Mr Reddy Maths Blog

Category Archives: Pedagogy

Teaching Your Class to Roll Numbers

I made this video for Rising Academy Network teachers to show them how I teach my classes to roll numbers.

Modelling in maths

I’ve come to the conclusion that ace teachers are experts in classroom culture and that the most effective maths teachers are also excellent at modelling and questioning. With the hope of getting some feedback in the comments, here’s what I try to do consistently with modelling. I start with “empty …

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We can learn about maths teaching from Shanghai

My interest in Shanghai maths teaching is an intellectual matter not a political one. We should definitely be wanting to know more about their pedagogy given we are rarely in a position in our busy, chaotic, highly emotional school lives to engage with it. They’re the ones who have the …

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Featured comment: What is better for the child’s mathematical development in the long run?

Courtesy of Oratory Prep

This comment was left on the Design your own mastery curriculum article and deserves its own post. Centering on the what of early mathematical schooling, Helen talks about the emergency, reactive shortcuts that end up being used as a result of pupils not learning the basics by age 8. **************************************** …

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How best to work with additional adults in maths lessons

This post is dedicated to the wonderful City Year volunteers who tirelessly dedicated themselves to the pupils of King Solomon Academy, four days a week for a whole year. In response to tonight’s #mathscpdchat, I’ve written down my thoughts on establishing a positive working relationship that has benefits for you, …

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Peer Tutoring: King Solomon Academy, tips and resources

Nice but codswallop.

Long before the Education Endowment Foundation’s Toolkit found that peer tutoring can add 6 more months of learning progress, I faced a problem that only peer tutoring could solve. All keystage 3 classes at King Solomon Academy are taught in mixed-ability form groups. Anyone teaching year 7 maths knows that …

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How we teach addition & subtraction of negative numbers


Notoriously difficult for pupils to understand, I think addition and subtraction of negatives is one of the things that one comes to understand after doing lots of practice. HOWEVER, that practice needs to be yielding correct answers from the off. It’s no good sending pupils off to do lots of …

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Design your own mastery curriculum in maths

Nonmastery curriculum

There seems to be a current surge from Heads of Maths and KS3 Maths Coordinators looking to adopt more of a mastery approach to teaching maths. This post is a quick run through of the journey the curriculum at King Solomon Academy has gone through and concludes with some advice …

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Inviting Heads of Maths to King Solomon Academy, Friday 21st March

Dear Head of Maths, You are invited to spend a day visiting King Solomon Academy on Friday 21st March, when you will have the chance to observe maths lessons and daily life, discuss the department-level things on your mind and participate in a very instructive training session on cognitive load …

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Analysis of the first 50 marks on GCSE higher maths papers


Towards the end of last school year (2012-13), the great members of the KSA maths department did an analysis of the topics coming up in the first 50 marks in GCSE maths higher papers. We looked through a stack of Edexcel and AQA papers from the last few years. Here …

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Inviting Heads of Maths to King Solomon Academy, 13th December

KSA Logo White

Dear Head of Maths, You are invited to visit King Solomon Academy on Friday 13th December. The agenda is as follows: 7.45am – Arrive 8am – Auction 8.40am – Briefing from Bruno 8.50am – Lesson observations – A mix of year 10 and 11 classes 10.15am – Training session from …

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The multiple personalities of fractions


The following is an extract of the text I wrote for an ebook aimed as a guide for first year TeachFirst maths teachers. The excerpt covers what I see as the major difficulty of grasping fractions – their multiple personalities. You know where you are with integers. The number one …

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Pupils checking each other’s work


In my class I run a simple pupil-checking-pupil-work system. Pupil A completes work and puts hand up in shape of letter V (for ‘validate’). Specific training beforehand as to which fingers to use! Teacher, wearing Validator sign on the end of a lanyard goes over to check for 100% accuracy. …

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Finding a fraction of an amount

When we started blended learning, life was good. My pupils began studying more independently and their work rate went up but it didn’t take me long to realise there was something missing to sustain their productivity – they needed their efforts to be recognised more than before. Having had a …

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World Maths Day – World Record Rolling Numbers


To celebrate World Maths Day today, we decided to set a world record for the largest number of people rolling numbers! We had the year 3s, 4s, 5s, 7s, 8s and a handful of year 9s plus staff and visitors from KSA’s primary and secondary schools. The grand total – …

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Strategies for learning, understanding and remembering the times tables


Wouldn’t it be great if everyone in the class could recall a multiplication fact up to 12 × 12 in less than 3 seconds? That’s my goal and I’ve nearly accomplished it for the third year in a row. It has taken admirable dedication and hard work on the part …

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Ten Tips for Great Chromebook Routines


Slides from my second presentation at Bett.

