Mathematics at Emerald Primary School focuses on developing students’ understanding of mathematical concepts, processes and the ability to apply this knowledge effectively to real life situations. Students are provided with authentic numeracy learning experiences that are challenging, exciting and enjoyable. Structures within all classes cater for individual differences through the provision of open-ended learning activities as well as differentiated focus groups and tasks.
During Mathematics learning at Emerald Primary School all students are supported to develop a growth mindset. This is the understanding that everyone can change and grow through application and experience. Students are frequently asked to explain where they are in the ‘Learning Pit’ throughout a Mathematics topic and are supported through differentiated tasks and small focus groups to have those ‘a-ha’ moments.
The Victorian Mathematics Curriculum consists of three overarching Strands. These are Number and Algebra, Measurement and Geometry and Statistics and Probability. Within each of these strands there are a number of key curriculum components that are taught specifically for each Year level.
- Mathematics Lessons/Workshops: Our general Mathematics lessons take the following structure:
The ‘Engagement’ section or ‘Tune In’ introduction, where the students’ learning focus for the lesson is explained WALT (We Are Learning To), discussed and examples demonstrated.
- The ‘apply’ section involves students working through mathematical problems and building confidence in the concept. Students will rotate through a mixture of explicit teaching focus groups, strategy or skilled Maths game groups, consolidating mathematics skills worksheet groups and online Maths program groups.
- The ‘Reflection’ stage of the lesson allows students to look back on their learning (did they achieve the WALT), ask questions, receive feedback, share findings and discuss the real life relevance of the Mathematical concept being taught.
As well as our explicit teaching workshops around the key curriculum components for each year level, Emerald Primary School has two Programs that support our students’ development of essential Mathematical skills:
Emerald Primary School is proud to offer our students the ‘Maths Masters’ program which is embedded across the whole school. This engaging Numeracy program aligns with Dianne Siemen’s ‘Developing Big Ideas in Number’ and was created based around the research and findings that reiterate the importance of developing the key concepts of Number Sense. This development of Number Sense in our students has a direct correlation to success in Numeracy.
Maths Masters is carried out by all classes for one hour per week where students work through the different coloured belts (White, Yellow, Green, Brown, Black and Platinum), aiming for mastery in each of the skills within that belt. Belts are developed sequentially with the concepts within each belt becoming increasingly difficult. Goals are set with the teacher during teacher/student conferences, and students then work on mastering one skill at a time.
We encourage parents to be an active part in this program, and you can assist your child to learn the required skills through the links within this website. Hopefully, this is an enjoyable way of assisting your child’s growth in Numeracy as well as celebrating their success.
‘MIB: Maths Investigation Buddies’
was introduced in 2022, following the highly successful Launch Explore Summarise (inquiry instructional model) teaching approach which was designed to develop mathematical reasoning and problem solving skills within a student community of practice.
MIB: Maths Investigation Buddies uses dialogue between students to develop and test ideas to solve complex problems collaboratively. MIB: Maths Investigation Buddies problems are designed to be cognitively demanding tasks, requiring effort, stamina and collaboration between students to find effective strategies and solutions with minimal teacher intervention.
MIB: Maths Investigation Buddies units consist of four lessons. The first three lessons are slightly altered versions of the same concept, allowing students to build on their learning each time they tackle a problem. The final lesson is an opportunity for students to consolidate and demonstrate their reasoning skills in a final published piece called the ‘refinement lesson’ where students improve or clarify their work by making small changes and adding detailed explanations. Students choose one of the three problems in the unit to do their final demonstration.
MIB: Maths Investigation Buddies Lessons:
The main component of the lesson is the work students do to solve the problem that is posed to them, which can be described as ‘productive struggle’. The problem is crafted in such a way that students can engage using concrete, visual or procedural strategies to work towards a solution, or a combination of strategies. Once the problem is posed, it is up to the students to work their way towards a solution without direct teacher instruction. Students work in pairs to suggest ideas to solve the problem. It is the responsibility of the students to explain their mathematical reasoning to their partner or the teacher, particularly if they believe they have reached the answer. During this stage, teachers do not assist students at all. Rather, teachers engage in conversations with pairs that test how reasonable or accurate the students’ strategies are.
Examples of questions teachers might ask while students are engaged in productive struggle are:
- What might that look like?
- Can you show me?
- Can you draw it?
- Can you tell me what you’re thinking?
- Can you tell me what you’ve tried?
Examples of teacher questions teachers might ask when students have reached an answer are:
- Did it work?
- How do you know?
- Can you prove your answer?
- Does it match each part of the question?
- Could you explain your strategy?
- Could you describe the steps you took?
At the end of the lesson, teachers strategically select students to present their findings to the class, drawing attention to strategies that will build shared understandings. It could be a method that leads to the solution, a useful visual model or a strategy that could help progress the problem solving process. The teacher’s main role during the presentation of a strategy is to support the students to share their problem solving narrative clearly and promote accountable discussion amongst the group. Teachers only intervene to ask clarifying questions, rephrase ideas for clarity, allow the class to ask questions or allow the class to repeat back their own understanding of the example. This time of whole class collaboration assists students to progress in the next lesson in the unit.
It is not unusual for students to not reach the solution to a problem, particularly in the first lesson of the unit. Teachers will be looking for signs of improved problem solving strategies over the length of the unit. Teachers will be drawing students’ attention to strategies that might benefit the broader class when having their discussion at the end of each lesson.
At Emerald Primary School Mathematics is a fluid moving, student needs based, type of Maths Workshops. The Mathematics teaching sequences are Pre/Post-Test model which directly identifies the individual learning needs of students, allowing for explicit, targeted teaching and allows students’ learning growth to be clearly identified.
Assessment and evaluation will be an ongoing part of the classroom program, consisting of teacher-created assessment tasks, observations and the online platform Essential Assessment; which is a tool used across all levels to determine what students already know and what their future learning needs are in specific areas of Mathematics. Essential Assessment allows students to complete an online pre-test, then assigns individual learning tasks based on identified areas of improvement. Finally, students and teachers are able to measure progress by completing an online post-test. Students have access to these individualised tasks both at school and at home via the online My Numeracy portal. Classes from Year 2 to 6 utilise this program frequently to support planning and assessment, while the Prep and Year 1 students are exposed to the program throughout the year.
In Foundation, students are involved in the Mathematics Online Interview. This is a resource for schools to use when planning and implementing a strategic and comprehensive approach to early years mathematics teaching and learning for all students in the first five years of schooling.
At Emerald Primary School, we have a Mathematics Learning Specialist and a Mathematics PLT Leader available to support teachers with assessment, planning and professional development. As well as this, students’ Mathematics learning is supported and extended by our Tutor, Intervention and High-Abilities (VHAP and VCES) Programs which provide targeted extension and intervention support to students throughout the school.
Find out more about our tutoring program here: