How to get the max from Power Maths

How to get the max from Power Maths

Power Maths Series Editor, Tony Staneff, gives some practical help and support for teachers who are taking this exciting and game-changing step. If you’re one of the many teachers who’s recently started using Power Maths, then this article is for you! This game-changer will help...

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Power Maths Series Editor, Tony Staneff, gives some practical help and support for teachers who are taking this exciting and game-changing step.

If you’re one of the many teachers who’s recently started using Power Maths, then this article is for you! This game-changer will help build real confidence, competence and curiosity in maths for teachers and learners alike.

First and foremost, I’d like to thank you for investing in the Power Maths programme, and for joining the international community of teachers who want to create schools and classrooms full of eager mathematicians! I understand that your investment is not only about buying into the programme, but also about passion and professionalism. It’s a move towards a new way of working – and that demands commitment. But the rewards are many, and they include happier and more resilient learners who achieve better results as well as greater satisfaction and less preparation time for you.

How do I know this? Well, right from the start, Power Maths was founded on robust, evidence-based research and the highly successful White Rose Maths schemes of learning. Its foundations lie in helping teachers teach for mastery, allowing children to understand maths instead of blindly following obscure rules. It lets children move forward one small step at a time, and provides clear, purposeful practice to embed and deepen their learning. And of course, it models a healthy growth mindset through the vibrant and engaging characters who encourage and support learners. As a practising teacher, I feel you can use the Power Maths books flexibly to meet the changing needs of your own class and ensure understanding every step of the way.

Sharing the learning

Since Power Maths was first launched, my colleagues and I have visited schools up and down the country and learned so much from the teachers, assistants and learners who use it week after week. Their feedback, ideas and insights keep us learning how to get the best possible results from the programme, and we’re always keen to share that learning as widely as possible.

Below, you’ll find a rich collection of tips which reflect some of the key feedback we’ve collected along the way from the family of Power Maths practitioners nationwide!

Section: Discover | Purpose: Generate curiosity!

  • Each problem is a story, so bring that story to life!
  • Ask children what they see, what it makes them think about and what questions they can discover.
  • Do one question at a time, or set both.
  • Consider displaying the questions only on-screen at this point.
  • Read the question out and make sure the children understand it.
  • Get children to work in collaborative pairs, supporting them as you circulate.
  • Encourage children to write down their responses and their thinking on whiteboards

Section: Share | Purpose: Get every child thinking and talking it through

  • Share and talk through the methods your children have used.
  • Compare their methods with those used by the characters.
  • You don’t need to discuss every method in the book (you know your group better than anyone)!

Section: Think together | Purpose: What we think hard about, we remember

  • Model the first question for the children. You can still ask questions if necessary.
  • The questions are designed to build up slowly. If your children need more practice, add a question or two of your own.
  • Model how it’s good to get stuck (it means the maths is interesting)!
  • If the challenge seems too much for the children, consider returning to it at the end of the lesson or next day.

Section: Independent practice | Purpose: Exploring different pathways

  • Encourage children to show their working-out.
  • Give support as needed.

Every child can love maths!

It’s inevitable that when you begin using Power Maths, some learners will have gaps in their understanding and knowledge, and there will always be occasions when extra help is needed. However, we’ve written the programme with these issues clearly in mind. By following the Teacher Guides, ensuring that you have appropriate concrete materials available for all and always teaching for meaning and understanding, your learners will progress.

Try out the following powerful strategies:

  • pre-teaching the language they’ll need before the lesson
  • fine-tune your starter activities so learners are lesson-ready
  • preparing your explanations so they’re as clear as possible
  • supporting them with extra scaffolding
  • work with any ‘strugglers’ and deploy your support staff to focus on the rest of the class
  • use same-day interventions to fill any gaps.

This article was originally published on the Pearson Schools Blog on December 19th 2019.

About the author

Tony Staneff is the mastery team leader at White Rose Maths and series editor of Power Maths Key Stage 1, a whole-class mastery programme that has recently joined the list of recommended textbooks supporting teaching for mastery in maths in England.

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