Sum, sea and sand

11th January 2008 at 00:00

Ring the changes in your resources with these handy and inventive aids to learning, says John Dabell.


Refreshing your school's maths resources and embracing the renewed framework might seem a daunting task, but there are some tools to help.

Collins New Primary Maths might be what you are looking for. This is a fully differentiated whole-school numeracy scheme that has been developed to help you understand and implement the curriculum changes.

However, before committing your precious budget, you might want to try the key stage 2 evaluation pack with a teacher's guide, a pupil book and an interactive whiteboard software demo.

The materials stand up well and offer an off-the-shelf, ready-to-go resource with a mathematics lesson for every day of the week. The teacher's guide, organised by the blocks and units suggested by the framework, offers time-saving planning support. Each lesson includes lesson objectives, vocabulary and an oral mental starter followed by step- by-step main teaching activities and suggested questions.

To cater for children's needs there are three levels of activities, for full sessions and assessment for learning ideas. Most lessons include common mistakes made by children and some remedial tips for addressing them.

Some are disappointingly thin on the ground in places and don't really go far enough in the way of active support. But most lessons also come with suggested out-of-school activities.

The pupil book for Year 6 contains objectives translated into child- friendly language with three levels of difficulty colour and shape- coded.

Some pupil pages contain examples for children to follow and some have helpful hints, although this is not consistent throughout, which is a shame. At the back of the book are some essential maths facts to help support children, including the problem-solving process, a number line, fractions, decimals and percentages, number facts and samples of calculations.

The major gripe with the evaluation pack is what it doesn't include. The scheme has differentiation and homework books and assessment materials, but these are not in the pack and without them, you might find it difficult to get an overall feel.

However, they compare and compete well with resources offered by other publishers and represent good value for money. Time to get the rep in and find out for yourself.

Collins New Primary Maths Key Stage 2 Evaluation Pack, pound;50.

Numicon at the Seaside is a high-quality set of resources written to help children aged four to five explore the numbers up to 10 through a series of pictures and rhymes set around the seashore.

You get a lot for your money. The pack of materials includes a big book, four small copies for guided reading, a CD of 10 songs and a teaching guide containing notes and suggestions for using each page of the book.

The big book is a delightful resource for sharing with the class. It contains well-written and attractive rhymes for each number from one to 10 and page after page of engaging illustrations. The rhymes CD is ideal for singing and performing in class.

The teacher's guide helps you get the most out of the big book. This contains some great ideas for questioning and developing discussion as well as activities for follow-up and extension work. Each chapter lists the mathematical language used, the music for each rhyme and the rhyme itself.

What makes the resource stand out is the inclusion of two photocopy master sheets, one for class time and one for out of school. These are perfect for creating home-school links and helping children practise concepts and vocabulary.

Numicon at the Seaside, pound;37.50

John Dabell is maths co-ordinator at Lawn Primary School in Derby.

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