Wednesday, 13 January 2016

Maths Masters and Reading Rangers

Guest post by Claire Eagling
EYFS/KS1 Teacher at a village school in West Norfolk

A couple of years ago we identified a need to improve our pupils' mental maths. This is a core skill which underpins all of mathematics and requires consistent practice to master. Unfortunately, the time constraints in the school day limit how much time teachers can devote to working on this.

In order to make mental maths practice a regular part of home learning across the school, we developed "maths passports". Children "travel around the world" completing a set of mental maths challenges at each location. They collect stamps which show their progress. This gives the children plenty of opportunities to practise their mental maths. It also keeps parents aware of the level their child is working at and gives them the appropriate mathematical language to help their child practise and progress.
A Year 6 Passport
Hints for parents
Initial feedback from parents was positive, but many felt that the school wasn't recognising their children's achievements so they weren't being moved on as quickly as they could be. Teachers aimed to check every child at least once per week to assess their progress, but in reality this wasn't always possible.

We already had parents coming into school to read with the children ("Reading Rangers") so we decided to designate some of them "Maths Masters". These parents help us by checking the children's mental arithmetic (we provide a list of questions, with answers, so it doesn't matter if their own skills are a little rusty!). The parents give the children stamps in their passports and report to the teachers when a child is ready to move onto the next level.

This is an extremely valuable contribution to the school: it saves the teachers a lot of time while still ensuring that each child's progress is checked regularly and in depth.

Ed: Does your school also make use of parental involvement to help with STEM subjects? We'd love to hear about it! 

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