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'Challenge Wall' idea

Discussion in 'Mathematics' started by Woostarite, Sep 2, 2011.

  1. 007maths

    007maths New commenter

    Hello Woostarite,

    The challenge wall is a good idea and it is worth testing out to see what works and what doesn't work. Your mentors may be on board and want to help out (there may also be someone who already coordinates UKMT challenges at the school).

    Sorry for not quoting everyone else, but I do agree that problems shouldn't be restricted to certain year groups as there may well be someone in a year 11 set 3 who loves maths but can only access the year 9 problems (perhaps!). The use of the difficulty indicator with stars would work well here on its own I think (without specifying year groups).

    With regards to the actual 'listening to the solved problems' this could take up valuable 'personal' time that you need (breaks), so maybe you could enlist the help of some prefects/volunteers/6th form pupils to help with this - helps them out too with additional experiences. Our sixth formers take the IB so they are required to 'collect hours'. I think something like this would work well with them (quite a few already volunteer to provide support to younger pupils with maths classwork/homework).

    I do also agree that you need to be careful as to where you concentrate your energies. The GTP/NQT years are demanding and therefore if you were to try this out in any spare time left over all the other planning, why not give it a go. I loved seeing the enthusiasm by my PGCE mentee in the spring term, but also made sure that the lesson planning and behaviour management were the priorities.

    I look forward to seeing you develop this over time!
  2. Hey,
    It's great that you're thinking about whole school problem solving improvement at such an early stage in your career - great enthusiasm!
    The challenges look very nice, I love the hamster on the ladder. There is a nice geogebra video of this which shows the locus of the midpoint of the ladder on youtube.
    It was a very sensible thing opening this up for discussion. It's nice to get different perspectives and there are a few sensible points on the other posts. I am a bit surprised at how negative some of them are though.
    Funnily enough, I did exactly the same thing in my first year of teaching! I made a few mistakes as you can imagine, but I learnt a lot from the experience. You should try it out. Be aware that one of the main problems with whole school projects is that they often start with good intentions but when they don't go as well as planned they can get lost in the wind very quickly. If it's not working as well as you expected, try to analyse why this is the case and change it slightly (just as you would with a lesson plan). If you make this your one big project this year I am sure that with your enthusiasm you will make it successful. If not, then you will undoubtly learn a lot which will highten the chance that your next endeavour will be more successful.
  3. DM

    DM New commenter

    Avatar Daniel?
  4. Thanks a bunch Daniel. This is incredibly helpful, insightful, and it's nice to have someone say something nice for a change - Mike's hate-filled posts as well as other nay-sayers very nearly drove me to delete my account and never come back to this forum.
    As you say, there's no doubt that a number of things that I will try that will run into problems or fall flat, but ultimately it's these first hand experiences that form part of the learning experience as a teacher. It's something I'll discuss with others teachers in my department when I start in 2012, hopefully when I've had a chance to build up the resource. I'd love to see the materials you've used if you're willing to share.
    And Mike, don't presume so much about my level of teaching experience. I know a fair bit about challenging brighter students (as you've specifically raised) because I do a considerable amount of teaching to undergraduate and masters students at a highly selective uni (being personally congratulated by the head of teaching in the department for my 'outstanding quality of stats teaching'). I could also list the things school teachers have said about my teaching in schools, but I don't want to be an ass (except to say at one of my schools I was asked to cover an entire day of lessons for an absent teacher). I recognise that there's a lot to learn about teaching in a school environment, and know that working incredibly hard on my GTP year is an inevitability (I used to work for a bank, I know about long hours!), but having some teaching experience will hopefully give me a little more opportunity to exercise a little creativity, something you seem so keen to annihilate.
    Anyway, I'm off to Hawaii, so don't expect me to post again until I have a nice tan. [​IMG]
  5. arsinh

