On this episode of the Mr Barton Maths Podcast, I spoke to Chris Smith.
Chris is an experienced maths teacher up in sunny Scotland. He is a self-confessed maths geek, Pi Day enthusiast and TED talker. He is the creator of some of TES’ most popular maths resources, and the author of an excellent weekly maths newsletter. And if that wasn’t enough, he is the 2018 Scottish Teacher of the Year! I have been trying to get Chris on the show for ages, and he finally caved into the pressure. And boy, am I glad he did.
So, in a wide-ranging conversation, Chris and I chatted about the following things, and plenty more besides:
- Chris describes not one, but three favourite failures, and they each contain something we can all learn from
- I asked Chris to take us through how he plans a sequence of lessons, and it is fascinating
- How does Chris find the time to do all he does, both outside of and in the lessons themselves?
- What is the key to a good resource?
- What is the story behind Chris’ brilliant newsletter, and what are some of his favourite features?
- What is the secret to organising a good maths revision event?
- What have been some of Chris’ favourite Pi Day escapades, and are such fun activities really worth it?
- What is mathematically interesting about the number of seconds in February?
- And finally, what does Chris wish he’d known when he first started teaching that he knows now?
I absolutely loved talking to Chris. As much as I love being out of my comfort zone speaking to the likes of Becky Allen, Dylan Wiliam and David Didau, there is something nice about geeking out with a fellow maths enthusiast. And I hope you find the bit of our conversation about the importance of fun, joyous experiences as interesting as I did. I will be reflecting on this, and more, in my Takeaway at the end of the show.
Just the usual request that if you enjoy this podcast, please consider giving it a rating and review on whatever podcast platform you get your audio fix from. And if you have a colleague or friend who does not listen to this podcast, then just before you shun them for the year, consider recommending an episode to them to get them started.
Chris Smith’s Big 3:
1. Gapminder World
3. Futility Closet
On Twitter Chris is @aap03102
Links to things Chris discussed in the conversation:
SCOTTISH TEACHER OF THE YEAR
Baby Shark Questions!
Planning a lesson
The 17-times table by metre stick
21 card trick
Chris on “The Dog Ate My Homework Christmas Special”
Sample of Retrieval Practice Booklet
A world exclusive: my entire back catalogue of Maths newsletters (be sympathetic to my early issues, folks):
To sign up, email me ([email protected])
The 1779 puzzle which Dave Gorman solved:
Recent E-ban Number reference in Numberphile:
O-ban Number Challenge intro:
My Maths Relay Races:
Scottish folk I mentioned (there are lots of others):
Stuart Welsh (https://twitter.com/maths180)
Chris McGrane (https://twitter.com/ChrisMcGrane84)
Michael Allan (https://twitter.com/mrallanmaths)
Making Maths Count (https://twitter.com/MathsScot)
Scottish Mathematical Council
Maths Week Scotland
Maths Camp / Revision Events
Maths Camp reports and resources and tips
Road to PiDay
My usual plugs:
- You can help support the podcast (and get an interactive transcript of all new episodes) via my Patreon page at patreon.com/mrbartonmaths
- If you are interested in sponsoring an episode of the show, then please visit this page
- You can sign up for my free Tips for Teachers newsletter and my free Eedi newsletter
- My online courses are here: craigbarton.podia.com
- My books are “Tips for Teachers“, “Reflect, Expect, Check, Explain” and “How I wish I’d taught maths”
Thanks so much for listening, and I really hope you enjoy the show!