Articles

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

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

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

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,

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

The Paradox of Intervention

>>> 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

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

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

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

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.

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

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

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

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

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

Assessment samples to download

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

Misconceptions in Maths

Download this article to print This article explains, with examples, the best process to address misconceptions and links you with resources to resolve the specific misconceptions found in your class. 

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

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

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

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

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

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 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

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

Relative Size of Numbers through Number Lines

This problem will help you check whether or not your students have the “base ten” concept. Adaptations for each grade follow the problem. 1. Draw a chalk line across your

Place Value and Base Ten

What comes after 100? 101, 102, 103… 109, 200!! We often use hundreds charts to help children understand place value, but these generally stop at 100. Many students think that

Which half is the biggest?

Take an A4 sheet of paper and hold it up in front of the class. Ask them if they could fold it to make one half. Ask for as many