In my last post I talked about a structured approach to maths. Unable to find anything that met my needs I launched into creating my very own scope and sequence. Now as usual I am no expert, but I am great at researching, trialing and finding out what does and does not work for our learners.
It has been a lot of hard work, but an absolute pleasure to be able to use it as I was writing it to make sure that it would work in a normal classroom environment, or one like mine, largely based on play.
This year the children starting in our class were not developmentally ready for agency...this was a first for me. I also discovered that number sense was a challenge for many and a basic understanding of our number system had not yet been developed at an early level. They had a lot of 'rote' learning...counting and recognising numerals, but didn't understand that these symbols carried a meaning. Numerosity was not a strength, they did not understand the meaning of numerals or have a sense that they indicated an amount.
As I have been on a Structured literacy journey, it seemed only logical to think about creating something similar for maths. Something that children could work through systematically for a period of time before Agency kicked off and something that gave consistency, repetition, and consolidation.
Little was I to know that what unfolded was a massive body of work for me, researching and finding the best bits that I believe encompass the building blocks of mathematics in the first few years. Bringing these together to align with NZ teaching to form big ideas that in turn form a scope and.a sequence along with putting things in simple language that can be used as I can statements. These I Can statements can be used for assessment which I really like.
From these big ideas I then wrote 60 sessions, which built on one another but also revisited prior learning regularly...they build up gradually, working through understanding of numbers up to ten and then beyond, always aligning with the woodin patterns and then gradually introducing other ways to express number. Place value understanding and mathematical vocab development are key to this sequence. I wanted to ensure materials, visual strategies and mathematical discussion featured strongly within the sessions as we know these are key areas of quality mathematical teaching. Each session is also very explicit...my journey over the last few years has really revealed just how explicit our teaching needs to be. Woven into the sessions are number talks, which I have found build mathematical capacity and understanding hugely for children. Within the sessions a variety of materials can be used, I find numicon to be a really useful resource, but it is not crucial to delivering the sessions.
Funnily enough tuning into the Number Blocks (who have their own scope and sequence) really helped me with this and all sessions can be used in conjunction with a Number Blocks episode if wanted.
Professionally I have always found maths was an area that lacked consistency of teaching. I always found myself touching on this and touching on that and certainly doing my best, but never systematically building on understandings and taking time to consolidate understandings as structured literacy does for reading and spelling. I imagined if I had this issue, then many other teachers probably did too.
I also wanted to stay true to my fundamental belief in play and create something that would complement what we were already doing and not contradict it.
The scope of the teaching is aimed at foundational understandings for the first three years. Taking children to Stage 3 - 4 understandings. The sequence itself that is written into sessions is broken into 60 sessions. These 60 sessions are written in a way that describes largely what is being said and done, visual materials used are all included in the pack. and linked to each session.
Some sessions are quite brief and others are more detailed, meaning a session may take a week or so to deliver. Some sessions also warrant lots of repetition. In our class we break every session into bite sized moments over the day and therefore it does take us about a week to get through, meaning we may not finish the whole sequence of sessions in the first year.
I am really loving the fact that in a team teaching situation this scope and sequence now gives us great consistency in what we are doing and planning has been done for us.
My thinking would be that Agency would then come after this, so implemented in Year 2.
However I also feel there is great flexibility. This scope and sequence could even be used with small groups of learners perhaps in Year 2 and 3 that have struggled to get away with maths, because the woodin patterns have been created and are used for children with dyscalculia or specific math difficulties. What I have found, is these patterns give these children something concrete to hang their hat on, they use these patterns to visually represent their problem solving, even when not required.
Problem solving also features within the sequence and kicks in after the first few sessions and can be gradually scaffolded according to your classes needs. I am still loving using puppets to deliver problems. I give some ideas on how to do this within the resource, along with how to conduct the number talks.
It also would be entirely possible to launch agency from session 20 onwards and have professor deliver it as Professional development for the agents.
I am looking forward to continuing to work with this scope and sequence, no doubt over time I will make tweaks and changes based on what works and what needs work :)
As always feel free to email me if you need any help:
It is available on TPT, if you have any issues with the zip download, get in touch and I will sort it out for you.
Looking forward to continuing to share my journey.