Scheme that has measure of maths

20th February 2004 at 00:00
Total Numeracy Steve McEachainn and Susan Shipway teaching scheme P1 and P2 teacher's pack pound;200 pupil's pack pound;48 City of Edinburgh Council

Frances Burns reviews a clear cut scheme to take primary pupils to level A in maths

Total Numeracy is a complete teaching scheme for P1 and P2 which works on the premise that children who have a sound understanding of numbers will find it easier to cover other aspects of maths.

It takes pupils up to the end of P2, beyond 5-14 level A in numbers and money and introduces some aspects of information handling. It allows teachers flexibility in covering topics such as measurement, time, shape, position and movement when they decide it is appropriate.

The teacher's pack contains two teacher's books, a copymaster book, picture sheets, game boards and magnetic tape. The pupils' pack has 20 copies of workbooks 1-13 and picture books 1 and 2. The materials are user friendly, hard wearing, bright and motivational.

The teacher's books are concise and easy to use. Book 1 covers counting to 10, addition and subtraction up to five, counting to 20 and addition and subtraction within 10. Most pupils would complete these tasks by the end of P1.

Book 2 covers counting to 100, advanced strategies for addition and subtraction, halves and quarters and addition and subtraction within 20. By the end of all eight units, most children would be ready for testing at level A.

A useful programme of study details the content of each unit in a format that can easily be adapted into a planning document. Each unit specifies the skills pupils should develop and has well presented, progressive lesson plans for whole class, interactive teaching.

The same format is adopted for each lesson, giving the teacher, at a glance, a clear focus. It highlights key vocabulary to use and key questions. It is also easy for teaching and support staff to see which resources are required for each lesson.

The teaching scheme takes account of recent research into how children learn. In accordance with HM inspectors' recommendations, greater emphasis is placed on developing pupils' ability to carry out mental calculations before introducing the formal recording of calculations.

Lesson notes are also presented in a way that reflects inspectorate advice on teaching mathematics. Lessons are set out in four stages, which give the teacher more time to focus on:l starter activities, which are fun and involve the whole class in practising prior skills,l an introduction to new concepts - which is the main teaching part of the lesson - in a way that encourages participation by all,l activities which allow the pupils to use their new skills individually, in pairs and in groups; andl a plenary session, where the teacher reinforces the main points of the lesson and pupils explain the strategies they have used.

Each lesson has enrichment and extension activities for children of different ability levels.

The copymaster book contains resources the teacher will need to teach units 1-8; any additional resources required are listed in the teacher's books.

Recording sheets and oral and written assessments for each unit are also provided.

The games boards can be used in the main teaching part of the lesson or for reinforcement. The picture sheets can be used for a variety of purposes and are a good size for children to handle.

The pupil workbooks are attractive, have the right amount of text to challenge the pupils without overwhelming them and the size of the text is large enough to allow them to write in the boxes.

The children at Our Lady's Primary in Stoneyburn, West Lothian, really enjoyed the lessons and found them fun. They particularly liked using puppets to find missing numbers on the number line.

Several teachers have commented that Total Numeracy is user friendly and good for team teaching. They found it increased pupils' confidence: even the more reluctant pupils answered confidently and participated in the activities. The games were popular and encouraged pupils to use the correct mathematical terms.

The best endorsement came from the P1P2 class itself. When asked what their favourite lesson was, the majority said: "Maths."

Frances Burns is headteacher of Our Lady's Primary, Stoneyburn, West Lothian

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