Maths Without Tears – the transition to high school maths

Why do so many kids find the jump from maths in primary school to maths high school so challenging?
Throughout our many years of teaching we often share a very common experience and that is the confusion and frustration felt by families when their child suddenly begins to struggle with maths upon entering high school. Only too often we hear parents who are angry and confused because their child was in an extension class in primary school, or never ever had a problem with maths and now they are struggling to pass their assessments. Now, all over Australia, high school […]

Maths 101 For Parents

Sometimes parents who were not terribly good at maths when they were at school, feel overwhelmed by the thought of helping their children with their maths. So we thought that we would provide you with what we feel are some of the basics for you to brush up on. You’ll be surprised at how much easier things may seem when you look at them with your older, wiser eyes.

Having good number skills is one of the most important foundation blocks that children need to build and a lot of this stems from being confident and accurate when calculating numbers. […]

3 Do’s and Don’ts For Exam Study

With Year 12s in Western Australian about to embark on their final exams as they complete their final stage to achieve university entrance, we thought it would be a good time to share our advice on just how students should and shouldn’t study for maths.
These upcoming exams are worth 50% of their overall ATAR score, and so it’s not too late to tweak a few techniques and emphasise more efficient and worthwhile study habits.
Please pass this article on to anyone you know with kids about to embark on these examinations.


Rewrite Your Notes

Perhaps this is a good strategy for English […]

How to choose a school for your child – Part 1

My husband and I, both teachers, often get asked for advice about which school people should send their kids to. One of our closest couple friends are expecting their first child in 2 months and the father wanted to know whether they really needed to get their son’s name down at a school as soon as he’s born. We then started discussing the types of schools available in Perth and what their options were.
What I always assume is common knowledge is really not known or understood by most parents. Since we get asked this sort of thing so often […]

Either you’re good at maths or you’re not

Yesterday I went to the dentist and met my new dental hygienist. With my mouth open for nearly 40 minutes, you wouldn’t think we got much of a conversation in. After asking how my day had been and me explaining it had been great since I’m a teacher on school holidays, we got down to talking about which school and what I teach. And then the conversation went something like this:

Hygienist: “Wow! I always think maths teachers must be super smart. I’m terrible at maths and not very smart.”
Me: Using facial expression as best I can to indicate that […]

The Art of Counting Backwards

In my younger, student years I remember excitedly landing a great casual job for new years day. For those youngsters who are happy not to have a big night on New Year’s Eve and happy to work on New Year’s Day, a job at the Perth Cup behind the bar is an awesome way to make some good money. The catch was, I arrived, had a quick orientation, no training and was then thrown behind the bar and the crowd of people screaming to be served was about four rows deep. Then the real clincher was that the tills […]

Great Expectations

The one thing that works really well for me in the classroom is that I hold high expectations of my students each and every lesson.
My Year 7 and 8 students come to class each day knowing what the general tone of the lesson will be and they come prepared and willing to apply their best effort. They know that I’m not interested in telling stories, gossiping, playing games, watching videos or just generally wasting time. They know that I always have a lesson I want them to engage in and something I want them to learn.
Along with this I […]

Why Mastering Maths at a Young Age is Important

It’s subject selection time in most schools and students in Year 10 are making decisions about what subjects they want to study in their senior and final years of school.
It’s a much more involved process than it was when you and I were at school. Students attend numerous information sessions and there are the usual information sessions for parents. Universities host Open Days at around this time so that students can find a possible future pathway and learn what they might like to study and the prerequisites to get there. They undergo counselling sessions with course and career advisors […]

An Irish Maths Joke

This is an oldie but a goodie! And it will make young and old chuckle!
An Irishman applied for a job on a construction site, but the foreman wouldn’t hire him until he passed a simple maths test.

Here is your first question, the foreman said.  “Without using numbers, represent the number 9.”

“Without numbers?”  The Irishman says, “Dat is easy,” and proceeded to draw three trees.

“What’s this?” the boss asked.

“Ave you got no brain? Tree and tree and tree make nine,” said the Irishman.

“Fair enough,” said the boss.  “Here’s your second question.  Use the same rules, but this time the number […]

Maths Anxiety – Even Celebrities Suffer From It

Maths anxiety comes to all of us at one time, but imagine being frozen by the anxiety live on TV for a charity event!

Well that’s the situation Patricia Heaton faced and it is wonderful to see how with the support of those around her she overcame her anxiety and gained her confidence.