Sunday, 17 May 2015

'We Make Use of...' Mathletics

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We've been using Mathletics for about six years now. Initially, it provided a quick and easy way to direct children towards online activities.

However, it's much more powerful than that and is being improved all the time. There are no doubt parts of the site we are yet to find or utilise fully. The 'Live Maths', which is no doubt the area that children are drawn to initially, is ideal to get children to practise mental arithmetic as it involves competing against anonymous peers - sometimes in class, but often outside of the classroom. Children are engaged by this and enjoy competing against other children from around the world. A lesser known aspect of this, is the ability to change the level at which children are working to make the mental questions harder.

For home learning, we're able to set tasks that link to what has been taught in class and that children must complete before they can take part in any other part of Mathletics. Afterwards, the score the child achieved is logged and can be viewed by the teacher. Some teaching can then take place and the children can even retake the activity to see if their understanding of it has improved. There is a wide range of topic areas and children have the ability to self-differentiate by choosing or harder tasks from within the topic area.

We are increasingly making use of this website to provide personalised learning tasks in the home. As we adapt to assessment without levels and integrate the mastery curriculum, many schools are assessing children based on statements of mathematical skill. Mathletics provides an excellent tool for developing curricula based on these statements through the setting up of personalised programmes. Teachers can create a programme made up of the different statements and drag relevant activities into it making a personalised programme, which children can work on independently at home. The great thing is that  many, if not all, of the activities come with tutorial videos to help parents and children. We had two set programmes used in Year Six at a working towards Level 4 and working towards Level 5 and, by assessing which areas children needed most practise, we were able to target home learning at areas that the children needed most. The setting up of the programmes take time, but if several people are working on them this is not only simple, it is also a tool which can be used across the school and for some time to come.

Times Tables Toons are a range of music videos which encourage children to chant their multiplication facts. They are a little cheesy, but certainly catchy enough even if they are discrete from associated division facts. 

There are various different certificates that can be achieved by children working with Mathletics. We hand these out in class (Bronze), in year group assemblies (Silver) and whole school assemblies (Gold). This recognises the achievements of those receiving the award and encourages others to also work towards the certificates.

Note: We have written this post as a result of using this website in our classrooms. We have not been asked or paid to write. We are often approached to write posts, but have and will continue to only write about what we have done in our classrooms. We're two full-time class teachers choosing to blog about our experiences.

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