Friday, 14 August 2015

Venturing into the Office/Corridor

Having completed setting up my new classroom I decided to then venture into the office attached to my room and then the corridors where our department resides. First, a few final touches to my room were made...

I saw a tweet from @missbsresources about her brilliant Maths bunting and so I had to put this up in my room. I then asked Danielle for the template she used so I could make another set to go across the back of the room - meaning I had two strings of formulae/rules/key facts going across my room.
Danielle has all of these resources available on her blog here, check out her other displays too!

Above is the view from the back of my room looking toward the front - you can make out my prime number posters that some of my previous students made - these go with the other square and cube number displays I have so hopefully (hopefully) my students remember these basic (key) facts!

This is my typical view from the front of the room where I would stand to address my class(es). You can see the two sets of bunting up and the rest of my displays all complete. I also have positioned a grouped table at the back of the room...

I'm aiming to use these tables as a 'Help Desk' station as well as allowing students who have finished to use it to complete the problem solving questions when finished their set work.

I need to add some sort of sign on the table saying  'help desk', but it's all ready to go. I will try and use this as much as possible for students to come over to for help after my initial instruction at the front of the class; if they still don't understand they can come here for help. I will, of course, circulate my room as I usually do, but I know with certain topics some students struggle and need a different approach shown to them before they get started.
I'm also planning on using the space to call students over to look over their work, when I call other students in from other classes to do 'book trawls', to move students to if needed to work quietly...alone, etc, etc. I'm allowed the space as I only have 1 class where I have over 28 students and so these two desks will be vacant for the majority of my teaching time.

To the office...

In and around sorting out my new room I was also delving into the department office to sort it out and start putting up timetables and class lists for the new academic year. The office hadn't really been used recently and so I properly went through every folder/file/book shelf/resource as much as I could possibly stand. There were resources in there that were older than me and I was ruthless. Well, ruthless to the point of roughly knowing what I could throw out and what needed to stay/was still useful. In all the filing cabinets you can see we have hard copies of all past papers and resources for each topic that a previous Head of Department organised - I had no idea all of this existed as the majority of my personal teaching resources are on my computer/USB stick. So, needless to say, I found some great resources we can use next year and will be encouraging my department to look through the cabinets as if I wasn't aware as to what was in them there's a good chance others have no idea too! On the walls, I have put the departmental timetable and individual teacher's timetables so we can quickly see where someone is/what we have at a certain time/day when having our meetings. I plan on holding all of our departmental meetings in the office as, after all, that's what it's there for!
I also have each of our classes' lists on the wall so we can highlight those students that are receiving support from our departmental HLTAs.

 This is the view from the back of the office, back towards my room. The book case currently has class sets of text books that are up for grabs to our teachers. Those that aren't taken up will be put in a separate cupboard where we have all manner of old text books, which we need to do something with. I would love to be able to send them somewhere where they can be made good use of, but don't have any contacts myself to any charities or organisations that send text books abroad to other countries where resources are limited - if anyone reading this knows of anyone then please give them my details to get in touch - @mrprcollins
The whiteboard will be used to put up reminders, etc and for when we share ideas/problems in departmental meetings - I'm going to try my best to ensure at least some part of our meetings are set aside for sharing good practice and ideas - 'teachmeet style' where possible so things are kept brief - following up with that member of staff for more details if interested, etc.
Over on the side by the door are all the revision guides I found whilst clearing out the office - these will be offered up to students who haven't got their own or can't afford to get one themselves...on a first come first served basis.
There's also an individual desk in the office for a student who may be 'on tag' with me for behavioural reasons - if this is the way our school's behaviour policy goes...we shall see, but it's best to be prepared for all eventualities!

At the back of the office we have a new computer going in by the departmental phone that we use to make calls home and then subsequently log on SIMs. The computer that's been in the office hasn't worked for a while so this will be a welcome addition as it will save staff having to go to and from their rooms to make/log calls.
On the display boards I intend on putting up our Schemes of Work in their current state (as they are a working document of course) so that we can discuss where we are with each year group, what's coming up and then what resources we each have for teaching these topics so that we can share the really good stuff and, especially with the new GCSE, discuss how to teach new topics/content.
All our new exercise books are on the left ready to be dished out in our first meeting back. We also have class sets of the Magic Whiteboard's new reusable notebooks that I will shortly be writing a separate post about.

