Category Archives: Mathematics

Falkirk Staff Online Spaces for Sharing Resources and Collaboration

Malcolm Wilson, ICT Curriculum Development Officer within the Curriculum Support team of Service and School Improvement, Falkirk Council Education Services, has been supporting many central staff and staff within educational establishments across Falkirk Council to set up shared online spaces for making available resources to colleagues working in Falkirk Council, and to provide them with tools to collaborate.

These online spaces provide a means to share resources within the education community of all Falkirk Council establishments and can be accessed from here: http://tinyurl.com/pvmjx92

Each site provides at least one document store, and in many cases multiple document stores for making accessible resources in different formats, as well as picture galleries for sharing examples of practice, a discussion area for asking questions or sharing ideas, a news area for updates, and a weblinks area for quick access to related material elsewhere online.

Some of these sites are for sharing centrally sourced resources, some are for providing the means for staff in establishments to share with others, some provide a means to share with specific colleagues in different establishments, some provide structured professional development combining reading material, presentations and video, space for reflective comments with colleagues undertaking the same professional development and making use of video-conferencing spaces, and some provide a common space for clusters of schools to plan together and to pool resources for activities across multiple establishments.

These shared online spaces include Active Learning, Active Literacy, Art Teachers Network Falkirk, Bilingual and Traveller Pupil Support Service, Denny Cluster (including for Mathematics and for Outdoor Learning Network), Education Communications, Education Matters, Employee Review and Development, Curriculum for Excellence Experiences and Outcomes Expanded for all curricular areas and for all levels, Falkirk Confucius Classroom Hub, Falkirk Headteachers, Good Practice Network, Graeme Cluster Good Practice Network (including cluster transition event planning), ICT in Learning and Teaching, Instrumental Music Service for Falkirk Council, Interdisciplinary Learning in Falkirk Council, Numeracy and Mathematics, Physical Education, Primary Language Learning 1+2 Resource Bank, Specific Learning Differences, Storyline, Teaching for Deep Learning, and the To Lead or Not to Lead programme, amongst other online spaces specifically for staff working in Falkirk Council.

Staff within Falkirk Council Education Services can access the above spaces by clicking on this link.

Active Approaches to Numeracy

 

Sharon Wallace, Curriculum Support Officer of the Service and School Improvement Team recently organised a professional learning opportunity entitled ‘Active Approaches to Numeracy’. 57 colleagues from Primary, Secondary and the Curriculum Support team (including QIO) spent the day examining a range of active strategies to improve attainment in mental mathematics.

 Helen MacKinven, from Big Maths provided an overview of strategies including: jigsaw numbers, CLIC and partitioning. Colleagues were also treated to the experience of a ‘Beat That’ mental maths quiz.

Clusters then worked together to look at ways forward to improve attainment in mental maths. Feedback from this day has been extremely positive.

A number of colleagues have put their names forward to be part of the Numeracy Mobilisation Team. This work will inform the update of Falkirk Council’s numeracy strategy. The first meeting for this group is being held on 12th February. For further information on this, please contact Sharon Wallace at sharon.wallace@falkirk.gov.uk

Interactive tools for teaching primary numeracy and maths at second level

Malcolm Wilson, ICT Curriculum Development Officer in the Curriculum Support team of Falkirk Council Education Services, presented a session to teaching staff giving a hands-on opportunity to explore a range of interactive software and online tools to support teaching numeracy and maths at second level.

Resources explored in this session included:

RoamerWorld – a simulated programmable on-screen robot. It is a graphical version of Logo. It provides concrete implementation of shape, position and movement abstract concepts. It has 16 in-built curricular-related activities.

Number Magic – spreadsheets to help with a series of calculations that need to be repeated often. Once they are set up they can be used to explore the effect of changing one number on the others. The data can also be displayed very easily as a graph or chart. Number Magic has a number of in-built curricular examples – in Blue level exercises folder.

