Help with maths planning

(31 Posts)
phlebasconsidered Tue 18-Feb-14 14:02:29

I have just taken over a new class in Year 5. They've had three teachers so far this year. Just before half term I got the leaving teacher to get them to sit some maths and writing papers. Writing is reasonable, and the levels are appropriate to the info i've got, but the maths is WAY out, and their papers are horrifying. I'm meant to be moving onto C2 with them, but from the papers I think fully 3/4 of the class don't get multipication, division, place value, fractions, and I could go on. Yet their levels suggest they should. It's not just a bad paper either, i've looked through their books this morning in school and their work is very gappy.

Any advice at all welcome! Currently, i'm thinking I should just plan to go back to basics for the first 4 weeks back. Oh, and there isn't another colleague to plan with, long-term sick. Thankyou, in panic!

Abbierhodes Tue 18-Feb-14 14:09:04

Hi there, I hope you don't mind me marking my place here. I'm an English teacher, who, for a variety of reasons, is now teaching maths to year 7. I'd love some advice on planning/resources as support from our maths dept is sketchy at best!

Cerisier Tue 18-Feb-14 14:12:54

Abbie, what levels are the Y7s at? Is it a mixed ability class or a set? Do you have a syllabus or scheme of work?

Abbierhodes Tue 18-Feb-14 14:18:18

They are all below level 4- mostly 3, some 2s. It's a nurture group, which is why I'm teaching them maths- we're trying to give them as few different teacher as possible.

There is a mid term plan, but it's quite vague.

phlebasconsidered Tue 18-Feb-14 14:58:50

I've just burst into tears looking through the SATS again. Children who are supposedly a 3b are getting 1 or 2 marks.
My supposed 4's are 3's and my 3's are 2's, and my 2's are nowhere! Even the question putting money amounts into order foxed 85% of them. I just don't know where to begin. For a start, I clearly won't be showing any progress, at all, this year!

Right. Do not get upset. You've got a lot of work to, combined with getting the trust and respect of a class who may be very disengaged.
KEEP the papers. They are evidence. As soon as possible speak to the Head and frankly discuss expectations. You absolutely can't do the impossible here, so speak to the Head about where s/he sees the class going. It is also important the Head knows that the levels you've inherited seem to he very inaccurate. I've got some experience in this kind of situation and would be happy to help via PM or share planning, if you like?

missmapp Tue 18-Feb-14 15:09:06

agree with jonsnow- this is not your fault or issue- it is the school who need to deal with their poor assessment.

well done for getting them to take a test, i would show the papers to SLT when you get back. Until then, yes to back to basics- or you will get nowhere. You may find with a bit more consistency, they flourish and meet original levels.

I know it is MASSES of work- but could you use thier books to do an APP grid, so you can give your own TA?? Maybe just with a sample, to back up your opinion on levels.

Oh, and remember- if they end up at the end of the year at the levels they are meant to be now- they will have made progress- you have books and SAT papers to prove it!!

Also, your conversation with the Head will give you an idea of how well they know what's going on in their school. When I had similar chat with my old head, he was adamant the previous teacher was utterly rigorous in her assessment and that the children were just "consolidating." I had children sent to me in year 6 on solid fours who couldn't write a sentence or add two digit number.

Effic Tue 18-Feb-14 15:22:49

Look up Intensive support programme on Internet and do it in addition to numeracy lessons. You need to shift your timetable around a bit and find 5x 20 mins per day but it's worth it! Shorten the termly blocks suggested into 4 weeks and do place value, add, subtract, multiply, divide and weight and measures. Make sure your initial assessment is as accurate as possible to get them on the right target to start with and then you can show progress to SLT through the progress they make up the targets. Strip back your maths curriculum to number, calculation, weights & measure and teach at L3 to start with for 4 sessions per week. Save session 5 for mental maths strategies. Look up glosmaths - some fab resources to support. Good luck!

Effic Tue 18-Feb-14 15:25:15

Oh and Hamilton trust have downloadable maths plans that are a good starting point

phlebasconsidered Tue 18-Feb-14 16:01:49

Thankyou! Thankyou all so much. It's all so daunting when you know you're going to be judged on paper progress. They've also had their targets reworded and there's been so much change ( thankyou, OFSTED) that we don't know whether we are coming or going. I just really don't want to let them down. I'm got an evening of googling resources ahead of me. And more APP tommorrow....The last lot wasn't at all accurate, as far as I can see.

The class are very disengaged and have some severe behaviour problems, including SEN children with a reading/ writing / maths of Wa, who can be very disruptive and aggressive, who I also need to plan separately for. I've been in today to seat plan, rejig the classroom and put expectations on the wall, but it's all starting to seem very daunting. I really think I'll have to do as you say and lay a paper trail of proof if i'm not to end up taking the flak for it. Esp as we expect the MIB by April.

phlebasconsidered Tue 18-Feb-14 16:04:32

And thanks, Jonsnow, please do pm me!

toomuchicecream Tue 18-Feb-14 19:11:05

Wow! That's quite a potent cocktail you've taken on! Do you have any text books or a bought-in scheme of work? I agree with the advice above that you need to focus on place value and the 4 number operations to start with but if you're not going to spend ridiculous amounts of time planning & preparing, you need something to help you out. Maths on Target would be my book of choice - no silly graphics, just plenty of differentiated practise questions. Each page is split into C (year below), B (this year) and A (year ahead) so you've got a good start to your differentiation. Of course no book or scheme is going to do everything for you, but at £6.95 (I think) per book I suggest you buy yourself a year 5 one. Lots of good advice here, and most of all, good luck to you!

phlebasconsidered Tue 18-Feb-14 20:26:16

Thankyou toomuch, I shall be amazoning that for myself right now! I was just told to follow the Framework, but I am downloading plans from TES left right and centre. Even looking at year 4 / 5 mixed plans, for the spread. That textbook sounds just right.

