Monthly Archives: Jun 2010

Interactive broom handle

Was at “Building motivation and attainment in mathematics” meeting at King’s College today. The best idea of the day was John Smith’s IBH; basically it is a broom handle marked off in 10cm with insulating tape bands… a stripy pole.

On one of the stripes he places a zero and then takes a card, say 8 and puts it on one of the other stripes and encourages counting. He used it to generate fractional counting (…,0,   ,   , 8…) and counting up using algebraic expressions, (0, 2a+b, 4a+2b,…) It was a simple but powerful tool.

John Smith is Senior Mathematics Advisoy, Bury LA.

Personal Learning Environment

Accessible at
I’ve started to work on a personal learning environment I can share with my pupils. I hit upon Symbaloo as being a good paltform. You simply add tiles of sites and resources, some of which are available ready made and there is a way of making your own. What I liked about thid tool was that you could create your own mix of tiles which you could share and update with pupils as your ideas evolved and more powerfully they could develop and share their own mixes.

I hit upon the idea through this video I saw of a pupil using symbaloo on a blog; Teach Web

The interface is accesible directly from the school web site and contains links to a shared Google Docs folder where teachers can upload work and collaborative documents can be worked on. There is also access to other resources that are used regularly during lessons and School Social Network sites. This is a developing idea but has already proved more popular than the Moodle site. I suspect it is the element of pupil ownership.

My first experiment was to use a collaborative document in Google Docs to enable the students to write their own Geography Exam. This was a fantastic idea as it brought about some interactive revision; some student lead assessment of what we had learned and an evaluation of what’s worth committing to memory.

Also took some of the stress out of the whole process, especially for the first timers in year 7 to see what might appear in the final paper.