Maths Lesson: S1, 2 and 7.

On the 12.09.2018 I taught a group of year 5 children negative numbers – Mathematics. Beforehand, my mentor gave me a list of 5 greater depth children; in Maths, which I was able to take out during their usual Maths lesson. I therefore planned a 20 to 30 minute lesson for these children, focusing on negative numbers. To help decide the activity I initially looked in each of their maths books and looked at their prior assessment grid they had completed on 10.09.18. Looking at this beforehand revealed to me how confident they felt on negative numbers; prior to my lesson, therefore I would use this in future lessons if the subject related as it helped me to pre assess the children’s confidence – TS2 – Be aware of pupils’ capabilities and their prior knowledge, and plan teaching to build on these.

My mentor expressed to me that I could give each child the most challenging number line equation first; knowing that the children would be confused and express that they were unsure about this equation. I have also observed my mentor using this strategy in her teaching by starting with the more challenging, then moving back a few steps, then finishing with the challenging question the children could not answer beforehand. This worked well as the children could see that with small reminders and practice, they could then achieve the most challenging equation. It also reveals to me as the teacher and also to the children the progress that they have made within this particular lesson – TS2 – Promote good progress and outcomes by pupils. I would use this again in future lessons; particularly in maths- TS1 –Set high expectations which inspire, motivate and challenge pupils.

When giving the children the tasks to try independently, I set out rules beforehand which were to: work independently, no talking is needed, you can use your whiteboard for your working out, if you need help either bring your book to me or put your hand up. This, I felt, helped the children to see I also set rules and boundaries like their class teacher does at the beginning of her lessons or particular activities as then the children know what you expect from them – TS7 – Have clear rules and routines for behavior in classrooms, and take responsibility for promoting good and courteous behavior both in classrooms and around the school, in accordance with the school’s behavior policy.

I finished the lesson off with a plenary. This included asking the children what they thought their next steps would be after working on these negative number lines. I also asked the children to write their names in which coloured pen suited their confidence level after this lesson. Green (if they are 100 percent confident with negative numbers and ordering them), orange (if they need a little more practice) and Red (if they did not understand negative numbers at all).

This was the first time I took the children out the classroom, compared to the past where I have taken them to a separate part of the room to work with them. I believe this helped the children to see me in more of a teacher role due to their not being any other teachers or TA’s around to support.

Taking a group out of the classroom and planning the lesson beforehand helped me to structure the lesson more appropriately. Due to their only being 5 children, I could include a short starter and plenary within the lesson and throughout these stages, all the children could communicate their feelings about ‘negative numbers’; before we started the number line activities and also afterwards; using the plenary strategy. Having the children write their names in their chosen colours helped me to understand how each child felt about the lesson individually and also to assess if they believed they achieved the success criteria.

If I were to do a similar lesson again I would try to ensure all children understood and completed the number lines independently. Although I put rules into place explaining to the children that this is individual work, some children I believe still completed the number lines whilst looking at others work. To help my observation of this I would ask more questions to help child of how they achieved their answers.

Focused next steps to impact on your progress or the progress of the children in your care:

  • Develop and implement behaviour strategies that suit me personally so the children can link these strategies to me when I always teach them. They know what is expected when I teach them in future lessons.
  • Try out different plenary strategies such as the one I tried during this lesson. Observe which one works best for both for me to receive the children’s feedback and progress but to also see which one works best for the children when expressing their feelings towards the lesson.