Prim Ed Maths Box – My Review

I recently received the Maths Boxes for 5th and 6th Class from Prim-Ed. While I explored the teacher’s manual I felt the best critics for the boxes were the children themselves, so I introduced them to my 6th class during Maths Week.

What it contains:

The Maths Box has 2 sets of 75 cards which cover the strands Number, Measures, Algebra, Shape and Space and Data. There are subsets of cards for the numbers and measures strands which focus on place value, operations and fractions, decimals and percentages in the Number strand and a separate set of cards that focus on Time in the Measures strand.

The teacher’s manual also contains a comprehensive guide to introducing the cards in the classroom. It also contains answer sheets and records for the pupils along with tracking sheets for the teacher. The teacher’s manual also contains a variety of support materials for the different maths cards.

Using Maths Box in class:

I used both the 5th class and 6th class boxes with my 6th class. I felt that some of the class were not ready for the language in the 6th class cards just yet. I used the fractions cards to revise content covered in 5th class which was ideal before introducing the fractions topic to them in maths class this week. I also gave the groups data cards and algebra cards from 5th class box and place value numbers from 6th class box.

The children enjoyed working with the cards, it is a great independent learning activity, and as there were 2 of each card the children could also work collaboratively. They found the language used in the cards tricky initially and needed some support for some questions. However when we discussed the cards at the end of the week they were becoming more comfortable with the language and felt they needed to work on the cards more often in preparation for secondary school.

My own verdict:

The Maths Cards would be worth the investment however I would begin with the Maths Box for the class below your own group. I felt that they were an ideal way to revise previous concepts and build confidence in that topic also especially when the children were not familiar with the cards. I would then use the class set of cards at the end of the topic to build on what was covered in lessons within the class. As the children become more familiar with Maths Cards in other classes, you may not need to use the lower option, but starting out I felt my class benefited from using Maths Box 5.

These cards could also be used for early finishers activities and for higher achievers. There are record sheets for the students in the teachers manual to encourage autonomous learning.

Overall I was very pleased with the Maths Box, as were my 6th Class. As we began a topic today they asked me about doing Maths Box instead. They are familiar with the comprehension box so they are eager to work on Maths Boxes too.

As I work with the Maths Cards with my 5th and 6th after the midterm I will update our progress here.

 

A.M.

Halloween Activities in the Infants

As midterm is fast approaching,  here are some nice activities for the infant classes.

Room on the Broom:

As you may know, I love this story and other books from Julia Donaldson. There is an online version of the story available on youtube. There are lots of other activities for SESE and English based on this story in previous posts on my blog.

Five Little Pumpkins:
I love this rhyme as an introduction in Maths and also to explore rhyming words in English. To link with the rhyme I like the art idea for Happy face pumpkins from Deep Space Sparkle.

To link with the Pumpkins, you could explore the colour oráiste in Gaeilge. Alternatively you could link with Room on the Broom for Gaeilge and explore the cailleach and the colours used in those pictures.

I also think it’s important to cover some Fire Safety and Road Safety at this stage of the year. I also try to identify rules for staying safe at a bonfire and when using sparklers over Halloween. Fireman Sam has some nice videos on staying safe at a bonfire which may encourage discussion in the class also.. Check them out on the activity village site.

We’re almost there everyone!

A.M.

Brain Snack – A review

I have been using Brain Snack as part of a competition on my page for Maths Week, but it is also something I use regularly in the classroom.

Brain Snack contains 300 cards with different levels of problem solving and logical patterns. There is also a CD available to use on the whiteboard.

I use it with my 5th and 6th class during the week as a transition activity and also in one maths lesson which focuses on problem solving.

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I also add one brain snack card to my maths display each week. I leave a sheet beside the card on the display board for children to take a guess and all those with the correct answer are placed in a draw for a special maths prize.

Verdict:

I enjoy using Brain Snack with my class. Children are becoming more confident in guessing the answer for the card on the Maths Display. In doing so, those who are not confident in speaking out in the class are encouraged to write down the answer and participate in this way.

There is a record sheet to give to pupils also so they can keep track of the cards they have solved. It is an ideal activity for early finishers and for those students who are high achievers in Maths and other curricular areas. So I feel it is definitely worth the investment. We have Brain Snack in the school for a number of years. I was in the infant classes so didn’t have the chance to implement it until this year. Sometimes the Brain Snack Puzzles keep me thinking too.

Further information on Brain Snack can be found on the  Prim-Ed Website.

If you have any other questions regarding the use of Brain Snack please send me a PM.

A.M.

Maths Week in Senior Classes

As next week is Maths Week, here are some activities I have planned for my own class.

Brain Snack

I have been using this in my class already. Each week we work on some puzzles in the class but then I add one to the Maths Board and the children have to solve the puzzle and write the answer on a sheet next to it. Sometimes even other staff get involved. For Maths Week I intend to have a new puzzle each day, beginning my day by looking at a specific puzzle and then revising it at the end of the day. One child who guessed the right answer will get a prize.

