How long should I spend on each unit?
As a guide, the expectation is that each unit will take two to three weeks to teach. The length of time spent on each unit will vary depending on the topic, the number of new concepts covered within it and how quickly children master the concepts. If teachers are confident that children have mastered a concept, then it is perfectly acceptable to move on more quickly, just as it is important to allow children to spend longer on a topic if necessary to ensure that they have fully mastered it before moving on. It is better to spend more time on fewer topics to ensure that they are fully understood and children have embedded what they have learnt, so that they can remember and apply it later on.
How do I use the textbooks with mixed-age classes?
Although the maths programme of study is set out in year groups, the expectations are for end of Key Stage which does allow teachers some flexibility. The important thing to remember is that the principles of good quality effective differentiation have not changed with the introduction of a new curriculum or by the use of a new resource.
One for the most important things to remember when using a high quality modern mathematics text book is that it should be used to facilitate whole class teaching. In mixed aged classes this can be more challenging but it is recommended that this approach is still adhered to whenever possible. As the Rising Stars Mathematics Textbooks are built around 5 main themes they are easy to run concurrently as children will be studying the same strand of mathematics in each year group.
The Engage and Explore sections of Rising Stars Mathematics are designed to facilitate this approach. One approach would be to use the photos and activities from one text book (or a selection of photos from each) for the whole class and make them relevant and accessible through the use of skilful questioning. The activities related to the photographs could be adapted for the appropriate year group objective, however a better alternative would be to use concrete apparatus to support younger pupils where necessary or to get the children to work in mixed age or ability pairs.
It is important that children are accessing content from their own year group for the majority of the time so when pupils begin to work on the Let’s Learn section of the you may need to split the class to deliver ‘whole class’ sessions from each year’s text book. The children would then work on the Let’s Practise section of the text book for their own year group. As the children will be working on the same area of mathematics, there will still be opportunities for whole class teaching points. It may be possible to take elements from each Let’s Learn section and deliver them together if you feel this will be beneficial to the whole class. Teachers will need to look very closely at the Prior Learning section of the Teacher’s Guide and make good use of assessment to ensure all the children’s needs are being met.
Are there opportunities for homework included in the scheme?
The Textbook can be sent home for children to complete a particular step in the ‘Let’s practise’ section. Within the Textbook, children will have access to the concept explanation, modelling, exemplification, practice and application that they have already explored in the ‘Let’s learn’ section. This enables them to pick up where they left off in class.
All the gameboards and game instructions can be downloaded and printed from the website and sent home for children to play with parents/carers/siblings/friends. Children can also be asked to design their own game using the game boards in the Textbook.
There is a bank of Homework activities at the back of this Teacher’s Guide, which can be used as expansion activities outside the classroom. There are two activities for each concept spread in the Textbook. These are also available as editable files on the website, enabling teachers to choose both the homework and its frequency.
The Practice Books provide a wide range of additional questions to consolidate and reinforce understanding of concepts taught using the Textbook in class. These extra practice activities can be set as homework or used as further practice within the classroom. Either way, they provide a good record for the child of their understanding and progress and will help teachers identify any misconceptions or gaps in understanding.