I am a Secondary Mathematics teacher in my sixth year of teaching. I teach at a local community college in Sussex where I am Assistant Curriculum Leader for Maths. Welcome to my blog...

Wednesday, 26 October 2016

#MathsMeet, Oakwood School

On 20th October Paul Collins (@mrpcollins) hosted a Maths Meet at Oakwood School where he is Head of Department. I have never presented at a Maths Meet before, so when Paul asked for speakers I was keen to get involved. When thinking about what it was I wanted to present I considered something my school did well and decided on our marking and assessment structure.

Firstly, a bit on the other sessions:

Session 1 - WAGOLL (What A Good One Looks Like) by Ryan Foster
This session focused on how Ryan's school used and promoted good examples of student work. This is something we are working on as a department and as a school ourselves so it was good to hear about ways other schools were achieving this. Ryan's school had displays around the department which showed worked examples of exam questions and of what students needed to be able to do to achieve an A/A*. I also liked the WAGOLL book that he had put together of students' work so students knew exactly what was expected of them. I think it is really important to show students what we are looking for because it is easy to assume they understand. This is something I find challenging with my students, especially middle ability who do not take as much pride in their work. At my school we have decided to put together WAGOLL displays in our own classrooms as we don't have a lot of display space in the corridors and it is difficult to change over. My colleague Harriet Lambert (@harrietlambo) has a great "Learning Wall" display in her classroom which she updates regularly with recent examples of great work by just pinning it to the board like a scrap book and it looks fab!

Session 2 - Engaging Students with Book Work/ Worksheets by Paul Collins
I thought this session was fabulous and something that I am looking forward to trying out to motivate my middle ability students after half term. It is basically a more flexible version of a codebreaker activity (which I love using with my students anyway). Paul has a coded message on the board using numbers in place of letters which students have to decode. On slips of paper he will have a random 3 or 4 letters of the alphabet decoded and students have to earn the decoding slips according to a predetermined number of questions answered correctly. For example for every 3 questions they answer correctly from the book/ worksheet they earn a piece of the code. Students will get a random part of the alphabet which sometimes doesn't even include letters from the code on the board at all, but it keeps students going. Paul usually uses song titles as his coded message and tries to match it with the students' interests which I thought was a lovely touch. Here are some tips for Paul's codebreaker activity:

  • Use TA's in the room if you have them to help mark the answers and hand out parts of the code.
  • Work until the first student finishes then use them to write up the decoded message on the board using clues from the rest of the class.
  • Try not to have too many of the same letter in the code otherwise it can be easily guessed.
  • Have different targets to gain parts of the code to differentiate the work e.g. students have to answer 6 easier questions or 3 harder questions before they get a piece of the code.
Paul did say it can get a bit manic, especially with large classes but you can also get students to help with the marking if they finish quickly. I think it is a great way to remind me to mark during the lesson and am looking forward to trying this out,

Session 3 - The Power of Boxes and Circles by Mark Horley (@mhorley)
This session reminded me of a training session I went to last year on Shanghai teaching methods for Maths, and is something which also comes up in Numeracy Ninjas. I'm really glad Mark reminded me of this as it is an excellent way to easily challenge understanding of what is happening, and it is so straight forward! All you do is replace a number with a box, and an operation with a circle, and students have to fill in what is missing. Mark has put his presentation on his blog here along with resources which use this method. My favourite version of the resource was for factorising and simplifying algebraic expressions as it really structured the process which I can see really helping with students understanding:

I also really like the simplifying one as the boxes can stand for different numbers so you can really get students to think about things like negative numbers as a different approach to "The answer is 3x + 2y, what is the question?" and the students all going x + x + x + y + y.

However, it did come with a health warning that it couldn't be used for equations due to the boxes being able to be replaced with a variety of values and not just one. Another great idea though which I am eager to try out next term.

Session 4 - 5 Maths Websites you Need to Know by Jo Morgan (@mathsjem)
Jo has already started to blog about this on her website Resourceaholic (which is my number one go-to website!) so I will keep it brief. Although I did already know about all the websites it was still great to have a reminder, and to find out about some new features some websites had to offer, so here goes!

