Maths

# Looking for Maths Weekly Plans...?

By Ruth Merttens

Find the maths weekly plans by looking for the orange button that says 'weekly plans' on the short blocks page for your year group.

The Weekly Plans and the Shorter Blocks share an approach where topics are revisited frequently and each skill set is built up in smaller increments. Some advantages of this approach are that children are less likely to forget things and also pre-requisite skills are more likely to have been covered in each area. Since the Shorter Blocks and the Weekly Plans share this pedagogy, we suggest that any teachers using the latter have a close look at the Shorter Blocks. These have some benefits as well as preserving a spiral curriculum.

Shorter Blocks are new – they present a wealth of materials not available in the Weekly Plans including practice specifically tailored to mastery, and reasoning and problem solving tasks and assessments. There is help for pre-teaching or support groups, a document outlining likely misconceptions as well as PowerPoint presentations for every day’s teaching, should teachers elect to use them. And as always with Hamilton, all the teaching materials are adaptable so that they can be amended to suit each particular class’s needs. Shorter Blocks are certainly worth a look before downloading the Weekly Plans.

The NNS in 1996 encompassed a spiral curriculum which comprised a fairly tight spiral where topics were taught in shorter bursts and mostly revisited twice a term at least. This avoided 3 complications which arise when teaching from long blocks.

• The Forgetting Curve – children forget things, and this si especially true when we leave a long gap between topics. How can we be certain that children will remember what we have taught them about subtracting 3-digit numbers if it is a whole term – maybe four months – until they meet this topic again? Efficient teaching involves revisiting at the point where children start to forget more than 10-15% of what we taught them.
• Pre-requisite skills – Take Y5 as an example: If we have a Block on Multiplication/Division and a Block on Decimals and Fractions, which should we teach first? If we teach Multiplication/Division first, then it is hard to give remainders as fractions or decimals, as we have not yet studied these. If we teach Decimals and Fractions first, then it will be hard to teach the central concept of equivalent fractions without having studied factors and multiples. Teaching shorter blocks or weekly plans avoids such dilemmas, as we teach multiples and factors, then equivalent fractions, then division with remainders as fractions. And this issue arises again and again when teaching long blocks.
• Boredom and efficiency – teaching 5 or 6 weeks on decimals and fractions in Y5 is likely to cause not just the children but the teacher to lose the will to live. Also, there is a strong argument to be made that teaching some of a difficult subject, leaving it to ‘settle-in’ for a while and then returning to teach it some more is a far more efficient strategy. In the interim between the two ‘bites’, children have become more mature and may be ready to understand what was previously too hard for them.