Download every SMILE resource for free!

My smile

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If you haven’t seen the SMILE resources you certainly should have! SMILE (Secondary Mathematics Individualised Learning Experiment) resources were produced and used from the 1970s onwards but don’t think that because they are old that their time has passed. There are some wonderful activities and worksheets in the collection.

You can now download every one of the SMILE resources from the National STEM Centre website at this link. There are 2403 worksheets, times tables booklets, a ‘Makes Sense Series” of resources that feature even more worksheets and activities and much more.

When I look at how wonderful some of these resources are I think to myself that we are reinventing the wheel somewhat everytime we make our own worksheet.

I have written to the National STEM Centre website to ask if they would give us permission to make the SMILE resources freely available on the Great Maths Teaching Ideas website in the same way that the Mathematics Enhancement Programme did. For now you’ll have to visit the link above.

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11 Responses

  1. ursula sandy says:

    These resources are fantastic, I remember using them as a child myself. I now use them to teach 30 years later OMG

  2. Seven says:

    I used the Smile system when i was at school too. I also used some of these programs when I was teaching in Primary 15 years ago and now I was looking for them for my own kids.

    They are great simple programs that make maths much enjoyable, more instantaneous and independent and individualized. I can’t praise them enough.
    They are great for reinforcement and few can work as exploration of new maths.

    I haven’t checked out the site you’ve mentioned above yet, but the only downside to the programs was the interface. I often had to help the kids exit programs etc..
    I hope that’s changed but in any case I’ll be downloading them because they’re GREAT!!!

    Thanks for the link 🙂

  3. Seven says:

    In addition to my comment above…

    The link wasn’t for the IT programs, but the work cards which I also think were good mainly for the purpose that they were designed, which was to allow kids to follow a personalized system. They were fun, simple ans short. But they require teacher input and initial instruction in the respective topics the child follows.

    In my secondary school, the teacher sat back and let you choose your cards and get on with them. He never in all the 3 years he taught me gave a single lesson. He just explain to each pupil individually whatever they asked about. So the cards in my opinion failed dismally due to the way they were used.

    It needed a text book system alongside to give instruction, which I briefly recall (smtp books-or something like that) but which we never used.
    It was a waste of 3 years of maths.

    Despite all the above, it didn’t deter my love of math,s it reinforced my love of finding the best way to teach maths and I still downloaded all the smile resources from the link above because it’s a wealth of resources that used correctly can make makes fun and individualized.

    thx again

  4. Christine Sheppard says:

    I too have been recently been introduced to SMILE — by a teacher that has been out of teaching for over 20 years!!! I think the cards and worksheets are absolutey wonderful and have skimmed through dozens of textbooks in the past looking for similar types of activities, which I can now find all in one place. This is definitely not a case of leaving the pupils to get on with it — it will require direction and discussion in order for you to know how and what the pupil is thinking — if used correctly it will encourage independent learning, discussion amongst pupils as well as allow pupils to fill in their own gaps in their learning — if you are the type of teacher that does not like to get into the minds of your pupils, then this resource will be of no use to you.

  5. I used to teach SMILE at South Camden Community School in the early 90’s having come to London specifically to teach it because of its ethos of self-directed learning by pupils and its ability to genuinely accommodate mixed ability teaching. Loved it. I used to use the cards as the basis for group work to encourage discussion and mutual support amongst pupils which in a school with a large proportion of English as second language pupils served a dual benefit of improving their communication skills, so I used to work with language support teachers for that. Ahh feel all nostalgic now….sooo glad the cards are available still.

  6. Thomas W says:

    Unfortunately, while the quality of the work on the sheets is good. I went to a school where the system was literally to ‘set some cards and off you go…’. The answer books were at the back. The level of discipline in the school (well my class particularly) was poor. This resulted in mass copying of answers with little teacher supervision. It makes me so angry now to think about how poorly my maths education was managed. I can’t blame SMILE entirely – but I do in part, it provided a system where too much responsibility could be placed on pupils at too young an age to manage their own study (study skills take time to develop after all). Yes, I’m sure a minority excelled independently. I’m also sure that in classrooms populated by mostly white, middle class children with high parental expectation to spur them it was effective. In my school, in a highly diverse, very poor part of north London it was a failure.

    • SC says:

      I also had a poor experience with SMILE for Maths. This was used as a replacement for teaching, and it was terrible. Very few children did anything. And no-one did homework. I did not have Maths homework set for the whole 5 years at the school.

      Like the poster above, Maths teaching failed at my school, and it was based on SMILE.

      Maths must be taught, how else will our children stand on the shoulders of giants?

      • TW says:

        Like both posters above I had exactly the same experience with SMILE mathematics when I was a pupil at secondary school in the late 80s / early 90s. It was a complete unmitigated disaster, pupils didn’t learn anything from it and we’re bored and unenthused by it, the parents hated it, and I suspect even the teachers had doubts about its effectiveness as a teaching method. Maths lessons were farcical, nobody did any work or any homework, the teachers were overworked because everybody constantly needed help and every pupil had a different question because we were all working on our own individual work sheets. My overriding memory was one of feeling disillusioned and very disconnected from my classmates because we were all working individually (or at least we were supposed to be) as opposed to all working on the same thing as a class or group. Thinking back on it I do feel very angry that I was robbed of a proper maths education by what was by its own definition an ‘experimental’ teaching method. It was no suprise when I recently learned that my old secondary school had long since given up on SMILE, individualised learning and mixed ability classes for mathematics. They now stream maths classes by ability and teachers actually teach students from the front of the class. As a consequence of this change results in mathematics have improved dramatically.

  7. Nay says:

    I used it too but I can’t remember how I got my grade, we’re there exams as I am trying to find out what exam board was used as I want to track my certificates, please help I am desparate…

  8. Gerry MOON says:

    As a (now retired) Head of Mathematics in a school in Fleet (late 1980’s early 90’s) I introduced SMILE into a department that had always taught the subject using a very traditional method in which the children were set strictly according to ability (at least by ability to score well in exams) – teacher out front talking and then pupils answer a ton of similar questions.
    I introduced the scheme with mixed ability classes at the time of the introduction of the National Curriculum – responding to the Cockcroft Report. As a mathematics graduate I soon realised that my team of staff did not have the knowledge or skills to teach the whole of the curriculum – mainly the Using and Applying section. I was able to convince them that if the worksheets were selected for each child at her/his level of ability to cover the curriculum, then the rate of learning/understanding should allow each individual to progress at a suitable pace. To facilitate this, SMILE had already associated each card with a learning outcome and level. I found that the scheme also revitalised the teaching methodology of the staff in so far as they were encouraged to walk around the class to check on each pupil, giving help where and when needed by asking pertinent questions rather than by giving direct guidance – as was their previous methodology.
    I have read and heard of many concerns about the SMILE resources but I suggest that these are superb, but that a more active teaching method is needed to encourage and support the learning of the pupils – do not blame the resource, blame the method of its utilisation. If used wisely, this resource enables the pupils to enjoy their learning and want to make progress.

  9. April says:

    I used the SMILE maths cards over 20 years ago and I sailed through the exam achieving a B+ at the time, (even though I missed the deadline on a piece of coursework!) Yes we ‘just got on with it’, but the teacher was always available for questions and it was fun!! We had the option of ‘higher maths’ lessons after school where the teacher would set more complicated work. I am now downloading these cards for my own children, they love them and are grasping new ideas very quickly and they look forward to completing them. They make them SMILE!!!

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