Heartbeat of Education Webinar Series

I’m delighted to announce the launch of the Heartbeat of Education Webinar Series. In these free webinar sessions, held fortnightly on Thursdays at 6-7pm via Zoom, I will host discussions between a panel of experts on some of the most pressing issues in Primary education.

There’s a specific agenda for each session and the four panellists will hold discussions that that will be relevant for teachers, school leaders and parents alike.

I can’t wait to introduce you to the panellists: they are people I have been challenged and inspired by in my 15 years in Primary education. Whilst we are being joined by top authors and esteemed professors, panellists also include some of the UNSUNG HERO teachers, headteachers and home-school mothers that I have learnt so much from. They are wonderful people, the kind of people who you want by your side in the middle of a challenge! And they all bring very different skills and experiences.

More than anything, we want to interact with YOU. We want to understand your challenges, respond to your needs and engage in a personal, practical way. We want our exchanges to be honest and meaningful. You are very welcome to join the sessions and observe in the background. But you are invited to become an active partner as we work through these issues. That’s why I’m so excited about this format!

Click on the links below to register for the free sessions:
Heartbeat of Education: Leading Emotionally Healthy Schools and Homes in a Pandemic, Thursday 25th February, 6pm-7pm
In this webinar, a panel of leading thinkers, school leaders and parents talk about how we can best support the emotional wellbeing of the children and staff in our care. We will have a 360 degree look at the different challenges that children have faced during the pandemic and how, as educators, we can respond in 2021. With author, educational researcher and leader Emma Turner, headteacher of two schools Mandy Jones and inspirational home-school mother of six children Katy Nyman.

Heartbeat of Education: How Expert Teachers Will Rebuild Mathematical Understanding, Thursday 11th March, 6pm-7pm
In this webinar we will consider how primary teachers can best rebuild children’s mathematical understanding when schools reopen to lay the foundations for long-term success. We will discuss how lesson design, planning and teaching pedagogy may be different post-lockdown as well as a range of other issues including subject leadership, accountability systems and differentiation. I’m delighted to be joined by Y6 teacher and STEM professional development leader Alison Hogben, expert maths consultant Vicki Giffard and Infant School leader and award-winning teacher Toby Tyler.

Heartbeat of Education: Building Children as Mathematical Problem-Solvers, Thursday 25th March, 6pm-7pm
In this webinar we will explore how we can enable all children to flourish as mathematical problem-solvers. We will consider the challenges children face in learning to problem-solve and how, as teachers, we can help to deconstruct and build these crucial skills. The panellists will share their various experiences in building mathematical problem-solving skills and developing problem-solving in other contexts. We will try to offer some light on how schools can support all children to become skilful, resilient, logical thinkers! With London SW maths hub lead and teacher Kate Mole, former school advisor and Deputy Headteacher teaching in Y1/2 James Jones and teacher of 38 years, teaching Headteacher of 23 years, former maths consultant and current Camden maths leader Kate Frood OBE.

Heartbeat of Education: Adapting School Life Post-Lockdown, Thursday 22nd April, 6pm-7pm
In this webinar we discuss how school life can best meet the needs of children post-lockdown. We will consider the different challenges, both academically and personally, that children have experienced and how we can respond to meet the needs of every individual. We are joined by Professor in Child Mental Health Jess Deighton and the phenomenal Salford-based Headteacher Jane Garner.

Please sign up, join in and please spread the word by telling your friends and sharing this post on any relevant pages. Thanks, Gareth

If you are unable to attend live, a recording of each session will be shared with people registered for the session only. This recording will be available for 4 days after the event. Details of how to access the recording will be shared via a Zoom email the day after the event.

I See Reasoning for Y3 and Y4: the big vision and free samples!

I’m very excited to soon be releasing the eBooks I See Reasoning Y3 and I See Reasoning Y4. They will be breakthrough resources for building conceptual understanding; for helping children to notice patterns and relationships; and for deepening challenges. They will be comprehensive and user-friendly. I See Reasoning – Y3 will be released on Sunday 7th March 2021 and I See Reasoning – Y4 will be released on Sunday 14th March 2021.