1). Mr Carter Maths - This is a new discovery of mine, and I have used it a lot over the past few weeks. It is just so easy and simple and ideas if you just want to find some quickfire questions with answers. I have been using it mostly for snipping starter questions and adopting the "Silver" "Gold" option for my students as there is such a wide range of abilities in many of the classes I teach. I love how easy it is to use!

2). Mathsbot.com - This is one which I have used in the past but have sort of forgotten about more recently so thank you to Jo for reminding me! Jonathan Hall (@StudyMaths) who runs this site also runs formtimeideas.com which has been a lifesaver in the past for me, and if you have a form group is well worth checking out. Mathsbot has a great starter generator tool with a countdown timer and what I like the most about his site is how you can choose the topic of questions, or just set it on random. It is also worth checking out the bank of new style GCSE questions he has (always nice to know a good source for these!), and you can create your own worksheets by selecting which topics you want to include which is a great revision tool. Jonathan doesn't have every topic up yet, but what is on there so far is excellent.

3). MathsPad - We are not subscribers of this website (although Jo is, and does recommend it) but I have used some of their free resources, I expect found through Jo's Resourceaholic website! The resources I have used I have found useful for low ability, and really like the clear distinct layout of them. Saying that Jo showed us a resource using prime factors which was more challenging which I really liked, so I think it is just a matter of finding out what they have in their free resources if you do not wish to subscribe. I really like what Jo said about some of their resources though that it has made her think about the way in which she teaches some topics, and I agree that it is exciting when you find resources like that!

4). Corbett Maths - This is a website I go to all of the time, mainly for their practise questions and text book exercises. It is so easy to find questions on any topic, and everything you could possibly want is on there! I also use the 5-a-day, especially in the build up to exams. A fantastic new feature that Jo told us about was the Class Quizzes which look great. There are currently only 4 weeks worth, but I love the "Study Sheet" which goes with them and will definitely be using for my Year 11s in the run up to the GCSE.

5). Resourceaholic - Not much to say about this website really except that it is my BIBLE when it comes to planning, and always my first port of call. I really like that Jo has also blogged about many of the topic areas too, so you can get some more generalised teaching ideas as well as great resources!

Session 5 - Assessment and Homework without Levels by me (@Mahoney_Maths)
When considering what I wanted to present at the evening I thought about what my school does well. In our department at Heathfield we have worked a lot on the abolition of levels, and students are now given a "Pathway" to achieve their target grade at GCSE right from Year 7. Everything we then do to assess is linked directly to these Pathways which in Maths is 10 key skills we want those students to be confident in by the end of the year. We spent a long time as a department deciding what we wanted those skills to be and what would be the best for our students. It was really challenging to narrow it down to only 10! The skills also feed through the Pathway from Year 7 to Year 11 as far as possible.

In terms of our assessment, we then assess weekly in two ways. One week students have a "Key Skills" assessment which is 8 key questions they have to answer which feed into the Pathway skills and the scheme of work. The questions stay the same for an entire term, it is just the numbers that change, so they don't get any harder. What we are aiming for is consistency with these skills, so would hope by the last 2-3 weeks students are getting 8 out of 8 each week.

The second week they complete a "Functional Skills" assessment which consists of short exam questions, one for each Pathway. As our Pathways are a range (e.g. Pathway 5 will cover 4-6), this is usually 3 questions which all students in the class attempt. We mark it with minimal feedback, then RAG the skill at each grade. Students then get more detailed feedback and a "Moving On" question to complete which focuses on one particular mistake they have made. We would usually produce 3-5 Moving On questions per class each time with feedback relating to that question. This makes it quick to mark, and as the feedback is given with the Moving On question means you are not writing out the same feedback 10 times. I find this saves a lot of time and is a much more sustainable way of giving students timely and relevant feedback.

