4 April 2020

5 Maths Gems #124

Welcome to my 124th gems post. This is where I share some of the latest news, ideas and resources for maths teachers.

I know it's a bit weird to publish a blog post at this time, but I'm hoping it will be a welcome distraction. In this post, the first four gems are for 'normal' teaching. I want to continue to make a library of all these resources and ideas so we don't forget about them. Like last week, the final gem in this post lists some resources that have been made available specifically for school closures. I hope this is helpful.

1. Don Steward
Don Steward has produced loads of great resources in the last few weeks. His recent creations include series of tasks on percentages and powers.

Here are a few examples. The first is from 'introduction to powers (ii) 3 power line'.
And the second is from 'power spiders'.
And here's one on percentages called 'How close can you get?'.
2. Why Maths is the Best
You must watch and share this wonderful video 'Why Maths Is The Best' by @Ayliean. It will lift the spirits of any maths teacher.

3. Starting Points
Thank you to Chris McGrane (@ChrisMcGrane84) for sharing an excellent FDP task on his blog Starting Points.
Do check out Chris's blog and Twitter account to see more of his tasks. Here's a structural arithmetic task he shared this week.
4. White Rose Resources
Even if your school doesn't follow the White Rose schemes of work you can still make use of their free resources. I have borrowed many of their exemplar questions this year, and I have used their end of block assessments fairly often. If you've not seen these resources before then do have a look.
During school closures White Rose has set up a home learning section of their website which has lessons for Reception through to Year 8.  I'm finding this really useful as a parent. I have daughters in Year 1 and Year 3 so have been showing them the White Rose videos and having the complete the accompanying worksheets, which they are really enjoying. The pace and pitch is just right for my daughters. Also, I don't feel overwhelmed by the volume of content on the website - White Rose have got it exactly right.

5. School Closure Resources
At the moment there are many generous initiatives being launched to support students and teachers with learning at home. I can't list everything (and I am reluctant to duplicate work being done elsewhere), but here are a few things you might have missed:
  • The annual codebreaking competition Cipher Challenge has now launched and will run until June. Students can submit answers online. This makes a nice optional enrichment activity to suggest to students. 
  • There have been lots of websites suggested on Twitter in the last couple of weeks including a new one - mathsgrader.com. It's a bit like OnMaths in that it allows students to complete GCSE papers online.
  • Maths Genie is launching Home School Support after Easter. There will be daily videos and practice questions.
  • Times Tables Rock Stars (my daughter's favourite website!) and Numbots are offering free access to schools during school closures.
  • Puzzleoftheweek.com is not new but if you don't already use it then now might be a good time to start! It's a free international puzzle competition for schools which allows you to monitor your students' participation. 
  • Stuart from the much-loved website Exam Solutions is now is offering free lessons every morning at 10am via Live stream on Youtube.  The classes will mainly be for AS and A level students. 
  • The CGP Headstart to A-Level Maths book is currently free to download for Year 11s who are hoping to start A level maths in September.

Craig Barton has been sharing short podcasts where guests explain what they're doing during the school closures. Craig's interview with me is here. It's an hour of me explaining how I'm setting maths work, how I'm attempting to manage working from home with two young children, what it's like helping to run the key worker school, and what I think the big challenges are going forward.
One of the things I've been doing for my school is producing a weekly 'virtual school' newsletter which is helping to keep our students' spirits high and maintain a sense of community among our families. Some of you have asked me about this because your school has been considering doing something similar - you can see my newsletters here (Week 2 includes maths jokes!). I've decided to start putting a weekly maths question in this newsletter. The first one I used is shown below - this was shared on Twitter by @MrGordonMaths. My school only has Year 7 and Year 8 and this is accessible to both of those year groups.
My school has a vacancy for a maths teacher at the moment - the details and application form are here. This is a fantastic opportunity!

I'll leave you with a video and a couple of jokes to make you laugh.

'Quarantine Maths Class Disaster' was shared by @FoilArmsAndHog.

This graph has been doing the rounds on Twitter (unfortunately it has been shared without credit by so many accounts, I don't know who to give credit to here):

And finally, a joke:

Stay safe, maths teachers. x

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