Tag Archives: revision

342. Revision jotters

With the exams looming large, I thought I’d share how my class have been revising. To give you some context roughly a third of the class are doing Foundation GCSE, aiming for at least a Grade 4. The rest are doing Higher and aiming for a Grade 5 or better. We have three, one hour, lessons a week. I’m rotating between doing an exam paper, a whole class revision activity (eg a revision clock) and tiered revision.

I know if I tell the students to revise independently the results are going to be mixed. Some will be brilliant, some will be more laid back. To resolve this I pick a topic (or two) from each tier that I know they need to improve on from or that they have requested. It’s helpful if there is a theme to the work. I’ve recently done things like y=mx+c (F) with plotting inequalities (H).

Now the genius part: PixiMaths revision jotters

How to run the session

Photocopy a big stack of revision jotters. If you are doing black and white copying, use the b&w version. We requested the b&w version and, because PixiMaths is awesome, it is now on the website.

Clearly put on the board which topic each tier is revising

Eg Foundation: exact trig values, Higher: trig graphs

Give students 5-10 minutes to fill their revision jotters with everything they know. Have textbooks or maths dictionaries available to fill in the gaps. You may find that Higher students want to do the Foundation topic too – no problem, just make sure they have two jotters. Due to the complexity of the Higher topic, they will need more time to make initial notes.

My students are allowed headphones in revision sessions. At this point it’s headphones in for Higher and out for Foundation.

Do a skills recap on the board (exact trig values), with maybe an exam question too. Students can ask questions on the topic and add to their jotter. Then have a worksheet for students to do eg Corbett Maths or KeshMaths GCSE exam questions booklets. They can refer to their revision jotter or scan the Corbett Maths QR code for extra help.

Swap over. Headphones in for Foundation and out for Higher.

Repeat the process for Higher, with drawing trigonometric graphs. Issue an appropriate worksheet.

Once you’re done, make a judgement call. Are there students who could push it further? Maybe transform a trig graph or problem solve? Go for it. Foundation are busy, Higher are busy, spend some time stretching your most able. Every mark counts.

A huge thank you to PixiMaths for the revision jotters (and everything else).

Examples of students’ work

Shared with permission of students. You can see that they have personalised them to meet their needs and some are a work in progress. Also, the b&w jotter photocopies so nicely.

332. Movement Maths

I’ve got to share a new YouTube channel with you. It was created by a former colleague who is not only an ace Maths teacher, but also a trained children’s fitness instructor. ‘Movement Maths: How to survive High School Maths’ is all about daily chunks of Maths with a fitness boost.

First – it addresses basic concepts that many students forget or stress over (initially it will be aimed at Foundation students)

Secondly – the videos are engaging and show that you can do Maths and exercise anywhere (my current favourite is the airport in video 13 – how did he find an empty sp?)

Thirdly – there are recaps and summaries built in

Finally – it was reviewed by students, who loved it!

Subscribe to the Channel, get fit and see what your students think

Update: 1st June 2019

It appears all the videos on this channel have been deleted.

329. Quick acrostic starter

Here is a zero preparation revision or recap starter for you and it might tick a literacy/spelling box too. It’s fiendishly simple, but can be devilishly difficult to complete.

  1. Give students a topic word (eg circles) or use your school name.
  2. Tell them they have to complete an acrostic of maths words related to that topic or general revision words.

That’s it! You can make it more difficult by saying partners must have different words or narrowing the focus of the task.

Interestingly none of my students used the textbook index or Maths dictionaries to help them. The finished product could be used as a wall display, revision prompt or stuck on the front of an exercise book.

A Wise Word of Warning – W Maths words are in short supply.

Here is the example I used in class:

327. Digital Exercise books

Sorry – haven’t invented a digital Exercise book and I don’t use iPads/tablets in class. Today I’m sharing the inventiveness of my class.

I printed out one of those brilliant Corbett Maths textbook exercises to use with a Y7 class. It was a recap task, so I stressed that students could pick the level of difficulty. They cut out the sections they were doing and stuck them in their book. Because there were lots of different questions being completed, I allowed them to use their phones to scan the QR code to access the answers. A couple asked to scan the help video QR code.

I saw a few pupils being fussy about their cutting out – why were they cutting out little bits? That’s time wasting! No one should be time wasting!

Then I checked exactly what they were doing …

… The little geniuses:

They were cutting out the relevant QR codes and sticking them in their books. If this is the level of forward thinking in Year 7, they are going to fly through GCSE revision.

322. Accessing Quadratics

If you teach in the UK and haven’t used the excellent Access Maths site, why not?

Seriously, you are missing out!

I’ve used and recommended to colleagues lots of the Access Maths resources. This is the latest worksheet I’ve downloaded (click on the image to link to the 9-1 GCSE resource page):

Image credit: www.accessmaths.co.uk

I used these pentagonal problems (I believe they are know in pedagogical circles as ‘Fox Diagrams’ – but you try Googling that term and not getting a page of pictures of foxes) with my GCSE class as a two part homework. The first homework was to do the outside skills – if they felt confident they could skip questions, if they needed help they should come and see me. I stressed that they would need to use these techniques to part two and it was their responsibility to make sure they were ready. Part two of the homework was to complete the middle ‘exam’ question in their books in their books, showing the full method.

I actually enjoyed marking this homework as it gave me an insight into how they visualised problems – there were at least four different ways to complete this task. Unusually I made any low achieving student come back and redo their homework in an informal detention. By spending a few minutes reflecting on the skills they’d already practised (or should have practised), every student jumped from 0 or 10% to 100% correct. I did little more than point out where their technique had started to fail them. These students left the extra maths session with big smiles and a sense of achievement.

Inspired by the talented @AccessMaths (you really should follow them on Twitter) I’ve done my own triangular resource on expanding, factorising and solving quadratic equations.

Down the pdf here: Staged Quadratics problems

316. What should I revise?

Hands up all those who have challenged an underperforming teenager and got any of the following replies:

“I’ll do it with my tutor”

“Why aren’t we revising <unrealistic topic>?”

“It’s okay, I’ve got a tutor”

“It doesn’t matter what I do in class, I’ll do it with X”

“I don’t need to revise fractions (even though they can’t do them)”

“My tutor says this work is too easy for me”

“I don’t want to revise solving equations, I can’t do them”

“I’ve been doing cosine rule with my tutor (not even on the tier they are doing)”

“I’ve never done this (yes, you have but you talked through it every time we did it)”

“My mum says my tutor says I should be doing Higher”

“My tutor wants past papers”

Now don’t get me wrong, I know some amazing tutors – they know their maths, they are up to date with curriculum changes and they make a real difference. I also teach amazing kids who try their best all the time.

What really irritates me is the students who use tutors as an excuse for laziness and the tutors who teach complex topics but fail to reinforce the basics. So to combat this issue I’ve put together this PowerPoint – it got the message through to the students I was worried about in Year 11.

What should you revise (ppt)

What should you revise (pptx)