One of the things that ML teachers often complain about is the negative perception that “everybody” have about Mathematical Literacy (ML). Jonathan Jansen’s derogatory press statements has not helped either. Some of us have been trying hard to change these negative perceptions but I have not once seen a positive report about Mathematical literacy in the media.  See some of the articles (have also included some journal articles here. (click on link)

A journalist of the Huisgenoot/You have asked me to give input and give our side of the story for an upcoming article on the ML/Maths debate. As our little community has grown to almost 1000 members I feel it is time to give something back and express how you feel about mathematical literacy, the struggles and the successes you have had. Please, now is the time to let your voice be heard.

Note from Kim: “Please note that we have to present a balanced article so you may not like everything we say, but I do want to include both sides of the story.” 

Lets hope for the best. If we do not speak up, we must not complain about negative publicity for ML. Here are the questions that Kim send to me for your to respond to. Feel free to add your your own opinions. If you want to remain anonymous, you can send it to me via e-mail (maggie@maggie.co.za) or you can just respond in the comment section on the community here: http://bit.ly/uELb6r, or complete a fill-in form here: http://bit.ly/tFyXRU 

Other community stuff:

Johan has uploaded a gr 10 Caps workshedule and have been playing with wordclouds and has also morphed into a complete mathslit edutwit. The mathslit DBE papers have been uploaded and quite a few people have left comments, go and add your own. Sarah has already uploaded her gr 11 November papers and I am challenging all of you to do the same! How about clearing out all your papers and uploading it before the start of the new year? Thank you to everybody who make the time to share!


I have created a dropbox cloud folder where sharers can quickly save and share their mathslit resources on the fly. For those of you who have not used dropbox before, it is a way to share files without actively uploading them. It is a little piece of software that you install on your computer which create a folder on your computer. Everything you save into that folder automatically upload to the cloud folder (you get 2GB free space) from where it auto-magically update on everybody’s (who are part of the shared folder) computers.See my how-to document here.

As a way to encourage sharing and community involvement, we have decided to extend dropbox  folder access to the following “Golden” people:

  • Those who have shared at least 4 resources in the community. AND
  • Those who have made the trouble to give feedback to others who have uploaded resources (and I am not talking about quick thank-you’s but constructive feedback) (at least 4 comments) AND
  • Those who have started a discussion topic or blog on any mathslit topic.


If you fall into this category, please let me know so that I can add you. I am busy going through all the members (almost 1000 of us now) to check who qualify for “Gold membership”. If all of us just share 1 resource a month, just think about what an amazing database of valuable resources we will have! I will schedule a webinar early next year so that we can talk about how we will manage the resources in this community next year in a fair, free and equitable way.

Twitter un-workshop

Our twitter unworkshop have a  few #mathslit teachers as you can notice from our healthy twitter stream on the community and twitter (see here https://twitter.com/#!/search/%23mathslit). But we still need lots more of you if we want to see the value of #mathslit twittering!  You are still welcome to come in and join in the learning fun. The online workshop is on till the end of January and if you complete all the activities (easy and quick and at your own pace) you will receive an endorsed certificate of completion stating that you are an edu-twit. Something to strive for. To become part of it follow the instructions here: http://maggiev.edublogs.org/workshops-conferences-webinars/twitter-online-workshop/

Thank you to our sponsor

Last but not least I would like to to extend a warm thank you to Ken and Wally from Casio for seeing the importance of sponsoring a voluntary teachers professional community like ours as well as online professional development in the form of informal workshops. I thank you dearly! It would be great if all of you could go and leave a message on their facebook page (or just like their page) here: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Casio-SA/111159085624854.

