Half Term 5 Aims

So… this week was the first of the summer term (half term 5), so I did a little analysis of my previous aims from last half term and wrote down some aims for this half term. I read the first chapter of “Teach like a champion 2.0” (T.L.A.C.2.0) over the half term break, which has had an impact on some of my aims.

HT 4 Aims HT 5 Aims


The Death Test: Successes and learning points


Successes: The Death Test project was a success! The work produced was of a high standard, the students were engaged by the activity of having to go and explain their final project to their English Teacher, and I was able to put their work in a nice presentation for my “Wall of Fame”. Excellent. All good so far….

Learning points: About a week later I came into my class to find that the presentation had been taken down and that I had an email from a senior member of staff.


A long (and rather sensible) conversation made short; I was advised it was probably not sensible to have work about people going crazy and killing themselves up on my walls. Fair cop – that is understandable. It’s definitely the kind of thing I should think a bit more about when planning my next project.

Every day is a chance to learn something I suppose! Or as an old colleague (before I was a teacher) used to say “everyday is a school day”…

P.S. I’ve attached some pics of the project (I guess the painting was a little haunted!)

IMG_0138 IMG_0137 IMG_0136

The Death Test

So… this week I actually did a Project!

I had observed a colleague’s English lesson, before half term and had been amazed at how engaged my lower ability year 9’s were in their ‘Horror Story’ project (and how much work they did). So this week we did a project all based around a haunted painting (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/blogs-magazine-monitor-29175003) and a death test!

A long (and spooky) story made short; their english teacher is coming in to my lesson on Tuesday to read their revision letters and then she’ll sit the death test(!)… as long as the polar bears don’t get her first…

P.s. I’ve attached the word file I gave as guidance and some of the feedback stickers I plan to use.

The Death Test IMG_0120 IMG_0121

Drinking games in the classroom (Part 2)…Replacement!

So… I’m back from an amazing week away, and as promised I think I’ve got a good game ready for my classes next September.

I’m going to call it Replacement!, although it really is a version the game 7s. I will give the class the following on the board…

Number to replace: 7

Replace with: Polygons (e.g. triangle, square, pentagon, hexagon, etc.)

Students will be in groups of 3 or 4s and will start the game as so…

Student 1: “I propose a game of replacement, replacing 7 with Polygons. To my left 1,”

The game will then continue around the group… 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, Square, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, Triangle, 15, 16, Pentagon, 18, …

Loser is the person who messes up! Prizes/Merits for those students who gets a unique replacement (says a polygon that no one else in the class has said). 

Bring on September…



Drinking games in the classroom??

So…I’m off on holiday tomorrow. 15 friends in a 3 bed house in the middle of the French countryside.

On the agenda? Food, lounging in the garden and beer pong. Excellent!

However… almost certainly there will be a few drinking games that pop up later into the nights. What occurred to me as I packed was that the kids in my class might love these! And assuming I remove the dirty pint, I think they might do them some good!

Thinking about it 21s is really a great test of numerical agility, and as the game develops and more rules get added it becomes even more mathematical. Most commonly rules revolve around multiples, e.g. all multiples of 5 must be replaces with a Simpsons character, i.e. 1,2,3,4, Bart, 6, 7, 8, 9, Lisa, 11, 12, etc.etc. This could just as easily be extended to primes, factors of 20, square numbers or even triangular numbers.

Now that I think of it, this week really is a crucial exercise in preparation for next year! So long as I can remember the games the next morning…

Hot Wheels, Dirty Sanchez and Monster Energy Drinks! Bring on the first day of term!

So…why do we learn mathematics? First thing, first lesson, with my new classes I want them so say… “Ahhhhh! That’s why I’m here! Thats why I’m learning maths!” 

I think finding a video that will help with this should be easy, so I google ‘Why maths is important video’ and watch the first few results… “symmetry is beautiful…” yawn, “the job prospects are amazing…” yawn, “it’s concepts underpin the digital world…” yawn yawn yawn.

Thank you Dirty Sanchez (for the help of any Yanks – basically a Welsh Jackass): 


Thank you Hot Wheels:

Thank you Monster Energy Drinks:


I’m going to claim Engineering & Physics as ‘Applied Maths’ and head to bed…

MTBoS and Planning for September

So… September 2014 is just around the corner…

Over the summer break I’ve become a little obsessed with the Maths Teacher Blogosphere which is basically a collection of Maths teachers chatting online. From these conversations I have seen a whole new world of Maths resources & ideas (Project Based Learning, 3 Acts Maths, Hinge Questions, Skill Based Assessments, etc., etc.). These ideas and resources really could be a game changer, and I’m going to do my best to put as much as possible of the excellent things I’ve seen into my own practice.

In this Blog I’ll do my best to reflect on how successful that journey has been…