Scores from both assessments are then tracked, and when we come to complete the report data we have to select one of the Pathway strands the students need to improve on. We will then use the RAG data to select the most relevant skill that each student needs to focus on. As there are only 10 skills throughout the year, it is likely that assessments will hit the Pathway strands multiple times, and the RAG rating will be altered accordingly, hopefully making it more accurate and relevant when reporting home to parents.

The slides I used in the presentation can be found here. Please feel free to contact me if you would like any further information on what we do, or would like to arrange a visit to our school, you would be very welcome!

Session 6 - Numeracy Ninjas at Oakwood School by Paul Collins
I just love Numeracy Ninjas and this year I have set it up with bottom sets in Year 7 and 8. There are a lot of split classes in KS3 this year (our KS3 is only Y7 and 8) so this works really well for teachers who only teach a class once a week, giving them a designated 'numeracy day'. I also use it with my foundation Year 11 class who absolutely love it.

It was really nice to see how Paul uses it at Oakwood. It is similar to how we do, tracking the results to show the students how they are progressing through the belts. Some aspects of what Paul does that I really liked were actually using the results in data lessons. For example creating pie charts of how many students are getting each colour belt. It will mean more to the students using their own data, and I can see how this would motivate them to work on the skills and get better marks. I also really liked the display that they had at Oakwood and is something I would love to find time (and space!) for at Heathfield. Each student has their own "Ninja" and they are moved up through the strips of colour for each belt so they can see their progress. I think we will try to get a small display for this in each classroom, but a corridor display would be great to promote and celebrate success.

All in all an excellent evening with lots of ideas to take away and try. The raffle was also a nice touch (I managed to win a few Numeracy Ninja's prizes for my students!), and it was a really great group of people. Thank you very much to Paul for organising, and I look forward to the next!

Sunday, 2 October 2016

INSET Day Planning for Excellence

The last year at my new school has been a whirlwind meaning I have actually not blogged about anything since before I started. Last Friday we had a great INSET Day on Planning for Excellence which I was involved in the planning and delivery of, and it inspired me to share more once again with the teaching community.

When we sat down as the Pedagogy Team we thought about what staff would want to get out of the day. We didn't want staff to feel their time could have been better spent so we incorporated time to plan independently and then also time to share what had been planned with their departments. We asked staff to focus on a lesson they want to plan to teach over the next couple of weeks, and the only other requirement was that the lesson could be used by others in their department. Therefore, by the end of the day they would have a lesson for next week already planned, and other lessons they could use to help cut down on planning time.

The first half an hour of the day began with an inspiring speech by our fantastic Deputy Head focusing on pushing forward with the aspects of our already established 4 pillars (Independence, Engagement, Challenge and Feedback, encompassed with Digital Learning) with greater precision, subject specific focus, quality, reciprocal collaboration. The two aspects that stuck with me were that what we do every day can change society. In our current Year 11s we could have the next Prime Minister sitting in front of us. The clip we were showed by Dylan William "Every Teacher Can Improve" also struck a chord with me. I spend so much of my time convincing students that it is ok to make mistakes as that is what learning is all about, but can be very hard on myself if something doesn't go quite right. It just reminded me that this is what the job is about, and that whenever I feel like something isn't going quite right I am dedicated to making it better. That process is what excellent teaching is all about.

We then went back to our departments and discussed which lesson we would like to focus on. I chose my Year 12 Core Maths unit on Standard Deviation because I have just taken over leading this course and really wanted to spend some time getting my head around the topic having not taught it before, and producing some great resources that would capture the imagination of the students. My NQT @Reggggy would then have a sequence of lessons he could teach next week as we have parallel classes and so would benefit.

The first workshop of the day was our "Buzzroom", We set up the hashtag #HCCBuzzroom to encourage people to collaborate and share what they had done throughout the whole day. Every member of staff had this workshop on their timetable where they could sit (on beanbags!) and just look through twitter and other websites and share.

