By David Fox and Burcum Kesen
It has been an exciting start to the new year dusting away the cobwebs from the summer break and beginning new and important topics. It is imperative that we make a strong start at the beginning of term as what we cover now will help shape the rest of our work this year. As always, we began looking at the times tables and place value which helps us as teachers to understand not only each student’s individual level, but the understanding of these topics as a class also.
The students are reintroduced to practicing their times tables using a class multiplication grid. Once the students are comfortable with filling it in and are getting it consistently correct, they begin getting timed. This helps the students to not only focus, building on their thinking and self-management skills but also brings in a competitive element where they can try to beat their own time. It is wonderful to see how proud they are when they do it quicker!
It has been personally very pleasing for me to see how much progress has already been made in relation to these topics, and their handle on this will be continuously assessed throughout the year in short verbal and written tests. This will be done until I am confident they are entirely comfortable and can recite them by heart and answer multiplication questions using them all. Further assessments will be carried out each Friday, with individual progress being monitored and additional work and assistance given where necessary.
Understanding how to recognize, categorize and write numbers in numerical and written form is a crucial part of the students’ mathematical journey, which is why we begin each new year in this way. Each year group has a mathematics and English checklist, and the entirety of our lessons are based on the criteria contained within these. All work is differentiated so each student can fulfill their full potential and work at a level and pace they feel comfortable with.