There are many elements to the teaching and learning of Maths: it is not only the ability to calculate (being mathematically fluent) but also the ability to apply these skills to real life scenarios (solve problems and investigate) and also to talk knowledgably about mathematical working (reasoning).
‘Mastery’ Principles through a Phased Approach
At Fonthill, we value the principles behind the Mastery approach to teaching Maths, however many of our lessons are taught through the phased approach in order to meet the varying needs of the children in the class. The teacher will always work with every group in the class, and pay particular attention to the children who are just below age-related expectations in order to close the gap. We quickly identify children who need support to achieve their curriculum objectives and providing high quality support in personalised intervention sessions by Teachers and Teaching Assistants. Where there is a TA in class, they will support different groups throughout a lesson.
The depth of learning principles allow children to enjoy a range of investigations, activities and games, which really consolidates their understanding and ensures they are best prepared for their next academic year. In this way, they are applying their understanding and skills in different (and often real-life) contexts.
Calculation Policy Values and Aims
The calculation policy was written with both Little Mead Primary Academy and Henbury Court Primary Academy, in order to align the Endeavour schools' calculation policies. Our Maths Policy and this new Calculation Policy can be found on the Policy page of our website.
Resources, images and the Bar Method
Fonthill teachers use a range of resources to support children throughout their Maths learning, including when learning new content.
We believe in the concrete – pictorial – abstract principle, where children need to use resources to ‘do’ and ‘see’ the Maths, before using images, and then being able to work independently. This does not just happen during children’s early years, but throughout their Maths learning. For example, Upper Key Stage 2 children would use Base10 resources to ‘see’ calculations with decimals before being able to ‘do’ the Maths without them.
Numicon is key feature of our EYFS and early KS1 children’s Maths learning – it is used in play and in explicit teaching of number facts / early calculation. Dienes are used for Y2 onwards to demonstrate calculation strategies, including those with decimals, and cuisinaire rods are also used, particularly when learning fractions.
Images are also a key feature of our Maths teaching and learning. They support children to understand the Maths (when it is related to real life) and indeed children are encouraged to ‘show’ the Maths by drawing their own images. (Can they draw 3 x 5 to demonstrate an understanding of arrays.) They also invent and solve their own word problems from a range of mathematically rich illustrations.
The Bar Method is used to support children in understanding and solving word problems. It begins in Y1, where 1 symbol represents 1 unit, and progresses up the school where the bar represents a quantity.
Being able to talk about Maths, explain what is happening and use it to solve problems is a very important part of Maths at Fonthill. Children are encouraged to talk about their Maths every session and there is written evidence of this in books. Problem solving, activities and investigations are a key part of a sequence of Maths lessons; again, this is evident within the children’s Maths books.
Click on this link to the National Curriculum Page for Maths
Have you ever wondered what happens during a day at Fonthill?
Here is a snapshot of what Fonthill’s mathematicians do on a daily basis, from our little Nursery stars, all the way to our Year 6s!
In Nursery, the children work with the Numicon every morning. They are learning to recognise the shapes, count them accurately and order them by size up to 10. Then, when they go to their continuous provision, there is Numicon in a wide variety of areas for them to play with and explore. (It gets quite dirty in Nursery as it is in the sand, water, mud kitchen, playdough……!)
The Reception children also use Numicon in their daily Maths sessions. They are learning to order it by size up to 20, and match the numeral to the Numicon. They have also been learning to spot which one is missing when someone takes a piece away, and how they can use the Numicon to fill a 10x10 base board. They have also built some Numicon towers to find out which numbers add together to make a given total.
In other Maths challenges, they have made 3D shape towers, learnt the names of the shapes they have used, and explored how the angle of tubing can make water (and things) travel down it faster!
The Year 1 children begin each Maths session using Miss Brill’s super glittery counting stick. They have learnt to count forward and backwards in ones from any number up to 100, in 2s, 5s and are soon going to be learning to count in 10s. When they are calculating in their books, they have Numicon available to them to use, and they have used it successfully to work out how much money they have in 5ps, how much more they would need to make a given total and many other addition and subtraction calculations to 20.
Year 2 had a practical measuring week, where they explored measuring in centimetres and metres using practical resources. They found things which were the same as a meter in and around the school, and then learnt how to measure accurately with a metre stick, applying their knowledge of counting in 10s. This was particularly hard when things were longer than 1 metre. They also used tape measures to measure each other’s body parts, and became confident working with smaller units of measure (centimetres and millimetres.)
The Year 3 children have still found Numicon helpful when learning to count in 3s initially, although now they are so confident, they don’t need it anymore! They have been using other practical resources to learn division by grouping, and can really ‘see’ what is happening each time. They have learnt to solve a range of division (and multiplication) activities relating to the 3 x table.
This week the Year 4 children have started to learn all about area and perimeter. They have just begun learning about area, so used squares of the same size to explore how shapes can be different but have the same area. Next, they are going to learn how to calculate the area and perimeter of rectilinear shapes, and solve problems involving area.
Year 6 used rice and cups to explore fractions and really get a sense of what a fraction is and ‘feels like.’ They used this strategy to help them compare 2 different fractions, and to order them on a number line. This practical approach to teaching has really helped the children with their understanding, and they are now able to apply this when completing fraction work without the need of resources or visuals.
During their multiplication week, the children in Year 5 applied all of their place value knowledge to multiply and divide by 10, 100 and 1000. They played a game to practice this, which involved rolling a die, completing a mathematical operation on it, and seeing if they could beat their partner. They have now applied this understanding in their mental maths work, and also in their written formal methods.