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What's your KS3 Scheme of Work like?

Discussion in 'Mathematics' started by brookes, Apr 4, 2010.

  1. It's looking likely that we'll be able to restructure our KS3 SoW next term.

    Some issues we'll have to consider:-
    - improving the progress students make over the three years,
    - reducing repetition and being more prescriptive/specific.
    - addressing the fact(?) that KS2 levels aren't reflected in what we observe in our year 7 intake.
    - embedding PLTS.
    - functional maths.
    - the change in emphasis for year 9 from KS3 SATs to sitting a GCSE module in year 10 (we are currently linear).
    - catering for the wide range of ability of our students.
    One main argument I have is to tighten things up. For example, currently our higher ability students might end up skimming volume for perhaps 3 hours at L6 in year 7 and year 8 and year 9. I'm advocating making it, say, a year 9 topic and doing it in depth for 9 hours. I feel doing this for most topics this would address some of our problems.

    I've had a look at Kangaroo Maths, but I feel it suffers from the same problems we currently experience (for example too much content for the time available).
    So, has anyone ever done this and what advice have you to offer? What are the characteristics of a good SoW in your opinion?
  2. tafkam

    tafkam Occasional commenter

    That sounds rather the wrong way round to me. For able students I'd expect volume to be a Y7 topic, maybe covered in 3 hours, with perhaps re-visiting in Y8 or 9 in a different context.
    I'd be wary of cutting out too much repetition. I think that's already half the problem with what might at first seem inflated KS2 results - what it actually demonstrates is a lack of repetition - or rather practice - since it was crammed in for a few hours one April.
  3. This is an important thread - we are thinking about some similar things to this. I hope to be able to pick up some good ideas here!
    We like being able to teach a topic in depth once, rather than spiralling through everything again and again in a superficial way.
    Our concern at the moment is whether our current scheme of work adequately prepares pupils for GCSE. We are starting to have discussions about whether we should do more functional maths during Yr 7-9 so the pupils will be used to doing this when they get to GCSE (and because it is important anyway) which means there will be more topics to cover for the first time in Yr 10 and Yr 11; or whether we should cover more content during Yr 7-9 so they will have done much of the AO1 material during that time and can spend Yr 10 applying it to different functional situations.
    We haven't reached a conclusion yet!
  4. We have gone thematic at KS3, current Yr8 went through the Yr7 SoW last year and are now doing the Yr8. Yr9 SoW is in the process of being written.
    For example we do a unit based around 'Deal or No Deal' covering lots of probability etc. and another or Healthy Eating which looks at %, Ratio and a few other bits I can't remember off the top of my head (I've not taught that one yet!). The idea has been to try to link different topics around a central theme.
    The Yr7 SoW seemed to work well last year, Still have to draw conclusions about the Yr8 as it needs more differentiation as the ability spread grows, and we are worrying about the spread for Yr9!
  5. It is a danger Taf. I'm hoping for some natural repetition, for example Constructions following Angles, Equations following Algebraic Manipulation etc. I said "most" because I think some things like Fractions can't be avoided (nor shouldn't be!).
    I also think we need the odd week of maths which concentrates on consolidating what we already know by applying our knowledge in new contexts. (I have a hope of mixing up the teaching groups and going completely mixed ability for these weeks).
    Aw, thanks Naz, I feared lots of grumpy, negative responses. There's time yet I guess. Reading your post makes me think, "3 hours a week just isn't enough...".
  6. Colleen_Young

    Colleen_Young Occasional commenter

    Agree with Nazard - this is an important thread.
    I am reminded of one of my favourite quotes from John von Neumann:
    'Young man, in mathematics you don't understand things. You just get used to them.'
    I think the repetition is so important - not exact repetition but introducing ideas and coming back to them later. That way there is something to hook onto.
    A faint hope I think that an intensive burst in Year 9 say will lead to greater understanding.

