What & How we teach in our Mathematics curriculum
At Birchwood Junior School we know that quality, long term learning comes from thorough and careful preparation.
Our teachers plan together in teams, preparing questioning to move the learning forward, seeking out possible misconceptions so that they can be directly addressed, and then building logical small steps to ensure all children can retain and apply their learning for the rest of their lives.
Visual representations are planned in to lessons carefully so that children have the opportunity to recognise each and every pattern and relationship within the mathematics. Real world examples are used to make sure that children can relate to the learning and are engaged by how mathematics links to their own lives every day. We cover the full national curriculum but in a way that works for our children. This means that we think very carefully about how we order units of work so that new learning constantly builds on prior knowledge.
If you would like to see what units your child has been learning, or what is coming next for them, please click on the link below for our unit overviews. If you are wondering why we show 'spare lessons' this gives us space for our Birchwood Toolkit lessons, where we address whole class subject knowledge gaps so that all of our students may learn and thrive together.
At Birchwood we are continuing to work on how we structure maths lessons to get the best out of our learning time. Our decision to build lessons this way is based entirely from national research and years of experience.
Throughout our lessons, concrete resources are used to support children to spot patterns in and to build rules and generalisations of their own through discussion and practise. This process is part of the CPA approach demonstrated below.
Once children have recognised the pattern and agree on a generalised rule, we give children carefully chosen questions to practise their new understanding. This practise is done through a ping pong approach, where the teacher models questions, and children have a go for themselves. This back and forth process is continued until all children are secure in the lessons objective. We ensure that questions are varied in a controlled manner, again to expose mathematical relationships, but also to ensure that children can answer questions in a range of contexts. Ultimately with the aim to ensure that children can tackle mathematical questions independently. During independent practise, we work on a 3-2-1 system. 3 fluency questions in yellow, two reasoning questions and one problem solving question.
Our approach to teaching maths means that all children learn together and move forward together. Each classroom forms a micro-community where children can make mistakes in a safe space, and build a solid understanding of each and every concept students come across. Children are engaged because they recognise the value in the learning, and never feel overwhelmed because each learning step is a bite size chunk, large enough to challenge, and small enough that children can retain learning for the long term.
Our toolkit lessons help to ensure all of students get any additional support they need to stay on track, but if students need further support, one of our highly qualified learning mentors will offer the NCETM’s Ready to Progress Programme, which focuses on the key structures of number and calculation to make sure students can always keep up.
We also offer a limitless learning approach where every student is offered daily opportunities to challenge their own ability to the next level. We do this, not by moving on to different objectives, but instead ensuring opportunities are provided to enrich and deepen students knowledge even further. You can see this evidenced in your child’s book where challenge questions are colour coded in blue.