Maths


 

Maths Policy

Introduction

The Maths Whole School Policy was reviewed in January/February 2015. This revised policy incorporates material contained in the existing Maths Policy and takes into account changes implemented under the School Improvement Plan.

 

Rationale

The revision of the maths policy was undertaken to ensure changes introduced as part of the School Improvement Plan are reflected in this document. Changes in staffing and the growth in pupil numbers, which the school has experienced in recent years, has meant that a framework for the teaching of Maths in the school is important so as to ensure that there is continuity and consistency in the Maths curriculum from class to class and to ensure that all areas of the curriculum are adequately addressed during the child’s primary schooling.

 

Vision

Our mission is to provide a school environment that is conducive to learning and to the development of the whole person, where children can achieve their full potential; spiritually, physically, academically and socially. This plan will focus on meeting the needs of the children in the area of maths, ensuring they have the mathematical ability to cope with real life maths as well as preparing them for future learning. As our partners in the development of their children’s mathematical attainments, the involvement of parents will be encouraged as much as possible.

 

Aims of the Maths Curriculum

The aims of the primary mathematics curriculum are:

  • To develop a positive attitude towards mathematics and an appreciation of both its practical and its aesthetic aspects.
  • To develop problem-solving abilities and a facility for the application of mathematics to everyday life.
  • To enable the child to use mathematical language effectively and accurately.
  • To enable the child to acquire an understanding of mathematical concepts and processes to his/her appropriate level of development and ability
  • To enable the child to acquire proficiency in fundamental mathematical skills and in recalling basic number facts.

 

Broad Objectives

When due account is taken of intrinsic abilities and varying circumstances, the Maths curriculum should enable the child to:

 

Skills Development

  • Apply mathematical concepts and processes, and plan and implement solutions to problems, in a variety of contexts.
  • Communicate and express mathematical ideas, processes and results in oral and written form
  • Make mathematical connections within mathematics itself throughout other subjects, and in applications of mathematics in practical everyday contexts.
  • Reason, investigate and hypothsise with patterns and relationships in mathematics.
  • Implement suitable standard and non-standard procedures with a variety of tools and manipulatives.
  • Recall and understand mathematical terminology, facts, definitions, and formulae.

 

Number

  • Understand, develop and apply place value in the denary system (including decimals)
  • Understand and use the properties of number.
  • Understand the nature of the four number operations and apply them appropriately.
  • Approximate, estimate, calculate mentally and recall basic number facts.
  • Understand the links between fractions, percentages and decimals and state equivalent forms.
  • Use acquired concepts, skills and processes in problem-solving.

 

Algebra

  • Explore, perceive, use and appreciate patterns and relationships in numbers
  • Identify positive and negative integers on the number line.
  • Understand the concept of a variable, and substitute values for variables in simple formulae, expressions, and equations.
  • Translate verbal problems into algebraic expressions.
  • Acquire an understanding of properties and rules concerning algebraic expressions
  • Solve simple linear equations
  • Use acquired concepts, skills and processes in problem-solving.

 

Shape and Space

  • Develop a sense of spatial awareness
  • Investigate, recognize, classify and describe the properties of lines, angles, and two-dimensional and three-dimensional shapes.
  • Deduce informally relationships and rules about shape
  • Combine, tessellate and partition two-dimensional and combine and partition three-dimensional shapes.
  • Draw, construct and manipulate two-dimensional and three-dimensional shapes.
  • Identify symmetry in shapes and identify shape and symmetry in the environment.
  • Describe direction and location using body-centred (left/right, forward/back) and simple co-ordinate geometry.
  • Use acquired concepts, skills and processes in problem-solving.

  

Measures

  • Know, select and use appropriate instruments of measurements
  • Estimate, measure and calculate length, area, weight, capacity and average speed using non-standard and appropriate metric units of measurement.
  • Estimate, measure and calculate angles, time, money and scale using non-standard and appropriate units of measurement.
  • Recognize and appreciate measures in everyday use.
  • Use acquired concepts, skills and processes in problem-solving.

 

Data

  • Collect, classify, organize and represent data using concrete materials and diagrammatic, graphical and pictorial representation.
  • Read, interpret and analyse tables, diagrams, bar charts, pictograms, line graphs and pie charts.
  • Appreciate, recognize and express the outcomes of simple random processes.
  • Estimate and calculate using examples of chance.
  • Use acquired concepts, skills and processes in problem-solving.

