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Help please...department has no SOL or assessment in KS3....

Discussion in 'Mathematics' started by bidd1980, Feb 16, 2012.

  1. Hi all,
    Cant really go into the politics of what is happening in our school at the minute but the end result is looking like Science and maths are going to become 1 faculty. Not a bad idea but maths has lost most of its teachers and is going to be staffed by science teachers.
    Again this wouldnt be too bad but the maths dept has no SOW or assessment at KS3. It is basically taught out of unsuitable text books with no rota or fixed assessments. So pupils at KS4 are not doing as well as they should as they have lacked structure and in some cases have whole chunks of learning missing.
    I need some help, I need to have a working KS3 implemented for september. As a non specialist i am struggling as to where to start so....
    Does anyone have a SOL with resources they would be willing to share?
    Could you recommend any websites that will help?
    Could you recommend any books or produced schemes that are good?
    Please help

  2. I think you do need help, and more than can be provided by a few posts on here. What's your position in the school? I'm getting the impression you hold a position of responsibility in the science department. Unless you're head of maths, I really think your SLG need to be giving you the time and money to sort this out.
  3. Hi Brookes,

    I am head of science currently and will be trying to negotiate time and money when the restructure completes in april. Not sure what I will get to be honest as I know money is very tight.
    I just want to get a head start on the planning and put some sort of scheme together as I know the team needs a bit of reassurance that things are moving in the right direction.
    Any kind of help will be greatly received.
  4. An early key decision is whether you want to go for a 'cyclical' scheme where students do some number work; followed by some algebra; then some shape and then some data before back to number again and so on or whether you want to do a term of number work; followed by a term of algebra etc.

    There are pros and cons for both - 'term at a time' allows you to go deeply into a topic but means that once a topic is studied it may be a full year before students see it again; cyclical can lead to 'shallow' teaching of a topic but means that all areas are seen on a semi-regular basis by students.

    My personal preference is cyclical with 3 weeks on number before moving on to 3 weeks on algebra; 2 weeks on data and 3 weeks on shape. I then follow this with a test that covers the 4 topics studied that has a common markscheme and results recorded centrally to allow for tracking and intervention where necessary.
  5. PaulDG

    PaulDG Occasional commenter

    What's unsuitable about the text books? Most, if not all, have a target year group, have differentiated editions for various ability classes and if you start at page 1 and work through to the end you will have followed a scheme of work of sorts - arguably not the best, but then there's no such thing as "best", but it'll fit the notion of the "spiral curriculum" that is the way most schools teach maths.

    "Learning" or "Topics"? If you mean "topics", well those text books really would have to have been "unsuitable".. Were they history books?

    (Has the department a history of using non-specialist supply teachers who perhaps just didn't understand maths themselves? Wouldn't be the first time that a whole year group not only believed you add fractions by "adding the top line and then adding the bottom line" and, what's more, had last year's notes to prove that's what they'd been taught!!

    Are there no maths NQTs left in that department? Most of them will have stolen a copy of the SOW from all of their placement schools...

    OUP's Framework Maths series are widely used and pretty good with the one major annoyance being that the 4 levels of book they produce (Access, Support, Core, Extension) don't have the same page numbers for each topic so if you're teaching mixed ability you can't just say "turn to page 50", it has to be "if you've got the E book, turn to page 50, the C book turn to page 47" and so on..

    Also there's the CIMT resources in the TES collection - CIMT have basically produced a complete suite of, well, pretty much everything you could want and it's all on this site in a bucket load of PDFs. Might be just the job if you're going to use non-specialists or even specialists!
  6. Like I said earlier I cant really go into the politics as to why maths needs such a big overhaul.
    We have no NQTs in the department and the school has recently shrunk quite a bit so cannot employ any more maths teachers.
    The books I have seen for KS3 are very old not very well looked after and automatically cause the students to switch off.
    I know in science you can get some good levelled text books -and was hoping I could get something similar for maths? Can anyone recommend any?
    I will have a look at the framework stuff and the CIMT stuff.
    I think a spiral approach to the curriculum will suit our students - do maths depts at KS3 produce your own tests using test base?
  7. HB1


    I would also recommend that you have a look at Kangaroo maths. There are all kinds of schemes of work and assessment materials available.
  8. googolplex

    googolplex Occasional commenter

    Yes, I agree with HB1. If I had to start from scratch and had no time or resources, the stuff on Kangaroo Maths would be an excellent place to begin. Look in Kenny's pouch under Schemes of Work. It's all written out for you. Lots of internet stuff out there - Nrich, particularly, but I think your needs are slightly different, since many of your department are likely to be non-specialists.
    It sounds like your school is in a bit of a predicament, but I hope they'll let you have some money at some point. You'll obviously need to replace those textbooks in due course and, as many in the department are going to be non-specialists, it might make sense to develop your scheme of work around one of the many textbook schemes. However, if I were you, I'd look at something like Elmwood Press, and match up the Kangaroo Maths SoW with the various textbooks from this publisher. Someone has systematically been writing tests to go with these textbooks which I think the publisher would let you have if you ask - not sure, there may even be a link from their website. The other really important thing about this publisher is that their books are usually much cheaper than other publishers.
    The stuff at CIMT is good, if you'd prefer an internet/worksheet based approach.
  9. We wrote our tests internally to suit our particular needs - but then again we had a team of experienced staff which also us to have banks of activities for staff to pick from as opposed to purchasing sets and sets of textbooks.
  10. mmmmmaths

    mmmmmaths New commenter

    I would also suggest that you use the KS3 SOW from kangaroo maths.
    That should free up your time to get to grips with teaching and learning in Maths and developig your team in their new roles.
    Reading between the lines I think that your staff will be concentrating on KS4. So keep life simple at KS3. It really does not matter what the SOW is like as long as your staff provide good learning experiences in the classroom.
    Good luck.
  11. We have also taken a similar approach with our science at KS3 and KS4 the problem I am having is the lack of a specialist team to do this with the maths. Would you be willing to share what you have? In return I can offer you oodles of science stuff as we have done everything totally in house. (might be useful for one of your colleagues if not for you?)
    And yes KS4 will be a priority obviously but I also want pupils to leave KS3 fully prepared for KS4 so It needs to be done correctly.

  12. hammie

    hammie Lead commenter

    I've rarely met a totally good or totally bad text book. The teacher's job is to be selective in what they use.
    Are the teachers resource folders around, they usually carry a lot of very useful resources, including a suggested overview teaching plan.
  13. mmmmmaths

    mmmmmaths New commenter

    This is exactly why I suggested using a ready made KS3 SOW from Kangaroo Maths. This will allow your team time to concentrate on learning how students learn Mathematics and enable them to develop their AFL, intervention techniques and use of ICT etc.
    If you want ready written assessments have a look again at Kangaroo maths; kenny pouch.

  14. Fully prepared!! Get some maths teachers,,
  15. Just looking through this stuff now. It looks like an excellent starting point -thanks for the pointer.

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