  7. We've tried a theme-approach with year 7 this year Daz, but in practice it hasn't worked for a number of reasons. (There was no time to set it up properly with enough detail and resources provided; there was too much crammed in; mainly most colleagues didn't want to teach like this and due to a lack of guidance (my fault) have done what they've always done.)
  8. Not at all - if this has been done before in a previous thread then someone would do us a service by posting a link. If not, then there are some really important discussions to be had. Tafkam's point about repetition is a key one - and one that we still struggle with as a dept.
    What I do find very exciting about creating/updating a scheme of work is that we are able to act as professionals! So many decisions have been removed from teachers, but we can still decide how to teach everything, what order to do it in and what sort of emphasis to put on different aspects of mathematics. One of the great things about this is that there is compromise involved. I don't always agree with my colleagues, but this produces a much more vibrant situation than if everyone did it the right way (<u>my</u> way [​IMG] ).

  9. Are all of your faculty involved Nazard? There'll be two of us leading this. I'm keen to give everyone else an opportunity to contribute, voice concerns, state wishes etc.
  10. There's some great material on Kangaroo Maths most of which is free (luckily) but I don't feel that their SoW do anything that different to any other SoW other than give some useful links to some good resources. Maths to Infinity, for example, is good for starter activities and reinforcing some basics.
    It's interesting that you seem keen to avoid repetition and I fully appreciate your argument about being able to spend longer on a single topic and go into greater detail etc. I think that works for those to whom maths comes easily and for brighter students who retain new information well. However, for everybody else, repetition is the only way that they will ever learn. Personally, I Iook for every opportunity to recap and revisit and I'd sooner have 3 or 4 seperate blocks of, say, algebra, rather than one big one!
  11. We were very lucky to have one of our county advisors write the Yr7 SoW and county along with the Leading Maths Teachers are writting the Yr8. One of my dept is leading a team from a few schools in the county to write the Yr9 SoW. I am very lucky to have a dept who are keen to try all sorts of new things.
    I think you made a good point if you want something new to work you have to be able to put the time into setting it up!
  12. There's a big factor to consider here isn't there?

    On the one hand there's a risk that students aren't making satisfactory progress and lots of content is repeated and only superficially learned. I've started off with a high ability focus ("L5 to L7+"), so this has been at the front of my mind.
    But, I agree, that with lower ability students (I'm thinking "L2 and below to L4") much more repetition is required. They're never going to do Standard Form and cubic graphs in year 9, so we can build in opportunities for repetition that builds understanding and confidence but avoids boredom.
    (That's a thought, are year 9s with L4 and below best served by GCSE? Should we be aiming for a more life skills approach?).
  13. When we originally created a departmental KS3 SoW we made creative use of some funding (this was a long while back - it was probably supposed to be for Numeracy Strategy training, or something) and bought ourselves some time as a dept. This was wonderful, because we thrashed out overarching principles and then split off into smaller groups to write particular sections. This gave us all 'ownership' of the finished product, which is really important.
    I don't yet know whether our KS3 SoW will change in the near future. We will look at our KS4 provision first and then it may naturally lead to making revisions to KS3. We will have to see how this pans out.
    My big concern now for the new KS4 SoW is that we will have to squeeze the development into odd available moments and may not get the full buy-in by the whole dept. I had a conversation with someone a couple of weeks ago who works at a National Challenge school. She was raving about how wonderful it was because they get 2 hours every week of departmental time! That would be brilliant to have.
  14. This thread is of interest to me as we are also trying to rewrite out schemes of work. We've been using the Kangaroo maths ones but there's a lot of pressure for us to enter students for GCSE earlier to get results in the bag. To do this we need to condense it and we haven't been able to do this very easily so we're going to try and restructure it but use a lot of the resources.
    Dazmundo, I think we possibly work in the same county as we've been using a year 7 thematic sow this year written by county but with mixed outcomes. Our students aren't able to make the links between doing something 'fun'/thematic/interesting and learning and that's our biggest challenge. It's worked ok for the brighter students because they have enough knowledge to make the links but the weaker ones have found it much more difficult and although they have made some progress, it's no different to the progress made in previous years with a more structured and direct approach. I'm going keep their copies of the sows and use some ideas but I think it needs more somehow.

