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Broadbent Maths - creative primary planning

Maths teaching ideas and articles

Free teaching ideas and activities for your classroom.

Paul includes articles on primary maths teaching and learning, new developments and other maths topics for primary teachers.

 
Problem solving activities - new resources online
10/05/2016
Problem solving activities - new resources online
Finding appropriate activities and maths problems can be time-consuming and tricky for teachers. Good problem solving activities should match specific learning objectives, should be purposeful and should also apply the skills, concepts and procedures previously learnt. To help with this I have been working on teaching activities and problem solving questions that match to specific maths topics for each year.
 
 
Do we need textbooks to teach primary maths? And if so which ones?
04/05/2016
Do we need textbooks to teach primary maths? And if so which ones?
Some schools are looking at textbooks and teachers have asked me for advice on this. I've put together a number of things to consider for those thinking about using maths books to support their teaching.  Does your school just need Teacher's Guides or is a textbook also necessary? Is it a Practice Book you're after or do you need problem solving ideas? To help with this I've also looked at some of the features of a few of the new maths books recently published.
 
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Counting pollen - seasonal counting activities
29/04/2016
Counting pollen - seasonal counting activities
What exactly is the pollen count? That word 'count' caught my attention. How is it counted? Talking about everyday subjects with your class, just for a few minutes, really puts maths into context - and, in this case, gives counting a real-life purpose. 
 
 
 
Baseline assessments planned for September have been dropped
08/04/2016
Baseline assessments planned for September have been dropped
Plans for baseline assessment for Reception classes will not start in September after a comparability study concludes that the 3 different assessments available 'are not sufficiently comparable to create a fair starting point from which to measure pupils' progress.' 
 
 
Growing plants and maths activities  - 'sow' many reasons to get your class gardening
06/04/2016
Growing plants and maths activities - 'sow' many reasons to get your class gardening
There are many maths activities around growing plants, especially involving measuring. Take things further this year with the fantastic resources for teachers from the RHS's Campaign for School Gardening and look at their work on the Rocket Science project with our British astronaut Tim Peake. They are testing seeds stored in space for 6 months alongside seeds that stayed on Earth - will being in space make a difference?
 
 
Are blocks of longer units the way forward when planning maths?
05/04/2016
Are blocks of longer units the way forward when planning maths?
There has been some recent advice to teach maths topics in longer blocks of time, even though the majority of schools in the UK (and around the world) still use a spiral approach, often consisting of 1, 2 or 3 week units of work. So what should you do in your classroom?
 
 
KS1 & KS2 maths activities for the Queen's 90th birthday
04/04/2016
KS1 & KS2 maths activities for the Queen's 90th birthday
Primary maths activities can be linked to most topics and this includes celebrating the Queen's 90th birthday. Information about Queen Elizabeth II includes so many numbers it would be a shame to miss this opportunity. As well as using money and stamps with the Queen's head you can also base maths activities around the number 90. 
 
 
Teaching maths to include conceptual variation
11/03/2016
Teaching maths to include conceptual variation
Following on from my earlier article on teaching maths with procedural variation, there is another type of variation used when teaching maths: conceptual variation. This time, instead of varying the problem, the problem stays the same and the representation of the problem is varied. This is generally through the use of models or images.
 
 
Easter maths activities - repeating patterns on painted eggs
09/03/2016
Easter maths activities - repeating patterns on painted eggs
Decorating eggs for Easter is a tradition throughout Christian communities and can give an opportunity to bring together maths and art in your classroom. Using dots, lines and colours children can create bands of different repeating patterns.
 
 
Baseline assessment 'unreliable and disruptive' - research on the pilot scheme
29/02/2016
Baseline assessment 'unreliable and disruptive' - research on the pilot scheme
Research on the pilot schemes for school baseline assessments last September reveals concerns, according to the BBC, that they are ‘unreliable and disruptive’. It also states that these issues are likely to remain when it is introduced in all schools in September 2016. 
 
 
Teaching maths with variation to help understanding
09/02/2016
Teaching maths with variation to help understanding
Teaching maths to include procedural variation is central to the current debate around teaching with a mastery approach. So what does procedural variation mean and how will it change your primary maths teaching? 
 
 
Primary maths activities for leap day
08/02/2016
Primary maths activities for leap day
Have a special maths activities lesson for leap day on February 29th. Of course it lends itself to looking at calendars, the number of days in each month and rules to calculate which years are leap years. It is also a good way to revisit, reinforce and practice maths topics such as number and calculations. There are maths ideas here for FS2/R, KS1 and KS2  - all around the number 29. 
 
 
Mental arithmetic practise books just published
06/01/2016
Mental arithmetic practise books just published
I have written these mental arithmetic books for Year 3, Year 4, Year 5 and Year 6 as part of Keen Kite's Ready, Steady, Practise series and they are now published. They are well designed and include a brief introduction to each topic - useful to support TAs or for children to read themselves.
 
