During placement phase 2 I contributed to the design of the maths challenge area which, as found in many KS1 classrooms, provides continuous learning in the event that a pupil completes all the planned work in a lesson. This was not fonud in any other KS2 classes in the school but is something that I would consider for my own classroom as it offers pupils the chance to independently consolidate and extend their thinking in a particular area.
The maths objectives for the week were all linked to column-method therefore I created 4 calculations and solved them but made deliberate mistakes (taken from the common mistakes spotted in lessons!) Mistakes included forgetting to carry digits, forgetting to add carried digits, miscalculations, incorrect operations. The challenge was to spot the mistakes and solve the calculation correctly, identifying where the mistakes had been made. This helped to consolidate their understanding as they were applying their knowledge in a slightly different way to simply solving calculations. This type of activity is generally enjoyed by this particular class as they are always enthusiastic to spot mistakes and correct the teacher!
- Having explored the concept of providing independent challenges for pupils as continuous learning or time-filler activities (eg. before registration, wet-play), I am drawn to the idea of “Mild, Hot and Spicy” colour-coded challenges to encourage children to take repsonsibility for their learning. I think that some time would need to given to encouraging children to choose the level which is best suited to them and will provide them with some challenge. I anticipate that some children woulf choose “Mild” every time safe in the knowledge that they would be able to answer the question (work on valuing mistakes would be necessary). Alternatively, some children may be over-ambitious and choose a level which exceeds their current ability rather than working their way up and therefore not learning/progressing.