There is a Zoom online training session on Wednesday 24th March, 4pm-5pm, to show how to get the most out on the I See Reasoning – Y3 and I See Reasoning – Y4 eBooks. The cost is £20. Sign up now! 

Free Sample: I See Reasoning Y3 Division and Multiplication and Division

Free Sample: I See Reasoning Y4 Division and Multiplication and Division

These eBooks are a big upgrade on I See Reasoning – LKS2. First of all, each eBook will contain around 350 questions or tasks, more than double the original eBook. In each section, mathematical concepts are shown using different images and representations:

Common misconceptions are highlighted and addressed:

Then there are a range of questions for highlighting patterns, generating discussion and digging deeper. Can children see the relationships between the Small Difference Questions? And find all answers to How Many Ways tasks?

Each eBook costs £24.98 and only one copy is needed per school. I believe that this represents amazing value – hopefully it means that my resources can impact many children. In-depth online or in-person CPD on embedding reasoning within sequences of lessons can also be arranged. To receive sample tasks of the final parts of the resource, and future resources, join the I See Maths mailing list community. Click on the links for I See Reasoning Y5 and I See Reasoning Y6.

I hope the eBooks will inspire many children to enjoy deep, rich mathematical experiences and that they will give you many great classroom moments!

Why I See Reasoning – Y5 and Y6 is new and unique!

I’m delighted to have  released the eBooks I See Reasoning – Y5 and I See Reasoning – Y6. They are an exciting development from anything I’ve done before and will enrich all children’s mathematical thinking. My online training on Tuesday 23rd September will explore how to get every drop of thinking from the tasks. Here’s what makes them unique:

Detailed breakdown of small steps
For children to understand the individual parts of mathematical processes, I’ve introduced lots of new questions for breaking down learning into small pieces, focusing children’s thinking on specific points. For example, Next Step questions get children to analyse specific parts within calculations and Part-Complete Examples support children as they first learn to use methods. As ever, a range of misconceptions are addressed with Explain the Mistakes examples.

Opening up patterns and developing flexible thinking
There are lots of sequences of Small Difference Questions which highlight key mathematical relationships and give children surprises. For example, when children realise that different questions give the same answer, we can explore why. There are so many other patterns to uncover! There’s also a massive range of tasks that promote flexible thinking and using different strategies:

Explores big mathematical ideas (including word questions!) and allows children to create
Each topic is explored from a wide range of different angles. We look at different contexts for rounding; algebraic ideas are explored through shape puzzles; concepts are interleaved as children calculate angles between the hands of a clock at different times. There are ‘numberless’ word questions, where children explore different question structures without numbers, tasks where children are invited to create their own questions or extend sequences and How Many Ways? tasks to open up investigations!

I See Reasoning – Y5 has 362 tasks and I See Reasoning – Y6 has 396 tasks, compared to the 176 tasks of the predecessor, I See Reasoning – UKS2. The tasks cover every area of the curriculum and they incorporate the ideas from the latest DfE Mathematical Guidance. And answers are given for every question!

I will explore in full how to use the resources in the online training on 1st and 2nd September. The eBooks cost £24.98 each and only one copy of each eBook is needed per school. I believe this represents amazing value!

Click here to order I See Reasoning – Y5 and click here to order I See Reasoning – Y6.

I hope I See Reasoning makes a huge impact on your teaching and helps all children to think mathematically. Please spread the word!

My very best wishes to everyone for the new term,

Online Training: the present and the future

From next week, I will run my first online training sessions for teachers  – it will be great connecting with educators again! Initially there are four different training events, each with 10am and 7:30pm sessions, so everyone can join in. I’m really excited to explore the opportunities that online CPD can provide.

Sessions will be 90 minutes long, with perhaps 60-70 minutes of content and 20-30 minutes of Q&A and discussion to unpick the themes of the training. This will give us time to explore key ideas in depth whilst leaving participants with a manageable number of take-aways. Future sessions will then develop these themes further. I hope that teams of people join in so they can work alongside their colleagues to implement the ideas.

I’ve already run five parent sessions on Zoom: I’m slowly learning to navigate the technology! So far, everything that can be shown at a training event can also be shown online. And with the ongoing chat and Q&A features, people have been able to interact well and ask questions as we go.

