Talavera teachers on their own Maths Learning Journey

On Tuesday, 19th June 2018 4 teachers from Talavera headed north to attend the first White Rose Maths Conference in Leeds to learn about the latest developments when teaching maths. 

During the interesting and informative day, Mrs Howard (Y3), Miss Partington (Y4), Miss Dobbs (Y5) and Miss Nash (Y6) listened to an inspirational head teacher who has taken his school from being in special measures to being a school in the top 5% of schools in the country based partly on their fantastic maths results and knowledge of times tables!  It was good to know that we at Talavera are concentrating on providing similar lessons and learning opportunities to enable our children to reach their full potential. 

They also took part in a number of workshops about different aspects of maths as follows:

Don’t just learn it, remember it:

This fun, inter-active workshop adopted the format of Million Pound Drop to get us all thinking about how long it actually takes children to firstly learn new mathematical concepts and then embed them into their long term memories.  It looked at recent research into the most efficient methods to teach, review and retain learning and we will certainly be analysing our longer term plans to ensure we optimise the timings of our formal and informal assessments.

 Don’t you just add zero:

This workshop focused on the importance of ensuring a continuity of approaches to teaching key mathematical concepts such as multiplying and dividing by 10 or 100.  It reinforced the need for children from Year R to Year 13 to understand and explain the processes behind the methods they are being taught rather than thinking of it in a more simplistic procedural manner.  This is something Talavera children are already very good at doing!

Effective Use of Diagnostic Questions:

We all sometimes get questions wrong but understanding which part or why we got it wrong is key to moving our learning on or plugging any gaps.  This workshop focused on asking appropriate multiple choice questions which allow children to children to explain how they found their answer and teachers to identify any misconceptions children may have and how to help them resolve them.  We can’t wait to build these into our lessons to help our children become even better mathematical reasoners.

Firm Foundations in Fractions:

This workshop unpicked what a fraction really is and how fractions are relevant to everyday life. It explored fractions in many different contexts and showed multiple ways of teaching children how to get a greater depth of understanding. It provided many different lesson ideas that we can't wait to try out in class. 

Word problems:

This workshop explored different strategies on how to teach children how to solve problems. It explored the concept of a 'learning journey' through maths and explored how to teach children the difference between efficient and inefficient methods. Within the workshop they demonstrated different teaching styles and modelled a Japanese lesson. It was interesting to compare and contrast the different styles of teaching and use this to develop our own teaching styles. 

Head shoulders knees and toes:

This workshop was really good for showing different physical activities that we could bring into maths lessons. It explored how to make geometry active and has provided lots of new and exciting ideas for teaching shape. 

Pattern spotting:

In this workshop we were beginning to explore the different patterns and structures in maths. It was interesting to see how many of the different concepts we teach are interlinked and useful to begin to identify how teaching these patterns would help children develop a greater depth of understanding across the mathematical curriculum. It was particularly interesting to see all of the different patterns we could teach the children to develop their fluency with their multiplication facts to 12 x 12. 


The detailed workshop explained the importance of children being able to combine units of numbers together all the way from basic number bonds up to decimals.  It has shown how children can understand different concepts by varying language choice and applying a different method.

A pocketful of counters:

Originally a workshop aimed at teaching older children, this one showed how the use of equipment such as counters and bead strings can make learning more accessible for children.  It also provides them with the tools to explain concepts and show their understanding rather than just being told.

Multiplication: recall, retain and fluency:

This was possibly one of the most key teaching points I encountered on the course. It highlighted how multiplication really is the building blocks of maths. The workshop informed us about different teaching techniques to encourage children to learn their time tables and ensure that they can be fluent in their understanding.

Mathematical Language:

The workshop focused on the significance of using the correct terminology in maths and how this can aid progression. The session demonstrated how using appropriate vocabulary not only avoids misconceptions from developing but also enhances the children's understanding of the concepts they are learning. 

Do problems really need words?:

The session looked at that stages of problem solving strategies used to develop some of the hardest strands: generalising and proving. Through a wide range of picture-based problems, workshop leaders demonstrated how all children of varying literacy abilities can access complex mathematical problems that require a high level of thinking. 

Active Maths:

This session claimed to be 'the most active workshop ever' and that it certainly was! Through a fun range of physical activities, teachers were exposed to strategies that got children moving at the same time as developing their fluency skills. Memorising times tables and developing mental strategies were the key focus of the session without the monotonous drill of chanting and rote-learning facts. 

We can’t wait to share these ideas both with our colleagues and the children to make maths even better at Talavera.  If you have any questions about the way we teach maths or any of the concepts, vocabulary or methods we use, please do you speak to your child’s class teacher, Mr Hutson or Mrs Howard who lead Maths in school.