So it was time for another Mathsconf and this one was back in Kettering where it all started. On Friday, as usual, there was as pre-conf social event in at the hotel bar. It was packed! I haven’t been to all of the mathsconfs so I can’t speak for them all but this was the biggest gathering the I had witnessed and it was a great night. There were lots of new faces that were set to attend their fist conference and the usual crowd welcomed then all in as they do every year.
Anyway – to the actual day. I joined many others (@corbettmaths, @mrsdenyer to name but a few) for a full english and too many pastries before heading to Kettering Conference Centre. The 2 cups of tea and 2 lattes reminded me to get some cash for the TuckShop, raffle tickets and inevitable impulse purchases. (Little did I know I would be buying my second calculator in 2 days!)
Mark McCourt (@EmathsUk) and his excellent team at La Salle Education (@LaSalleEd) had everything organised, Rob Smith (@RJS2212) had the TuckShop and raffle tickets under control and it got off to an excellent start with talks from Andrew Taylor and Mark himself getting a huge group of maths teachers to do some actual maths with the 1089 problem. It highlighted the fact that Mathematical Mastery is not something that is ever complete but something that everyone needs to work at, no matter how mathematically qualified you think you may be.
Session 1 – Kris Boulton (@Kris_Boulton) – Siegfried Engelmann and Direct Instruction
I have been to previous talks by Kris before and have found hos research fascinating. From his previous tweets I had done a little bit of my own research on Direct Instruction and was looking forward to seeing how Kris had put it into his own practice. There is no doubt that the ethos at KSA adds to the effect of his methods but the effort he puts into to the fine detailed planning to avoid early misconceptions and his clear simple delivery was definitely the main reason his lessons were so successful. I left that session with a lot more to think about both for my own school teaching but also for the home tuition of my children. Not only will it help in my delivery of maths but I can see it help them with lots other subjects.
Session 2 – Me, Julia Smith (@TessMaths) and Amir Arezoo (@WorkEdgeChaos) – NQT/RQT Advice Panel
We were not expecting a huge turnout and the small group we had enables us to target the individual questions and I think nearly everyone there had a question answered. I enjoyed offering my advce to new teacher and it is always nice to her Julia and Amir give there point of views which thankfully were similar to my own. Julia set up a Padlet in which we had a few prompts to help them along and she also recorded the extra questions and our responses. The Padlet can be found here – https://padlet.com/tessmaths1/lasalle
Session 3 – Ed Southall (@solvemymaths) – Enhancing Your Subject Knowledge
Ed is a very clever man and I was looking forward to hearing him present. Fresh from our joint ranting the previous night, Ed again manged to make me doubt my own subject knowledge with a few gems. He made us all question the things we teach to pupils – do we fully understand why these methods work? If we were asked by the pupils we teach to explain why, could we do it? His slide an be found on his site here – https://solvemymaths.com/2016/10/01/subject-knowledge-presentation/
Session 4 – Jo Morgan (@mathsjem) – Teaching New GCSE topics
Jo highlighted to newly added topics once again and focused her talk on iteration, quadratic inequalities, area under a curve and gradients of curves. One thing I had forgotten, that Jo highlighted was the small differences on how each exam board interprets each topic and the sort of details they will be trying to test. AQA and Edexcel had very subtle differences in there teaching guidance, so anyone thinking of switching boards at the last minute will need to be very careful. Jo provided a nice sheet of challenging exam questions and talked through how she was planning to tackle these new topics with her classes. She made it very clear where she thought the pupils would struggle and I agreed completely with her concerns. Her slides can be found on her own blog of the day here – http://www.resourceaholic.com/2016/10/mathsconf8.html
As the day finished Mark yet again promised to double the amount of raised by the TuckShop and raffle tickets, making a grand total of £3500 for MacMillan Cancer.
We ended the day in the bar. It was nice to chat to people like Pete (@MrMattock), Ania (@amaxmaths), Jo (@mathsjem), Bruno (@MrReddyMaths) and others, and after hearing how much Jo’s year 8’s enjoy TimesTable Rockstars I was conivinced by her and Bruno to finally sign my kids up. I look forward to seeing them attempt to become Rock Gods!