TS2 & TS5

The focus of this journal is based on pupil progress and how gaps were identified and planning was adapted.

The context of this journal is based around two lessons. One lesson identified gaps in the children’s learning which saw the lesson that was planned adapted during the session whereas the second lesson was team taught to bridge the gaps and to extend learning.

It was agreed in my mentor meeting the week before that I would plan and teach two maths lessons so that I could identify how to progress children in their learning. The lessons that I had planned were based around a scheme that the school follows and followed on from lessons that were taught by my mentor. The content of the lessons were looking at subtractions, specifically finding the gap by counting up on a number line. For example, for a sum of 37-26, the children were required to use a number line and find the difference between the two numbers by counting up from the smallest number. The children were encouraged to start with the smallest number (26) at the left hand side of the number line and asked to jump on to the next multiple of 10 (30) and to write down the size of the jump (+4). Next, the children needed to jump the gap and write down the jump, so in this case it was a jump of 7. The final stage was to add the two jumps together (4+7=11).

However, this did not go quite to plan. The children understood how to take away but they did not understand the strategy. During the input, some of the children made it apparent that they have looked and had experience in exchanging numbers in subtraction but other children had not. At this point, my mentor and I decided that we will take the lesson in a different direction and allowed the children to choose the questions they wanted to work on and a chance for the children to demonstrate their subtraction skills knowledge. We made any and all resources available to the children so that they could tackle the questions. The children had access to deans equipment, number squares, number beads, number lines and just mental strategies.

Following the lesson, I was given the chance to sit down and go through the books and assess their learning so that I could make a decision where the learning will go for the following day. This gave me a chance to mark for purpose rather than marking as part of the school policy. At the end of the day, my mentor and I sat down and talked through the lesson and how to move on. It was at this point, we discussed my assessment on learning in which was accurate. The class was split into 3 groups. One group was to work with the teaching assistant in using deans equipment but focusing on numbers up to 20. The second group was to work with my mentor on moving onto the next step of subtracting whereas the majority of the class was with me to try and bridge the gap. I had the chance to choose this group as I felt at that moment that it was my delivery that assisted the children’s gap of knowledge.

The following session was split into the 3 groups with all resources planned by myself. The children who were with me were using a range of equipment and again was given a chance to experience all. The groups were given some questions and were asked to use the equipment to solve the questions. As a plenary, the children were bought back together again on the carpet and we looked at the strategy we tried to look at before but in a slower, detailed way so that they had a chance to work with me through the problem, which gave me a chance to solve any misconceptions. From this, the children felt more confident and were able to go away and try this independent. The marking that followed reinforces the learning of the strategy by asking them to demonstrate their knowledge in their books.

At the time of the lesson going wrong, there were many things going through my head such as ‘what have I done wrong’ and ‘you have confused them even more’ and even though my mentor told me not to panic at the end of the session, I was already there. Following the lesson, my mentor pulled me to one side and reassured me that every teacher has those types of lessons where children do not grasp what you are learning and in actual fact the lesson objective was to subtract in which most of the children did. Whilst looking through the books, it was clear where the children were and the previous knowledge that they had which helped me with the decision of assessments.

With the second lesson, I felt nervous and in truth I questioned my abilities. However, I put them to one side and at the end of the second lesson, I felt a lot happier and almost a weight was lifted off my shoulders.

From this situation, I feel that I can also take away that it doesn’t matter what lesson you have planned, the lesson needs to go where the children takes it. As long as it has structure and a clear objective it does not matter where the lesson goes. At the time of the experience, I felt that I was still in control of the situation under the watchful eye of my mentor.

If this situation arose again, the first piece of advice I would give myself is not to panic and approach the situation calm. I did feel at one moment, I was quick in my judgement to change the lesson however I later realised at that time, it was not the right decision as it was based on one child’s understanding not the other 29. When I did change the lesson, it was at the right time under the guidance from my mentor in which saw us team teach which was the right outcome and decision.