Fitting It All In

Journal Problems

Journal problems have been provided for students to work on once per week (36 in all).  The last problem page is blank for teachers or students to write their own problem.  The Journal problems will probably take one whole maths session each week of 40 minutes to an hour.  In lower primary this involves splitting the class in halves, and working with each half of the class for 20-25 minutes while the other half complete rotational activities.

Blast Activities – Years 3-7

Blast lessons do not need to be completed by every student or for every concept, provided that the individual teacher is supporting learners through this concept development.  At times students will demonstrate adequate understanding solely through Journal problems.  However in most circumstances it is anticipated that Blast activities will be used to reinforce and guide learning following Journal lessons, for 2 sessions per week.  Teachers who want to complete every activity should aim to complete 3-4 Blast pages per week in order to finish the book in one year.  Activities do not share a similar time allocation, so make sure that you read them through before beginning a lesson and decide how much time to spend on each.

Be aware that Backwards questions can take considerable time to solve.  They are designed this way to provide challenging mathematics for students working at higher levels to complete while students working at lower levels are still attempting the basic Blast questions.  This goes some way towards solving the problem of fast and slow finishers.

Lessons in a week:

See also:  Generic Lesson Sequencing And Timing For Journal And Blast Problems

Years 1-2:
Plan only one journal problem per week.  Each Journal problem consists of three lessons: one introductory problem to introduce a new concept, one day of application and practice questions and one day of non-standard extension problems.  Within each day a lesson is only designed to take approximately 20-25minutes, leaving the rest of the time for practicing routine skills and sharing time.  The rotational system is explained in depth in the Teaching Resource Book.

The other two days are up to you.  Look at the suggested consolidation activities in the planning tables for a source of important tasks to complete regularly.

Years 3-7:
Within an average week plan only 1 Journal problem on average (maximum of 6 in your first term).  Watch out to make sure that you have checked the prior understandings needed in the Blasts activities.  You do not need to do all of these prior activities, just check that your students understand the concepts.  Make sure that you leave the lesson after the Journal problem for explicit teaching and practice questions.  You might also want to use it to deal with some misconceptions that were raised in the problem.

Plan for 2 days of Blasts activities.  This might be 2-3 activities.  You will probably miss some of these out in the first year.  It is much important to teach some of the content well than to teach all of it, but poorly.

The other two days are up to you.  Make sure that you allow time for practice of routine skills.  Also consider using Investigations, lessons from previous grades (e.g. to help correct earlier misconceptions), games and puzzles.