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A Mean Murder Mystery III

It's been a while since I have last shared a murder mystery. So here is my Harry Potter themed murder mystery. The topic if you haven't guessed it yet is calculating the mean specifically from a table. Everybody loves a play on words, right?

This murder mystery was part of a lesson I did with my year 7's recently, I've wanted to spend the time in creating a good mean from the table lesson for a while. I started with a stopclock starter where students had to calculate the median, mode and range from lists and tables. This warmed the students up and refresh their knowledge of both grouped and ungrouped tables.

I introduced the murder mystery by asking the students to read the newspaper article which always gets a buzz in the classroom. Following this I displayed the four suspects Professor Snape, Sirus Black, Draco Malfoy and Bellatrix Lestrange. This information card also includes their individual stats.

GCSE Maths Passports Grades 1 to 9 Revision

The new grades 1 to 9 GCSE maths passports are a resource designed to encourage students to have independence of their revision. However the maths GCSE passport resources also provides direction for the students about how to revise maths, which maths topics to revise and where to look for maths resources. Students commonly struggle to be able to correctly revise mathematics. Many believe reading through a revision guide is enough no matter how many times you tell the students the need to complete maths questions.

Since the new 1-9 curriculum has been launched, I thought very carefully over whether to make a new version of the passports and I have decided it would agian be useful. A word of caution I have given each passport targeted grades, this does not mean the subjects inside the passports are grade x, it is just roughly what I see students of each ability are generally able to achieve.

The new grades 1 to 9 GCSE maths passport resources are more detailed than ever before. Instead of there being only three passports there are now five. The GCSE maths passports support students with revision of basic numeracy skills up to complex mathematical concepts. There are five different passports in total two foundation, one cross over foundation/ higher and two higher passports.

The Ripple Effect

I believe in using long standing lessons learnt by many great people over time to help inspire what I do inside the classroom, within school as a whole and also throughout life. The Great Mother Teresa once said
I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples.
Lately I’ve come to notice this quote and reference reflects upon so much within the education system and what we do as teachers. It’s often hard as educators to feel like we can easily make real positive changes within a complex, large and differing education system. It can seem a daunting prospect to many, for example tackling how to initially handle the new GCSE syllabus. Sometimes it’s hard to see that the smallest of things can have the greatest of impacts long term. We too often can feel powerless and believe change is beyond our control or job mandate.

Navigating Students Fear of Mistakes

Some students struggle to even attempt questions because they think they only ‘might’ know how to answer the question, however because they are not 100% sure they just leave the question out. Other students who feel they only know how to tackle the first part of the question often to choose to again leave it out, particularly the longer wordy questions. You hear the mutterings around the classroom when handing test back of ‘oh, I thought it was that’ or ‘I crossed out the right answer’.

Recently I’ve placed a big focus on praising effort rather than attainment, to try and help tackle this. I’m still testing and tracking students, but I’ve be praising students differently and monitoring what I say careful. Through modelling, team work and positive praise for effort on a task I’ve seen a noticeable difference in the students I teach and their attainment.

I’ve noticed that the students from my class are now imparting the strategies we use to help their friends, without evening noticing they are doing it. When they are practising mathematics in different groups, I hear them say ‘just try’, ‘you never know you might be right’ and ‘it’s like a ladder, come on you can get on the first step’. Their words are quotes of mine and it is lovely to see the support network and positive use of words rippling out amongst their friends. This is really helping to build a larger positive maths culture and community.

EAL is often a subject many teachers in schools need or want inset on. From looking at my class lists this year I know I need to brush up on my skills. Many students particularly in the current climate are arriving in the UK all the time with limited to no English. Within my current school we immerse students with the language by placing them in higher ability sets for the language acquisition and many other support structures are put in place behind the scenes. It isn't however in my nature to just allow a student to sit there, despite the language barrier maths is a universal language. In our subject most EAL students who have been in education in other countries can often start seeing success quickly within Maths.

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