I’m particularly looking forward to the ongoing dialogue that will be created with myself and between participants both during and after. With people joining in from diverse settings, including teachers from overseas, we will learn a lot from each other! As the online training develops, I intend to run a wider variety of sessions and to build future training around the areas that people want to explore further. Sessions can be targeted to specific year groups, topics or aspects of teaching. Online training brings cost and time efficiencies. A recording can be viewed by participants afterwards too.

This form of training is new to me. I’d love to get your ideas on how I can expand or improve my online CPD offering (email iseemaths@hotmail.com). This could be about the logistics of accessing sessions, thoughts on the content of training or anything else. At what time would you like sessions to run? What would your dream course title be? And how can we ensure that the impact continues long after the sessions? I would absolutely welcome your feedback. I will plan my training sessions for May soon.

I also regularly send out resources for teachers to trial to people on my mailing list so that I can get teachers’ feedback on my products as they are being written. At the moment I’m writing three new resources. I’m planning to run some free sessions in May where I’ll show some of these resources and ask for people to say what they like and what they would add/change. I’d love to get as many people joining in with these sessions as possible. The more viewpoints I can get the better!

I can’t wait to get started. Hopefully you’ll join me!

Click here to book and for full details about April online training.

Home Learning Lessons: plans for the summer

It’s been a wonderful start to the home learning project, the vision for which is described in this short video. During the school closures, I want children to experience rich, emotionally engaging maths learning. I also wanted them to feel as if they are part of a vibrant, real community of children.

Each day, I post a video lesson for Y3/4 children (all Y3/4 lessons here), and a separate video lesson for Y5/6 children (all Y5/6 lessons here). Each video explores a big mathematical idea in small steps and a range of independent tasks are set for children to complete. Everything is free. In the first six weeks, the videos have had 335k views!

Here’s the outline plan for the rest of the school year. I will continue making the videos for the duration of the UK school closures (however long that lasts):
18th – 22nd May: Measures: Money and Time
1st June – 5th June: Data Handing
8th June – 19th June: Fractions
22nd June – 3rd July: Flexible Calculation
6th July – 17th July: Mathematical Puzzles

It’s been thrilling to hear how much the children have loved the lessons and how it’s helped time-pressured parents too:

I want as many teachers and parents to find out about this project as possible. Tell friends, share with colleagues! Lessons can be uploaded onto school websites; many schools retweet my evening tweets each day from their Twitter feeds. Also, if you like the videos it really helps if you give them a thumbs up on YouTube! Here’s the first Y3/4 lesson and here’s the first Y5/6 lesson – they will give a taste of what the lessons are like!

I have also compiled maths games to play with KS1 and KS2 children and I have been running a series of online training sessions for teachers.

I hope you are all keeping well,

The Plan: Primary Maths Lessons During School Closures

Here’s the plan for the online maths lessons that I will run over the period of the Covid-19 school closures. I hope it will help many children to engage in rich, thought-provoking maths learning during this time. I hope they will be uplifting too!

Every weekday at 9am, two new lesson will be posted on this page via YouTube: one aimed at children in Y3&4 and another for Y5&6. Each video will help children to build the skills needed for the main task. Then children will complete the main task – a challenge or short series of questions – working individually or with adult support. These tasks can also be downloaded from this page by clicking the relevant links. Answers will be provided! The first videos/tasks will be uploaded on Monday 23rd March.

Underneath each video is a short description of the key calculation skills for each lesson. Children may benefit from practising these skills before watching!

A series of games that can be played with children aged 5-8 will also be shared. The first of these videos will be published here on Tuesday 24th March and I plan to release two of these videos per week. I’ve got some great, easy-to-use games to show.

An introductory video has been put together to explain the project – please share this with children and parents. The videos will run until 3rd April (my health permitting), then there will be a two-week break over Easter. I will share a range of games that can be played during that period. Then, all being well, the daily videos will recommence for the duration of the school closures.

I am hoping to be able to run these lessons as ‘live lessons’ soon. I’ve not quite got the technology or expertise for that yet! But watch this space, I’m working on it – I’d love to introduce this and make the lessons more interactive and real.

