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New to secondary Maths from Primary- please help!

Discussion in 'Mathematics' started by disneyfan, Jul 11, 2019.

  1. disneyfan

    disneyfan New commenter

    Good evening,

    I’m hoping some experienced secondary Maths teachers will be willing to offer some advice to help me try and do a decent job!

    I’m Primary trained and am transferring to Secondary as a Learning Support teacher to take small groups for English and Maths interventions. However, due to staffing needs I’ve now been timetabled to take the lowest sets in year 8 and 9 for Maths.

    I’ve asked for schemes of work and am waiting for these at the moment. I’ll be sharing the classes with teachers in the Maths department but am a little nervous as don’t want to mess things up...

    Can anyone offer any tips on sharing a class and where I can access curriculum requirements/teaching strategies/ likely misconceptions likely to occur in KS3? I don’t want to be ‘needy’ or time consuming to new colleagues and want to make sure I’m doing the best I can, despite being Primary English for the last 13 years!
    Should I be going to HOD for tips or to the teachers I’m sharing classes with? Secondary set up very different from Primary and not sure how to go about things.

    Thank you for taking the time to read this post.
    DrNutmeg and Shin0bi3Z like this.
  2. frustum

    frustum Star commenter

    Often, when maths classes are split between two teachers, it works best to split the topics. Hopefully that will enable you to take the things you're more confident teaching (number, probably), and leave less familiar topics to the other teacher. You'll need to talk to the teachers you're sharing with to organise the split, so they're probably your best point of contact. If there are two halves of the year and therefore a parallel set in the other half, also make friends with their teacher, as they may well be willing to share their plans/resources for the topics you are teaching.
    If it's the sort of school where teams spend breaks in their departments, you might do well to go and hang out with the maths department at least some days of the week, so that you get to know each other.
    JohnJCazorla likes this.
  3. disneyfan

    disneyfan New commenter

    Thank you. Great advice re asking to split the topics and seeing if I can take the ones I feel more confident about. I’ll also try and do Maths marking I get in the team room to help get to know people and be able to ask for help.
  4. adamcreen

    adamcreen Occasional commenter

  5. disneyfan

    disneyfan New commenter

    Thank you- I’ll look into that.
  6. CHuynh

    CHuynh New commenter

    Dear diseyfan
    I have taught a number of bottom classes, many of these students have special needs. For this reason, I had the chance with some support teachers. In the lowest classes containing children with learning needs, it makes a world of difference to both the students and the main teacher, having a support teacher in the room. It is best that you have a chat with the teacher of the class on the following things:
    1. What topic s/he is teaching, what chapter of the textbook or what material is being used.
    2. How the teacher wants to run the class. e.g.
    (a) Instructions as a class for 15 minutes, then group work which is when you help the groups/children that need more attention
    (b) the children are given differentiated work at the start of the lesson, and you can work with the children throughout the period.
    This is important as each teacher has a preference.
    3. At the end of the lesson or day, a quick chat with the teacher for brief feedback. Particularly important as you first start working with a teacher.

    It is important to meet the HOD to let him/her know that you are working with which teachers and which classes, ask if there is specific pedagogy he/she prefers. It is likely that the HOD will direct you to talk to the teacher involved as he/she knows the students best.

    Hope that helps. Please follow up if you have further questions. Let us know how you go too, if you don't mind.
  7. disneyfan

    disneyfan New commenter

    Thanks for the advice. Have met with HOD and will make sure to catch up with the other teachers face to face on INSET day.

