Monthly Archives: March 2015

PRT workshop

It was a lot of fun getting together with the rural PRTs in Waiouru on Thursday evening.  The format was a bit different from usual, as they wanted to hear about Maths Cafe so it was a lot more talking from me than I would normally put into a presentation.  However, they seemed to enjoy it and asked lots of questions about how it works.

One thing I stressed to them was that the self-directed learning can only be meaningful when it is based on solid assessment data.  I use the Numeracy Project student profiles for my students, and they have become adept at interpreting what they know and what they are working on (a simple colour coding helps – green highlighter means you’ve got it, yellow means it’s something to work on.)   This understanding helps them to know which lessons they would benefit from attending, and which are unnecessary for them.

These student profiles only cover the numeracy aspect of maths, and can be found on the NZ maths website:

There are some others that have been developed to cover the different strands of maths, and I’ll post those in a later post.

Meanwhile, anybody who is interested in seeing Maths Cafe in action is more than welcome to visit my classroom – or I can come along to your school and talk to the staff as a whole.

And I can’t wait for the next rural PRTs session to see how they’ve been implementing the things they’ve learned with us!

More fun for us!

We’ve got an early start tomorrow morning, as we’re off to Waiouru School to host 3 workshops for the NZEI Taihape Support Staff.  They’ll be treated to a day of professional development as a way of expressing our appreciation for the job they do.  We’re starting with a session on Supporting Numeracy Skills, which includes the opportunity to make a game to use in teaching basic facts.  This is followed up with 90 minutes of Supporting Literacy Skills,  and their day will be rounded off with a workshop on Positive Behaviour Management.

We’ll have a bit of a break, and then we’ll host PRTs from the rural Ruapehu network for an introduction to Maths Cafe.

So by the time we get back to Wanganui we’ll have been on the go for about 14 hours – a long day, but well worth it to work alongside the people who help students succeed, and people who are the future of our profession.

Watch this space for some photos of the action!

Fun, fun, fun!

We had a great session yesterday afternoon with the APs and DPs from the Whanganui branch of NZEI.  They came to hear about Maths cafe and how Jo has developed it over the past 2 years. There was some interest in the ideas of the Daily 5 and literacy CAFE that underpinned Jo’s thinking in the early days of Maths Cafe.

One of the articles that Jo found particularly helpful was “Big Ideas behind Daily 5 and Cafe” by Gail Boushey and Joan Moser. It was published in The Reading Teacher Vol. 66 Issue 3 (2012), and can be found at if you are interested in reading more about it.

Jo’s class have been warned that they are going to receive a lot of visitors in the next few weeks, as our workshop participants come to see Maths Cafe in action for themselves!  Luckily, they are friendly, open children and are quite happy to show off the things they enjoy at school.


Maths Cafe – an introduction.

We are looking forward to delivering a workshop this afternoon for the Whanganui NZEI AP/DP network.  Jo will be introducing Maths Cafe to them. This is a student-directed way of delivering the maths curriculum that Jo developed during her Maths Support Teacher training.  She has seen some great steps forward in the maths learning in her classroom since implementing it, and is keen to share some tips for success with the APs and DPs in the Whanganui area.

The thinking is adapted from the Literacy CAFE and Daily 5 ideas, and was inspired by the research of Rachel Marks into ability grouping.

Some of her research can be found here:

and another interesting article that she has written is “How do pupils experience ‘setting’ in primary mathematics” which was published in Mathematics Teaching, n230 p5-8 Sep 2012.

If you would like to know more about Maths Cafe, contact Jo via email: