A blog about teaching and learning in a maths classroom.

Looking to 2015

Thursday, 22 January 2015 | 3 Comments

I usually write a start of year post. Here are a few quick specifics.


My main aim for 2015 is to be accreditated at the Highly Accomplished Teacher level with the Board of Studies, Teaching and Educational Standards (BOSTES). Honestly, it was my aim in 2014, it just didn't happen. This year I'm not teaching Extension 2, so will aim to give this process about an hour a week.

My classes

Year 7 Enrichment Class

Half of our Year 7 students rotate through 'enrichment' classes each term. This year, I am teaching the Enrichment Maths class. I previously taught it in 2013. Essentially it is a one term course about problem solving.

This course was handed down to me. In 2013 I added some refinements and resources.

In 2015, the big change will be to the problem solving methodology taught. Previously there were about 7 steps. I'm paring that back to 4 along the lines of Polya. I will share resources I create on this blog.

Junior Classes

I'm teaching classes in Year 7, 8 and 10 (being the same class I had in Year 9).

Senior Classes

I will be teaching both the Year 11 Mathematics (2 unit) and Extension 1 (3 unit) classes. Previously I have taught one or the other. The 3 unit class is a subset of the 2 unit class, which always presents a challenge of aligning the main subject content with the extension content.

For Junior and Senior classes, the focus will be on encouraging effort.

Math is a growth subject, it takes time to learn and it is all about effort.
Jo Boaler


In recent years, I have run the Australian Infomatics Competition at my school. The competition is problem-solving competition that tests logical processes. It incorporate ideas of computer programming without students undertaking any programming. An additional competition, the Australia Informatics Olympiad, takes this to the next level as a 3 hour problem solving competition using computer programming.

This year, whilst I'm not sure how yet, I want to take the purpose of this competition and broaden it to an extra-curricular activity for students (incorporating computer programming). In addition, I hope to use the Year 7 Enrichment Class to introduce computer programming as a means of problem solving.

From 2015, the Australian Informatics Competition becomes the Computational and Algorithmic Thinking (CAT) competition.

What are your grand plans for 2015?

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Malyn on  23 January 15  at  08:58 AM #
Polya became a year 7 hero. I particularly love his problem-solving process which I've adapted to GGSC - Goal, Given, Solve, Check: What's it asking? What's there to help you solve it? Solve the problem. How do you know you're right. This worked well with strugglers even as it gave them a strategy. Another Polya favourite was 'if you can't solve it, find a simpler one you can' ...and use that to help you solve the harder problem. I'm also keen to get Informatics started at my school. It's not happening at all! yet. I'm wondering whether or not to include it in my "computing" club. I've got a Maths teacher interested in helping me make this happen. Maybe you can give me pointers? cheers.


Simon Job on  23 January 15  at  09:25 AM #
@Malyn Last year I was developing a word-solving scaffold as part of whole school numeracy. I called it "HHH for Numeracy": (Hear, Hidden, Head) in line with a literacy model that had been introduced. So far I've tried to map what I've done to Polya's 4 steps, but I had not come up with a nice hook. I like GGSC, might through it into the mix if that's ok? Stay tuned to this blog for Informatics... not sure what I'm going to come up with.
Malyn on  23 January 15  at  09:59 AM #
Of course it's ok to use GGSC! I blogged about it years ago [url=""]here[/url]. I didn't give much thought to the mnemonic so it's not that easy to remember. Still, it serves as a good 'think=aloud' - short, to-the-point, practical. ditto with Informatics for me.

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Simon Job — eleventh year of teaching maths in a public high school in Western Sydney, Australia.
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