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Mathematic Starter...

Discussion in 'Trainee and student teachers' started by rightasrain, May 21, 2011.

  1. Hi All,

    I am getting observed for my second TP on Thursday, My tutor is only going to be there for about 20 minutes. So I need a really good interactive mathematics starter, preferably something with them moving about! Has anybody got any ideas? I've tried searching the internet but all I can find really are questions.

    Any help would be greatly appreciated!!!

    Thanks
     
  2. Oh and it would help if I told you what age I am with....I am in a primary school, mixed year 5 and 6 :)
     
  3. I do't wish to seem rude, but surely your starting point in planning this lesson should be what you want your pupils to learn. It seems that you are looking for a fancy starter and then you'll pick a learning objective to match - that's surely the wrong way to go about it.
    Decide on your objective (which I guess will be, to some extent, dictated by where you are up to on your curriculum and/or scheme of work), and then select the best activites to achieve that objective (and related outome(s)). If those best activities/resources/questions/plenaries happen to be really interactive and involve them moving about then great, if not, then that's also great as it means you, as their teacher, are doing the best thing for their learning.
    The person observing you will be more impressed by good learning than an all-singing, all-dancing starter activity which possibly has no bearing on what the main objectives for the session are.
     
  4. What are you covering in your main lesson and was there anything specific you were hoping to cover in the starter? Paulpav is right in that it's best not to let an all-singing/dancing activity get in the way of the learning objectives. However, I think secondary maths lessons are probably quite different to primary in that you don't necessarily have to relate the starter to the main lesson, so can cover something they were working on a while ago as a refresher and to check learning has been retained etc. I do usually try to make them interactive and get them moving (I think doing this links in well with the whole brain gym stuff) so if you've any more info I'll try to have a think :)
     
  5. You're absolutely right, your starter doesn't have to have anything to do with the main lesson. In fact, you can use your starter to cover two objectives in one lesson. How about Harry Potter times tables, like old fashioned pistol duelling with rulers, children have to turn and "zap" their opponent before they can answer. Rest of class writes answers on WBs. You can differentiate by the questions and the best zap wins a prize. Or good old "beat the teacher".
     
  6. I appreciate the advice, but we have done at uni that the mental starter doesn't necessarily have to link to the lesson. I'm not just looking for a starter that they can 'sing and dance' to, obviously I want them to learn from it! All I was asking for was suggestions on some activities, then I would arrange it around whatever topic I decide to do.
     
  7. In the main lesson we are focussing on investigations, the last week we did the leaping frog investigation leading through to the generalised formula at the end. We are starting smaller investigations next week to help children focus on the skills they need. Thanks a lot, I just want something that I can use so they enjoy the learning, rather than just question and answer format.
     
  8. Thank you steviemac500, I really like this idea; my class love competitiveness, so that is definitely an idea.
     
  9. Even in secondary, the starter doesn't always link back to the main objective of the lesson, but it still needs to link to AN objective doesn't it?
    I recognise that there's a difference between secondary and primary (and perhaps I was thinking a bit too much about secondary in my initial reply), but surely, no matter what age or subject you're teaching, your first question needs when planning ANY part of a lesson should be "what do I want to achieve from the starter/whole lesson/plenary/activity/etc?".
    I've used starters in the past to calm kids down, or wake them up. They haven't been linked to the main lesson objective but I did them because I wanted to calm the kids down (they had just come back from a English trip to the cinema so I knew that they were going to be bouncing off the walls), or because I wanted to wake them up (period 1, Year 12 resit class and they had all been talking about going to a party the day before). I've even used "easy" starters because I knew that the topic we were about to start was really hard and I wanted some of the lower ability pupils to get their confidence up as soon as possible. I sometimes do 10 questions on a topic from a few weeks ago to see if I need to include that in the revision lessons I'll be planning in a few weeks time.
    It still seems to me that you're going to pick the starter first and the topic second, though:
    If, however, you mean the way in which to deliver your starter activity (eg matching game, heads down thumbs up, show answers on mini-whiteboards, "stand next to someone who ...") then that's an entirely different matter (but I still think that what you want to achieve from the starter should be the first thing to decide upon).
    BTW - I'm a trainee too, GTP, so I'm not trying to be all arrogant and dismissive of trainee teachers, I'm just totally aware of the pressure that some people feel under to impress their observer/mentor/assessor and how this can sometimes be translated into bad decisions in the classroom.
     

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