A message to all members of Maths Literacy Teacher’s Network

Hi everybody,

I am very excited to announce that CASIO has agreed to sponsor our community. As you know the platform (NING) that we use to host our community has gone paid about 2 years ago and my finances has taken some strain keeping it going. As I feel that this is a great platform and as I do not want to move our community around the place all the time, I am really grateful to them for helping us out. I do solemly promise that this community will always be free to use as too many people have invested too many incredible resources and discussions. I am also totally devoted to OER (open educational resources)

This also means that I will be spending more time dedicated to facilitating this community, organising resources and making it a more user friendly environment for all. We will be taking it to the next level of sharing and caring and I am inviting all of you to become more involved. We will also be exploring more efficient ways of sharing resources, helping members to learn how to use the tools on this platform as well as connecting it to other social media tools that will make keeping track of things a bit easier. For this purpose I have created a new Facebook group for us so that you can follow what is happening in your facebook stream here http://on.fb.me/mathslit Please go and Like the page to get going. Our twitter feed has been going for some time already and can be found here: www.twitter.com/mathslitteacher. If you are already using twitter to share web resources, please include the hashtag #mathslit anywhere in your tweet.

On the professional development arena we will be doing some online webinars on various aspects of the new CAPS and I will also be focussing on how to use new technologies (twitter, podcasts, videocasts, facebook google+ to name but a few) in the maths literacy classroom to liven things up even more.

Maths literacy workshop in Cape Town

To get the ball rolling, I will be faciliating face to face un-workshops around the country (I am still trying to raise funding for that so if your school is prepared to host me and get me there I will be grateful). The good news is that we are kicking off with a Face to Face un-workshop in Capetown scheduled for next Tuesday (4th of October) during the government school holidays at Johan’s school (Goodwood College, Paul Kruger Avenue Ruyterwacht Cape Town) from 9o’clock to 3 o’clock. Our community has amazing sharers in the Capetown area and I am looking forward to meeting all of you.

The un-workshop will be informal and I am asking that you bring a R50 donation towards disks and future workshops and a packed lunch 2 share and a juice. It will also be a great idea if you bring your laptop, dongle and cellphone along so that we can set up quicksharing capabilities on your computer and cellphone. For those who do not have laptops (yet), there will be computers with internet access available.

So basically we will:

  • Share resources the old way (please bring stuff on flashdrives/disks/paper)
  • Share stuff the new way (We will set up automatic filesharing on our computers, cellphones)
  • Learn about the various ways of keeping track of resources on a personal level
  • Learn how to use online webinar tools in order to participate in future PD webinars
  • Learn how to use Facebook and twitter in a mathematical literacy context
  • Get to know our PLN (Personal Learning Community)
  • Submit items to the Mathsliteracy assessment bank at www.Fullmarks.org.za (please bring 1 question that you are prepared to share for public consumption)
  • Evaluate the way forward- what need to change and how it should change….
  • Talk about the new maths lit CAPS

All those attending will receive a free disk with some of the material that we have harvested as well as my Social media learning object (an interactive self learning tutorial).

In order for us to know how many people will be joining us face to face, please go and RSVP here: http://mathsliteracy.ning.com/xn/detail/2009568:Event:31063 or on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=156848011071413

For those of you who cannot make it, we will be keeping you up to date with our twitter stream- so just go to the community and follow the twitter stream which will be posted on the front page.

The SA Numeracy Chair project at Wits School of Education, in collaboration with the Wits B Ed Concepts and Literacies in Mathematics course, is proud to host its inaugural: I Hate Maths seminar, presented by Professor Mike Askew, Claude-Leon Distinguished Scholar, Monash University, Melbourne.
Professor Askew will introduce some of the issues relating to primary teacher mathematics content knowledge and pedagogy in the international landscape. The central part of the session is focused on the presentation, working through and discussion of some mathematics problems with the audience – problems based on primary mathematics concepts which require some thinking, representing and explaining – all critical features of the ‘connected’ repertoire of understanding and skills needed for good primary mathematics teaching.

