Sorry there have been no updates recently. It’s not down to nothing happening but lack of time to post anything.
When I have finished pretending to be a member of the corps de ballet on stage, I will update with all the latest on my uphill struggle to become a primary maths specialist.
I’m just trying to get my head round the first lot of maths planning for next term. I’ve got to plan unit A3 and try to cover as many of the MaST requirements as possible. I also need to focus on my higher abilitychildren and try to push as many as possible towards level 5 as well as get my level 3’s up to level 4. Unit A3 is calculating and strongly focused on problem solving so it shouldn’t be too bad to include elements that I need to for MaST.
It all sounds fine until I look at my diary. The first week is fine but in the second week I’m only teaching 1 maths lesson out of 5. I have ppa every Tues am so I only ever teach 4 mornings. Then I also have a morning out for lesson obs as part of performance management, a morning on a course to introduce speaking and listening APP and then Friday morning is lost to hockey coaching.
It’s really difficult planning when you know that you’re not going to be there. I can plan in endless detail but there’s no guarantee that my plans will be followed. The last supply ignored my plans completely and did something totally different.
Ideally I would do a week on calculation methods followed by a week of problem solving where they use the methods. However it is the second week that I won’t really be teaching them so I need to put some of the problem solving into the first week so that I can deliver the lessons as I want to.
I’ve also got overcoming barriers 4-5 to look at to see if there is anything immediately useful as I haven’t had time to look at it properly yet.
I promised myself that I would get my head around some of the reading that we’ve got to do over this holiday. So far I have tackled Chapter of Primary Mathematics – Teaching for understanding by Patrick Barmby and others as well as a journal essay by John Mason ‘Structure of Attention in the Learning of Mathematics’
I have bought the book by Barmby and it is a very accessible text with lots of practical applications to maths teaching. Chapter 1 is all about how important it is for teachers to make connections for children. If maths learning is unconnected to what they already know then they will never develop real understanding. He talks about how important representations are in helping children to make these connections.
This builds on the Richard Skempe article about relational and instructional understanding. Here Barmby is explaining ways in which relational understanding can be achieved. The chapter struck several chords with me as it linked with previous inset we had in school about neural connections helping children to learn.
The John Mason essay was much harder to get to grips with and understand. Possibly because it wasn’t making any connections in my brain????????
He talks about how attention is structured at 5 different levels. At first sight these seem to be an order that your mind develops but then it appeared that all the levels are necessary for real understanding.
Points that I did manage to pull out were the ways in which learning builds upon prior knowledge, making further distinctions and the importance of not just using one method to teach. A task can be presented in many ways to suit specific students. This relates back to Barmby where he says that a variety of representations are necessary to enable pupils to fully develop their understanding of a concept.
I think that I shall have to revisit the Mason essay at some point in the future to see if I can make more sense of it.