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Teaching and planning for specific levels in Numeracy

Discussion in 'Primary' started by wolverina, Jan 23, 2012.

  1. Sorry but I can't seem to open either link. The point is that all the teachers in my school are completely shattered by the disproportional time spent planning an hour of numeracy when we have bought a perfectly good scheme; 3-5 hours planning for ONE lesson is usual plus 2 hours marking a lesson- doesn't seem quite right to me. The newest teacher has 6 years under their belt and I and other colleagues have up to 30 years, so we are not new to the job. All we want to do is teach AND have a life outside teaching which is not unreasonable!
  2. minnieminx

    minnieminx New commenter

    Flip me! It definitely doesn't take that long! What on earth do they write that takes 2 hours to mark?!

    You'll need to copy the link and paste it to your browser, sorry I don't know how to make properlinks on chrome.
  3. It takes long enough to search and/or create resources appropriate to each level.
    Marking: we are expected to assess EVERY child EVERY lesson against each child's INDIVIDUAL targets which are in their books! That's why it can take 2-3 hours to mark regardless of how much they have completed in their books! Needless to say I don't do that because it's unreasonable, unworkable, unnecessary and I want a life!
  4. minnieminx

    minnieminx New commenter

    We assess every child in every lesson (obviously?) but against the SC for that lesson.

    I would suggest you combine some of your groups. The difference between a 2b and a 2a, or a 3b and a 3c is tiny in many cases. Then you can still teach to their level, but only have 4-5 groups.

    I take my differentiated LOs from the document above. So takes little time to sort as they track across the page. The resources do take a while, but only because it is new this year, will be a doddle next year.
  5. We teach in ability groups like you mention and it has been hugely successful, reflected in our progress and attainment data too. It is hard work because, as you say, you have to tailor the lessons to suit the abilities and this effectively the same as running four classes within one class. (We are one form entry too). Like Minnieminx says, group them roughly to make it managable - you would want no more than 4 groups if possible. They also need to be very flexible so that children can transfer in and out as needed.
    With a range as big as you mention from 1 to 4, it really is the only way you can guarantee to be meeting the needs of all your class.
    As for the schemes, don't panic about them - we don't. Just identify the next steps for each group and teach them.
  6. By assess every child every lesson I mean do you have to tick each specific target set for each child every lesson? My understanding of APP was 2 children from top, middle and bottom for a detailed assessment once a half term. The way we are assessing is for a detailed assessment for every child every lesson!! That's why it's taking so long because I have 32 children in my class!
  7. but why minnie do you feel the need to assess every child in every lesson? - to try to involve every child in every lesson maybe, and in that involvement there is a whole range of subtle judgements and evaluations going on in the blink of an eye that are impossible and unecessary to commit to paper. Why do you think it is necessary? Are these not primary children? Do they not need to be in a more relaxed environment than this hot-house focused on individual attainment and achievement? Prescribed doses just right for everyone sounds more like battery fed chickens than primary childrenand really impossible to get right, or entailing too much work outside the class to prepare the feed baskets that slip over the beak and hang weightily around the neck.
    Where are these teachers lives I ask myself? don't they have sports, hobbies, partners, children or even just a good old bottle of communion wine to tuck into? Where has this monster of progress, attaintment and achievment been allowed to rise up so unassailably from to cast a shadow over the lives of pupils, teachers and families (the homework horns are sharp today).
    We didn;t get taught that way when i was at school; we had good stories, lots of reading, some singing with the guitar, lots of chance to write long stories from our imagination and I don't remember a single Learning Objective on punctuation or paragraphs or capitals or descriptive writing or persuasive writing. It was actually quite fun when I look back. We probably missed out on 2b, 3a, 4c and god knows what else. Doesn't this drive anyone else on here mad? What kind of language of education are we talking- or gibbering?

