This was a question I was asked this week. I was a little surprised. The task we were doing was a Nuffield maths task “School Holidays” and involved the students redesigning the school holidays within certain parameters (190 school days, bank holidays and religious holidays). They had to try and apply logic to the situation and look at the best solution. Some still don’t get that problem solving is a large part of maths as is communication of solutions. I guess this is just one of these messages we need to try and make clear as we go.
Writing a new Year 7 Scheme of work is never going to be easy and is a big task. However, there are some things I am unhappy with at the moment. Now I helped write the existing one so I am slightly to blame but there are definitely things I would like to see changed.
It is very prescriptive. Now that could be good but often it is very tight on time meaning there is no flexibility. By the end of each half term or term staff are frantically try to finish off and stuff the last possible objective in. This means there is no room for manoeuvre if students are struggling staff are still under pressure to move on. That can’t be good.
The assessments are quite poor. Although they reflect the previous topics they are often a little unfair on the student. They go from easy to difficult with in one question and often marks seem overly stingy.
We have put some investigational tasks in mainly from Bowland Maths and Nuffield maths but these are often seen by staff as bolt on and if staff are short of time then they tend to get skipped. This is a shame as the students often say they really enjoy them. This brings me on to my final point…
I want the staff and students to enjoy their maths lessons. They should be able to take a few lessons diverting and having fun. I am hoping to try and get staff to really try and put their own enthusiasm for the subject into their lessons even if it means they go “off piste” from the scheme of work. I am hoping this will then transfer to the students.
I guess time will tell. So far I have blocked out some timings and have got the main objectives for sets 1 to 4. We have 6 sets (and two halves making 12 classes) and I am intending sets 1 and 2 to complete one Scheme, 3 and 4 to do a second and 5 and 6 to be separate. We will have to see how that goes.