#061 Slice of Advice: What does the first lesson with your class look like?

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Hello, and welcome to another episode of the Mr Barton Maths Podcast, with me Craig Barton.

Now this episode is another in the Slice of Advice series, where I ask one question to a bundle of my favourite educators, and learn from their wisdom and experience. This time around the question I posed was “What does the first lesson with your class look like?”, and the range of answers was incredible, focusing on specific activities, establishing routines, setting the right tone, expectations, and much more besides. My hope is that this episode will be perfect for the start of the new year, but also be one that you can come back to any time you inherit a new class, move school, or even take on a dreaded cover lesson! Whilst some of the activities described are maths specific, there is certainly enough cross-curricular gold in here to share with your non-maths colleagues.

Please note: I am acutely aware that the contributions on this episode are very male dominated. I want to reassure listeners that I asked pretty much an equal number or males and females, just like I did for the previous Slice of Advice. For a variety of reasons – holidays, not checking emails, actually having a life over summer! – it turned out that not as many women were able to contribute as men. This is a real shame, and something I will try extra hard to address in future. I hope regular listeners know that I try to achieve a fair balance in the guest I interview, in terms of gender, race, view point, favourite number, and so on. But I just wanted to mention here that I am aware of the point.

Here is the full cast list:

1 Adam Boxer @adamboxer1 
2 Amir Arezoo @WorkEdgeChaos 
3 Andrew Jeffrey @AJMagicMessage 
4 Andrew Percival @primarypercival 
5 Andy Lutwyche @andylutwyche 
6 Ben Gordon @mathsmrgordon 
7 Ben Rooney @benjrooney 
8 Ben Sparks @SparksMaths 
9 Bruno Reddy @MrReddyMaths 
10 Chris McGrane @ChrisMcGrane84 
11 Chris Smith @aap03102 
12 Colm Lynch
13 Damian Benney @Benneypenyrheol 
14 Dan Pearcy @DanielPearcy 
15 Dan Rodriguez-Clark @InteractMaths 
16 David Faram @DagsMaths 
17 David Morse @Maths4Everyone 
18 Jemma Sherwood @jemmaths 
19 Jess Prior @FortyNineCubed 
20 Jo Facer @jo_facer 
21 Jo Morgan @mathsjem 
22 Jon Sellick @rightokayso 
23 Luke Pearce @lukepearce85 
24 Mark McCourt @EmathsUK 
25 Mark Quinn @marquinnnotts 
26 Mike Pye @Owen134866 
27 Ollie Lovell @ollie_lovell 
28 Peter Mattock @MrMattock 
29 Richard Tock @TickTockMaths 
30 Robin Macpherson @robin_macp 
31 Simon Cox @MathsMrCox 
32 Tom Francome @TFrancome 
33 Tom Sherrington @teacherhead 
34 Craig Barton @mrbartonmaths

Just before we dive in, I wanted to mention something exciting I have been working on over the summer. As many of you will know, I am the Director of Education at Eedi, the parent company of my little baby, Diagnostic Questions. Now, a few years ago we launched our free GCSE maths schemes of work for AQA, Edexcel and OCR, which thousands of students around the country use on a regular basis to identify misconceptions and hone their skills.

Now, whilst these schemes were undoubtedly good, they were far from perfect. Many of you wrote to me to ask for more questions, more specific topic units, more flexibility to map your existing scheme of work to ours. Well, I am never one to deny the public, so over summer I have worked with a team to deliver the brand new Eedi GCSE Maths Scheme of Work. It consists of over 100 topic units and over 2,000 questions, catering for all your needs at both Foundation and Higher tier. Moreover, each topic unit has a clone quiz, so once you set up your scheme of work, not only will your students receive a quiz at the end of each topic unit, allowing you to measure performance and identify any lingering misconceptions, but they will also receive a clone quiz 3 weeks later, allowing you to measure retention, and your students to benefit from the Spacing Effect. On top of this you will benefit from automated marking and vastly improved teacher insights and feedback, that will save you hours each week and allow you to do your job better. And all this will not cost you or your school a single penny.

So, if you have tried the schemes of work before and not been that impressed, please give us another go. And if you are new to them, then please check them out. Head over to eedi.co.uk to find out more.

Resources mentioned:
Andy Lutwyche: welcome year 7 presentationwelcome-year-7-worksheet, welcome-year-7-worksheet-answers
Bruno Reddy blog post: mrreddy.com/blog/2016/08/first-lesson-back-sense-of-possibility/
Jess Prior: mathsisfun.com/puzzles/four-fours.html
Jo Morgan: resourceaholic.com/2018/08/Yr7.html
Me: Don Steward’s Basic Number Tasks: donsteward.blogspot.com/2011/12/basic-number-tasks.html

My usual plugs:

Thanks so much for listening, and I really hope you enjoy the show!
Craig Barton

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