 
New times tables testing - balance it with a multiplication game
05/01/2016
New times tables testing - balance it with a multiplication game
Plans to test 11 year olds on multiplication tables on-screen, against the clock, with instant scores were announced this week – Happy New Year!  This is probably a decent time to balance this testing news with some more enjoyable maths, so here is a free multiplication game to download and print to put some fun into practising times tables. 
 
 
Open questions in maths teaching - supported by a motivating maths display
31/12/2015
Open questions in maths teaching - supported by a motivating maths display
Learning journeys and working walls will be going up in classrooms this week but also remember your staffroom - a motivating and informative display can support teachers too. What could it include? This display, from a school I visited in 2012, includes some open ended questions that are a key part of good maths teaching. 
 
 
Christmas maths activities - reasoning and problem solving
02/12/2015
Christmas maths activities - reasoning and problem solving
Choose from this Christmas maths selection: investigating the amount of paper needed to wrap a present, exploring Fibonacci numbers on a Christmas cone or making stars with 2D shapes. A great way to start is with a classic problem for the song, 12 days of Christmas. How many presents will be sent altogether? As well as being suitable for KS2, there are some KS1 ideas too.
 
 
All about 15 - maths activities for 15th Dec 2015
25/11/2015
All about 15 - maths activities for 15th Dec 2015
Have a fun maths session starting at 15:00 and ending at 15:15 on 15.12.15.  It is always good to have some 'spare moment' maths activities coming up to Christmas and these KS1 and KS2 practice activities are all about the number 15.
 
 
Comparing capacity of containers - some unexpected ideas from KS1
24/11/2015
Comparing capacity of containers - some unexpected ideas from KS1
‘How would you find out which bottle holds the most?’ A simple question, but there were some interesting responses from a Reception/Y1 class this week. The focus of the lesson was all about comparing the capacity of a range of different containers and the mathematical language being used was spot on – empty, half-full, nearly full, full, overflowing. Very exciting stuff.
 
 
 
BETT show - top tips for teachers visiting this exhibition
18/11/2015
BETT show - top tips for teachers visiting this exhibition
If you’ve never been to an education exhibition, then perhaps you could take a look at the BETT Show (British Educational Training and Technology) from 20-23 Jan 2016.  Entry is free. It is a great way to keep up to date with the latest developments in teaching using technology in all subjects, including maths. Here are some tips for getting the most out of your day.
 
 
Problem solving starting point using Logo
11/11/2015
Problem solving starting point using Logo
A great way to teach Logo, and any problem solving task for that matter, is to give a simple starting point that allows exploration and discovery. Your role as the teacher is to give prompts and support when needed to move the thinking on. NRICH refers to them as 'low threshold, high ceiling' tasks which describes them very well.
 
 
Grouping and multiplication - is 2x3 two 3s or three 2s?
04/11/2015
Grouping and multiplication - is 2x3 two 3s or three 2s?
I had an interesting debate with a teacher from Finland about the way that multiplication should be represented and modeled to children, with my more ‘fluid’ view in contrast to her opinion that there is just one way that it should be taught. So how do you see 2x3? Is it two 3s or three 2s? More importantly, how do your class see it?
 
 
Exploring mathematical vocabulary - are the children in your class using maths dictionaries?
30/10/2015
Exploring mathematical vocabulary - are the children in your class using maths dictionaries?
Many of the courses I run for schools have a focus on the way we represent the mathematics so that it makes sense to the children. This is all about the connections that can be made between concrete models, pictures and drawings and, of course, language. This latter aspect has been particularly pertinent in the training sessions for teachers in Abu Dhabi and for those of you with EAL learners.
 
 
Teacher assessment - 6 top tips for primary maths
28/10/2015
Teacher assessment - 6 top tips for primary maths
The 'interim' teacher assessment framework for KS1 and KS2 was published by the DfE recently to give us an idea of expectations at the end of each key stage. It is only for this year, which seems very short-term, but gives a number of 'pupil can' statements to demonstrate whether they are working at the expected standard. Most importantly, it is no longer a best-fit judgement - pupils need to meet all the statements within the relevant standard.
 
 
A new birthday song with some maths - simply adding 1 more
08/10/2015
A new birthday song with some maths - simply adding 1 more
It was interesting to see the 'Happy birthday to you...' song in the headlines - after 80 years of charging royalty fees it is now free to publish in the US. It could not be used in maths books before, so some years ago I made up a new birthday song that included adding one more.
 
 
Modelling and representing place value
02/10/2015
Modelling and representing place value
The way place value is modelled and represented is the key to getting a good understanding of how our number system works. So what resources will support an understanding of place value?
 
