Test your skill with Tiger Ten
The post-Dearing revision of the HeinemannScottish Primary Mathematics Group series has prompted the publication of a useful Assessment and Resources Pack. It includes resource cards which offer games and extension activities, together with a booklet of 25 check-ups, each linked to SPMG textbook and workbook points. There is a teacher guide mapping national curriculum coverage with the content of the scheme and pupil assessment checklists matching the mathematics programmes of study.
Heinemann's Problem Solving Activities booklets were originally among the components of the assessment and resources packs for each level of the scheme. They are now published separately and would form a useful complement to maths activities, regardless of which scheme, if any, a school is committed to. They are available as an omnibus pack of six or as individual titles.
Each booklet starts with a brief introduction for teachers, which explains how the activities support the underlying mathematical ideas. The main text gives notes about curriculum coverage and the materials required. There is also pragmatic advice about the possible strategies, extension work - and, I'm pleased to say, some of the solutions.
Most of the work is designed with groups in mind, since there are clear benefits to collaboration in problem-solving.
The line-drawings are clear and relevant. The earlier levels use oral instruction and very little text. By the time you enter level 6, the problems are sufficiently challenging for competent mathematicians in the corresponding primary year group. Some sections of the books are photocopiable.
The Heinemann Home Link-Up series is closely tied to the SPMG texts, but it also offers real scope for schools who want to promote parental involvement.
Although it may seem initially that the workload and costs involved are excessive, homework systems which involve a limited choice of photocopies have certain merits. As well as restraining the over-zealous parent, they can also give the less confident much-needed guidance.
The emphasis is on consolidation of school work. The content, covering work on all aspects of number, measures, shape and handling data, aims to establish the security of concepts on paper rather than demanding practical work at the tea-table. The Home Link-up series will help schools with a balanced response to families looking for traditional approaches to homework.
Number Zoo (illustrated left) is a new publication, reminiscent of Letterland, which aims to support the introduction of numbers from zero to ten using a variety of related contexts and concepts. Each number is associated with the image of an animal, such as "penguin one" or snappy six, the crocodile.
The choice of creature is intended to help children with number formation and orientation, using parts of the body or background features to reinforce the value. The idea is a simple one and, as such, should not be overworked.
The package comprises individual number cards, each with a story introducing character and numerous references to the number, which contribute to a rather forced narrative.
There is a complementary set of three photocopiable worksheets on counting, number formation and simple recording. Corresponding teacher's notes suggest follow-up activities and contain advice on how to reinforce correct number formation.