Priorities for the Spring Term

At the start of the Spring Term these are three main priorities for me as the Head of Mathematics.

1.  Planning Year 11 maths revision post mock exam

2.  Reviewing Set Lists

3.  Making sure everyone knows and can plan for the topics this term,

Year 11 Maths Revision

This year we are using a more structured program of revision than previously.  Year 11 students have finished their respective Foundation and Higher courses and sat the mock exam.  Consequently, the final two weeks of last term teachers went through topics that were identified from the mock exam as needing more practice. 

The Year 11 maths revision program reviews the key topics that are relevant for the ability range in each class.  In my department there are four classes.  The top two sets will be taking the Higher Tier with the top set aiming for grades 7 – 9 and the second set aiming for grades 5 and 6.  Sets 3 and 4 will sit the Foundation tier aiming for grades 4 and 5 and 1, 2 and 3 respectively. 

The program of revision reminds students of the key concepts at their potential target grade. It is based around a cycle of 6 formal fortnightly, hour long assessments that are provided by examination boards. My department uses the Edexcel practice papers that can be found on the maths emporium website.

The revision cycle takes place over 7 lessons per fortnight with the assessment taking place in the 7th lesson. Lesson 1 in the next cycle is used to go through the assessment with the students. This ensures every student has enough exam style practice applying the skills they revised in the previous five lessons.

All revision lessons begin with a range of traditional questions that remind students of the skill they are revising. Later, as learning progresses, they apply this skill to solve wider ranging problems that connect to other areas of mathematics.

Click the buttons for a sample revision lesson for each group.

Foundation Tier

Grades 1, 2 and 3

Grades 4 and 5

Higher Tier

Grades 5 and 6

Grades 7, 8 and 9

The full program with all the lessons can found on the Foundation and Higher maths revision pages.

Reviewing Set Lists

At the end of each term we make a small number of set changes across each year group.  These are based on attainment across the previous term and performance in end of term exams.  Therefore, on our return in January teachers receive their updated set lists for their new students.  See my previous post Getting Ready for a New School Year. I also update the student logins on various websites for their new class.

Topics for the Term

Our first faculty development meeting of the term is used to make sure everyone is up to date with the scheme of work. This way, students who are switching classes begin a new topic in line with their classmates. In year groups 7 and 8 a few classes have more than one teacher. The teachers will agree between themselves who covers which topic.

This term we are covering:

Key Stage 3

Foundation GCSE

Higher GCSE

In March, there will be a second mock exam for Year 11. Therefore, we will leave the final week of the half term for them to work through past papers.  In this case, past papers will have the mark schemes included at the back so students can check their solutions without having to wait for their teacher to feedback. It also a good way for them to learn about method and processing marks.

Practical Tips for Using Mini-Whiteboards in a Mathematics Lesson

In this blog I will share some practical tips for using mini-whiteboards in a mathematics lesson. I use mini-whiteboards nearly every lesson because they help the students show me the progress they are making.

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