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Bringing up with the teacher that the maths she is doing isn't challenging enough

(25 Posts)
susiegrapevine Thu 08-Mar-18 16:56:41

Got parents evening later and i know its hard with a class of 30 etc to tailor maths for the whole class. However previous teachers have said my ds is very advanced in maths. He just gets the concept of stuff the subject area. He is year 3 and 7 btw. However the teacher just seems to keep going over and over the 2 times table which he probably knew in year one. I asked him today if they were doing the 4 and 8 times tables (the curriculum letter says they are supposed to be) he said no but now they are doing division good i say. But only by 2. I just feel he needs to be challenged more and he is gonna get bored of maths if they keep going over the same ground. How can i bring this up without sounding like a pushy parent?

grasspigeons Thu 08-Mar-18 18:41:55

Its probably a bit late now - but I was going to say have a good look through his books and see what they are doing

My son is in the same year group and they are adding fractions together at the moment. He has done 2,4,5 10 and 8 times tables.

Thistlebelle Thu 08-Mar-18 18:44:38

If he’s consistently getting full marks in all his class assessments make an appointment to see the class teacher and ask about stretch Work for him.

It’s not that big a deal. It’s a pretty common conversation to hold with your child’s teacher.

catkind Thu 08-Mar-18 19:06:40

Be polite, ask the teacher's opinion on what's going on don't assume you know everything, but sometimes a little bit of pushy is necessary I think.

The fact that you start your post with understanding that it's difficult in a big class says to me that you won't be the annoying pushy parent. At least I'm pretty sure DC's teachers aren't annoyed by me, I avoid bothering them as much as possible and we have good 2-way conversations when I do feel I need to advocate for DC a little.

I find it easiest if you are as factual and impersonal as possible about what you are seeing at home and what your concerns are based on.
"DS is saying that ..."
"What are you seeing in class?"
"DS seems happy but looking at ... I'm concerned he's not making as much progress as he should."
"DS doesn't seem to be enjoying maths at the moment, he says that ..."
"At home DS seems to be able to ..., are you seeing that in class?"
"Last year Mr X said DS could ..."

Asking around what their targets are is also a useful way to find out whether there's any learning going on.

irvineoneohone Thu 08-Mar-18 19:08:06

Yr3 and yr4 are all about times tables. If he knows all the tables and division facts already, try to encourage him to change them into decimals or fractions multiplications/divisions, learn the square numbers, cube numbers etc. You should encourage him to learn to extend himself if teacher isn't. Otherwise it will be really boring for years.

Babdoc Thu 08-Mar-18 19:18:07

It's certainly possible to teach kids at different levels in the same maths class. My DD1 was ahead by a few years, so the primary teacher in our village state school liaised with the local secondary school to get senior level textbooks etc sent down for her. It meant DD didn't get bored. She went on to do a maths degree at a Russell group uni. and now works in a well paid maths related job.

y0rkier0se Thu 08-Mar-18 19:21:46

I’d be very surprised if all they’re focusing on in Year 3 is 2x, I teach Year 2 where they have to know 2x, 5x and 10x and my highest are now starting to learn 3x and 4x as they’re Year 3 objectives. Definitely raise it, as long as you don’t go in with an accusatory manner, I’m sure you will be fine smile

susiegrapevine Thu 08-Mar-18 19:44:43

Thanks everyone. I raised it with her and she said oh yes we had to go back over the 2 times table in a different way. I did say i understood it was difficult in a class of 30 and she was trying to give a breath of knowledge rather than i depth. I also said ds completed his maths homework in 5 mins and asked if it was ment for the whole term (it was ment for the whole term) she said she wasn't allowed to give him year 4 work. She said she is going to give him a harder year 3 homework and recognised he is good at maths and working above the expected level. She noted it and said she will sort it out. Mostly she raved about how good his English was so am thinking she isn't a very maths focused teacher.

susiegrapevine Thu 08-Mar-18 19:47:30

Irvine i think i am going to do as you suggested and get him some books to do learning at home as i know he is capable and loves maths

dadap Fri 09-Mar-18 18:14:19

Also try word problems rather than just facts , facts and more sums. Have you tried him with reasoning puzzles as well , angles and symmetry - even how to use a compass , protractor set square. How to draw straight lines and pin point graphs . I hear you that he is advanced and I was thinking like you a few years ago. The teacher has to also think of children who are not reaching where they should. I asked my son to use the time wisely to check his work with inverse strategies, make sure his digits were written correctly - "your teacher can read your writing but could anybody who looks at your book ? " sometimes he even helps others - which helps him learn other just as important skills that may not be as strong as his maths. There are many ways for your son to continue to develop.

irvineoneohone Fri 09-Mar-18 18:33:48

Oh yes, agree with dadap. These sites are great for problem solving/stretching beyond knowing facts.

BubblesBuddy Sat 10-Mar-18 01:50:29

The Sats papers have problem solving maths. We used to do it for 11 plus many years ago. It’s all about reading quite a lengthy question and then doing the maths it asks for. You obviously have to read and understand the question but it definitely extends vocabulary and maths skill.

Also, he should be set extension tasks within the syllabus. He doesn’t necessarily need y4 work. Where I am a governor we have hard, harder, hardest, and Herculean tasks. The whole class may have an introduction to a topic and then the brightest children sail off into the hardest and Herculean tasks. I have seen Y4 do very difficult long multiplication and estimating. These children would know all their tables. Some might be given extra questions and concepts to think about at home.

The curriculum does not have to be rigid for the whole class throughout every lesson, and the teacher should extend the work for the brightest. If they don’t do this, no child could ever work to a greater depth. I would therefore ask how children work to a greater depth in maths and ask how is progress assessed for each child if they all do the same level of work? I would also expect the school to give you the maths curriculum for the year/term so you know what he is doing and give you examples of what greater depth looks like. Have you had a maths curriculum evening? This sounds overdue!

Arkadia Sat 10-Mar-18 08:04:17

@BubblesBuddy, can you give us some "real life" examples? Thanks.

catkind Sat 10-Mar-18 09:13:04

The fact school call it herculean doesn't mean it's actually hard. "Very difficult long multiplication" sounds like more of the same with bigger numbers. Long multiplication isn't difficult if you get the concept, just time consuming. Translating from real life situations into maths is also just another skill that if they've got they've got (DC had this since reception) and doesn't automatically make something hard. Where I would say the maths gets more challenging and interesting when the problems are multi step or open ended. The sites Irvine linked to have some great stuff.

squarecorners Sat 10-Mar-18 09:17:58

"Not allowed" to give them work from the next year??
Are you sure this individual knows anything beyond her 2x tables...?

irvineoneohone Sat 10-Mar-18 09:29:37

Totally agree with cat about bigger numbers. Our school seems to have same approach, the task is set in 4 different levels. But the child who can do 2 digit multiplication easily doesn't necessarily find 5 digit or even more bigger numbers challenging. It's just tedious. Though the school seems to think it is, reading thread on education.

FanSpamTastic Sat 10-Mar-18 11:59:07

Can I suggest some things for you outside of school? Or even for you to suggest to the teacher?

- nrich
- rising stars

BubblesBuddy Sat 10-Mar-18 23:46:00

I don’t know why some of you don’t train as teachers and you would then plan the most fantastic individual lessons for every gifted or marginally bright child who finds every task so easy! I said that extension work was given and that is different to the Herculean tasks. It seems that not every child can easily move to larger numbers or they would all be assessed as working beyond expectation in every maths lesson in every school. Obviously ones who don’t know their tables cannot move ahead so quickly!

Norestformrz Sun 11-Mar-18 06:50:11

Bigger numbers aren't necessarily more difficult they just look more impressive.

irvineoneohone Sun 11-Mar-18 07:48:53

Bubbles, most of parents who have able children are already doing it for their own children.

KHFC2018 Sun 11-Mar-18 09:33:24

I think the Maths lead in the school should regularly review the progress of the children at the top end and support class teachers in providing the extension tasks. I wish there is a centralised approach to this, with systematic resources (almost like an accelerated curriculum), rather than poor parents every year crossing fingers hoping for a sympathetic and capable class teacher. There must be a few children like that feeling frustrated in every school across the country.

BubblesBuddy Sun 11-Mar-18 10:38:20

I do realise that, Irvine. However there seems to be a consistent bashing of how schools give Work to individual children and it’s as difficult to cater for the very bright as it is for the less bright. That doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be done and maybe my example wasn’t good.

The truth is that teachers do not see extraordinary children very often. They are rare. Therefore the schools struggle. They need extra help from outside such as a secondary school or a specialist advisor. Many teachers can stretch children and of course children should be accurately assessed and suitable work given to them so they progress. If parents cannot do this in schools where the teaching is not good, then I can see it’s a huge problem. I was just trying to say that a child being asked to do the 2x tables that knows the 9x tables could do more advanced work. This may not be advanced enough for some of course.

irvineoneohone Sun 11-Mar-18 13:13:07

I don't mean to do consistent school bashing at all, Bubbles. I know some school do better from pp and also from my own experience from different teachers.

Yes, I agree, that extraordinary children are rare in RL, but MN has millions of people and they tends to come to find the solution for their problems. I first found MN through G&T section. So, I think it's understandable that people who ask questions/help on education board has similar problems. If their school is doing a great job, they really don't need to come to internet forum for help.

1000piecepuzzle Mon 12-Mar-18 21:43:52

I recommend the Usborne maths puzzle pad (dark blue cover). I have a yr 3 child who is able at maths and this has been a great resource at home for challenging problem solving, to extend homework (likewise done in 5 mins).

susiegrapevine Tue 13-Mar-18 16:41:24

Thanks again everyone she has now set some stuff on my maths that he is actually getting wrong which i am pleased about because it means it is challenging him. The funny thing is he used to go out withba ta in year 1 and 2 for extra maths and was working 2 levels above where he should be. Now he is in key stage 2 he doesn't get the extra maths and supposedly at the beginning of year 3 was working at expected level, now he is 1 above expected level. I just don't think the teacher notices tbh. Which again i know is hard in a class of 30 and i am guessing they have less ta's in key stage 2.

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