Can You Teach An Old Dog New Tricks (In Education)?

I just love this video… so had to share. But it’s particularly relevant if we think about education.

Negatively held beliefs about literacy, numeracy, and anything to do with education are very difficult to shift. Much easier if you can get to people before their beliefs become entrenched and fossilised.

Much easier if you can get to people before their beliefs become entrenched and fossilised.

I’m looking forward to hearing what my friend and colleague, Damon Whitten has to say about this. He’s nearing the end of his

He’s nearing the end of his PhD research and I know he’s just itching to tell us the answer.

Make sure you follow him on Google, like his blog, and check out his Youtube channel.


Did School Make You Dumber At Maths…?

What if I told you… that school not only did a rubbish job of teaching you maths… but actually made you dumber.

Here’s another gem from Damon’s Math Blog and Youtube channel. Key take away for me:

  • Numeracy needs to be embedded into tasks.

Not sure what that means? Watch the video and head along to Damon’s blog to find out.



How Do I develop Maths Thinking At Home Or In My Class?

Damon says joy

Recently my friend Damon Whitten has been posting some very cool ideas for encouraging kids to develop mathematical thinking at home. I think the same ideas and processes apply to adults and these can work in classroom situations as well.

I reposted his video here on my blog but you might want to head over to his place to watch in full or check out his Youtube channel.

Here’s the update: There are several whiteboard problems that Damon has posted as a follow up to his video. If you liked the video you might want to check these out:


How Do I Help My Kids Develop Maths Skills At Home

If you have kids and you want to help them with maths you need to watch this short video. Actually, if you know someone who has kids you probably need to watch this.

It’s 11 minutes long. You might have to watch it a couple of times. And you might need to share this with your significant other.

The idea is that family culture matters the most when it comes to encouraging and developing maths skills in your kids. Or any kids. So we all better get started now.

As someone who is really interested in my kids’ education, I think I’ve done a good job of encouraging them to read. We all love reading at my house.

However, I’ve done an average to crap job of this when it comes to maths. Damon has the solution.

Here’s a summary of Damon’s tips from the video:

  1. Get a whiteboard and put it in the kitchen or other family area. If you have to, use your nice white Fisher & Paykel refrigerator (my idea not Damon’s).
  2. Don’t do arithmetic. E.g. don’t put up a bunch of + – / x problems. That stuff is boring.
  3. Make it easy at first.
  4. Get them talking. If they’re not talking then they’re not learning.
  5. Learning happens in the process of solving the problem. Learning ends when the problem is solved. Keep it going.

There are a bunch of ideas for five different kinds of engaging maths and numeracy problems that you can use starting at about 5 minutes in. You need to watch and listen for these.

But check out the whole clip here or here for his blog post.






Sign up to Pathways Awarua now…!

One of the best kept secrets in tertiary training in New Zealand is Pathways Awarua. It’s not really a secret, but up until recently, this has only been available to tutors and trainers.

From now, however, this great suite of teaching and learning tools is available to everyone. Well, to Kiwis anyway.

Check out the cool video above with Ben Mitchell (better known as TK from Shortland Street).

So, if you have older kids who need a hand with maths and reading, or you’re interested yourself, there is a fantastic resource available online here:

The emphasis is on improving literacy and numeracy for adults including young adults. So think 16+ or use your judgement.

Content includes reading comprehension, vocabulary, maths, and most recently The Road Code.

It’s current, free (funded by the TEC) and your tax dollars. And it’s all NZ content and linked to post high school vocational training as well.

10 000 learners around the country already use it and now it’s open to anyone regardless of whether you’re in an official training course or not.

Disclaimer: I’ve written some of the content available on Pathways Awarua including the modules for the online version of the NCALNE (Voc) training and professional development.

More Maths and Numeracy Jigsaw Puzzles – Multiplication and Division

I’ve posted our ALEC subtraction jigsaw puzzles here if you want to download and print, or if you want to tinker with them yourself you can also download the original word doc files as well.

Here’s the rest of them below… they’re all based around the standard 10 x 10 multiplication and division tables. You can get your learners to work them out alone or in pairs or groups.

One great thing about them is that there is only one way to solve them, but what happens is that as your learners get better they will most likely focus more on solving the problems and less on the shapes of what fits. But you’ve got the advantage of working with the shapes if you need the support.

  • Just a note: These work best if you print on thick card A3 size

Green – Easy: 1, 2, 5, 10 x

jigsaw 3

Purple – Squares

jigsaw 4

Red – Harder ones

jigsaw 5

Blue – 9 x

jigsaw 6

If these are useful, or you turn them into something cool for your own training then give us a shout out in the comments.