Considering a new maths scheme? Choose Operation Maths!

Considering a new maths scheme? Choose Operation Maths!

For any schools and teachers considering a new maths program, Operation Maths is your one-stop shop:

Resource Books

Operation Maths is not just about teaching children to do maths; it is about teaching children to understand maths, in a deep and meaningful way.

It provides an all-round comprehensive maths program that is the most-teacher-friendly available, providing a full suite of long-term and short term plans, including plans for teachers in multi-grade situations. The plans are broken down into comprehensive guides to each topic, suggestions for maths stations and Aistear themes in the junior classes, as well as daily concept-by-concept suggestions in the senior classes.

It is also the most child-friendly program available, designed around incorporating engaging and playful activities that are based on a concrete, pictorial, abstract (or CPA) approach, which enable active participation and learning, while developing a better understanding of maths concepts and facilitating a seamless transition to second level.

It is a completely integrated print and digital package, with a suite of custom made eManipulatives (interactive tools), ready-to-go digital activities, videos, weblinks, scratch (coding) lessons and more!

The design of Operation Maths has been heavily influenced by some of the key maths pedagogies that are widely recognised as the most effective for teaching and learning, and/or which epitomise best practice in teaching maths, in those countries with a strong tradition of excelling in maths education. These key pedagogies include:

In schools where Operation Maths has been introduced, there is evidence that it has had a positive impact on the standardised test results at the end of the first year of implementation.

Since its launch in 2016, Operation Maths continues to evolve in response to the needs of its users. The Operation Maths blog, launched in 2017, continues to provide teachers, and most recently families and children, with information, suggestions and support. Its Digging Deeper into….. blog series (2017 to present), aimed at teachers, looks in-depth at the various primary maths topics, and provides suggestions of further helpful resources etc. Most recently, a new blog series entitled Dear Family (2020) was launched to provide families with a wealth of practical suggestions as to how they might help support their children’s learning in maths, as well as lists of up-to-date, recommended resources, available online.

To find out more about Operation Maths, please click on any of the links above.

To get samples please contact your local Edco representative

And if you are already a user of Operation Maths, please spread the word to your colleagues and friends in other schools! Míle buíochas!


Operation Maths Assessment Records (infants to second class) on Excel

At Operation Maths we are constantly looking for ways to improve the usability of our programme, and to make it even more teacher-friendly. The most recent additions included long term plans for various combinations of multi-classes as well as excel versions of our Assessment Records. Following on from feedback from teachers, these include all the assessments for the entire school year, as well as incorporating extra features designed to make them even more teacher-friendly.

While there are already word versions of these assessment records available to download from Edco Learning, as well as the hard copy photocopiables in the Teacher’s Resource Books (TRBs), these excel versions provide teachers with a more efficient and flexible way to both record and analyse the results from the Assessment Booklets:

  • Quickly get a total attainment score for each child (Assessment of Learning)
  • Use these attainment scores to compare the attainment of various individuals and/or groups of children and identify children in need of further support (Assessment for Learning).
  • Quickly get a score for each learning outcome, use these scores to identify the strengths and weaknesses of the class as a whole, while also being able to identify which learning outcome(s) require further consolidation (Assessment for Learning).

And this is all achievable in a very teacher-friendly way:

  • Each of the five assessments ( eg End of October, End of December etc ) has a dedicated page; click the tab at the bottom to move between them.
  • Teachers need only enter the children’s names once only on the first page; the inbuilt formulas then copy these names to the other pages in the document.
  • Under each child’s name, the teacher can enter a score for each question (or page in junior infants); see more below for a suggested scoring system.
  • The score for each individual question (or page) will be automatically totalled (horizontally across bottom) to give an attainment score for each child.
  • When all the scores have been entered for each child, these will also be totalled along the right-hand side vertically to give a total for each learning outcome.
  • After the five assessment tabs, there is a tab entitled “All”. Here all the scores from each assessment will be automatically replicated, once entered on the original assessment tab. This allows the teacher to easily view all the data in one screen. The scores for each child will also be totalled here to give you an overall score.
  • Other useful information provided includes the specific strand and strand unit (S.SU) to which the learning outcome relates. These are abbreviated and a full explanation of the abbreviation is given on the last tab.
 

