Our aim at West Woodburn First School is to equip all pupils with the skills and confidence to solve a range of problems through fluency with numbers and mathematical reasoning. Alongside these key skills, we also strive to instil in our children a love of maths; the ability to see the possibilities and creativity in the maths around us, to be intrigued and to wonder about maths.
At West Woodburn First School we are at the beginning of our Mastery in Maths journey to improve the teaching and learning of mathematics. Using this approach, which involves small steps with varied representations and structures, we are confident that we can build solid foundations from which our pupils can grow as mathematicians. We want all children to be mathematical thinkers: to have resilience, perseverance, confidence and be logical thinkers, be articulate, be able to draw on a range of strategies and have a level of mathematical fluency. We want all children to enjoy maths. In October 2019 our school joined the Teaching for Mastery programme run by the Great North Maths Hub. Through attending Teacher Research Groups supported by a Mastery Specialist, we will further develop our classroom practice based on current recognised pedagogy.
At West Woodburn First School we use a concrete pictorial-abstract approach to achieve mastery and depth for all children. With an emphasis on problem solving, children are taught to visualise, to make connections and to communicate their understanding both verbally and in written form. Topics are taught in extended blocks in order to allow sufficient time for children to practise, refine and ultimately master concepts and processes. They are carefully sequenced so that skills and knowledge are continually revisited and applied through procedural and conceptual variation.
Lessons are carefully designed to ensure all children access rich, problem solving tasks and do not just focus on development of procedural fluency. Teachers use assessment for learning to determine whether in the lesson children need further guided practice or independent practice. Through this approach, no child is given a predetermined label based on prior attainment and all children’s needs are met.
There is a whole school focus on developing an instant recall of key facts, such as number bonds and times tables. However, we recognise that fluency is not just about remembering facts so we develop all aspects of fluency in lessons - accuracy, flexibility and efficiency.
Lessons include activities designed to build fluency, spot patterns and make connections. Reasoning style question (Sometimes, Always, Never; What’s the same?, what’s different?; What is it not?; Odd one out, True or False) This provides good opportunities for mathematical thinking, reasoning and explaining. Some of this work may be recorded in books but also through photographs and post it notes/teacher scribe.
- Is there another way to solve this problem?
- Can you draw a model of how you solved the problem?
- Write out how to solve this problem to someone who is away today (or your parents!)
Children who grasp concepts quickly are given the opportunity to “go deeper” rather than move into the next year group objectives. Challenge can take a number of forms, e.g. giving or writing a clear explanation of a problem or concept; children devising their own related problem; reversing a problem; finding an alternative solution/method or teaching a friend.
To support children in their learning, we use a wide range of practical equipment which supports children in developing number sense and becoming secure in their methods of calculation.
Place Value Counters
At West Woodburn First School we want every child to develop a real passion for Maths which they can continue to build upon throughout their education. Through the mastery approach we want all of our children to become resilient learners who make connections between concepts, persevere when they at first fail and delight when solutions to problems are found. We want our children to focus not on the answer to a problem but on the method they use to answer it. We want our children to develop a deep understanding of mathematical concepts that are built upon year by year.