National Numeracy Strategy Resources – Interactive flash resources to support mathematics available on every Falkirk primary school network PC in shared documents. Each has an associated set of instructions. These Flash files can be dragged into an open SMART Notebook page (or just used in an Internet browser). These included tell-the-time, thermometer, shape-sorting, symmetry, fractions and angle resources.

SMART Notebook resources – there are many tools and mathematics-specific resources in the SMART Notebook Gallery Essentials for Educators, and there is a huge number of pre-created SMART Notebook resources in the shared documents folders of every Falkirk primary networked PC.

Manga High – free online games-based maths teaching resource aimed at 7-16 year-olds. This combines development of maths skills with video game format games. The teacher selects specific maths/numeracy areas and level within the Curriculum for Excellence which assigns pupils teaching activities and game. The teacher can get reports on progress of individual pupils.

Other online resources included:

Primary Games Arena – a wide range of free online games matched to developing different numeracy and mathematics skills. 

Math is Fun – inlcudes games and a dictionary of mathematcis concepts for pupils.

Maths in the City – providing ideas for taking learning in mathematics and numeracy outside

Sumdog  – numeracy actvities where pupils can compete with others in a safe environment

Wolfram Alpha – described as a computational search engine!

Active Numeracy Workshop Materials for Parents and Carers

Sharon Wallace, Curriculum Support Officer, Curriculum Support Team, has been working on materials aimed at sharing active learning methodologies with parents and carers. The workshop aims to share some of the strategies relating to mathematics, in particular mental strategies with people at home.

It also includes suggested websites which are helpful in developing mental mathematical skills e.g. www.sumdog.com and www.mangahigh.com

 Workshop activities include:

  • recalling facts
  • applying facts
  • the use of open questions
  • addition, subtraction, multiplication and division
  • numbers in society

Active numeracy parent presentation 2013 can be accessed from this link.

Primary Probationers Go Outdoors!

Jane Jackson, Outdoor Learning Development Officer, Falkirk Council Curriculum Support Team, has been working with the primary probationer teachers exploring how outdoor learning can become an integral part of their planning and teaching.   

There is no better way to demonstrate the range of ways that outdoor learning can contribute to CfE than by getting out there and doing it yourself.  The probationers took part in a wide range of activities, after having got the fire going and set up our base for the day.

They all agreed that we have covered many curricular areas with some very simple, fun, exciting activities  that could readily be used for further learning back at school.

The main purpose of the session was to challenge participants thinking about outdoor learning and to raise awareness of the benefits of learnng outside the classroom.

         

  

Powtoon, School YouTube Channel, Twitter for Schools, Maths Interactives and History On This Day – a support session for ICT Co-ordinators in Falkirk Primary Schools

Powtoon, School YouTube Channel, Twitter for Schools, Maths Interactives & History On This Day – some of the tools presented by Malcolm Wilson (ICT Curriculum Development Office in the Curriculum Support Team of Falkirk Council Education Services) at the support sessions for ICT Co-ordinators in Falkirk Primary Schools (and to which secondary ICT Co-ordinators are also invited) – an opportunity to be guided through a hands-on exploration and use of a variety of online tools to support learning and teaching in Falkirk primary schools.

* The YouTube Channels for Falkirk Council Education Services and schools provides a resource to share videos created for Education Services in Falkirk Council as well as a link to each of the YouTube channels of Falkirk Council educational establishments. Having a school YouTube Channel provides a means to upload school-created videos and more easily share or embed elsewhere such as class blogs or school websites. Playlists in a YouTube Channel also let you bring together videos, of relevance to your own school, created by others from elsewhere on YouTube in topic/curricular headings. Falkirk school YouTube channels are created centrally for each school on request so that the technical setup of settings, etc, is not a burden on schools, yet the control for the each school channel is with the school.

* Powtoon provides a free online tool to create short animated promotional videos for schools or event in schools. These can be embedded on school websites and blogs. These animated videos can be used to promote a school event, activity or explain a topic. A description and examples can be found here: http://glo.li/WY4Ek2.