Suggested Scoring System

While teachers can devise and use any system which they prefer, one option would be to try the following:

  • 4 = Question answered fully and correctly
  • 3 = Question answered fully but without full accuracy ie almost all correct
  • 2 = Has a majority of correct responses but a number of errors also
  • 1 = Some correct responses but a majority of errors
  • 0 = Not attempted or incorrect responses

Obviously, teachers will have to apply any scoring system in a flexible way; for example if there is a question that requires just one response and is therefore is either correct or incorrect, then only 0 or 4 will be awarded.

Once the appropriate score has been entered for each question then the teacher will have:

  • a total attainment score for each child; the higher the score the more learning outcomes achieved.
  • the means to sort and/or compare the attainment of various individuals and/or groups of children using these total attainment scores and identify those children with the lowest scores as needing further support.
  • the means to to identify the strengths and weaknesses of the class as a whole by sorting/comparing the total scores for the learning outcomes, while also being able to identify which learning outcome(s) would benefit from further teaching.

 

Downloading and using

The excel documents for each class level are available to download by clicking on the links below:

Operation Maths Jnr Infants Assessment Record BETA

Operation Maths Snr Infants Assessment Record BETA

Operation Maths 1 Assessment Record BETA

Operation Maths 2 Assessment Record BETA

You may notice that these are still BETA versions only. This is because we would welcome more feedback on the usability of these documents.

Feedback can be left on this Edco Primary Maths facebook post or messaged to Edco Primary Maths.

Some questions you might consider answering:

  • Did you find the excel document(s) useful?
  • Did you find the scoring system useful?
  • What suggestions would you make to improve them?

We welcome all feedback!
And it doesn’t have to be specific to these assessment records. Remember, that if you have any suggestions or any questions on Operation Maths, Number Facts or anything related to primary maths, please PM or contact Edco Primary Maths via Facebook and/or Twitter 


Start as you mean to go on!

Tús maith leath na hoibre!

So it is with every maths lesson. It is recommended that each maths lesson should start with an oral and mental starter, which:

  • reinforces some previous learning; not only does this serve to consolidate understanding but, if the content is more familiar to the child, this builds confidence and encourages participation.
  • should be active so as to further encourage the participation of all children eg using activities that incorporate mini-white boards (MWBs) requires more children to be involved
  • should only last for about 5-15 minutes; it should not take over the main part of the lesson

Below are some suggestions for oral and mental starters, both for those who are Operation Maths users and for those who are not.

Operation Maths starters:

In the Teachers Resource Books there are recommended oral and mental starters, designed to consolidate prior learning and lead logically into the lesson that follows. It is suggested that this phase of the lesson lasts for 5-15 minutes.

  • In the junior end TRBs for infants to 2nd class, within the weekly breakdown of suggested activities to teach the topic, there are suggestions for whole class warm-ups  and oral activities (starters).
  • In the senior end TRBs for 3rd to 6th class, within the day-by-day breakdown for each lesson there is an oral and mental starter listed (see image below); this is then explained in more detail within the starters bank, a section of the TRB that follows the topic chapters. To view a sample, click on the link to download the Operation Maths 5 Starters Bank

HINT: While there are typically many suggestions given in the Operation Maths TRBs, 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. And, if you are working with more than one class (ie multi-class), use the starter suggestions from the class level that suits the ability of the majority of the room. 

Other Starters:

There are many other types of starter activities that can be used interchangeably with the starters in the Operation Maths TRBs so as to add further variety to lessons.

