Is there a way of introducing algebra that will not make my students groan? How can I bring some fun into the properties of quadrilaterals? How do I help students understand that two minuses do not always equal a plus? These were all questions that I as an eager NQT had. And for answers and inspiration my only real options were to ask the more experienced members of my department, book on an expensive course, or hope my LEA Maths Advisor has stumbled upon some gold in time for our termly meetings.
With the majority of Advisers gone, and money for courses incredibly rare, these questions still remain for teachers of all ages and experience. Fortunately, over the last few years we have witnessed the rise of the maths blog, and with it all the answers we need and much, much more.
A blog is an easy convenient way to share your thoughts and ideas on the internet. And whilst some bloggers like to rant about a nasty experience at the supermarket or document their latest run-in with an alien, there is a band of maths bloggers who focus on one thing alone: ideas.
I make sure I spend a good hour each week reading maths blogs. My TES WebWhizz Video 21 picked out some of my favourites.
These blogs have become my number one source of ideas, inspiration and professional development. Here is a sample of some of the things I have discovered in the last few weeks:
- On Mr Collins Reflective Journal I have learnt about Maths DJ-ing which has led to my Year 7s begging to do the arithmetic based starter
- On Don Steward’s Median I have stumbled upon my new favourite shape, the “maxagon”, which combines geometrical reasoning and problem solving
- Using an idea on Number Loving, Year 8 have been creating Maths Fortune Tellers that have the potential to revise any topic and are even differentiated!
- On Reflective Maths Teacher I have discovered Thoughts and Crosses, a versatile resource which draws heavily from Bloom’s Taxonomy, and most importantly challenges my very able Year 11s
Thank you so much to all maths bloggers out there for your time, dedication and generosity in sharing your wonderful ideas. They certainly have improved my teaching no end over the last few years. And in a move to rival Ferguson snapping up a young Ronaldo, I have signed up many of these bloggers to be on the new TES Maths Panel. Exciting times ahead!