Quick links to work group pages (click on sub-heading)
Quick links to work group pages (click on sub-heading)
The NRICH website is rightly recognised as one of those "can't do without" resources for Maths teachers.
SYMH encourages all teachers to search for relevant resources to support them in developing both reasoning and problem solving skills.
As well as resources both paper based and interactive there are thought provoking articles that address key aspects of mathematical learning.
For example the article on reasoning can be found via this link http://nrich.maths.org/11336
A new website WILD.MATHS http://wild.maths.org/ has also been launched by the NRICH team, aimed specifically for Maths Clubs and independent research into interesting and stimulating topics. We strongly recommend teachers bring this to their students' attention.
For teachers and older students is the PLUS+ magazine website that is well worth a look. https://plus.maths.org/content/
Quick links to work groups (click on sub-headings below)
Further Workgroups (to be added)
Secondary Teaching for Mastery work groups
Procedural competence is not enough.
Mathematics is so much more than just about numbers but crucial to children's success and confidence in maths is their ability to understand and manipulate the number system in arithmetic and subsequently algebra. Establishing number sense and understanding the structures that underpin arithmetic are essential for a pupil's progress and the principles of teaching for mastery underline the importance of getting the basics right at whatever stage before moving on prematurely to more complex aspects.
This is not just relevant for younger children and many teachers will recognise the issue of re-teaching the basics to older students because they haven't mastered the fundamentals. This problem will not go away quickly and despite the introduction of a teaching for mastery strategy in some schools, as a country we are many years away from establishing satisfactory progress and true understanding for all our children. Even those schools who have adopted the teaching for mastery principles will take time to fully develop their practices and in many schools where progress has apparently been outstanding the bar of our expectation must be raised such that procedural competence is not enough but fluency and mastery are the goals we as professionals should be seeking to develop in our students.
The South Yorkshire Maths Hub aims to support teachers and schools to reflect on their current practices and develop a teaching for mastery strategy that works for their students. SYMH encourages feeder primary schools and secondaries to work closely together as well as clusters and alliances of schools. SYMH will endeavour to share best practice and resources but encourages colleagues to contribute to this local collaboration by engaging in professional reflective dialogue, sharing experiences within schools and across the region.
A new cohort of teachers will take part in the England China exchange in 2017/8 with two further local teaching for mastery primary specialists visiting Shanghai in the autumn term.
The return visit by two primary Chinese teachers will take place in the Spring term of 2018 and will be hosted by St John's Primary, Penistone.
During both legs of the exchange participating teachers will engage in collaborative teacher research group discussions and observations.
Details of opportunities for colleagues to observe showcase lessons will be announced in due course.
All we want is .....
More than any other aspect the most common request from teachers is one of resources and teaching materials. This can be frustrating if you hold the opinion that resources alone are not the answer to effect the change we hope to achieve in the current evolution of maths education. However often the provision of a teaching idea in the form of an activity, problem or series of questions can allow a teacher to explore a new strategy for learning which they may not have done.
So the focus for sharing of resources and teaching materials could be to act as a catalyst to encourage colleagues to try new and occassionally innovative methods of teaching in a bid to generate greater reflection and collaboration amongst the region's professionals. We very much hope that teachers are inspired to tell us how new strategies fare in the classroom (good and bad) and share resources of their own. SYMH will be most effective if it can act as a conduit to collaboration across the region as well as providing access to new ideas from across the country.
Teaching for mastery
With respect to teaching for mastery we hope the focus of sharing ideas and materials will, over time increasingly shift to incorporating elements of teaching for mastery principles and pedagogy. One of the most impactful strategies is collaboratively planning and in all work groups there are oppotunities available for colleagues to participate with other teachesr from other schools.
Collaborative planning, where do we start?
Different methods being suggested for departments or groups of colleagues to try include;
Increasingly complex questions/concepts
This strategy for professsional development collaborative discussion involves choosing a topic area within the curriculum (for example area of simple shapes) and presenting staff with a mixture of cards each with different questions that may be typically asked of learners within that topic. Staff are asked to arrange the cards in such a way so that they represent a development of learning from the fundamental skills to the more complex. Staff are then asked to consider the learning journey and in particular the conceptual development as well as the procedural development the learners undertake from moving from the simpest question to the most complex.
