Friday Bulletin 7/10/16

Hello Maths

I hope you’ve all had a great week!

I’ve really enjoyed teaching the negative number lessons to year 7 this week.  We’ve spent far longer than I intended on the lessons, but it really feels like the students are really understanding what is going on. Negative numbers was one of the topics that was rushed through in previous years, due to time constraints, which often resulted in an annoyingly poor use of negative numbers higher up the school, particularly when multiplying out double brackets in the simplifying stage, and in substitution questions.

My final lessons were taken from the classic Standards Units (N9 Evaluating Directed Number Statements), adapted to include only addition and subtraction for our scheme. We will come back to the other statements next half term.

The students have to separate cards into ‘always, sometimes, never’ categories.  We actually spent three lessons on this in the end because the students wanted to answer all of the cards.  Some used sandcastle diagrams, some used charges and some used thermometers to explain their reasoning. They challenged each other with well thought out arguments. I was so pleased with them all!

It turns out that there are no ‘never’ statements in the cards we use so a good challenge at the end is for the students to make their own ‘never’ statements, which they thought about really well.

In other news…

The new year 8 progress checker and the year 9 and 10 assessments will be uploaded this weekend. They all have the usual password.

The year 8 assessment takes the same form as year 7: simpler fluency questions followed by questions that require reasoning and non-routine questions.  Once again, no numerical grades should be given to the students. This front cover grid should be used to identify areas of weakness.  Any blanks in the first column would require some action on the part of the teacher, and more formal intervention should it remain a problem. This paper is a non-calculator paper.

The GCSE assessments have a similar format for questions, starting easier and building up to non-routine questions. As tiers of entry have not yet been decided for any group and all students have the same objectives, all students will sit the same test. This means that there may be a few questions at the end that some students may not be able to access. The grades for each assessment range from 9-1, which can be shared with students. The percentage from the test should be put into Go4Schools which will convert the percentage to a grade.

There is a record table on the front cover, similar to the year 7 and 8 progress checkers. For any blank boxes, students will be directed to a video from either www.corbettmaths.com or lesson powerpoints so that students can work on areas they are struggling with. Hopefully this will encourage students to take responsibility for their own learning first, before any intervention takes place.

Have a good weekend everyone, and see you all next week.