Countdown

I love playing this game in the classroom. I have the countdown display from TPet.co.uk on my Maths Board. A member of staff also let me borrow her Countdown game with a working countdown clock which I was very excited about. There is an online game also from Woodlands Junior School where the children can pick large and small numbers and it will generate a target for them to solve. Perfect for when they are eating or for transitions between lessons.

Target Boards

I hope to use target boards with my class also. This is an ideal game for practicing tables and solving problems.

Maths trails

I am hoping to organise my class into groups and get the different groups to design a Maths trail for another class in the school. This will encourage the groups to plan, think and review their maths trail. Hopefully they will also get to bring the infants classes out on the Maths Trail they have designed. There are lots of suggestions for Maths Trails on the PDST site. Maths Trails are also part of the Primary Science Awards this year.

I hope to update the facebook page during Maths Week with all the activities.

Maths Week Ideas for Infants

Maths week begins next week 17th October. Here are some nice ideas for infant classes.

I use the Maths Eyes Website and really like the concept of this for Maths Week. This is also an activity that could be shared with parents at home. Children were invited to use their ‘maths eyes’ at home, take photos and bring them in or send via email to me. We spent a few minutes each morning discussing the different photos that were sent in.

Using the school environment, take the children on a shape walk. Bring a camera with you and ask the children to identify specific shapes, take photos of the different shapes so you can use them back in the class. I printed the pictures we took and then made sorting activities for the class. The children sorted the pictures into different sets such as 3D shapes, 2D shapes and specific shapes. This activity really encourages oral language specific to shapes and maths.

Shape Monsters such as these are great to incorporate a Halloween theme in Maths Week. Children can choose which shape they would like to use to make their Monster.

If you want to challenge your Senior Infants or have mixed Senior Infants and first you could also use tangrams in the class. I like these printable tangrams from Activity Village. Alternatively you could play these online tangram activities.

Don’t forget Maths Games for maths week. These are available in a previous post!

Sight Words in Infants

I have used many different approaches to learning sight words in the Infant Classes.

As in previous posts I have used Word Attack Pack for teaching sight words, focusing on 10 per week. This began with the Pre Primer lists and onto Primer and Nouns in Senior Infants. There is also an assessment pack in Word Attach Pack for pre-testing and assessing where the children are. Some children may know the first set of words and will be ready to move on. This approach allows for differentiation for different groups within the class.

In my own class I colour coded the words as per the individual lists. Pre Primer 1 was green and all cards and games for Pre Primer 1 were also green. In this way the children could work with a partner with specific lists.

 To develop fluency I made prompt cards for sets of 5 pre primer Dolch words. These lists were also copied to match the different colours. We worked on speed tests where the children were timed reading all the words on the card. Prior to sending them home I emailed the parents and outlined the process and the benefits of this activity. The prompt card was then sent home and the children did the same activity for homework. Parents were asked to record the time on the sheet each night. Over the course of the week the children became faster and more confident calling out the words.

A set for Prompt Cards for Pre Primer Dolch words are now available on Mash.ie.

October: Monthly Plan

It’s October already. Junior Infants are well settled into life in primary school and eager for homework! Here is a guideline of what I covered with my infants at this stage of the year.

Phonics:
At this stage I would introduce Jolly Phonics to Juniors, I like to spend September on auditory processing, phonemic awareness and rhyming words. In October I introduce the sounds and I cover two per week with a revision day on Friday.

Senior Infants worked on the Jolly Phonics Pupil book 2 which also links with the whiteboard software for Jolly Phonics if you are lucky to have it. In September I spend some time on PAT with Seniors and revising sounds covered in Juniors so they are ready to learn new sounds in September.

Sight Words:

I have recommended Word Attack Pack in previous posts for sight words and Dolch. My Senior infants worked on 5/10 per week depending on the child. They had their own words to cut out at home (fine motor) and I had sets made for use in school. Senior infants also played a roll say keep game both at home and in school to practice sight words for the first week. On the second week I focused on developing fluency. I had prompt cards where the 5 dolch words were listed numerous times and the children had to recall them at speed. Each night for homework they would time how fast they could say the words. It was amazing how they got quicker over the course of the week. I am working on a pack of these prompt cards for Pre-primer Dolch and they will be available in my Mash.ie store soon.

Maths:

Juniors are still at the Early Maths activity strand and are working on one-property sorting. Maths Week is also coming up in the next few weeks so take some time to look at the Maths Eyes Website. It is an excellent resource for recognising Maths all around us and building on maths language too. Bring Juniors and Seniors on a Maths walk around the school looking for shapes, colours or other specific topics. They will identify shapes that you may miss!

Space Week:

Space Week is this week. Children love talking about space, planets and rockets blasting off. My class and I both liked this song for learning about the planets last year.

Halloween:

Last but not least it’s Halloween time, bring out the Room on the Broom storybook and song. Midterm is just around the corner!

 

A.M.