Apologies if all of the above is a bit of me waffling my thoughts, in a way, I am. It's my way of getting things organised in my head as to what I've done, what I've still to do and what I plan to do this year with it! I often re-read my posts (someone's got to) and so this, if nothing else, will serve as a useful reminder.

Into the corridor...

Our 'Welcome to Mathematics' sign just as you come up, out of the staircase into our department. I made the 'Mathematics' using Each letter has all of our teaching names in it. You may be able to see one of the new door signs I have made for each member/room in the department. These are simply laminated A4 sheets that I've attached to the doors - they're all in the same format with the teacher's name/room number on them.
<-- One of the corridor displays outside our departmental computer room. We are very lucky this year, in that the room is being completely refurbished. I have already assigned the room to each of our classes so that each class has one lesson per fortnight in here (if their teacher wishes to use it). This means the room is, pretty much, completely used by us. Therefore, having spoken to the ICT department, we will be taking responsibility for the room, whereas before it has been used a 'freeforall' where any teacher can book the room. This year, it should just be used by us and maintained by us. The other computer room in our department can then be offered up to others and used by us if we need the extra computer room lessons.
Oh yes...the display...this is one of the displays I had up in my classroom last year - advertising and the brilliant 5-a-day resources. I used these with my Y11 class last year every lesson in the run-in to their exams and they, once in the routine, worked brilliantly on them and it was a great way to start our lessons. I thought it would be good to have this in the corridor rather than in my new room as more students would see it and therefore ask about/use the resources. Plus, it is directly outside the computer room and will serve as a reminder to our department to, perhaps, get students to do the 5-a-day for that day as their starter tasks whilst we're taking the register and setting the lesson up. I have QR Codes on the display so students can scan to go straight to the site/my YouTube Channel playlist where I have gone through a week's worth of questions (I set this as a holiday homework for my previous Y11s and so did the same as I asked them to do).

WOW! @solvemymaths' Mathematical Mr Men (see here).
These are fantastic. All 49 fit (almost) perfectly on this display board. I originally thought there were 50 and so in the gap that emerged I duplicated one of the Mr Men in the hope noone will notice - can you see which one I duplicated?!
In the top corners we have our school's 'cultural' SMSC logo as the personnel in the Mr Men tick this box! I do plan on 'protecting' this board by getting our wonderful faculty assistant to back it with that horrendous sticky-back plastic stuff that is a nightmare to use/apply!

 Next to the door to the computer room, and adjacent to the '5-a-day' and 'Mr Men' displays I have backed this display board with some magicwhiteboards. The idea with this board is that I will get a 'problem of the week' put on the board for students to look at and attempt (not necessarily on the board itself as I can already imagine it being abused). I will source these problems from Twitter mainly and most probably @mathsjem & @solvemymaths' tweets!
On the other side of the computer room door I have put up 2 more displays.
The first is my 'the language of the Mathematics GCSE exams' that I had in my previous classroom - again thinking that it would be better served in the corridor. I took the key words/descriptions (in the kids terms) from my TES resource and then printed a few other key words students misspell and don't understand.
I love this display - another 'Wall of Fame'.
If you've read my previous post on my new classroom you'll know that the whole of the back wall display is devoted to my students' work. I believe I mentioned in that post that I had too much work to put on that display and wasn't sure what to do with it - I certainly didn't just want to get rid of it all or for it all to sit in a drawer. Additionally, I found a box file of 'display work' when I was clearing out the office. Now, knowing the students' names on the boxed and filed work, I am aware some of it is a couple of years old, but nonetheless it still looks fantastic and is worthy of being on display.
As you can see, there is still some space to be filled here and so we will use work created in the first half term of the new academic year to fill this void. Possibly from our Y7 'average student' project that we will use for our PPE (more to come on this soon).

So there you have it, all the work I completed a week or so back when I was at school...yes, I have had a bit of a break from it all - in fact, I've not been in school for at least 9 days now! The next time I'll be in is for GCSE results day as the school is closed due to water works being done. Fingers crossed to all our students...!

As per usual, if you want more details about any of the above just comment below or tweet me @mrprcollins. Additionally, if you're already a Head of Maths or are going to be for the first time this year, like me, it'd be great to hear from you! Thanks, Paul.


  1. Such energy Mr Collins! Your school are very fortunate to have you. I wish you a very successful year.

  2. That's very kind of you, thank you Colleen. I wish you a very successful year too :)