# Year 3 / 4 maths planning

Discussion in 'Primary' started by lillipad, Sep 12, 2010.

Hi guys,
This year I have a mixed class of years 3 and 4. The class is pretty wide in ability, ranging from p scales through to 3B. I'm having really big problems with the organisation and planning of my lessons and can't get my head around it at all. How do you work the objectives? Sometimes it's not a logical progression and it has them doing some things that aren't linked. What do you do for an input? A year 3 input then take the 4s on further? Or start from the top and then send them off and go back with the year 3s? But then the year 3s sit and listen to stuff they don't understand? Plus some of my year 3s are a 3c, so do they follow the Y4 objective? And do the year 4s who are 2b follow the year 3 objective?
Help???

2. ### Nickybo

I did mixed Y3/4 for the first time last year. It was the first time our school had a mixed year so it was brand new to everyone. We use the Abacus Evolve resources and they do a mixed year planning book and CD-Rom. We used that and adapted it where necessary. It certainly wasn't ideal and needed a lot of tweaking - some days it would have every group doing a different high-input game, how could I explain all 5 games and still give them time to do them? We have found that a lot of the time the different year groups are doing the same or nearly the same maths theme, but occasionally they are doing something different which is where it is really hard!
I tend to do a whole class input first. Then last year I did the Year 4 input but accepted answers from anyone. Then anyone doing the Y4 work went off and did it. I then did the Y3 input and then they did their work. I then went to check on the Y4s while the Y3s got started.
I grouped by ability not by year group, although I think I only had two children in each year who ended up doingthe other year groups work.

Now into the second year and we are starting to rethink things. I feel that the higher achieving Y3s may have missed out on some earlier concepts because we moved them onto Y4 work. It has been suggested we have 5(ish) groups - SEN (from both year groups), low/middle Y3, middle/high Y3, low/middle Y4 and middle/high Y4 so they are working within their own year group. I don't know how I feel about this yet as it's only just been suggested and not trialled yet. In my new class I have an ability range from P level to 4b!!

So actually, I probably haven't been that much help! It is really difficult to plan and organise maths for a mixed year group, I've not had difficulty in any other subject but maths just seems so hard. If you find the answer please let me know!

Thank you, that's been helpful to read how someone else is managing it. My trouble is that I have year 3 pupils who are working at a level 3c, and are mixed in with my other 3c year 4s. And as you said, the trouble is are we then setting them too high and they're missing out on the basics, or do we assume that because they're a 3c they've got that? I don't know the answer. I've ended up with them pretty much spread evenly through my ability groups. I guess you do by ability rather than age group as there's no point in a Year 4 doing negative numbers etc, when they can't add and subtract on a number line.
One person recommended I do a year 4 input, send them off and then continue with year 3s, but some of my year 3s are such babies that if I did that they'd just switch off and by the time I got to them they wouldn't be capable of working! Almost feel like I have to start from the bottom and work up, but then i'm wasting the year 4s time cause they're sitting through stuff they know. Yet I don't feel I can send them off before they've had an input. Honestly I just cannot see how to structure these lessons. Please help us someone !!!

4. ### xxxkxxx

im an nqt with a yr 3/4 class an findin this hard too! my school follow collins to a degree - i tend to teach the yr 3 input - explain the yr 3 task (some of my yr4's are still doin yr 3 work tho) an set them off to work. i then work with yr 4's for while and explain their task. its complicated!! just have to see how they get on. pls let me know if u have any other ideas!!!

5. ### clatkiu1

Hi there I have been teaching Y3/4 for a few years now, it's really not easy teaching mixed age maths, I too have P scales through to level 3a's if not a 4.
I tend to do a whole class imput, so for example if we are looking at calculations (addition) everyone starts by doing it on a numberline but I give diffrentiated questions.
E.g. Group 1: Use a numberline to show 7+9, Group 2 use a numberline to show 25+13, Groups 3: 45+32, Group 4: 123+68, Group 5, 142+327.
I would then set the lower/middle ability children off e.g. groups 1,2,3 on similar types of calculations but with lots of resources e.g. hundred squares, bead bars, etc and then move onto column addition with the top 2 groups.
My groups are set by ability not yr group. If I need to teach a specific difficult Y4 objective e.g. negative numbers, I often set my other groups off playing maths games, or using internet games etc. They don't always have to do something written.
Don't use a scheme and do my own planning, but the only way to do it is by careful differentiation and lots of resources for the less able.
Know it isn't perfect, but works for me!

