Mathematics at St Peter’s is based on the fundamental principle that ‘everyone can achieve’ and therefore no child is left behind. The structure of mathematics at St Peter’s reflects this, be it with the use of the concrete in the form of manipulative or making pictorial representations to show the ‘real story’ to support and ensure children develop a deeper mathematical understanding.
Carefully planned, staged learning ensure that children who grasp concepts more quickly are challenged through a variety of problem-solving and reasoning tasks in every lesson. A ‘Dong Nao Jin’ (Use Your Head) challenge is used to challenge the rapid graspers and further extend and stretch their understanding.
The teaching of mathematics at St. Peter’s has links with Shanghai and Singaporean approaches to maths. We have carefully structured our maths curriculum and lessons with the aim of children developing mastery.
Key Features of St. Peter’s Maths Lessons
Longer on each key topic
After developing a whole-school curriculum map, the children now spend a significant length of time on each unit so that they are secure using and applying their new skills before moving on to tackle new concepts. With the exception of Year 1 and Year 6, all year groups will be teaching the same units at similar times
Concrete, Pictorial, Abstract
Our children experience a CPA (Concrete, Pictorial, Abstract) approach in daily lessons. The children begin their learning in the concrete, with a range of manipulatives available to support their understanding. As their conceptual understanding develops they move towards the pictorial representation of the learning and finally to the abstract numeral and symbols.
The children are able to record the ‘real story’ and the ‘maths story’. Children are not pushed to move through these stages until they have shown understanding which the teaching team assess. If the children are secure in their understanding, the teaching team will deepen their understanding through reasoning and application of skills or a change of manipulatives. Children will not be accelerated to the next year group’s concepts. The children can access resources from their table’s ‘grab box’ whenever they feel it will benefit their understanding.
2-2-1 Learning Approach
Learning will be structured over two days: the first lesson children will follow the CPA approach and on the second day the focus will be on applying and embedding the concept further through a variety of challenge, problem-solving and reasoning tasks.
Real Story Maths
In order to help our children move between and understand the relationship between iconic representations and abstract mathematical symbols, the children record their written maths in a ‘Real Story/ Math Story’ format. This also encourages children to draw pictorial representations to support their conceptual understanding.
Staged Learning Tasks
To ensure that children are secure in their understanding of concepts, they will work through progressive stages of learning where they will apply the key concept when solving a variety of problem solving and reasoning tasks. At St Peter’s we have developed are own staged learning tasks. These start with children learning basic concept and children work through ‘stages’ of carefully planned tasks which aim to develop a greater depth of understanding and provide challenge.
Whole-class ‘ping-pong’ style teaching
During our maths lesson, the whole class benefits teaching small coherent steps in learning. During this time, the children have lots of opportunity to ‘do maths’ independently and in small groups/ partners. The teacher will ‘let the kite out and draw it back in’ regularly to review learning before moving on to the next stage.
Before the children’s independent learning tasks, the children are asked ‘hinge questions’ (or diagnostic questions) as an important check-point in the lesson. This allows the teaching staff to quickly assess the children’s understanding and progress, and therefore, create ‘support groups’ with teaching staff so that children gain immediate intervention.
In line with NCETM’s recommendations, the children at St. Peter’s benefit from immediate same-day intervention through the targeted use of AFL such as the ‘Hinge Question’, targeted questioning and tasks to inform focus groups. This provides children, who have misconceptions or are struggling with a concept, time to work closely with the teacher and essentially ‘catch-up’ before the end of a lesson or series of lessons.
Same content for all learners
In line with National Curriculum’s expectation that the ‘majority of pupils will move through the programmes of study at broadly the same pace’, all pupils at St. Peter’s will access the same content in each lesson, unless they are working significantly below age-related expectations.
Teaching staff work hard to ensure progression throughout each lesson so that every child has the opportunity to apply and deepen their conceptual understanding. For rapid graspers, a ‘Dong Nao Jin’ (Use Your Head) challenge is available in order to further extend and stretch their understanding.