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Year 5 bored in maths

(18 Posts)
PinkSunflower Fri 07-Nov-14 21:01:28

My DS has been coming home everyday since the start of September saying he is bored in maths. Initially I thought that they were just doing the normal place value revision and things would improve but they haven't. I've talked to the class teacher who says the work is differentiated and that my son can chose which ever level he wants - unfortunately my son finds the hardest level available to him too easy. I'm not really sure how to progress as previous experience with the school has taught me that I will not achieve anything by bringing it up again with his class teacher. My son has suggested that I teach him KS3 maths at home my question is though this might help keep his interest in maths alive I fear that it will mean even greater boredom at school. I'd really value people's thoughts as I'm not sure what to do for the best.

sickntiredtoo Fri 07-Nov-14 21:29:28

what level was he at last time they tested him?

TeenAndTween Fri 07-Nov-14 21:44:49

new class teacher.
ask again.
if he is getting all of the hardest options right each time they need to differentiate better.

jelliebelly Fri 07-Nov-14 21:53:45

Speak to the teacher if he really us getting everything right all the time they need to differentiate more. Trying to fix it at home won't help.

TheSporkforeatingkyriarchy Fri 07-Nov-14 22:08:23

I would talk to the teacher and look into more deep maths that pushes problem solving skills at his own level than racing ahead into something new. Googling 'calculus trap' can get you information on the debate, many are finding the push ahead into more advanced maths younger doesn't build good skills or love of maths, but that finding new ways to use current skills will give stronger knowledge of them and more enjoyment. It's still quite up for debate but there are resources he can enjoy and push him now that you can get.

You find many maths games online or use CIMT which has puzzles, codes, and workbooks that could be used. In a couple of years, the United Kingdom Maths Trust will have a lot of books and activities open for him.

Toomanyhouseguests Fri 07-Nov-14 22:22:51

From experience, I think schools and teachers want to differentiate, but fail to do it adequately in practise. There are parents at our school with very able children who work with them at home or hire tutors. There are parents who take the attitude that it will just make things worse to "widen the gulf" academically. I think your plans for your DS's secondary schooling should guide you.

PastSellByDate Sat 08-Nov-14 06:24:30

Hi PinkSunflower:

This is a really tricky area. DD1 spent much of Y6 reviewing things she new for KS2 SATs and found it very dull so I do sympathise.

With 2 years left of school ahead of you - I do think finding some means to keep your DS's keen interest in maths alive is important.

First, does the school subscribe to something like My Maths or Mathletics. If so there's no law that says you can only use this when assigned for homework. Go ahead and work your way through it. I don't know Mathletics - but with My Maths - just go to Library - have your son look at what level work he's doing and just aim to finish that Level. you have complete autonomy about what to learn next - and if a homework goes disastrously badly you know to review the lesson and try again.

Failing that - try Khan Academy - https://www.khanacademy.org/ - they've laid out maths curriculum by US school years. Select subjects and with your son - work out where roughly he should be - maybe pre-algebra? It's absolutely free - and there are both lessons (explaining the principle) and exercises (providing practice opportunities) + feedback to you and a kind of points system for your son.

I have to admit we've only dipped into Khan academy - I use the lessons when DD1 doesn't know how to do something as a way of clarifying the concept. We were very uncertain whether maths would be any good at her new senior school (DD1 is now Y7) - so I kept it in reserve in case once again the pace was uncomfortably slow.

If he just likes working problems - try a worksheet generator:

Math Drills: www.math-drills.com/

Worksheet Works: www.worksheetworks.com/math.html

Worksheet Works is in BETA (still in design) - both are free and will provide answer sheets.

Finally if he's getting to be Level 6 ability - he might want to try the Maths 'Numeracy level' problems (5 a day) from Corbett Maths: corbettmaths.com/ - also totally free. Numeracy Level is aimed at NC Levels 3/4/5 (GCSE G F E D grades) & there are two higher levels - Foundation (NC Level 6/7 = GCSE C or D grades) and Higher Level (NC Level 8+ - = GCSE grades B - A*). We're currently working with Numeracy Level - challinging but manageable (DD1 achieved NC L6 at KS2 SATs) - but if DD1 continues to adore working problems in future we'll be moving up to harder material and relying on Khan Academy to explain how to do things when something is new.

HTH

PastSellByDate Sat 08-Nov-14 06:28:57

Hi just realised my link to Khan Academy Maths didn't have the US grade link:

Try this: https://www.khanacademy.org/math

Across the top there are US school years - 5th grade is broadly equivalent to Year 6 - so I'd be thinking working from 6th grade materials onward. (Grades 6-8 in US broadly = Key Stage 3 in UK).

