Tag Archives: Maths

Using stories to support numeracy – Collette Collects – a picture book for number bonds…

It is always good to have a bit of a project for the school holidays. My October holiday project probably should have been having a big tidy-up or finding someone to clean the guttering, but instead I decided to finish writing and illustrating a picture book.

This was quite a significant project as I am not a writer and I have only just started learning to draw but I have been writing this book, through various iterations, over the past 6 months in response to a need I identified while teaching.

As we all know, learning your number bonds is a really helpful stepping stone toward improving your mental maths. If you know what numbers go together to make 10 then you can immediately access a whole load of other number facts.

If you know without a moments hesitation that 7 + 3 = 10 then you can quickly see that 70 + 30 = 100 and

700 + 300 = 100 and

13+7 = 20 and

53 + 7 = 60 and so on…

However, for some kids, retaining these number facts is much harder than it is for others. Having tried to teach these facts every which way I could think of, some kids were still struggling, but I knew that some of those same children could tell me every detail of a story I had told them.

So I decided to try writing these facts into a story.

The book is called Collette Collects and it is about a wee girl who likes to make collections of things. She doesn’t really mind what she collects but she feels that for a collection to really be a collection it should have 10 things.

Last session I started to read (various versions of) this story every week before our regular mental maths activity and after a few weeks some of those children who had always struggled were shouting out the answers to the questions posed on every page and I started to see a slow but steady improvement in their number bond knowledge.

I have now created a complete, illustrated version and I am working with a group of class teachers in different settings and parents of children aged approx. 5 – 7 years to test and measure the impact of the book.

If you would like to use a copy in your school the book is available from both TES Resources and Teachers Pay Teachers. If you would be interested in taking part in the testing process, please contact me via twitter @MrsJTeaches or use the contact form below.

[contact-form to=’MrsJDraws@gmail.com’ subject=’Pedagoo Post’][contact-field label=’Name’ type=’name’ required=’1’/][contact-field label=’Email’ type=’email’ required=’1’/][contact-field label=’Website’ type=’url’/][contact-field label=’Comment’ type=’textarea’ required=’1’/][/contact-form]



An exciting participatory Project for Science and Maths Teachers

Some of you already will probably have heard about our Open Educational Resource programme ‘The Virtual School‘ before. Today we thought: let’s write an open letter to all Pedagoo members who haven’t. This is just one page, but you might prefer a video to reading a document:


Maybe this is already enough to make you want to give it a go and participate.

Get in touch by sending us an email: vsteam@fusion-universal.com

For those of you who want to know more:

Why are so few teachers in the UK doing something like Khan Academy?

Many teachers in the UK have been looking across the big lake at what the guys at Khan Academy are doing. We have met many teachers in the UK who think they can do an equally good or even better job in explaining the easy and difficult concepts of the secondary curriculum in the sciences or in Maths. Many of them are saying: why not do it through videos, if that means that they can reach thousands or sometimes even hundreds of thousands of learners – now that’s one really big classroom!

But how can you manage to make videos in your spare time?

Nowadays, any teacher can record her or his voice (and therefore a lesson) – because recording devices are all around us: pcs, macs, ipads, phones – the list continues. But making a video based on an audio lesson takes time and animation skills – and only few teachers in the UK have both.

No doubt: At ‘the Virtual School’, we want to co-create resources with those select few 21st century prototype teachers. But we want more: we want to give all motivated Science and Maths teacher who haven’t got this visualisation ability the same opportunity to get their lesson to the hundreds of thousands of learners out there waiting for good teaching to come their way.

Our creative design team picks up the 2-3 min audio lesson, and turns it into an engaging video. Let’s say for instance for the topic “What are Quarks?”:



Anybody, including the contributing teacher, can pick this video resource up for free and integrate it in a blended learning model with their own students.

Our background:

The Virtual School is the social responsibility programme of our educational technology startup Fusion Universal. Our social programme is funded by our work in the corporate space, in which we have created a successful social learning platform called Fuse. This cloud platform and our video production facilities are being used by our corporate clients. Our idea: now that we have all this expertise and technology, why not also use it for a purely social project and make a real difference? That’s why we not only distribute the co-created Virtual School videos absolutely free of charge under a Creative Commons License (contributing teachers are of course accredited) but also make sure they are translated and available to learners in developing countries.

To do all that we need your help – at the heart of our project is your brain – and your teaching.

To be honest: months have past since we first stumbled upon Pedagoo – how one get’s carried away by the day to day… Mind you, maybe the wait has been for the better: since then we have learned many lessons and have honed our collaboration with teachers to make it really easy for you to contribute. Teaching thousands of learners really is just a couple of mouse clicks and a little audio recording away – and all that in a topic of your choice that you feel really passionate about.

You can view our videos co-created with UK teachers to date under: http://www.youtube.com/virtualschool
And of course, we are also available on Twitter: https://twitter.com/virtualschooluk

It would be great to discuss in the comment section what you think about our programme.