We also have whiteboards in the "Buzzroom" so could share anything we had found this way. After convincing half of my department how fab Twitter was I decided to hijack part of one of the whiteboards and gave them a list of great Maths people to follow:

I could have stayed in that room all day and gone through all of those tweets that you like and retweet then struggle to find time to then go back and look at, or read those blog posts. I often get distracted by reading blog posts on a Sunday afternoon when I should be planning! It was great to see so many staff engaging in it, and so many good ideas were shared instantly between colleagues. I absolutely love the power of Twitter and the majority of my inspiration comes from the great people on there. It really has enriched my teaching.

The next two sessions were led by myself and my amazing partner in crime @harrietlambo. Our focus was on Engagement, and we always feel that when we go to whole school CPD sessions it is often difficult to apply what we have seen to Maths, It can be a funny subject that way, and can be quite unique in its delivery. For that reason we wanted to provide versatile ideas that could be easily adapted to any subject. Our sessions included 4 ideas:

1). Settling students with an activity to music. We gave staff a crossword for them to complete to the tune of "Don't Stop Me Now". They had until the end of the song to complete it. This is a great motivator to students, and dancing around them trying to distract them from the task just makes them work faster!

2). Taboo. We got staff to sit back to back and gave them a Taboo word on the board. They had to describe it to the other person without using any of the words written around it in red. Their partner then had to write the word they thought they were describing on their mini whiteboard. this is a great activity to help students practise key terminology in an engaging way. We then extended this to drawing a picture using only geometric shapes. It was interesting to see how difficult the staff found it not to cheat and give one another feedback which they weren't allowed to do. The first time I tried this with a top set year 8 class they found it very frustrating and couldn't understand why their partner found it so challenging to understand what they were saying!! Specifically to Maths I would then go on to give students an exam question they had to answer on the board. The person facing the board couldn't tell their partner anything about the question but just gave them the lines of working to write down, and their partner just had to write down what they said. This encouraged students to really think carefully about what they were writing for their working out and make it make sense.

3). Clever Catch Balls. You can buy either subject specific Clever Catch Balls for this activity or just buy a white beach ball with some super sticky post-it notes to stick on them. Get students to come up with questions and stick them to the ball. Throw the ball around the room (to an unsuspecting recipient!) and where their right thumb lands get them to read out that question and then answer it. For large classes it can be difficult to get all students engaged, but students could be making up more questions of their own whilst the ball is being thrown around.

4). Plickers. I absolutely love Plickers because it only relies on one electronic device. It takes a bit of setting up, but I have a set of cards already laminated (can be used for multiple classes) which I just hand out to the students each lesson. I found by sticking the cards in their books the QR codes get worn away, or they get lost and as the students numbers don't change it is quick to hand them out. The aspect of this I like the most is that students can't cheat as they can't tell what each other is putting, and they can't hide as everyone must give a response. Once you scan the room with their responses you can immediately see which students are incorrect as it flashes up red on your device (the students don't see this) so you can then target your questioning effectively. The app works very efficiently, they have developed it a lot since I first started using it a couple of years ago and picks up the student responses very quickly. You can also now include images with your questions too. As everything is saved to the app it provides you with class data. I have also used it as pupil assessment of learning by putting success criteria on the board and asking students to respond with which they are most confident and using this data to inform the planning of the subsequent lesson, so it is very versatile! I tend to get my questions from Diagnostic Questions, but although there are other subjects on there it is mostly focused on Maths.

The workshops were a great success and everyone was very positive about them. We got some great feedback too (even through Twitter!) and Harriet and I were glad people found them useful.

The remainder of the day was spent on individual planning time, then we had time at the end of the day to feedback to departments on what we had planned which I found really useful to bounce ideas off the rest of the department for my Standard Deviation lesson. The next step is for the Pedagogy Team to drop into some of these lessons to see what staff have come up with, and I'm really excited to see this.

The day was not only a great success but the 'buzz' around Teaching and Learning from everyone all day was really positive. even at lunchtime everyone was discussing pedagogy!

Credit to the fantastic @Smith_EL101 for leading the Ped team on such a great first project!