    arsinh New commenter

    It's never too late to change.
  6. Sorry if my post is a bit arsey. I'm just a bit fed up of Mike suggesting that in presenting the idea in my original post, somehow it means developing my quality of teaching in my training year is of low priority to me.
  7. The nay-sayers have been kind to you Woostarite - they have provided reasoned feedback on your suggestion based on their years of experience in the job you are about to start training in. No-one is questioning your fantastic intentions or enthusiasm, but I think it's a bit rich to ask for advice, and then slag off posters and 'threaten' to leave just because the feedback wasn't what you wanted to hear. If you don't actually want people's advice, why ask for it in the first place?! For the record, I agree with Mike that this will take up too much time and won't have the impact you want.
    Also, if anything at all is lacking in your GTP such as you struggling with teaching, behaviour, resource preparation, time, subject knowledge, assessment, marking, etc etc, something like this will count against you from the perspective of all. Yes they will appreciate your intentions and enthusiasm, but it won't help if you're struggling in other areas. I'm not saying you will be, but just reiterating that you should walk before you run.
    Hope Hawaii was great.
  8. Have you acknowledged that you got it from there?
    If you don't show academic honesty, can you expect your students to do so?

  9. Maths_Mike

    Maths_Mike New commenter

    Oh please - grow up.
    What made me react is that I did offer advice - so did many others along similar lines. You took offence because is was not what you wanted to hear.
    Enthusiasm and a desire to do well with any teaching strategy (or even a whole school idea) is commendable. Thinking you are have the best idea since sliced bread and that we are all totally incompetent (especially with G&T) and need you to come and sort it - is not.
    Thats how your post came across to me and thats why I reacted. Just because in your limited experience you have seen some G&T students not being challenged does not necessarily mean that it is a wide spread problem. Nor is your challenge wall necessarily the solution.
  10. jgx


    Hey DM, are you the 'Avtar monitor' or something?!? ;P
  11. DM

    DM New commenter

    Self-appointed. Here's a proper one for you.
  12. Tone and intentions can so easily be miscontrued on forums. All I intended was just to a present an idea - one that I thought someone had probably tried before, and certainly didn't think it was going to 'change the world'. And just because I felt many schools don't stretch brighter students (and should note that (a) I'm not just talking about G&T and (b) my view is based on past experience with schools and surveys by my uni's admissions dept), that doesn't mean I was somehow suggesting that no one in this forum does.
    But I just hate the negativity and forum members seeming to be constantly at each other's throats. Just take the poster above for example, who questions my integrity because I hadn't yet credited the source of the question despite it just being a provisional sample (and I should point out, the source I quoted got it from somewhere else). This can be the problem in forums in which everyone is anonymous, people can be unfriendly, irascible or make sweeping conclusions without any consequences.
    I've been very accepting of advice where people have critiqued the idea and why it might be difficult to execute, and at schools always I've accepted teachers' advice unquestionably. I just didn't take your particular advice as gospel as you wanted because it (a) came across as very negative and (b) seemed to want to avoid the merits or weaknesses of the idea by instead just chastising me for wanting to discuss the idea in the first place.
    But I could try and defend myself forever, but feel I would just be making this worse and extending the bickering on further. I just can't be bothered anymore.

  13. jgx


    Thank you very much, I shall wear it with pride (if I can fathom out how the settings work)!!! ;)
  14. DM

    DM New commenter

    It suits you jgx.
  15. Maths_Mike

    Maths_Mike New commenter

    I totally agree and I am sorry if my post came across as negative.
    This forum is actually a freindly place and if you post on here you we always get lots of help and advice.
    Usually it is well intentioned and you have the opportunity to tap into many experienced and young enthusaistic opinions.
    Yes I (We?) can sometimes be a bit cynical but you have to take the rough wit the smooth!
    I wish you all success in your teaching career.
  16. DM

    DM New commenter

    Read all about it.
    Mike goes soft in his old age shocker.
  17. Truce gladly accepted. [​IMG]
    Sorry if I've come across as (or have been!) stubborn.
  18. pipipi

    pipipi New commenter

    I think someone has hacked into Mike's account.

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