Blogging as a learning tool.

Last year I started this blog to raise issues in Mathematics Education, and to help students and parents in their understanding of Mathematics, pointing them in the right direction to improve.

This year I want to develop it into a useful resource that is being used by teachers, students and parents. While it is meant to be for the Clancy Catholic College community, I hope that anyone visiting the site will find it useful.

I just wanted to point out some of the main features.

  1. The posts themselves. Hopefully you will find the information in them useful or find they raise some interesting ideas to consider.
  2. Twitter feed. For students who are away, this will allow you to see what was done in any lesson. It will also let you know of future events or practical ideas to improve.
  3. Links. These will link you to important sites to learn and develop your Mathematics. Please note: Bullying reporting, test and assessment evaluations and the ability to comment on issues in Mathematics at Clancy are included as well as a link to the College Wiki.
  4. Delicious link. Access to bookmarks dealing with Mathematics and a variety of other topics.

Let me know what features on this site are useful and what additions you may find useful.

Keep smiling …..

Posted in Clancy, Education, Mathematics, Year 10, Year 11, Year 12, Year 7, Year 8, Year 9 | Leave a comment


May not Music be described as the Mathematics of sense, and Mathematics as the Music of reason?

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Good at Maths – Talented or hardwork?

I was listening to the radio during the week and Adam Spencer ( 702 Local ABC Sydney) mentioned a book called “Bounce” written by Matthew Syed. Syed raises the idea that it is not natural talent that leads to success in a chosen field but practice and hardwork.

Syed was a Olympian who grew up near great Table Tennis facilities and coaches. He found that many of his fellow Olympians grew up near him and had access to the same support. He started to consider, was it the hours of hardwork and opportunity that led to his success and not some special Table Tennis gene?

He cites a study on violin players and how some become soloist, some play in the orchestra and other teach. They had access to the same quality of coaching and started playing around the same age. The difference? The soloist had practised over 10 000 hours, the orchestra players practised for over 6 000 hours and the teachers for over 4 000 hours. The more they practised the better they played. He then found that this seemed to relate to most endeavours, including Mathematics. Although he notes for this to be true, it is important that the practice focuses on improving skill and pushes the individual to improve and develop.

This leads me to think. What does this mean for me in the classroom? Can every student be exceptional if they just work harder? How should this information affect my teaching? Is it true?

My old College motto was “Quae Seminaveris Metes” or “As you sow, so shall you reap.” It is something that has alway been at the foundation of everything I do. Basically, you only get out of life what you put in. Maybe hardwork over talent is something I have always known.

I’m going to spend some time  considering this and I am sure it will have an impact on my teaching. I’ll let you know where I end up sitting with it, but in the meantime please comment and let me know what you think, talent, hardwork or a combination of the two?

Keep smiling …..

Posted in Clancy, Education, Mathematics | Tagged , , , | 4 Comments

Leonardo da Vinci

Mechanics is the paradise of mathematical science because here we come to the fruits of mathematics.

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Geometer Sketchpad – I’m a fan!

Sketchpad Screenshot

Sketchpad in action.

Last year the Clancy Mathematics team purchased a site licence for Geometer Sketchpad and while it is early days I have to say I’m a fan.

The ability for students to play, investigate, experiment and deepen their understanding is the reason I think this will be a powerful tool for our classrooms. I’ve lost count of the number of times I have explained the difference between an interval, ray and line and seen the glazed look of students thinking huh? Within a few short sessions of using sketchpad students start to develop an understanding of not only these terms but of angles, polygons and circles.  Without developing this understanding they can’t use the program. They do, they learn! The best thing is this is only the start of what they can learn using this piece of software.

There are many applications for sketchpad and as a team we are only beginning to scratch the surface but I look forward to seeing where it will take the learning of both our students and ourselves.

So I encourage you to take the time and have a play, you should find it a worthwhile experience. (Note: GeoGebra is a similar program and is free. It does much of the basic stuff sketchpad does.)

Schools really are places of learning and after 37 years in schools or University I’m still learning. No wonder I love to teach!

Keep smiling …..

Posted in Clancy, Education, Mathematics, Year 10, Year 9 | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment