There is a huge amount to be covered in the 5th class Maths curriculum and a lot of tricky concepts to be taught. I’ve received a lot of messages from teachers asking about how I teach Maths, differentiate and what I use for early finishers, groupings etc. so I thought I’d share some ideas/ things that work well for me here.
I start each lesson with some mental maths, revision of what we covered the day before or a brainstorm of what the children know if we are starting a new topic. We talk about how the concept/idea is used in real life and then I talk through what we are covering. I usually do 4/5 examples – and get the children to talk me through the steps then.
The children then work independently or in pairs to complete questions or tasks based on the topic being covered. During this time I circulate and help children who need extra support or challenge pupils who are finding the problems manageable.
Sometimes I use groups, I work with one group, two groups work independently and the fourth group work with the learning support/resource teacher.
At the end of each lesson, we talk through some of the questions and look at the different ways that children have solved them. This is a great opportunity to learn from one another and to learn about different approaches to the same problem.
I have a selection of maths equipment that the children can use to complete the questions/tasks. This enables children to understand more complex concepts.
I try to make maths as ‘real’ and relevant as possible. I find this makes the children more interested and they understand the concepts better! For example, when we were covering lines and angles I was in the middle of completing the snag on my new apartment and we talked about the importance of how the lines, angles and measurements had to be perfect so that everything would fit perfectly. When we were looking at rounding and percentages we linked that to shopping and sales.
I use a mix of differentiated groups and mixed ability groups depending on the concepts we are covering. The groups are not rigid and change regularly but it means that the children who are struggling can get 1:1 or small group support when needed. I’m lucky to have a SETeacher in my class for maths everyday – this is fantastic as we can provide this support to all children and we have different ways of teaching the same topics so children can learn different ways to approach a problem.
My favourite early finishers activities include;
Brainteasers – I find this book is quite difficult so it provides a challenge for children who are well able. I like that the book is divided by topic so it is easy to find a suitable section to complete.
Maths challenge is another useful resource.
Mensa Megabook of Number puzzles – this is great and the children love these challenges!
Practice, practice, practice
I think it is so important for children to practice new concepts again and again and again – this enables them to understand the steps they need to take to solve the problem.
Show me how
I encourage the children to put their workings on the page and to leave them on the page to show how they solved the problems. Sometimes, I find that children want their copy to be neat/tidy and rub out their workings. I continue to explain the importance of showing the steps they used to solve the problem – it gives us a chance to talk through the problem and the steps the child took and easily spot the area they may be finding tricky.
I’m very strict about copy layout. I really believe that a clear layout helps children to organise their work and work through the problems systematically. I encourage the children to put one number in each box – this keeps everything organised and is helpful for place value etc.
Mistakes are an important part of learning. I encourage children to leave their mistakes on the page rather than rubbing them out and just put a line through them – they then restart/continue the problem on a clean piece of paper.