So far this year, we have had the pleasure of welcoming three groups of teachers from across Surrey to Goldsworth to observe the Maths – No Problem! textbooks in open lessons. We start the morning with a discussion about the textbooks, looking at the positives and negatives and the practicalities of introducing them into classes. It has proved exceedingly interesting to explore each context, thinking about how to go about bringing them in. Goldsworth’s model is shared to help gain an idea of one potential way to do this.photo1

Next, comes the exciting part – seeing it in practice! The children and teacher has loved welcoming all the teachers into school and showing off their learning! We hope this enables our visitors get a real flavour for the textbooks and how they have worked for us.

Once the lesson has finished, we’ve been lucky enough to talk with the teacher to get her opinion on both the lesson and the impact of Maths – No Problem! on the children’s learning.

It has been an amazingly positive process so far and we look forward to welcoming more people over the rest of the year!

“A real privilege to observe a lesson and see how they journalled. Thank you!” Headteacher, Windlesham Village Infant School

“Seeing it in practice was illuminating.” Maths Lead, Beaufort Primary School

“Opportunity to talk to children to hear their reasoning as they explained their exploration and new learning was very useful. Very clear mathematical language modelled and used by children. Very good to see the quality recording in maths books.” Maths Lead, Burpham Primary School

Click here to book on Open Lessons.

Textbooks 2

This project is being conducted by Goldsworth Park Primary, Cranborne Primary and Uplands Primary.

Background

Cranborne and Uplands

  • Started using the OUP Inspire Maths books with year 1 in Jan 2015 as part of the Maths Hub national project
  • Staffing changes/issues as well as some challenges associated with a mid-year start meant that it wasn’t adopted overly successfully last year, however both schools have been using it in year 1 since September.

Goldsworth Park

  • Opted to use the Maths No Problem with year 1 as part of the second phased of the Maths Hub national project

We are fortunate to be trialling both textbooks in the region and are therefore in a unique position to comment on both.

You can read the individual summaies of the two textbooks here:

Maths No Problem

OUP Inspire Maths

 

Compare and contrast

  • Both use a Singapore approach, however Maths No Problem! covers everything in the NC whereas Inspire doesn’t.
  • Inspire’s package included assessment materials and a teacher guide. Maths No Problem! has no teacher guide so more thinking is required of staff.
  • Inspire teacher book is overloaded whereas Maths No Problem! lessons only go over 2-3 pages.
  • The lesson approach is different: Maths No Problem! have an exploration task to start every lesson where Inspire follows a more traditional approach using teacher input.
  • Both have good variation within the tasks and the questions.
  • Thought needs to be put into the children with barriers to Maths for both schemes.
  • Inspire does challenge the fast graspers through acceleration. Thought needs to be put into challenge activities for more able in Maths No Problem! but it sticks within the end of year expectations.
  • Students love both schemes.
  • Inspire assessment materials are not great – sometimes not linked to what they been doing. Maths No Problem! assessments are in a similar format to the textbooks and follow them directly
  • Training experiences were mixed with Inspire – some key aspects of the programme were held back. Maths No Problem! training was excellent.

 

 

 

Textbooks 1

This is being trialled in Goldsworth Park school with year 1.

What does the programme consist of?

  • Two textbooks per year group which cover the English National Curriculum.
  • There are two workbooks which align with the textbooks.
  • Online element with training videos and parent support videos.

How are lessons compiled?

The ‘In Focus’ section is always a very open task that leads them to explore ideas and start to think about what they already know and how it can be used (it very much links in with the idea of letting the kite fly and then reeling it in!)

Textbooks 1

The ‘Let’s Learn’ section focuses on the key mothods.

Textbooks 2

There is then a ‘Guided Practice’ question and a ‘Mind Workout’ which are designed to be some variation activities.

 

Why are the lessons compiled like this?

During the training course we received insight into the research and thinking of 5 people… The Maths No Problem series is underpinned by their theories:

  • Jean Piaget – ample processing time (exploration)
  • Zoltan Dienes – ideas looked at informally before formal teaching
  • Lev Vygotsky – cooperative learning
  • Richard Skemp – relational understanding (links and relationships between concepts) not just instrumental (learning rules or by rote)
  • Jerome Bruner – CPA approach

 

Training

We were fortunate enough to go on a 6 day training course provided as part of this research project. This was highly valuable training and gave us the opportunity to talk to other teachers across the country doing the same.

If you buy into Maths No Problem you can buy training blocks from them depending on your needs.

 

Examples

Below are some examples of the work being produced by our children.

Textbooks 3Textbooks 4

Textbooks 5

 

Positives

  • Amazing methodology; children’s understanding is at a much higher level than in previous years.
  • The lessons are planned carefully in small steps allowing most children to keep up.
  • The textbooks have great visual representations which the children find easy to use.
  • The variation of tasks lead to a certain level of differentiation.
  • Online resource is useful for planning and the training videos are great.
  • Access to parent videos which can be placed on your website.
  • Training was excellent with Professor Yeap Ban Har.

Negatives

  • Expensive!
  • Still need to differentiate for the more able, especially at the start of the year, so suitable depth was being reached.
  • Textbooks mean that levels of literacy can hold children back.
  • Workbooks need to be bought to purchase the scheme and we have not been able to build them into the work we’ve done.
  • Planning can take a little more time when splitting the lessons up – needs professional dialogue, but this is actually a huge positive too!
  • You still need to provide for the children that have barriers to their learning as you would with any scheme.

 

Next steps

  • YES!
  • We think it is having massive impact and we have found a way of making it work costs wise.
  • CPD of staff will be highly important in this and we will only be introducing it one year group at a time.

 

Things to consider

  • If you can’t afford to buy into the whole scheme then it is worthwhile purchasing a copy for each teacher just to help them see the progression and get ideas from the ‘In Focus’ sections.