I started with observations of lessons and question level analysis. Both of these showed that reasoning and solving word problems was an area that needed working on. To make it manageable I worked with four classes including my own, the other three were in years3,4 and 5 respectively with my own in year 6. Following this, I gave each class a couple of word problems, I presented them “cold” so that I could see how children would approach the problem. These questions could both be solved with children using bar modelling however only a couple of children approached the questions in this way.
As I began to work with the children on using bar modelling it was apparent that teachers weren’t completely confident teaching bar modelling hence I also worked with teachers on how to use it in lessons. As I continued with the project I was able to identify strengths and weaknesses for both pupils and staff. It became clear that teachers were happy to try anything new but sometimes needed the additional support to feel confident how to explain how to solve problems.
For some of the less able pupils I also worked with them on using manipulatives to give them a concrete approach to solving questions. To further aid this, I arranged for a maths consultant to work with children and staff in years 3 and 4 who are now implementing ideas from the training. As a school we will be carrying out tests to see how children are solving and approaching problems in late June, to see how many are now at expected and at greater depth.