    • Number Talks (infants to sixth) is an excellent maths methodology,which promotes the development of number sense and mental calculation skills. The rationale behind Number Talks aligns itself very closely with the underlying principle of Operation Maths, i.e.  teaching children to understand maths, not just do maths. To find out more about number talks and to access a whole suite of ready-made resources for all class levels just click on the link above. To find out more about the overlaps between Number Talks and Operation Maths please read on here.
    • Same but different Math (infants to sixth) is a collection of fantastic images, arranged, in a very teacher-friendly way, according to topic. The teacher can pick out images relevant to the current topic, and suitable for the ability of the children and then ask them to come up with ways in which they are the same and also different. The children could use their MWBs in landscape layout, with a line drawn down the middle, on which to record points. Similar to this is Same or Different images
    • Splat! (first to sixth) from Steve Wyborney, is an engaging activity that helps build students number sense, while having math conversations. The difficulty increases from number bonds of ten through to multi variable equations. There is even a Fraction Splat! series. He also shares lots of free resources to aid implementation. Furthermore, a teacher could develop Splat! into a game/activity played in pairs or small groups, using concrete materials, where a child hides a number or quantity of objects/counters under Splats! (cut out pieces of card or fabric) for others in the groups to identify.
    • The Estimation Clipboard, (first to sixth) again from Steve Wyborney, encourages the children to look closely each time at set of four images, and to use what they have learnt from the initial images to refine their estimate for the latter images. Another number sense building activity on his site is Primary Tiles.
    • WODB (which one doesn’t belong), is based on four images/symbols/quantities, to which the children must give a reason for why one of them doesn’t belong. However, the content of the images has been deliberately chosen so that it could be argued that each one of the images doesn’t belong to the group! In this way, it encourages the children to think outside the box and appreciate that there is often more than one correct answer.
  • Thinking of a Number  (first to sixth class) is a simple but effective game to play with the whole class on the IWB as a starter. This is one possible way to use it:
      • Choose a number range that suits your class and click on three clouds to reveal their clues.
      • Ask the children (in pairs perhaps) to record all of the possible answers  on MWBs which are then revealed when called upon.
      • The children should look around the room to see if there are any possible answers given with which they do not agree (eg an even number written when one of the clues is that it’s an odd number) and to explain why they don’t agree.
      • Click on a fourth cloud to reveal the fourth clue; the children should X out all of the previous answers that can now be discarded and could be asked to explain why this is so.
      • Reveal the fifth clue; this should conclusively point at one actual answer. Again the children could be asked to explain why this is so.
      • On occasion, the actual answer may have already been identified by the fourth clue. In this case, ask the children to suggest what the fifth clue might be.
    • While Thinking of a Number is limited to whole numbers up to 100, once the children get the hang of the game they could be prompted to come up with five similar clues for a shape, measurement, fraction, decimal number etc. For more ideas on how to use this please check out this post here.
  • Bar Models are one of the three visual strategies for problem solving that are used and developed throughout the Operation Maths books for the senior end. While the children and the teacher are still less familiar with bar models, a great way to make your collective introduction to bar models much easier, is to use the Thinking Blocks site (which are based on bar models; suits second to sixth class) as an oral and mental starter. The teacher can 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.
  • Solve Me Mobiles are a fantastic suite of progressive puzzles that work as a lead-in to solving simple equations and variables in algebra. That said, these could be used from third class up (and perhaps even with  pupils in second class). Again, this tool will work well displayed on a class board and in conjunction with the pupil’s own MWBs. It also has the added advantage that the children can log-in  and use this site on a device at school or at home, so that their progress can be recorded and continued each time, rather than having to start from the beginning. Indeed, it would work well if the teacher sets up a generic account so that, even when using this with the whole class, they can pick up from where they left off.
  • That Quiz is an excellent assessment tool; it can also be used to generate a random selection of quick questions to which the children respond on their MWBs.
  • Operation Maths also includes useful Follow-on weblinks. Each follow-on weblink is author-approved and is linked to a specific topic and for a specific class level. As many of these are games, they could be used as a whole class starter (as well as for for consolidation and assessment) when displayed on the class IWB. The weblinks can also be printed for the children to take home and have fun practicing maths with their parents or guardians.

