Maths in Term 1…Where do we start?
The new term has begun. And like me, you may be wondering, ‘Where do I start?‘ when it comes to ‘catching up’ on learning. Maths is one of those subjects that children either love or hate, so the last thing you want to do is make it a negative experience for them!
A Starting Point
Consider doing some form of baseline assessment within the first few weeks of this term, even if it just on the key skills such as using the four operations or number bonds. It will give you a starting point and something to work with. You may find that there is a common area amongst the class that you can then work on, or be able to pin point a group of children who need to recap a particular area of maths. This doesn’t have to be a formal assessment in silence. It could be done in the form of a group or class game, a quiz, or a paired activity.
How to fit it in?
This is the tricky bit. Our timetables are squeezed enough what with hand washing and staggered breaks and lunches. These times could be used to your advantage however, for practising basic number facts or times tables. You could squeeze in a quick game or quick fire questions. As one child leaves the sink, they have to ask the next child a question. Whilst washing their hands, the children could count up in jumps of a certain amount.
Whilst outside at break time, you could play a maths game! Counting objects, ‘I’m thinking of a number’, get the children to test each other or ask the children to try and make up their own game linked to a particular area of learning. How about getting the children to try:
– ‘Addition hopscotch. If you are able to use a hopscotch, the children could add two numbers that they land on, or add a set number each time. (E.g. adding 10 each time).
– Multiplication footsteps (like Grandmother’s footsteps, but if someone is spotted moving, they have to answer a times table question)
– Move and freeze – division style! Children move around the area in a certain manner or theme (astronaut, in a jungle, stuck in mud etc). When someone shouts ‘freeze’, the children have to stop. If someone is caught moving, they have to answer a division question correctly to stay in the game.
Lunchtimes may be another extra part of the day to add a little maths to. Many children are now eating in classrooms, so why not have something on the board for them to discuss whilst they eat, such as a word problem or maths puzzle.
How about a ‘Question of the day‘? This could focus on a very small objective and the only change to that question would be the numbers used. This would help the children practise one skill and build their confidence at the same time.
Combine the Subjects!
The nice thing about maths is that it does fit in with other subjects really well. For example, during a PE warm up, the children could be reciting their times tables or addition facts. They could have to answer a maths question and the answer could determine what exercise they have to do, or how many reps:
10 star jumps for an even number and 10 hops for an odd number.
50 ÷ 5 = 10, which equals 10 squats.
56 ÷ 7 = 8, which means 8 lunges.
Use What You’ve Got
Why make new resources to cover the ‘lost learning’ when it’s probably already been done for you? It may already be covered in the scheme you are using at school, or through sites such as Teacher’s Pet. Save yourself some time. Don’t worry if the resources you use or make aren’t as flashy or sparkly as what you have seen on social media. As long as your children are engaged, then that’s the most important thing!
Speaking of resources, Teacher’s Pet has some great stuff that you can use! They have some super morning starter activities, key vocabulary for your displays and lots of times tables activities. Go and check them out if you haven’t already!
It feels like we have a mountain to climb. But we are all in the same boat here. It’s all about taking flexible baby steps. As the saying goes, ‘Rome wasn’t built in a day.’ We will get there. Children are resilient little people and as the year goes on, will show us why being a teacher is an amazing job and all our hard work is worth it.