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Year 7 working at year 1 level

Discussion in 'Mathematics' started by BuckMinster, Sep 4, 2020.

  1. BuckMinster

    BuckMinster New commenter

    Hi, I am a bit daunted by a bottom set year 7 I have this year. Many are reported as functioning mathematically at year 1 or 2 level. Can anyone please share the benefit of their experience with me, and maybe some ideas for engaging and teaching at this level as it is new to me. I will also have some slightly higher ability in the same class so any suggestions on how to organise/run the lessons would be massively appreciated. Class size is 25.
    Thank you in advance (and anticipation).
  2. maths126

    maths126 New commenter

    To get a clearer idea of what you are working with, you could download the Excel Grid "Concepts to Secure in Mathematics" from https://completemaths.com/teaching-tools/resources - remembering that your students have a "Maths Age" of 6, to use that grid's notation. They are just beginning their journey of Mathematical Maturation so the only approach to engaging and teaching thesse pupils is to work within that level. Plenty of very basic work, much praise for the smallest success, and focus on improving self-confidence. These children have probably been shouted at for 6 years of school for being stupid. Perhaps you will be the first teacher they have had who can patiently secure the conceptual understanding they currently have, before gently leading them on to the next level.
    I am sure they will quickly become your favourite class in your timetable.
    phlogiston and BuckMinster like this.
  3. Newidentity

    Newidentity Occasional commenter

    White Rose maths has a really good set of resources for primary schools (which is effectively what they are!) Groups like this can be very rewarding, there's nothing like having a student say that they hated maths at primary but now they really like it to make you feel that your job is worthwhile.
    BuckMinster likes this.
  4. hhhh

    hhhh Star commenter

    Normally I'd suggest you get some Family Learning in. Involving the parents acn be very useful as they can work with the child at home to bring them up to scratch (yes, even parents who were very disengaged themselves-some of these end up the keenest with their pre-teens!)
    Right now, could you get some courses to engage with parents online?
    BuckMinster likes this.
  5. Jesmond12

    Jesmond12 Star commenter

    Is that what you think happens in primary schools?
    carriecat10 and CarrieV like this.
  6. Newidentity

    Newidentity Occasional commenter

    I don't think that students would have been shouted at for being stupid (at least I hope not) but in my experience of a similar group, they are all convinced that they are no good at maths, they can't do it and they absolutely loved being in a group where they were told repeatedly that it was OK to be wrong.
    strawbs likes this.
  7. BuckMinster

    BuckMinster New commenter

    Thank you for your suggestions, I'm feeling much more hopeful now, and maybe even looking forward to the challenge of helping them to enjoy maths and feel that they actually can do it.
    common-tater likes this.
  8. frustum

    frustum Star commenter

    The biggest problem will be the top end of the group, I suspect, and making sure you cater well enough for both ends.

    When I started teaching, I had some lovely "set 6" groups. About 12-15 kids, who mainly enjoyed maths because it was pitched at their level, and they could enjoy success - something that was less the case in their other subjects. Sometimes, one would do well on a test and say anxiously "I won't have to move up, will I?"
    Then we were told that instead of having 5/6 classes in a block, we could only have 3/4, because the head disapproved of the stigma of being in set 6. However we now had three bottom sets of 20, instead of two of 15, so twice as many kids were in bottom sets; the extra 30 were the ones who resented it, and weren't really in need of that nurturing aspect of the bottom set.
    strawbs likes this.
  9. maths126

    maths126 New commenter

    Good point. Of course I don't, and I regret that simplistic response. Sorry to any Primary Teachers whom I may have inadvertently slighted. My exerience, however, is not that teachers give lower-attaining pupils their poor self-esteem, but often other pupils and even those parents who seem to value nothing less than A* offspring. Indeed, those primaries who have been able to arrange early and intensive intervention have seen the most dramatic improvements. I think my main point was that building up confidence was the key, and I still hold that.
  10. Belle35

    Belle35 New commenter

    Take a look at the new Primary guidance on maths and the 'ready to progress' criteria and then some really good stuff on ncetm with exemplifications of that criteria. Assume nothing. Especially don't assume they know the meaning of the = sign or they know about the inverse of addition and subtraction or they understand what multiplication is and its relationship with division. Pupils counting in 'ones'. I had a 16 year old the other day who counted up from 40 in ones to calculate 40+16. They are caught in the 'counting trap' and they wont get out of it on their own.

    Best of luck.

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