Category: Pedagogy

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Biteable for making videos featuring animations

We want to set the right tone in the first few minutes with our year 7s with a bit of ‘visioneering’. We used Biteable to make the following video to welcome our newest students into our maths department. We used iMovie to add the voice over:  

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A week working at UCLA in the Bjork Learning and Forgetting Lab

Dear readers, Over the summer I was privileged to visit UCLA in Los Angeles to work with a number of educational researchers looking into how cognitive science can be used to improve teaching. In a highly stimulating week I learned about both the historical and contemporary research findings relating to our thrusts and was also able to share some of...

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The impact of using Numeracy Ninjas on the numeracy fluency of Key Stage 3 students in a large comprehensive secondary school

At Wyvern College we have run a year-long research study to assess the impact of using Numeracy Ninjas on the fluency of our 470+ Key Stage 3 students’ mental calculation strategies, timestables and key skills required to successfully access the GCSE Maths curriculum. We are delighted to publish the impact report summarising the statistically significant improvements that Numeracy Ninjas has made to...

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Experiments in mastery… rigour is a vital component…

Define a mastery approach to teaching maths. That’s a tough task. Whilst there are many elements that could be debated, I hope we’d all agree that rigour is a fundamental component. In our maths dept at Wyvern College, we’ve started focussing recently on understanding strategies and approaches to incorporate high levels of rigour into our resources. We’re still in the...

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My interview on the Mr Barton Maths Podcast

This weekend I had the privilege of being interviewed by Craig Barton for an episode of his wonderful maths podcast. We discussed many issues relating to maths education, including: How does Will plan lessons? – we dive very deep into this! How do Will and his department try to create renewable lessons? Can Will describe a lesson that went badly,...

Flow of prior-learning dependencies between subject domains within GCSE Maths. Created using the Sankey Diagram Generator by Denes Csala, based on the D3.js Sankey plug-in by Mike Bostock. 3

Prior-learning dependencies flow between Maths GCSE subject domains

Just over two years ago I published the post, You’ve never seen the GCSE Maths curriculum like this before, summarising my analysis of the prior-learning dependencies within GCSE Maths learning objectives. The curriculum map I produced showed the importance of students having high fluency with specific number related topics, such that the topics do not consume working memory resources when students were...

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#MathsConf6- maximising the impact of multiple-choice questioning

At #MathsConf6 I attended a wonderful workshop delivered by @NaveenRizvi who works at Michaela Community School. She shared a number of valuable insights gained from visiting high-performing American Charter Schools and observing the practice of their best maths teachers. In this post, I’d like to share and then elaborate on an aspect of multiple-choice questioning, mentioned by Naveen, that was a...

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Learning from linguistics and video games- get the students ‘playing the game’, not ‘reading the manual’

Watch this video featuring Prof James Paul Gee: The points James make in this video are particularly important at present with the increased emphasis being given to problem-solving on the maths GCSE. His insight that giving two students the same resource and it being concrete for one and abstract for another resulting from the differing prior life experiences (or lack...

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In search of mastery- lesson study in multiplying fractions

The focus on planning for students to have ‘mastery’ in their learning is much discussed at present. The term ‘mastery’ is somewhat vague and I have read many contrasting attempts by others at defining it. I will not attempt a definition; personally, I am still on the ascent in my understanding of this idea and cannot survey the landscape fully...

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Knowledge organisers- more clarity than learning objectives and great for building retention

The inspiration for this post came from an article on Joe Kirby’s blog, Pragmatic Reform called Knowledge Organisers. I have huge admiration for what Joe and his colleagues are achieving at Michaela Community School by challenging just about every status quo in teaching and learning. They are at the forefront of developing high-impact, sustainable-workload teaching strategies informed by cognitive science research...

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MathsWatch spaced-learning revision programme- Edexcel 1MA0

I’ve put together a revision programme based on MathsWatch for the year 11 cohort of 2015-16 studying Edexcel 1MA0 GCSE maths. It is based on spaced-learning principles to maximise retention. This could be used as an additional revision programme to complement weekly practice papers, which are essential in my opinion. It will ensure students systematically visit all topics on the...

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Numeracy Ninjas

  Today is a rather emotional day for me. The last few years have been an amazing journey learning about effective maths teaching. Steps along the way have included: The problem with levels- gaps in basic numeracy skills identified by rigorous diagnostic testing, Forgetting is necessary for learning, desirable difficulties and the need to dissociate learning and performance, Going SOLO on the journey...

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The problem with levels- gaps in basic numeracy skills identified by rigorous diagnostic testing

I have felt for a long time that one of the disadvantages of the current levelling system is that it encourages teachers to constantly teach students mathematical concepts and ideas only at levels equal to or above that which they have recently scored on an assessment.  The data-focused, level-centric system only rewards teachers if their students can  score marks on...

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Join me at the English and Maths 2015 Conference #oeEM15

Optimus Education have launched a new conference: English and Maths 2015- Effective Teaching Strategies to Meet New Accountabilities. I’m delighted to have been asked to speak at the event on 22nd October and will run a workshop session on: designing a maths curriculum that ensures learning is conceptually deep, retainable and context-transferable; maximising depth of learning and procedural fluency. Other...

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Powerful, diagnostic, games-based AFL- Kahoot!!!

Kahoot is a tremendously useful, free AFL tool I recently came across after a Twitter recommendation. Students can use any web-enabled device (any OS platform) to take part in games-based quizzes. There are thousands of quizzes publicly available, or you can create your own in a simple drag-and-drop editing tool and add to the public pool. There are many maths-based...