The Watermore Way for Maths
Maths is taught every day at Watermore and follows the Concrete > Pictorial > Abstract learning pattern. This aims to ensure that children have the opportunity to physically handle/move/sort/share concrete manipulatives when learning a new concept. This includes Dienes, counters, number lines, Numicon, money, shapes, dominoes and anything else that helps gain an understanding of the concept. We also want this to help make maths engaging, interesting and fun. Pouring and measuring ml with containers and jugs of water is more memorable than looking at a jug on a sheet of paper!
From here children will move on to pictorial representations of concepts which would include seeing pictures (as opposed to just a number sentence) and also drawing representations too. This could include seeing/drawing tens and ones, Dienes, place value counters, groups or arrays to again help an understanding before moving on to the abstract notion of solving number sentences.
Throughout this method of learning we look for opportunities to interleave different maths topics to ensure that concepts are revisited as frequently as possible. An example of this would be using money to help with addition and subtraction so that the children use coins often throughout the year. Another example would be using units of measure g/kg, mm/cm/m in problem solving questions to ensure the units of measure are used in context and more frequently.
In EYFS, children are developing a strong grounding in number so that they can develop the necessary building blocks to excel mathematically. Children should be able to count confidently and develop a deep understanding of numbers to 10. In addition the maths curriculum will include rich opportunities for children to develop their spatial reasoning skills across all areas of maths including shape, space and measures. It is important children develop a positive attitude and interest in maths, look for patterns, ‘have a go’, talk to adults and peers about what they notice and not be afraid to make mistakes and learn from them.
We use Bell Work (a short activity at the start of the day or straight after the lunch break) for a number of purposes. It could be to help assess where children are at the start of a topic, to practise a skill currently being taught or to reinforce a concept that has already been taught. This ensures spaced retrieval so that children are using skills they have learnt from a previous term and not solely what is being taught that day/week. This method is also used to aid fluency to improve children’s mental maths and recall of number facts.
To ensure the children are best prepared for the Multiplication check in Year 4 we aim to teach the children the times tables in the following year groups:
EYFS: Counting in 10s, 2s and 5s.
Year 1: 10s, 2s, 5s.
Year 2: 10s, 2s, 5s, 3s, 4s, 8s
Year 3: 10s, 2s, 5s, 3s, 4s, 6s, 7s, 8s, 11s
Year 4: 1 – 12, ready for the Multiplication check in June.
The school subscribes to Times Table Rock Stars (https://ttrockstars.com/ ) for use in school and for the children to use their emerald power and practise at home, but does not prescribe that this is the only way to practice times tables. As well as teaching multiplication and division as units in the curriculum we also practice times tables in fluency lessons once per week, in addition to some practice in Bell Work (as above).
We assess the children three times per year. This is done my creating a bespoke assessment for each year group based on what has been taught. This ensures we are able to ascertain what has and hasn’t been learnt and informs our planning going forward. We also want children to be comfortable with assessment and the types of questions used on the end of Key Stage statutory tests giving them the best possible chance of success.
To encourage the use of diamond power we use marking stations in maths, where a child can access the answers to the learning they have completed and independently mark their learning. This allows the child to check their understanding of the learning, understand and learn from any mistakes made and then choose how best to continue. If they have understood the learning they can continue on to a more challenging piece of learning or they may need some more practise on what is currently being learnt. This also allows misconceptions to be caught and addressed ‘live’ and again informs teachers immediately allowing planning to be responsive to the learning that has taken place that day.
All children at Watermore have opportunities to complete reasoning and problem solving questions and to explain their thinking. The marking stations (above) aid this by encouraging children to move on to problem solving as they can see for themselves if they are ready to move on. Reasoning and explaining is also tied in with showing their Pearl Power by talking in full sentences, using mathematical vocabulary, being able to articulate how they came to an answer and what they know. Children are given numerous opportunities to practise oracy in maths, with class rehearsal, partner and group talk and questioning that requires full sentence and explanatory responses.
We want all children to develop a mathematical literacy that sets a sound foundation for their next stage of learning and ultimately, later life. Children will be able to use mathematical vocabulary in full sentences and explain their thinking. Maths will include the use of a wide range of resources, manipulatives and memorable experiences so that it is an enjoyable part of the school curriculum.