# Primary Maths, and Real Estate Rip-offs, and Life!

Who’d believe it?

The housing market goes up, Up, UP!

The prices go up, Up, UP!

So, the commission an estate agent receives goes up, Up, UP! For NO EXTRA WORK!! NONE!!

The normal real estate commission on a house is 2.5%.

So, a couple of years ago, the estate agent selling a house valued at, say, \$350,000 got a commission of \$8,750.

BUT, in the past 2 years, house prices have increased at an INCREDIBLE rate.

So that very same house would now probably be valued at maybe \$580,000.

So, to sell it, the agent gets 2.5% of \$580,000 which amounts to \$14,500.

That’s an increase of \$5,750. For NO EXTRA WORK! Not a thing! In fact, the estate agent’s job has actually become far EASIER, not harder!

Teachers can use this type of situation to help their students understand the importance of maths in everyday life. Not understanding it can have very significant financial consequences.

Or is all this too hard for our primary students?

I don’t think so! Do you?

# Teachers — Your Nescafe Maths Opportunity!

Sometimes an opportunity to teach Maths in a REALISTIC way presents itself in the least-expected places.

Take NESCAFE, for example! (Yes, please!!)

The makers of this wonderful beverage recently launched (in July, 2015) a “new and improved” Café Menu range of Nescafe. The range contained no fewer than 14 types of coffee in sachets — including hazelnut latte, white chocolate mocca, strong cappuccino and many others.

BUT . . .

Heaps of disgruntled Nescafe-lovers aren’t at all happy with the new product. They claim that the recipe of their “good old Nescafe” that they have loved for years has been changed — for the worse! And they have expressed their fury on social media — Facebook and the like.

How does this relate to Maths?

Well, it’s pretty easy to build up an interesting Maths problem from this. For example, if 2,400 people tried the new Nescafe sachets, and 60% of them weren’t happy with the new product line, how many people WERE happy with it?

Easy!

And interesting!

Any year 5 student should be able to work that out without even blinking. “SHOULD” is the key word, though!

The moral: Let’s make Maths interesting and relevant!

Any suggestions about topical matters that lend themselves to Maths problems for primary students will be greatly appreciated!

# Teaching Times Tables — Teachers and Torment!

So, it’s come to this, has it?

The media this week has been FULL of it! Discussion about teaching times tables, that is!

And it’s not all good news!

There are SOME teachers around, it seems, that think that life is easier if times tables AREN’T taught in any serious way in schools.

Then there are those of us that see automatic response of tables as an essential skill in adult life.

Which side are YOU on?

For the sake of the adults of tomorrow, my hope is that you are on the latter side, rather than the former! Let’s keep up with the chanting. PLEASE!

# Teachers struggle with the New In-word — “Meta”

As if there wasn’t enough educational jargon we teachers have to try to come to grips with!

But, here we go again!

Yes, it’s the “META” prefix.

It’s sort of like the “i” in iphone and ipod and ipad and iwatch and i-everything else!

Except that it’s Meta!

Now our PM, Tony Abbott, got himself into a bit of a hole while discussing “Metadata” not so long back. What is it? Who knows? But it seems to have become a part of the lexicon already. Maybe we don’t really NEED to know what it means!

There doesn’t seem to be much info around to help we poor, unsuspecting teachers to understand the “Meta” world.

The VCE English syllabus talks lots about Meta-language. Yes, I said “Meta-language”. Closer examination of this amazing term reveals that we older, more experienced teachers would probably substitute the terms “functional grammar” for the aforementioned “Meta” term.

If “Meta” implies some grand, fantastically large knowledge base for every category of learning, then perhaps it wouldn’t be too much to ask for a clear directive from the educational authorities, eloquently but practically expressed, to give teachers a fighting chance of making a fist of it in their teaching.

Until such clear direction is forthcoming, we teachers here in Australia need to do our very best to continue to impart genuine mathematical and linguistic skills to our students in the best, most efficient possible way, given the resources available to us.

Our EdShop materials, outlined at http://www.EdShop.net.au are but one source of heading in the “Meta” direction, teaching and encouraging positive attitudes towards maths AND reading comprehension in one fascinating, fun package freshly-released each week.

There are many others! Unfortunately, not all are adapted to the Australian curriculum and lingo. A pity, that!

