Making Maths Count Session 2: Getting Started and Number Knowledge, with Jo Knox

Making Maths Count
Session 2: Getting Started and Number Knowledge
Jo Knox, 10.4.18

What info do I want to collect, why do I want to collect it, and how am I going to use it?

Jo gave us this piece of paper. She asked us to use to to colour a little picture of a teacher we were given and once we had done that we put our picture on the board. Our discussion is below.

Looking at our data - what does it mean .. what are we going to do with it?

No one in our group felt confident teaching maths, there seems to be an equal spattering of yellow and blue.

At the moment it is a jumble of data.. What might we do to help ourselves out … sort them.

Decided to start with confidence. What can we say from this? Half of us are lacking confidence.. Good that we didn’t say most, to say MOST it must be more than half!! We could say ‘more’.

Time to look at assessment data.

Is there number knowledge that they don’t have that is stopping them from getting the strategy?

Using a mock data spreadsheet we had a go at sorting the data so that is was easier to see the gaps in knowledge.

The tricky part is sorting E5, so what we do is we change it to 4.5 (stage 4 and a half), this means you are able to sort the data. Click on pic below to see data sheet.

Click on the pic below to see the ‘cheat sheet’ on how to use the IKAN summary sheet.

Lesson Structures - Book 3 (Getting Started)
How will you cater for identified learning needs?
How will you cater for identified whole class needs?
How will you structure your week?

Curriculum Level 5 spans over 6 year levels. There are children who will be working 2 curriculum levels below the others.

Purpose? Prescriptive or flexible?

Schools give us overviews to make sure we cover AOs and stands. Whatever we are given and working on, use it as a guide rather than a FIXED, must do. The more we can integrate maths with other subjects and link in contexts of what is going on in the school, the better. Overviews should be adapted to meet the needs of your students (data-driven).

Looking at assessment data - look at what your weaknesses are, do I need to make this a priority, does this need to be taught earlier than where it is placed in the overview.

Now moving to weekly plans. There are some available on NZ Maths that can be useful when you are starting and and to refer to from time to time.

There are achievement objectives at the top, then key teaching idea, problem progressions. It gives you the book to look at (e.g. Book 5, page 40 and page 44, even if you don’t have hard copy of the book you can click on the hyperlink).

We all had a turn reading parts of ‘Ability and Mathematics: the mindset revolution that is reshaping education - By Jo Boaler

The interesting tidbits I took from this were that teacher needs to move away from mixed ability grouping, this ties in with what we are learning through Bobbi Hunter’s DMIC Maths. “Evidence suggests there are no consistent effects of structured ability grouping, such as setting, on attainment, although there can be detrimental effects on social and personal outcomes for some children” (quote taken directly from reading).  

We each shared back what we took from the reading:

Person 1: There is a fixed mindset and a growth mindset . Growth mindset - effort is what is going to get you further … if you put children in ability groups they tend to be stuck in a FIXED mindset and believe they are lower than the others. Growth mindset is teaching kids they have control over their learning process. In Japan it is seen as unacceptable and undesirable to have fixed ability groups.

Person 3: Teachers often say it is easier to set work for children at the same level, mixed ability grouping did better in tests than fixed ability, they also were more successful in finding  jobs.

Person 4: Our language is powerful as teachers to our tamariki - how we react to them perhaps answering a question wrong… Putting a gold star or smiley face on their mistakes . “When students think about why something is wrong, new synaptic connections are sparked that cause the brain to grow”.

Value the mistakes that students make and show these to all the students for everyone to think about - keeping in mind that children need to have the confidence to be able to feel like they have a go and feel comfortable to do so and know they won’t be judged.

We need to make sure children understand that speed doesn’t necessarily mean UNDERSTANDING… you don’t have to answer something quickly to be good at it.. Many mathematicians spend days, weeks months even YEARS working on problems!

Moving from RIGID, fixed, mixed ability groups.

Here are some things Jo has tried, and other teachers have tried. Weekly planning: creating a balanced programme

Monday/ Tuesday Cut the class in 2, not a high low cut, just half the class. Problem solving with half the class, other half of the class doing independent/ practise activities.

Wednesday - Then you look at what the class, or groups are struggling with, I am going to a little workshop on the mat, anyone who thinks they can benefit from this can com and work on the mat.

Sometimes you may choose to work with the whole class, but focus your attention on certain groups each day.

Jo - If I am honest, it was really hard to let go of everything I had known and trusted for so long. I started off by keeping my programme and doing problem solving on a Friday - do what works for you.

Number Knowledge and Basic Facts

Warm Ups: Junior Based - Snap it. Make a rod of 10. 5 each of same colour. Close your eyes. Hold up 6. How many are behind my back - finger patterns. Not go 6 , 7,8,9,10, Have 6 fingers up and see 4 are down.


Give  6 numbers.
100, 25, 10, 5, 1 , 4

Target number: 254 - goal is to make 254 using these numbers. You do NOT have to use every number. You can use the symbols as many times as you want

25 x 10 + 4

There are ways you can differentiate it, for some students you make it easier by saying you can use each number more than ONCE.

Number Knowledge

Numeral identification, Sequencing and ordering grouping and place value, basic facts.

Place value houses are good for this. Breaking numbers down into chunks.

Book 4: 2 - 10 Number and Fraction identification, 11 - 21 Number (fraction) sequence and order, 22 - 31 Grouping and place value.

Thousands Book, Book 4 p.16
You can do before and after numbers. Select different numbers and get students to count forwards and backwards. Counting in 10s, number patterns, 94, turn page, 194, adding 100. Use materials as you introduce this.

If we start with 4, 4 ones, now I am going to add 10, grab a tens rod, etc, etc use materials to show what you are doing. When we add or take away tens it is always the TENS digit that changes!

Joe showed us this example, something the children could be doing independently while you are doing the problem solving activities with the rest of the class.

241 + 1 + 1 = 243 - 10 = 233 + 100 = 333 + 1 = 334

Looking at NZ Maths Website Task

Numeracy Project PLD: Equipment Animations: This part shows you how to use equipment such a tens frames, fly flips, fraction walls etc can be used in your lessons.

Resource finder is your best friend - you will find this on the home page. Then you can find whether you want units of work, rich learning activities, etc.
You can then select level and strand. This allows you to search for what you want from all the resources on there.


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