    For us, the repetition is vital. Our students don't 'learn' from a one off in depth investigation of a topic. However, with repetitive training they are able to do soooooooo much more. I personally choose a blend but keep much of the contextual/richer stuff as consolidation and extension once the students have the confidence to try it. We also need to try and build in as many opportunities for formal qualifications as possible - the new BTEC, functional and GCSE. Not ideal but when you work in a school where you are told by your SLT to spend the majority of year 11 just doing exam papers!!!!! you can see where we're coming from!
  15. The "avoiding boredom" part is key. It is very easy just to teach the topic again from scratch! This can then lead to pupils thinking "but we did this in Yr 7, and Yr 8 ..." etc. Do you present things in the same way the second time around (eg solving equations) so they can revise what they remember and then move on further, or do you prefer to present it in a new and different way, on the grounds either that the first method didn't "stick", so it didn't work, or the pupils can make lots more connections if they have experienced different methods?
  16. I'm becoming addicted to designing this scheme of work; it's better than a sudoku. A few unconnected thoughts:-
    - 2 or 3 weeks in the year when we collapse the classes and teach in mixed ability groups.
    - still thinking about how to build in consolidation for the lower ability.
    - thinking about our lowest ability students (L2 and below) who have to be in the same group as L3, perhaps L4s. Would be wonderful to have an HLTA attached permenantly to this class.
    - trying to ensure that students can move between classes without problems.
    - this is going to take hours and hours.
    - 2 hours departmental time a week makes Special Measures less scary.
  17. September

