Planning for Operation Maths

Planning for Operation Maths

If you’re an Operation Maths user, then planning is ‘easy, peasy’, since all the plans are already done!

Long Term Plans (Yearly Schemes):

 There is a hard copy of the each Long Term Plans (LTP) in the front of the Teachers Resource Book (TRB) for each class level, that can be photocopied.
 Open the digital ebook version of the TRB (via Edco Learning) to view the Long Term Plans (Yearly Schemes) and click on the hyperlink in the top corner; this will automatically download a word version of the same plan, allowing you to edit/amend/copy as required.

Short Term Plans (Fortnightly/weekly schemes):

 As before, there is a hard copy at the beginning of each topic in the Teachers Resource Book (TRB) for each class level, that can be photocopied and then annotated, ticked etc.


 Furthermore, to access an editable version of these plans, you need only open the digital ebook version of the TRB to view these same plans and click on the hyperlink in the top corner; this will automatically download a word version of the same plan, allowing you to edit/amend/copy as required.
 In addition, for each of the classes from 3rd to 6th there is a single document compilation of all the short term plans (see image below):
– Login to your Edco Learning account;
– Click on Edco Resources tab on right hand side of screen to open
– From the menus select your TRB (eg “Operation Maths 3rd class TRB”) and “Editable Lesson Plans” and then click on “Short Term Plans Overview” (image 4 below).
You can also use this resources tab to access the word version of the Long Term Plan

 

Multi-Class Plans

For Operation Maths 3-6, as well as including a Long Term Plan (Yearly Scheme) for each class level, there is also a second combined LTP in each TRB; in Operation Maths TRB 3 and 4, there is a combined plan for third and fourth class, and likewise in each Operation Maths TRB 5 and 6 (see image below)

 There is a hard copy in the front of the Teachers Resource Book (TRB) for each class level, that can be photocopied.
 To access a word doc of each plan, open the digital ebook version of the TRB to view the Long Term Plans (Yearly Schemes) and click on the hyperlink in the top left hand corner; this word version allows you to edit/amend/copy as required.

While there are no combined multi-class plans in the Operation Maths TRBs for infants to second class, in response to requests for the same, we now have completed the following:
 A LTP for a combined junior & senior infants class
 A LTP for a combined first & second class
 A LTP for a combined second & third class

And just added:

 A LTP for a combined fourth & fifth class

These plans can be downloaded via the links above or they can be downloaded direct from Edco Learning:

– Login to your Edco Learning account;
– Click on Edco Resources tab on right hand side of screen to open
– From the menus select your TRB (eg “Operation Maths 1st class TRB”) and then “Word Document”.

 

 

If you are new to Operation Maths, we recommend that you:

  • subscribe to the Operation Maths blog. This will ensure that you don’t miss out on any new post, as they will be emailed directly to you. To subscribe, just enter your email address in the box at the top right-hand side of this page. 
  • like/follow the Edco Primary Maths page on Facebook and/or Twitter to keep up-to-date on all the latest Operation Maths developments

 


Maths for June

Hooray! June is nearly here! You can almost smell the summer holidays!

If you’re a user of Operation Maths 3-6 you are quite likely to be finished, or nearly finished your books, as the programme is designed to be completed by the end of May, so as to have it all covered in advance of the standardised testing.

So now, you might find yourself looking for inspiration to fill the maths lessons from now until the end of month. Whether you’re an Operation Maths user or not, look no further than the following ideas.

For Operation Maths users:

If you hadn’t had a chance to dip into these specific features of the Operation Maths programme so far this year then why not try these out now?

  • Let’s Investigate! These sections are the last one or two pages at the end of the Pupils’ Books ( for third to sixth classes) where the focus is on open-ended problems. Some of these are “big” enough to fill a whole lesson, others might become additions to a lesson or be combined to become a lesson. The children could also select which particular investigation(s) they’d like to explore, either as a whole class or with individual groups selecting different investigations, with results to be communicated/presented back to whole class when complete.
  • Early Finishers Photocopiables: These can be found in your Teachers Resource Book (TRB) and can also be  a great way to help deepen the children’s understanding of a topic covered earlier in the year. For 3rd to 6th classes, problem solving is also an integral part of these activities. In the TRBs for Junior Infants to 2nd classes, there are both Early Finishers photocopiables and dedicated problem-solving activities.
  • Maths Around Us: If your class has access to recording devices, why not challenge them to make their own Maths Around Us video based on maths content they covered this year. Watch some of the Operation Maths Maths Around Us videos on www.edcolearning.ie for inspiration.

