A blog about teaching and learning in a maths classroom.

Lessons of stability

Thursday, 02 September 2010 | 0 Comments

Things are tough at my school at the moment, tougher than normal. There are many reasons for that, this is not the post to discuss them though.

Each morning this week, I’ve felt the strain arriving at school to consider what lies ahead.

One thing that has allowed me to get in to the day is a review of my lessons for that day. Because, as I’ve been reminded many times and often remind myself, you may not be able to control what is happening around your school, but you can certainly define and lead the events in your classroom. So, obviously, good lessons are the key.

For new teachers, my advice would be – “good” doesn’t have to mean the latest set of buzzwords – “constructivist/PBL/Web 2.0/student-centred”. In my 3rd and 4th years, I felt this imaginary pressure (or even more like failure) because I was not implementing super-mastery-pedagogically fantastic lessons in my classes. These are important ideas that can be integrated into you lessons. But to me, the essentials of a lesson are a well-structured, clearly defined, attainable lesson that allows students to engage and achieve.

Today, for me it was as simple as organising some chance words on cards, and then reviewing together (SMART Notebook file on ‘chance’ words). Building some bridges. A fairly bland lesson on an algebraic technique made a little more interesting with some to and fro and the occassional “lolly question”. Finally, Year 8 made some quadrilaterals to investigate their properties – all structured and colour-coded.

Good lessons can be many things, keep striving for great lessons.

Chance Words Notebook, 8 KB
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Simon Job — eleventh year of teaching maths in a public high school in Western Sydney, Australia.
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