Welcome to Bond Blocks.
My hope is that through Bond Blocks teachers, parents and students will build Curiosity, Connections and Confidence with maths.
Here’s my story:
I am a teacher. I have always wanted to teach. I graduated from Edith Cowan University (ECU) in 1997 with first class honours and taught in schools for the next 20 years. I began as a generalist primary teacher but after five years switched specialise in maths. I worked with staff and students in primary school and lower secondary maths, at a support and extension level. During this time I also worked in teacher education providing professional learning for the Association of Independent Schools of Western Australia and pre-service teacher education at ECU. Currently, I’m out of the classroom. I work with Paul on various projects, continue to develop Bond Blocks, run professional learning and homeschool one of my children.
I first came up with the idea behind Bond Blocks in 2016. In the classroom I had been struck over and over with the stark contrasts between those who ‘got’ maths and those who found it really hard. I kept noticing students using inefficient methods, such as counting in ones on their fingers to complete simple calculations. I looked high and low for resources to help. In comparison to literacy there was a complete lack of high-quality resources to choose from. So, I got inspired and set about working to ‘be the change’.
During this time in my personal life my son had been diagnosed with an overwhelming number of challenges including Level 3 High Functioning Autism. I was head and heart deep in therapy and learning how to best support neurodiverse children.
It was the colliding (honestly, quite painfully) of these worlds that led to the creation of Bond Blocks. With the support of my husband (going to Bunnings to buy wood) and help from my two kids (I still remember them sitting outside sanding the protype blocks with me, getting sawdust up their noses) Bond Blocks were born. They have become my third child. I took the idea to Paul and as they say the rest is history. Well not quite – after extensive trialling, revising, learning a bunch of new skills including website development and making hundreds of videos – after an 8-year gestation period of labour and love, Bond Blocks were born.
With thanks to:
Along the way I have met and worked with some wonderful people.
I want to sincerely thank Murray from Edx Education for taking a risk on a primary school teacher from Perth and making Bond Blocks. Your financial backing and the Edx Team’s production expertise brought Bond Blocks to life.
To Paul and the Swan Team I want to express deep gratitude. Your entire family has supported and nutured both Bond Blocks and me. Paul, Bond Blocks would have never happened without your incredibly generous support of time, expertise, financial backing and your team’s skill sets. Daniel, you have given months-on-end of time to create beautiful activity boards according to all my specifications, and there were lots. Thank you for graphic and artistic skills, attention to detail and patient nature. Leigh, thank you for your inspiration of the website, support in developing it and help with the commerce things I know so little about. Your skills in business and ability to ask really good questions helped make Bond Blocks into what it is today. Thank you Gillian for your hospitality, welcoming and teaching me the science of scones! I am honoured that through the journey of Bond Blocks I now know you as friends. Together we have made an award-winning product sold right across Australia.
Thank you to the staff and students of Lake Joondalup Baptist College who were instrumental in the five year development of Bond Blocks, especially Jodi, Amanda and Mike for your feedback. Thank you to the Principal Mr Paul Sonneman-Smith for your leadership that is enabling, humble and values every student.
Thanks to the staff and students, in hundreds of schools across Australia, who have adopted Bond Blocks as either an intervention tool or more recently as a prevention tool.
Finally, I want to thank my family. To my best friend and husband Lyndon, thanks for your steadfast support and mathematical input. To my kids, your giftings and diversity has blessed me and shaped Bond Blocks.
Dr Paul Swan
Dr Paul Swan has taught mathematics in both primary and secondary schools and worked as a Senior Lecturer in Mathematics Education at Edith Cowan University in Australia for 18 years. He has written over 50 books, authored numerous journal articles and created many types of mathematics games – board, card and digital. He currently designs mathematics manipulative materials and supports schools looking to improve the teaching of mathematics in both schools and across whole school systems