Thursday, 31 May 2012

Stock Market Maths

We've found what we think is a good way of covering work with the four operations in a real life situation.

We have used the real life situation of buying and selling shares in order to try to make a profit.

We use three days to cover all of what is listed below:

Firstly, on day one the children need to be introduced to the stock market, to shares, how people make or loose money and why people might invest in shares. Look at the stock market online to see some current prices or recent changes. There's often a recent news story that can be used.
Next, the children have £1000 to invest. They are given a set of companies and their share prices. The children try to invest as much of their £1000 as possible. With Year Five we have used decimal share prices in p (eg 114.6p), but this can be differentiated to 115p or £1.15 as required. We encourage the children to buy in multiples of 10 to aid their calculations and reinforce what happens when multiplying by 10s. By the end of day one the children should have £1000 invested in companies of their choice.
On day two, the children are shown the overnight share changes (both up and down). This is usually where then frenzy of interest builds as the children see their gains or losses. The next step is for the children to sell back all their shares at their new prices. Then, calculate how much money they now have and reinvesting their money at the new prices, thinking carefully about which shares gained and lost money the previous day.
This then happens again on the third day, but by this time an assessment can be made of how children's development of their four written methods has progressed across the three days.

Finally, the children can compare how they have made use of their £1000.

We have always used pre-written share prices (taken from the actual prices a few weeks prior), but we also have an ambition to work out a way of doing this with live share prices using a website or app.

Incidentally, when we taught this with our classes this year, we had OfSted inspecting our school and they quite liked the lessons they saw: "...pupils put together a share portfolio based on live Stock Exchange prices, and then measure how much they had gained or lost as the prices changed over time. Pupils were very excited to find out what had happened to their shares, and the impact of their choices on their overall investments" (OfSted 2012).

Sunday, 27 May 2012

Underlining Self Assessment

I've been doing this for about a year now and it's been working quite well.

When the children put their date and title on their work they underline the title with either green, orange or red pencil. This is to show how confident they are feeling at the start of the lesson:
- Green, I'm confident and could help others,
- Orange, I'm not quite sure, but I think I understand some of this,
- Red, Stop, I need help.
The children then underline in a colour at the end of the lesson so that there is a record of their feeling from the start and then end. Sometimes children go from red or orange to green, sometimes the other way around and then there are the times when both underlines are in the same colour...

The idea came from @rm8236.

Sunday, 20 May 2012

Who Dares Wins

On Thursday, I was thinking of something new to do with my literacy class. Then, all those hours of watching Saturday night television came in useful!

I decided I'd add a game of 'Who Dares Wins' into my lesson.

We had been studying dramatic conventions. So, I based my game of Who Dares Wins on 'How many features of a playscript can you name?'

It could be done with prime numbers, factors of XX, European countries, verbs, parts of a plant, Kings & Queens and so on...

Oh, now if you don't sit in on a Saturday evening watching The National Lottery, here's how it works:

You introduce a topic, in the case of my idea it was 'How many features of a playscript can you name?' Then the children work in pairs or two teams to decided how many they can name. One person or team would say how many they can name. Then, the other person or team will say how many they can name. This carries on backwards and forwards (A: 'We can name 2', B: 'We can name 4', A: 'We can name 7') until one person or team can not beat the amount the other say they can name. They then ask the other person or team to name the amount they said they could name. If they name the amount they said they could then they win. If they can't then the others win.

It worked really well in my literacy class and I'm now looking forward to using it in other curriculum areas. It showed easily who had a better grasp of the features and who required some more support.

Wednesday, 16 May 2012

School Twitter Account (Part 2)

For this second post we want to look at the 'how to do it' part of tweeting from your school.

Did you ready Part 1?
Image credit:

Once you've got your school Twitter account set up you'll be ready to start.

You may like to start with some Tweets about every day goings on in your school. Maybe something a child has said, or an award that's been given out, comment on some good learning that's taken place and send out reminders about letters, upcoming trips and events. The main thing initially is to show your parents and local community that the feed is going to be useful and informative for them to follow.

These Tweets can be sent from the web, or you may like to set certain teacher or the school office up with an application like TweetDeck for them to send Tweets from. 

Next, you may like to go on to tweeting while on school visits or residential visits. This is something we've recently started and something that parents have really enjoyed following. While 'out and about' we've found it useful to send tweets by text messgae. We picked up an old phone easily and got a free SIM card to use from o2. So, this was free to initially set up and will just require the phone being topped up in the future. The advantage of tweeting by text messgae is that the phone can be passed from adult to adult, it does not require logging into apps, no one is having to use their personal phone or mobile device and the cost is being covered by the school. [UPDATE MARCH 2015 - This is unfortunately no longer an option.]

Finally for this post, start developing your own hasgtags. For example #STMWales, #CJSQuestions or #SWCCFayre. Our idea is school initials and then event name. This will allow your followers to follow and even respond to a certain event. You could also use hashtags for your local town or county to advertise your school or event.

So, there's two posts and we'll add more shortly...

Part three now available.

Sunday, 13 May 2012

School Twitter Account (Part 1)

Does your school have its own Twitter account? If yes this series of coming blog posts may give you some extra ideas for making use of it. If no we hope these posts will convince you of how you could make use of one.

Image credit:

This is part one and there will be more to come...

Firstly, as you're reading this I guess you have your own personal Twitter account. Have you suggested to your school that you could make use of one? Here are some reasons for getting one:

- Giving your school an official voice on the social network.

- Sending news about the school straight into parents, grandparents, local companies and the local communities Twitter streams. If they're using Twitter they will find it hard to avoid your information!

- Using hashtags (city or town, county etc.) to advertise summer fayers, charity events and other goings on.

- Update families about school trips.

- Receive feedback from followers.

- Sharing children's quotes.

- Asking question that arise during lessons.

- Share children's successes, blog posts, photos etc.

- Create a timeline of the school's ongoing activities.

So, there's part one. More to come shortly on how the above can be achieved easily...

Part 2 now available.