- Maths After School
One new use for the tasks (remember I have about 100) is for exploration. One day a week at a 'Math Lab' after school, the kids and I explore math through the tasks. The students love this time and enjoy talking about math and interacting with the tasks in a non-threatening after school relaxed environment. I remember Charles (Lovitt) once said that kids really learn, enjoy learning, and taking ownership in the process with this method.
And... it does seem to work very well. The attendance for this after school voluntary event is extremely good. They really complain if I have to cancel!! Imagine that... kids wanting more math after school!!
Lynn Patterson, Homer Pittard Campus School, Tennessee.
- New Service
Staff changes, curriculum drifts, conflicting priorities have meant that in some schools the Task Centre resource needs a refresh. Ina Koetsier, our Distribution Manager, has established a new on-site service that can put your tasks back in working order in a day. Let her look after the materials so your staff can concentrate on the professional issues that will lead to improved student learning. See the Resources link on the left.
- Agenda Update
Small changes have been made to the Introductory Workshop Agenda to update contact information. See the Documents link on the left.
- Text Book Problem Solved?
Liz Treloar and the team at Overnewton College may have finally solved the problem of what to do with text books if the parents have bought them but you want to construct a curriculum more consistent with Working Mathematically.
Tell the kids to leave them at home...
...but set homework from them to be handed in regularly and included in the assessment regime.
Liz tells us there have been three main effects of this policy:
- students have better posture because the bag they drag to school isn't so heavy.
- parents are happy because they see the book being used and homework being set.
- teachers are challenged to think harder about their lesson preparation and draw more widely on the school's other resources to fill the void previously occupied by the lower level thinking of the skill practice lessons.
- The Sphinx Keeps Growing
I recently received an email from Andy Martin, Thorne Grammar, Doncaster, England. He was introducing me to two Year 7 mathematicians - Emma Stewart and Amy Milner. Emma and Amy had found a solution to the Size 11 Sphinx and were 'pestering him' for enough pieces to be first in the world to complete a Size 13 Sphinx. (You can find a link to Sphinx in the Principles link on the left.)
A few days later I received this letter directly from Emma and Amy which included photos of their Sphinx constructions. It reads:
I am happy to give them their wish. How about you?
We are called Emma Stewart and Amy Milner, the ones Mr Martin told you about.
Here are all the sphinx we have done so far.
This includes the 2x2 sphinx, 3x3, 4x4, 7x7 and 11x11.
There are four 3x3 sphinx, three 7x7 sphinx and two 11x11 sphinx.
As you can see we have named the 7x7 sphinx.
We would like to call the 11x11 sphinx's 'EMMA STEWART and AMY MILNER, THE BIG ONE'.
Hope this comes in useful to you,
From EMMA and AMY
This photo and others from their work are in the Sphinx Album in the Photographs link on the left. There is room in the album for their Size 13 creation when it happens and also room for Sphinx photos from your class.
- Math on the Move Succeeds
Between the last week of February and the last week of March we completed 12 days of professional development in three states as part of Curriculum Corporation's Maths on the Move initiative. In the Maths on the Move link opposite, you can read about the success of these sessions as judged by the participants' evaluations.
We are willing to take Maths on the Move anywhere. Please contact Doug.Williams@curriculum.edu.au if we can support your school, district or system in creating happy, healthy, cheerful, productive and inspiring classrooms.
- Self-Directed Professional Development Works
We were recently asked to participate in the professional development day organised by a cluster of schools. Unfortunately, none of our consultants could attend ... but we were still able to help.
Maths With Attitude (see Resources link on the left) has been designed with self-directed professional development in mind, so we came to an arrangement with the organisers to make use of a couple of our demonstration kits. From their team they chose a facilitator for the session who looked over the material in advance and led a brief introduction to it. We supported the introduction with a one page guide sheet. The teachers then set to work in pairs exploring in whichever direction their interests took them. They had notebook machines with them to make use of the CD-ROM.
The cluster ran two MWA Self-Directed sessions on the day and the feedback was:
Teachers are the best resource we have. It seems they very much appreciate the time to use their own professional initiative.
- Teachers very much appreciated the time to play with the hands-on tasks.
- They found the material engaging, entertaining, challenging and full of great strategies.
- They loved the structured way the manual suggests integrating the use of the tasks, whole class investigations and software.
- The facilitator found the session easy to deliver. He modelled one activity first so everyone had a sense of what was available. There is only one CD-ROM and one manual provided with each kit, so he felt the presentation could be improved even further in a networked environment where the CD-ROM could be accessed simultaneously by all participants. (Of course this would be a temporary arrangement for the life of the workshop.)