This week we were signposted to an interesting article, ‘How to Avoid a Primary Maths Meltdown’ in the TES by Joshua Levinson, a Deputy Head Teacher at a primary school in south London. In the article, he states:
Reading the article reminded us of a recent observation, while working/playing with some Y6 children as part of a Physically Active Learning (PAL) session in Durham. Having completed the Physical Challenge, the children were set the Thinking Challenge, which involved the following discussion…
Us: “What do you notice?”
Y6 boy: “There’s a pattern – it’s a multiple of 8 plus 1, then the next multiple of 8 plus 2 and so on…”
Nobody else – child or teacher – has ever made this observation.
When we told his teacher about this, he replied, “Lewis? Really?! He hates Maths.”
As teachers, we know what works and what doesn’t. We know that when we make Maths fun, active and relevant, something magical happens. Furthermore, as Josh says, “(resources) help children visualise the maths. They need to ‘see’ the numbers in order to understand why the answer is the answer, as opposed to simply getting the answer right.”
Tagtiv8 & Testing
Testing exists. As teachers, we know that AfL helps us and children identify the areas on which we need to develop. However, the current system that fixates on testing is wrong on so many levels.
Just ask Michael Rosen, as seen in his blog post, ‘The Data have Landed’.
Or ask the NAHT and consider their thoughts and proposals outlined here.
Having taught Y6 for many years, we agree with Josh, who states “there always seems to be a huge last-minute rush to get Year 6 pupils ready for the Sats. Spending Year 6 cramming is stressful for teachers and stressful for the children, too.”
Until there is a shift in assessment, many Y6 teachers are seen as ‘the plasterers of the trade’.
If you are a Y6 or a Y2 teacher, we are more than happy to support your schools to alleviate the fears, concerns and potential meltdowns. To find out how, check out a previous post of ours here.
If you like what you see and think your learners will appreciate such approaches, just drop us a line.