Sunday, 23 October 2016

Where it all began...and where am I up to

Number agents was a germ of an idea that grew in my head after a Mantle of the Expert summer school in 2014.

I have always loved teaching maths, but had the usual issues of those children who felt they couldn't do it, found it hard and became disengaged.

The emphasis on imagination, play, creativity and drama in Mantle of the Expert really resonated with me, and I started thinking about its possibilities in maths.

I had a go in 2014 and found that children immediately responded.  It was a little clunky as anything is when you start out, but it worked and worked well.

During 2015 we worked hard on our problem solving approach to maths, this fitted beautifully with number agents as children as agents are charged with solving problems to defeat the villains.

This year in 2016 I took the props and villains one step further and created files, and established character descriptions of specific villains that related to a mathematical operation.  These have added to the 'drama' and 'play' of Number Agents and children have lapped it up.

The results so far:
1)children speak openly of their love of maths, in fact it is their favourite area of learning.
2)awareness of mathematical language and thinking is greater.
3)children are better problem solvers, framed as experts they have no fear of getting it wrong.
4)children are hooked in by the authentic nature of the imagined world, their is a purpose to what they are doing, they are working for clients that need their help.
5)After one full year at school most of our children leave are at stage 3 or 4 in maths.