Sunday, 23 September 2012

I'm teaching information that is 300 years old

Oh dear almost a month without posting. Well I have done my first week of proper teaching and it was as hectic as usual. I think my first lessons were ok but I'm definitely out of the swing of it. I need to plan more thoroughly but I'm moving house this week and my timetable was changed after I left work for the week so this will probably be difficult. I'm enjoying teaching A2 Maths again and my students are lovely. We are starting with the numerical methods coursework which is a bit dry but hopefully will warm them up for the maths to come. I'm teaching lots of reluctant GCSE students this year.

I've let the gamification Coursera course slide and have started another one Introduction to Mathematical Thinking with Keith Devlin. I will not be able to fully participate in this one either as I won't have broadband for a fortnight after moving. However it's still got me thinking. One statement in the introduction reasoning really got to me - "the typical high school curriculum comprises of mathematics at least three-hundred years old, some of it over two-thousand years old!" I knew this but I'd never really thought about it. Really we are teaching a historical course. The ancient rules have been past on from generation to generation almost like a religious text. My thoughts on the usefulness of the GCSE syllabus varies from year to year. I think Maths is a key topic but some of the things we teach are no longer useful particular if you finish your maths education at 16. What is the use of understanding Pythagoras' theorem but not being ripped off by credit card interest?

I've just finished the third episode of The Bletchley Circle. A lovely drama on ITV with a great cast. In the episode the main character reaches for The Principles of Mathematics by Bertrand Russell in an emergency. It was great to see maths portrayed positively for a change.

Thursday, 6 September 2012

Gamification and first week back

Well my first week back at work is complete. Yes I know it's only Thursday but I'm a part time skiver now. Monday was very confusing. It took the whole morning to adjust to being back. I did learn how to use the new printer though so I consider that day a win. You can scan documents on our printer and email them from it. Amazing huh?

Tuesday I was feeling back in the swing of it. First big A level meeting. Teachers do love a good moan don't they? I presented our department's results. Yesterday we had our department meeting. I found out I'm co-ordinating the daytime GCSE and may be taking two A level classes.

Away from work I've been enjoying the gamification course on Coursera and it has really got me thinking about how I could apply more game ideas to my lessons. I would like my lessons to be more playful and fun particularly GCSE and functional maths.

I've been enjoying the resources on the number loving website recommended by TES maths resources/Mr Barton though some of the items won't download for me.

I have just downloaded the blogger app and am writing this from my phone. I very rarely use the laptop these days. Smart phones have really changed how I operate probably not completely for the better.

Friday, 24 August 2012

Introducing myself

How do you introduce yourself to your classes?  I normally give my name and contact details. I'm about to start my 6th year of teaching and have been wondering whether to mention this and a bit more about my background. Just diving straight into long multiplication seems a bit rude somehow.

I'm getting more excited about the new academic year. I return from maternity leave on the 3rd September but teaching doesn't start for two weeks. I perused the pencil cases in town today but think I will stick with my old one. I did buy a new notebook with my Waterstone points.

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I have decided to ditch my academic diary and just use outlook for scheduling. This is going to be my first term as a part time worker and mum so it will be very different. Any tips much appreciated.
I've also signed up for this course I think gamification in education is an interesting idea. Manga High and Mathletics seem to be going down well in schools and I'm intrigued if this idea could work for my 16+ students. 

Sunday, 19 August 2012

Hello World again

Morning everyone.

Inspired by I am restarting my blog. I know it's been a while but I feel the need to restart. I have been seduced by the ease of twitter and that has been where I have been mostly shouting into the darkness.

I'm returning to teaching in a fortnight after 9 months maternity leave. I'm hoping it will all come back to me. I think I'm teaching A2 core and that will really test my mathematical muscles after this gap.

My new academic year resolutions are:

1) Reflect more on my lessons and record this somewhere so when I teach the topics again I improve. I know this sounds simple but I often can't remember which are my best resources and which ones have errors in a year on and end up using them again and kicking myself.

2) Take the coursera course Introduction to Mathematical Thinking
I've practised on the Science Fiction and Fantasy course and found the whole thing very interesting. Are MOOC's the future?

3) Try to finish the last past of my mini masters course. This involves doing a research cycle with one of my A level groups and writing about it. I haven't any ideas on what to do this on yet and want to get into the swing of being a mum and a teacher first but it's bubbling away in the background.

This is going to be a difficult year as one of my closest colleagues and friends is dying and I will miss her terribly at work. She is doing a parachute jump next week.