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  Dec 16th 2009
Merry Xmas Ho Ho Ho

Merry Xmas everyone. Take a long break and make sure you get one! take a kid fishing. Go walking. Relax. At last some warm weather and sunshine. My news will be out in early Term 1 to all schools. 2010 is the BOPMA Conference so plan on that. There will be a Numeracy conference in Waikato in Term 2 as well. NZC year coming up. More NCEA development and the Writing Party in CHCH in Jan. Keep in touch. i monitor emails and phone over the holidays. Ho Ho Ho JIM

November, The End is Nigh! Well,... I mean the end of the year 2009 and "jolly good job". The frost and cold temperatures mean that a grape harvest at my vineyard in Taupo is now a very very unlikely event. The evening of Oct 20th was cold and the morning brought a very chilly dry breeze which caused evaporation and subsequent freezing of the wet vine leaves all nicely protected with water. The result was almost total destruction and something I have never seen before. Keeping the water on for longer would have helped and I put the outcome down to my inexperience. It is a hard lesson to learn! I am going fishing for the summer.

Mathematical News. Congratulations Alan Parris on becoming a Life Member of NZAMT. A worthy recognition for a lot of very insightful work. NZAMT has become a very useful organisation, website and creator of useful assessment tasks. If you are not a member then please consider becoming a member. One becomes an associate rather than a member when you join NZAMT. There are a number of benefits, one of which is getting more than your subscription of $20 back if you go to conference.

National Standards, NCEA Updates, Numeracy Standards, NZ Curriculum and so on and on and on... This saga continues and changes are abundant at the moment. Our new government has taken the helm and is steering the waka. The Secondary Numeracy Project will not exist after 2011 and there will be no new schools engaged after next year. We reached 62% national coverage however and I suspect we have made a significant difference. The learning, research and experience remains and will continue is other forms I am sure.

NZAMT have another WRITING PARTY in week three 2010. It is not really a party but a lot of hard work dreaming up and trying to perfect the assessments mathematics teachers use to assess unit standards. If you want to join this party then email me or It is fun and an excellent PD opportunity. All expenses are paid and you get to wonderful conversations with a whole lot of mathematics teachers, Olympiad students, university professors, moderators and examiners. Excellent networking.

The NCEA Numeracy Standards are now being worked on and the plan is to have some semi compulsory standards worth 10 Level 1 credits. These will eventually replace the unacceptably low level 8489, 5223 and the like. The standards hopefully will make being a multiplicative thinker the main goal and establish credibility with SNP and the Adult Numeracy Progressions. The re-emergence of MAP1 and MAP2 NZAMT courses is a likely outcome for the lowest students.

Which brings me to National Standards Years 1 to 8. If all students meet their expected standard there will be no need for MAP 1. Pigs will fly just after that and fish will walk across the land. The Year 8 standard is set at high CL3, low CL4 level with developing mutiplicative thinking the serious target. SNP measures about 15% (0% to 80% variation) of the new Year 9 intake currently at this level. I will eat my computer if the National Standards actually change learning and raise the achievement of Year 8 students to CL4. I will gladly eat my computer in fact.

Secondary schools should take an active interest in the National Standards however and closely monitor the data the contributing schools are producing. This data has to be "defensible" so it is an excellent opportunity to "sit and talk" at the table. This has become a personal goal of mine and I aim to have primary, intermediate and secondary teachers in WAIBOP talking to each other. I will achieve this goal so I am not making any statements about eating computers here.

NCEA Level 1, 2 and 3 "stuff" is happening all of the time so keep an eye on the NCEA news. One issue I have discovered is our inability to write questions to assess the new standards. The old question style is no longer acceptable. I have made it a personal goal to write suitable questions over the summer and finalise them at the Writing Party. A question must be able to allow the judgement of A, M and E to be made depending upon the answer a student provides. This happens in other subjects and should be able to happen in mathematics. I intend to find out how difficult this task is in reality. Here is simple example;
    - Add 12.5% to $56
    - An item sells for $450. It has GST included in this price. What was the value before12.5% GST was added.
    - GST was once 10% and is now 12.5%. Both percentages allowed an easy way to add and remove the GST part of a selling price. The government has decided to raise the GST rate. What is next rate likely to be chosen? Investigate and qualify your answer.

My answer to the last question is 25%. This allows a 4 and 5 factor to be used to increase and decrease a selling price. Of course there would also be a change of government shortly after this decision so it remains a very unlikely event.

New Zealand Curriculum and Schemes. More to come.

Term 4 and "Thunderbirds are Go!" Well, I have written the
Term 4 newsletter here.
Here is the NZAMT newsletter Sept 2009.

The  powerpoint by the Standards Writing Party Coordinator that was explained at Pi in the Sky NZAMT-11 Conference is right here as well. There is good iinformation in here that you do seriously need to consider. The standards will be out by Christmas. Have I heard that saying b-b-b-before?

