Category Archives: Differentiation

When kids get stuck and never catch up

Recently I’ve been pondering findings from a major report into Australian schooling that kids who are struggling in maths by the end of primary school often never catch up (Masters, 2009). I know it’s true in a lot of cases, … READ MORE

Mathsbusters: experimenting to bust misconceptions

>>> Introducing conceptual change programs Let’s face it – nobody likes being wrong.  Not kids, and not us.  So, when maths becomes all about the right answers, that makes it tricky for kids to want to try. One simple adjustment … READ MORE

The Paradox of Intervention

>>> Why does intervention look so very different to what we would consider to be great maths? Intervention is hard.  The Masters Report (2009) shows that there is a gap of 2.5 years between the lowest and highest performing 20% … READ MORE

Is there really an ideal maths lesson?

I am often asked what makes a perfect mathematics lesson.  This is a difficult question to answer, as I’m not sure that there is one best lesson.  It really depends on what you want to achieve, as the purpose of … READ MORE

“But you must… But you can’t…” Simple ways of adding complexity to challenging tasks

Sometimes it seems like we make maths teaching more difficult than it needs to be, but make the maths itself easier than it should be.  Challenging tasks are not only good for the brain, but also very engaging and fun … READ MORE

What to do when kids already know everything – serious maths extension

Download this article here:  What to do when kids already know everything Sometimes when teaching, we come across a student who blows our mind. It seems like they either already know everything that we are trying to teach, or are … READ MORE

Making Extension Manageable

Key 1: Make the maths weirder rather than making the numbers harder Give the starting and ending numbers and ask, “What happened?” Work backwards from the end point to the start. Have a gap in the question. Ask “What if…?” … READ MORE

Using Rotation Groups Successfully

By Tierney Kennedy Activities are at this link. Watch a free video explanation here Buy convenient, pre-made cards here Almost every lower primary classroom that I have been into has used rotation groups for literacy.  Yet when this same approach … READ MORE

Horizontal algorithms and negative numbers from year 1

Often we spend large amounts of time in primary schools practicing vertical algorithms.  I have to wonder if there isn’t perhaps a better way to spend our time.  Here are a few ways that horizontal algorithms are really useful, including … READ MORE

Rapid growth in understanding for Emilie in year 2

Today I was working with a year two class on understanding tens and ones.  We used a hundreds chart as a tool to help the students develop deep understanding of two digit numbers.  Key questions included “what is missing?” and … READ MORE