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How can the main Numeracy input help all the kids?

Discussion in 'Primary' started by mai0875, Dec 18, 2011.

  1. Hi
    I've been trying to think of a good way to structure my maths lessons.
    In terms of behaviour and focus, I find it's good to start with a mental starter, followed by the traditional main input and activites relating to that, but how on earth am I supposed to do an effective main input that 'moves all the children on in their learning' when some are approaching level 5 and five can't double 7.
    I tried having a TA work with my higher abilities in the mental starter and input but the noise and dual focus was very distracting for both groups and I missed that crisp start that the traditional method gives.
    I'm also struggling to think of stimulating acitivites for my independent groups that don't involve me spending hours trawling websites or (which I often find quicker) making up my own question sheet.
    Any advice would be greatly appreciate
  2. I'm going to keep an eye on this thread and hope someone comes up with the perfect answer! I'm in the same boat as you, and have tried different ways of organising maths lessons but always come back to the whole class starter/main/activities/plenary formula, however unwieldy is often is.
    I have also tried having my TA do a differentiated starter and main for either the LA or HA, but there were issues with noise, timings, distractions for both groups and problems with the TA not explaining things in the way I would like her to, despite me virtually writing her a word-for-word script.
    I have Y4, 5 and 6 for maths, so I'm looking at a whole class starter and input for level 2Cs up to level 5s.... each lesson takes forever to plan, and I always feel I've short-changed one of the groups.

  3. I had this issue all year last year and never fully resolved it. This year, we are splitting them within the classroom so that the groups are taught separately for most things with a TA leading one group and another getting on with an independent task. It is reliant on excellent behaviour and noise levels though - hard, but possible.
    We are now doing very little whole class input, simply because at any one time two thirds of the class were not engaged with it.
  4. I'm also considering this. This term I have had one or two ability groups consolidating the previous lesson's work independently whilst I gave my teaching input to the others. Then those children have gone off to do their work, whilst I give teaching input to the next group. It does seem to work better for the children, but it requires a lot of planning. I'll be interested in hearing what other people say.
  5. I also dont really use whole class inputs. If Im introducing something completely new then I would. If I have children a low enough ability that they need to work on completely different stuff then they probably wouldnt join this, but those that are some sub levels below would still take part as I think they kind of have an 'entitlement' to at least try the curriculum aimed at them.
    But beyond this, day to day maths where you're consolidating or just moving to the next stage, I run it like a whole class guided session (if that makes sense!).I put some acitivities/ questions on the board aimed at different abilities which the children do in groups, pairs or alone on their whiteboards. If I have a TA she/he will work with the lower ability so they can work
    at their pace through the problems. I move round the class identifying difficulties, solving problems, doing work throughs with different groups; making sure children are moving on whatever their ability. Every few minutes I do a mini plenary where I do some work throughs (aimed at the correct age level so not really appropriate for classes with more than 2 year groups) and praise children who have good techniques.
    Inputs like this make it much easier to see who is understanding the work and who isn't and also stops some children just sitting and day dreaming! Last year I had a few girls who would give up straight away and wanted me to talk them through every stage so they found this style difficult at first. But when they got used it and started working with their peers they picked things up much quicker because they were actually engaging and not just sitting thinking 'I hate maths its so boring'
    Vagabond I really like your idea. I am increasingly thinking that the attempt to see maths as 'the same as any other subject' is just futile. I often dont try to make cross curricular links with maths as I think its fake. I just make real life example links instead.
  6. modgepodge

    modgepodge Established commenter

    I'm a big fan of using the TA to do a separate input with a certain group - but I was lucky enough to have a separate area that the TA could take the children to do this. It doesn't really work if it's in the same room.
    What I have done sometimes, and usually by accident because some children are struggling a LOT more than I expected, and some have got it, is kept the input short, then let the children self-differentiate - I say "If you're feeling confient with this, the activity is X. Go and get on with it. If you are finding it tricky and want me to go over it again, stay on the carpet." I was praised for this in a lesson observation as a student - I kind of did it as a "****, one group get this, some of them are looking at me like I'm mad, how can I rescue the situation" thing, but my mentor loved it. I have also used it a fair bit on supply when you don't know the kids to differentiate.
    Something I also did with Year 1s (and I think this only worked cos it was year 1s) is sent the top group off to do "choosing" (free flow) activities, while I did the input. The other kids then got on with an independent activity and I pulled the top group in for a separate input/activity. Once they were settled I went to see how the rest of the class were getting on. Not sure what you'd do with the kids "choosing" if you're Y2 or above though as obv free flow tends not to be used so much. Perhaps as someone else suggested, consolidation of the day before?
  7. dc521