And a jolly good conference it was too. Very good keynotes and followup sessions. Well done to the Massey Team for organising the event. NZAMT-10 resources are up there but no NZAMT-11 resources yet.

Here are the files I have used at conference.
Workshop 2, Proof. PROOF, BROWN1, BROWN2, BROWN3, Triangular Journey, Irwin Report 2002.

See NZAMT site for all files used in the conference. Support all sponsors. get as many kids into the AMC competition as you can. Start using Tinkerplots and/or Fathom to develop Statistical learning. Any nominations for Jim Campbell Awards 2011? There are about 400 math teachers here at conference. Next year there is another round of subsidised study awards for math teachers so start thinking and acting about that. Cheers.

I see the PHughes guru was in the news again. Here is the numeracy test he was using. See how you go. Better....get your whole school, staff and groundspeople to do it. How many in your school are numerate, according to PH?

What a busy time the last month has been! Well done WMA and BOPMA on the student competitions. Very important time. Math Week a national success and very appreciated.

It is enrolment time when Y8 students are selecting the secondary school they will attend. It is very very important to ask for math enrolment data at this time so you can know the new intake a little. Ask for Numeracy Multiplicative Stage, Place Value Knowledge, Decimal and Fraction Knowledge, Basic Facts (x) Knowledge and a Reading Age. This is valuable information. I would also ask for a small and student selcted portfolio of problem solving ability. Use this to help know your students. It also sends a message to the contributing schools that you take notice, care and value their input. We do want a seemless transition from primary to intermediate to secondary. The information is available so seek it out.

NZAMT Conference in Palmerston North this coming holidays. See for more details. I am running two workshops. One on "modelling in mathematics" and the other on the use of "proof" in mathematics in the classroom. The later I am about to do some more work on.

Cheers and enjoy everyday teaching mathematics. JIM

Latest Term 3 Newsletter Here! I did omit to state the days of the Math Competitions for BOPMA and WAIMat. These are near Math Week 9th to 16th August. BOPMA MathMind is on Thursday 20th August and the CASIO WaiMat Math Competition is on Thursday 13th August. Here is the WaiMat Booklet. You can visit the BOPMA website for info and a heap of other information at Enjoy the new term!

Thank you Otago Mathematical Association. What wonderful  hosts you all are! I did enjoy gioving the keynote on modelling and was pleasantly surprised by impact it seemed to generate. Thank you . here are all the files I used.
1. Keynote, Models and Mathemamatics, OMA 16/7/09
2. Workshop, Doing Numbers, Doing Mathematics, 16/7/09 and a support .doc
3. Workshop 1 from previous day, Connections. 15/7/09.
4. Workshop 2 on 15/7/09 could have been better! Here are three files that may well help. Counting Problems, Problem Solving Checklist, Problem Solving Powerpoint.
5. Extras...There was talk of Rich Mathematical Tasks, here is a powerpoint.
6. The Tukutuku patterns are definitely worth investigating and used to develop algebra. I would do them differently but here is a start.
7. How the Brain Learns is curious and may be of interest. I picked thsisup somewhere.
8. Our SNP project has this Algebra Powerpoint to use.
9. Lastly the UK Numeracy Project is full of excellent resources and ideas. Here is a .zip of the Year 7 to 10 work. Huge resource. If your local server does not like .zip then just email for a disk to

Just for Wendy. The "secret" NZC Files are here. I have finished NA Level 3. Now doing Level 4.

There is a lot going on at the moment so please make some time and respond to the following.

    1. NCEA Alignment of Standards Consultation, Deadline July 3rd.
You can register here, very simple and an email will be sent to you with a password so you can  have your say.

The level 1, 2 and 3 standards are up for consultation but it is only the Level 1 that will be used in 2011. The level 2 and three follow in 2012 and 2013 resepectively.
Here is a document that may be of use if you want to learn more about the SOLO taxonomy used in the standards. I am refering here to terms "relational thinking" and "extended abstract thinking".
Here is a powerpoint which is useful to unpack SOLO terminology. Good for a department PD workshop.
And, here is my spreadsheet where I played with possible courses to see if there was linkage from level 1 to 3. There is a lot of freedom to choose with the new standards. I think the internals will offer more choice for suitable courses. At risk is workload. Perhaps the pretest is not needed and the one reassessment opportunity will be more valued. [No news of the reassessment poll]

Critical Comments
- HODs do comment to me that they like their students to get a taste of the whole curriculum level 7 and 8, in preparation for tertiary study. I suggest the focus be moved to quality thinking and targetted critical mathematical content. There are aspects of the senior curriculum that I can easily ignore; eg networks.
- Workload and 3 Externals. This is a condition demanded by the Ministry.
- Sample assessments. It is very important that these be created and tested. I would like math associations to develop a team of math teachers to produce these in the same way NZAMT do. There are some available from the KOHIA Centre and well done guys for taking the initiative. Current workloads usually prohibit teachers from seriously writing new material.