  8. Anonymous

    Anonymous New commenter

    What were you doing beforehand? You have a class with a wide ability range so presumably you were differentiating your work then - you would have been giving children different work with differentiated outcomes. Isn't that a bit like teaching to the levels? You should have at least 3 groups within those levels - it sounds like some of them will need extra support.
    The trick comes in delivering a maths lesson which fits all those children.
  9. Anonymous

    Anonymous New commenter

    To follow on from my previous post - what does the scheme do? Does it differentiate the work so it looks like it might fit the children? You do not have 9 levelled groups - you have 3. (Level 2,3 and 4). That is fairly standard in a year 3/ 4 class. Look at some of the mixed year group planning on Lancashire or Cumbria websites. They're pretty good - and if you look at the Cumbria stuff, it shows what happens "either side of the levels". Maths planning is hard and does take a long time - just ignore sub levels.

  10. Glad I'm teaching in Scotland! I fear that, regardless of how well intended the school's new approach is, that it is not to the benefit of pupils or staff. It must be so difficult to focus on quality learning and teaching with such a long time being spent on planning and assessment.
    I have been reading 'The Lazy Teacher's Handbook' recently. Although I hate the title of the book (should be called 'How to Be an Effective Teacher', or something like that), one point that the author makes that is excellent is that teachers should not have to work harder than the pupils. He outlines very good strategies and approaches.

  11. mystery10

    mystery10 Occasional commenter

    It sounds awful. It's exactly what I fear happens to my children when they are stuck in some immoveable "groups" at school according to some "assessment" that took place in the first week of term, and I don't know what the assessment is, and the poor teacher can't really have a clue about my child's capability at that point. Then what they get for classwork and homework is fixed according to the group - it fits some children well and not others, and as a parent it's scary.
    Can you describe the method a bit more? I really don't understand it. A child who was 2c in year 5 for example could be that far behind for a wide number of reasons. Some would be able to make huge progress in the next couple of years, others only a tiny amount. If you put them in a group of 2cs and give them the work to move to a 2b (over what period of time) unless you are super clever at this multi multi level planning you end up with that group all moving at a slow pace and it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy that they will make less than average progress and leave school at not much more than a 2c.
    What do you mean by Local Authority inspectors? Such people don't exist do they? Are they any better placed to advise on how to get the school from satisfactory to excellent. If they are giving you school advice, and you are finding it hard to follow or implement, can't they be asked for further explication? Also, the school doesn't have to follow it if they don't find it helpful. If at this stage in the "improvement" cycle you are all being left to struggle like this with some piece of advice that has not been fully understood it's not going to bring about the lift that the SLT is hoping for, that's for sure.
  12. tafkam

    tafkam Occasional commenter

    Oh brother!
  13. Msz

    Msz Established commenter

    Of course they exist
    sorry not the case
  14. minnieminx

    minnieminx New commenter

    I cannot understand the fuss at all.

    We assess every child in every lesson, isn't that what everyone does? I plan and teach my lesson. I make sure I have assessed the children to see who has learned what and to what extent. I then make a note of this to remind me next time I teach this topic (might be the next day, might not). I then adapt the next day's planning if necessary to take account of the assessment.

    I have children from p6 to 3c and have 4 ability groups. These change every half term as needed. Sometimes the work for two groups is the same and sometimes all 4 groups are different. Sometimes we work in mixed groups. Sometimes we work in double groups. Sometimes we just have random groups and get on with it.

