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Mathematics Matters Lesson Accounts 24 - Focus on Positional Language

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Created on 28 May 2008 by ncetm_administrator
Updated on 05 November 2009 by ncetm_administrator

Mathematics Matters Lesson Accounts
A collection of memorable mathematics lessons that conference and colloquia delegates had observed or taught which they felt were successful.  Each account refers to one or more of the values and principles in the report.

Lesson Account 24 - Focus on Positional Language

Written by J Jones
Organisation Unknown
Age/Ability Range Unknown

(a) What was the mathematical task(s)?
Continuous provision in a nursery class – focus on positional language. All sorts of activities but 2 stick in my mind:

Picture from a book ‘Dinosaur’s day out’ with sunglasses, map, a beach etc replicated in classroom. Rich discussion about positioning of items referring to picture and artefacts. Later, outside, children ‘painting’ hollow shapes with water; seeking hidden dinosaurs; playing in pay house etc. Adults circulated with really high quality talk about position – ‘have you painted inside/under that?’ ‘Where have you painted?; ‘where have you looked for the dinosaur?; where did you find it?; who’s inside the house/tunnel?

(b) What learning culture was created? How was this achieved?
Children engrossed in play. Well planned range of tasks outside and in. Adults moved to where children were and talked with them.

  • Learning through play.
  • Rich collaborative tasks.
  • Emphasis on key ideas, embedded throughout learning activities.

(c) How could you tell that the task(s) achieved the intended purposes? Do you have any evidence?
Children talking confidently, understanding and using positional language, aided by adults’ questioning (developing a fluency with positional language)

(d) Is this example available to see/read about?

(e) Can you say why you chose this example? What criteria were in your mind?
Reading the Ofsted report ‘The Foundation Stage’ which identified the teaching of positional language was weaker than most other areas. (Calculation was the weakest). This conference made me recall observing the lesson which impressed me so much.


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Values & Principles

Fluency in recalling facts and performing skills
Uses rich, collaborative tasks

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