Maths tips

Maths Tips: General

  • Annotate the question.
  • Check they know the key words.
  • Check they know the processes they need to use.
  • Do a simple example first.
  • Use real life examples that are relevant to their experience.
  • Get it off the page, and make it visual/use objects to demonstrate.
  • Ask your mentee to show you what they DO know.
  • Practise on a white board it is easier to have a go and make mistakes.
  • Write out the stages of the answer and label the outcomes.
  • Write the answer with gaps for your mentee to complete.
  • Ask your mentee to tell you what to do and you write.
  • Write a “wrong” answer and get them to correct it.
  • Do a harder one together and then set them some easier examples.

Ask children who are getting started with a piece of work:

  • How are you going to tackle this?
  • What information do you have? What do you need to find out or do?
  • What operation/s are you going to use?
  • Will you do it mentally, with pencil and paper, using a number line, with a calculator…? Why?
  • What method are you going to use? Why?
  • What equipment will you need?
  • What questions will you need to ask?
  • How are you going to record what you are doing?
  • What do you think the answer or result will be?
  • Can you estimate or predict?

Make positive interventions to check progress while children are working:

  • Can you explain what you have done so far?
  • What else is there to do?
  • Why did you decide to use this method or do it this way?
  • Can you think of another method that might have worked?
  • Could there be a quicker way of doing this?
  • What do you mean by…?
  • What did you notice when…?
  • Why did you decide to organise your results like that?
  • Are you beginning to see a pattern or a rule?
  • Do you think that this would work with other numbers?
  • Have you thought of all the possibilities? How can you be sure?

Ask children who are stuck:

  • Can you describe the problem in your own words?
  • Can you talk me through what you have done so far?
  • What did you do last time? What is different this time?
  • Is there something that you already know that might help?
  • Could you try it with simpler numbers… fewer numbers… using a number line…?
  • What about putting things in order?
  • Would a table help, or a picture/diagram/graph?
  • Why not make a guess and check if it works?
  • Have you compared your work with anyone else’s?

At the end ask:

  • How did you get your answer?
  • Can you describe your method/pattern/rule at all? Can you explain why it works?
  • What could you try next?
  • Would it work with different numbers?
  • What if you had started with… rather than…?
  • What if you could only use…?
  • Is it a reasonable answer/result? What makes you say so?
  • How did you check it?
  • What have you learned or found out today?
  • If you were doing it again, what would you do differently?
  • Having done this, when could you use this method/information/idea again?
  • Did you use any new words today? What do they mean? How do you spell them?
  • What are the key points or ideas that you need to remember for the next lesson?

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