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One-to-one tuition. Ideas for maths games please?

Discussion in 'Private tutors' started by brunetta, Mar 23, 2011.

  1. brunetta

    brunetta New commenter



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    Hi I’m an NQT doing supply and managed to get some one-to-one
    tuition work in a school via my supply agency.

    I’ve just started teaching numeracy and I was wondering
    about ideas for maths games.

    I’ve thought about:

    2 dice, doing halving, doubling, multiplication

    Using cards for place value work

    A game I found re multiples and factors,

    Guess my number eg. I double a number, subtract x and the
    answer is y. What was my number?

    Just found a division board game on TES.

    Basically, I’m after some more ideas for games, especially more
    challenging ones.

    The class teacher just told me to use lots of games, make
    the session lively…but I’m a bit stumped about games, especially as it’s just me
    and one pupil.

    Also, do you do a mini-break in an hour long session?
    Thanks in advance.

  2. Mathsteach2

    Mathsteach2 Occasional commenter

    If you are only playing games with the student, I see no reason for a break in one hour's tuition, even with infants. Just keep changing the game, I guess, to maintain interest.

    My private tuition is advertised as "intensive" and I make the students work hard, ages from five through to adult. I tell the parents of the children that I do not run a youth club! In these circumstances, the primary children mostly only last half-an-hour and they need a break if they are staying for another half hour.

    Their only activities are using past test papers, at all levels, but they do not do them as a test as I am there to help. I liken it a bit to a driving lesson in a motor car, occasionally taking over completely if necessary.

    I find this emphasis puts the responsibility for learning entirely on the student, and even the weakest children, after meeting them at an early age, begin to be far more successful at school. I am also able to guarantee the highest grades in their external examinations.
  3. brunetta

    brunetta New commenter

    Thanks for the advice Mathsteach2.
    I don't just play games with the children but I use a game at the start of the lesson to get the brains working and at the end (as a carrot).
    I thought the focus would be on having children consolidate their knowledge of a maths concept and then getting them used to different kinds of questions involving that concept so I was a bit taken aback when the teacher mentioned using lots of games and making it fun. Hence I was worrying that perhaps I was being a little too intensive. Still, I have discovered gaps in knowledge that the class teacher was unaware of so I'll just carry on.

  4. Mathsteach2

    Mathsteach2 Occasional commenter

    Don't get me started, brunetta, on this business of how we relate to the teachers of our private tuition students!

    I guess you are aware of how teachers are criticised, and in fairness even the very best teacher with a full class cannot do what we do on a one-to-one basis - actually I operate with a group of four students, and keep my fees very low. However, we cannot help but notice where their class teachers are failing, for whatever reason.


    This is a thread here on this topic, and I received some stick for apparently criticising my students' teachers, but I am concerned about how we deal with this problem. I certainly do not encourage the very young students to question their teacher's methods, but I do try to give them a way of working in their classrooms which helps them to improve, when perhaps sometimes around them my referred to youth club atmosphere, or "learning through play" may be a little too prevalent.

    This is, of course, how I get my clients. Parents want what I do and are prepared to pay for it, because they are concerned about what is going on in their child's classroom. I leave it to the parent to take up any issue with the school.
  5. I'm going to disagree here. My whole ethos and business is built on my approach of 'informal learning'. It is more than possible for children to learn quickly and efficiently through well planned games, coupled with good teaching.
    I charge a little above average for tuition in my area, and I have certainly have no problems obtaining students. As a rule of thumb my students are boys, very active and bored at school. It may seem hard to believe, but children can even learn without sitting copious amounts of exam papers!
    The children learn best when their bodies are moving, this is a fact. Movement stimulates the cerebellum part of the brain, which is responsible for learning.
  6. Mathsteach2

    Mathsteach2 Occasional commenter

    I n fairness, dc88, I don't think you disagree, it is more a case of your approach being somewhat different. You are successful in what you do, as too am I. I might wonder what you mean by 'informal learning' (which you placed in inverted commas anyway, correctly I think), for me any sort of learning is learning, which we constantly monitor and test by any means appropriate - perhaps you meant informal teaching.