And if you exhaust all the ideas above there are some more suggestions on this list of Daily Routines and on this list of Useful Websites


Operation Maths Digital Resources – Quick Start Guide

If you are a new, or relatively new, Operation Maths user, you should definitely check out this quick start guide to the extensive digital resources which accompany the scheme. And, even if you think that you are relatively familiar with the resources, it might still be worth a read, as you are likely to pick up some new tips to help you get the most out of the resources.

Edco Learning

All of the Operation Maths digital resources are accessed via Edco Learning. All new users will have to first register on the Edco Learning site and follow the instructions to verify the account. If you are not familiar with the Edco Learning site, watch the tutorial below.

After login, you are presented with a virtual book shelf of all your available books. If the Operation Maths books for your class(es) are not visible on the virtual bookshelf, click on the Contact Us link at the top of the Edco Learning home page.

HINT: If you find this virtual bookshelf is too “busy” or is taking a while to load, reduce the number of books you can see when it opens by using the drop-down filters at the top of the screen. Your selection will be remembered for the next time you login. You can amend these choices at any time. 

Operation Maths Digital Resources

As there are some small, subtle differences in the way that the resources are organised for the junior end classes and for the senior end classes, they are dealt with separately below.

Digital Resources for Infants to Second Class:

To get an overview of the digital resources available for each week/fortnight start with the Short Term Plan (STP) for that period, in the Teachers Resource Book (TRB); here the various digital activities are briefly listed (see highlighted below). The TRBs to accompany each class level of the Operation Maths schemes are available both in hard copy (free to all adopting schools) and in digital form (accessible via your bookshelf on Edco Learning).

HINT: To find out more about accessing both the Long Term Plans (LTPs) and Short Term Plans (STPs) for Operation Maths, in both hard copy and digital forms, check out this post: Planning for Operation Maths

This overview lists the digital resources available for that fortnight/week, and in each case specifies:

  • the type of digital activity that it is e.g. Create activity, Write-Hide Show video etc (to find out more information about the different types of digital activities read on here)
  • the page of the At School book to which the activity is relevant
  • a brief description of the activity

To get a more detailed description of the specific digital resources for each week, navigate towards the end of the relevant week, again in the TRB. Here, under the subheading Digital resources, each activity relevant to that week will be given again, accompanied by a detailed description of the activity, suggestions for how to use it in class and extension suggestions (see example below).

To open each specific resource, the simplest way is via the digital version of the At School book. In this digital book, navigate to the page to which the activity is relevant (e.g. in both of the two previous images they list the first create activity as being relevant to page 17 of the At School book). On the specified page, there will be a icon visible (see circled in the example below), which acts as an embedded hyperlink i.e. when you click on the icon, it will automatically open the relevant digital resource, in another tab. For instructions/suggestions on how to use this resource refer back to the detailed description in the TRB (as previously shown in the image above).

 

HINT: While there are other ways to access all of the resources and digital activities (eg via the Edco Resources pop-out tab to the right-hand-side of the screen), the way described above can often be the easiest way to open each embedded resource, as the icons are located in exactly the relevant place in the digital books and so saves the teacher time that might have been spent deciding which resource was the most appropriate.

 

Digital Resources for Third to Sixth Class:

One way to get an overview of the digital resources available for each topic is to start with the Short Term Plan (STP) for that topic, in the Teachers Resource Book (TRB); here, the various digital activities are briefly listed (see image below). The TRBs to accompany each class level of the Operation Maths schemes are available both in hard copy (free to all adopting schools) and in digital form (accessible via your bookshelf on Edco Learning).

HINT: To find out more about accessing both the Long Term Plans (LTPs) and Short Term Plans (STPs) for Operation Maths, in both hard copy and digital forms, check out this post: Planning for Operation Maths

This overview lists the digital resources available for that topic, and in each case specifies:

  • the type of digital activity that it is e.g. Create activity, Write-Hide Show video etc (to find out more information about the different types of digital activities read on here)
  • the page of the Pupil’s Book to which the activity is relevant
  • a brief description of the activity

An alternative place to view an overview of the digital resources available for each topic is on the footer of the first page of each chapter in the Pupil’s book (see opposite), as this also provides the same synopsis of the digital resources that are available to use for that chapter.

To get a more detailed description of the specific digital resources for each topic, navigate to the last section of each chapter in the TRB. Here, under the subheading Digital resources (see circled below), each activity relevant to that topic will be given again, accompanied by a detailed description of the activity, suggestions for how to use it in class and extension suggestions.

 

To open each specific digital resource, the simplest way is via the digital version of the Pupils Book. In this digital book, navigate to the page to which the activity is relevant. On the specified page, there will be a icon visible (see circled in the example opposite), which acts as an embedded hyperlink i.e. when you click on the icon, it will automatically open the relevant digital resource, in another tab. For instructions/suggestions on how to use this resource refer back to the detailed description in the TRB (as previously shown in the image above).

 

HINT: While there are other ways to access all of the resources and digital activities (eg via the Edco Resources pop-out tab to the right-hand-side of the screen), the way described above can often be the easiest way to open each embedded resource, as the icons are located in exactly the relevant place in the digital books and so saves the teacher time that might have been spent deciding which resource was the most appropriate.

 

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 – Digital Resources Overview

New or relatively new to Operation Maths? Want to know more about the various types of digital resources that are available? Read on!

Operation Maths provides an extensive range of digital resources with endless possibilities. These digital resources include:

  • Create activities (each of these is based on one of seven e-Manipulatives)
  • Ready to go activities (also based on the e-Manipulatives, but more structured than Create activities)
  • Write-hide-show videos
  • Maths Around us videos
  • Scratch activities
  • Follow-on weblinks

Create activities

Create activities are based on one of seven e-Manipulatives and can be used as very powerful online, interactive, teacher tools. The create activities are so called because the teacher can open a specific e-Manipulative and choose how to use it to best suit them, their class and the concept at hand. Therefore, teachers can use the e-Manipulatives in any way that they see fit.

Furthermore, there are numerous suggestions for create activities in the Teachers Resources Book (TRB) which show how the e-Manipulatives can be re-used in numerous ways to achieve a countless number of specific learning outcomes. The detailed suggestions for how to use the create activities, can be found under the subheading Digital resources, located towards the end of the listed activities for each relevant week/topicin the TRB.

HINT: There are not separate, individual create activities per each hyperlink in the digital Pupils or At School book; clicking on a create activity icon will bring you to the starting point of one of the e-Manipulatives. However, within each of the topics in the TRB, there will be separate and specific suggestions given each time.

The full range of Operation Maths e-Manipulatives cover key maths areas:

  • Sorting & Shop e-Manipulative
  • Place Value e-Manipulative
  • 100 Square e-Manipulative
  • Bar Modelling e-Manipulative
  • Counting Stick e-Manipulative
  • Fractions e-Manipulative
  • Clock e-Manipulative

To explore the seven e-Manipulatives in more detail, please read on here.

 

Ready to go activities

Ready to go activities are specific activities, based again on the seven e-Manipulatives, but these are all pre-set and have suggested questions inbuilt on the left-hand side of the screen, that the teacher can click to reveal and hide. This means that the teacher doesn’t have to waste valuable time looking in a separate book for the accompanying questions. These questions can be directed to specific children and/or can be answered on the children on their Operation Maths MWBs, thereby encouraging whole-class participation.

While both are based on the e-Manipulatives, there is a distinct difference between ready to go and create activities. The former are more structured than their create counterparts and, as each ready to go activity is tailored to a specific learning outcome, they will have a specific title e.g. Ready to go 3.5, Ready to go 4.6 etc

HINT: The ready to go activities can also provide the teacher with examples of how each e-Manipulative may be used. Thus, the teacher can use a previous ready to go activity to inspire a create activity or come up with a completely different activity of their own. 

 

Write-Hide-Show videos

These are videos, of the e-Manipulatives in use, that focuses on the teaching method of ‘Write – Hide – Show’ i.e. teacher plays the video and the children respond by answering on their Operation Maths mini white-boards (MWBs), thus ensuring the maximum participation of the children.

These videos provide quick, easy-to-use scenarios and set-ups that engage children and pose meaningful maths questions. They also showcase the flexibility of the e-Manipulatives and provide inspiration for teachers’ own expansions. Take a look at this sample video below:

 

Maths Around Us videos

The series of Maths Around Us videos is full of real-world examples of maths in the environment and provides numerous opportunities for discussion and engagement. Take a look at this sample video below:

 

 

HINT: An advantage of both types of Operation Maths videos is that they have been designed so that the teacher need only press play, since the questions and wait times are all built in, allowing the children to look, listen and respond on their MWBs. This means that, they not only encourage active participation, but they also allow the teacher the opportunity to informally assess the pupils via observation of their responses.

Scratch programming activities (3rd to 6th class)

Not only have these activities been written especially for Operation Maths but Operations Maths is the only maths scheme available currently in Ireland with integrated programming (coding) activities. Each activity is integrated with the Pupils’ Books, comes with step-by-step instructions for teachers and pupils and highlights the connection between maths and coding in an easy-to-follow, visual manner.
The scratch programming activities can again be downloaded via the icons in the pupils books. Teachers or children can access the Scratch software for free online (click here).

Follow-on weblinks

Encourage your pupils to practice maths ideas at home with the useful Follow-on weblinks based on recommended games. Each Follow-on weblink is author-approved and is linked to a specific topic, for a specific class level, in the Pupils’ Book. The weblinks can be printed for children to take home and have fun practicing maths with their parents or guardians. Teachers can also use the weblinks in class as a lesson starter, for consolidation and assessment or, indeed, at any time.

These follow-on weblinks can be downloaded as word documents from Edco Learning:

  • Open the Edco Resources pop-out tab to the right-hand-side of the screen
  • From the menus select your book (eg “Operation Maths 3rd class Pupils Book”) and “Follow-on Weblinks”

And finally….

  • All the digital resources are all completely integrated with the print and eBooks; when viewing the Pupils eBook, the teacher need only click on the specific digital icon on the page to open the resource up in a new window/tab.
  • Nearly all of the digital resources can be used in conjunction with the free mini white-boards, ensuring the maximum participation of the children.
  • As there are numerous ways to use each of the e-Manipulatives, they offer unlimited opportunities for assessment for learning and whole-class participation
  • They have been specially designed to help children to focus on the maths
  • They are user-friendly and approachable with bright, clear colours and layout

Teachers can access all the Operation Maths digital resources through Edco’s dynamic online digital hub, www.edcolearning.ie.

 

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

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

 


Operation Maths e-Manipulatives

The fully flexible, easy-to-use, online Operation Maths e-Manipulatives (interactive teacher tools and virtual manipulatives) are designed for teacher-led learning and to encourage whole-class participation. This impressive range of e-Manipulatives is optimised for use on an Interactive Whiteboard or a whiteboard with a projector so that teachers get the best results every time. They also facilitate a CPA approach to maths instruction.

The full range of e-Manipulatives cover key maths areas:

  • Sorting & Shop e-Manipulative
  • Place Value e-Manipulative
  • 100 Square e-Manipulative
  • Bar Modelling e-Manipulative
  • Counting Stick e-Manipulative
  • Fractions e-Manipulative
  • Clock e-Manipulative

Let’s explore each of these in more detail.