The ensuing discussions revolve around how we as teachers can guide rather than instruct learners along this "journey", with particular focus on small but clear steps of progression. Once one topic has been addressed teachers can then be asked to create their own sets of cards for a new topic, which adds a further element to the process.
Exemplar sort cards
Addition : these are an example of cards that illustrate concepts
Areas of triangles : these are an example of cards that illustrate questions
Once a group of colleagues has done this a few times, it can be enough to start introducing just challenging questions and ask them to consider, What do learners need to get to this point where they are able to attempt this type of question? This can form the basis of the S-plan style of collaborative discussion.
This method addresses a theme - often a national curriculum statement and aims to strip it down into smaller steps by which teachers can refelect on the strategies to move learners along the "learning journey" of these small steps. Once the steps have been identified teachers can focus on how best learners can master the conceptual & procedural skills and knowledge of each one in turn.
If colleagues which to save time on identifying these steps they may wish to use the resource created by GLOW Maths Hub (which also includes some White Rose Maths Hub material) namely MathsNAV (a Sat Nav for Maths!) By selecting an appropriate topic there are suggested smaller steps that could be placed on the S-plan NB these are suggested steps not pre-scribed
The journey may start with a "hook" and end with a "deeper element" or "problem solving" aspect. A collaborative planning group may also reflect on the prior learning required for learners and focus on these end points as mathematical rich activities for encouraging dialogue with students.
Some schools are preparing for this sort of collaboration by focusing on finding/creating these quality final challenging questions, which can then be shared and discussed.
Sharing questions might help because
Questions are a resource that every teacher needs, but teachers can use them in a way that fits with the way they teach. Sharing whole lessons and teaching approaches can give the impression that experienced and successful teachers, who know their classes best and have their own style, are being told what to do.
They help teachers see all the possible ways that students need to be able to think about the topic, and make them reflect on what the key ideas are and best to use explanations and examples to build a deep understanding of the topic.
They free up teacher time from creating or finding the questions (when this work has already been done by others), and gives them time to concentrate on how to structure a unit of work into small steps that give students the understanding and confidence to tackle harder problems.
Developing a big idea
This involves a much wider discussion about the curriculum as "big" ideas often permeate across a number of traditional topics. Proportion and the concept of multiplication is one example that can be considered. The professional dialogue may begin with considering which aspects or topics in maths this big idea contributes to. Questions that may be considered are; Does the big idea or concept reveal itself explicitly? How is the concept developed over time as learners meet the different topic areas? What is the focus of learning?
Often the discussions reveal a possible shift in emphasis of the focus of learning in topics linked by a "big idea" from the individual procedures of any one topic towards the conceptual development of the wider understanding which in turn lead to learners making links across the curriculum.
For an example of how a concept may provoke discussion in this way : see Psychobabble blog 1
The South Yorkshure Maths Hub (SYMH) aims to provide support for Mathematics Education development throughout our region. Much of what we do is freely available to all schools and we encourage all colleagues to get in touch if there are further aspects they feel we could be supporting schools with.
Two simple things you can do straight-away
Register your email for monthly e-newsletter update and encourage your colleagues to do the same.
Browse this website and get in touch with the work group leader (WGL) for any that interest you
A new set of work groups will be available in the new academic year and we encourage you to have a look at the relevant pages to find out what's available. As we get more information more details will be added to the web pages but to get the most up to date information emailed directly to you, please consider registering your interest by completing this online form.
To see what opportunities are available in each phase, click on the appropriate links below.
The South Yorkshire Maths Hub is one of four hubs serving Yorkshire from a network of 35 hubs nationwide. (Click on the links below to access the relevant websites)
Funded by the Department of Education and working with the National Centre for Excellence in the Teaching of Mathematics (NCETM), the South Yorkshire Maths Hub (SYMH) is led by Notre Dame High School supported by local universities, teaching schools and national associations. SYMH predominantly supports schools in the South Yorkshire area although all schools are welcome to engage with SYMH activity particularly North Lincolnshire, North Nottinghamshire & North Derbyshire - see the national Maths Hub website for alternative hubs in your area.
You can also follow us on twitter @SYMathsHub