweet from the air traffic controller...

10. ♫ You say zero, I say nought ♫
Perhaps no one else is interested in whether people say zero or nought, but I thought it was fascinating!

11. Worries
The shortage of maths teachers is causing problems in so many schools. It continues to have a detrimental effect on children all over the country. I wrote this post when I was feeling particularly anxious about the whole situation, and found that many of my readers shared my concerns. Later in the year I wrote 'GCSE reform - will it work?' in which I shared more concerns about the big issues in maths education. Nothing has changed since then - my concerns still stand.

12. The Joy of Planning
Naveen wrote a TES article about how great it is not to plan her own lessons because it gives her time to develop her subject knowledge. I certainly understand Naveen's point - we could all do with more time for subject knowledge development. When the article was published, some prominent bloggers jumped on the idea of scripted lessons. On Twitter, the idea quickly developed into one where all lessons are standardised. I watched with sadness as tweeters enthusiastically discussed taking away my favourite part of the job. I tweeted my concern - that teachers wouldn't enjoy delivering scripted lessons - and I was accused of selfishly putting my own happiness before children's learning. This may well be true, but it upset me. Rather than argue, I decided to publish a positive post, 'The Joy of Planning', about how much pleasure I get out of the process of planning and delivering lessons. I received lots of lovely comments on Twitter from teachers who also really enjoy planning lessons. It's nice to know I'm not alone.

So that's it - my favourite blog posts of 2016. I thoroughly enjoyed writing these posts and hope that I can continue to share my experiences and ideas in 2017.


  1. I teach 6-8th grade math and just discovered this website. It is absolutely phenomenal! So many wonderful resources! This will definitely be a go-to when planning my lessons. Thank you!