Teaching the Maths Curriculum
The maths curriculum promotes a consistent approach to lesson delivery by linking lesson structure to the Rosenshine Principles of Instruction, in line with United Learning’s centralised teaching and learning approach. We use these principles because cognitive research (e.g. Kirschner, Sweller and Clark, 2006) suggests that students need a large amount of subject knowledge in their long-term memory to become competent in any subject. In maths, pupils will be far better equipped to apply mathematical thinking to a problem if their working memory is not overloaded with basic calculations. Therefore, our curriculum always emphasises secure content knowledge before moving onto problem-solving tasks. This is a step away from discovery-based learning and acknowledges the gap between teachers as experts and pupils as novices, with the key point being that we cannot expect pupils to show mathematical expertise until they have acquired fluency with numbers.
The development of long-term memory is supported by a curriculum that focuses on interleaving content, regular low stakes quizzing, daily starter grids that review prior learning, and formative assessments that feed into teacher planning to close gaps in knowledge. Consistent review of key content is integral to the structure and order of the curriculum itself. Teachers use Hegarty Maths, Seneca and Sparx to review this content as homework.
Our curriculum is designed to provide a challenge for all learners. Teachers are expected to adapt resources for the needs of their students. We use carefully constructed resources that exemplify accessible methods for students and teachers. We provide an opportunity for challenge by depth rather than accelerating through the curriculum. In Key Stage 4, exam questions focusing on the specification objectives AO1/2/3 are used, when appropriate, to assess understanding of core fluency and application of it in context.
So, when we walk into a maths lesson, what should we expect to see?
All teachers have the autonomy to combine or separate the United Learning resources to fit their pupils’ needs. However, we do expect all lessons to follow a similar pattern. This pattern links directly to the Rosenshine Principles.
R1 – Begin with a short review of prior learning
R2 – Present new material in small amounts or steps
R3 – Ask many questions and check the responses of all students
R4 – Provide models
R5 – Guide student practice
R6 – Check for student understanding
R7 – Obtain a high success rate
R8 – Provide scaffolds for difficult tasks
R9 – Require and monitor independent practice
R10 – Engage students in weekly and monthly review
‘Do now’ activity: R1
- Mixed fluency skills based on pre-requisite knowledge presented in a structured starter grid
- Self-assessed answers should be pre-prepared to increase the pace and ease the transition to the next part of the lesson
- Poorly answered questions should appear in the next starter
Introduction of new skills: R2 – R5, R8
- Carefully chosen examples that are modelled in detail without whole class questioning
- Students complete a similar example to the modelled example
- Then ask targeted questions to check understanding
Check for understanding – AFL – R6, R3
- Check the understanding of examples – this could be in books, on MWB, with questioning and/or purposeful circulation
- Re-model questions that were not understood
Independent practice – R7
- Independent practice informed by AFL i.e. mini quiz, targeted questions
- Independent practice that relates directly to the modelled examples
- Enough time is given for students to complete questions with minimal copying out
- Problem-solving questions will follow when the fluency is secure
Review of independent practice – R9
- Answers given to independent practice (prepare answers and minimise pupil input to increase the pace and maximise the clarity of answers)
- Students self-assess their work (coloured pen)
Regular review – R10
- Use starters and regular quizzing to review knowledge taught
The United Learning resources have been written to support Rosenshine principles in the classroom. The focus of these resources is the I/we/you model: Explanation/modelling >> guided practice >> independent practice.
The flow chart below summarises a typical structure that we should expect to see in maths lessons
In Year 11 and Sixth Form maths lessons we expect to see exam questions featuring in most lessons. Where exam questions are used there should be a clear reference to the number of marks available, how they are attained, and where it is likely to feature on an exam.
All pupils complete homework online on Hegarty Maths or Sparx. Both platforms support the Key Stage 3 and Key Stage 4 curriculum, and all United Learning resources signpost pupils to the relevant maths clips on these websites. For example, in summative assessment question level analysis sheets (QLAs), in KPI tests and the scheme of work to support independent work and teaching of prior knowledge.
On Sparx, teachers input the United Learning maths curriculum into the system at the start of the year breaking down what is being learnt on a week-by-week basis, directly linking our curriculum to the homework platform.