General Tips for Outstanding Maths Lessons

Extend HA children with open questions
eg finding decimal number bonds, whilst LA and MA children get what goes with 2.46 to make 10? the HA have to make up a real life situation question that needs length decimal number bonds to two places, and provide the answer.

eg in fractions of whole number quantities, whilst rest get what is four fifths of twenty? the HA get how many different fractions can you find that have 8 as the answer?


I think it's really important to consider all abilities in lessons, not just extending the high fliers, but making sure that the work is appropriate to ALL children. Differentiation could be by support (if you're lucky to have a TA, this could mean two groups are supported in one lesson), outcome (I use this quite often when introducing a new concept to the chn) or activity (this is the most important one when planning, in my opinion).

Can I add to this, we have been strongly advised to keep to one LO - don't try three different LOs for your different ability groups.
In yr 6 the LO is what all yr 6 children should be able to do. Differentiation for LA should be the same LO but with difficulties and complications removed so that the process can be learned. eg use easier numbers or give a tables square. HA should be with the process in multistep or real life problems, then get them to apply their learning to create their own for their partnner and peer assess. (Gertie) maybe we could discuss this on the discussion page? Jog_on

Support - don't just give your TA the lower ability group all the time. All groups should have support at least once a week and if you have a TA it could be twice! Ideally, if extending the higher ability pupils, you should be the one introducing the chn to the new concept and the TA could be the one to follow it up during independent group activities. Let's not forget the middle ability chn in this - some of these will be the ones who are lacking in confidence and with a slight push will be able to achieve just as highly as some of your HA chn.

Outcome - think carefully about what you want the chn to be able to do by the end of the lesson e.g. LA chn will be able to add two single digit numbers, MA chn will be able to add a single digit to a 2-digit number and HA chn will be able to add two 2-digit numbers. Don't forget to also consider any SEN chn and how you can have them achieving something similar to the rest of the chn - not always possible, but definitely worth thinking about it a lot!

Activity - try to think of fun, stimulating activities that will keep all chn engaged. Instead of providing a worksheet full of questions, get the chn to create their own numbers to add/take away/multiply/divide by rolling 10 sided dice or turning over playing cards etc (if your chn can be trusted). If you used this in subtraction Qs and don't want the chn to go to negative numbers, this would also require the chn to consider place value - much more worthwhile than a list of Qs and a time saver for teachers! HA chn could be asked to generate two 2-digit numbers and decide which to take away from the other (or you could allow them to go into negative numbers), MA chn could generate a 2-digit number and a single digit number and the LA chn could throw the dice twice and decide which is the bigger number and then do the calculation.

Your lower ability chn should be given a task, most of the time, which they are able to complete independently or in pairs. This requires a lot of thinking about and leaving a sheet of detailed instructions, with clear pictures showing examples of how to complete the task, is vital (for those who struggle with literacy and instructions too).
~ Jog_on

Link to Teachers' TV website: video about moving on from good to outstanding in Primary maths