Maths - Just a thought...

4th May 2012 at 01:00
Teachers find - and share - some of their best ideas on blogs

Is there a way of introducing algebra that will not make pupils groan? How can I make the properties of quadrilaterals seem like fun?

These were just a couple of the dilemmas I faced as an eager NQT. For answers, my only real options were to ask the more experienced members of my department, book myself on to a training course or hope that my local education authority maths adviser came up with something in time for our termly meetings.

Now, many advisers have gone, although the questions remain. Money for courses, too, is rare. But where there are problems, there are nearly always solutions, and today we have the maths blog, which provides answers and much more. A blog is a convenient way to share your thoughts, and teachers who find blogs dedicated to ideas on their subject have truly struck gold.

I spend a good hour each week reading maths blogs, and my TES Web Whizz Video 21 picks out some of my favourites. In fact, these blogs have become my number 1 source of ideas, inspiration and professional development. Here is a taster of just some of the things I have discovered in the past few weeks:

On Mr Collins' Reflective Journal (mrcollinsreflectivejournal.blogspot.co.uk), I learned about Maths DJing, which led to my Year 7s begging to do the arithmetic-based starter.

On Don Steward's Median (donsteward.blogspot.co.uk), I stumbled upon my new favourite shape, the "maxagon", which combines geometrical reasoning and problem-solving.

Using an idea on Number Loving (numberloving.com), my Year 8 pupils have been creating "maths fortune tellers", which are potentially useful for revision on any topic and are even differentiated.

On Reflective Maths Teacher (reflectivemathsteacher.posterous.com), I discovered Thoughts and Crosses, a versatile resource that draws heavily on Bloom's Taxonomy and challenges my very able Year 11 students.

These and many more wonderful ideas have improved my teaching. Now I have signed many of these bloggers up to the TES maths panel, so they can share their thoughts with everyone.

Craig Barton is an advanced skills teacher from Thornleigh Salesian College, Bolton. He is the creator of www.mrbartonmaths.com and TES subject adviser for secondary maths. He can be found on Twitter at @TESMaths

What else?

Check out Craig Barton's Web Whizz video and the blogs he recommends on the TES website.

The Scottish Book Trust has shared some maths magic with Murderous Maths author Kjartan Poskitt.

Or have a go at paulcollins' colourful Pictionary game.

In the forums

Do you keep your own maths blog? On the forum, teachers share their maths blog recommendations.

Find all links and resources at www.tes.co.ukresources033.

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