As mentioned in a previous post, don’t feel under pressure to complete all of the above activities, only just what appeals most to you or is most suited to your class.

For everybody!

  • Change their attitude to maths generally: Most people have this belief that there is such a thing as a maths brain, a belief which Jo Boaler, among others, strongly challenges. In conjunction with her youcubed team at Stanford University, in 2015 they put together resources, videos etc for a Week of Inspirational Maths. Since then their catalogue of resources has grown and includes videos, resources and tasks. There is enough here to keep a class going for an entire month!
  • Take time to problem-solve: often, during the school year, time is at a premium, yet Dan Finkel argues in this TEDx Talk that “allowing children time to struggle” is one of the Five Principles of Extraordinary Math Teaching. So after watching this video, why not present the images he uses to a 5th or 6th class and give them time to “notice and wonder”. The children could use sentence/questions stems like “I notice that…” and ” I wonder why/how/what ….” to get them thinking and discussing. Read on here for more sources of deep and rich problems.
  • Try out a new methodology with your class: It can be a good idea to try out something new in June when there’s less pressure to succeed and you’re familiar with your class, rather than trying out something new in September when you’re trying to get to grips with new class, new books, perhaps new room etc!  One initiative I would wholeheartedly recommend is Number Talks. You could do a number talk with your class aimed at their current level or challenge them to do a number talks session aimed at the class they’ll be in next September.
  • Do a maths project: In the Maths Curriculum Teacher Guidelines (DES, 1999) maths projects are listed as one of the examples of maths problems that we are encouraged to incorporate into our teaching. It can be difficult to include maths projects earlier in the year when the pressure is on to cover the content, making June an ideal time to explore them. For 10 “awesome” ideas, check out this post from the Mashup Math blog. One of the suggested projects, Plan your Dream Vacation, has so much opportunities for real-life maths, costs, budgeting, estimating costs of luggage, time needed to get to the airport, distance from destination to airport etc. And, if a foreign holiday, is not relevant, with a small twist, and access to some online hardware catalogues it could easily become Plan your Dream Bedroom; again lots of real-life maths, costs, budgeting, measuring, dimensions, proportions etc. Or even plan a virtual Road Trip! Research where to start, where to go, how to travel there, what attractions to visit, the costs involved, and how long it would take.
  • Financial Maths: In a similar vein to that of the previous suggestion, the NCETM Primary and Early Years Magazine also has suggestions for projects, the first one again focusing on financial education. Here they have links to a fantastic suite of primary resources for My Money Week (UK), that are also very applicable to children to children in Ireland. To access the resources, you need to set up a free account, which requires email details etc and entering any UK postcode. Once registered and logged in, scroll down to the bottom of the primary resources and click on Start journey; this will start off a series of excellent videos on Max’s Day Out, in which Max is deciding how best he might spend the money that he got for his birthday. The videos are designed in such a way that each one presents two possible options; the viewer selects an option, which automatically brings them to the follow-up video for their choice. There are many other resources also available here that focus on managing money.
  • Revise wise! Ask your class to put together revision materials for their chosen topic from the past school year. They can show their creative side, using a variety of approaches, including digital media, to complete the task. The types of materials produced could include posters, presentations, video tutorials, raps, songs, poems, models, fact sheets and or revision work-sheets. These child-produced materials could be collected and shared with the next cohort of classes.
  • Picture This: Similar to the revision project above, and to the Maths Around Us videos, the children could be allocated maths terminology that they had encountered during the past year, and be tasked to produce images or video that illustrate the terminology. The children could be encouraged to use real world examples, especially from around their homes and local environment.
  • Online Surveys: The children could be asked to survey the other children in their class, by setting up online surveys (eg using Google Forms, Mentimeter etc) and then to collate and present their conclusions and findings, using spreadsheets, graphics (pie chart, and bar graph) and/or slideshows (eg Google Sheets, Google Slides, etc).
  • Calculator Activities: For any sixth class students transitioning to secondary, it can be a good idea to brush-up on calculator skills; secondary teachers may expect them to be relatively comfortable with this piece of technology. That’s said, calculator activities shouldn’t be just about getting through more calculations in a shorter time; the children should be enabled to use the calculator to explore number patterns, more complicated numbers, real life situations, and to gather evidence to support reasoning, such as in this consecutive numbers concept cartoon.
  • Take it outdoors: Another type of maths problem listed in the Teacher Guidelines is maths trails. If the rain stays away for long enough why not get outside and do some maths trails? Or if you teach a more senior class, why not get them to design a maths trail for a junior class based on the school grounds or nearby environment. For more trail ideas read on here.
  • Maths is Magic! There is a lot of mathematics behind magic. You could give the children magic tricks to investigate. Check out this article, again from the NCETM Primary and Early Years Magazine for sites to explore.
  • Break the code: Explore the maths behind codes and code-breaking. You could ask the children to make up their own codes and crack a friend’s. Click here for links to suitable sites.
  • Have a maths game-themed day: Another one of Dan Finkel’s Five Principles of Extraordinary Math Teaching is play. Most games and puzzles are mathematical in nature. Get the children to bring in a favourite game from home, to play in class, that requires mathematical thinking. Alternatively, get them to research a suitable one on the internet.

Operation Maths Quick-start Guide

Using Operation Maths for the first time? Here is a general quick-start guide for teaching the topics.

Operation Maths for Junior Infants to Second Class:

  1. Start with whole class warm-up and oral; see topic-specific suggestions in the Teacher Resource Book (TRB) or choose your own. Follow this with discussion questions (also in TRB).
  2. Pair work, an activity based in the At School book.
  3. Exploration of concrete materials via Maths Stations; again see topic-specific suggestions in the TRB.
  4. Complete relevant activities in At School and At Home books. The introduction of the TRB includes a year plan that lists the relevant pages of each book per topic, along with other details such as strand and strand units. Bearing in mind that Operation Maths is based on a CPA approach, it is envisaged that the child would engage in all the concrete and pictorial activities for the topic before doing the pages in their books.

For more detailed information on managing the content with Junior Infants to Second Class please read on here.

For a quick-start guide to the digital resources, please read on here.

 

Operation Maths for Third Class to Sixth Class:

  • The Teacher’s Resource Book (TRB) for Operation Maths 3-6 is divided into daily sections, each dedicated to a specific learning outcome.
  • Each topic has material for for either five or ten days, depending on whether it is a single/one week topic or double/two week topic. Double topics are indicated on the contents page of each book using an asterisk (*).

Teachers should start with the daily lesson suggestions in the Teacher’s Resource Book (TRB) as follows:

  • Oral and mental starter
  • Discuss and teach provides suggestions on how to achieve the learning outcome.
  • Pupils’ book and/or discovery book: gives the details for the location of the specific questions that reinforce and consolidate the learning outcome(s) covered in the discuss and teach section.
  • Digital Resources will briefly list any relevant digital activities that can be used from the comprehensive suite on edcolearning.ie . These are also referenced in the Pupils’ books as well and, if accessing the digital books, clicking on the hyperlinks in the Pupils Book will open the resource directly from the book (this is actually the easiest way to access the digital resources).
  • Extra exploration: Suggested activity for early finishers.

Pupils’ Book & Discovery Book: Since Operation Maths is based on a CPA approach, the children’s experience of Operation Maths should not be a purely book-based one. That said, when navigating the children’s books, it will follow this general pattern:

  • The topic (be it single or double), starts in the Discovery Book with the Starting Point activity (see example below), which revises familiar topics or sets the scene for new ones. There may often be no other book-based activities for Day 1.

  • Subsequent “days” (excluding the last day of each topic ie day 5 or day 10) may focus on the Pupils book only, or move between the Pupils’ Book and the Discovery Book. On the days when both books are in use, icons are used to indicate when it would be most appropriate to move to the other book (see below)

The icon on the extreme bottom right indicates that the child should complete the companion activities on page 16 of the Discovery Book next. The icon to the left indicates that there is also a linked digital activity for this learning outcome.

When the child has completed the activities in the Discovery Book there is often a similar icon there, redirecting the child back to the Pupils’ Book.

  • Consolidation is the focus of the last day of each topic i.e. day 5 or day 10. The children can complete the Learning Log activity in their Discovery Book either on this day or on the previous evening as a homework activity. They can also complete the topic assessment in
  • their Pupil Assessment book.

For more detailed information on managing the content with Third to Sixth Class please read on here.

For a quick-start guide to the digital resources, please read on here.

 

If you are new to Operation Maths, we recommend that you:

  • subscribe to the Operation Maths blog. This will ensure that you don’t miss out on any new post, as they will be emailed directly to you. To subscribe, just enter your email address in the box at the top right-hand side of this page. 
  • like/follow the Edco Primary Maths page on Facebook and/or Twitter to keep up-to-date on all the latest Operation Maths developments

Operation Maths Jr Inf-2nd: Managing the content

As outlined in a previous post, Operation Maths 3 – 6 provides fulsome content for the senior classes. The complaints heard about other schemes – that there is simply not enough to do in the senior class books – is definitely not one heard about Operation Maths! At the junior end of Operation Maths – which is the focus of this post – the Teacher Resource Books (TRBs) are the jewels in the crown: the most comprehensive available and jam packed with the ‘how to’ of setting up maths’ stations, differentiation, oral maths, discussion topics, early finisher activities and a comprehensive stand alone problem solving section. And, since this programme is also based on a CPA approach, the TRBs are full of suggestions on how to promote those methodologies in a classroom.

Familiarity with any new programme takes time and time is a very precious commodity for all us teachers. Therefore, in this post I will give you some tips on how to successfully implement the programme in the junior classes – what in today’s game parlance our students might call ‘cheats’!

1. Start from the Teacher Resource Book

Start with the weekly lesson suggestions in the Teachers’ Resource Book (TRB). Typically these will be laid out as follows:

  • A whole class warm-up and oral, designed to consolidate prior learning and lead logically into the lesson that follows. It is suggested that this lasts for 5-10 minutes  each day of the week, depending on content. While there are typically many suggestions here, it is not necessary to do all of them. If you find a starter that works particularly well, you could note this alongside the margin of your TRB, or in the notes section, to highlight it for future use.

The mini whiteboards are invaluable for this part of the lesson. Look out for children who lack the confidence or know how and are hesitant to write their answer or copy others. Encourage a growth mindset:
1. It’s okay to make mistakes, everyone does! We learn from them.
2. Often there is more than one correct approach; eg 17+19 can be modeled/thought of as move one to 19 to become 16 + 20, move 3 to 17 to become 20 +16, move one to 17 to become 18 + 18

  • Discussion questions that stimulate talk and discussion in a relevant and meaningful way. Again, only do as many as suits your circumstance.
  • Pair work, a book based activity to encourage co-operative learning. Modelling, especially when the concept of pair of group work is relatively new to a class, really sets the tone and promotes success. Choose a child to work with. Start the conversation:
    • I went first the last time, would you like to go first today?
    • Do you remember the first thing to do?
    • I think we roll the dice twice and add the numbers, do you agree?
    • Oh dear! Neither of us can remember what to do, will we quietly ask Tom?
    • Will you watch me while I’m taking my turn just in case I go wrong? I’ll help you too!
  • Stations: the organisation of these maths stations will depend on teaching style, the number of children, the ability level of the class and the assistance available from other staff members (SNAs, support teachers, etc.). And as with Pair Work it can take a little practice before the children approach stations successfully and productively – but it is well worth persevering! Station work promotes problem solving skills, group think and independence.The suggested stations can adapted in a number of ways:
    • use with similar ability groups or mixed ability
    • set up the activities at designated maths stations (tables or areas) which the class can rotate around eg 4 groups with 7 or 8 children per group; each group does two stations for 15 mins each for one class (30 mins total) and does the other two stations on the following day.
    • Each group does a station for one class, with each group working at each station over the course of the week.
    • Use the stations as a whole class activity e.g. on Monday all the class do the activities for station 1, on Tuesday do the activities for stations 2 etc. This does depend on there being enough of the required materials for the whole class to use them at the same time.
  • Books: Bearing in mind that Operation Maths is based on a CPA approach, it is envisaged that the child would engage in all the concrete and pictorial activities for the topic before doing the pages in their At School and At Home books. Furthermore, sometimes it is envisaged that the concrete activities for the topic at hand will take place during one week, followed by the book activities in the subsequent week (this will be explained in a paragraph under the Activities heading in the weekly plan in the TRB). If you are teaching in a multi-class situation, it would be better to stagger/alternate these weeks among the classes eg Week 1, first class do the concrete activities while second class are mainly book based; week 2, second class do the concrete activities while first class are mainly book based.

