Over the upcoming weeks and months, I am running a series of maths training events titled ‘Challenging the Able Mathematician’. I wanted to shed some light on the content of the course, and provide some thought-provoking ideas for how I believe we can challenge and inspire the more able children in our schools.
Firstly, I believe that to provide an outstanding maths curriculum, a multi-layered approach is necessary. This includes having an effective way of promoting growth-mindset principles, and being explicit about the qualities that you value in your mathematicians. In the training, we will explore how a ‘Mathematical Culture’ can be introduced to promote these values, as well as facilitating meta-cognitive thinking about mathematics in your children.
I will then explore a range of strategies for how children can explore mathematical ideas in depth, learning to apply their understanding of number flexibly and creatively. This includes how techniques such as the Singapore bar model and a ‘multi-representation’ approach can be used to deepen children’s understanding of key maths concepts, including fractions and algebra. This is in line with the ‘maths mastery’ principles of providing children with deep (rather than accelerated) learning experiences.
Throughout the course, there will be a wide range of questions and challenges for you to use in the classroom. These have been sourced from a range of places, including obscure puzzle books, psychology textbooks and even an 11+ examination paper from the 1940s! I will also give lots of examples of questions and activities that I have used in the classroom, covering a wide range of curriculum areas.
We will also spend time looking at the two new resources for high-achieving children from UKS2 – First Class Maths and The Mathematics Apprenticeship. These materials – born in the classroom – have been developed to give children deep, context-rich and extended mathematical challenges. I believe that these two resources are special in their ability to elicit a real emotional engagement from children towards their mathematics, as well as leading to excellent learning outcomes.
I will also share the work produced by the children in my class from these tasks (warts and all) and look at how an effective feedback loop can lead to even greater student achievements. In doing so, I will be sharing some of my most treasured classroom moments and memories. It would be great to see you there!
3rd December 2014, The Village Hotel, Ashton-Under-Lyne, Tameside
28th January 2015, Chester St David’s Hotel, Flintshire