We are currently right in the middle of a fabulous “Maths Week” 2nd – 6th November 2020! The children are all joining in daily with a series of exciting maths challenges based on the work of Jo Boaler, a professor in Maths education based at Stanford University USA. Jo Boaler is a leading figure in the teaching of Mathematics in the US and the UK (she is actually British) and her approach to teaching the subject has had a very positive impact on both sides of the Atlantic.
The purpose of the week is to encourage in the children a more positive, growth mind-set, develop their creativity and perseverance in learning mathematics through a selection of investigations and activities.
“Maths Week” is following a format that we have used in previous years, with each day being based around a specific message about the learning of maths, coupled with a specific maths investigation in which they can explore their own mind-set to their learning. Each of these messages has an accompanying video explaining the thinking. These videos are worth a watch as sometimes it is easy to think a message such as “Speed is not important” is very clear, but it is important to understand how this relates to the learning of mathematics.
If you would like to see the thinking behind our key messages I would suggest watching the following video on Youtube narrated by Jo Boaler herself.
The 5 messages are:
- Day 1 Brains grow and change
- Day 2 Speed is not important
- Day 3 Mistakes are powerful
- Day 4 Believe in yourself
- Day 5 The importance of struggle
The older children have also been watching a very useful video explaining the ideas and value of having a “Growth Mind-set”, which is something we are encouraging the children to develop. This video can be seen below
Our fantastic song “Gotta get a growth mindset” can be found here. Watch out, it’s a bit of a mind worm!
Time Tables and “Battle of the Bands”
The importance of children embedding a knowledge of their times tables can’t be underestimated. It is in recognition of the vital role times tables plays in maths learning, that the Government have introduced the new Year 4 Times Table assessment, the first of which was due to have happened spring 2020 but is very likely to go ahead for the first time in 2021. By Year 4 it is expected that children will be able to recall individual times table facts (up to 12 x 12) within 3 seconds! This “fluency” allows children to see patterns and make connections between mathematical concepts. Knowing your times tables is just as important as knowing your phonic sounds when you are learning to read, and like the effort we put into learning our phonics sounds, effort and practise are required to master our times tables too!
In light of this, we are strongly encouraging children in KS2 to use their TTRockstars accounts (which can be accessed at (https://play.ttrockstars.com/ttrs ) to practise their fluency. 3 minutes a day, three or four times a week is all that is required! If you are unsure of your child’s log in details, please email your class teacher or message them through Dojo and they will be delighted to send them through to you.
As it is Maths Week, I have set up some “Battle of the Bands” for children in each house to compete against each of the houses. Running from Tuesday to Thursday this week, there are serious house points available for the victorious houses. The results will be announced to the children at our celebration worship in school on Friday 6th November.
“Twelve Steps To Increase Your Child’s Math Achievement”
Last year I sent out a document entitled “Twelve Steps To Increase Your Child’s Math Achievement” which gives excellent advice for parents looking to support their children’s maths learning. I make no apologies in reattaching it again this year and would particularly draw your attention to numbers 2 and 5, which are two of the most common accidental mistakes made by parents!
If you have any questions about Maths week, or anything to do with either how we teach maths in general or even need a little advice on a particularly thorny maths problem, I am always delighted to have a chat. Please contact me directly on firstname.lastname@example.org.
Maths Subject Leader