The aim of the seminar is, in particular, to attract an audience of primary teachers and parents, as well as primary teacher educators and other academics – many of whom freely express the ‘I hate mathematics’ sentiment, to engage in some fun and communal problem solving and discussion! And hopefully to leave the seminar entertaining the possibility that you do not maybe need to hate maths as much as you might have thought! Bring pencil, paper and willingness to engage!
Date: Wednesday 2nd November
Time: 15:00 for 15:30-17:30
Venue: Staff Lounge
RSVP for catering purposes: Nomonde Mda: nomonde.mda@wits.ac.za (011) 717 3412

Hi all maths-litters!!

I cannot believe that it is the end of the year already…and time to wish everybody a blessed Christmas (if you celebrate Christmas) but also a good rest and a very happy new year!

I would like to make use of this opportunity to thank everybody who has, this year, so selflessly shared their resources and also those who have remembered to upload current documents and provincial/IEB papers and memos for us to get our heads around! A special thanks to Johan who has been carrying the community as co-facilitator. And all the lurkers- I know that next year you will be taking the big step into becoming contributors of note!

But seeing that you are now resting with loads of time on your hands 😉  I am hoping that you will have some energy to explore some end of year threads to conclude the year with!

Alwyn has uploaded a paper up for review for the AMESA congress next year (are you coming!!!) . The topic touches on: “Where is the reasoning and the problem solving” in last years exam paper. The most questions and issues this year in our community have centred around- what makes a level 1-4 question and how to set the difficulty level. Well this paper explores this predicament in detail. Please go and read it and more important, go and comment. It would be interesting to link this paper to the exam papers that our learners wrote this year.

Some of the end of year threads  and downloads are…

  • Programme of Assessment for Mathematical Literacy and Work Schedules for 2010 (WCED- where are the other provinces programmes?)
  • How many cyclists does it take to power a hairdryer? (A lesson plan idea)
  • Guide: Basic Skills for Mathematical Literacy (Resource)
  • Numeracy: Crucial to Your Health
  • Quite a few end 2009 exam papers for the various grades has been uploaded
  • Various interesting websites and links have also been shared.
  • Lots more…

Our poll on whether tutors or extra lesson teachers should be allowed membership to our community of practice is tentatively showing that you do not want that. But then only 21/500+ members have voted…. Also another scary trend is that 53% of maths lit teachers in our community feels that standard grade maths should be brought back. Really scary for me…. 😦

So go and spend some time downloading papers, leave some comments and don’t forget to upload your end of year papers and memos as well. And please don’t forget to leave some Christmas wishes on our Christmas wishes thread here: http://mathsliteracy.ning.com/forum/topics/christmas-wishes

Warm ML greetings


(PS if you anywhere near Hogsback, please pop in and say hallo)

smitwjf@gmail.com has shared the following link with you via AddToAny:



This link from Psychology Today has been sent to you by:
“Johan S”

I found the following free website which one can use if you have the luxury of a data projector, internet connection and/or an interactive white board. If you do not have those privelages, you can still visit the site and see what it offers. (http://www.mathapprentice.com/)

Math Apprentice is a new free website, meant to show students how math is used in real world. In the game, you are like an apprentice at various companies, applying your math skills to challenges similar to those encountered in the real world and real companies.

To begin, you click the button on the home page of the site that says “Explore the Math”. Then choose your character, and you’ll be on the main street (see screenshot above) . Then use arrow keys to move right or left, and click to select a company to visit.

The companies you can visit are:

Sweet Treat Cafe – baking pies
Wheelworks – constructing bicycles and exploring gear ratios
Game Pro! – keep track of the distance between superhero and the villain in a computer game, using Pythagorean Theorem
Spacelogic – study speed of a spacecraft & slope, and then angle & distance commands to get the space rover where it needs go.
Trigon Studios – Explore the usage of sine and cosine functions to create rhytmic or repeating motion of animated objects.
Doodles – explore polar curves created with sine and cosine. These can be like stars, flowers, or spirals.
Builders, Inc. – calculate areas and perimeters of shapes
Adventure Rides – study the angle of elevation and height of a roller coaster

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