2. You don’t have to do it all!

In the junior end TRBs,  the plans are laid out in fortnights which then break-down into weekly suggested activities. The important word here is “suggested”; you are not expected to do everything, so pick and choose the activities that are most suitable for you, your children, the physical limitations of your class and/or equipment, the availability of support personnel. For example there are Aistear-linked themes and activities in the infant TRBs, but if these don’t appeal to you, or are not practical in your specific situation, ignore them.

As explained earlier, there are regular suggestions for stations in the first and second TRBs and in places in the infant TRBs, but again if you don’t have available colleagues (eg L/S Resource teachers, SNAs etc) to help with the running of these stations, then they probably are not for you. However, you could take one or two of the station activities and instead do it with the whole class as the same time. The choice is up to you.

3. MWBs! MWBs! MWBs!

I can’t stress how fabulously adaptable are the free mini-whiteboards or how they can make getting through content so much easier. I was using them for many years before the inception of Operation Maths and found them to be an invaluable tool in the classroom. Some of the ways in which they can be used:

Give Doodle Time! The temptation to doodle is overwhelming so spare a couple of minutes for a quick doodle or two! Signal the end of doodle time with a fun rhyme such as “Rub, a dub, dub! Give your whiteboard a scrub!”

Display the ebook on your IWB for Write-Hide-Show: This works very well as the children are not looking down at their own books, only up at the board, so it’s easier for teacher to check that they are focused on the task. Highlight a specific calculation on the ebook eg 16 + 5 and ask the children to write the answer on their MWBs, hide it (place it face down on the desk, or hold it face in, to their chest) while the other pupils are afforded thinking time and finally on a specific signal (eg aon, dó, trí, taispeán dom) all the answers are revealed simultaneously. Thus, the teacher can quickly assess the accuracy of the answers and allow this feedback to inform whether the class are ready to move on, or need more reinforcement.

“Show your thinking” The children can use quick jottings to explain how they arrived at a certain answer. The MWBs are less structured and easier to use than maths copies and easier to change if you want to amend your ideas. Interesting responses or approaches could easily be brought up to the top of the class for further discussion and display. Again, encourage the growth mindset; mistakes and multiple correct answers are opportunities to learn more.

More maths done in less time. Rooting in bags, finding their book, pencil, rubber… this all leads to a delay in actually getting down to the maths at hand. Whereas, just writing on the MWBs is much quicker and gets more done. And don’t worry if the associated page in the pupils book is not completed; remember the teacher’s aim should be to enable the children to achieve a certain objective/learning outcome and however that is achieved still counts, book or otherwise.

Step-by-step to show algorithms: if you are teaching some of the standard algorithms (eg column method addition or subtraction in first and second class) the MWBs can be handy to allow the teacher and class to do it together, step-by-step, with the children holding up their MWBs at every suitable juncture to check what they have done to that point. This way, potential mistakes may be picked up quicker and addressed before they begin to occur repeatedly.

4. Reduce your preparation

The plans are all done for you, the stations are all explained, the ideas are all there! This should significantly reduce the amount of time you were spending on maths preparation. However, it is still recommended to take the time at the beginning of each fortnight to go through the TRB and familiarise yourself with the content and the activities; this is time well spend that will translate into smooth running maths classes during the fortnight. But also be flexible, and don’t stick rigidly to everything.

One of the sections in the TRB where flexibility is advantageous is the photocopiables. There is a fantastic suite of resources here with great ideas, but don’t feel that if you don’t have 30 copies done in advance that you can’t use them. One example of this are the Yahtzee photocopiables in the TRB of Operation Maths 1. The children could simply write the target numbers ( eg 2-10, 2-20 or 0-5) on their whiteboards and cross them off when rolled. This also allows the game to be played repeatedly without needing other photocopies.

The one set of photocopies to have ready in advance are the Early Finishers and the Problem-Solving photocopiables. Initially, at the beginning of the school year, try to gauge how many copies you will need;you will probably not require 1 per child. As time goes on the number of copies of each can be adjusted, as necessary. These can then be kept near at hand to distribute to children in need of a more challenging or stimulating task.

5. Go digital!

The excellent suite of  digital resources available on Edco Learning can also aid efficient progress through content. The resources are very visual and help the child grasp a solid understanding of the concepts at hand quicker than might have occurred  otherwise. The resources can all be accessed directly via the hyperlinks in the digital books and it can be beneficial to have these tabs open in advance so as to save time during maths class. For more information on the extensive range of digital resources read on here

Teaching 3rd to 6th class? Read on to find out how to manage the content for those classes. 


Operation Maths 3-6: Managing the content

It can be very difficult to strike the correct balance of content in a maths programme;  a more able class might fly through the activities and conversely a less able group of children may work through content at a much slower pace. In a multi-class situation, the teacher may prefer to have more, rather than less, content so that one or more groups in the room can be kept occupied while the teacher is instructing a different group. Therefore, the volume of content required varies greatly from class to class and from school to school.

During the research and development phase of Operation Maths, the message from teachers was very clear: they wanted a maths programme with sufficient content and ideas, with no need to have to go sourcing extra material. Because of this feedback, the Operation Maths authors decided to err on the side of more, rather than less, content and designed a comprehensive maths programme that has considered everything a teacher may require, while also being able to be pared back to suits the needs of students and classes where a slower pace is preferable.

And not only is the Operation Maths programme highly adaptable to each unique teaching and learning situation, it is also based on the current, most forward-thinking approaches to maths education.

This post will provide some tips on how to best manage the programme in the senior classes, from third to sixth.

1. Start from the Teacher Resource Book

As always, when taking on any new programme it can sometimes take a while to discover the best ways to utilise it in order to maximise on its full potential for both you, as the teacher, and the children. Furthermore, since Operation Maths is based on many, very new and different approaches to the teaching of maths, this may leave teachers feeling a bit adrift initially.
That is why we recommend that those using Operation Maths for the first time should always start with the daily lesson suggestions in the Teachers Resource Book (TRB).  Typically, these will be laid out as follows:

  • A recommended oral and mental starter, designed to consolidate prior learning and lead logically into the lesson that follows. It is suggested that this lasts for 5-10 minutes.
  • The objective/learning  outcome for that day. This will also be given in the pupil book and/or discovery book
  • Discuss and teach is the most important section. This will give suggestions on how to achieve the objective learning outcome. The suggestions will differ depending on the specific learning outcome(s); for example there may be probing questions given or suggestions for a concrete, pictorial or digital activity which may lead the children to deduce the new learning outcome(s) for themselves. It may involve reading and discussing a teaching panel (yellow panel) in the pupils’ book.
  • Pupils’ book and/or discovery book: This gives the details for the location of the specific questions that reinforce and consolidate the learning outcome(s) covered in the discuss and teach section. It is not expected that all questions would be completed by all children and this is the main place where the teacher needs to decide what question activities are a priority for his/her pupils. Typically, the question sets are arranged to start with easier tasks and then graduate towards more difficult ones. There is often a section towards the end entitled “Work it Out” (blue panels in the pupils’ book) which contain the most difficult tasks and might be most suitable for the higher attainers (HAs) in the class.
  • Digital Resources will list any relevant digital activities that can be used from the comprehensive suite on edcolearning.ie . These are given in the Pupils’ books as well and may also have been referenced previously in the discuss and teach section.
  • Extra exploration: this is typically a suggestion of a game from the games bank that could be played by early finishers to reinforce the learning outcome of the day.

2. You don’t have to do it all!

As explained above, in the senior end TRBs , each topic is broken down into day-by-day plans which have a specific objective(s)/learning outcome(s) eg 5th class, Division, “I am learning to divide using chunking” or 3rd class, place value, “I am learning to identify the value of each digit in a number”. The discuss and teach sections lay out how to explore and teach each specific concept and what activities, either concrete, pictorial, digital or book-based can be used to reinforce the understanding.

