Maths is one of those polarising subjects - students either enjoy it or hate it, and teachers can be the same.
We are in the love camp and want to share why you should join us!
There is always more to learn and do as a primary school teacher, so we wanted to break this down and make it as simple as possible.
Here are 10 tips to help you teach Maths effectively in your classroom that you can implement as soon as tomorrow:
1. Start with Number Sense and Place Value
Learning how numbers work will set students up from day one. This includes working on number sense skills to help students confidently work with numbers and place value.
Place value is a vital mathematical concept but can be difficult for students to master. Many other mathematical skills depend on a solid understanding of it.
We always start each term with a number sense focus in our Maths lessons and keep a place value posters display up all year, and we constantly revisit strategies during math warmups and lessons.
2. Use Hands-on Activities and concrete materials (no matter what age you teach)
We know students learn best by doing and having concrete materials available. It is also an important step for moving students from the concrete to the abstract learning in mathematics.
You can get super creative when it comes to hands-on learning. Check out this blog post about different ways to use building blocks in your Maths lessons (spoiler alert, it isn’t just for early years teachers).
3. Make it fun
When students enjoy something, learning comes more easily. Maths is the easiest subject to make fun because we can use games to help students learn and master concepts. Time and time again, we have used games for learning in the classroom, and then our students have asked to play them again in their own time (eg during wet weather lunch).
We have many games in our TpT store but check out this list of FREE ones to get you started.
4. Think of the curriculum as a house
Maths really is a subject that needs to be built upon. Just like a house, foundations are very important. If your students are lacking in some foundational knowledge, stop and go back.
This is one reason why we love running Maths groups (or Math workshop) in our classrooms. It helps when you can meet with a small group and really target their individual learning needs. Whether it’s working on mental maths strategies or trying different problem solving techniques.
5. Run Maths Groups (or Math Workshop)
Maths Groups are our go-to for delivering engaging, purposeful and student-centred maths lessons because it is the easiest way to meet the needs of all students, no matter where they are at with their learning.
Maths groups also provide a safe learning space, build student confidence and are an easy way to integrate technology.
Learn how to transform your lessons with Maths groups so that you meet the learning needs of every student in our mini workshop TRANSFORM YOUR MATHS GROUPS!
6. Differentiate your instruction
Differentiation doesn’t need to mean different activities for every child in your classroom. It is about catering for the different points of need among your students.
Your lessons can be differentiated by content, outcome, process, pace or support and resources.
7. Make fluency a focus
We hear about fluency when it comes to our students reading, but fluency in Maths is just as important. When students are competent in recalling number facts, all of a sudden, maths feels ‘easier’, ‘lighter’ and you guessed it, more fun!
Check out our favourite games to develop Maths fluency here.
8. Encourage a Growth Mindset
Maths is the perfect subject to focus on growth mindset mantras, especially if students are finding a concept or skill tricky. Teaching students to have a growth mindset, apply the power of YET and display grit are setting them up for success for many years to come.
How can you do this?
Have a visual display for reference.
Verbally remind students as you are moving around and working with them.
9. Engage different learning styles where you can
This is so important no matter what subject you are teaching. Acknowledging the differences between individuals and catering for different learners is vital for every student to access the content you are trying to teach.
Mix up your lessons, have elements of visual, auditory and hands-on experiences.
Allow students to engage with each other, work independently or make a choice about how and where they work.
For more inspiration for catering for different learning styles, check out these blog posts:
10. Use Visuals and images to support learning
Anchor charts and wall displays can really complement learning when we use them in conjunction with our teaching. Refer to them and teach your students how to use what is on the classroom walls to help them.
Some non-negotiable Maths displays we have up in our classroom include:
Include games to motivate students and make the learning process fun (and stress-free). We are huge advocates for games in the classroom and love to use them as a way for students to communicate their mathematical thinking, work with their peers and build their mathematical fluency. Check out some of our FREE games here.
We hope this post provided you with some validation for the amazing things you are already doing in your classroom and some inspiration of what to do next to make Maths even better for your students!
Are you thinking, this all sounds great BUT where do I start?
We are here to help!!! Imagine…
Other teachers walking into your classroom during maths lessons wanting to know what’s your secret
Teaching maths lessons that target specific needs of each of your students
Incorporating simple systems where students are learning independently, allowing you to focus on learners in a small group
Your students settling quickly and calmly into Maths lessons
Teaching maths groups differentiated to your students skill level
A maths group program that is uncomplicated, easy to implement and stress free!
Learn how to transform your lessons with maths groups so that you meet the learning needs of every student.
So, what are you waiting for? Come join us and transform your MATHS GROUPS!