Sunday, 16 August 2015

September 2015 - A New Adventure!

In September I will be starting a new job as Assistant Curriculum Leader for Maths at my local Community College. Having come from a school with only about 700 kids where I was Numeracy Co-ordinator to a school almost twice the size where I have much more responsibility is both exciting and daunting!
Although I don't yet know much about my role I know I am in charge of intervention which will mainly involve Wave 1 teaching, PPG and data. With that in mind I am beginning to consider things I want to establish both within the department and within my teaching over the next year (as well as getting used to a new school of course!). I would also like to blog a bit more (I managed 5 posts last academic year!) and really make the most of links with  Emily my successor at my old school, and with my old mentee and friend Sophie's school.

Numeracy Ninjas
The most exciting thing I have come across so far is Numeracy Ninjas. Created by @Maths_Master this is the perfect solution to tracking KS3 Numeracy and identifying students who need more support and getting that wave 1 intervention off to a great start. What I love even more about it is that it is completely free! All of the resources are there ready to use and teachers have the choice about the frequency of sessions they wish to carry out with their classes each week. Like Times Table Rockstars students are timed which creates a competitive element to the activity which students find much more engaging. Students achieve a 'ninja belt' depending on their score:
As they improve their score they go up a belt. What I would like to do is get staff to carry out the first session with all their KS3 classes (only Y7 and 8 in this school) and report that data back to me which I will collate as a baseline. After this they will have the flexibility to 'train' their classes and once a term report their scores back to me so I can identify both the highest achieving students and also the most improved students and reward them with some of the fantastic resources and prizes on the website. I am currently a bit unsure how I am going to collate the results as the number of students is much greater in this school than I am used to and know from experience I don't want to spend all of my time trawling through lots of data. 
As well as rewarding success and progress this should also help identify individual and class needs, and staff can then use the Ninja Skill Books to 'train up' their students where needed. I am ready to pitch this idea to my new HoD so fingers crossed!

Another challenge at my new school is the use of iPads in lessons. I already have my shiny new iPad Air 2 which I have purchased through the school's salary sacrifice scheme but although I own an iPhone and an older iPad I am feeling a bit apprehensive about using the iPads 'for the sake of using them'. Saying that I am eager to develop effective ways of using and integrating the iPads into lessons and sharing this with my department. One App I have come across which I just love is iDoceo which is basically a gradebook App. I think my new school use this anyway as I recognise the seating plan element from my interview. What I like most about it is the way you can link parents' email addresses to students in the class then take photos of student work and send it home. There is a brilliant blog article on Request a Work Selfie by @Mathed_Up which fits in beautifully with this App and makes the home/school link incredibly quick and easy if you are already using iPads in school. I'm really excited about this and can't wait to try it!

Other than reading a lot of blogs all I can really do to prepare for next year is to sort through my resources (oh and change my Notebook lessons slides over to Promethean!) and try to organise them in a logical way. I have accumulated so many excellent resources mainly through blogs and Twitter that I forget what I have, or have to trawl through lots of resources to find something that I used somewhere with some class a while back. My aim is to save this time next year by having everything clearly organised with resources I can just pick up and use. I also want to try to share more resources that I come across as I have learnt so much from so many fantastic people online that I would like to give something back!

Monday, 13 April 2015

Play Doh Pedagogy - Fractions!

Thanks to my fabulous friend and colleague Emily who attended the ATM Maths conference over the Easter holidays I have finally been introduced to how Play Doh can be used in Maths!

Today we trialed it with Year 11 middle ability students in a small group intervention sessions to add fractions with different denominators. The question was 1/3 + 4/5.

Firstly, get two different coloured Play Doh of the same amount. Each ball represents 1 whole:
Split the Pay Doh into thirds to eventually represent the 1/3 fraction, and into fifths to represent the 4/5 fraction. This helps students appreciate the fractions are different sizes as the parts of the different fractions are not the same. You can see in the image below the thirds are larger than the fifths:
Take one of the thirds (1/3), and 4 of the fifths (4/5). This is what we need to add together:
But you can see the fractions are different sizes. Firstly, we need to split all of the Play Doh into equal parts so to get them all the same size we split into fifteenths:
Once the thirds have been split into fifteen, we need to divide these fifteen into three groups again; 5 in each group. We need 1/3 of these which is equivalent to 5/15 (see above). The fifths also are split into fifteenths but in this case we need four out of the 5 groups (12/15).

