Dice and cards have also always been a big part of my programme, and continue to be so.
This year I have really got stuck into number talks. In particular dot talks and using a range of other visual images.
Dot talks have proved to be amazing and I am really impressed with how this approach has really assisted children to develop flexibility with number. In particular it has really helped them with the concept that there is not only one way to see or do things and often not one 'right' answer.
A concept I have really been hammering lately is that a number can be expressed in different ways but mean the same thing e.g. 11 + 1 is the same as saying 6 + 6 etc.
I think dot talks has really assisted children to develop this understanding and I am really seeing a deep sense of number coming through.
This is an example of a dot talk. I have yet to film a session with a different visual image.
This is an example of one of the dot talks I use.
Flexibility with number is definitely becoming a strength.
Number sense is also a real strength this year and many of these things mentioned on this mindmap are coming shining through.
Great flexibility with number. Understanding that 12-10-1 was the same as saying 12-11=
Agents are really displaying a brilliant understanding of grouping thanks to dot talks and use of other visual images. Grouping is coming quite naturally and seems like a logical next step when solving problems. This little one has only had half a term at school, she already has a lovely awareness of number, so visual images have built on this pre-knowledge.
It is visual images that have surprised me the most. I use a range of these. Some are quite obscure and require a lot of talk about what agents notice, others are more obvious and agents can quickly start to see and explain groupings. Below are an example of a couple of these images. Both are equally useful in developing understandings.
Something I wasn't expecting is the change I would notice in agents after using images like this regularly, along with dot talks. The change has been in their ability to explain, to have a go and to not worry about having the right answer as they quickly see that there may be many different ways to see and explain things.
Some children who would quite likely have sat back in 'normal' maths sessions have shone and continue to do so, these are often your out of the box thinkers that may not have fitted into a traditional knowledge focused session.
The mixture of talk and the springboard of a visual image has transformed our agency and the agents in it.
What confidence....love it! This agent originally stated that there was 22 triangles. Another agent challenged him and said that there were four triangles. The built on each others understandings to come up with an answer they were both happy with.