 
New rules for summer born children - how will it effect classes from Reception up to Y6?
28/09/2015
New rules for summer born children - how will it effect classes from Reception up to Y6?
Summer born children starting in Reception class a year later than their age cohort could result in a 17-month age gap within your class. What are the new rules and what effect will they have on schools and your teaching?
 
 
New Ofsted school inspections - what are the implications for your primary maths lessons?
07/09/2015
New Ofsted school inspections - what are the implications for your primary maths lessons?
The new Common Inspection Framework will be implemented from this September.  Most attention has been on how often schools will be inspected and the length of inspections. However, for many class teachers the main concern is how their own performance will be judged. 
 
 
'Teaching for Mastery' will you use the new NCETM assessment material?
04/09/2015
'Teaching for Mastery' will you use the new NCETM assessment material?
Teaching for Mastery: questions, tasks and activities to support assessment?  is now available from NCETM for schools to use - and it is free. Anything with Mike Askew as part of the author team is worth a look at, and these are really useful pdf files for all Year 1- 6 teachers.
 
 
Place value - representation and misconceptions
02/09/2015
Place value - representation and misconceptions
Place value is a key concept for children to get to grips with - without an understanding of it they will struggle to add, subtract, multiply or divide, let alone read and write numbers. Place value builds on from early counting and recognition of cardinal numbers to knowing the value of each digit in a number, understanding our base-10 structure and exchanging within larger numbers.
 
 
Broadbent Maths Planning Menu  - latest updates in 2014/5
06/07/2015
Broadbent Maths Planning Menu - latest updates in 2014/5
There have been many new features in the Planning Menu since last September, including Progress Trackers, Mental Arithmetic Charts and long-term plans for Reception/FS2. Many of the new additions were a result of teachers asking for support with particular areas of teaching, planning and management.

 
 
Problem solving, mathematical processes and natural powers
05/07/2015
Problem solving, mathematical processes and natural powers
Mathematical problems often put children in a position where they are likely to get stuck. This may not actually be a bad thing. According to John Mason, it is 'an honourable state to be in' and should be viewed as a positive place as it is the start of the challenge to solve the problem. 

 
 
Teach maths in a context - pirates walking the plank
04/07/2015
Teach maths in a context - pirates walking the plank
Teaching maths in a context can make the learning fun as well as giving it some sort of purpose. It can also create opportunities for activities that allow children to explore maths within a game or activity. Walking the Plank involves KS1 or KS2 children looking for properties that are the same and those that are different in an Odd One Out task. 

 
 
Maths mysteries - encouraging thinking skills and group problem solving
17/06/2015
Maths mysteries - encouraging thinking skills and group problem solving
Reasoning and problem solving are two of the three main aims of the maths NC and, with that in mind, maths mysteries are one of my favourite reasoning activities out there. I have had some enjoyable visits to schools, watching children working collaboratively to solve a problem from information and clues presented on individual cards. 

 
 
Maths planning - how can you make the maths purposeful?
16/06/2015
Maths planning - how can you make the maths purposeful?
There are many elements involved when planning your maths, including progression, curriculum coverage, clear expected outcomes and assessment for learning.  To make the learning meaningful for your children the maths also needs to be purposeful, engaging and creative – and this can be the most difficult aspect to achieve. 

 
 
Mental arithmetic - building progression in quick recall and mental calculation
13/06/2015
Mental arithmetic - building progression in quick recall and mental calculation
Mental arithmetic has two distinct elements to consider when planning and teaching it as part of the maths curriculum. Firstly it involves the quick recall of number facts and secondly the use of mental methods or strategies to carry out mental calculations. Carefully thought through lines of progression are important for both these elements.

 
 
Teaching measurement using the Roman units for length
18/05/2015
Teaching measurement using the Roman units for length
Ideas for measuring length for KS1 and KS2 linked to the Romans - for Y3 onwards use the opportunity to revise and reinforce reading and writing Roman numerals. The summer term is always a good time to get outside for some practical measuring activities. 

 
 
Maths Progress Tracker - new format with average attainment scores
15/05/2015
Maths Progress Tracker - new format with average attainment scores
The latest version of the Maths Progress Tracker is ready for schools to use. It includes a numerical value to track progress in each year, making it easy to record individual pupil data and transfer it to your overall school tracking system. 
 
 
Teaching maths to non-English speaking children in Abu Dhabi
08/05/2015
Teaching maths to non-English speaking children in Abu Dhabi
I have had an interesting 6 months working as series editor for Harper Collins and the Abu Dhabi Education Council (ADEC) to produce a series of maths books for their primary schools. The books were written on a tight schedule by a strong author team and needed to match the ADEC curriculum and incorporate their ‘New School Model’ teaching approach:

 
 
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