Learning is....
Planting a seed in our brain... learning to water, nurture and grow it.... so we can live on the fruit of our learning and plant more seeds.

Saturday, 28 January 2017

Maths Tumble

I was introduced to the Reading Tumble first as a way to bring differentiation into my programme and allow students of all abilities to practice literacy activities together.  I then adapted the Reading Tumble for my maths programme.  I run my maths programme differently according to the strand I am doing, but when I am running ability maths groups I use the Maths Tumble to ensure everyone is involved in meaningful work.

So when I am busy with a maths group on the, doing some serious strategy learning, the other groups will be engaged in some serious maths practice and activities.  These are the labels I have up on the Tumble for them:

Obviously Teacher Time is when they are on the mat doing marking and/or strategy learning with me.  I have a modelling book for each group.  The students will bring down to the math their maths books, pencils, glue sticks and scissors.  I will have the modelling book and in a cardboard envelope I have the worksheets, any WALTs that may have to be glued in their books if there is no worksheet, and coloured bits of paper - but I will explain that a bit later, along with what I have in the modelling book.
This is where they go away and do the worksheet to follow up the learning of the strategy on the mat.  The Practise sheet is also in my modelling book for when we do marking, as part of my planning so I know which group is working on what, and so I can keep track of what we have learnt.
I have a variety of games.  Initially I started off with the Numeracy project games... but the internet is a wealth of games and activities for maths now.  Later in this post I will share some links to useful websites.
The NCM text books and many others are still a bonanza of awesome practice for learners and I think they are a fabulous resource.  Even the books from the dark ages of the 80s still have some great stuff to help children practise and learn their maths concepts.
This would usually involve Mathletics or Studyladder or the like.  Try to link the computer work to what you are learning or to maintain past learning.
The i-Pads have lots of numeracy apps for children to practise and explore maths ideas.  I usually specify the apps/games I want students to play at the beginning.  I may write these on the board.

Modelling Books
I have a modelling book for every maths group when I am teaching the Numeracy Project.  I usually choose to use a Kiwi Activity Book as they are big for group work and it is a size that works for me.  I name my maths groups after endangered animals.  Each modelling Book has the name of the group and a picture of the animal on the front.  At the bottom I glue a list of names of who is in the group.  If I change who is in the group, I print out another copy of the names in the group and glue it over the top.  I believe that if I want my students to have a high level of presentation in their books I need to model this in my own books I use with them. 

I plan into my modelling book directly, with the appropriate Numeracy book by my side to refer to, noting at the top of the modelling book page the Numeracy book I am working from, strategy level (because as a group changes so can the strategy level) and page number, name of the activity in the book and any resources I may need (eg. counters, money, blocks).  The WALT is written in larger writing beneath all of that information.  All of this information is always written in the same colour, especially the WALT so the students will recognise the WALT from all the other writing on the page.

Under the WALT I write the questions for the strategies I want to teach to the group.  I have all my questions pre-written unless I am at the point of teaching the group how to write their own stories for the strategy.  I leave room between each question for the student's own answers.

I found it too time consuming to have each child write in the book, so I have a stash of cut up coloured paper for the students to write their strategy out on and then they glue it into the book.  Sometimes I give each student the same colour for each question so I can look at the blue paper and know those were "Bob's" answers.  Sometimes I will write as they talk to speed things up, as in the two photos above.

On the next page I have the worksheet I want them to practise the strategy with glued in.  That way, when we come to marking, I am writing out their strategies on the same worksheet as they discuss the answers.  This is helpful for any absent children.  They can mark their own work when they have caught up directly from the book.
Sadly I am lacking in good photos from my previous modelling books for maths, something I hope to rectify when I'm back in full time teaching in the future.

Don't be afraind to model on your teacher whiteboard or your ActivBoard or Smartboard.  I take a photo afterwards in case I need to rub it off for future reference, or even to print off for the odd individual for their book.

Set high standards for book work.  I really like the A4 sized books with the margins already ruled up.  Not that my students have the date and it is underlined for each new day and each day is ruled off.  Below I was teaching a Year 4-8 class to draw 3-D objects.

Games and Activities Storage
I use these boxes to store my games in:

I get these boxes from The Warehouse.  I put the games I have made in these boxes and it means I can group games for specific groups and themes.  Each game is in a plastic bag (like a glad bag with the press together seal) with the name of the game and what it contains (eg. one game board, two dice, twenty counters) so that the children will put the games (hopefully) away properly.  On the top of the box I sellotape the name I give this group of games.

