Teachers showed children the Youtube lego video clip which demonstrates the use of SOLO. Children understood the concept but couldn’t apply it independently.
Teachers found SOLO difficult to implement. It was thought to be good for planning but could not see how it could be used as effectively with children.
It was acknowledged that teachers often jump to extended ideas before linked ideas have been fully explored, which is why the SAT tests are so difficult.
One Y6 maths group started with 1 idea (what is division – the opposite of multiplication), many ideas (divide by 2 to 9 with numbers up to 4 digits), linked ideas (long division methods – what is the same/what is different), extended ideas (able to divide any number choosing the appropriate method. Children were more secure in the method and understood more deeply. They can now apply more effectively to different situations.
The children in my group are very wobbly on their methods. We needed to go back to check basic understanding. Asking what is division helped link their understanding to multiplication and their maths facts, showing that division is the inverse. The link with fractions and sharing was also explored. Children realised that knowing tables can help them divide 2 digits by the numbers 1-12 (e.g. 8×7=56, 56divided by 7=8, 56 divided by 8=7.
Once we got into dividing 3 and 4 digit numbers we realised we could still use multiplication in jottings but needed a more efficient method.
5 divided into 480
How many 5s divide into 4? 0
How many 5s divide into 48? 9 remainder 3
How many 5s divide into 30? 6
Once children were secure with this method (finding remainders expressed as decimals and fractions) I showed them a completed long division and said what is the same/what is different? At first children could identify division as shapes and jottings for the tables. Seeing the subtraction made them link to division being repeated subtraction.
Eg. 25 into 4500 as a long division sum means you keep subtracting
The class used ‘Does McDonalds sell cheese burgers?’ to remember divide, multiply (jottings), subtract, check, bring it down.
The method was practised again with decimals and remainders.
Children were now really secure with the method and could answer questions with missing numbers (e.g. a long division sum completed but with some missing numbers).
Roebuck Primary School
One school had introduced SOLO for planning with children self-selecting activities at each level. To begin with lower achievers were aiming too high but have improved at this.
SOLO links with maths mastery (practise, apply, deepen, reason etc.) so helped to build up those skills.
SOLO was used in English for SPAG (1 idea – what is a speech mark? Show me. Where do we use it? When?) This discussion before application ensured deeper understanding. Similarly, showing children how different areas of maths linked helped children make connections (e.g. times tables, column method, missing digits within a column)
Self-selection helped children feel more ownership and helped teacher assessment.