Tuesday, 28 January 2014

The Chase... Competitive times tables activity!

Every day, 5pm, ITV1.

I watch The Chase on a daily basis whilst I eat with my partner. I don't think the format lends itself well to the classroom on the whole, but I think 'The Final Chase' does.

Pick a child, any child. I'll be picking mine using a random name generator.
The child is to pick four pupils to chase - they're likely to choose their friends, as I don't think they've got the tactics to pick the lower ability kids in the group.
The four pupils who they've chosen to chase are given a minute to answer as many multiplication problems as possible - when a question is asked, only the person who is asked to answer may answer (wrong person answers, whether correct or not, are not accepted).
The chaser then has their minute to answer as many multiplication problems as possible, aiming to beat the target set by the four pupils they chose to chase.
Pupil scores are noted in the league table and the winners are to be celebrated at the end of the year.

The league table is to be scored on number of multiplication problems answered, and any ties decided by the difference between their score and the score they chased.

Potential alterations:
Make the original chase the whole class, one question each. Chaser chases the score set by the rest of the class.
Extend to other topics - fractions of an amount, percentages, and others.

I've made a SMART Notebook file for use, downloadable from here.

Sunday, 26 January 2014

What I'm doing with Year 11...

I teach our Year 11 set 2. There are 22 kids in my class and 19 of them achieved a grade C at the end of Year 10 - the other three achieved theirs in November (three of only eight or nine kids we ended up entering due to Michael Gove and his reforms). I teach them four times a week and in December they sat a higher paper as a mock examination. Unfortunately, due to way we work it, they haven't been given these grades yet. Tomorrow is our mock examination results day, so period 5 all of Year 11 will be out of their timetabled lesson, receiving an envelope to inform them of their achievements in their mocks.

Of my 22 pupils, five have a target of a C, 16 have a target of a B and one has a target of an A. In their mocks, one achieved an A, 10 achieved a B and 11 a C. 14 of those were on target or better (one!).

After tomorrow's mock results day, during Tuesday's lesson, I get to have some wonderful conversations:
Of the three who got their C in November, one was one mark off a B, one was a solid B and one was three marks from an A. I can't wait to speak to all three about it.
One of the girls was 11 marks from a B, all of which could have been achieved if she'd been able to solve equations confidently.

I intend to give them their papers back, with a handwritten note and this print out:
The numbers in brackets are the clip numbers on www.mathswatchvle.com for each of the topics, so pupils can go back and review their understanding of topics with which they struggled.

I'll go around, speak to all the kids about their marks and give them the answers to some of the questions that were answered poorly on a wider scale. Disappointingly, this includes questions 1a and 7 on paper two, 4b on paper one.

My aim with this class is to spend the next 14 school weeks (about 50 lessons) urging them to improve their score by 32 marks - a score that would give a one grade improvement to every child and potentially push some kids towards two grades improvement.

A quick note of topics to teach before the end of the syllabus in my planner suggests that we'll be revising by March 10, giving us a good three months of focus on improvements.

Here is the plan:
* Bi-weekly 90-minute long revision sessions. At the moment we're focusing on topics we've covered in class and will continue to do so. When we reach the end of the syllabus, we'll focus on troublesome topics from past papers.
* A second past paper over February half term. I'll be looking for improvements from their December mocks and celebrating those.
* Targeted revision from March 10 based upon their mock exam papers.
* A past paper in class to check progress made and identify areas for development prior to Easter.
* A 30-4-10 resource for revision over the Easter break.
* Continued targeted revision during the last half term.
* A 4-hour revision day during May's half term break.
* Personalised revision based on past papers in the week back to school.
* Revision breakfast on the morning of the exams, starting at 7:30am with a view to being done by 8:30am allowing pupils a 30-minute walk prior to their exam.

Target 32 starts on Tuesday... One A*, 11As and 10 Bs from set 2, please.

Thursday, 2 January 2014

Redesign: The 11 Commandments for Mathematicians

I go on my Twitter a lot. When I wake up I see what I've missed, when I'm sat watching television I see what's going on and when I'm on the golf course I'm known to sneak a peek.

I favourited a tweet the other day, retweeted by @c0mplexnumber from @ColleenYoung that I wasn't sure I'd do anything with: http://mathematicsforstudents.wordpress.com/2013/12/29/the-11-commandments/

I've been a little bored, so I decided I'd give something a go. I like the outcome and figured others may too: