What extension work do able children get in your school?

(47 Posts)
Itshouldntmatter Tue 11-Oct-16 16:08:33

My DCs school does not seem to do much in the way of extension work for able children (DC1 in Y3). For Maths, for example, it is simply reasoning examples of the work they are doing, and explaining to peers who do not understand the concepts.

I was wondering what extension work other schools give? I know that there will be good (as in engaging and motivating) and bad (as in totally uninspiring) practice, and I'm really most interested in the ideas that really engage the children.

I should add, based on the definitions a friend gave me, my DD is talented and loves to learn (e.g. high performer across the board), rather than gifted (e.g. supreme talent in one or more area).

lorsa Tue 11-Oct-16 18:11:56

Hi! I have nothing to add but have also been wondering this question- particularly ahead of parents evening next week. I don't think my DS in Year 1 is being particularly challenged. Last year he went up to year 1 to do phonics but this year he is repeating the same thing! When I queried with the teacher, she said they can't go ahead but it's all about mastery. The maths he is doing is too easy for him too.

Sorry for jumping on your post but I was about to post a near identical post!

Itshouldntmatter Tue 11-Oct-16 18:25:37

Lorsa I hope someone has some experience that will be helpful for both of us! Hopefully someone (teachers/parents?) will have some thoughts.... There does seem to be such a contradiction between all children making appropriate progress, and the mastery thing. Not that I think mastery is bad, but I do think that in some instances (perhaps many), it ends up being about teaching to the middle ground, and facilitating the children who pick up the concepts quickly, and what to be challenged by something.

Itshouldntmatter Tue 11-Oct-16 18:26:24

Iorsa not Lorsa!

MidnightVelvettheSixth Tue 11-Oct-16 18:30:44

I'm not sure I ever really knew during primary what work DS1 was given, I just trusted the teacher to know what he needed. I remember in Year 3 when he was 7 he was on a table by himself doing maths as the teacher mentioned it in parents evening. DS at that time seemed to be constantly on a table by himself doing other work.

But school aren't responsible for all your child learns, if they enjoy learning then get them a library card, go to museums & galleries, join English Heritage, learn an instrument. One of our biggest things at that age was having full bookshelves where DS could read loads of stuff, he went through Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, Terry Pratchett etc & still asks for recommendations of what to read. He is banned from certain things though like Stephen King or Jean Auel (lots of sex/rape in the first book). Just give them opportunities & what they do at school is less important, when DS was talking about currency I started him with pocket money so he could add it all up etc

Itshouldntmatter Tue 11-Oct-16 18:37:28

Midnight I do agree that the school isn't responsible for all that children learn, however the nature of their role (in my view) is to enhance and develop learning. Particularly for things like maths. DD has already read Harry Potter, the Hobbit, has started on Lord of the Rings, and likes to sleep at night with her books lined up at the edge of her bunk bed. She is learning piano, and practices every day. We go to museums, galleries and National Trust. I am not asking for the school to cover everything she ever learns, but I do expect them to keep her interested and inspired at a level which matches what she is able to do. That learning doesn't have to be maths books that are years ahead, but they are a school. She should not have to do ALL her learning outside school (okay, I'm exaggerating).

Mishaps Tue 11-Oct-16 18:38:11

Go to it! - make sure that they learn loads of stuff right now. They only have a few years ahead of them - heaven forfend that they should be out and having fun. Let's pump them full of stuff while they are young enough not to object.

Bright children learn whatever happens - it is part of their persona. Schools adapt their learning content to take account of the child. It is more important that they should feel part of the group and socialise well. The learning just drops into place with the bright ones.

TheSnorkMaidenReturns Tue 11-Oct-16 18:44:08

My experience was that the school grouped the kids on tables by ability in maths. A top table, two mixed tables, and a support table. Certainly from Year 3. Can't recall before that.

The top table usually got more work when they had finished the set work, but were often asked to explain to less able children, as this has been shown to consolidate their learning and understanding. So it's a legitimate part of extension work.

I would ask the teacher what happens if you have any concerns.

citykat Tue 11-Oct-16 18:56:39

I share your concerns over the 'mastery' approach. I don't have good practice to share as I don't think DD has experienced any. Extension work is not always available, she has to ask, and if no one notices her hand up she just reads. Too much going over old ground, no new stuff. I feel sorry for her as her sibling had a much better experience, being properly stretched. Hope someone can provide some positive examples.

Dec1314mummy Tue 11-Oct-16 19:00:08

From a teachers perspective- the new curriculum is very different in that children are expected to deepen those understanding of a topic or area of learning not just do 'harder' work. For a child to explain and reason they are working at a mastery level and so are exceeding their year group expectation. A child in year 3 for example will look at numbers to 1000 and won't be expected to go beyond that. I'm pretty sure that's what your teacher will explain but never be afraid to ask of unsure.

Dec1314mummy Tue 11-Oct-16 19:00:51

Sorry for typos- trying to put baby to bed!

lorsa Tue 11-Oct-16 19:01:02

Some interesting comments! I absolutely think it is the school's responsibility to provide the right amount of challenge for my child and to teach him from the correct starting point for him- not potentially tag some extension work on at the end!

I get that school aren't responsible for all that he learns but they have a responsibility for the bits he does at school! And I want him to enjoy school, and be challenged and be faced with stuff he can't easily do.

dungandbother Tue 11-Oct-16 19:05:57

My school does none. Never had though regardless of new curriculum.

DD is bright but doesn't need extending. Her little friend does and school have never succeeded.

My DS is bright. Yr2. He passed phonics 40/40, reads whatever you put in front of him and yet is still expected to repeat phonics such as
Big
Men
Smell

I'm stretching him at home as per DD Yr 2 curriculum (before new one) with
Days of week, months of year. He just absorbs it all.

He is beyond bored st school. And ours also do this "teach fellow students once mastered". I despair.

ShoeEatingMonster Tue 11-Oct-16 19:07:02

9/10 my children don't require 'extension' work because I plan and differentiate for their needs. My more able (y6) sometimes have open ended investigations where they don't necessarily get 'the answer' but they work strategically and develop mathematical thinking.
And reasoning, assuming it's done properly, is challenging and what children should be expected to do. Not sure why you think reasoning is a waste of time?

TheSnorkMaidenReturns Tue 11-Oct-16 19:20:15

ShoeEatingMonster
This sounds precisely the type of stuff my able DS was asked to do. Some of the open-ended stuff was really interesting.

irvineoneohone Tue 11-Oct-16 19:27:21

ShoeEatingMonster, what you do sounds great. And that's what I try to do at home, since school doesn't.

I think the problem is, school do not recognise the differnce in children who are true outlier and best 3 in class of 30.(top 10%)

Antone interested can try these websites.

[[ nrich.maths.org/frontpage nrich]]
wildmaths

irvineoneohone Tue 11-Oct-16 19:28:58

Anyone, not Antone! sorry with link gone funny, still works.

lorsa Tue 11-Oct-16 19:46:44

ShoeEatingMonster, reasoning work sounds good and I am happy with that. My concern is the school seem rigid in not going beyond the requirements/expectations for that particular year.

dugandbother - I really want to avoid him being bored at school like your DS. I want him to love school and be excited by it and learning!

I have been told that focus is on phonics for the phonics test, however my DS would have passed that before reception- so I am confused at to how his needs are being met.

I guess what I'm wondering is how much "mastery" can there be in Year 1 topics before it's just going over the same stuff?

irvineoneohone Tue 11-Oct-16 20:02:13

reading comprehension
English Grammar
Maths

Itshouldntmatter Tue 11-Oct-16 20:16:09

ShoeEatingMonster I do agree that reasoning is important, but once a child has achieved mastery level, it gets boring to simply have to do more and more reasoning tasks. I'm not sure if there are different types of reasoning/mastery options, because she isn't inspired by the ones she is given. But I don't get the impression that the work is differentiated, other than her having to do lots of reasoning tasks (in fairness, I need to meet the teacher and find out). They sit on mixed ability tables, so that is why she spends time explaining to others. That is also a good skill.

But this is a child who loves Maths, and really gets excited about learning new stuff. I don't want her to get bored of school, and turned off from learning. I tried Khans Academy this morning, because she had said she was bored with maths at school. It was just 10 minutes, before school, but she was thrilled with the lesson on adding fractions and denominators (it was one I picked at random because I know she likes fractions). She watched the lesson, rushed to get her paper and pen, so she could write out what she was being shown. She then took her paper and pen into the car, and asked me to give her fractions to add, and then discussed how you did it with me for the journey to school. I should say, I don't think she anywhere close to Irvine's DS in ability, but then I haven't done any Maths with her at home before, because I had figured that was learning she could do at school.

What I was hoping to understand is what the differentiated learning is, and what happens beyond the reasoning tasks (when they are easily mastered), and what different schools do, exactly so when I do meet the teacher I can try and understand what is going on, and why my DD is not feeling stimulated.

Dec1314 do you think there is scope in the new NC for higher ability children? It is a genuine question, because I am wondering if I am just going to be told that all they can do is more and more reasoning questions.

Itshouldntmatter Tue 11-Oct-16 20:19:07

I guess what I'm wondering is how much "mastery" can there be in Year 1 topics before it's just going over the same stuff?

Not Y1 for me, but yes!

I'm very much hoping that someone will have examples of what inspiring things can happen once mastery has been mastered....

ShoeEatingMonster Tue 11-Oct-16 20:40:05

There was some confusion as when the new curriculum came out the mastery term was floated around and then became obsolete but some schools still use it.
It was a thing that schools wouldn't teach outside of the year groups but again that was something that wasn't explained properly and what it really meant was not moving chn on until their knowledge has been broadened/deepened. For example with column addition- in y3 they only deal with numbers to 1000. So once they can do column addition with three digit numbers parents expect them to be given "harder sums calculations" with more digits. In reality if you can do column addition with three digits you can do it with four/five/six as it isn't the number of digits that makes it hard. This is when you'd probably do reasoning type questions eg missing numbers to check understanding of the method (I've attached an example)
What feedback were you given about your DC at the end of Y2? And are you sure that they are definitely "mastering" everything they've done this year or are they saying they have? What kind of reasoning things are being given? As they shouldn't be "mastered easily".
For what it's worth I dislike mixed ability tables in maths.

TheSnorkMaidenReturns Tue 11-Oct-16 20:43:12

I'd do some Khan Academy at home with her most days then.

irvineoneohone Tue 11-Oct-16 20:44:45

Mastery assessment

It's only for maths, but you can use this and see if your dd have already achieved mastery for her year and above years as well? And you have a evidence she has mastered what she needs to learn within that year group when talking with teacher. Aim for not just mastery but mastery with greater depth.

I won't limit my ds's learning at home. But also think sideways stretch is important.

ShoeEatingMonster Tue 11-Oct-16 20:53:18

irvine I wouldn't class their mastery as what mastery should look like. They mean it as 'secure'.

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