Using Google to Flip the Classroom


Slides from my presentation at Bett 2013.

Mean Paper Aeroplanes


Today we threw paper aeroplanes in my year 7 lessons and it was a lot of fun! Underlying all the fun, however, was a serious competition and competitions must have winners. To win fairly you probably need to throw more than once to account for variances in skill, luck and …

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Guest blog: Circle Theorems and Hula Hoops

Can you tell which theorem we're making?

I am a teacher in the KSA Maths Department and I have just finished 2 weeks on Circle Theorems with my year 10 class.  One of the philosophies of the KSA Maths department is ‘Singapore Maths’ where students are initially introduced to concepts via physical or visual representation, then with …

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A Lego Love Story – Priming Pupils

Once upon a time...

Once upon a time there was a king who lived in a castle on an island in the middle of a spectacular blue lake. So starts a ‘true story’ I invented to mask the introduction of a new maths topic. See if you can guess the topic as I read …

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Rocketship Sí Se Puede

Rocketship Learning Lab

Today I had the pleasure of visiting one of the reknowned Rocketship schools. They were incredibly hospitable, the pupils were working hard, and the instructors answered all my hundreds of questions. Thanks to all, especially the principal, Mr Elliot-Chandler. School Type: primary school (K-5) Model: Lab rotation model where students …

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What we learned in New Orleans from FirstLine Schools


A couple of colleagues* and I have been fortunate enough to spend the last few days in New Orleans at the Virtual Schools Symposium – yes, we have very supportive line managers! While we were there, FirstLine Schools showed us round their Arthur Ashe Charter School and gave us the …

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Chromebooks are not just for Christmas


On the back of my Time-Shifted Teaching trial last year, we’re going ahead with a larger scale pilot of blended learning this year. I found that there were a number of barriers to time-shifted teaching, including pupils’ access to computers at home. A chance discussion with ARK (the multi-academy network …

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What has Jo Boaler got to do with it? [Maths at KSA, that is.]


At KSA, we teach maths in mixed ability groups all the way through Keystage 3 (ages 11-14) and I now think it’s one of the smartest decisions we ever made. When I was appointed Head of Maths, before the school even opened, the Headteacher asked me How do you feel …

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Rounding, Comparing, Ordering Decimals – Singapore Style


I enjoyed my year 7 lessons today and thought I’d share some photos and the resources. You can see blocks, an abacus, a card arrangement task, a ‘washing line’ and pupils making a number up at the front. Resources are available to download below. Snapshot of the classwork, which is …

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Effective independent in-class extension

Extension 3

My name is Sam and I am part of the King Solomon Academy Maths department. Bruno has asked us to write on his blog about an area of personal development in maths teaching. As part of the team I get the opportunity to work in a mixed ability setting. This …

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“Hi Bruno, BBC are in reception for you.”

BBC News Email

Well, there’s an email I didn’t think I’d ever receive. Who could it be and why were they here to see me and not the headteacher? It can be strange what goes through my head. “I’m too young to meet Michael Aspel just yet. Pretty sure I’m not going to …

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Language Revelation

I was in a training session today that gave me such a revelation. One of those I-see-the-world-in-a-different-way-now moments – that’s how much it rocked my world. The trainer, Carly Biggam from ARK, set us up in groups of three: one speaker, one listener and one observer. The activity was very …

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Classic mistakes brought to you by the Simpsons


Here’s how I see it, it’s easier to learn from the maths mistakes of others than from your own. Probably because there’s an emotional association with making a mistake, I find pupils jump at the chance to dissect and discuss the root of misconceptions of others, and by others I …

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Pleased with this animation…division-using-place-value-blocks

We know that physical and visual cues can help learners – objects such as tokens, cards, Dienes blocks, Cuisinaire rods, tiles, straws, beakers, multi-link cubes, string, Lego men (!) or loads of other props are great for the pupils to play with. That said, you have to show them first …

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Rolling Numbers

At KSA we practise times tables through rolling numbers (call-and-response chanting the times tables while counting off on our fingers as we go). The physical movement combined with the catchy chants help to energise the class, give us the chance to be loud in maths (that’s a good thing) and …

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Using ActivInspire to Make Screencasted Videos

If you have a Promethean interactive whiteboard at your school, the chances are you will have ActivInspire installed on the teacher computers too. It’s the software you use for building and teaching lessons with tools for drawing shapes, handwriting, placing images, writing text, etc. It also comes with a useful …

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Pencil Pledge


The Pencil Pledge is a short chant we do to get fired up before getting on with independent work. These are the words: Teacher: Pencils ready! Class: [Bang table with pencil 2 times and then shoot your arm in the air] Teacher: This is my pencil! Class: This is my …

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