Do you love maths?
I do now, but I know when I was at school, I struggled with maths and found some concepts really difficult to understand. I now understand why. When I look back to my own school days, I was often taught a method to solve a calculation involving ‘borrowing’ and crossing off digits and never really understanding why I did this. Once I got to teacher trainer college, I was taught how children learn, the clear progression in skills and I had a number of light bulb moments that meant that I suddenly understood maths and loved maths! Teaching maths and learning from experienced teachers, gave me a new found clarity on why we solve calculations in the way we do and the connections between different areas of number.
Since the start of term 2, all of our teachers have been taking part in some excellent maths training led by our team of maths leaders. Following this, we have been sharing with parents how we teach maths at the Primary Campus. These workshops have been really well received and allow us to share why we do what we do.
One of the key messages that I would like to emphasise here, is that children need a real security in understanding of key concepts and skills before they progress onto more complex stages. The calculation appendix that was shared with parents at the maths workshops is an excellent resource which indicates the stages that we take children through. Children will develop at different stages and at different rates. Another key document, that is useful at home can be found here, which helps you recognise key skills that help us identify how your children are progressing and suggests some top tips on how to encourage a love of Maths. For here for the KLASS Calculation Appendix 2017.
How can you help at home?
Loving maths comes from a firm foundation in keys skills that start right from Pre-school. Positive attitudes to maths and eventually higher achievement, starts as soon as your child is born and on into the Early Years and beyond.
Key factors for success in maths start with:
- A learning environment where, for instance, children are encouraged to paint, draw and play with numbers, for example counting the stairs up to bed, looking for numbers on lifts and on signs, counting real objects and having fun with numbers
- Learning number rhymes and games, alongside independent play.
- Developing number sense, especially understanding number symbols, eg ‘the fiveness’ of 5. Other early predictors of success are: - recognising numbers as dice and dominoes patterns
- comparing numbers like 5 and 7, saying which is more
- predicting the result of adding or taking away one.
As the children get older, key number facts will help children have a confidence and love of this key life skill. We call these, ‘Learn-its’ (these were given out at the recent maths workshop)’ and visiting these for short bursts at home or in the car to school, will help your child develop and progress.
As the children get older and we want them to be sure that they have understood concepts, we ask them to apply these number skills to solve problems. A really good resource for this, and an area for further reading, can be found at https://nrich.maths.org/
- that all children are capable of achieving high standards in maths
- We differentiate our learning and teaching to meet the needs of all learners
- Teaching is underpinned by taking time over the key concepts and skills from our calculation appendix
- Practice and consolidation play a central role. We build in carefully designed variation to develop fluency and understanding of underlying mathematical concepts
Finally, a thank you from all of us, for supporting the work that we do at school. We hope that the information the curriculum team share with you is useful and if you have any questions, remember to just ask. Our aim is for all children to love maths!
Next time you are in school, don’t miss the amazing portraits of our teaching staff that have appeared along our art gallery at the back of the school hall. There are some incredibly talented artists at Alice Smith!
Click here for this week's full issue - 24th February 2017