Let’s hope that considerably more “Meta” detail is forthcoming in the near future. It SHOULD benefit all! But will it? Experience tends to suggest that the REAL danger is that a whole new layer of expectation will be dumped upon teachers yet again, with no realistic opportunity to have access to resources and the professional development opportunities required to allow them to develop the necessary skillsets for successful implementation.

A pity, that!

How are YOU responding to this “META-CHALLENGE”?

# When Maths Skills and Reading Skills Collide

What a shame!

Too many of our students are perfectly capable of “doing” maths.

But they can’t!

Why?

Because they can’t read the worded problems.

It’s a READING skill they lack, not a maths skill!

So, what are we teachers meant to do about THAT?

Practise. Practise. Practise!

Develop a “maths reading vocab” that will stand them in good stead.

AND, have them solving maths problems THAT CHILDREN HAVE A NATURAL INTEREST IN!

AND, have them solving maths problems at a level appropriate to their reading and maths skill levels.

EVERYONE likes to succeed!

So, let’s give our students the very tools that will help them succeed RIGHT NOW, as well as build a solid foundation for the future.

Such materials DO exist!

Take THIS WEEK’S Worksheets, for example! They include problems on the Winter Solstice in Australia (June 21st), runner Ron Clarke’s record-breaking run, the new children’s holiday movie “Inside out,” and loads more.

Some of them are RIGHT HERE — all you need to do is ASK!

Enjoy!

# No, Sir! It’s NOT the Teacher’s Fault!

Who to blame?

Declining standards in primary school achievement levels Maths, in English, in Spelling, in Grammar, in Punctuation, in . . .  well, you name it!

The research is in.

And, it seems, Australian students are struggling to achieve what students in other countries are achieving.

Why?

Well, maybe . . . just MAYBE . . . the “Educational Authorities” are asking far too much of teachers, while simultaneously ignoring the need of teachers for structured, sensible, PRACTICAL curricula that can actually BE implemented in classrooms around this wonderful nation.

Some of us are providing worthwhile materials that HELP students to develop the skills needed in these areas.

Others just TALK about it. And talk is cheap.

We need curriculum support materials that genuinely help teachers to help their students, without demanding time-consuming preparation.

We need Educational Leadership to actually DELIVER THE GOODS. Not theorise about it, leaving teachers to “close the gaps.”

Our Worksheets are a great example of stuff that actually WORKS in the classroom.

To the benefit of all — students, teachers and schools. Thousands are now using them. To great effect.

Give them a go!

# Maths teachers’ goldmine topics . . .

What primary teacher can resist a ready-made maths thingo to get the students involved?

Something that’ll be EASY to copy and use, but that the students will LOVE?

Sound impossible?

Well, in our worksheets this week we’ve covered the following:

• The new Scrabble words allowed — including “cakehole” (the kids will LOVE that word!);
• The New Zealand Government’s new taxes for arriving and leaving NZ;
• Singer Beyoncé’s messing with champagne in the spa;
• The world shortage of bees;
• Melbourne Victory’s great soccer success;
• Andy Griffiths winning the Australian Book of the Year Award;
• The Salvation Army’s May Appeal;
• The Freddo Frog Shrinkage Problem;
• Peppa Pig’s carpet shampooing needs;
• And so much more!

Why should maths questions be out-of-date, irrelevant, or just plain boring?

INTERESTING MATHS QUESTIONS?  BRING ‘EM ON!!

# Teachers should use Law Week for their Maths Teaching! And new-born Princess Charlotte, and Prince Harry, and . . .

Every day, every week, every month provides primary teachers with opportunities to use the news of the day to teach.

Well — not to put too fine a point on it — LOTS OF STUFF!

Who says teachers have to categorise all leaning into “timetable-sized chunks” for easy digestion.

Who says indeed?

Like, LAW WEEK this week offers so many opportunities to teach aspects of English (how the law SHOULD BE WRITTEN), reading comprehension (the Old Melbourne Gaol, and the hangings there!), the Ghosts of parliament house, and in Maths, the way lawyers charge, the entertainment this week through mock trials, how juries work (12 Angry Men, etc.) and so on.

But, what a GREAT way to teach maths in a REAL way!

And that’s just in LAW WEEK.

What about Mothers’ Day, or Royal Baby Charlotte Elizabeth Diana Windsor, or 2-year-old George Windsor, or Prince harry and his adoring minions, or the Federal Budget, or the Soccer v AFL debate, or discount shopping, or … or …

Our Maths Worksheets do this. But why don’t YOU do it as well, at your school?

Just a thought!