    September New commenter

    What is your timetable structure for next year? If you do not already have it in place then suggest having all mathematics classes on at once. eg Yr 7 all being taught at the same time. This will allow for easy movement between classes and you will be able to create a true high ability class and a true low ability class. This structure does not only benefit mathematics but will benefit all the core subjects eg Yr 7 doing mathematics means Yr 8 can be timetabled for English and Yr 9 can be timetabled for Science. It all depends on your staffing though. It creates less teaching hours and allows for at least 2 hours departmental time a week as all your mathematics staff will be non-teaching at the same time.
  18. Copied from another thread a few weeks ago:
    My last school (where I was HoD) had a KS3 SoW that had 16 units (4 for each of Alg, Num, SSM and Data) each of 2-3 weeks in length.
    Each unit had a theme - eg. Alg2 was solving equations; SSM4 was transformations.
    The SoW had 5 tiers - from A (easiest - mostly L3/4 work) through to E (mostly level 8 work). The themes were consistant across the tiers but with just harder work on that theme - for example in Alg2 the A scheme might have 'what number goes in this box to make the sum work' throgh to some very simple equations whereas the D scheme might have equations with the unknown on both sides, brackets, fractions etc. .
    We would talk about students currently studying unit, for example, B Alg2.
    Students would study "the 1's" first and then we had a test on those topics - around 10 weeks work - the B1 test would be a test of BNum1; BSSM1; BAlg1 and BHD1 along with subsumed knowledge from the A1 units.
    That test generated a level (we decimalised for ease) which could be tracked both against the score on the A1 test the previous year (ie. had they progressed on those topics) and also had they been progressing over time (using the last 4 unit tests meant that we could generate a level covering all the topics). Our students could quite hapily tell you, parents, tutors and anyone "I am currently working at level 5.8 so I am nearly at level 6 and the topics I need to improve on are ....." - not that we ever drove that at all (afterall a saying level 5.8 is meaningless in a true sense) but it allowed students to own their progress.
    All staff would be teaching "the ones" units at the same time but could do those 4 units in any order they chose (which meant that we could get access to IT more easily as we'd stagger, for example, the IT heavy units such as SSM2 which saw us use LOGO a lot (SSM2 is angles).
    We would all finish the 1's units in the same week (it was timetabled) meaning it was a good time for any changes of group that were required (before we started the 2's) and so on.
    Students would start KS3 on an appropriate SoW (for example students who got solid 5's at KS2 both in the test and TA) would start on the C scheme; L4 at KS2 on the B scheme and L3 or below start on the A scheme. Typically we had 5 groups in a year half - 2 starting Yr 7 on the C scheme; 2 on the B scheme and 1 on the A scheme.
    The following year they do the next scheme up (ie, a student may study the C scheme in Yr 7, D scheme in Year 8 and E scheme in Year 9).
    It eased differentiation as the staff member could dip 'up' or 'down' into other schemes of work to find easier/more challenging work on the same topics. This meant that if a student needed to move up they would have already studied much of the same work as the group above as their extension work.
    The SoW itself consisted of a spreadsheet where 1 page covered a unit (eg. one page covered A Alg1 through to E Alg 1 so staff coudl easily see where students were coming from (what knowledge they already should have mastered) and what came next; it had learning objectives; key words; hyperlinks to the NNS exemplars and our own exemplars; the NC level of each objective (where appropriate) and, increasingly, links to our internally developed resources (we didn't use textbooks other than for cover work), links direct into mymaths and IT resources.
    The SoW was backed up with a huge unit of trays int he office which had 1 draw of resources (internally developed) per unit per level (ie. there was a draw of resources for A Alg 1 and a draw of resources for B Alg 1 ..... (80 drawers altogether). These resources may be card sorts; jigsaws; worksheets; dominoe matches; worksheets, ideas for lessons, .......... far far too much stuff to use all of - staff picked and chose what was right for them and their class.
    We had a very highly skilled and imaginative team so we didn't bother with standard lesson plans; unit plans etc. as I wanted staff to be free to select which resources; ideas etc. were suitable for them and their group.
    It was great - I loved it (it existed before I arrived and had been developed by the team) - and it led to students recieving phenominal results - the modal level in the last year of KS3 assessments was a Level 7 (and that only just pipped Level 8). Over 50% of students achieved a L7 or L8 and over 90% gaining L5+. Of course these need to be considered bearing in mind our intake was good (40% L5; 40% L4 and 20% L3/N was typical).
    As I left we were increasing the number of links on the SoW for IT resources and 1 member of staff was looking at developing a AA SoW to run below the A SOW but which could eaisly be taught alongside it (with TA support where present) for the very very weak students in the bottom sets. A few EE SoW resources also existed for those very few students for whom the E scheme was not sufficiently challenging on key topics).
    It did have some drawbacks though - it could lead to overly partioned teaching - we had to work hard to ensure that when we were doing work on angles in a traingle (for example) that we looked ta questions where the angles were given in algebraic form (eg. 2x; x+80 and 3x - 20) and we had to fnd x. That came through our exemplars on the SoW and through carefully choosing the test questions (which we wrote ourselves rather than using testbase or similar).
    My new school (I am SLG now - don't boo hiss too loudly!) has a SoW that is stored on the VLE and sees us teach Num for 10 weeks and then Alg for 10 weeks and then SSM for 10 weeks and then Data for 10 weeks. There is a year 7 support SoW (mostly L3/4 topics); core SoW (mostly L4/5 topics) and extension SoW (mostly L5/6 topics). There is no explicit link between the Year 7 extension SoW and the year 7 core SoW.
    Each 10 week section is broken down into chunks which are either 1 or 2 lessons long with associated learning objectives and a link direct into a 10 ticks worksheet (where applicable). Tests are real SATs papers covering all topics (so, for example, we may have to give them a 4-6 calc paper as their test). These are turned into a sublevel.
    Set 1 (of 4) does extension; set 4 (of 4) does foundation and sets 2 and 3 do core. Set 1 is made up of high level 5. Set 2 and 3 are a mix of solid 5's and 4's whilst set 4 is low level 4 and level 3's at KS2.
    I'm still getting used to the new SoW so i'd be wrong to make any definitive statements but, I do know, that it felt like 'dealth by number' for the first 10 weeks with my year 7 class.
  19. We wanted to use CAME with our students and tried a variety of apporaches - linking into the SoW but we found that not all staff used the resources feeling that time was tight; collapsing into tutor groups (in Maths time since we had them in a half year block) once every 3 weeks for a dedicated CAME lesson but we found that staff were not able to build relationships with the students when we saw them so infrequently for the CAME lessons.
    In the end we settled on once every 3 weeks we would merge 2 groups together (say sets 2 and 4) and have them do a CAME lesson as a group of 60 with both class teachers and our AST running the session. It meant that there were opportunities for team teaching and also opportunities for staff to observe the teaching of others - whilst students all had access to the CAMe resources. We planned a 3 year program for the sessions and, for those that were not in the program, identified to class teachers, through the SoW, where they might be used.
  20. I am digging this up as I am hoping to get the go ahead to rewrite our KS3 SoW. They are currently topic based, half term of number, half term of shape etc. I find this very dry.
    I have been looking at the Kangaroo Maths schemes and I am considering the Elmwood Press textbooks to supplement any new schemes as these seem to receive good reviews on here, we currently don't have any textbooks for KS3.
    Does anyone else have a 2 year KS3?

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