 

 The Sorting & Shop e-Manipulative allows the teacher to easily drag and drop shapes, animals, fruit, classroom objects, shop items, upper and lowercase letters, and numbers onto a workspace. It can be used blank or with various backgrounds, including frames, sets,  2×2, 5×5 grids etc . Of all the backgrounds, the shop background is particularly useful as it allows the teacher to create a shop scene with price tags, coins and sale tags, which can be used to explore a wide range of mathematical scenarios such as using small amounts of money in infants right up to scenarios involving percentage increase and decrease in the senior classes.

The Place Value e-Manipulative provides a wide range of place value tables which the teacher can use to demonstrate re-grouping. Each place value table contains either base-ten blocks, counters to represent the place value discs that accompany the 3rd-5th books, straws or money, and decimal values are included in a selection of the tables. Two tables may be shown on screen at the same time to facilitate comparisons between numbers. There is also the facility to display up to 5-digit whole numbers, which, in my experience, had not been possible previously as all other interactive manipulatives only extend to 4-digit numbers at most.

The 100 Square e-Manipulative is another extremely versatile tool. It can be used in numbers only, counters only or counters and numbers. You can very easily hide and reveal individual cells, whole sections of the grid or the entire grid.  I have gotten a huge amount of use of out it recently, with first and second classes, using it in numbers only mode, hiding all the numbers and just revealing one number. I then ask the children what number comes after/before this, what numbers is missing above/below etc. This is particularly good to assess the children’s ability to identify numbers around the decuples/decades (ie 30, 40, 50 etc) which are widely recognised as hurdles for many children.

This tool can also be used to model the 100 dots grid (on the inside back cover of Operation Maths 3 and 4) as a means to explore the commutative and distributive properties and the connections between various groups of facts.

The Bar Modelling e-Manipulative allows the teacher to create the bar models used in the text books quickly and easily. Bars can be dragged, dropped and resized and the teacher can change their colour. The teacher can also type and draw freehand on the workspace, making this a very useful resource for demonstrating the strategy of bar modelling

The Counting Stick e-Manipulative replicates the physical counting stick that a teacher might use in the classroom. The teacher can set the starting value and the steps value, and reveal or hide numbers along the counting stick. Decimal and negative numbers may also be shown on the Counting Stick e-Manipulative and two counting sticks can be shown at the same time, in order to compare various numbers.

The teacher can use the Fractions e-Manipulative to present fraction bars (linear models), fraction circles and pizzas (both area models). The teacher can change the fraction that is shown on screen, randomise fractions and hide or show the fraction value, decimal value and percentage value. Two fractions may be shown on screen at the same time.

Analogue and digital clocks are provided with the Clock e-Manipulative. The teacher can choose to show one analogue clock, one digital clock, two analogue clocks, two digital clocks or an analogue and a digital clock at the same time.

 

All of the e-Manipulatives can be used as Ready to go or Create activities

Ready to go activities are already set up within each e-Manipulative with pre-programmed questions that appear on screen, meaning that the teacher doesn’t have to waste time looking in a book for the accompanying questions. The questions can also be answered on the children on their MWBs, thereby encouraging whole-class participation.

Create activities are so called because the teacher can open the e-Manipulatives and choose how to use it to best suit them, their class and the concept at hand. There are suggestions for Create activities printed in the TRB which show how the tools can be re-used in infinite ways to achieve a countless number of specific learning outcomes. And the Ready to go activities themselves will also provide the teachers with examples of how each e-Manipulative may be used.

Write – Hide – Show videos

These are videos of the e-Manipulatives in use that focuses on the teaching method of ‘Write – Hide – Show’. These videos provide quick, easy-to-use scenarios and set-ups that engage children and pose meaningful maths questions. They also showcase the flexibility of the e-Manipulatives and provide inspiration for teachers’ own expansions. Take a look at this sample video below:

 

Teachers can access all of the Operation Maths e-Manipulatives and other digital resources through Edco’s dynamic online digital hub, www.edcolearning.ie.


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. 


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