How you can help
I also want to make the lessons engaging and personal. I’d love to end each video with a message, a joke or a thought from a range of teachers, parents or people from the community. Let’s make the videos feel like ours – help the children feel loved by the wonderful teaching community. Please email, tweet or FB message me with your personal message! And keep sending ideas for maths challenges to include. Spread the word far and wide…

Best wishes

I’m looking into ways that I could deliver free, 45-minute tutorials for parents to show how they could use some of my maths resources at home. If you might be interested, email iseemaths@hotmail.com

I am also exploring possible ways to deliver maths training sessions online to Primary teachers during school closures. Email iseemaths@hotmail.com for more information. 

LIVE Maths During UK Covid-19 School Closures

In the event of UK school closures, I’m planning to run daily live maths lessons via YouTube aimed at all KS2 children and provide guidance for maths games to play with younger children. In this blog I’ve explained what I’ve planned so far but I’m after your help and ideas! All the content will be free.

Live Lessons
If schools do close, I want to keep alive the sense of community that comes from engaging in learning maths together – of having a shared experience. I also wanted to help families keep a sense of routine by sharing lessons at the same time every day. Whilst I plan to record lessons and upload them onto my YouTube channel (which I created this afternoon), I hope as many people as possible watch the lessons live to enjoy that shared experience. I also want to really engage children in rich, thought-provoking challenges and be an uplifting presence!

Soon, I’m going to create a short YouTube video to introduce myself to children/parents and explain all about the videos. At a guess, each live lesson will be 20 minutes long. They will build understanding of the mathematics in small steps, they will be interactive and they will all introduce a rich task for the children to complete independently. Further guidance (and answers) will be shared on my website for children to self-assess their work. Provisionally, the lesson aimed at Y3-4 may air at 9:15am and the Y5-6 lesson at 10:00am. This is all subject to change and to your suggestions!

I thought teachers might suggest ways for children to collaborate with each other during the tasks. It would be great to get some live comments/examples of work coming through from teachers during the lessons too, to poke fun at some of us teachers! Also, if you know any famous people we could rope in…

If I stay healthy and people keep watching, my pledge is to keep this going every school day (not including the Easter hols) for the duration of UK school closures.

Tell me how to improve my plan. What I can do to help share this content with children/parents? To engage children? And PLEASE, share with me your favourite maths tasks for me to use in the lessons!

I’m also going to make a short series of videos showing a range of games that parents can play at home with younger children, including personal favourites like my Connect 4 games. Again, please send through ideas of games and activities that I could include in these videos.

When I have finalised tech side of streaming/recording the lessons, and listened to your ideas, I will either update this blog or launch a page on my website that will host everything. I look forward to hearing as many ideas as possible from you all. And please tell people in your school and share with your friends. I hope, in some small ways, it helps at this time.

My very best wishes to you all. Keep well,


A favourite multiplication investigation

Here’s a multiplication investigation that I used with a mixed-age Y5/6 class. Before the task we recapped on the grid method (it will become apparent why the grid method was used). Then, the main task was introduced:

Immediately, the children positioned 8 in one of the tens columns and 0 in one of the ones columns. Some children tried 85 x 40, but then we established that the larger digits (8 and 5) need to be placed in the tens columns and the smaller digits (4 and 0) in the ones columns. But where, then, should the digits 4 and 0 be positioned? Which gives the larger product: 84 x 50 or 80 x 54? Will these two calculations give the same answer? This was explored:

We compared these two calculations and asked ‘What’s the same? What’s different?’ The grid method helps to show that multiplying the tens values gives 4000 in both calculations. However, the TO x O parts of the calculation are different. We saw that 80 x 54 gives the largest product. One child even said ‘The short method for multiplying is quicker, but the grid method is better for showing what’s the same and what’s different.’ I show the children an area model to help them to understand the difference between 84 x 50 and 80 x 54:

In the image above, we see the TO x TO part of the calculation. We ask the children to visualise how each image will be changed when the TO x O part of the calculation is also shown (see below):

Of the two calculations, 80 x 54 gives the larger product because we are multiplying a larger tens value by the 4. I also commented that the pair of numbers that are relatively closer together gave the larger product. Then we look at the examples below, comparing pairs of numbers with the same sum that are multiplied:

We see that the pairs of numbers which are closer together have the greater product.