2. National Standards Consultation, Deadline again July 3rd.
The proposed national standards are for Years 1 to 8. They cover curriculum levels 1 thru 4. You can consult by going to this website.
The survey is quite straightforward.
Secondary teachers should be keeping a very hawkish eye on these standards. They have the potential be be very useful.

The last question offers a chance to write your own questions and answers so I did. I copied and saved here. I commented on the difficulty of the Year 8 standard which has been set at level 4 in the curriculum. I think this is too high because only 10% the new Year 9 students show evidence of being at this level. Does this make sense? Not to me. How was this level chosen?

The one thing I did not mention was that calling the standards by the Year Level, eg Year 8 Standard, will mean secondary teachers will never look at them. It would be better to call it Mildred or Fred. Perhaps Standard 6 is in order! I am sure a sensible non-threatening, user friendly name, non-judgemental name can be found.

I will write more soon. I need to check out this very busy week. 9pm Sunday night. The French have beaten the ABs soundly! I think the Geogean Rugby team could have beaten the ABs on Saturday night!

I do not want to delete that comment!

Now Tuesday and I have updated the NZC files as well.

3. Schemes and things. The JUMBO days had varying success. Hamilton was useful. It seems a bit curious how we are to change everything when in reality it is not possible or desirable. I am suggesting that we identify how our units of work do in fact match the new curriculum or adjust them to do so. One of my units has been on thsi website now for 5 years. I rewrote the files and updated them. You can download my 3D models activity here.

i am trying to collect my thoughts about a scheme covering Curric Levels 2 to 5 so that any student in this band can be accomodated. This means several things; intermediate and secondary teachers can use the same scheme; data between these schools must be transfered; the same language must be used; and so on. This is possible and is happening between Numeracy Project Schools. long may the focus remain on LEARNING!



Every so often I  have to do some "house keeping" on this web page. Firstly... NOTHING is tossed out. SECONDLY... You can find everything from the previous 6 years somewhere on this page (See old index page links at the foot). I peruse the old pages from time to time and wonder about the changes and work done.

I am trying to keep the most relevant and up todate information on this page for convenience. This will be recent news, resources, views and workshop resources.

Latest newsletter here. Term 2 2009. All other newsletters linked below.

There is a lot going at the moment so please take some time to read the news. I know a teacher is a particularly busy person. Being a teacher for 30 years or so has convinced me that it is an interesting and rewarding career. Anything that can keep me interested for that long must be! The global aspects of being a teacher demand attention at the moment so allocate some time to reading the news. Your students will benefit in the long run.
Main Items demanding attention
    - NCEA LEVEL 1 realignment. Progress continues slowly but urgently, May meeting planned so...JUNE?
    - NZC implentation year 2009. Jumbo or Consultation Days in May and June. This is being organised by PPTA so keep an eye out for information. See the PPTA website for latest information.
     - 2009 Specifications for 2009 Examinations. Big changes. Every question will be able to measure A, M and E. This has implications for you and serious implications for the students. Make sure you read and understand these.
     - Moderation "BEST PRACTICE" Roadshow by NZQA. These are being presented regionally at the moment. The four mathematics moderators will present their interpretations and judgements for all to know and understand. The cost is $95 and you may register for these on the NZQA website.
National Numeracy Standards. This is the promise of the new government and updates are here. Latest news and hopefully soon the standards for consultation. This is numeracy standards for Year 1 thru 8 so you may think you are exempt...VERY WRONG DEDUCTION. Monitor this consultation and see if it will make students numerate; which is the aim...I suspect.
This is the year of NZAMT NATIONAL CONFERENCE as well. We need a range of workshops and your attendance in September. There are excellent keynote speakers planned.
  NZAMT Flyer for September Conference in Palmerston North ...1.8mb!
This power point explores some aspects of elementary algebra understandings. Michael has put a lot of thought into this powerpoint and it is worth perusing. How do we use letters in algebra.
Michael Drakes Powerpoint from the BOPMA Conference

I think good mental models of mathematical concepts are essential for developing thinking in mathematics. What does addition look like? What does a square number look like? If 12 x 12 = 144, what doe sthat tell you about 13x13?. This of course links to the generalisation (x+1)2.
We are in Year 6 of the Secondary part of the Numeracy Project and much has been learned. I try to summarize this here and present an open view. I now know it is working. I know know that we must emphasize being multiplicative. I now know we must measure the students at entry to the school and teach accordingly. I may present this again at conference.
MAV, The .ppt session on Modelling in Mathematics is here. I removed the pictures that made it look pretty and also 5.6mb in size. It is only 1.6mb now.

MAV Power point, SNP, What have we learned. 1.4mb! Look below for other things like Farmer Bown. Remember to Google "math in movies" for the video. Thanks for the feedback and interest.



Numeracy Project
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