 

Strands and Strand Units

The curriculum comprises five strands, which should be seen and taught as interrelated units in which understanding in one area is dependent on and supportive of ideas and concepts in other strands. Linkage within the subject is essential and while number is essential as the medium for maths calculations, all other areas should receive a corresponding degree of emphasis.

The Number strand begins with a section called Early Mathematical Activities which is distinct to the infant syllabus and is listed hereunder as if it is a separate strand.

 

Strands

 

Infant Classes

 

1st & 2nd Class

 

3rd & 4th Class

 

5th & 6th Class

Early Mathematical Activities

 

Classifying

Matching

Comparing

Ordering

 

 

 

 

 

 

Number

 

Counting

Comparing and Ordering

Analysis of Number

 

Counting and Numeration

Comparing and Ordering

Place Value

Operations

Addition

Subtraction

Fractions

 

Place Value

Operations

Addition

Subtraction

Multiplication

Division

Fractions

Decimals

 

Place Value

Operations

Addition

Subtraction

Multiplication

Division

Fractions

Decimals

Percentages

Number Theory

Algebra

 

Extending Patterns

 

Exploring and Using Patterns

 

Number Patterns and Sequences

Number Sentences

 

Directed Numbers

Rules and Properties

Variables

Equations

Shape and Space

 

Spatial Awareness

2D Shapes

3D Shapes

 

Spatial Awareness

2D Shapes

3D Shapes

Symmetry

Angles

 

2D Shapes

3D Shapes

Symmetry

Lines and Angles

 

2D Shapes

3D Shapes

Symmetry

Lines and Angles

Measures

 

Length

Weight

Capacity

Time

Money

 

Length

Area

Weight

Capacity

Time

Money

 

Length

Area

Weight

Capacity

Time

Money

 

Length

Area

Weight

Capacity

Time

Money

Data

 

Recognising and Interpreting Data

 

Representing and Interpreting Data

 

Representing and Interpreting Data

Chance

 

Representing and Interpreting Data

Chance

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Maths Skills

Spanning the content are the skills that the child should develop while engaging with the maths curriculum. These skills are:

·       Applying and problem-solving

·       Communicating and expressing

·       Integrating and connecting

·       Reasoning

·       Implementing

·       Understanding and recalling

 

Approaches and Methodologies

The approaches and methodologies that teachers will use in their delivery of the maths curriculum will include:

The use of Manipulatives – Where practical and possible, children should have access to and use a broad range of mathematical equipment during lessons.

Talk and Discussion as an integral part of the learning process

Active Learning and Guided Discovery

Collaborative/Cooperative Learning

Using the Environment

Problem Solving

 

Assessment and Record Keeping

Assessment is an integral part of the teaching and learning process. The strands of the maths programme will be assessed using a variety of assessment tools. Much of the assessment of the children’s access to the Maths Curriculum is through informal teacher observation and monitoring. This includes questioning, observing their contribution during lessons, evaluating their grasp of concepts while engaged in collaborative work and scrutinising their written work. An important aspect of formative assessment is the feedback given to the learner and this can be done verbally or through written comments. The purpose of this correction is to show the children where mistakes have been made and to encourage avoidance of these mistakes in the future. The active participation of the learner in their own learning is therefore maximised.

More formalised teacher-designed tasks and tests may be used throughout the year to examine particular aspects of the children’s learning.

Standardised tests must be administered to children at two stages during their primary schooling under the terms of Circular 0138/2006. In Powerstown National School, standardised tests are administered to all children from 1st to 6th. The tests are administered in late May/early June and the results are shared with parents through the End of Year Reports. The Drumcondra Primary Maths Test is used. This test is used to identify children who may require learning support intervention, subject to availability of resources and timetabling. It is noted that DES guidelines continue to advocate intervention in literacy prior to assigning learning support time for maths. However, team teaching in maths, using the Special Education teaches for in-class support has been a feature of the school for a number of years.

All records, including records of tests and attainments of children are kept in the school until the children will have reached their 21st birthday.

 

Children with Different Needs

In the teaching of maths in Powerstown National School, we aim to ensure that all are included. Within the classroom, the teachers engage in planning that allows for different levels of ability. While there is over-teaching for weaker children, additional activities are designed to challenge pupils of higher ability. This differentiation allows children to access the curriculum at a level commensurate with their ability. Each child should derive a sense of achievement in maths.

