"I want to say a massive thank you as it was brilliant this morning, the students (and staff) really enjoyed it and it was really good to raise the profile of maths!"
Cath Jespers, Boston Spa School
"How to follow that? The place is abuzz with a wonderful positive vibe..."
David Bywater, head of maths, Fettes College Edinburgh
300 year 5's from feeder schools arriving and warming up with some
puzzles on the screen at Fullbrook College, February 2010.
Suggested Visit Plans
Almost all of the visits I do are one of the following combinations, but I'm very glad to consider any other plan you might have.
If I'm around over lunch I only need a quick sandwich, and I'm happy to use the time meeting kids informally in your library, or even doing a planned author session or book signing.
- Single Murderous Maths session (up to 75 minutes, usually in the afternoon). This could be preceeded or followed by an informal library meeting, a smaller author talk, or a separate G&T maths group where I show a few extra tricks or how to make a few fun maths props.
- Two Murderous Maths sessions (up to 60 minutes each), usually either side of lunch to different kids. Quite often one of these sessions will be to kids from feeder schools. Over lunch I'm happy to meet kids in the library for an informal author talk or book signing.
Time permitting, I'm also happy to help a class make flexagons or predictor cards using printouts of the downloaded templates found at Murderous Maths Teacher Resources
The Perfect Event!
Here is my ideal way to present a maths session:
All being well, we'll have as much fun as these year 7's did at Warden Park School, Haywards Heath 28/2/2012
(Many thanks to Gill Charles, head of the LRC for the photos!)
- It usually takes 10 minutes to seat and settle 250 kids. Therefore as they come in I like to play some lively music and if powerpoint is available I show some puzzles and illusions on the screen.
- A brief introduction by a member of staff to settle them down helps. ("This is Kjartan Poskitt who writes the Murderous Maths books" is about all you need!)
- I usually spend 5 minutes explaining how a failed rock star became a bald old author, and then demonstrate why the ancient Greek mathematicians were murderous. This works to bring onboard the kids who hate maths.
- Tricks, volunteers, weird facts, audience challenges... etc!
- 60 minutes is usually too short, so if the timetable is flexible, I'll run on a bit longer to a natural finish.
- Kids leave with a bit more jolly music ...and sometimes loads of books are sold and I spend an hour or more signing!
This page follows on from my author appearances page.
SECONDARY or MIDDLE SCHOOLS
Thank you for showing an interest in what I do!
I have been visiting schools for 20 years and I estimate I have spoken to over 200,000 kids. My main aim has always been to make maths and other subjects entertaining! To ensure we all have the best possible event, please bear the following points in mind.
- I can only do one or two big maths sessions in a day, but I don't put any limit on audience numbers providing they can all see and hear me.
Many schools invite feeder schools or other schools in to fill out the hall.
- My sessions work best with school years 5, 6, 7 and 8.
Unless your older year groups are exceptional, I will only talk to years 9 and above if they are selected interested maths groups. In many schools selected older kids are invited to sit in on the sessions for younger year groups, to which they are very welcome.
Please do NOT put me in front of disinterested and non-motivated teenagers in the hope that I will make them start smiling in maths lessons.
WHAT DO I DO?
My sessions are based on my Murderous Maths series and other books. I do tricks, I demonstrate strange facts and illusions, and we all have some good laughs.
You'll find more details, photos and videos on my author appearances page.
Please look through the Suggested Visit Plans (see the panel on the right), then when you know what you'd like me to do, please use this address for secondary/middle school enquiries:
WHERE ARE YOU?
I'm based in YORK so if you're much more than 2 hours away I might not be able to do more than a single afternoon session. However if you can use me for 2-3 days (possibly combining your event with one or more other schools in your area), then it becomes more worthwhile for all of us!
FEES... depend on where you
are and what you want, so please tell me where you are and give me an idea of what you'd like me to do.
Boring but necessary...
- Projector and screen for powerpoint.
- Something to write on - preferably flip chart with paper.
- A working p.a. system
- A bottle of still water.
- STAFF: an adequate number of responsible staff MUST be present at all times.
This is for insurance purposes and if necessary, to deal with any excessive disruption. (see next section)
DISRUPTIVE BEHAVIOUR Please forgive me if this section seems to state the obvious - but very occasionally I visit a school that makes this necessary...
I enjoy and encourage a lively atmosphere in my sessions. I do not insist on chapel silence by any means, but sometimes a kid will cross the line between high spirits and disruption. When this happens I will move them to a seat away from their mates. No problem.
However if I'm faced with individuals or groups who are repeatedly disruptive, it makes it impossible for anyone else to pay attention to what I'm doing. I do not have the authority or inclination to deal with this. If you know that you have people who are likely to be repeatedly disruptive, either they must be monitored very closely, or better still, excluded from the start. I have visited schools where it seemed acceptable for kids to speak loudly to each other, throw things around the hall or get up and walk around. Quite simply, those schools wasted my time and their money. If this sort of behaviour has become normal in your school then please accept my sympathies, but do NOT book me.
DBS checks. I can bring photo ID, I have £5m Public Liability Insurance, but authors cannot get a nationwide DBS check. Please read this!
DBS and visiting authors
CONTACTING ME Thank you for reading all this! If you need to know anything else...
Full details of my sessions and everything else are at my
author appearances page