Going Mad for Manipulatives at Malmesbury!
As part of my journey as a mastery specialist I was keen to explore the use of manipulatives in the classroom to develop students deeper understanding of key mathematical concepts. I attended an online hub session run by Emma Irvine back in December and brought my head of department along. The session was focused on using double sided counters to represent calculations with directed number; the session was such a great introduction and both my HOD and I came away from the session really excited to explore some more…
In January I decided to take the plunge and run a department workshop using what I had learnt from Emma’s session. Whilst not everyone was convinced straight away the session prompted great discussions between colleagues; everyone really got stuck in and by the end most people were on board.
Fast forward to February and myself and the rest of the Mobius cohort 6 specialists were getting together for a collaborative planning day; we agreed to focus on double sided counters! We spent the whole day planning a series of lessons starting with the real basics of zero pairs all the way up to multiplying and dividing negative numbers with a y7 class in mind. After many discussions and debates about what worked best we had planned and resourced a series of 6 learning episodes ready to go and trial.
Unfortunately I only teach y7 once a week… so wanting to make FULL use of the excellent resources the specialists had put together we decided as a department that all year 7 classes would be taught directed number using double sided counters! Feedback from teachers, students (and even parents!) has been extremely positive, whilst some students have been sceptical in the beginning there has been a real buzz down the maths corridor whenever y7 lessons are on!
Having the time to dedicate to exploring this as part of the mastery specialist programme has been invaluable. I have particularly enjoyed being able to collaborate with teachers outside of my department and gain a wider perspective from them. Having only worked at Malmesbury it has been a great way to not only get out and see other schools but also meet and work with colleagues at the same point of their mastery journey. Even though this first year is primarily focused on me and my own understanding of mastery; it has already had a positive impact on my wider department and we are ready and raring to go with our journey into mastery.
Jasmine Vincent - Mobius cohort 6 mastery specialist (Malmesbury school)
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