4 common sense ideas to begin using NOW!

1. Put number lines on walls and on their desk

You’d be surprised at the number of teachers I speak with who tell me their students struggle with basic counting yet have no number lines on display or on the students’ desks. Sometimes this most basic display can affect a student’s ability to complete their maths work and develop confidence. Print them out and put them up-and if a kid needs one on his/her desk, so be it! When they don’t need it any more, they’ll stop using it.

2. Daily practice counting on and back

Counting is a skills we simply must memorise to do well. It helps us with both addition and subtraction, and forms the base for solving almost all equations. Most of us have little difficulty navigating the number system (on and back), but for young people who find maths difficult this can be challenging. Regularly on-and-back counting multiple-times-a-day to/from 10/15/20/50/100 is a good place to start!

3. Daily practice with place value using base-10s (and drawing base-10 shapes)

We first learn maths by counting objects and then later linking them to written numbers. Did you know there’s a step between those two skills called “representational” maths? This involves drawing out symbols to help us remember place value and processes. Base-10s (“dienes” in the UK) are useful because their shapes are easy to draw to support basic operations (+, -, x) .

4. Let them see you ENJOYING maths

I recently attended an event where a leading British maths expert said, “Rather constantly than trying to make maths relevant and fun for kids, let them see you loving maths!” It’s true. So often we drearily approach the subject. We make Reading fun; we make P.E. fun; we make Art and Science fun; it’s time we invite Maths to the party!

If you’re already doing these four things – amazing! Help others do them. If not, have a go at including them in your practice and routine.

It will make a difference!