Consider not only engaging students but making the learning stick with this great selection of learning resources.
In his seminal book, 'Why don’t students like school?', Daniel Willingham wrote a phrase that, quite literally, changed my teaching life: “memory is the residue of thought”, or in other words: students remember what they intend to. Those six words have completely transformed how I approach planning maths lessons.
In the past I planned for engagement; I tried to find lessons that looked fun. If my students were smiling, then they must be learning. It was only when I immersed myself into the world of cognitive science that I appreciated the significance of Willingham’s insight. If my students’ limited attention was drawn to the surface structure of an activity - the quirky context, the dazzling clipart, snipping and gluing bits of paper together - then it was not directed towards the maths.
Perhaps the most visceral example of this for me was what I describe in my book as The Swiss Roll Incident. I thought it would be a good idea to illustrate the principles of equivalent fractions to my Year 7 class via the medium of several pieces of the cylindrical cake. Four years later my students still talk about that lesson, but when I ask them what it was about they reply “Swiss rolls!”.
So now when planning lessons, I ask myself, “what are my students likely to be thinking about when doing this activity?”; And if it's not the maths, then I probably need to change my plans. Does this mean that maths lessons cannot be fun? Does it mean we cannot inject a topical theme such as Halloween or Christmas into our lessons? Of course not! It just means - for me, at least - that when I am considering using an activity I need to be sure that maths is at the heart of it, and not an add-on.
Fortunately, Tes is full of such wonderful treasures, as I hope this selection below demonstrates.
Tes Maths Advisor