    I responded to this post because of the question regarding taking a break, perhaps otherwise I might not have responded.

    The emphasis from my parents, and the adult students that I teach, is that they want success in external examinations and tests, at whatever level. For my school pupils my particular resources are the Bond Assessment Papers, new editions now available from Nelson Thornes, and cover ages infant to 13+. For my GCSE students (CSEC here in the Caribbean), who are 14+ through to the adults, I use the past papers, for which I have been a marker for 12 years.

    For my students, with me they find learning is fun. Sometimes a question prompts a game, but I never prepare for that. Seriously, in private tuition, I do not have the time to prepare such resources - games and on-hand practical maths - as I do not have a dedicated teaching room. This approach is unashamedly teaching to the test, and I see nothing wrong with that.
  7. I use mangahigh.com (which is has a large selection of free materials) as a starter normally. Also i use a variety of resources from tenticks.

  8. brunetta

    brunetta New commenter

    Oh dear. When I started the post, I certainly didn't expect to have people disagreeing in such a way with each other [​IMG]
    Mathsteach2 seems to have come in for some criticism but his way would appear to be what his students and parents are looking for. I understand that he's not inflexible in his approach as he has said that sometimes a question prompts a game.
    Unfortunately though, with Sats tests looming, I've found that I'm being asked to basically go through Sats questions with the children, get them used to the different types of questions and discuss the maths needed to answer the questions. So now my 1:1 is practically teaching to pass the tests [​IMG].
    Thanks to those who posted ideas and links.

  9. Mathsteach2

    Mathsteach2 Occasional commenter

    There is a lot of disagreement amongst teachers about the different ways each of us work, brunetta, but I am sure it will not put the likes of yourself off! When you have the individual children's real needs prioritised, you cannot fail. If the foremost needs are to succeed in tests, then that is what you go for, and it can be made enjoyable and fun. The important thing is knowing what it is you are trying to achieve, and then seeing that you are doing so. In this way all good teachers will succeed, no matter what they are doing or how they are doing it. Importantly you are doing things your way and succeeding, so you can put aside any criticisms.

    I am not against learning through play, in fact, in my science teaching I endorse it fully, from Y1 to Y9, and have spent 25 years in F/T science teaching developing ways of doing this. I changed to mathematics later in my career, and now retired I just do some private tuition in mathematics.

    I also used a lot of elementary drama in my science teaching, whcih again the children found to be great fun.
  10. One thing I have done with the SATs questions is to make the mental maths ones from previous years onto Trivial Persuit style cards with the answer turned upside down at the bottom and printed them out and laminated them - kids seem to like doing quickfire questions picking their own ones out of the pack (I've colour coded them according to the time allowed to answer) rather than working through another printed sheet... and because they're just in one pack of cards - it's good for filling the odd last 5-10 minutes of a session. I've also got a lot of Follow Me type cards that I get the kids to lay out as a snake of dominios arrangement with the line of questions and answers - tonnes of those on the resource bank if you brave the search engine (seriously TES I've never known a website make so many reverse "improvements")
    Sites like mr nussbaum are also really good for a "game" break as well... I've got a netbook PC I take with me and use as and when the situation arises - with one child I've got he's not got the concentration span to last an hour, and has a huge range of procrastination tactics he will try - so he gets 15 minutes at the end of the session doing games with me on the PC, and any wriggling he does to waste time during the session comes off that time at the end (agreed with mum and we'll gradually increase the "work" and decrease the PC time as he gets a bit older) - sometimes you can save flash games to your hard drive if you use Firefox (they don't always work) for offline use as well.
    I adapt things to the kid I'm working with - some can focus solidly for longer than others, some need that switch of activity mid-session much more, and some need a carrot of some more relaxed time at the end to look for.
  11. Waiguoren

    Waiguoren New commenter

    Hello Brunetta,
    Congratulations on getting the work!
    I don't think that, for just one hour, you need a break - just have a variety of games and activities.
    I think I have something that might help you - here:
    Homework booklets with maths activities for parents to play with children - Reception to Year 6.
    Good luck!
  12. Where do you Tutor greta444? I am looking for a summer tutor in London...


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