We now have the sum 5/15 + 12/15, and all the balls are the same size, so we can add them together to make 17/15:
You can see we have 12 pink balls of Play Doh, and 5 blue balls of Play Doh. You can also see we have the left over fifteenths at the top. The three pink fifteenths can be swapped with three of the blue fifteenths as they are all the same size, meaning we have used all of the pink fifteenths which represents a whole one:
The answer is then one whole (represented by the pink Play Doh), and leftover we have 2 fifteenths:
This is how using Play Doh 1/3 + 4/5 = 17/15 = 1 1/15! It was great to hear the Year 11 students saying "I think I understand this now" as they could see what was happening with the fractions and gained an appreciation of their different sizes.

Sunday, 14 September 2014

Times Table Rockstars

I am going to try to do, and blog about, one new thing at school each week. This week I have trialled "Times Table Rockstars" with my Year 9 group - an invention created by @MrReddyMaths to make practising times tables fun and recommended by an old ITT student of mine (thanks Sophie!). One of my main focuses this academic year as Numeracy Co-ordinator is to increase basic numeracy skills of our students across the school, and this programme is a fantastic and engaging way of doing this, especially with choosing your own "rockstar" identity. Tori Wynter is mine and I use the avatar on my lesson slides:

I chose my Year 9 group as they are a mid-bottom set who have become disengaged in Maths and lack confidence. There are quite a lot of boys in there who are big characters, and the competitive nature of the Times Table Rockstars has really engaged them, I began by doing the initial baseline quiz in their first lesson, and I was very surprised to see 5 whole minutes of complete silence and total engagement whilst every single student hurriedly tried to complete their grid. I then set them for homework the task of logging on (really good tip by Mr Reddy is to use existing usernames and passwords - I have used their email addresses and MyMaths passwords) and choosing their "rockstar" names. Not only did every single student do this, but two-thirds of the class went on to take part in the challenges with my highest scoring student already at £1135 coins!

As we only have the trial version at the moment, my next step is to get each of the teachers in my department to trial it with one group. I don't think it is going to be useful for every student in the school, but at least 1 or 2 classes per year group I think will really benefit. I am carrying out the paper based challenges twice a week for 4 weeks as a starter task. The students get 3 minutes to answer 60 questions, and what I also like is the sheets include both multiplying and dividing so the students become familiar with the relationships between the numbers in the times table. I put a stopwatch on the board and if they finish before the 3 minutes is up they write down their time and I collect these in as well as their scores. This gives the students a speed of number of seconds per correct answer which is all input into one spreadsheet and averaged out across the weeks.

I have found this is a really positive way to start a lesson. I make a fuss of those students on the leaderboard from the Internet-based challenges (using their rockstar names) and the top three fastest students from the paper-based challenges, and the competitiveness of the timed starter is a good hook to the rest of the lesson.I would definitely recommend investing in this programme!

Next week I am going to attempt to make a bit more out of the wall space in my classroom. We have a new member of the department who is excellent at this - I am in awe of her classroom! This is the third year I have been in my classroom and apart from some standard displays I have done little to really put my own stamp on it. So my challenge for this week is to find an unused space on my walls somewhere and make something of it!

Monday, 1 September 2014

Doing my bit for Literacy

As Numeracy Co-ordinator I work closely with our school's Literacy co-ordinator, and in addition to that my husband has just got promoted at his school to be Literacy co-ordinator so I do feel a little bit of pressure to support the literacy initiatives in my school. Despite that I have a Year 9 tutor group who love to read, and I know there are so many benefits of encouraging this that I wanted to do my bit to promote literacy going into the new year.

