Personal action plan to become an excellent maths teacher

Classroom principles for me (print and post these):

Reflect well — Be brave — Talk and listen (interpretively) — Keep it simple — Clarity is the essence — Tell stories

Longer-term aims:

  1. Termly self-assessment against curriculum and TDA standards
  2. Regular PROPER lesson evaluations using evaluation master
  3. Regular bi-weekly PROPER reflection
  4. Regular contribution to the best online forums

Habits I want to develop in the classroom (try one new and reinforce one old one of these every week/fortnight):

  • Keeping a notebook of students’ cognitive obstacles, individual learning objectives, and evidence for informal assessment.
  • Make Standards Unit box 1st port of call for resources, particularly after lunch, and use it to remind me how to teach!
  • Using open, genuine questions not testing ones and questioning strategies; another and another; always, sometimes, never; easy-hard-general, think-pair-share
  • Starting with a rich task, something surprising or an inspiring ‘why’. Relate the rich task to real-life wherever possible to develop ‘using and applying’.
  • Asking questions that have many right answers.
  • Bringing the global dimension in, getting outside, and using real-life.
  • ALWAYS assume learners can succeed, and show that I do so.
  • Link to other subjects in Maths and beyond
  • Really get to grips with AfL, and using it to best effect
  • Always build on and modify what students say, and only rarely say that something is wrong.
  • Plenaries that ensure understanding and inform future lessons.
  • ALWAYS wait for them.
  • Share on twitter – one teaching idea to try each fortnight.
  • Set classroom rules for me
  • Always remember Luke’s World.
  • Always start by empowering students to find out what they already know.
  • Call home to one parent from each class on a Friday with positive comments.
  • Ask any question as the last question on homework
  • No opt-out: If a student tries to opt-out by saying ‘I don’t know’, come back to them to select the best answer amongst their peers. Its important to establish that classroom participation is not optional.
  • Push the ratio
  • Use classroom data effectively
  • Use exit tickets
  • Cold call predictably
  • Establish 100 percent compliance
  • Focus on what to do, not what not to do
  • Use diagrams, models or people maths to help model topics
  • Develop my skills at question-level analysis
  • Always seek to elicit prior knowledge
  • Foster deeper thinking by increasing wait time and pushing through the ‘wall’ that you reach
  • Foster a growth mindset

And habits I want to develop together with the students in a Friday skills lesson (or similar) (to give ownership, offer students a choice of one habit amongst three to develop):

  • Establish a consistent routine to gain attention at the start of class – perhaps a recording played through the IWB? Ask students what would work well.
  • Pick-up on and address misconceptions
  • Give each pupil two or three individual learning targets.
  • Encourage pupils to experiment by putting a question mark and comment beside things they are not sure about and that they will get credit for doing so
  • Get students to record my lessons, analyse my teaching and give me feedback.
  • Have a weekly award (voted by students) for: best mistake (i.e. the one that promoted the most learning); the person who persevered most;
  • Use ICQs to ensure pupils are listening
  • Keep a big smiley face laminated (or similar) for students to use in a yamaba moment. Keep a big laminated question mark for me or students to hold up when someone asks a good question.
  • Set ground-rules for group talk
  • Generalise in every lesson by asking students to make up an example or counter-example, draw their own drawing, explain how they got an answer etc.
  • Use a comment-only marking policy  or Triple Impact Marking that closes the gap. Create a dialogue through marking e.g. by posing challenging questions in the front of the book, asking students to tell me how they’ve closed the gap, and with targets in a chart.
  • Students use a traffic-light system, and a stuck-o-meter
  • Encourage students to explain to each other and use 3B4ME
  • Encouraging conjectures, and an atmosphere where pupils listen to each others’ conjectures.
  • Explicitly using meta-cognition, and meta-emotional and meta-behavioural discussions to help CAME e.g. ask pupils how they know someone is good at maths.
  • I can’t yet, not I can’t, and praise students for being stuck and getting unstuck and persevering with a high profile prize (chosen by pupils); encourage students to vocalise problems to the rest of class.
  • Mark work with a -, = or + to mean not as good as, equal to or better than your last piece of work.
  • Board=paper
  • Use ‘voice’ in group discussions.
  • Be on your mark
  • Develop props with the class
  • Post-it notes with problems: a student writes a solution on the back, signs it and passes it on. Another student solves the problem and then the two discuss their answers.
  • Peer-to-peer AfL.
  • Red, yellow and green cups to indicate whether you want the teacher to slow down or stop. Red can ask green questions.
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