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Creating an Effective Singapore Maths Lesson Structure

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Creating an Effective Singapore Maths Lesson Structure

Editor’s note: This is an updated version of a blog post originally published on May 1, 2015. Transcript has been edited for clarity.

Teachers using the Maths — No Problem! textbooks will be familiar with the way that each lesson is divided into distinct parts, including an anchor task, guided practice, and independent practice. This approach, which has been successfully tried and tested in Singapore, provides pupils with a consistent lesson format that he or she is familiar with, regardless of their year group or who is taking the class.

We asked series consultant Dr. Yeap Ban Har to explain the features of a well-structured maths lesson, as well as his advice on assessing pupils in class and differentiating a task for advanced learners. We hope you enjoy these short videos and find them useful.

An Introduction to the Three-Part Lesson Structure

For those of you who are new to our textbooks, Dr Yeap talks us through the features of the three-part maths lesson format used in the series.

The textbook is designed based on the three-part lesson format. In the first part, there is an anchor test called ‘In Focus’ in the book, which is when children work in groups to explore a single problem, surface what they know, and for the teacher to extend their understanding.

The second part is a guided practice under the guidance of the teacher, characterized by lots of talking, not so much writing in the colored boxes, but talking about what numbers could go there. It is for the teacher to further children’s understanding, or to support them if they’re struggling.

And finally, they move to the workbook where they do their independent practice.

Assessing Pupils During your Lesson

The textbooks are designed to cater to struggling learners while allowing the teacher to extend the task for more advanced pupils. Using the example 8 + 6, Dr Yeap explains how a teacher can assess each pupil’s understanding throughout the lesson to determine what kind of support they require.

You can assess a child at different points during the lesson. During the anchor task, you can eavesdrop and see who is advanced, and who is struggling. Of course, the teacher might already know among the class who often struggles and who is ahead.

During the guided practice, there is another opportunity to tell who are the pupils that understand the concept. Who is adding other examples, and who is still counting?

The third opportunity is during their independent practice. Are they able to do this independently? If they can, are they finding the task too trivial?

Extending a Task for Advanced Learners

If during assessment you spot an advanced learner in your class, Dr Yeap Ban Har explains how teachers can differentiate a whole-class maths problem to provide additional challenge.

A child who is advanced can:

  1. Show a physical model.
  2. Draw something appropriate for problems.
  3. Explain the problem orally.
  4. Explain it in written form.
  5. Find ways to challenge themselves.

We have a growing library of maths mastery video training for teachers available on subscription.