Mathematics at Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Primary School
The aims of mathematics teaching at Our Lady of Lourdes:
- To develop a positive attitude to mathematics;
- To develop a strong understanding of number and calculation;
- To develop children’s reasoning, logical thinking and problem solving skills;
- To ensure that all children will be given the opportunities to develop their mathematics skills regardless of gender, race, ability, culture or ethnicity;
- To provide rich mathematical experiences, where children can apply their knowledge of mathematics to everyday life;
- To explore and enjoy the patterns in mathematics and to solve a wide range of puzzles and problems.
Organisation of the Curriculum
The new National Curriculum forms the basis for our long term planning: setting out the expectations in each year group. The medium term planning organises the topics systematically term by term. Short term unit plans are prepared for daily teaching.
Children are taught in mixed ability classes.
The curriculum is taught through the units as follows with all year groups teaching the same units at similar times.
Number and place value, addition and subtraction, multiplication and division, fractions, measurement, geometry, statistics.
Teaching of mathematics at Our Lady of Lourdes has links with Shanghai/Singapore maths. We are beginning to embed the CPA (concrete, pictoral, abstract) approach to lessons. All concepts are introduced with concrete resources for children to feel and manipulate. As their conceptual understanding develops, they move towards the pictoral and abstract stages. These are recorded in their books as ‘the real story’ and ‘the maths story’. Children are not pushed to move through these stages until they have shown understanding gained by the teacher through skillful assessment.
The teachers role in lessons is to:
- demonstrate a clear model – this is to remain on display throughout the lesson for children to access and refer to and illustrates the steps to success.
- create steps to success with the children
- allow time for discussion and pair work
- continually assess children’s understanding using hinge questions
- provide support or scaffolding when needed
- present challenge and to develop understanding through expert questioning and reasoning opportunities.
Visualisation is a core mathematical skill. Teachers provide many opportunities for children to explain their understanding by writing or drawing what they understand. Teachers use this to uncover misconceptions, assess and then challenge children.
In addition to this, teachers use ‘immediate application’ to embed concepts. Each lesson is delivered through a variety of vehicles/variation of materials/images and ensure children are applying instantly. E.g. 10 x10 = 100, 10 x 10 cats = 100 cats etc.
Developing a keen number sense is a vital part of our maths curriculum. Children are always asked to explain how they know an answer, if they can show it a different way/an easier way to build upon their conceptual understanding.
The calculation policy sets out a clear progression throughout the school for the four operations. It shows the expectations for the end of each school year. Below is a photo of each of the stages, showing both the real story and maths story.
Mental skills are taught daily. This includes the modelling of mental strategies and time to practise key mental skills.
Times table practise happens regularly in school. Children are tested on their timetables each week with the results being sent home so parents/carers can support their practise.
Marking reflects the frequent assessment opportunities created in the lesson to monitor children’s progress. It also shows the end of lesson assessment completed by the child and teacher on their understanding through ’POGed’ and highlighted LFs. Children self-mark their independent work regularly using the answer stations. This provides them with instant feedback and allows them to try and self-correct any mistakes in the lesson before continuing.
When children need further support with a concept, the teacher will support them 1-1 or in a small group and this evidence may be recorded in books underneath that work. However, if the concept is to be revisited the next day this won’t happen; nonetheless, evidence of the child’s gains in understanding will be recorded. Marking by the teacher diagnoses errors, and sets further questions to address a misconception if appropriate.
Laminated squared display paper is used to model mathematical recording on display walls. Displays are broken down into sections:
Key vocabulary – specific to each unit, shared and explored with the children early on and then referred to throughout the unit;
Challenge – a clear illustration, question(s) or statement to show children the purpose of the unit – ‘we will be able to’;
Prior learning (‘we already know’) – clear visual demonstration of what children can already achieve;
Today’s learning – the daily model. This moves across the wall each day; likewise, so does the prior learning.
These display are pivotal in recording the learning journey throughout each unit, they are created with the children during the lessons so are relevant and purposeful. In addition to this, models and steps to success may be displayed on squared flipchart paper for reference.
Teachers assess children’s understanding at the start of each unit to inform their planning and at the end of each unit to aid their understanding of the children’s attainment. This assessment provides opportunities for children to demonstrate their understanding at different levels: calculating, applying and understanding.
Teachers also assess children’s understanding in a test scenario using the NfER assessments three times per year. This is analysed by the subject leader so weaknesses can be addressed within lessons. This will also provide a grade for internal tracking of children’s progress.
Children are all trained on the use of Numicon, Dienes and Place Value Counters to support their learning. These resources are always at hand in the classroom and the children should be trained to have the initiative to use them when they feel they need to.
As well as these resources, children are also used to using a range of other resources to support their learning across the whole of the mathematics curriculum.
It is the aim of the school, to raise levels of achievement in mathematics by promoting a positive attitude and providing rich mathematical experiences. Children should view themselves as mathematicians that are able to apply knowledge, skills and understanding to everyday life, but to also enjoy and appreciate the abstract nature of mathematics.