• My 100th Day Worries
January 31, 2014

"My 100th Day Worries" by Margery Cuyler is my favourite 100 days book. Each day a child in the class is asked to bring to school 100 small objects but Jessica can’t think what to bring when it is her turn. Nice twist at the end.The pages in this book present lots of different ways of arranging 100 objects. Several speed counting patterns are presented on the pages but the most striking and I think important aspect of this book, is the idea of magnitude. Jessica discovers just how big 100 is as...

• 100 Days of School
January 30, 2014

No doubt some of you will be  counting the first 100 days of school.Not only is this great for counting and place value but also for exploring the many different ways in which a number can be presented. There are some really good counting books about the first 100 days of school. Each day this week we will highlight a different book that counts to 100.Today’s pick is: "100 School Days", by Anne RockewellThere is a lot to explore in this book. The page for day 50 for instance shows a...

• New game: Secret Code Golf
January 29, 2014

We love it when a clever teacher takes part in our work and adopts it to their own classes. Billy Boyle from Harris Fields State School is one such teacher. After playing dice strings he shared his game, Secret Code Golf with us. His students want to play it all the time and are becoming very efficient number crunchers.Billy puts up several two digit numbers on the board. He works it out with as few brain jumps as possible and tells the class how many it took. For instance he might say 7 jumps...

• Mental Routines with Unifix cubes
January 28, 2014

One of the mental routines that we introduced at Harris Fields State School involved hands on with unifix cubes. Each person was asked to take 12 unifix cubes. Using the cubes it is easy for students to differentiate and it is also possible to work at a basic level with the four operations. 12 has many factors making it possible to work with a range of fractions too. In the photo on our Facebook page (link below) you can see the group playing the guess my fraction game. The flip questions (so...

• Great day at Harris Fields State School
January 27, 2014

After a fantastic week in SA working with commendable and ready to learn teachers in South Australia, I'm excited to be back in Queensland for a while.Friday was spent with the teachers from Harris Fields State School. They are a very welcoming team who strive to do the best for their students. What a great day it was. After introducing the secret code for mental computation, we used the Natural Maths interactive software "Dice Strings" to explore different ways of adding a string of numbers to...

• The importance of mathematical language
January 23, 2014

Back in Queensland and looking forward to working with teachers at Harrisfields State School today.What a whirlwind...so far we have worked with over 300 wonderful South Australian teachers and it is still school holiday time. Teachers really want to make a difference and give up their own time in the holidays for training. How wonderful is that!As teachers work with me, we pause for reflection to identify just one thing they think they can improve at, and that will make a big difference to...

• Using mental routines & challenging traditional approaches
January 22, 2014

On Monday, I worked with 130 teachers at Golden Grove in Adelaide. The first part of the day was spent trying out mental routines and the way in which they can be used to develop mathematical vocabulary and deep understanding through reasoning., The 100 square mental routine allowed us to explore ways in which such a simple tool can allow for differentiation during a mental routine and game like situation., Using the analogue clock allowed for discussion about how traditional approaches to...

• Early years workshop in SA
January 20, 2014

Hats off to South Australian teachers especially those from Port Noaralunga and surrounds who turned up on their holidays for a day of maths.The focus was early years, and in the photo below, you can see teachers putting their solution to the muffins problem on the board ready to share and reflect. The teachers were asked to second guess what strategies the year 2 students might use for this unfamiliar problem. The problem is designed to find out what the students already now and can...

• Schools Clean Up Day: Friday 28th February 2014
January 17, 2014

We all know students learn better when we can help them to make connections between in school activities and out of school current events. So let’s live greener by participating fully in Clean Up Australia Day., A free kit with plenty of lesson plans and ideas is available for free at the Clean Up for Schools website., There is plenty of stimulus for connected maths and science to be found at this site., Way back in 1991 Johnny and I wrote a book called Counting on a Small Planet., We were then...

• Place Value to 100 will be available next week
January 13, 2014

Working in classrooms, we often notice areas that cause students particular difficulty. One of those areas is place value. We meet students even in Grade 4 who are doing 2-digit and 3-digit additions and, when asked, cannot read the answer correctly, nor do they have any idea if their answer is in the ball park., Recently a Grade 4 boy was solving a problem using dots as counters, he got to 69 looked up and asked, ‘What comes after 69?’. When prompted, he continued the pattern until he reached...

• 3D blocks for mental routines
January 07, 2014

Like everybody else, we are tidying up and planning for next year. As we did so, we came across the following email from Ann Paine. We don’t know how we missed it earlier but we thought we would post it so that you can get inspired by her 3D objects set too., Hi Ann,, After your Spacial Awareness training session, I was inspired to make up these 3D Objects Mental Routine kits. One of the parents at my school made the cones using plasticine. I made the pyramids from card. My class enjoyed using...

• EngQuest new in 2014
January 06, 2014

STEM Education (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) is gaining ground in schools. Many future jobs, some not even invented yet, will demand high levels of understanding and skill in STEM fields., Natural Maths is embracing STEM and will be flagging existing problems and activities that relate to STEM as well as designing specific problems and activities to promote STEM., Did you know that February launches the 2014 EngQuest?, EngQuest is a challenge from Engineering Australia designed...