The Special Education Teachers support the class teachers through a collaborative approach. The aim is to address difficulties being experienced and allow the children to progress with their maths understanding. The needs of children with exceptional ability will be identified and appropriate responses will be considered.

In certain circumstances, consideration will be given to a child in the senior classes working on a separate curriculum to the rest of the class. This will only be considered following consultation with the child’s parents and with the child’s previous teachers and following extensive intervention by the Special Education team.

 

Equality of Participation and Access

All children are included and participate in the Maths Curriculum. Equal opportunities are given to boys and girls to take part in a meaningful way in the various facets of the Maths programme in Powerstown School.

Where identified special provision may be made as follows:

v  Members of the travelling community.

v  Children experiencing any form of educational disadvantage.

v  Children with disabilities.

v  Children with literacy problems.

v  Families for whom English is not their first language.

This provision may be as outlined above under the heading of children with different needs.

 

Timetabling

A weekly minimum of three hours twenty five minutes is allocated for maths in the Infant Classes and four hours ten minutes from 1st to 6th. Additionally, maths can be integrated into other subjects, such as graph-making in geography, scale etc.

 

Homework

Homework assignments can include written activities, research using the Internet, experimentation with a view to problem solving, construction/drawing activities or memorisation of salient maths facts. As per the school’s homework policy, homework can involve revision of the day’s work in school or advance preparation of material that will be encountered in the school on the following day. It is desirable for parents to play an active role in these homework activities.

Teachers are mindful of the different levels of ability of children when setting homework assignments and of the differing rates of work. Parents are encouraged to liaise with teachers and advise of difficulties with homework assignments so that the quantity of work given may be amended in certain circumstances.

 

Individual Teachers’ Planning and Reporting

This plan in Maths and the Curriculum Documents will inform and guide teachers in their long and short term planning of work. Each teacher will keep a Cuntas Míosúil, a copy of which will be submitted to the Principal each month and which will inform our progress and needs when reviewing our Maths policy.

 

Multi-grade Classes

To ensure that all teachers are familiar with the curriculum for their classes, this policy contains a plan to which they can refer for each class grouping. It is expected that, on changing classes, teachers would familiarise themselves with the curriculum of their new class grouping and that there would be particular collaboration between teachers at this time.

There are some multi-grade classes in Powerstown School. This carries with it particular challenges for the teaching of maths. Progression in maths must be carefully structured and it is important to have a solid foundation before moving from one level to another. For this reason, separate textbooks, appropriate to the stage of mathematical development of the children will be used for each class level in multi-grade classes. This, in turn, will have ramifications for timetabling and the use of concrete materials. In their planning, teachers in multi-grade classes will need to be mindful of the difficulties inherent in this scenario. On a year by year basis, the Special Education team, in consultation with the class teacher and the school principal will examine the needs of each class grouping with a view to deciding on the best method of further supporting the children’s learning in maths.

 

Staff Development

As per the Policy on Teachers’ Professional Development, staff are actively encouraged to identify and participate in courses which will be of benefit to them and consequently to the school. The skills learned through these courses can be shared with other teachers. Staff development needs are identified at regular staff or In-School Management meetings and these are addressed through discussion, drawing on internal expertise, the organization of a staff development session, engagement of external expertise and/or the provision of required resources.

 

Parental Involvement

As parents are the primary educators, their involvement is considered an important aspect to successful implementation of the Maths Curriculum. Through their exposure to common maths concepts in the home and local environment, children can be equipped with necessary maths skills. In Powerstown National School, from the very outset, the vital role of parents is highlighted in the School Handbook, which is distributed in advance of the induction meeting for parents of Junior Infants. Throughout the school, the input of parents is actively encouraged through the children’s homework diary. The Parents’ Committee is also enthusiastic in aiding the school in multiple ways, through provision of resources, support for the teachers and parents and feedback to the principal on the effectiveness of interventions.

 

Success Criteria

The success of this plan will be evaluated through teacher’s monitoring and feedback from the education partners. Standardised test results will also be used to chart progress in the delivery of the maths curriculum. The School Improvement Plan has also set out specific targets of achievement over a three year period and the monitoring of these targets will play a large part in providing direction into the future.

 

Policy Implementation and Review

This policy will be monitored on an ongoing basis with formal review within three years.

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Powerstown
Clonmel,
Co. Tipperary

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