Using prior knowledge questions at the beginnings of maths lessons had led to children being immediately engaged in collaborative learning. Teaching is better informed and the focus group is identified. Fluency questions were also used at starts of maths lessons, again leading to teachers adapting the teaching accordingly.
The ‘odd one out’ starter and ‘What’s the same? What’s different?’ were great for eliciting understanding.
Another prior knowledge strategy was to use a pre-assessment end of block which meant teachers could decide how to pitch before starting.
A ‘cold write’ was another strategy to inform teachers of prior knowledge and seeing what needed to be taught.
Easing the cognitive load
Daily mental arithmetic for retrieval practice had increased children’s mathematical fluency.
One teacher had pinned a plastic tablecloth with squares printed on it onto the working wall which children could write on if they were stuck.
Sharing success criteria had led to children being more focused on the targets which had been identified during co-construction.
A significant impact occurred when teachers modelled at the white board in silence, then going through what they had done verbally. Children said it was easier to follow.
Three teachers had split the board into 4 parts and had previous learning in each square for first activity every morning. This had improved retention, evident in tests in which more questions had been attempted. Learning is becoming long term.
Grammar related quadrants were created in the afternoon using questions such as odd one out which showed children’s current understanding and recapped previous knowledge.
What went wrong was useful for mental maths. This allowed children to recall prior learning and apply it to a mistake.
Children were taught how to take notes. Each child has their own book divided into sections for each subject. This has increased their independence in learning. Children are eager to make cross curricular links using information from their notes. It has also had a significant impact on retaining information (less surface level learning). This has become a source of assessment for learning for teachers as they are able to check what children have identified as the key information and can address misconceptions or identify any gaps.
Additionally knowledge organisers are assigned as homework prior to a unit. Children are provided with websites and books to explore independently. The knowledge organiser is stuck into the note taking books for children to refer to as they like. This has helped increase the use of key vocabulary. Parents have also commented that the knowledge organisers have enabled them to have meaningful conversations with their children using key vocabulary at home.
Kayla Prosser – Derwentwater Primary
Teachers had introduced ‘cold tasks’ at the beginning of the lesson as well as prior knowledge tasks and questions. Pupils are engaged and leads to more fluid grouping as misconceptions etc. are revealed. It has helped to identify gaps and developed language oracy, increasing their vocabulary. The teacher can address misconceptions there and then and then adapt the lesson accordingly. Planning is now more dynamic.
Easing the Cognitive Load
One teacher had taken the vocabulary away from flip charts and placed this at the start of lessons leading to clearer pupil focus.
Children were taught by two teachers how to take notes on their mini whiteboards which has helped to show them relevant links.
These teachers had made small changes to maths PP slides which has allowed children to really focus.
All teachers had modelled silently with children very focused as a result.