    dc521 New commenter

    There are many ideas I can think of:
    PERMAMENT removal from the class of one group with the TA with a different plan / activity. Yes, it's a planning nightmare (and God help you if your TA is not up to it) but it gets beyond a joke when the little cherub that is more interested in staring out of the window and picking her nose is still not adding to ten while the higher abilities are ready to attack L4. I know, no one likes the TA to permamently have a LA group. Main inbput covered by TA as well.
    Can you stream your maths groups in school? I 'get rid' of 10 brighter children to a colleague and take ten SEN / LA in return. If we're all at the same level, then it's easier to have the same level of input.
    SENCO: come on, ride their case about it. If a child is that below age related expectations, then they can have a go at sorting them out :)
    Main input in two stages. Here's an example from addition.
    O/M we ran a simple doubling game (we had a huge range of numbers for all to choose from. No different activities as it's a pain to run). Support for LA - well, they have fingers and thumbs to count on!
    Main 1: I covered a few basic addition strategies.
    Main 2: TA group then attacked work with emphasis on one strategy.
    Main 2: Rest of class EXPECTED to apply method. HA challenged to use with word problems, I think I sat with the MA and worked with them on addition method into 100's.
    Remember, it's all about the progress they show in the lesson. Stimulating and fun are ideals we all hope for but the harsh reality on the ground is that we have to survive every day. Also, independent tasks that are 'snazzy' often need a fair bit of explanation about what to do. If your class is showing an extreme range, then you need to work out what is the priority - the task or the explanation.
  8. Thanks for all your great comments. There's some really great ideas here. Also, it's nice to know that I'm not alone in feeling this way.
    I like the idea of sending the TA out do do something totally different but as we've got an Ofsted looming I'm wondering if that's a good track to go down. I think they like to see everyone in the same class, don't they? And I think they want to see everyone working on a similar topic.
    Has anyone had a successful Ofsted Numeracy observation that they could tell me about?
    Thanks again for all the feedback so far x
  9. No, they like to see children accessing the correct level of teaching. There is no point in a child learning how to mentally add 3 digit numbers if they hav not learnt number bonds to 10 (for example).
    If that means flexible deployment of the LSA and (possibly) additional planning and resourcing, then that is what it will take. Just make sure that the teacher input is varied around so not the same children receive input from TA.

  10. ShadowMan

    ShadowMan New commenter

    I send kids out all the time with a TA. I have levels 1 to 5 in my room with most kids at level 4. There is no point in keeping level 1 children in for a warm up or whole class input. They are simply not listening and who can bame them. I work with them as often as possible - but it's not that often since if I do, then I am working with 4 kids who all need constant one to one, whilst my TA has 26 who all need stretching to the max. It's common sense to send them out for most sessions and if anyone disagrees they are welcome to come and show me how to do it.
  11. I would disagree to an extent Shadowman (thank for the invite too!)
    They do need to be taught at their level by a qualified teacher at points during the week. No disrespect to the LSAs (I have worked with many great ones) but these children have a right to access the teacher too.
    By teaching these children myself regularly and LSA teaching and them working independently, we attained 93% L4+ English and Maths where we were predicted in the 60s.

  12. Msz

    Msz Established commenter

    Don't they need good teaching just as much as other pupils perhaps they need it more?
  13. ShadowMan

    ShadowMan New commenter

    You're absolutely right. They do need access to a teacher. But I am doing my best in very difficult circumstances. I have a tricky class who need a very firm hand. My TA is a great teacher but she is not firm. My SEN need 100% attention and I cannot abandon the 26 other kids or all hell breaks loose.
  14. My TA has an intervention group for 4 out of 5 days a week -she will be donig Springboard with my L2cs after christmas for 6 weeks. I will work with them 1 session per week during this time. The SEN pupils do a consolidation activity on laptops independently or work with another TA while I do the main activity, and on other days, the HA children do a problem solving activity from the start of the session whilst I work wit the SEN / LA children. We can't be all things to all abilities all of the time. Think back to the days when there were no TA's 35 kids of all abilities and NO computers!!! Children had to do more independent activities then - and still managed to learn!
  15. ShadowMan

    ShadowMan New commenter

    But a) there were plenty of special schools and b) no one was measuring progress and c) there was no numeracy strategy

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