Monthly Archives: January 2015

255. Resource of the Week

I can’t wait to share the resource I stumbled across this week. I had planned a lesson on distance-time graphs, for my Foundation GCSE class, at home and went into school to print out my resources, only to discover the photocopier was broken!  I went to the TES website and found this brilliant set of resources on distance-time graphs. They required a small amount of printing, but engaged a ‘bouncy’ class very effectively!

Hare-and-The-Tortoise-Distance-time-graphs by lttmaths.

  • The PowerPoint presentation takes you through interpreting graphs. It also supports my teaching method of ‘every graph tells a story’.
  • The Disney cartoon (from 1934) entertained the class and introduced the idea that graphs are not just A to B in the fastest time. Although they were a little concerned about the age gap between the Hare and the schoolgirl bunnies he was flirting with.
  • My usually less than enthusiastic class did an outstanding job explaining what the graphs showed, as shown by all these annotations:

distance time graphs

  • The activities and plenaries are a perfect fit.

Go and try out these resources next time you are working with distance-time graphs!

254. Laminated Feedback

I love tessellation! You get the chance to be a bit more artistic and creative. I’m a fan of this particular website too: The website has examples of fine art and student work, how to make different types of tessellations and even 3D tessellations.

Now I’m sure we all often use tessellation as a homework – the ‘Finish off your amazing classwork at home’ kind of thing. When collection time comes you get many different standards of work:

  • Beautiful felt pen designs
  • Beautiful coloured pencil designs
  • Designs that started well and went a touch wobbly when they were rushed
  • Beautiful, but slightly wrong designs
  • Beautiful to begin with, then got crushed in a bag designs
  • Didn’t do the homework designs

All, apart from the last case, can be enhanced and developed with the use of a laminator and a guillotine.

Why a guillotine?
To trim off rough edges and forgiveable errors where the student got muddled at the edge of the paper.

Why a laminator?
Laminating the work flattens out any crushed/folded bits. It also preserves decorative edgings when the work is on the wall.

Students who spend ages with coloured pencil produce lovely work which just doesn’t stand out:


However, laminating it makes the colours more vibrant:


It’s hard to show the difference in a photograph, but take my word for it – it works!

You mentioned feedback?
It’s tricky to feedback on visual work without writing an essay or scrawling over the work. A simple solution is to use a marker pen to write on the laminate. Hand out the laminated work and board pens. Students can critique each other’s work by drawing around the individual tiles and annotating them, any errors can be highlighted and other comments made. The wipe-off pens make it less threatening and avoid permanent marks. The great thing is that the original work is not damaged and all comments can be removed with a damp cloth. Of course if you are using this for a wall display teachers may want a more permanent pen for feedback.

Final display

These works of art will be more hardwearing than your average display. You could hole-punch the corners and tie them together to make a wall hanging. You could laminate work back to back and hang them from the ceiling. You could even use the wall hanging as a temporary curtain if you have a rail in your room.

253. Picture of the week

Here is a quick photo prompt starter for you:
What does this picture make you think of?

If you said favourite colour bar-chart or line graph, you’d be wrong.

The shorter the bar, the more popular the colour.

However turn it upside down and here is your line graph:


The heights of the blue bars are the amount of each colour used – hence more popular.

252. Stop recycling!

Are you an organised person? Do you photocopy spare worksheets ‘just in case’ for the forgetful students and homework sinners? Do you recycle your spare worksheets? Do you just bin them?


Image credit:

Stop! Put them in a box and keep them safe, with any answer sheets too.

When you are having a revision session, for a topic test maybe, put out all the spare sheets. I lay them out across the front of the classroom. Let students borrow or take what they want, informing them that anything left at the end is recycled – this always makes them take more!

By showing them what they’ve had you are prompting their memory of what they’ve had, allowing absentees to fill gaps and giving them a second chance to ‘have a go’. Not every student will want worksheets, but isn’t it better to help those who want materials rather than feed the recycling?

251. Safe as trees

Here’s a two in one post for you, with a wooden theme:


Tree 1

This fascinating wooden puzzle is available on Etsy. Each line has to add up to 50 – simple? Not as easy as you’d think. A perfect classroom extension puzzle or gift for a puzzle fanatic!

Tree 2

A little starter on logarithms, with a touch of safecracking too!

Crack the safe Logarithms

The questions are sourced from an A-Level textbook – why not make your own textbook tasks more interesting by creating your own safecrackers on the board? Five minutes prep = puzzle fun!

250. Crack the Circle

Here’s a quick resource for consolidating and revising the area and perimeter of circles and semi-circles.

Circles Crack the Safe (pdf)

Pupils complete the worksheet then work out the code. I personally like having a clear glass Kilner-style jar with a combination padlock at the front of the class … with a little treat for the class to aim for securely locked inside!

249. Reflection Worth doing

Happy New Year folks!

Just a quick post today. How to use footage from a classic 1960s show to demonstrate reflection for comedic purposes.

The classic sketch by Harry Worth. Just wait and see how many students try to copy this.