What Maths looks like in our school
Throughout our mathematics curriculum, you should expect to see:
• Whole class learning together – Our mathematics is taught within age -related and mixed ability groups as appropriate. Occasionally, support and extension groups will work within small groups outside of the classroom with a trained LSA.
• Longer but deeper – in order to address the aims of the national curriculum, our long/medium term plans have been adjusted to allow longer on topics. Each lesson focus is on one key conceptual idea and connections are made across mathematical topics.
• Key learning points are identified during planning (collaboratively in year groups) and a clear journey through the maths should be shown within planning and on IWB slides (also reflected on learning walls). Greater depth activities will be planned carefully to ensure rapid graspers learning is stretched and challenged without crossing into future year’s curriculum content.
• Questions will probe pupil understanding throughout and responses are expected in full sentences using precise mathematical vocabulary (usually displayed on learning walls). Stem sentences may be used to scaffold children’s reasoning, vocabulary and understanding.
• ‘Misconceptions’ are identified during the planning process and children will be supported through these (also usually displayed on learning walls). We celebrate mistakes to ensure children understand that this is the way we learn. Mistakes are celebrated, addressed and overcome together.
• Fluency – We recognise that ‘fluency’ is not just about remembering facts. A 10-minute-maths (10MM) activity is planned in addition to the mathematics lesson (this links to our fluency policy, however some children require tailored activities to meet their needs).
• Exploration - instead of ‘Let me teach you…’ as a starting point, children are encouraged to explore a problem themselves to see what they already know. Lesson objectives are not always shared with the children at the beginning of the lesson because sometimes we want the children to reason for themselves.
• Develop reasoning and deepen understanding (contexts and representations of mathematics) – problems are usually set in real-life contexts - carefully chosen representations (manipulatives and images) are used by all to explore
concepts. Reasoning statements may also be displayed in the classroom to support children answer and writing in full mathematical sentences.
• Structuring - the teacher will organise the findings of the exploration, compare/contrast strategies and guide toward the most efficient strategy (or the one being learnt that day).
• Step by step approach – journey through the mathematics (these steps may appear small, especially at the beginning of a lesson, there are points when suddenly a jump appears to have been made, or an extra challenge appears – this is normal). The smart notebook/PowerPoints/planning clearly show this step-by-step approach. In some year groups, the use of the NCETM Spine Materials will be evident, providing clear guidance for making small steps to ensure there are no gaps in the children’s learning.
• Discussion and feedback – pupils have opportunities to talk to their partners and explain/clarify their thinking throughout the lesson but may expected to complete some written work independently.
• Reflecting - this may be linked to use of the textbook – images on the IWB may be from the textbooks or other sources.
• Practising - not drill and practice but practice characterised by variation –
• Marking and Feedback – we have a whole school marking policy which is followed within every classroom. Marking should reflect feedback and pupils will have opportunities to respond to this.
• SEN pupils – may be supported by additional adults, different resources, differentiated activities. They may also complete additional activities outside of the mathematics lesson. Additionally, challenging activities may also be planned for children who are exceeding the curriculum expectations.
NB: We do not label our children, we purely work on the basis that they are emerging, working at or exceeding the year group expectations. We have high expectations of all children and strongly believe that all children are equally able in mathematics. Some may take longer to grasp concepts and may need careful scaffolding or extra time/support (guided groups, same day catch-up, additional homework, pre-teaching, intervention group, morning/after school clubs, specific parent support).
• Contextualised led learning - by putting learning into a relevant context pupils will gain a deeper understanding; this should support throughout the learning journey rather than only at the end
• Talk in maths - by orally clarifying their thinking, pupils consolidate their understanding. Maths talk is supported through a shared framework of sentence prompts and high expectations and modelled explanations. Listening to pupils’ discussion and explanations provides an invaluable assessment opportunity. STEM sentences will be carefully planned and used within lessons to encourage children’s oracy, answering in full sentences.
• Use of resources, models and images - all pupils benefit from the appropriate use of resources to support their understanding of mathematical concepts. Teachers ensure that pupils can move from tangible experiences before moving to the abstract. This applies to pupils of all ages and attainment.
• Challenge for all - all pupils should experience maths learning which challenges and stretches them. Pupils should be encouraged to develop their resilience and teachers should plan activities where outcomes are not limited. All pupils in a class should experience a similar amount of success.
• Depth before breadth - the National Curriculum is a mastery curriculum whereby the expectation is that the majority of a class will have learnt and understood the objectives by the end of the year. Extension is through enrichment, reasoning and depth of understanding. There is not an expectation to move to the subsequent year’s teaching programme.
• Assessment for learning - this is an integral part of all lessons. Teachers are expected to respond to pupils within a lesson and adjust planning and teaching to meet pupils’ needs.
• Meaningful maths links - teachers plan for a learning journey, linking lessons together so there is progress over time. Opportunities to see maths in action should be exploited in other curriculum areas whenever possible.