Making primary maths real, fun and memorable


Visiting schools throughout
the country for his recent report, Sir Peter Williams observed
much existing good practice in mathematics. However, his review
does identify some key areas where maths learning
could be significantly improved. One school
that particularly impressed Sir Peter is the inappropriately named
Weeke Primary in Winchester. So what are they doing at Weeke
to strengthen their maths teaching? What are they doing
to make maths real? Alice the camel had five humps. Alice the camel had five humps. Alice the camel had five humps. So does Alice go… I think here
where we’re most successful, we do get the child right
at the heart of the learning and the children can see
that the teacher knows them well, they’ve taken the time
and the trouble to A) find out
what their interests are but then to put that into planning. And that takes time and effort
and children appreciate that, they realise that
their own interests are being used to help with their learning. So that relationship between
the children and the teacher is what makes a success. Okay, so hands ready. So we go down… What I always try and do is start off
the lesson with a warm-up exercise, some sort of breathing, some sort of
active standing up, clapping, anything really just
to get the children on the ball. Then we tend to do a song, anything
that has counting in it really that the children
can get up and enjoy singing. Then before I start the main input
of whatever the lesson’s going to be, I will do some sort of number work. Can you show me two? Two. Show me seven. Seven. Good girl. The most important thing
is that the children have fun, they look forward
to coming to their lessons, they’re energetic and they are
learning through their actions. And 10! Well done, well done. How many spots on this side? Can you show me? How many spots
on this side of Bill the ladybird? Show me. What do we do, Sam? I don’t want them to get to Key
Stage 2 and say that they hate maths. I want them to get to Key Stage 2
and really love it and understand it. How many? Show me. There’s 10. So shall we show
how we do that as a number bond? We say zero and 10 equals 10. I devised these symbols
at the beginning of the year alongside the children to make the maths
more personal to them so that they have ownership
of their mathematical learning and I think
it’s really worked quite well. What is an equals sign? Equals, Sam. I didn’t know when I devised them
how well it would go down, if they would
actually remember it or not. But they have and
they have really taken it onboard and now
when we’re doing any addition, they use those symbols as well
and it really reinforces the point. …add nine equals 10! Brilliant. They actually get to get up
and use their bodies and they’re
always having to think ahead which is key in maths. They’ve not learnt it by rote because they have
to remember those symbols and where they’re going to put them. Zoe, how many spots on this side? Two. What Sir Peter
particularly liked was the culture. He liked the fact that fun
and enjoyment and confidence underpinned what we do in maths. The teachers have to be relaxed
and confident and they have to have fun
teaching the subject. I’m just going to wait for everyone
to have the right sausages up. Three add seven equals 10! There are more smiles
across the corridor where Jane is teaching
a mixed Year 3 and 4 class. Hundreds, 10s and units. Hundreds, 10s and units. Numbers in the columns. Numbers in the columns. Two lines, two lines. Two lines, two lines. – Add.
– Add. – Add to the right.
– Add to the right. – Add to the left.
– Add to the left. – Boing, 10s over.
– Boing, 10s over. – Boing, hundreds over.
– Boing, hundreds over. – Pull it under.
– Pull it under. I want the children to learn without knowing
that they’re actually learning. So I think if you make the lesson
really fun and enjoyable, they forget that they’re learning and
they just do it without thinking. George! Now using our rap, what’s
the next thing we’ve got to do? Two lines, two lines. Two lines, two lines.
Let’s put two lines, two lines in. The success criteria
we developed together as a class and we looked at column addition and then we wrote lists
on a step-by-step guide on how to achieve that. Add the right, then add the left. That’s to tell you that
first of all you add the units… Once we’d done that
we’ve simplified it and then the children
created their own actions and their own rap to go with it. Boing, 10s over because you have to put the 10… And if they’ve got a little routine
or a little rap, then it can help them
work out what the next step is and just make it a bit easier
for them to get through their work rather than panic, I think.

About the author

Comments

  1. I really love the physical activity and learning through song and rhythm, is there anyway one could see the lyrics or lesson plans?

  2. Maths Rap
    Hundreds, tens and ones
    Number in the corner
    Two lines! Two lines!
    Add (cross arms)
    Add to the right
    Add to the left
    Boing tens over
    Boing hundreds over
    Put it under
    Prompt question: … “now using our rap what’s the next step we have to use ? “

    Fantastic. I’m definitely trying this. So fun

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *