St Leonard’s have implemented ‘Maths – No Problem!’ This is a mastery based approach. It emphasises problem-solving and pupils use their core competencies (visualisation, finding patterns and mental strategies) to develop a relational understanding of mathematical concepts.
One of the key learning principles is the concrete – pictorial - abstract approach (CPA). The CPA approach suggests that there are three steps necessary for pupils to develop understanding of a concept. Reinforcement is achieved by going back and forth between these steps.
The children use workbooks to allow them to work independently, demonstrate their understanding and assess their own learning. The teachers have access to a website which contains all of the pupil materials along with extra resources.
Resources that are used frequently, such as number lines, counters, dice, multi-link cubes, base 10, hundred squares, shapes, etc., are located in the classrooms. They are accessible to all pupils, who are encouraged to be responsible for their use. Further resources (often larger items shared by the whole school) are located in the shared Maths Resource Area. The use of manipulatives is integral to the CPA approach and thus planned into our learning and teaching.
Maths is taught every day, for 1 hour, based on the CPA approach; the initial part of the lesson (5-10 minutes) focuses on retrieval practice. Children are asked a question linked to their prior learning. (One from the last lesson, last week, last unit of work and one from last year.)
Children are expected to play an active part in their maths lessons by answering questions, contributing to discussions and explaining and demonstrating their methods to the class. Teaching staff do not simply accept an answer – they probe the children through effective questioning. Children are asked to prove their answer or to tell the class how they know that answer – this is designed to draw out the deeper mathematical understanding from the children.
The structure of each lesson is:
- Explore – a problem to initiate thinking and discussion, but no further guidance from teacher.
- Structure – learning is guided by the teacher, taking feedback on methods 1, 2, 3 …etc.
- Reflect – Master – children try to explain how someone else solved the problem.
- Practise – Guided practise - children undertake some similar problems, under the close guidance of the teacher.
- Apply – Children have independent practise in their workbooks.
- Journal – provides the children with the opportunity to document their learning. Some days the teacher chooses; other days, the child.