Interactive Teaching Programs for Numeracy and Mathematics are free online resources designed for whole-class teaching via interactive whiteboard. Each tool is versatile in letting teachers use it in any way to best suit the needs of their learners. For each tool there is an extensive helpguide available as a pdf for viewing either on-screen or printing out. These tools are designed to support the teaching and learning process with a teacher guiding a pupil, group or class of pupils, through their learning, and a pace appropriate to them. They are flexible tools so can be used at many stages in primary school. There is a host of tools included covering: Area, Calculating angles, Coordinates, Counting on and back, Data handling, Decimal number line, Difference, Division Grid, Fixing points, Fractions, Grouping, Isometric grid, Line graph, Measuring cylinder, Measuring scales, Moving digits, Multiplication facts, Multiplication grid, Number dials, Number facts, Number facts, Number grid, Number line, Number spinners, Ordering numbers, Place value, Polygon, Remainders after division, Ruler, Symmetry, Tell the time, Thermometer, and Twenty cards. They are available online here: http://glo.li/UR9HOS

* #OnThisDay in History – resources for connecting historical events, related to specific anniversary dates, to pupils today, can provide a means to connect events of past with work in class on specific days across curriculum – helps make connections with the past whether for a curricular area, a historical topic era, or lesson starter on any specific day. These free online tools provide short descriptions of events which happened on each day in the calendar (for any year). They can be searched on specific days, and any year. So if studying a historical period such as World War 2, the Romans, etc then events in sequnce day by day in any particular year can be shown. If teachers like to help pupils relate to historical events sometimes the starting link can be to look at events which happened on the day (in any any year) of their birth, or the year of their birth. If looking for links to music events, or studying art techniques through artists in history, then there are specific sites here which group these related anniversaries of events (including first performances, display, births and deaths).   The information which suits the occasion for the teacher and learners on any specific occasion can be used on a class blog or school website as a “hook” to connect events yesterday and today http://glo.li/Whu37F

* Twitter for schools – most Falkirk schools have school  Twitter accounts to help share activities going on in the school and increase engagement by the wider community. A list of these Falkirk educational establishments with links to their Twitter feeds (as well as resources supporting the use of Twitter by schools) can be found here: http://glo.li/12iKXTz. Once the Twitter feed of posts is embedded on school websites, posting information via Twitter on a mobile device makes it quicker to add news items onto the website as the information being shared by the school is instantly shared on the website without the need to log into the editing panel of the school website. Using Twitter also means that parents and others in the school community can choose to follow the latest information from the school, and share this with others to help more widely spread the good work of the school. Support can be provided to schools looking at setting up and using a school Twitter account or getting it added to a school website.

Feedback from participants at the support sessions included:

“Great, practical ideas as ever!” JC – St Bernadette’s Primary School

“Lots of useful resources.” AW – Head of Muir Primary School

“Lots of great ideas today – very worthwhile.” GM – St Joseph’s Primary School

“Now a convert to Twitter!” CM – Bo’ness Academy

“Yet another very useful session – many thanks.” LB – Moray Primary School

“Helpful and informative insight into ICT developments.” SD – Grangemouth High School

“Lots of great ideas.” FB – Kinnaird Primary School

“Great information – thanks!” FK – Bantaskin Primary School

“Thank you – very informative as always!” CH – Comely Park Primary School

“Very practical and helpful as ever.” RO – Easter Carmuirs Primary School

Stirling University – Outdoor Learning

Initial Task - Den Building

Karen Thomson, Senior Early Years Officer, Falkirk Council Curriculum Support Team was invited to facilitate an Outdoor Learning session  for Third year initial teacher education students at Stirling University. The students were provided with a brief overview of how Outdoor Learning has developed in early years establishments over the last year.