Firstly I decided to create a "Book Box" for my classroom as we will be doing one session of silent reading a week during tutor time, and so often some students in my tutor group turn up without books, even if they do enjoy reading. I thought it would be a nice idea to have some to hand which they can choose from and I have enjoyed going around car boot sales and rummaging through charity shops to select some titles which may entice some of the less enthusiastic readers in my tutor group. I have even included some titles I enjoyed from my childhood including "Goosebumps" and have tried to consider what both girls and boys turning 14 would enjoy.

As well as the "Book Box" I have also spent a little bit of time creating bookmarks for each student in my group. It was very cheap to do and didn't take too long, I just bought some coloured card and ribbon offsets from Amazon, then a book of 1000 letter stickers and just stuck their names to a bookmark-sized piece of card. I'm quite proud of the outcome (being someone who is not very creative!) and I will have the bookmarks out on their desks in their new seating plan to try to promote reading from the word go this year. I hope it will also be a nice gift to start off the new term.

I would like to get the students to write book reviews of the books in the box throughout the year and put the reviews in a folder in the box to help other students select a book which might be of interest. I wanted to reward the students for doing this in some way, and may use raffle tickets to do so which could be drawn at the end of each term or the end of the year as a book token for a prize. I did also want to reward the students for reading books in a similar way but am not sure how have a fair system in which students earn raffle tickets without them playing the system and saying they have read a book when they haven't so I may need a little more thought on that one.

Sunday, 17 August 2014

Key Stage 4 Tutor Numeracy Challenge

Last year I set up a Tutor Numeracy Challenge for KS3 tutor groups to complete during tutor time. I used mainly UKMC questions to create PowerPoints of 5 questions which I emailed around to each KS3 tutor once a week, and put answer forms in their register folders which had to be completed and handed back to me by the end of the week. It was fairly successful, I got about an 80% response rate but found some tutors would complete it every week and some did not do it at all, which meant the same tutor groups were winning each term. It was also quite a lot of work on my part, I would write the quiz each week along with the solutions to the previous week onto slides and email around the tutors, then collate all the answer forms, mark them and input the results onto a spreadsheet. What I wanted to do was try to get something online so questions could be accessed each week by the tutor and solutions submitted online but I haven't yet found a way of doing this, so I will be writing them all on PowerPoint again for this academic year. One plus point the school will be introducing in September is more structured tutor times so each tutor group will have a designated slot to complete the tutor challenge meaning I should get a 100% response rate and therefore this should encourage competition between the tutor groups. This is an example of one of my slides I used last year:

This year the KS4 leader has approached me to come up with something for Year 10 and 11 who will have a 15 minute designated tutor slot once every 2 weeks. I have decided to go down a similar route but this time with only two questions - a green question and a red question. The green question will be aimed more at Foundation level and will be worth 5 points whilst the red question will be aimed at Higher level and will be worth 10 points so all of the tutor group should be able to be involved. I looked at using Socrative, which I haven't used properly yet but I think is excellent, but it didn't do quite what I wanted it to do and I think it will be complicated for the tutors to access the specific quizzes on there so I have gone back to PowerPoint. Ideally I would love to have something where the questions could be accessed by the tutor, displayed on the interactive whiteboard during tutor time and the tutor submits the solutions to me there and then. It would also be useful to have some way of displaying a 'Leaderboard' which I am going to try and use our numeracy board in the Maths department for to try to drum up some competition between the tutor groups. This is something I will have to look into at a later date and try to find to be able to centralise the tutor numeracy challenges across the school.

Both the green and red questions for the KS4 tutor challenge I have tried to get to be problem solving to encourage teamwork among the tutor group. So far I have found both ilovemathsgames Puzzle of the Week blog post and Corbettmaths Corbett's Conundrums, some of which are very challenging to source my questions, so thank you to the authors of both of those fabulous resources.

I would love to hear what other schools do for tutor time numeracy so please leave a comment or tweet me @Mahoney_Maths if you have any ideas you would like to share. Thanks!