Teachers — Maths Standards . . . Do they add up?

The Aussie media has given massive coverage to Maths in Schools in recent days. It really brings the importance of maths at home, in school, and in life, to the priority it deserves, doesn’t it!

A large number of our students at primary and secondary level have “tuned out” of maths. They’ve given up on it. It’s too hard, many say. Or irrelevant to daily life, they say. Or, technology makes mathematical knowledge unnecessary, they opine.

What a tragedy. AN ABSOLUTE TRAGEDY!

The time has come to help our students — and their parents — develop not only a functional level of maths understanding, but — and here’s a touch of optimism! — even a level of fascination and interest in maths.

And why not?

We don’t all have to be “Einsteins” to actually enjoy numbers and the part they play in our lives.

Let’s encourage even our “slowest” students to get something positive, something FUN, from their maths lessons.

And, what do you know, we teachers may even add to our enjoyment as well.

A great start would be to visit http://www.EdShop.net.au for a few freebies that will get you on the path to more maths fun.

Go on, give it a go!

Any other suggestions for a more positive approach to maths in schools will be greatly welcomed!

Teach Fractions This Way!

Sometimes, the teaching of fractions isn’t easy!

Some children just DON’T get it!

What many of them need is to learn virtually by rote learning. Yes, I hear what you say! Rote learning went out with the ark, you say! Well, maybe it shouldn’t have!

Because SOME children — and I mean just SOME — need heaps of revision in each level of fraction manipulation — addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, and fractions as operators.

And if they don’t get enough practice, then they don’t reach any sort of mastery of this important topic.

Enter our solution.

We are about to release our “Single Skill Fraction Worksheets” for students struggling with this topic at the upper primary level.

These sheets are EXACTLY what they say they are. For example, in addition of fractions, one of these worksheets contains EXACTLY 80 fraction problems, each of which is a subtraction of fractions with same denominators. The student doesn’t need to do all 80 of these fraction sums — only enough to feel confident in his/her understanding of the process. Then, and only then, should they go on to the next sheet, which will introduce them to addition of fractions with different (but quite simple!) denominators. And this worksheet is typical of the rest of the worksheets in the pack. Each worksheet contains just one particular skill being taught, 80 times over. Sufficient practice for almost any student!

A teaching process that follows that old guideline for teachers: “Move from the known to the unknown”!

Nothing new here, just a solid teaching process that leads to mastery of fractions.

Our Fraction Single-Skill Pack is going to be released in August.

But if you’d like a couple of samples RIGHT NOW, free of cost, simply email your request to info@EdShop.net.au and we’ll get them off to you straight away.

Why struggle with the teaching of fractions, when a great resource like this is will be readily available?

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”?

Teachers — Frustrated by Vulgar Fractions?

Well, we’re just putting the finishing touches to what may well be the world’s MOST BORING book of all time!

It’s about — yes, you guessed it! — Vulgar Fractions.

Now, after years of teaching this boring — but vital — topic to students in middle-primary, upper-primary, and even lower-secondary levels, I know how frustratingly-difficult this topic can be.

So, I’m doing something about it.

As you probably know, some students grasp the addition, subtraction, multiplication and division of vulgar fractions, along with the necessary understanding of equivalent fractions and fractions as operators, really easily.

But many, many other students struggle with this entire topic.

And that’s for one very simple reason.

Practice. Or lack there-of.

Well, within around 3 weeks we’ll have put together arguably the most valuable book of practice exercises in Vulgar Fractions ever produced.

Students won’t have to solve EVERY problem. No, just enough to ensure that they have grown in their understanding and skill level, skill-by-skill, stage-by-stage.

You’ll have to wait for it. But if you’re interested, please leave a comment and contact details below. We guarantee to contact you on completion of this boring, but incredibly valuable, teaching resource.

Teachers: Johnny Depp’s Doggies make ideal maths teaching stuff

Sometimes the TV news brings great teaching opportunities.

Like Johnny Depp’s lack of obedience to Australia’s quarantine laws.

So, what have WE done?

We’ve created a maths worksheet that includes a problem or two about Johnny’s doggies. Yes, maths questions about something really topical, really funny, and really appealing to the very students you teach.

And that’s only ONE topic covered. There are heaps more!

Like the national Girl Guides’ Biscuit day fundraiser. And the Hamish Blake bikeride through some of Italy’s mountains, and Roger Federer being beaten by Aussie tennis star Nick Kyrgios.

Why NOT let kids see how maths works in everyday life?

Best Teacher Christmas Prezzie Ever?

And WHAT does a Chalkie want for Christmas?

But, I mean REALLY want?

Well, to the typical teacher, it’s as simple as — relaxation.

No meetings, no yard duty, no reports to write, no lesson planning.

Don’t know how Santa can wrap this very special teacher gift up, but . . . he’ll find a way!

So, relax, and enjoy!

You’ve earned it!

Have a happy and holy Christmas.

Revealed at Last . . . Money matters more than good teachers!

Yes, this morning’s Age contains the proof of a long-suspected malaise.

Our Premier yesterday announced the upgrading in various ways of three schools in suburban Melbourne, at a total cost of more than \$10 million. Nice work if you can get it!

Juxtapose that story against a “Letter to the Editor” in that very same paper. It tells the very sad story of a young teacher who graduated in 2013. Not just your average graduate teacher. Rather, one who received “eight high distinctions, and exemplary comments from her teaching rounds”. Yet, this young teacher has received not even a single interview for a teaching position at any school whatsoever. And a similar situation pertains for many of her teacher graduate peers. This is tragic.

But, back to the top. Yes, the millions of dollars spent on the three schools in question will, doubtless, result in spick and span shining premises and equipment. And won’t those electronic interactive whiteboards and state-of-the-art data projectors look impressive!

But, will any of the teaching staff be able to actually USE them? Will anyone know how to wire them up, or to track down the technical problems causing them to “freeze” during a presentation?

Could it be that there would be considerable merit in spending money on PEOPLE rather than THINGS? People — teachers — young teachers — enthusiastic about their chosen profession, eager to make a positive contribution to students who would relish such support.

As we’ve said before, it’s not more money that’s needed. It’s the way the present bucket-full of funding is being spent that’s the problem.

And it’s not too late to do something about it.

Is it? Do you agree?