Abbierhodes Tue 18-Feb-14 22:46:21

Some of these tips are fantastic, thanks to you all for sharing.

Effic, I've googled intensive support programme, but it brings up a lot and I can't find anything specifically related to maths. Can you post any links?

phlebasconsidered Wed 19-Feb-14 16:31:02

I've just marked thee writing papers and they're worse. (Sob, sniff)

purplebaubles Wed 19-Feb-14 16:35:55

I inherited an awful class. I spent the first four weeks just hammering the basics. No planning as such, literally just a full week of column addition, a full week of grid method, a full week of long division and a full week of subtraction. Pretty old school really.

My personal opinion is that nothing else is going to work if the basics aren't there. Regardless of what scheme you're following.

Of course, it all depends whether you work in a school that will leave you to your own devices and allow you to just do this!

phlebasconsidered Wed 19-Feb-14 17:04:05

You're right purple. I am hoping to see the head this week and fill her in on the situation. I think a full month of basics MUST be done. 1/3 of the class got less than 2 marks on the SAT paper. Only 6 got above 10 marks. The writing is the same. With the writing I'm going to have to hammer punctuation, super sentences, and simple comprehension.

Which long division method did you plump for or did you try all of them? They seem to have done, but not understood chunking at all, so i'm wondering if I should try a vertical line instead or just keep hammering away at chunking. The word problems were the worst, hardly any of them attempted any, and those that did misunderstood. It's highly likely that this related to poor reading ability too.

How long did it take, purple? Did you get there in the end?

missmapp Wed 19-Feb-14 17:07:59

If word problems are an issue, Id be tempted to do double weeks on each operation- week addition- week problem solving, week subtraction, week prob solving ( maybe even chucking addition and subtraction probs in if you/them are up for it!! and so on.

Do they do guided reading? Could you do some sort of home reading race/incentive to increase reading levels.

I came back from maternity leave to a class like this and although it is disheartening, when the progress comes, it really comes !!

Not much help from me as I teach Year 1 but we have greatly improved the maths in our school this year by conceptualising all maths as far as possible, using lots of different models and images (including the ITPs such as number square, number line etc) and making it all as practical as possible.

Good luck, you sound like you are very determined and I think that may be half the battle!

Could you also introduce some behavioural incentives, eg 'star of the day' or extra choosing time (huge apologies if these sound very silly and young, they work with 5 year olds!) or bribery with computer time or even the odd chocolate incentive?!

But focus on their learning behaviour and rewarding that rather than just the end result. Sorry if that is like teaching you to suck eggs!!!

phlebasconsidered Wed 19-Feb-14 17:28:47

Nope, all ideas are great! I've just spent a small fortune of smelly stickers, they work on any age! I am going to have a writer and a mathematician of the week and award them at the end of every week with a can of fizz and a letter home or the like, while we read the class story.

The guided reading is there but the activities that go alongside it are a bit "bleh", I really need to get them to use that time where they are working independently to do something good, but they lack the work ethic to do comprehension activities etc without help. Maybe a project.

I think you're right, double weeks on each operation will be necessary. Lots of mental maths too. And times tables....

My other issue is that the TA's time is spent with the SEN children to the exclusion of all the other low level children who need extra help, so we really need her to have time to do interventions as well.

I am determined, but I may need fortification with gin by Fridays! To make it worse I am a fairly recent returner after time off with kids, so this is just all so much grist to the mill, what with organising childcare, getting my own kids not to hate me and so on. I've sent mine off to the in-laws tonight so i've got tonight to sit and surf and gather resources, and tommorrow to spend all day at school plotting and figuring out if I hate the old displays enough to take them down. I think I do.

How disheartening to come back from maternity to that, missmapp.

Great! Love the can of fizz as reward!

Activities they could do independently in GR could be:
Copying key words/spellings into books and then writing a sentence with one of the words in.
Giving them a long word and seeing how many short words they can make out of it.
Giving them different graphemes and challenging them to see how many words they can write with that grapheme in.
Bananagrams, Boggle type games.
Handwriting practise on laminated sheets.
Pictures to label?

We have lots of phonic games too but yours might be too old for that again. I pick up loads of stuff like that from car boot sales.

And just remember every six weeks you get a week off. That keeps me going a LOT!
I want to come and help you get ready now!!

Ps see you on the Drunk Thread every Friday!!! wink

missmapp Wed 19-Feb-14 18:26:30

phelbs- it was a steep learning curve in the joys of combining work and children BUT I did survive to see the other side.

You are so ready for your class, they wont know what's hit them!!

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