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A funny thing happened on the way to the form room…

I was very sniffy about Twitter a year ago, I didn’t see the point. I thought it was all long distance sniping and chat about people I don’t know. A lot of effort to gain very little. And when you don’t know the rules or etiquette, it’s all a bit uncomfortable. But now I’m an advocate. Not a die in the ditch type, but all in all, I feel like there is a community of equally odd maths teachers out there. They laugh at the same things I do, and get cross about the same things. My supportive teacher community on Twitter.

But one of the things about Twitter is the disposable nature of the comments. And sometimes there is something really good. Like in the old days when you would find something in a journal, and you would think…

That’s good, I’ll just take a copy of that and put it somewhere safe.

The trouble was, there never was somewhere safe, there was the box that never got emptied, or under the pile of marking, or the dark recesses of my satchel. But I think Pinterest might be that new place, and you can share it with your colleagues. And as well as saving the Twitter gold, you can add stuff you find in books, or from the web, and at this time of year I’ve had chance to go back through and see what wonder I had collected.

And this is my run down of my favourites. You can see all of them on pinterset.com/bettermaths.

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This year I have also had the privilege of working with the NQTs and new staff. This has given me the opportunity to observe and gather together loads of great teaching ideas and maths problems. My favourites are those that combine skilful grouping and task setting with interesting open-ended problems. There are some great examples on NRich.maths.org like the question on Olympic medals. I have used this one as a starter in my Statistics lesson (the plan is on the bettermaths) site. Another simple, but great lesson I observed was based on a scene from the film Die Hard, where the students had to defuse a bomb using the answers to various questions the teacher had set up on a theme and all building up to setting problems for each other. While superficially it looked like the hook was the film, actually the real beauty of the lesson was the way she had organised the students so that each one of them was challenged, and each one was important to the final outcome.