I have used games from the following websites that I make myself:
  • Basic Facts worksheet generator and you can find heaps more by using a good Google search.
  • A whole lot of maths games from Kentucky USA.
  • nzmaths is always going to be a starter for any Kiwi teacher.
  • A direct link to the Numeracy Project Material Masters for games and teaching resources.
  • The Numeracy Project Assessment page on NZMaths.
  • Top Marks is a British website where you can search through and find some gems.
  • Every School is another British website with a lot to offer.
  • Mathzlinks has links to NZ numeracy resources.
  • Super Teacher Worksheets has a lot of options across the strands.
  • Teacher Tools NZ has a lot of great books to support the Numeracy Project and across the strands.  Hopefully your school has a selection of them for you to use, but here is the website for your interest.
  • Teacher Tools NZ on YouTube can help you with videos of strategies and you could use them to support your teaching or for students to refer to them for help if you are not available.
  • AWS is another really good supplier of maths worksheets across the strands.  Hopefully your school has them for you to use.... so this link is for your knowledge of what they have available.
  • Your school will likely have a variety of the Essential Resources maths resources, so this link is for your knowledge of what is available.
  • Your school will likely have a variety of the User Friendly and RIC maths resources, so this link is for your knowledge of what is available from these companies.
  • Caxed has published three awesome maths text book series over the last twenty odd years that are brilliant, and your school may have these resources, but here is a link for your knowledge.
  • Check out your Scholastic Teacher Bookclub brochure when you get it for cheap maths resources and games.
  • Sparklebox's maths section has a lot of free games and resources.*
  • Classroom Treasures is an inspirational blog for me - that is one talented teacher!
  • Have Fun Teaching has lots of fabulous maths (and literacy) games, but it is now a paid site sadly... but if you want some bright colourful games, it is good.
  • Team Solutions has this very good page focused on basic facts with games and resources and links too.
Note that some of these websites may have a membership component or require payment for resources downloaded.

Tip: if I am going to spend my out of school time making them, I print them on my own paper/card on my own computer, and laminate with my own laminator with my own sheets, and I buy/collect all the extra materials like dice, counters, playing cards.... and then when I move onto another school I still have all these games for my new class.

* Some people have an issue with using Sparklebox resources due to the founder being a paedafile.  Personally, I think the resources are mostly good and will help learning, so I cut off the Sparklebox logo, which also makes it laminate better anyway.

Art as Maths
Be creative with your maths.  I try to bring art in as much as possible.  Symmetry is a great way to do this:

When the students had finished creating their symmetrical patterns, I gave them the labels and they had to match the labels to their patterns and take a photo - one part of my assessment completed!

Last year I was asked to do tessellations with a class while relieving, and this post Tessellations explains how we created these beauties below:

It's also important to bring in a construction element when doing something like geometry.  My class made all the 3D objects we could think of out of straws and paper nets.

I get the students to go around the school looking for specific shapes and photographing them, such as below:

Get the children out doing practical maths for things like measurement.  Get them using rulers, measuring wheels, tape measures, scales, cooking....

I often used cooking in my classroom programme over the years to get the students measuring.


In the photos above we made apple and tamarillo pies.  We were inspired by a bakery in the nearest town winning Pie of the Year for a fruit pie.  The prinicipal's family lived at a house with a tamarillo tree, so we decided to use tamarillos.

For our class camp, the students did all the baking, including a courgette chocolate cake using the courgettes out of the school garden.

At another school we made spring onion soup from the copious spring onions in the school garden.  Don't be afraid to be adventurous and cross your maths over with other aspects of school life.

Imagine having a new building built and having your students map it out as part of a measurement unit....

Do practical statistical investigations.  The projects below involved deciding on a question and who to ask, collecting the data as a tally chart and then converting the data into a bar chart, pie chart and strip graph.  They then had to make three statements summarises the data content.  Each step was explicitly taught prior to them starting their own investigations through the "Smarties Method".  This project was also about using the computer to make titles and effective use of space and presentation through visual language and communication skills through oral language, so very much a multi-curriculum area unit.

Get the students using Excel (or equivilent) to make various statistical displays and sites like Survey Monkey to get a wider group to collect data from.

Basic Facts

I acquired a number of years ago two great resources for basic facts.  One I think may be from the Wellsford Maths system, but it is paper based and I can not share it or a link.... but find a teacher who has been around for at least twenty years and they will have it. 

The other system is from Team Solutions maths advisors.  I can not give an electronic link to it.... but find a teacher who went through the Numeracy Project before the current government killed off the PLD for Numeracy and they will probably have it.  I also have developed my own resources for supporting this within the class and homework programme, but I am unable to make these available currently.

However, I can give you this link to Number Facts Activities from NZ Maths that has lots of really great resources around learning and practising Basic Facts.

Being teachers, you should be somewhat creative, so have a look at various basic facts resources and then make some that work for you in your class programme.

1 comment:

  1. Love this! Thank you for sharing. This is immensely helpful! It's great to see a fellow NZ teacher share their knowledge online. Nga mihi.