Maths and Spelling Tests

June 10, 2008 § Leave a comment

Math and spelling tests are officially cool again. This morning I used TUTPUP to introduce students in Year 7 and 8 about online identies. See, Tutpup does a great job of registering students whilst protecting their identities. There are no usernames, only coloured animal and number combinations from across the world. So you could be a green ape 24 from the UK (yes, thats me) playing a blue pig 87 from Australia.

Not to forget that once logged in the students were thoroughly engaged by the competitive maths and spelling games that followed. Playing real opponents just made it more compelling.

‘Our aim is to provide simple, fun, competitive games that help children learn and gain confidence with Maths, English and other key skills and knowledge.’

 Well congratulations to all involved our students loved it.


Cover Lessons

March 26, 2008 § Leave a comment

dice.jpgTo set the scene, lower band Yr 9 Maths group (13-14 yr olds). Two teaching assistants and an exercise book task. Bring on the heavy weights…. cooperative competition.

‘Student Team Learning strategies have compiled an enviable record of research which documents positive contributions to academic achievement. In 40 studies of Student Team Learning methods, 33 studies found students in Student Team Learning classes gained more in achievement than did students in traditional classes studying the same objectives.’ (Slavin, 1988).

Two teams, students complete the maths exercise, its marked and task is followed up with a round of cooperative quiz questions. Add the two scores together and swiftly back to the next set of maths questions. I used my mobile phone to offer audio count down and signal to students when to answer questions. As the quiz developed, so the teaching assistants were each drawn into supporting each team, at the request of the students I may add. The staff proved excellent facilitators and really guided the learning experience.

Now I must admit I enjoyed the lesson. There were some very tough cookies in that class, but their response was generally very positive, I believe they enjoyed their lesson. I am not going to lie, it has been a tough re-introduction to secondary education and heres the hook…. when a teaching assistant notes that they “really enjoyed the lesson and I usual dislike cover lessons” is it far to reflect that I am beginning to make a small impact of the learning of perhaps a few students, just one lesson at a time?

Cooperative Competition / Learning, also know as Student Team Learning, involves structuring classes around small groups that work together in such a way that each group member’s success is dependent on the group’s success. As a result, on average, students engage more, learn more and are more likely to address the more complex and creative tasks. (44 Benefits of Collaborative Learning)

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