# Tierney Kennedy

### Great ideas for enabling prompts or lifelines

Enabling prompts or life lines are a fantastic way of helping students who are stuck to get started. They do not reduce the complexity of the question, but they do help kids

### Making a physical pie chart in three ways

Pie charts are an awesome way of linking statistics, fractions and angles, however they can often be difficult for students to really understand. Here are a few simple ideas to

### Teaching how to read analog clocks with ease… including a video for parents

While it may sound counter-intuitive, the easiest way to learn to tell the time is to remove the minute hand altogether! Check out the video, try the task, and remember

### Hundreds chart jigsaw puzzle

Hundreds charts are great for connecting tens and ones. Why not turn one into a jigsaw puzzle to use in rotation groups? A template is below. Instructions: Photocopy this puzzle

### Conspiracy theories, misconceptions and why students forget

Misconceptions in maths behave an awful lot like conspiracy theories Conspiracy theories exist to some extent in all societies and are seemingly at odds with what we think we know

### ‘Make Ten’ – a cooperative card game for years F-7

Make ten is my all-time favourite maths game that kids of different levels can enjoy together. Here’s how to play along with some variations. How to play Make Ten Basics:

### Nine great ways to use dice to build number understanding and fluency

Dice are fantastic for simple mental maths exercises! Here are a few simple ideas for games that work to build fluency with operations from the Fluency Tasks members section of

### What works and what doesn’t in intervention – research summary

Some interventions that we try as schools are really effective, some less so.  This article will give you a comparative overview of a few of the most common ones, as

### Formative assessment, developmental stages and starting the year well

The goal of formative assessment should always be to find out what each student NEEDS next, rather than focusing on identifying what they already know. When we truly know

### Maths in Moments

When we love teaching literacy, we tend to find lots of opportunities for adding in extra literacy in the tiny pockets of time that fill space between the main teaching

### Numeracy ideas across the curriculum

We often hear that numeracy, like literacy, is everyone’s business. With that in mind, here are a few of my favourite ideas for opportunities to emphasise numeracy within specialist lessons.

### Stage testing and tracking

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### Protected: Flexible Strategies Course Videos

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### Protected: Intervention that works course resources

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### Protected: Year 7 catch up

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### Protected: Fractions course videos – Password protected

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### Protected: Key Number Concepts Course

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### Resources for returning to the classroom

It is natural that kids’ experience of maths while learning at home will vary widely. To ensure your class works well over the remaining months of the year, we have

### Dealing with Decision Fatigue

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### Failing fast and failing forward

Tierney Kennedy A few years ago mathematician Terence Tao created a Polymath[1] group to work on the Twin Prime Conjecture – a project where mathematicians collaborate together to solve vexing

### The danger of “either/or” teaching

Ending the debate: Which teaching approach is most effective? Tierney Kennedy In 1997 a landmark study in the UK decided to define effective teaching using student improvement data… if you

### Protected: Project videos for webinar masterclass

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### How to read my data

It’s that time of year again when everyone gets caught up with analysing data. I thought I’d put together a few tools to make life easier. Have fun playing with

### New resources for members… a sneak preview

We just wanted to let you in on a little secret… We’ve been working on adding extra goodies in the lessons bank section for subscribers. Here’s a quick preview of

### When kids get stuck and never catch up

Recently I’ve been pondering findings from a major report into Australian schooling that kids who are struggling in maths by the end of primary school often never catch up (Masters,

### Building retention and fluency with flexibility

While fluency is not the be all and end all of maths, having a bank of known facts and strategies that you can use efficiently, accurately, appropriate and flexibly is

### Improving student reasoning

Kids who have a strong intuitive understanding of maths can sometimes have trouble slowing down their thinking to explain how they got the answer. Here are a few simple tips

### Mathsbusters: experimenting to bust misconceptions

>> Introducing conceptual change programs Let’s face it – nobody likes being wrong.  Not kids, and not us.  So, when maths becomes all about the right answers, that makes it

>>> Why does intervention look so very different to what we would consider to be great maths? Intervention is hard.  The Masters Report (2009) shows that there is a gap

### The time crunch: buying yourself an extra hour every week

By Tierney Kennedy I firmly believe that the most important and most effective thing that we can do with our classes is problem-solving.  And yet far and away the biggest

### My top ten rotation group activities:

I find that having a bank of regularly-used, highly-motivating and quick rotation group activities saves me a lot of time and headaches when using rotation groups.  Here are my top

### Do you have decision fatigue? This might help.

Have you had a long and tough term? Let’s talk about how to survive the stress. Sometimes the holidays just feel like breathing room before starting the next big push.  Life

### Engagement vs Entertainment

I’d like to raise a contentious issue… Engagement is not the same as entertainment, or even the same as enjoyment. True engagement involves an insatiable curiosity. A driving need to

### Intervention that works webinar

Please find a free hour-long PD video below on what works and does not work in intervention. It’s an important one, so make time to check it out. Remember to

### Is there really an ideal maths lesson?

I am often asked what makes a perfect mathematics lesson.  This is a difficult question to answer, as I’m not sure that there is one best lesson.  It really depends