However, it is not necessary that the class would do every single book-based exercise before they can move on. Rather, the teacher can select which ones they think most suitable for the ability level of their class. As explained previously, the initial question sets in each “day” are easier and then they progress in difficulty, often culminating in a  “Work it Out!” section. There are many different ways that a teacher could direct a class to answer these questions so as to facilitate differentiation:

  • The children progress through the questions themselves at their own pace, as individuals or as pairs perhaps, for support.
  • The children do a certain number in each question set eg first three in each; every second question etc
  • The teacher could allow the children to choose what questions to answer eg ” I want you to do five questions, you pick which ones” or “I want you to select two questions out of each set, you choose”. The children could discuss at the end the reasoning behind their choices thus providing a great insight into their understanding of a topic and their concept of themselves as learners.
  • The teacher could assign a number of incomplete questions as homework for that evening.

At the end of that “day”s maths lesson, it is likely that the children will have achieved the learning outcome, albeit to a variety of different depths, eg the child can identify the value of a digit in a number, even if not with 100% success rate. Irrespective of the content covered that day, in the next maths class, the teaching should move on to focus on the the next “day” and the next learning outcome(s), as envisaged in the day-by-day plans, thus ensuring that the children get a broad and balanced experience of the maths curriculum.

3. MWBs! MWBs! MWBs!

The free mini-whiteboards (MWBs) that accompany the Operation Maths programme are very adaptable  and can make covering content, in a meaningful way, so much more efficient. Some of the ways in which they can be used:

  • Display  the ebook on your IWB (this is often preferable to the children looking at their own books  as they are looking straight up at the board, and therefore easier to check that the children are focused on the teacher and the task). Then, using  a selection of suitable questions from the book, you can use the MWBs for some fast-paced answering. This can be a great way to get through all/most of that day’s content, while also revealing any problematic questions/misconceptions that can then be focused on again as part of class-based reinforcement or practiced as part of homework.
  • “Show your thinking”. The children can use quick jottings to explain how they arrived at a certain answer. The MWBs are less structured and easier to use than maths copies and are quicker and easier to change if you want to amend your ideas. Interesting responses or approaches could easily be brought up to the top of the class for further discussion and display.
  • More maths done in less time. Rooting in bags, finding a copy, ruler, pencil, pen…ruling the copy, asking what date it is….this all leads to a delay in actually getting down to the maths at hand. Whereas, just writing on the MWBs is much quicker and gets more done.
  • Bar models: This is one of the key problem-solving strategies used in Singapore Maths and a key strategy also in Operation Maths. If your pupils are not very familiar or comfortable with bar model drawing (for example if the children are using an Operation Maths book and didn’t have Operation Maths the previous year) it can be a great idea to draw the bar models step-by-step with the children i.e. the teacher draws on the classroom board and the children draw on their MWBs. Alternatively, the teacher can use the Bar Modelling eManipulative, available on Edco Learning to model the problems on the main IWB.
  • Quick fire estimations: estimating should be quick responses and not take as long to produce as a full calculation would; otherwise they are not efficient (see this post for more on this). To practice these quick fire responses, you could quickly display a calculation on the class board from the Operation Maths ebook and then hide the calculation (eg use the no-show button on your projector remote) while the children quickly jot down estimated answers. These should then be compared and discussed, with reasons given as to why some estimates are more reasonable than others, before then agreeing on the most reasonable estimate(s).
  • Step-by-step to show algorithms: if you are teaching some of the standard algorithms (eg the long division or long multiplication method) the MWBs can be handy to allow the teacher and class to do it together, step-by-step, with the children holding up their MWBs at every suitable juncture to check what they have done to that point. This way potential mistakes may be picked up quicker and addressed before they begin to occur repeatedly.

For other ideas on how you can use your Operation Maths MWBs across the curriculum, read on here.

4. Bar model drawing

As mentioned above, bar model drawing can be a difficult concept for both teachers and children to grasp when they’ve never come across them before. That said, they are an invaluable strategy and worth the investment; already feedback from teachers using the programme for the first time have revealed that topics the children previously found very problematic (eg fractions in all classes, cost price and selling price in 6th class), have now become so much easier and clearer, thanks to the structure of the bar models.

A way to make your collective introduction to bar models much easier, is to display the Thinking Blocks site on the class IWB and to get the children to respond by drawing the bar models and/or giving answers on their MWBs. Such an activity would also work well as an oral and mental starter that could be used regularly throughout the year.

