Now that the numeracy strategy is part of our lives, practical resources are emerging to help children visualise and internalise the key concepts. BEAM, in collaboration with PCET (the wallchart specialists) has a number of new visual aids which extend their track-record of rigorous resources.
First, the durable 1-20 Number Tracks for younger children. Sold in packs of 10, with accompanying teacher's notes by Fran Mosley, they provide straightforward advice on using this most simple of visual aids to best effect. A baker's dozen of activities help focus on children's use of counting, ordering, number orientation, simple number bonds, pairs and mathematical language.
The Place Value Cards, at 9cm high on bright backgrouds, can be seen across the classroom even on a dull day. John Spooner's notes address the importance of developing confidence to use a variety of computation strategies. Again, there are examples of good starting points and example scripts for games, open-ended questions and a variety of mental maths activities. Place value charts in the same package provide arrays of numbers to stimulate discussion of place value and help understand the importance of position.
I particularly like the three sets of Loop Cards, which will reinforce children's grasp of number value, addition, approximation and much more. Essentially a domino-based game, the cards make statements on the right leading side to which a response must be correctly provided by the left half of the next card. The language varies, from the simple "I need a number between 28 and 31" for less advanced mathematicians to "Add this number to 0.3 to make 1" for upper primary. These visual aids should support good classroom practice.
Jon O'Connor is head of Parkside primary school, Borchamwood