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**Good Practice Conference**

“…collating, disseminating and encouraging the adoption of good practice…”

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**Active learning from effective questions.**

Focus on simple, effective ways to involve learners in their learning, to enable them to contribute at their own level, to provide opportunities for them to learn from each other and to explore common errors and misunderstandings. The questions in this presentation have all been used with classes, some as starter activities and others as the main body of a lesson. This is a very focused snapshot which looks mainly at number work: fractions, decimals and percentages. The things we need to constantly revisit and reinforce with our pupils, the things which doing another worksheet or textbook page never seems to help! There will also be a focus on the role of the teacher in ensuring that everything comes from the learners. Effective questions are only effective if they are used effectively!!! The teacher cannot be in complete control of the direction of lessons all of the time. Where there is an attempt to push learners in a particular direction it is likely that opportunities to promote genuine breadth and depth of understanding will be missed. Sheona Goodall Fife Council

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6.27 Many teachers believe that Active Learning means lots of physical activity. This is obviously true a lot of the time, but need not be the case. This is an example of a lesson which led to a great deal of active engagement from learners. My only preparation was to type the number into a Notebook. I asked learners to write 5 different sums with the answer 6.27 – a condition being that if they had one addition they could not write another one,… Learners worked in pairs using individual dry-wipe boards. Most were working in their jotters as well to check their calculations. After about 5 minutes they all held up the dry-wipe boards and I chose one (or more) calculation from each pair.

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6.27 This led to this screen. Clearly I had control over the calculations I wrote up. The aim here is a good mix of correct answers and common errors. The real activity began at this point. Learners were given about fifteen minutes to look at each calculation and decide whether they ‘Agree’, ‘Disagree’ or are ‘Not sure’ about it. I have used this approach on many, many occasions in a variety of settings. I have always found it to be genuinely engaging. Responses were basically anonymous as I looked at boards and wrote up calculations. I would point out that I have never found this to be an issue. Where the learning environment is supportive and errors are used to further learning learners are usually happy to offer answers.

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6.27 This is the screen after learners were given an opportunity to say which category they thought each calculation belonged in. Most importantly they had to say why. They could also offer advice about how to correct errors. The screenshot does not really do justice to the level of dialogue during this part of the lesson. I believe that Literacy becomes a part of the learning process in Maths when this kind of approach is embedded. ‘Agree’ and ‘Disagree’ are clear cut. The ‘Not Sure’ calculations must be used to inform future lessons. I repeat that the role of the teacher is crucial here. Learners must be leading the direction of the lesson, their explanations must be used, they should clarify anything which is not clear.

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**This shows the ‘workings’ screen**

This shows the ‘workings’ screen. During the dialogue learners were keen to show off the ‘sums’ they had done as they were checking.

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**This was done with an S1 class working at Level E/F!**

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**This was done with an S1 class working at Level B/C**

This was done with an S1 class working at Level B/C. They were genuinely engaged and having fun with the task. From my point of view it was interesting to note that no-one thought to work with anything other than 5 tenths.

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This was done with the same S1 Level B/C class the week after the previous activity. The approach here was slightly different in that we worked together – it was a group of only 11 pupils. Progression can be seen in terms of dealing with tenths. This arose out of the error. I was impressed by the contribution. This was worked out mentally by one of the learners.

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Use these fractions to write two addition, two subtraction and two multiplication sums. Give them to your partner to work out, then check their answers. The following slides give a few examples of some of my personal favourites taken from my questions notebook.

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**Complete this in three different ways.**

50% of =

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**Complete this in three different ways.**

% of = 5.6

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**Complete this in three different ways.**

of =

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**Complete this calculation.**

x =

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**Write down five different addition sums with the answer 1.**

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**Write down an example of a square number which is a factor of 48.**

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**Give an example of a multiple of 9 which is also a triangular number.**

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**Why is 209 not a prime number?**

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**you just get us to write all your questions for you!**

Miss Goodall, you just get us to write all your questions for you! A comment from a very perceptive S1 boy!

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