    Will let you know how I get on in September:)
  8. CHuynh

    CHuynh New commenter

    That sounds fantastic! I really look forward to how you progress. Please keep posting if you encounter anything on the way.
  9. disneyfan

    disneyfan New commenter

    Will do, thank you.
  10. Bolter

    Bolter New commenter

    Please beware : Check how are the current teachers doing with these classes, how is the behaviour ? You might be getting shafted ....or this might be a perfect opportunity to get confidence with secondary.
    JohnJCazorla likes this.
  11. bramblesarah

    bramblesarah Occasional commenter

    Regarding resources unfortunately all the schools (bar 1) I have worked in lack textbooks and resources. Corbett Maths, diagnosis questions, eedi, resouraholic, maths bot are all great websites. I have taught a lot of bottom sets. Bottom set year 7 should be very similar to year 5/ year 6 at primary as normally the reason they are in bottom set is because they didn't grasp the year 5 and 6 sylbus. With these sets fluency practice is normally important. I always spend the first half of the lesson doing a mixed topic activity. E.g. 5 timetable questions, 5 addition, 5 subtraction, 5 division. Then once you have taught a topic add it to the mixed topic activity to help the students retain what they have been taught. Have a look on the resource section of TES for mixed topic starters. Obviously if you are going to use that idea run in past your HOD and the teachers your sharing with.
  12. disneyfan

    disneyfan New commenter

    Yes the thought had crossed my mind re behaviour and possibility of class bring challenging but am going to try and remain positive until I discover otherwise!

    The idea of revisiting topics already taught as starters is great and one will definitely try to use.
    Thank you.
  13. CHuynh

    CHuynh New commenter

    Bramblesarah made a great point. Many bottom Year 7 have the maths ability equivalent to Year 4 or 5. I know it sounds shocking but sadly true. Many of these students don't know how to add or multiply numbers that are 2 digits or more. You will find the resources at Primary level very useful.
    Lara mfl 05 likes this.
  14. disneyfan

    disneyfan New commenter

    Yes, the Year 10 Maths intervention group I took at interview were around that level so it could well be the bottom sets in Years 8 and 9 are pretty low attaining too.
    Am looking forward to a new challenge and learning new things and have been reading up on some different behaviour management approaches!
  15. Shin0bi3Z

    Shin0bi3Z New commenter

    Hello when Teaching math from the USA, we usually split students into 3 groups. 1) Above level 2) At level 3) Below level intervention. Here is a guy that I watched that is brilliant at keeping math simple.
  16. JohnJCazorla

    JohnJCazorla Star commenter

    You've summed up my entire approach of long-term Maths supply. I know I'll spend all of September rotating around the Maths department, saying, " Can I bother you with yet another silly question?...….."
    I'm always friendly about it and try to not bother the same person but everyone likes to share their knowledge if asked politely.

    It's all about communication and social skills, not necessarily part of any teacher's talents, but if you're female then you've already been ahead of me from birth and I'm not too bad at it.

    Don't worry about lack of Maths skills, all Maths (and Science) are desperate for staff and there are vast amounts of resources you can parrot at the kids.
    Shin0bi3Z and Lara mfl 05 like this.
  17. disneyfan

    disneyfan New commenter

    Thanks for the replies. I don’t know about my social skills Great idea to rotate around asking different staff for help so don’t take up too much of any one persons time. If all else fails my own Year 7 daughter says she will take pity on me with some things and can always message friends with older children!!
    Shin0bi3Z and JohnJCazorla like this.
  18. slstrong123

    slstrong123 New commenter

    Recommend piximaths for some resources, although check them out as they range from KS2 through to top end of ks4. My experience is that bottom sets in maths don't believe they can do maths, so building their confidence is crucial. So long as they are making progress, it's ok to be revisiting KS2 stuff. Encourage use of scientific calculators too where appropriate. 2 out of the 3 GCSE papers are calculator ones. Follow the maths dept sow. Just because they can't add and takeaway without a calculator does not mean they can't do well with shape, space and measure. Tarquin murder mysteries can be good and they have them at upper primary level. Be prepared for a wide range of abilities in the one class even in a school which sets on ability.
    Shin0bi3Z and JohnJCazorla like this.
  19. disneyfan

    disneyfan New commenter

    Thank you, that’s useful to know about the calculator papers and will take a look at the resources you suggested.
    Shin0bi3Z likes this.
  20. Shin0bi3Z

    Shin0bi3Z New commenter

    Practice and learning from our mistakes is part of the process that takes further in teaching math.

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