Research widely shows that children who are able to talk about their thinking will gain a greater depth of understanding. This is evidenced not only through classroom conversation, but the children’s reasoning skills in their exercise books. The high quality talk which takes place daily in our maths lessons is then converted to high quality written outcomes. There is an expectation amongst staff that the children will write a daily reflection at the end of each maths lesson to reinforce the learning of the day.
It was Clare Lee who said ‘children who can talk about their maths, see themselves as mathematicians.’ We foster this view at Sandringham and believe that all children are capable mathematicians. It is up to the teacher to create the climate in the classroom which allows this to happen. Across the school, it is expected that all children are able to use and understand the correct mathematical vocabulary, this is supported in our policies and can be seen in classrooms.
Maths — No Problem! in our school
Time has been spent at Sandringham, unpicking the structure of the Maths — No Problem! lesson and linking it to the researchers we value. As a result, our maths lessons are observed using a carefully constructed observation form which links each part of the lesson to the valuable research it supports.
The use of manipulatives to support learning based on Bruner’s 3 stages of learning (enactive, iconic, symbolic) which has later been adapted to the CPA approach, is embedded across the school as the model for learning and introducing new topics. Our staff are clear in their understanding of the CPA, as well as its limitations and potential drawbacks.
Following on from our visit to Singapore last year, we were able to take away many ideas that we have since adapted and implemented at Sandringham. Lesson study as a model for CPD, the introduction of a foundation curriculum for struggling learners and further research on the use of heuristics as tools for problem solving. The visit inspired us to continue our journey of improving our teaching of the subject.
We regularly share our maths practice with other schools who come to visit and spend time in our lessons. We get positive feedback and love sharing our maths journey and supporting other schools.
From Ofsted in 2017:
‘Mathematics is taught consistently well across all key stages, with pupils building on their skills year on year. Pupils receive plentiful opportunities to practice their problem solving and reasoning skills, with a focus on the process rather than simply outcomes. Reflection time in each lesson requires pupils to articulate the concepts they have learned. In doing so, pupils consolidate their learning as they accumulate mathematical skills.’