Showing posts with label starter. Show all posts
Showing posts with label starter. Show all posts

Thursday, 19 December 2013

BIDMAS, BODMAS and tearing your hair out.

Bidmas or Bodmas

BIDMAS BODMAS not again!
BIDMAS or BODMAS, it doesn't matter which mnemonic you use, it always seems to cause problems for pupils. Below is an idea that is simple and works.

A student or class may be able to apply it to an exercise after your explanation. Give a few questions a week later and all is forgotten. 

Either confusion reigns in the classroom when they try to apply it to problems that are outside the exercise specifically on BIDMAS or it is completely ignored by the pupils. Below is a an activity that will help.

Monday, 13 May 2013

Stand up/Sit down - times tables practice

Times tables - how can they stand it?

Have you ever struggled to find another way to teach multiplication or times tables? I have. It is never easy to find new ways to teach and/or practice multiplication tables. The kids are probably under pressure from home to learn them and in turn it increases the pressure on you, the teacher. Governments also use them as a handy measure of progress that the general public understand.

A fun activity

 This is great fun and can produce lots of laughter in the classroom. It is particularly  useful when the class is a bit sleepy, such as after lunch. (Or even when you are feeling a bit low on energy.) Equipment needed, NONE!

  • Tell the class they have to stand. You are going to call out numbers in the three times table (for example). If the number is in the three times table they have to stay standing BUT if its not they have to sit.
  • You say the number 9 staring intently at the class. No movement. 3, the same. 10 and the class sits down, or at least a few confident souls do and the rest follow. Once they have the idea you can continue, with the calling out of numbers becoming incresingly rapid. You can of course fool some by a slight bend of your knees as if you are about to sit down, even when you call out  number which is not a multiple of 3. Who follows your lead? Someone will. Continue until you think they, or you, have had enough.

  • This is fun and it enables you to see who is secure in their knowledge of the 3 times table, or whatever table you chose; it is an almost instant assessment tool.


  • Of course you can use other multiplication tables, but sticking to our three times table you could start to use 2 X 3, 4 X 3, 6 X 5, 2 X 7, etc. see if they can work out which are in the chosen multiplication table.

Order of teaching

I think there is a distinct order in which times tables should be taught, namely 10, 5, 2, 4, 9, 6, 3, 8 and 7. Experience has shown that these are the most difficult in ascending order.

This excellent book by Steve Chinn, 'What to do if you can't learn your multiplication tables', discusses the problems and strategies for learning the multiplication tables. He is an expert on learing difficulties, especially dyslexia and dyscalculia, who shares his knowledge through a series of books focused on Mathematics.
Why not follow me on Twitter @croftsr1
Please feel free to leave a comment, I would really appreciate it.

Saturday, 11 May 2013

Snowballs in the classroom

The class that didn't need me

Ever had a great moment when you know things have gone well? 

How about a class being self starting working on a topic or idea that you have kicked off in a lesson before and they carry on without you? 

Sounds almost impossible doesn't it but it happened to me. This idea is simple and it works.

Many of you will already know this activity a numeracy game at its best, but for those that don’t it is great fun. One day I was late for a class , the school was built on two sites and it took at least 3 to 4 minutes to get from one site to another. 

By the time I had arrived in my class the pupils had organised the starter for themselves and were playing snowballs. How many lessons would that happen in?

Want an instant resource book for starters? This book is full of ideas that are easy to implement and will provide you with starters that you can use straight away. 

An excellent book that will get any lesson off to a flying start Letts Red Hot Starters - Maths (Letts 101 Red Hot Starters)

 The game

The game starts when you select two pupils from the class. Stand them back to back  at the front telling them they are going to have a duel. There are no guns allowed but they can use snowballs. 

They have to cup their hands in front of them into which you place an imaginary snowball. Instruct them that you are going to count to three and at each number they have to take one pace away from each other. On the count of three they stop back to back at 6 paces apart.

You ask a question for example ‘how many sides does a pentagon have?’ or ‘what is 4 x 9?’ My favourite re the multiplication tables as this is  fun way to practise them. 

When one of our duellist has the answer they turn around and say the answer out loud, if right they throw the snowball at their opponent, if incorrect the initiative goes to their rival who has to give an answer. 

If correct they can throw the snowball at the other person. The loser sits down and another challenger is selected. If they are both wrong they both sit down. This great fun and has endless variations.

After the snow has melted

There is no better way for  child to become comfortable with the tools of numeracy than if they are playing and having fun. 

It sometimes difficult to stop the non-combatants from whispering the answer to one another or getting excited that they know the answer.

After doing this activity the atmosphere in the classroom is very positive. The children often ask if they can start, or end, a lesson with snowballs.

I have adapted this game to include division, addition, subtraction, fraction of quantities etc. there seems to be no limit. 

The more activities you can find like this to add to your teaching portfolio the better for everyone especially if they are fun.

I was amazed that the starters book can even be purchased for 1p from Amazon. Click on one of the links to buy the book.


Letts Red Hot Starters - Maths (Letts 101 Red Hot Starters)

More resources for your classroom click on resources 

For general books on how to move your teaching to outstanding click on general teaching books

Books to feed your mind click mind food

Just looking for a good read click good read