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DD yr 1 needing help with Maths

(13 Posts)
Giddly Wed 19-Oct-11 11:15:34

DD left pre-school with a pretty good understanding of numbers for her age - could count things, add things if she had two groups of things and could do "one more than" for numbers up to 10. I don't think her maths improved at all in reception, except she learnt to reliably write numbers. I mentioned this to her teacher who said not to worry - she thought she actually had an aptitude for maths and it would just come in time. Roll on to year one, and I've been told she's falling badly behind in maths. She still can't add numbers together up to 10 without counting something (e.g. groups of beads). She apparently struggles with the basic concepts and needs a lot of support. In addition I've noticed she's actually having trouble writing numbers (which she used to be fine at) - they're often back to front.

I need to go back and get some ideas of how I can support her better at home, but was wondering if anyone had any ideas? I just find it so strange that she seemed to start out fine, but is not making progress or "getting it". Her reading is very good, and everyone says she seems bright, but for some reason not reaching her potential.

gabid Wed 19-Oct-11 11:33:12

Hm, its funny that she could do it before, though. One thing I could think of is that the difference between pre-school and school is that at pre-school its all self directed and that she doesn't have to do it if she doesn't want to. In school they have to do maths at a certain time and it may have been too much for her.

In reception my DS refused to work with Miss X, later I found out that Miss X was doing some individual maths with them and he didn't like it. He was just 4 at the time, and they made him do it in the end sad

I am sure someone with better ideas will be along soon.

gabid Wed 19-Oct-11 11:35:11

There are websites with maths games, e.g. and the BBC KS1 website with Molly. Maybe she enjoys the games and her maths will pick up again.

Giddly Wed 19-Oct-11 11:38:35

Thanks gabid. Moving to yr 1 has very much rocked her confidence for a number of reasons, and I think that may be part of it. She's certainly not working to her full potential at the moment - her reading etc at school are not as good as at home. But she just seems to have block when it comes to maths that seems to be getting worse.

Giddly Wed 19-Oct-11 11:39:04

Thanks for the sites - will look

crazygracieuk Wed 19-Oct-11 14:11:00

My son is in Y1 and he is allowed to use physical objects when adding if he wants. He is also allowed to use a number line or 100 square if he chooses. I've helped in Y2 and lots of children use fingers to add so personally I don't think it's unusual to need a prop for adding and taking away.

Do you think she'd like to play shops? For example you could get lots of pennies and have her buy things from your imaginary shop- get her to label her goods, work out totals and change. Start with small numbers like up to 5 and work up to 10 and beyond.

Does she like playing schools? My dd adored (and still does!) marking registers and writing the total number present /away for each day and doing things like splitting her class of 12 children into 3 groups and so on. I used to make the registers in Excel but luckily she's now of an age where she can make her own.

Do you know if there are any maths topics that she's good at? Eg. Shapes, time... Maybe you could work on the topics that she's good at to build her confidence in the areas that she's not?

Giddly Wed 19-Oct-11 19:34:10

Great idea about shops - thanks. Will certainly do thatt over the half term. Interesting that they are allowed to still use physical obbjects and numberlines - I've spoken to a few parents after PA who had a similar experience to me and I'm beginning to think the teacher's standards may be a bit unrealistic. Still doesn't change the fact she's made no progress though.

RosemaryandThyme Wed 19-Oct-11 19:40:46

There is a condition similar to being Dyslexic that affects numeracy instead of literacy. True inability to manipulate numbers can be tested for (as opposed to lack of confidence/ not liking the teacher etc), might be worth asking school for a formal assessment first as techniques for teaching her would be very different if she has this condition.

Giddly Wed 19-Oct-11 19:54:06

Thanks rosemary. Dyscalculia has occured to me, and I think she may have some of the symptoms, but she seemed to start off fine at pre-school which makes me think maybe not. Will certainly consider it and discuss with teachers.

RosemaryandThyme Wed 19-Oct-11 20:06:43

Thats the word I was trying to think of - Dyscalculia ! - Yes it is very common for some level of numerical ability to be present, and for smart children to find ways to reach maths solutions, appearing to follow traditional routes but instead to have found their own clever paths, because numbers just don't click in the traditional sense.
It's often not diagnosed early for that reason, I taught accountancy for many years to adults and became increasingly convinced that a large proportion of adults had undiagnosed dyscalculia, typically they could recite knowlegde, ie sing times-tables, but had no feel for maths, ie estimate the number of objects in a group, could chop an apple in half and understand that they know had two peices but couldn't understand why the two peices together were represented on paper by the number 1.
Some of the year one topics might really trip-up a child who doesn't naturally feel maths, coins for example are a world of confusion - how does one item mean 5p and a larger single item mean 2p, number bonds - how could 2 and another 8 be represented by a 1 and a zero etc
All the best.

Giddly Wed 19-Oct-11 20:17:49

Rosemary - interesting. I've often wondered if I have it to a very mild degree. I actually work with numbers, but find them terribly difficult to remember (including such basics as my phone no), and can't copy them well (get the digits round the wrong way). I have to be extremely careful at work. She certainly doesn't have dyslexia as really "gets" phonics and phonemes, but apparently they can occur independently. Will maybe have a chat with the teacher, who is apparently a maths specialist.

crazygracieuk Wed 19-Oct-11 21:48:48

My year 1 ds loves playing Top Trumps (they do a easier version with smaller numbers and have themes like Dora and Cars). It's good for practicing things like which is bigger 6 or 3?

He also loves playing with a tape measure. We play a game which involves guessing the longest out of 2 or 3 objects and he records the number of points via tally.

He too can not write his numbers correctly so I have him fill in the quantities on my shopping list.

squeewee Fri 21-Oct-11 09:34:55

Look - she's yr1 - 5 yrs old and just starting year 1. It's much too early to be talking about discalcula. What she's suffering from is freaked outness at suddenly walking into a new class and the goalposts being moved. Whereas she used to be able to use objects and do things her own way - now she is expected to be able to understand and use abstract concepts like numbers without anything practical to help her. National curriculum states that she should know number bonds to 10 by heart by the end of yr 2 - that's a long time off. I run a maths and English tuition centre called NumberWorks'nWords and I am encountereing bright, able children who have been pushed on too quickly all the time. If she wants to use real objects - let her. However, what she needs to do is to 'count on'. If she is adding 3+4 - then encourage her to put the big number in her head and then get blocks/beads/shells whatever for the rest. She is therefore thinking 4 and counting 5,6,7 using the objects. A bit of practice doing this (3 or 4 weeks maybe - don't push it) and she is ready to use fingers instead of blocks. The main thing is to count on. I have met many children who can seemingly do the work, but can't do this. Teachers sometimes don't notice children who get answers correct but still always start adding by counting from 1 (ie 3 + 4 = 1,2,3,and 1,2,3,4,is 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,). The other thing to do is find different ways of making a number. Get 5 beads and put them into a 1 and a 4, a 2 and a 3, a 3 and a 2, a 4 and a 1, a 5 and a 0. That way your daughter will be able to see what a 5 is and what adding means. Making sure that she really understands this stage and feels comfortable with it is the most important thing. Extra time at this now, doesn't mean that she won't potentially become a first class maths graduate!

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