Wednesday, 29 September 2010

It worked - What did I do?

So today I had a good A level lesson. I'm full of cold. Probably 3/5 on the grumpiness scale. I didn't plan anything extravagant. I used mymaths instead of writing out the examples as usual. I got the class to do a textbook exercise for the lesson instead of card sorting or deep thought problems. Why was this the first time I felt my lesson worked? Had the carousel mixed group work last lesson built up their confidence? Had the 30 min drop in help session before the lesson with another teacher calmed them. Was I less stressy because I was ill?

In other news I think I need a new hobby. One of my favourite bloggers:
is always talking about knitting and cooking. It's made me I think I need to be more well rounded like her. I also like her use of bullet points. 

Friday, 24 September 2010


So another week of teaching and I'm shattered. Stayed six hours late today and I'm still not caught up. Is it always this bad in September? Have I just blocked it out? Successful Newton-Rhapson lesson this morning. Now a TAM lesson on proof. Fish and chips when I finish is getting me through.

Monday, 20 September 2010

How do you make everyone talk?

So my A2 lesson went better than I hoped for. Next thing I want to improve is class involvement. Half the class talk half don't. I have a few ideas. I also want increase confidence for the quieter ones. Any ideas?

Sunday, 19 September 2010

Fixed point iteration Sunday

Spent the morning trying to figure out how to teach fixed point iteration in particular the rearranging the equation method. Trying to teach something really makes you learn it thoroughly. I thought I understood it until I tried to create a lesson plan trying to explain the method. I think I have satisfactory answers for most of the but why questions that might come up. Is there a better way of describing why the gradient effects diverging/converging apart from showing staircase/cobweb on the graph? Do others teach Newton-Rhapson first? Think I'm going to have to work every sunday to keep on top of this A level content this year.

Friday, 17 September 2010

Numerical Methods

How to make numerical methods more interesting? I need to do a better job than I did today. Additional chaos caused by timetable issues that had me scheduled in two places at once and half the class arriving an hour late. I think I stayed remarkably calm given this. Turns out I was meant to be in the other place and my A2 time has been cut my an hour 15 mins a week due to low numbers. A2 maths in 2 and 1/2 hrs a week this is going to be interesting. Yay it's the weekend.

Thursday, 16 September 2010

First AS lesson

Well I waited till this morning to blog about yesterday's lesson so I could be more positive. Also because I was exhausted last night. So positive things:
  • They enjoyed the first card sort activity
  • Most of them know how to draw y=x
  • By introducing midpoint as the mean and length as applying pythagoras didn't seem to get many input into formula type errors
  • Some of them are keen
  • No one was injured
Ok negative:
  • I was thrown by such a big class (20 soon to be 22) particular when I ran out of desks
  • I assumed too much knowledge (some needed reminding of plotting coordinates)
  • I was trying to more flowing and flexible but I think I need more structured questionning planned
  • A few of them were a bit bolshy
  • I probably came across as nervous
I think these things are fixable so we'll see how things go next Tuesday after some thorough planning.

Tuesday, 14 September 2010

Mini Meltdown

Well had my first mini meltdown of the year this morning. This job is so stressful at times.  Of course it was over nothing and gained nothing. Luckily I was not teaching at the time. It did mean I was not totally focussed for my first AS level lesson but as they were taking a test this was not essential.  I even forgot my red pen. First actual teaching lesson tomorrow. I'm rehearsing my questions in my head. I really want to take my A level teaching to the next level and not be too didactic or timid. Hopefully tomorrow will be the first step in this. Need to plan some better AS tutorial activities this year too.

Monday, 13 September 2010

First Meetings

So my teaching kicked off today and I met my new A2 group who are lovely. It has started off in my mind how can I best help these students to succeed. I haven't decided on my research project topic but I'm thinking along the lines of strategies to help those who are struggling or successful group work techniques. I will probably use my bigger AS group for my research project but hopefully anything I learn in this I can apply across to both groups. This week I really need to master Autograph and become more fluent in it.

Sunday, 12 September 2010

The beginning

Hello world!
Right here we go my first post. I've started this blog to reflect on my A level lessons for an active research project I'm planning to do. This is part of the Teaching A level Mathematics (TAM) course I'm taking at Warwick University. I'm intending to blog about my A level teaching but I may blog about functional maths too or I may give up after a week. I'll see how it goes. I need to decide on what to actively research. It has to be connected to my A level lessons. If anyone has any suggestions they'd be most welcome. Right short and sweet to start off with I think.