HTH

PinkSunflower Sat 08-Nov-14 17:26:13

Wow so many really helpful and thoughtful replies. Lots for me to think about and really, really helpful. I massive appreciate the support and advice as I don't really want to discuss this with other parents at the school. Sickntiredtoo the last time he was tested he got 4A which was the highest level he could achieve with the test he was given. I will try talking to the teacher again I suspect Jelliebean might be right trying to fix it at home may not work. Thesporkforeating thank you very much I've never heard of this before very helpful again i think expanding sideways then is the best plan. Sounds very sensible. Pastsellbydate they are some fantastic links I've not seen before. I will try those out. I think with a mixture of all your advice I will be heading in the right direction

Thank you all soo much

PinkSunflower Sat 08-Nov-14 22:42:54

Passedsellbydate. I've been checking out those websites and they are simply amazing. Really great I'll try them out tomorrow with DS. Thank you so so much I think that they will help enormously to keep the interest alive.
I'll try talking to the teacher again next week and report back

Thank you to all

PastSellByDate Sun 09-Nov-14 03:52:45

Hi Pink:

I thought of anothe website which we adore.

nrich maths has been set up by the University of Cambridge to really challenge pupils at whateever stage. Effectively they are maths puzzles that your child has to solve.

link here: nrich.maths.org/frontpage

You select Upper Primary and have an explore - in the main bit are current puzzles (solutions are provided) - on the top right are 'school maths topics' and you can work your way through those and there are also links to games/ interactive activities on the right.

This is still using primary curriculum but really stretching thinking about numbers/ space/ shape.

HTH

Whowherewhywhat Sun 09-Nov-14 04:08:02

Just marking smile

pearpotter Sun 09-Nov-14 04:22:29

I think the school should pull their finger out and give him appropriate work to do, yes you can supplement at home but he shouldn't be allowed to bumble along at school. Schools are supposed to help kids realise their potential, not let the bright kids coast while they turn their attention to the ones who need extra help.

PastSellByDate Sun 09-Nov-14 06:32:23

pearpotter:

you raise a valid point (and I don't disagree) but even though school's report attainment/ progress for low/ middle/ high ability pupils - the real 'fear factor' is getting pupils over NC L4 threshold (now actually being raised to 4b - as the government now deems NC L4c as not adequately prepared for secondary).

Many schools here absolutely refuse to assess beyond 4a - so in fact Level 5/ 6 (which 50% of English pupils actually achieve) isn't on the agenda.

I think there's a real problem here - which may be school 'culture' - but until schools determine whether NC L5 is a typical 'good' result instead of 'higher than expected achievement' - we live in a land where catering to higher ability is not the priority.

If the government floor target for KS2 SATs was raised to NC L4b or even NC L4a/ 5c? Now that would be interesting wouldn't it.

Around here primary schools struggle to get over that NC Level 4 boundary and throw everything at Y6 low achievers to achieve it. I don't disagree - those children deserve to leave primary working to at least level 4. But I also see that the secondaries these children predominantly go to struggle to do much with them. Parents here tend to blame the senior schools or teenage behavior - but I think the problem is delivering pupils that arrive at secondary with reading levels below their chronological age and struggling with things like multiplication/ division. It's a long hill to climb if that's your starting point isn't it?

It would be refreshing for the teaching profession to seriously debate whether the floor standard in primary is actually beneficial to secondaries.

pearpotter Sun 09-Nov-14 06:46:13

Thanks for that interesting post, Past. I think teachers in primary should be trained/able to teach material that is beyond primary level for those who need it.

I know levels are a moot point as they have really "gone", D1 was assessed at 4a in all areas by the end of Y4, and is also one of the youngest children in the year. Fortunately her teachers haven't taken the view that she and a number of her classmates could just twiddle their thumbs for two years and find them plenty of challenging work to do!

My friend's son is a very talented mathematician by all accounts and is doing GCSE level work in Y6 - must be pretty hard to accommodate but the school are doing it somehow!

PinkSunflower Mon 10-Nov-14 20:56:01

Thank you for that extra site PastSellbydate me and DS have spent some time having a look at All the sites you have recommended and we are both delighted with the material that's available. I just wanted to share today's comments - he came home from school completely demoralised by a maths lesson that he felt he could have done in Year 1. He begged to look at the maths sites you suggested and settled on doing some simple algebra and working out volumes of shapes. He said
"Mummy it's great I'm actually learning something today!"
Doesn't say much for the school but thank goodness for the help I've been pointed to on here. At least now I've a way on keeping his interest alive.

Now I just need to try and persuade the teacher to address it. Interesting what was said about reaching level 4A I didn't know that but it certainly explains things especially why his levels aren't changing with time and why the work is not stretching him. Again thank you so much for helping me to become more informed. I'm trying to arrange a meeting with his teacher this week. Fingers crossed it will help.

generaltilney Mon 10-Nov-14 20:59:42

I would definitely talk to his teacher but also ask if perhaps you and the teacher could meet with the maths governor to discuss approaches to maths in the school?

Also check what the last Ofsted said about maths in the school, to know what they might be focusing on in the school as a whole.

PinkSunflower Tue 11-Nov-14 07:10:18

Hi generaltilney. That's a good plan. I hadn't thought of arranging a meeting with the maths governor. The last of Ofstead said that the school was good but failing to stretch the brighter children - I'll check it for details before meeting with the school. Thank you very much for your help.

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