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Returning to secondary Maths teaching after 15 years - resource advice please!

Discussion in 'Mathematics' started by elaineclegg, Feb 16, 2011.

  1. Hi, sorry if this is a repeat post - I've checked as best I can but can't find the answers I'm seeking.... I left teaching 15 years ago and am about to start a return to teaching course. I am trying to get some good resources but there's loads out there and not sure what's best for KS3 Maths - any and all advice is much appreciated. I don't want to waste lots of money on old resources....what's the oldest date I should look for on resources?
    Thanks in advance
  2. pipipi

    pipipi New commenter

    I don't think any resource will have a best before date.
    Anything that grabs your imagination, and more importantly grabs the kids imagination will be good.
    BUT please don't buy any resources.
    Download Geogebra if you want to do some constructions or plot graphs.
    Download Tarsia if you want to make jigsaws where an answer fits to a question.
    Have alook on here for other resources.
    Emaths.co.uk has lots of useful bits too
    BUT please don't buy any resources.

    In the last 15 years a few minor things will have changed. Like 3 tier entry at GCSE is now 2 tier entry, so even Foundation pupils can get a C.
    Some of the Levels have changed slightly. I think mean and mode were Level 5, now it's mean and median Level 5, and mode is now Level 4 (i think). But those are things you will pick up as you go along.
    If you want to buy anything, then book yourself a holiday for when your course finishes.
    Good luck!
  3. thanks for the advice, I'll prob spend a few coppers on ebay buying some old stuff but will def check out the links you sent, the free-er the better!!!.....am I crazy to go back?? ;-)
  4. Two finest websites for resources I've found are www.suffolkmaths.co.uk and www.everymathstopic.com
  5. PaulDG

    PaulDG Occasional commenter

    It sort of depends if you can actually get a job...
  6. looking to do some supply work at first...step by step...I live in cumbria so options may be limited but I'm prepared to be patient!
  7. We had a discussion about software on another thread and it seems that the free Geogebra package is pretty popular across the board. You can download it for free at:


    It works on both Mac and PC and has extensive support online.

    If you already have Excel then it's probably worth brushing up on that, many departments use it for record keeping and some element of teaching too. If you don't have Excel then Open Office is free and works in a very similar way.

    If you can get into a school then it would be worth having a play on an Interactive Whiteboard, they have rapidly become fairly standard fair, certainly in maths classrooms.

    Regarding textbooks, most of the current crop are quite poorly written, I much prefer books from when you were last teaching and would find it hard to think of anything outstanding currently.

    For current issues, APP is being used in many of the schools in my area. You can get free samples at

    www.modilearning.com/samples or


    My school bought both packages. I know there is a culture in teaching to 'do it yourself' when it comes to resources but my department appreciated not having to make things/scour the internet and then organise everything.

    Another resource that I think is fairly universal is 10 ticks. It looks pretty dated now but it has its fans and pretty much every school I know of has it.

    For learning packages, MyMaths is very popular, despite the hefty yearly subscription. You can access some of it for free to get a feel of what they have to offer.

    For revision, MathsWatch videos are popular, and again you can get free samples.

    Hope at least some of the above is helpful, I've tried to list the things which I think are fairly popular across the board and from which you can get free sample materials. Hope that helps and the best of luck with your return to teaching.
  8. pipipi

    pipipi New commenter

    I agree with most of your suggestions Sara but I would MyMaths until I'd joined a school. The school will normally have paid for itself, rather than personally pay for it.
    I'm sure there are a few passwords flying around if someone really wanted one.
  9. KYP

    KYP New commenter

    Have you heard of the NCETM? There is so much on the website, including professional development resources, links to loads of resources and ideas. Also the Bowland Maths resources are worth browsing - there's quite a lot of resources for APP there.
  10. Yes, agree on the MyMaths but they do have quite a few free sample pages to just have a look at beforehand.

    One I forgot to mention was


    They have a lot of practical investigations that are really straightforward to use in the classroom. They are (or rather were) based in South Yorkshire, so many of the things are from that region but that doesn't detract at all from them. They were written in conjunction with teachers and trialled extensively in schools.

    Bowland has its fans but I for one remember some quite horrendous lessons on Alien Invasion and Baby Kangaroo. Great for well behaved top sets but a total nightmare for lower abilities. If I recall correctly, the Bowland materials were written by folk who were not actually teaching at the time (I'm happy to be corrected if I'm wrong on this point) and in my opinion, that really showed. I understand they have a new tranche of materials but I'd take a great deal of convincing having seen things go horribly wrong the first time around.

  11. Agree on the date aspect. Pupils may moan or find they can't access a long list of questions in one lesson.
    You may look to CIMT MEP from Plymouth Uni or find ten ticks and use to suit (assuming you dont plan on chagning your name soon)
    TBH I think returning after 15 years will be more about behaviour management and motivation over content so you may wish to go for some of the PC based stuff above.
    Bring on the Maths is good too
  12. Yes, CIMT is very good too, I'll second that. I have to admit that I've not used it extensively in that it can be a bit dry in parts but it is certainly very comprehensive and well worth a look.

    Again, concur with Betamale in that behaviour management is something that seems to be getting more difficult almost by the day and there are fewer staff who are good at it. In the (relatively) short time I've been teaching there has been a noticeable drop off in general standards of behaviour in my school. In addition, we did have a science teacher who was a returner after 10 years and she was utterly shocked at what goes on these days. Shocking too was the lack of support from SLT, often staff are very much on their own these days.
  13. frustum

    frustum Star commenter

    A friend has just returned after 7 years, to the same school (high achieving comp, v. well respected in the area), and has been shocked by the behaviour.
    (I've just returned after 4 years and a term, and have not been, though.)
  14. Sara
    Going back to Bowland. The older stuff has a great niche market and can provide a week of fun. I did 2 and they didnt suit the students outlook on learning and most finished within 30 minutes and had completly missed the point
    I am more positive about the new stuff although need a holiday to get into it fully.
    Your behaviour has to be tip top and kids must be able to see beyond the question as it were
    Often the way
    An aunt of mine who was very effective in the classroom will not go back after returning after 5-10 years out stating "I dont teach most lessons and when I do only 4-5 kids listen whilst others are running around!
  15. Many thanks to Betamale for the headsup on the new improved Bowland offering. I'll give it a second look but just wanted people to tread wearily with the older materials. As you say, behaviour management has to be absolutely tip top and even then pupils don't always get much from it.

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