School-based Maths INSET: what will staff at your school be learning in the next year?
Starting to think about INSET and staff training for September? In this issue we are including an overview of the Maths in the Staff Room features from previous editions of the Primary and Early Years Magazine, so that you can pick and mix to create bespoke training for your team.
With a new school year arriving, and perhaps new staff in your team, the autumn term can be a good chance to re-visit key messages about the teaching of maths across the school. If you have done any analysis of your KS1 and KS2 maths SATs papers, there may be particular areas of the curriculum which children in your school find more challenging. You may find the starting point for an INSET or staff meeting session in these features.
Maths in the Staff Room resources provide a simple plan for CPD meetings in your school to be led by a member of your staff. These are short meetings (between 45 minutes and two hours) that can be used exactly as indicated, or adapted to meet the CPD needs of the school. Each has clear aims, timings and editable resources, supplied to enable flexibility of delivery.
Below are some of our favourites, and you can find a list of all Maths in the Staff Room features in our archive.
By grouping the sessions, you can explore key elements of the primary mathematics curriculum in depth:
‘Mental maths’: a pair of related sessions
Issue 70: To establish a common understanding of what it means to work mentally with fluency
The Mental Arithmetic paper may have gone from the SATs but children still need to be fluent with mental methods so that they can work efficiently, flexibly and accurately. Through a series of activities and video clips you and your colleagues will be able to explore the importance of mental fluency and ideas to use in the classroom to support children in developing this aspect of their mathematics. It’s your chance to be Rachel Riley (or Carol Vorderman, if you prefer)!
Issue 86: How understanding equivalent calculations can be used as an efficient mental strategy
This meeting allows teachers to develop their own understanding of equivalent calculations and how to model structures of calculation so that the children develop a deeper understanding which they can then apply in different situations.
‘Calculation’ in six related sessions
If calculation is a focus for your school, then the sessions in Issues 72, 80 - 83, and 86 would provide teachers with opportunities to explore key structures and representations which underpin teaching and learning in this area of mathematics.
Based on John Mason’s work on the importance of representations, the session in Issue 72 asks staff to consider representations of five, how these are related, and what the different representations offer children in terms of understanding ‘five-ness’.
Issues 80-83 form a four-part series addressing mathematical structures. Staff are encouraged to identify where the different structures occur in the curriculum, and how children can be supported in identifying and understanding them in terms of context, physical movement, in pictures and in symbols.
- 80 - Doing and undoing in maths (for example, adding and subtracting)
- 81 - Doing and undoing in other subject areas (for example, scales up and down in music), emphasising that being numerate across the curriculum - attitudes of mind, problem solving, reasoning and decision making - is one way to embed the aims of the National Curriculum, and is different to trying to cover mathematical content in other subjects
- 82 - When order matters (for example, when dividing 6 and 2, but not when adding them)
- 83 - 'Always, Sometimes, Never' activities to help children avoid overgeneralising rules from a structure (for example, adding two numbers together always makes a bigger number).
The session in Issue 86 develops understanding of equivalent calculations so that teachers can help children use them to spot efficient strategies in mental calculation.
Most importantly, make the most of your staff meeting time: do some maths together, discuss how you teach maths, share how you plan for progress and how you engage children in their learning. This is the time where a buzz about maths is born and nurtured both for the children and for you.