Adapting to the unpredictable
keeping my students motivated and happy.
This is my first blog post of 2021 and we are already half way through February. The reason being, I decided to spend my time adapting my teaching to life without the familiar goalpost of GCSE’s and A levels.
Last Spring when we went into lockdown one, I had an external student for A level Maths. We did not know if a grade would be awarded for them. Our aim was to keep going despite the constantly changing goalposts. It was not easy, we had many false starts, at varying intervals news of the process of awarding grades was released and changed. I am pleased to say that a grade was awarded. Based on this experience I am continuing to encourage my students to keep going. Again, not easy. Motivation has waned and the sense of purpose has understandably diminished. So here are some of the ways we have changed our focus.
The focus here has moved to ‘Maths for Life’ (whilst always keeping an eye to the syllabus, of course). So I have shared my first payslip and we have discussed how to check it.
We have had a chance to cross curricular with the Business GCSE and work on, for example, profitability ratios and the average rate of return. It has been fun to return to my roots as a Chartered Accountant.
With DESMOS activities students have been able to engage more with the topics. I particularly enjoyed making one for transforming graphs which can be found here.
I am hoping this revision pairs task will be memorable for a lesson post half term.
As always, I have been able to encourage greater use of technology, thanks in large part to Casio providing emulators for the various calculators. It makes it so much easier to teach this part of the syllabus over the internet.
We have even had time to work out how to use diagnostic questions for A level quizzes.
Key Stage 2 and 3
I am lucky enough to have been asked by my neighbours to help their up-and-coming Mathematicians. As they are all currently key stage 2 and 3 it has given me the opportunity to consider more closely the building blocks of understanding mathematical concepts. It has been a steep learning curve for me but one which I am thoroughly enjoying, not least because I get to use Cuisenaire rods.
Barleys Maths that we launched last March 2020 has been a source of useful videos, being used recently for fractions/percentages & decimals . If you keep watching to the end you will see how hard Bertie worked.
The students seem to be finding the pairs game a great plenary to our lessons so a library of various topics is being developed so far fractions, shapes & revision.
I should emphasise that whilst the focus has changed, we are still very much keeping an eye to the syllabus at the different levels.
Well done to all my students for their resilience and perseverance through a challenging time.
Finally I need to thank my trustee assistant who has become invaluable to me over the last year, here are a few pictures of him lifting the spirits of our students.
As a safeguarding note, whilst I use other webpages such as DESMOS classroom, I do not encourage students, especially the younger ones, to move around the internet.
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