Defining Do’s & Dont’s in your classroom



At the beginning of this year I tried out a new way of discussing and defining my classroom Rules with my learners. It was by no means perfect, but it felt like a breath of fresh air compared to the top down heavy authoritative processes I had used before. The purpose of this post is just to define the basics of what I did and to open the concept up to other teachers so it can be further refined through collaborative discussion. Below is a brief description of how the process works. Continue Reading

Resources for Teaching Functions – Introduction



With the amount of Mathematics content online now a days,  I often find the biggest challenge is sorting through what to share with my students in class. Often resources appear usable at first, but then as you dig down deeper there are issues with alignment to the curriculum, notational differences or just confusing accents. However every now and again, you find a stand alone unit of work that has been handled particularly well and is ideally suited to being used in your class. In this case I try to do a blog post about it, so I don’t forget to use it in Future!  The content below is taken from the Khan Academy program on Algebra 1 and is a fantastic introduction to the concept of a Function in Mathematics. This is a foundational concept but can be tricky to explain. This unit allows students to proceed at their own pace and build up a solid understanding of the concept.

Link to the Unit on Functions from Khan Academy

Using this unit in your class

I also added some additional resources at the end that I sourced from the Web to test my students understanding, since I largely run this unit as a self study module


Concept of a Function – History



Social Media Maths Questions & Comments

Every now and again I come across Fun Social Media Posts about Mathematics, normally in the context of solving some sort of interesting problem. I thought it would be cool to capture them for use in class and so I started this gallery.



Brain Breaks


I always find that keeping prolonged attention in the classroom is a difficult task. One of the best tools I have found for keeping classes engaged over extended periods of time is the concept of a break break. Brain Breaks are simple 1-2 minute mind and body challenges that release focus for a short period time to allow for longer more productive periods of learning.

Credit to the Website as a lot of the material below is just reinterpreted for my context.

Pen Flipping Brain Break:


Use the following steps:

1. Stand Up.
2. Take a pen and flip it ONE REVOLUTION. (Imagine a piece of tape on one end of the pen, then throw the pen from the tape side. Have the pen go one full turn around to get to the tape side again)
3. Now do the same thing with your other hand.
4. Now get a pen for both hands and try to do both pens at the same time.
5. If you really are good at that, then try to throw the pens up into the air and catch them in opposite hands. This is tough.


Thumb War or Peace:


Thumb War or Peace is a brain break done with a partner.

1. Thumb War is easy: Simply lock fingers together and then tap alternately with your thumbs to the chant: “One, two, three, four, I declare a thumb war”. Then you can get started with the war. The first person to pin the others thumb down for three seconds so they can’t move it is declared the winner.

2. Thumb Peace: Lock your fingers together. You will try to work together to outline the numbers 0-9 with your thumbs one at a time. Your thumbs will need to work together while making each number. So You will have to decide who will be writing the number forwards and who will write it backwards.


Ear and Nose Switch:


Do as follows:

1. Stand up.
2. Take your right hand and grab your left ear. Keep your right arm close to your body.
3. Now take your left hand and touch your nose.
4. Uncross your arms and move your left hand to your right ear and your right hand to your nose. Your left arm should now be closest to your body.
5. Switch back and forth as fast as you can.

Google Certified Trainer Curriculum

My Take:

I recently complete the Google Certified Trainer course and thought the material was so good I wanted to make sure I had easy access to it in future. So I decided to create this mind map. There is an enormous amount in information in here, so I would suggest just concentrating on one piece at a time.



MindMapping Basics


Image Credit: Capterra

Learning how to Mindmap is a Fantastic way to reflect on and remember things you have learned about. This post is going to be all about getting better at doing just that.

Task : 

  • Find a Ted Talk  that you find useful and inspiring and make a Mindmap of that talk to retain the knowledge it contains.
  • Use the app Mindmup, which you can add to your Chrome Browser by clicking here and following the instructions that follow.


My Simple MindMap of the above Ted Talk


Attending & Presenting – My 1st GAFE Conf. (2013)


After working with Staff at WGHS for 18 Months introducing ICT into the classroom, an opportunity arose for me to attend a Google Apps for Education Conference (ZAGAFE2013). About 6 weeks before the conference they put out a call for local presenters and feeling brave I decided to volunteer. I was really into Google Forms at the time and wanted to show other teachers how easy it was to make a formative assessment tool at no cost,  that greatly resembled the clicker systems being sold at the time. I enjoyed the process of presenting, but a far bigger highlight was being able to meet fellow presenters especially those  on the EdTechTeam. The depth of conversation and pedagogical rigour was something I had not experienced before, but i really liked!! It felt like this was a group worth staying connected to. It also felt like the journey they were on in terms of reforming Education was something I wanted to be a part of. Two presenters who I was fortunate enough to spend time chatting to at the presenters dinner were Rushton Hurley and Chris Betcher. I was struck by how open they were about sharing their knowledge. It was a real breath of fresh air in terms of the openness of conversation. I definitely walked away from those conversations with a sense of possibility for my career as an Educator.


My original Presentation – which hasn’t aged well (:

My original planning folder

Organising my 1st Training Event – TechTeach


Recently I have set about documenting my learning over the last couple of years with the purpose of trying  to preserve a record of how my learning occurred, together with learning artifacts from the process. The event I describe in this post was the first training event I organized for other teachers and was inspired by my experience at  EdTechConf  2011. Below is the original email invite together with the original logo above.


Original Invite – March 2012

Intro: WGHS has decided to have a monthly optional meeting for those who would like to hear more about and discuss exciting developments in the field of educational technology.
Purpose: Develop Technology based skills to make learning easier & less admin work for the teacher

Where: Room 10/11

Focus S1: Using a safe social network to create a virtual classroom environment

Tools: Edmodo

Why: Free coffee and biscuits , good conversation and the chance to see something that could make your life as a teacher a lot easier

Format : 2 -2 15 Coffee & Chat
2 15 – 2 20 Welcome and Introduction
2 20 – 2 35 Introduction of Edmodo and Overview
2 35 – 3 00 Carrying out basic tasks in Edmodo

“Emphasis on Fun, Fun, Fun & Experimentation” otherwise why would we be here on a Fri aftn!


2 March 2012 – training