5. Go digital!

The excellent suite of  digital resources available on Edco Learning can also aid efficient progress through content. The resources are very visual and help the child grasp a solid understanding of the concepts at hand quicker than might have occurred  otherwise. The resources can all be accessed directly via the hyperlinks in the digital books and it can be beneficial to have these tabs open in advance so as to save time during maths class. For more information on the extensive range of digital resources read on here

Teaching Junior Infants to 2nd class? Read on to find out how to manage the content for those classes. 

 


Operation Maths: the most teacher-friendly primary maths programme

Resource BooksDesigned by a team of practically minded teachers, our aim was to make it as simple as possible for any teacher to use Operation Maths, while also reducing their planning and preparation work. This is why the content of the Operation Maths Teacher Resource Books (TRBs) is the most comprehensive currently available.

For the senior end:

Each topic dedicated section in the Teacher’s Resource Book (or TRB which is free to adopting schools) includes:

  • An overview of the topic that doubles as a short term plan and includes learning outcomes, vocabulary, resources, differentiation, assessment, linkage, integration etc., etc. Simply photocopy this and use it both as a plan and as a way to record progress through each topic. All of these plans are also available to download as MS Word documents from www.edcolearning.ie
  • A brief synopsis of potential difficulties that a class or individuals may have with the topic.
  • A day-by-day breakdown (see opposite) of suggestions to teach the topic that is so comprehensive, the like of which has not been seen before. This includes daily suggestions for oral and mental starters, concrete activities, questions, games as well as guidance for the suitable pages to use from the books.
  • Suggestions for further activities that will further enhance the children’s ability to understand the topic
  • Detailed instructions for how to use the digital resources specific to that topic.

 

Also included in the senior end TRBs:

  • Long term planning is in the introductory section of each TRB and not only is there a plan/grid with month-by-month suggestions of when to teach each topic for every class but, specifically for those teaching in multi-classes, there are versions of the plans that would suit a 3rd & 4th class combination and another for a 5th & 6th class combination.
  • A starters bank containing a whole suite of oral and mental maths activities.
  • A games bank with suggestions for simple, fun games, most of which are based on readily available resources such as dice, playing cards etc.
  • Reinforcement photocopiables (a minimum of one per chapter) for the lower attainers (LAs) which provide opportunities for extra practice for those requiring it.
  • Early finishers photocopiables (one per chapter) for the higher attainers (HAs) providing them with rich tasks to challenge them to think deeper and broader about the concept.
  • Dear Family Letters: these slips, which can be sent home in a homework journal or copy, explain to the family about the topic and suggest how they might support the child at home.
  • Target boards: designed for display on the class IWB, these are accompanied by questions specific to each class level and chapter.
  • A range of other photocopiables and cut-outs which can be used to further enhance the children’s understanding of the topic at hand.

For the junior end:

For the junior end , the TRB each section covers a specific month and each month has an overarching theme eg Capacity,  which then connects the other activities even if then are from another strand unit. Each month section is then subdivided into fortnights to aid planning and then subdivided further into weeks eg January week 3.

Each of the monthly sections includes:

  • Two fortnightly overviews of the topic(s) that doubles as a short term plan and includes learning outcomes, skills, vocabulary, resources, concrete materials,  differentiation, assessment, linkage, integration and home-school links. Simply photocopy this and use it both as a plan and as a way to record progress through each topic. All of these plans are also available to download as MS Word documents from www.edcolearning.ie
  • A weekly breakdown (see below) of suggestions to teach the topic that includes suggestions for warm-ups (starters), activities, questions, games as well as guidance for the suitable pages to use from the books.
  • Suggestions for stations in the 1st & 2nd class books that will further enhance the children’s ability to understand the topic
  • Suggestions for Aistear links in the infants books (see doc above).
  • Detailed instructions for how to use the digital resources specific to that topic.

Also included in the junior end TRBs:

  • Long term planning is covered with the yearly scheme in the introductory section of each TRB and outlines the strand units within each month and cross references this to the relevant pages within the pupils books.
  • A reproduction of the curriculum objectives for the specific class level and details when each is covered during the year
  • Early finishers photocopiables for the higher attainers (HAs) providing them with rich tasks to challenge them to think deeper and broader about the concept.
  • A range of other photocopiables, games and cut-outs which can be used to further enhance the children’s understanding of the topic at hand.

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