10th November 2006 at 00:00
Ages 4 to 7

On my last assessment of my postgraduate certificate in education placement, I had to teach a maths lesson on logic and problem solving.

After hours of internet searching, I gave up and went into class planning to blag and run a giant game of noughts and crosses.

As I set up my giant grid on the carpet around which the children, my tutor, teaching assistant and teacher sat, I had a brainwave.

I told the class that instead of the first person to get three-in-a-row being the winner, the first person to get three in a row would be the loser. This meant the children had to use forward planning and be on the attack and defensive.

After a short demonstration, the children were put into mixed-ability pairs and played several games of 3x3 and 4x4.

It was great afternoon, the children playing a competitive, fun game while being in charge of their own learning and using so many logic and problem-solving strategies.

While I was watching two children playing, I suddenly remembered I was also being observed. As I looked for my tutor, a squeal came from the back table where a usually quiet six year-old boy shouted that he had won three games, because the person he was playing against "weren't that good".

He pointed to my now red-faced tutor, who was about to be promoted, to head of maths at the uni. She gave me a "very good" assessment Yalini Sri-Balakumaran is a supply teacher in London

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