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That meeting could have been an email…or could it?

There has been a shift in recent years away from administrative, or information-disseminating, meetings due to the meme-worthy “that meeting could have been an email” mentality. I am now so completely drowned in ‘informative’ emails that I am actually missing many important details that are lost within my deficient email filtering system. My system involves scanning the dozen emails sitting in my inbox, flagging the ones that look important to ‘read later’, then failing to ‘read later’. Personally, I feel the need for meetings, or at least in-person and verbal interactions sometimes, to effectively convey important information. In the absolute busy-ness of my work life this is far from feasible. There are certainly alternative ways of communicating that we use such as Microsoft Teams, Learner Management Systems, social media, even texting and, (I know it’s old-fashioned) calling someone on the telephone. But the reality is that when there are so many different forms of communicatio
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Have I been scammed?

Unit pricing, best buys, call it what you will, this topic is great because it is relatable, practical and prompts rich conversation. This week I started a lesson with a lower ability Year 10 class with this image: After some hesitations one student piped up: "Do 80 divided by $5.39!"  I wrote on the whiteboard 80/5.39 and the students told me confidently the answer was 14 cents.  Me: "How do we know this is correct? Is there a way we can check?" After some discussion we figured out we could multiply 80 by 14 cents which they told me was $11.20. Me: "Are we happy with this?" Students: "I guess." Me: "So if you take this packet of lollies to the checkout and they charge you $11.20 you are ok with that?" One Student: "You're gettting scammed!" I was amazed. The students took quite some time thinking through how the shop keeper were cheating the customer. Eventually they were convinced that maybe the maths was wrong. It was d

Musings on Rubrics (Feedback invited)

I am in need of widespread quality dialogue around the purpose and development of rubrics as we prepare for the implementation of Version 9 (V9) of the Australian Curriculum.  Once upon a time my school had a rubric that was similar to the SACE (South Australian Certificate of Education) performance standards. It was suggested that this was inappropriate as it did not indicate assessment of the Australian Curriculum Achievement Standards. We then moved to a rubric divided into the profiency strands of fluency, understanding, reasoning and problem-solving, and used qualifying language like 'consistently' and 'in un/familiar' situations. The relevant Achievement Standard sentence was attached to the rubric.  In planning for V9 we are redeveloping our rubric. It is proving to be a challenging thing to do as there is limited consensus among stakeholders as to what a middle school mathematics rubric in South Australia should look like. Some common discussion points are that

Who is responsible for Numeracy?

Is the Maths Learning Area (faculty, department, whatever you want to call it) at your school solely responsible for nurturing the numeracy capability in the Australian Curriculum? That would be like saying the English Learning Area is responsible for literacy. And Digital Technologies is responsible for Digital Literacy, Art is responsible for Critical and Creative Thinking, and Languages holds dominion over Intercultural Understanding.  If I proposed this model of implementing the Australian Curriculum you would tell me I am mad. I hope. I would like to open a conversation around the joint responsiblity Learning Areas have for developing numeracy in Australian students. It is hard to know where to start the conversation. As a starting point, how many staff in your school have accessed this page of the curriculum:  "Understanding this General Capability", specifically numeracy, and are aware of the document available on this page outlining the progression of the Numeracy Gen

The Humanoid Project

My favourite unit from last year with my Year 7 class was The Humanoid Project . This unit of work hits all the AC standards for Statistics and can be adapted for Year 7 or 9. It comes from the amazing resource that is YuMi Maths  which is worth checking out.  The basic idea is: I made a video of our class doing the project, which I have posted below. The orginal video was five minutes long and included footage of students talking about everything they had to measure and calculate, and what they did well and could have done better. In the director's cut I've posted here you can see: The opening page which is a poster a couple of students created. This features images depicting the categorical data we collected as a class of our favourite things like food, sport and drinks. You can see the students drawing, cutting and sticking up the body parts they had created. The dimensions were based on the mean measurements of the class's bodies. The students had to measure each others

Rounding and Estimation with MAB

MAB blocks can be used in so many places in the maths classroom! Who would have thought they could be used for rounding and estimation? Thank you for MathsPathway for this little beauty of a lesson  using MAB blocks and playing cards or dice. The first step is to turn over two sets of two playing cards (or roll two ten-sided dice) to create a couple of 2 digit numbers to multiply together. In the first column of the downloadable template sheet students write the muliplication : The next step is to round the numbers to the nearest ten and write the rounded multiplication in the middle column. Students can use the downloadable rounding grid to help with this if needed: Finally, students complete the rounded multiplication The MAB blocks really help students to visualise the muliplication and find the answer, or at least check their answer: Here's another one with even larger numbers: Please comment below with where you think I could go from here in my next lesson!

Making Measurement Meaningful and #ObserveMe

 I started the topic of "Measurement" with my Stage 2 Community Connections class today.  Last night I was pondering on how to teach my students about area and perimeter without boring them (and myself) to tears. I decided to follow this procedure: First step: Google your street address and locate your property on Google Maps. Mine looked like this: Second Step: Right click and select "Measure distance" and trace around your property. We noticed that Google gave us the total distance (perimeter) and area. My question for the students was, how did Google figure this out? Or in Stage 2 Community Connections language: "What are the dimensions of the block of land?"  and "What operation will we use to find a) the perimeter and b) the area?" I don't know about you but I find that many students (particularly at the lower ability levels) get confused about the difference between perimeter and area. They struggle to recognise that perimeter requires