End of school year reflections: part 1

|4 min read

Editor’s note: This is an updated version of a blog post published on July 10, 2019

“At the end of the school year, I take a lesson to review the top tips, discoveries, and ideas that are displayed on the (now overcrowded) learning wall.”

– Roger Hitchen

Having grown organically throughout the year, the learning wall is written in ‘kid speak’ and serves as a marker for each and every topic. They’ve proved their use as reminders in lessons and help jog my memory before assessments. Some are straightforward, some are humorous, but all are personalised with the names of particular children credited for their amazing thinking and lightbulb moments.

Our learning wall is an interactive display. It’s been added to, rearranged, and discussed throughout the year. Before the display is dismantled, it is worth drawing together some choice quotes that I can use with next years’ class. I also ask the children going into the next academic year to keep a record of useful quotes in their maths journals. The children record and illustrate their favourite ideas with examples from the textbook/workbook supplemented with their own equations in a journal entry entitled ‘How to.’

This year, my favourite maths moment from Year 6 has to be this tip for how to multiply fractions:

‘Do it down to the simplest form because lower numbers are easiest and more efficient’.

Children often talked about ‘doing it down’ when it came to simplifying rules, and that no doubt will prove useful going forward.

Roger Hitchin, Head of Singapore Maths at Wellington Prep School, Somerset.

“At the end of the school year, my Year 4s take the Multiplication Tables Check and I reflect on my school’s implementation of maths mastery””

– Joe Jackson Taylor

The end of the school year naturally prompts me to reflect. This year I asked myself, how deeply are we developing maths fluency and factual recall? This is especially important for our current Year-3 cohort with the upcoming Multiplication Tables Check.

We wanted to take part in the MTC trial with only a small sample of current Year 4s (since they won’t actually be sitting the test next year), but the DfE insisted on the whole cohort. The upside? Clear assessment of how effective our times tables passport system is, delivered through our thrice-weekly maths workshops.

More widely, I feel it’s important to review our implementation of — What works best? Is there anything that can be adjusted? Does it create space for integrating anything else?

Communication is one of the core competencies of Maths — No Problem! and I think reasoning and comprehension are the main strengths of the underlying pedagogy. I’ve seen this through the sustained impact Maths — No Problem! has had on our combined reading, writing and maths attainment. But is fluency attended to in every session, in every classroom?

Upon reflection I think it’s time to refine our journaling expectations. As part of my work with other schools, journaling is one of the most discussed aspects of Maths — No Problem! Some expectations could be answered by reflecting on how much and how often to journal, and what it looks like when pupils successfully reach a deeper understanding of mathematics.

Joe Jackson-Taylor, primary maths mastery specialist and a specialist lead in education for mathematics.

“At the end of the school year, I review progress with my class””

– Jane Hopwood

There are several ways I review progress with my class:

Summative assessment will take the form of Progress in Understanding Mathematics Assessment (PUMA) testing for all children in school. It’s a cold, hard test to see where the children are in a snapshot. The analysis of these tests help me to see where the strengths and weaknesses are for each individual child, class and year group.

This will also inform planning for the following year. For example, this year we’ve increased our focus in Year 5 to support work on percentages as a result of the end of Year-4 assessments.

Formative assessment is informative. The children review the year by looking back at the top tips in their journals — they write these in coloured pen to stand out from the rest of the work. The class discusses which information is key to their learning next year and the children write some notes of key learning to take through to their next class.

I use the revision sections in the back of the Maths — No Problem! workbooks to recap the learning for the year and to see where each child’s strengths and weaknesses are. Throughout the year, my pupils have recorded their work on our working wall. Talking through the lightbulb moments is a great way to remind the class of all the amazing maths they have learnt.

Finally, the class celebrates their learning with a maths challenge and we send a number of our mathematicians off to high school to meet with the maths department there.

Jane Hopwood, Year 5 teacher at Selby Community Primary School