The students then took part in a variety of different activities ranging from den building to  storytelling.  Here are some of the comments received from the students:-

“Unlike the weather, the morning we spent with Karen was fantastic.  Not only was it great fun and full of inspiring ideas, but I feel it’s really given me the confidence I was lacking to take children outside and utilise the natural resources we are surrounded with.  I’ve since contacted a local nursery and I’m scheduled to spend time with them during their forest school sessions.  This will help develop my knowledge and confidence further in this aspect of teaching, however without Karen’s enthusiasm its not something I would probably have done.”  

“The session served in the first instance to help when dealing with concerns from care-givers on the risks associated with outdoor learning, Karen and Laura highlighted that the use of research and associated data on accidents would be key in allaying concerns.  The practical element of the lesson highlighted the opportunities for cross curricular learning with the literacy and story telling exercises, numeracy with the clock making, learning new skill, taking risks through novel physical activity and hopefully the children then becoming advocates in their own households when they return home expressing the enjoyment they have had during the lesson.”

 “The session was great, I really enjoyed the teaching ideas for the early level, such as finding the numbers hidden in the woods, and making a clock to teach time. I feel a lot more confident about taking learning outdoors and can’t wait to try out some of the ideas!”

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Creativity – What Is It?

Gayle Martin, Arts & Culture Officer, Curriculum Support Falkirk Council is working in partnership with Stirling and Clackmannanshire Council to develop Creative Learning.  Gayle recently attended a presentation by Sheila Paige of Education Scotland who is leading Creativity Across Learning, which is a creative review across a range of education establishments in Scotland.  The review will complete in June and results will be published in September.  As part of this Sheila was able to share how Education Scotland has defined Creativity, which is listed below:

 Definitions of Creativity

 Creative skills, sometimes referred to as capacities, include being:

  • Inquisitive
  • Open-minded
  • Able to harness imagination
  • Able to identify and solve problems

 We also define people who have well-formed creative skills as being:

  • Confident in their right and ability to influence change

 These organisers are used to describe more fully those key learning behaviours which will support the development of these skills and capacities.  The following list aims to expand these concepts.  It is not exhaustive but includes:

  • Being curious
  • Registering patterns and anomalies
  • Drawing on previous knowledge
  • Researching productively
  • Formulating good questions
  • Defining problems
  • Exploring multiple viewpoints
  • Functioning with uncertainty
  • Lateral thinking
  • Hypothesising
  • Synthesising and refining multiple options and viewpoints
  • Inventing
  • Crafting, delivering and presenting solutions
  • Applying discipline and resilience
  • Evaluating impact and success of solutions
  • Identifying next steps in refinement or development of process

We would also expect children and young people to become increasingly:

  • Motivated and ambitious for change
  • Confident in validity of their own viewpoint
  • Able to apply a creative process to other situations
  • Able to lead and work well with others

Using a Smart Board to Support Active Learning in Primary Mathematics

Anne Forrest from Steljes presented a continuing professional development course to staff from a wide range of primary schools in Falkirk on “Using a Smart Board to Support Active Learning in Primary Mathematics.” This was organised and supported by Malcolm Wilson, ICT Curriculum Development Officer in Falkirk Council Education Services Curriculum Support Team.

This provided hands-on guidance to making use of many of the interactive features of Smart Notebook software to support staff to make learning and teaching in mathematics more engaging for pupils.

Reference was made to resources available to download for free at Smart ExchangeSmart Notebook Express provides a means to access some of the tools in Smart Notebook online.

The presentation by Anne Forrest, along with a host of other resources colleated by Malcolm Wilson to support Falkirk teachers to be able to download the software for use at home, can be found by clicking on the Falkirk Glow Group for ICT in Learning and Teaching.

Comments from participants included:

“Lots of interactive ways to engage learners – opportunities to try these out were useful.”

“Excellent ideas to take away.”

“Very good tips on using the Smart Board in class.”

“Excellent mix of information and practical activity.”

“Extremely helpful course which has provided a vast amount of knowledge and resources to help deliver engaging lessons.”