I began my maths Inquiry this year wanting to find ways to strengthen and develop children's number knowledge and strategies to provide a good foundation for the development of future stages.
Number identification was the main focus to begin with so that children could read, sequence, rote count, and record the numbers 1 to ten. For some students, language was a difficulty in developing "number sense" and I looked at ways to help these students with games, physical movement, concrete manipulatives, subitising and iPad activities. Once the students started to gain number identification we moved on to solving number problems using various strategies.
Solving number problems provided lots of opportunities to talk. Group work with friends was important for some children to gain confidence at explaining their findings without the pressure of performing in a whole class situation. They talked about the strategies they used, compared answers and worked out who was more likely to be correct by sharing their findings all the while building up their essential skills and language needed for a good foundation.
I hope to able to use the information I have gathered this year to give my next years learners a head start. I plan to use a maths wall from the beginning of the year to provide the children with the "verbal tools". By purposely exposing the children to mathematical language repeatedly and posing everyday maths problems I hope that the children will see how they too can use the strategies such as skip counting to solve problems. And they will see that numbers are not just used in maths time but are an important part of our lives.
Being more aware of aspects that children found difficulties with such as sequencing, ordering and making sure objects to be counted are in an ordered pattern has made me more aware of thinking of and providing lots of different types of opportunities for learning.
Data has been gathered by the formal JAM testing and has provided further information. There has been mixed acceleration in the priority group (as can be seen from the data) with some being significant by moving through the stages while for others even a minor change in a stage has still been significant for them. But the overall growth in confidence, the willingness to explain and give things a go, to use mathematical language and make connections show the children have made a good start in laying solid foundations for their maths learning.