### “But you must… But you can’t…” Simple ways of adding complexity to challenging tasks

Sometimes it seems like we make maths teaching more difficult than it needs to be, but make the maths itself easier than it should be.  Challenging tasks are not only

### Teaching division with blocks and arrays

Let’s face it, kids really, really don’t get division.  Here are a few simple strategies to help make it happen. For more help, check out Fixing Misconceptions in Multiplication and

### Why kids don’t get fractions

You may have noticed that kids have a few issues with fractions… but sometimes it can be tricky to understand what is going on, particularly when the difficulties only tend

### Developing multiplicative thinking

Simple ideas for assessing and develop multiplicative thinking It can be tricky to work out what our students really understand, and what they struggle with.  Here are a few short

### 27 homework tasks that help make maths part of everyday life

Parents often want to help their kids with maths, but aren’t sure how to help. Here are 27 ideas ranging from breakfast, to car trips, to grocery shopping, to afternoon

### Connecting and generalising questions

Great questioning is an art, but can be tricky to develop. Here is a simple video showing some connecting and generalising questions being used with a year 7 class.

### 15 Partitioning Games that Kids (and Teachers) Love

Do you run out of ideas to make Partitioning fun? Here are 15 of my favourite games to play with kids. We would love to add more too, so please

### Problem Solving with Pam

Our thanks to Pamela Barritt of Woodcroft Primary School for sharing this Blog post with us!  It was originally posted on March 14, 2017 (archived) During maths lessons we focus on

### The power of confronting questions

When kids have persistent misconceptions it can be really hard to help them change their minds.  Try thinking of teaching like doing a science experiment, where they have to disprove

### 10 Maths Hacks All Teachers Should Know

With the year just beginning, it’s worth investing a few minutes putting together these simple maths hacks to save you time for the rest of the year. Phone time for

### Finishing strong – making those last few weeks count (plus a free offer to boot)

As term 4 is upon us many teachers are struggling with how to get everything done.  Realistically, now is the time for prioritizing rather than frantic teaching.  Think about what

### How to teach Addition and Subtraction free flipbook

Addition and subtraction of small numbers is a very big part of lower-primary teaching, and one that kids can struggle with still in their teens. Download this FREE flip book

### Why being wrong in maths is better than being right

We could solve the STEM crisis in this country within five years if we could get all parents and teachers to stop saying one thing: “It’s ok to be wrong”.

### Fixing Misconceptions in Place Value to 1000

We have exciting news to share! Our new Interventions project, Fixing Misconceptions in Place Value to 1000, has been receiving some fantastic feedback from teachers as well as great improvement

### Why I don’t teach two-digit numbers before teen numbers

Download this article here:  Why I don’t teach two digit numbers before teen numbers There has been a lot of advice to teachers recently that we should leave teaching of

### Introducing two-digit numbers

It can be tricky for a lot of students to see the need for bundling. Often students in early primary (and sometimes later than that) will have an understanding of

### 25% of primary teachers have not developed Multiplicative thinking – check your staff

Multiplicative thinking is one of the concepts that I have found about 1 in 4 primary teachers across the country are missing… and I have tried the diagnostic tasks below

### The missing link from Place Value: Relative Size

Place value is one of the Big Ideas in number identified by Dr Dianne Siemon during the National Middle Years project as pivotal for later mathematical development. Students who are

### Making Extension Manageable

Key 1: Make the maths weirder rather than making the numbers harder Give the starting and ending numbers and ask, “What happened?” Work backwards from the end point to the

### Time-saving solutions for rotation groups

Balancing time in rotation groups can be especially tricky:  we need enough time to be able to work in depth with a small group, but not so much that behaviour

### Interventions series

Looking for the resources that go with this series?  Click here It can be incredibly frustrating to us as teachers when we spend time teaching a concept only to find

### Awesomely cool maths ideas for parents

Would you like to be able to help your kids to understand maths better?  Why not try implementing some of these really simple ideas to make maths part of your

### Assessment: getting everything done

By Tierney Kennedy  How do we get everything done? Good assessment takes time.  It is important to make sure that your grading decisions are not made on the basis of

### Using Rotation Groups Successfully

By Tierney Kennedy Activities are at this link. Watch a free video at the bottom. Buy convenient, pre-made cards here Almost every lower primary classroom that I have been into

### My favourite maths teaching moment wasn’t in maths!

By Tierney Kennedy  What is your favourite maths teaching moment?  One where you know that you made a life-changing difference?  My all-time favourite maths teaching moment was with a boy

### Critical number concepts >>> The first three years

Download the PDF of this article here:  Critical number concepts – the first three yearsCheck out a video for my Top 5 Diagnostic Tasks in Lower Primary here It would

### DVDs showing Tierney teaching in real classrooms now available!

In our most exciting news yet, we now have a DVD set showing Tierney Kennedy teaching eight Back to Front Maths lessons in real classrooms! See how to use problem-based

### Open Number Lines

Open number lines can be one of the best teaching tools ever.  Here are a few of our favourite ideas for how to use them: Use the line for base