    Isn't this all normal good teaching?
  15. CarrieV

    CarrieV Lead commenter

    Same as minnieminx ( although levels in my class range from 2C to 6A) My "top" group are working on level 5 and 6 objectives, my second on level 4, my third group on level 3/4 and my "bottom" group on level 2/3. There aren't enough objectives to give EVERY one of your 32 children an individual one, so you must be able to group them in a similar way. The class then work on these linked objectives, so for example if we are covering addition, the level2/3 group will be adding on a number line working towards partitioning, the level 3/4 group on partitioning working towards column addition, level 5's on decimal places and the level 6's on addition of positive and negative integers with some algebraic expressions thrown in! After one lesson I "assess" every child against the objective they have been working against, they either then repeat, rehearse or extend the following session depending on how they got on. They write the objective they are working against in their book, both the children and I smile/straight/sad face it depending on the level of success and that affects the work they do the following day. Children move from one group to the next ( either way) depening on how they do.
    I use the APP grids (as they have all the objectives in one place) together with the Hertfordshre medium plan grids as they have all the objectives for each block and combine the two!
  16. How do you assess every child AFTER the lesson? When is there time to do anything as detailed during the flast flow of a normal school day? How can you assess thrirty two children on a whole range of specific objectives ready for the follwing day's repeat, rehearse or extend- in any really meaningful way?and still be teaching theschool day long? DOesn't one lesson lead into another - a continual interaction with children?
    Isn't this a massive amount of paper work? Aren't the groups a little self-fulfulling? no-one from the more 'advanced' groups gets to work with other children who might benefit from thier interaction. Is the whole curriculum so minutely planned and diferentiated that they have leels,s ub-levles and objectives for everything? And if so is it necessary? Can't they just 'be'!?
    IS so much individual focus really necessary? Aren't children also highly social and achievment of many of the objectives is not of real interest to many of them - their own learning agenda is much more difficult to assess and quantify? Isn't there a danger in fragmeting a skill down to such progressive steps and then allocating children their rung on the ladder that they might never get to see theoverall learning picture?
    I am not sure this received and highly publicised current wisdom is actually the best way to teach or to produce rounded human beings. It sounds as if many teachers and children are pressured beyond any real relation to the outcome- the addded value of all this seems to be spurious - does all this really correlate to SATs and GCSE grades- and therefore perhapsmore spin than necessary substance.
    Sorry but so many of these classrooms sound like mini-production factories, grading and setting and sifting and sieving seemt predominant acitivities. Just doesn't seem like childrens business to me. What is so wrong with other ways of doing things- perhaps even an older way. Are children coming through all these levellings happier, smarter, more tuned-in, more mathematical? More literate? more contributive and empathic in society?
    Are teachers enjoying their work more? Are they being made to feel guilty for the failings of others? Does it matter if a primary teacher who has more timed interactions in an hour than an air-traffic controller, and works double their shift at that intensity, goes home at four o'clock? Has family time and doesn't plan until ten pm? Are they better teachers for not having weekends or evenings doing all this stuff ? Sorry. I find all this scary. I don't teach like this at all and I am not that bad -well I didn't use to be. I do feel out of fashion though- but I never have been a follower- not it seems we all have to be dedicated followers or we are 'satisfactory' or less.
  17. mystery10

    mystery10 Occasional commenter

    What is a local authority inspector? Such people did not exist in my day; advisers yes, inspectors no. Sorry I am very out of date.
  18. Thank you all for the responses and especially yohanalicante for that last post; you have more than succinctly summed up the whole thing for me! In a former life I organised my class into three broad ability groups - knowing that the top group would have some high fliers and the bottom group would have some who really struggled, so in many respects five groups, However, I didn't have to find activities which corresponded to a very narrow sub level." Consequently this allowed children to explore, think and be creative without having to care or worry about which sub level they were on or whether what they were doing was "right"or "wrong." Children do not function within the narrow confines of a sub level; quite agree with comments about setting work within a level ie 3 or 4 as children often display abilities which can reflect all sub levels not just one!
    Having been an 11 plus "failure" I know exactly what it is like to feel that you haven't "passed." Are we not doing this to every child who doesn't reach the expected level for each year group? Just a thought!
    And here's another thought! I was awarded an A grade in A level English without ever knowing what these were; simple, compound or complex sentence; adverbial phrase, noun sentence or phrase, prepositions, main and secondary clauses, subject and predicate etc etc. I learnt all I needed to write to that standard simply by reading, reading and reading and being read to!!
    (Forgive the rant; have had a glass or two of chilled Pinot Grigio!)
    Found the comments (on a different thread) about LOs and whether they were necessary or not very interesting!!
  19. thank you also for posting. There are some interesting posts on the same subject on the primary thread about teachers working 50/60 hours
  20. CB123

    CB123 New commenter

    Before I do a unit of work eg addition, I give the children a pre assessement - 2 / 3 questions to see what their starting point is. This means I can plan to exactly where the children are at on addition, rather than to where I think a level 2c in maths child would be ( which varies widely). After I have taught the unit (be it 2 days, 1 week, 2 weeks) I then give them the same questions as a post assessment and this will then let me see if they have progressed from the start.
    This was a suggestion I was given when on a course about using learning ladders, which I must say are a great starting point to keeping assessment for all children but have to be bought in and so I know can be expensive

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