Kindness and grace in our classrooms

It is the start of another academic year in Australian universities, and colleagues around the country are caught up in a flurry of organising unit outlines, wrangling webpages, writing lecture notes, setting tutorial activities, untangling enrolment issues, resolving timetable clashes, recruiting tutors, submitting staff contracts, ... GASP! I implore you to find a quiet moment... Continue Reading →

#read2017: My year in books

I love to read but don't always make enough time. In 2016, I redressed this by planning to read 50 books. I blogged about the books (Part 1, Part 2, Part 3). I took on the same challenge in 2017 buoyed on by my 2016 success (53 books), and managed to read 62 books. This year, blogging about the books... Continue Reading →

A serendipitous Pythagorean #LessonStarter

#LessonStarter is a Twitter hashtag, used particularly by Matt Skoss, to collect together ideas that might start (or take over!) a lesson. A #LessonStarter is usually a provocative image, but could also be an intriguing mathematical prompt. For me, lesson starters are often spontaneous. Today, a few serendipitous moments meant that I had a lesson... Continue Reading →


This is a quick post mainly for the benefit of my 'Developing Mathematical Thinking' (#math1070) students. Introducing the puzzle Skyscrapers are one of my favourite logic puzzles. They are a Japanese creation, introduced at the first World Puzzle Championship1 in 1992. Skyscrapers are a type of Latin Square puzzle. A Latin Square in an n × n... Continue Reading →

Redux: #NoticeWonder and #PrimeClimb

Last year I wrote a post about using the two simple questions 'What do you notice?' and 'What do you wonder?' with my maths pre-service teachers to dig into the mathematically-rich image that accompanies Dan Finkel's game, Prime Climb. This year, I wanted to turn this into a student-driven rather than teacher-led activity. I also... Continue Reading →

My maths autobiography

School maths I have always loved maths, but the reasons why have changed dramatically over time. This is my Year 1 work. It reminds me about what I thought it meant to be good at maths: lots of ticks on neat work, especially if it was done quickly. This attitude was reinforced by my report... Continue Reading →

#NoticeWonder with everyday concepts

I often joke that my blog should be called 'Notice and Wonder in Mathematics' because I blog about the 'Notice and Wonder' prompt often enough! In case you are not familiar with it, the ‘Notice and Wonder’ prompt involves asking two questions: ‘What do you notice?’ and ‘What do you wonder?’. These are powerful questions to engage students. ‘Notice and... Continue Reading →

#NoticeWonder and Rational Tangles

Yesterday we held the first of this year's Maths Experience days. We invite students in Years 10 and 11 from different schools onto campus for an intensive one-day program. Students find out about mathematical research, talk to professionals who use mathematics in their careers in some way, and participate in hands-on mathematics workshops. Importantly, they also meet and connect with other students... Continue Reading →

Thank you for the #lessonfail

This blog has been accumulating a layer of dust. I could name a lot of reasons (I only teach four hours a week, I'm busy with other projects, and so on) but the truth of it is that I usually blog when I feel motivated by my teaching. And lately, well, it's felt a bit 'meh', and who wants to read... Continue Reading →

#read2016: Part 3

As I've mentioned, I love books. Real books, with paper and ink. None of those fancy ebooks. I spend enough time each day staring into screens. Plus, I like to read in the bath and the idea of accidentally dropping a $1000 device doesn't appeal. (I've only ever once dropped a book in the bath. It... Continue Reading →

Tracy Zager’s new book

Tracy Zager's new book 'Becoming the Math Teacher You Wish You'd Had' is out, and it's a treat. The central tenet of this important book is to 'close the gap' by making maths class more like mathematics, orienting our students towards the habits of mind of professional mathematicians. 'Good teaching starts with us' and Tracy companionably... Continue Reading →

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