We have included here some assessment samples to download, with the aim of coming to a joint understanding of what the criteria mean and how to assign a grade.  Remember

### What do the proficiency strands mean?

Fluency in the Australian Curriculum refers to building students’ content, basic skills, speed and accuracy in routine questions. Routine questions are those that students have been shown how to solve, whether

### What is an insightful or challenging problem?

Problem-Solving in the AC refers to having students attempt never-before tried problems. These can be called insightful or novel problems.  They are completely new to the students, not word problems

### Easter Maths Ideas

Here are a few simple ideas for Easter maths: Mini-Investigation: Compare the value-for-money of a range of Easter eggs vs bars of chocolate.  You will need to decide what parameters

These tasks are designed to take 5-10 minutes to complete with each class. They will give you a very quick idea of how successful your current approaches are at dealing

### Great ideas for parents

Are you a bit scared of maths yourself?  Try these ideas: Mathematics is often the subject that most parents tend to shy away from, so here are a few simple

### Supply teacher maths – instant lessons that develop mathematical thinking

As the new year starts many new teachers begin the year on contract or as supply teachers.  Often this means having to run a whole day in a classroom on

### Horizontal algorithms and negative numbers from year 1

Often we spend large amounts of time in primary schools practicing vertical algorithms.  I have to wonder if there isn’t perhaps a better way to spend our time.  Here are

### Simple Ideas for Teaching Volume and Capacity

This week I have enjoyed thinking about creative ways to look at volume and capacity.  I couldn’t resist snapping a picture of a great example of a right prism (the

### National numeracy week activities to do at home with your kids

By Tierney Kennedy author of Back-to-Front Maths National literacy and numeracy week is a great way to reflect on what we as parents can do at home to help our

### The three best things that I have said all year…

This year in all of my Professional Development sessions three statements seem to have made the biggest difference to teachers.  I would like to share these truths with you as

### Assessing for Understanding rather than Fluency

In classrooms around the country gifted mathematics students are hiding in support maths.  They have been overlooked by our current Fluency assessment – left back, seeming to struggle and falling

### Newly trained Facilitators

Hi to all newly trained Facilitators!  It has been exciting to train so many of you over the past few months.  This page has been designed especially for you, to

### Rapid growth in understanding for Emilie in year 2

Today I was working with a year two class on understanding tens and ones.  We used a hundreds chart as a tool to help the students develop deep understanding of

### Why do some kids put themselves in the “support” category when they are gifted at maths?

This question has been plaguing me a lot lately. In the last week two students have been playing on my mind.  Today I taught a year eight girl who thought

### Timely thoughts on analogue time

It is not all that often these days that I meet someone in the course of running Professional Development who seriously challenges my thinking.  I love it when it happens.

### Testimonials and Feedback

We have been fortunate to work with a vast number of schools and individual teachers over the years as we have developed our resources and professional development services. The extremely

### Resources for C2C units

Education Queensland has widely publicised that the C2C units should be implemented flexibly.  Back-to-Front Maths has been included on resource list for Higher-order thinking and problem-solving.  By clicking on the

### Kids who just want worksheets so that they can get all the answers right…

In every class of students there is usually someone who considers themselves very good at maths.  They are highly successful at getting the right answers to routine questions and are

### Work Program for one and two teacher schools now available

One and two teacher schools face significant challenges in implementing the Australian Curriculum.  With this in mind, Tierney Kennedy has designed a work program that utilises Back-to-Front Maths web access

### Startling NAPLAN trends for Queensland

Queensland and South Australian NAPLAN data from the past four years reveals that we are very good at content teaching, but comparatively poor at developing deep understanding and the ability

### C2C alignment tables

A full review of the material has been conducted by:  Tierney Kennedy – independent mathematics consultant, Leah O’Neill – Head of Department in EQ and Kylie Devenish – practicing teacher.

### Review of C2C Mathematics – Leah O’Neill

Having read what is currently available of the C2C/Scribbly Gum Mathematics materials, I believe there are a number of issues that need to be addressed before the program truly reflects

### Australian Curriculum Prep Pack 1-2

Is your primary maths program ready for the Australian Curriculum?  Learn what the changes entail, assess your school’s readiness to meet them and start taking steps to implement the changes

### Australian Curriculum Preparation Pack

How ready are you to make the changes the Australian Curriculum requires? Learn what the changes entail, assess your school’s readiness to meet them and start taking steps to implement

### Differentiation and how to really cater for kids working at very different levels… without driving yourself nuts

The reality of classroom teaching nowadays is that no teacher has a class of students who are all working at the one level. Teachers who aim their maths lesson at

### NAPLAN secrets and how to get prepared in the last few weeks.

NAPLAN should not be nearly as scary for teachers as most seem to think.  Great teaching should result in improvements.  If you aren’t seeing growth, please check out this recorded

### Multistep with money

Money is a common multistep problem that tends to pop up regularly on NAPLAN. It is also a very easy way to introduce algebra or fractions in a meaningful way.

### Multistep problems with money

Introduction: Be aware that students working at a C level are only expected to work out whether they have ‘enough’ money rather than calculate the change. A level students are