I have run a very similar investigation using a TOxO calculation. Here’s an opening prompt:

And it led into the I See Problem-Solving investigation below. It’s one of the free sample tasks that can be found here:

If you have a go at these investigations or something similar, I’d love to hear about how you get on!

I See Problem-Solving – UKS2 and I See Problem-Solving – LKS2 give a huge bank of rich tasks. There are Worked Examples and Support, Explain and Extend features that help to deepen children’s understanding.

Information can be found here about INSET/Twilight training on developing reasoning and problem-solving. Bookings are currently being taken from late February onwards. For very cost-effective training, you may consider hosting a training event, or running example lessons in your school. 

I See Problem-Solving – LKS2: Support and Challenge

I’m delighted to have released I See Problem-Solving – LKS2. It’s a resource that I’ve lived and breathed in the classroom over the last 10 months! The aim is to help all children to access rich problem-solving tasks, whilst ensuring that all children are challenged and engaged. It is the practical outworking of the research on solving problems from this EEF report (see point 3). 

I See Problem-Solving – LKS2 is comprised of 54 tasks. Each task gives various challenges: the Build prompt introduces the key themes and concepts, before the main Task is presented. Then, there is a Support prompt to help children access the task. The Explain and Extend challenges give rich opportunities for extended exploration.  Here’s an example task, starting from the Build prompt:

This introduces some of the key language that the children will need to understand before they access the main task. Here is the Task:

Children might choose 1, 2 and 3; they could work with 21, 22 and 23. Either way, we can all explore this idea and visual representations can be used to help. If children are need help, they can look at the Support prompt:

The Worked Example shows the solution to the main task step-by-step. The Worked Example can be viewed as a PowerPoint or as a PDF:

To deepen the challenge, the Explain and Extend prompts provide related challenges:

Not all the tasks follow this exact format. Sometimes there are Practise questions:

And there are always questions that extend the challenge:

Information about the resource, plus a link to the Etsy page to buy the resource, is found on the I See Problem-Solving – LKS2 page. There are 5 free example tasks to use too. It costs £24.98 and is available as a digital download of the PDF file. I hope you find this resource super-helpful for engaging children in meaningful problem-solving. It’s certainly given me many great classroom moments already!


Place Value: Seeing the Relative Size of Numbers

In place value, children learn about the value of each digit in a number (e.g. that the 5 in 153 represents 5 tens) – the Deepening Understanding in Column Value blog gives some ideas for extending thinking in these lessons. However, to give children a more complete understanding it’s important that they can also reason about the relative size of numbers. In this blog I will explore how I’ve used a blank number line to develop this form of understanding and look at the wealth of opportunities for reasoning that it can provide.

Consider this task. Children are given a long number line with 0 and 100 at either end and are asked to position 31, 39 and 84 accurately on the number line. Children are challenged to think about whether the lengths between the numbers are appropriately sized.

I have found that children are generally able to order numbers, but that the common mistake is to make the spaces between numbers too similar. In this example, I may ask children to compare the distance between 31 & 39 with the distance between 0 & 31 (which is almost four times longer) and the distance between 84 & 100 (which is exactly twice as long).

In a similar task, children have positioned 4, 7 and 9 on a 0-10 number line. It’s common for children to position 4 by counting four small ‘steps’ on from zero (placing 4 far too close to zero) rather than thinking about the position of 4 relative to the half-way point of the line. Similarly, 7 and 9 are often positioned by counting back from 10, leaving an overly large gap between 4 and 7. With careful modelling, and by looking at the number lines in the classroom, children learn to reason spatially with greater precision.

I’ve included two such tasks in I See Problem-Solving – LKS2 (click on the link for sample tasks), which is due to be released on 29th September. Here’s one of the pages from the Worked Example:

And here is the extension prompt for the task. There’s so much additive and multiplicative reasoning that go into estimating the value of the missing numbers:

I would love to hear about any practical examples of how you are outworked these ideas in the classroom. The blog Deepening Understanding of Column Value gives some more ideas for how to deepen the challenge in place value. Have a great term!

For information about NCETM-accredited training by Gareth Metcalfe, please visit www.iseemaths.com – bookings are being taken from Spring term 2020 onwards.