6. ### twinkle298

I don't teach a Y3/4 class, just a straight year group, but do have a very wide range. I would think that just like in a single year group, you should ignore age and group by ability. I think you should give some tasks that don't really involve much teaching, but enable you to assess their abilities. From the sound of your levels you will have an SEN group that need to be taken off the bottom. Do you have a TA to do this?
I would pick an objective from the framework and assess the whole class (excepting the SEN group) on this - say mental addition and subtraction, give a selection of questions, see how they do, can they explain reasoning, what methods do they use etc. Then you will know exactly what each child struggles with and be able to teach to what they need to learn, hopefully finding groups with similar issues.
It might be useful to do a search for key objectives for each year group, as I found a really useful document with all the key objectives from YR up which might help with differentiation.

7. ### duckeggchavmilf

It's a nightmare. Hardest logistical part of planning for year 3 and 4 is the maths.

I change my approach every bloody term and have done for past four years, still not got it settled in my head.

I definitely wouldn't ever have them on the carpet for two inputs. Main input is supposed to be as short and snappy as possible for 7-9 year olds you have about 10-12 mins max of concentration. If you doubled that up....20minutes for a year 3 on a carpet? No chance.

At the moment I'm teaching two lessons in one lesson. Y3 start on laptops or other maths activity for ten mins while y4 have main input, then y4 go and do independent work or activity related to obj while I do y3 main input...then they go and do ind work or group work while I come and help the year 4s, or extended them, then repeat with 3s.......it's a bloody nightmare like I say and I'm helped by the fact that our 2nd session is quite long (if they ever come in from play on time) get between an hour and an hour 15.....also helped by the behaviour of my classes has always been amazing.

I'm always on the lookout for new ways to change it and it does my heeeeed in doing two seasons for the price of one....mainly cos your head spins with all the chopping round......however it is nice only having about 12 on the carpet, it's easier to spot who's where, which in turn speeds up the whole main input.

Anyone else with any thoughts? I don't think I'll ever stop trying to make it perfect.

8. ### marmitesaintNew commenter

Grouping by ability would mean the work would be pitched at the right level for each child but the year 3s may need extra support with written calculations depending on the year 4s ability. When needed (usually number) separate LOs would be appropriate.
Could (probably the more able) work on revisiting/applying the prior lesson's learning while you give input? Another way could be to use a 4 group rotation structure (2 activities per 50 mins)e.g. T guided - follow up task - LSA guided - application task with the lower groups working with the adult first. Mental maths could either be done first or at a different time of the day. I use this structure when teaching concepts to a range of sub-levels or when concepts are only appropriate for some groups etc. Weekly rich maths tasks mean all children work on the same task, with different maths partners, and individuals can be focused on.

9. ### marmitesaintNew commenter

It is really important that your TA doesn't always (or mostly) work with your lower ability children. These children need regular teaching from their teacher as that is the best way to decide what to plan for them next. You can also use your TA to work with your more able at the beginning of lessons and to work with different groups throughout the lesson so you can focus on your guided group. You are right: seeing what works is what we do everyday

10. ### duckeggchavmilf

Totally agree with those last two posts. When I have a TA in I make sure they work equally with different groups. .... When I said about y3s and y4s I meant the top two groups and the bottom two groups ... Just my top two and bottom two groups usually work at y4 levels and y3 levels respectively. .... I agree with the point mentioned earlier about moving y3s up though, it often means they miss some fundamentals if they move up on a full time basis. I usually have a few from each year group that move up or down just for one week or for individual lessons.... It is a logistal whitey for sure. You need a degree just to get your head round it. Makes you want to be a secondary history teacher sometimes (not really) .... Funniest part is trying to explain to a supply teacher who is coming in cold for one lesson!! Usually ends with "....tell you what, just do some problem solving stuff with them."

11. ### duckeggchavmilf

By the way, has anyone figured out how (or found a scheme that) to plan and deliver on a two year rolling scheme, like you do in y3/4 English? I've tried to figure out how this would work with maths but can't get my head round it.

12. ### MartyWNew commenter

One possibility (where you are in need of seperate inputs) is having one group (the more trustworthy one? higher ability one?) have worksheets/workbooks/photocopies from workbooks prepared for them and get them into a pattern of them going straight to their workbooks. Input the other group, then depending on whether you set sheets specific to the LO/topic or just general maths practice you can either see how they're doing and react to that or go straight into a pre-planned input (where I've seen this it has just been general maths practice usually arithmetic in a photocopied workbook, which is used to fill dead times e.g. first thing in the morning, marking feedback is minimal).

Wow, just realised how old this thread is and particularly the post I've given this as a reply to. Ah well hope someone finds it useful.

13. ### roxigray

Thank you for all of your helpful posts. I have been chopping and changing my ways this year as I had 4 new children on one day, 2 of which were working on P Levels so my class has a large range of differentiation.
I really like the suggestion of having one group on an independent worksheet type activity while I do the input and then swap. In our school mental maths is an issue so can leave them with some sheets and focus on the others input.