Strategic planning for maths
Anne Woodman looks at numeracy materials for teachers and pupils.
The title of Peter Patilla's new series says it all - and the message is one I wholeheartedly support. There is a book for each year group providing about 40 lesson plans based on the objectives in the yearly teaching programmes in the framework for numeracy. Each lesson plan is usefully linked in a grid to the learning objectives in the framework - including shape and space - so it will be easy for teachers to cross-reference this at the short-term planning stage.
The plans are well thought-out and contain all the elements teachers are asked to consider, such as a whole class starter, a lead-in to the main teaching activity, what the pupils should record depending on ability, and a plenary. An excellent feature is the photocopy master for each lesson plan which is designed for whole class use at the outset of the topic and hich provides a focus for the learning to take place. In some plans there is too much to cover in one lesson, but the author acknowledges that they can extend across several days.
In the great swell of materials being published to support the maths framework, this is the type of resource I can fully recommend - it recognises the importance of quality planning and teaching in making learning effective.
Maths Masterpieces are booklets of photocopiable materials which claim to provide practice and consolidation of key skills, linked to the numeracy framework, but are designed to be used flexibly.
The sheets are grouped into sections with a diagnostic sheet to help teachers find the most appropriate starting point for each child and three differentiated activity sheets. In principle, this sounds fine, but I feel that the authors have missed an opportunity to help with the important area of diagnostic assessment by including less than half a page of teacher guidance on how to use the book.
With the emphasis on direct teaching and targetted group work promoted by the framework, materials such as these should be used selectively and based on the outcomes of the daily numeracy lessons.
Anne Woodman is a maths consultant and writer