Don’t practise until you get it right. Practise until you can’t get it wrong.

We (the maths department) have a decent scheme of work. We get very good results (about 90% A*-C). It’s not broken, but we’re not satisfied.

We’re not happy with the spiral approach. They ‘learn’ every year and many of them forget every year. Maybe not completely, but there are definitely backwards steps that are too big.

So we’re moving towards a ‘mastery’ scheme of work approach, as outlined by Bruno Reddy here. Here’s how Bruno’s post looks in my head.

There are so many things to think about and I *really* love a list so here’s what’s in my head at the moment.

  • Teaching for deep understanding. We will need to teach in a more relational way than we currently do. Possibly more use of manipulables (as suggested by the Primary commentor on my previous post).
  • Questions. Loads of them. We’ve decided we’re not going to be afraid of doing absolutely loads of practice (hence the title), so we’re going to need plenty of questions.
  • Enrichment and connection making. We’re incredibly aware that there is a huge range of ability in year 7 when they join. This year, they went from a level 1 to a level 6 on entry. We’re a bit nervous about stretching the high ability (or, to be honest, we’re nervous about them getting bored and their parents complaining). However, we truly believe that they need the most solid of foundations if they are going to get a fantastic grade at A-Level maths (whilst we get plenty of excellent GCSE grades, the A-Level grades really sort them into the ones who ‘get it’ and the ones who ‘learnt how to do it’.
  • Assessment. Our school expect us to assess once per half term and to report on this with a ‘green sheet’, on which we write their WWWs and EBIs for that assessment. Currently, we’re thinking an Alfie test might be the way forward so that the ‘green sheet’ will automatically be filled out for us and pupils can get instant feedback without huge loads of marking. This means we can focus our time on planning those relational lessons we’re going to have to get used to teaching. I’d be creating an assessment using past SATs questions based on the topics covered that half term. It’s not ideal as we’d rather move away from SATs but it feels like the best we’ve got for now and it should help us achieve what we want at the moment.
  • Homeworks. We really like idea of the fortnightly 30 mark homeworks outlined in Mr Barton Maths’ blog on creating a new scheme of work.  20 marks from the current topic, 10 marks from all other topics, to remind pupils of previously learnt skills.
  • Reporting (meeting the school requirements). We have to complete ISMs (reports) showing a pupils’ NC level four times during the school year. We’re going to have to think about this because, for now, our school is sticking with levels.
  • SLT on board. This one is crucial, but will take some doing. We will no doubt get parental ‘inquiries’ about our new way of doing things, but we’re doing the right thing and if SLT support us, then we’ll be fine. 

Wish us luck.

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2 Responses to Don’t practise until you get it right. Practise until you can’t get it wrong.

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