Category Archives: Numeracy

Maths transition units – function machines

After spending many years in Y6, I amassed a bunch of resources. A particular one that I used on a few occasions was the bridging unit from Y6 to Y7 regarding function machines. I believe it was called QCA Bridging units in mathematics: algebra – catchy title.1

I don’t have the original anymore – I didn’t take everything with me when I moved schools!

What I do have, however are a couple of links to people’s versions of the units and my own too.

As with everything I post, feel free to use and abuse and tweak to your nature. Just let me know what you think.

Photo courtesy of @mrsdenyer

LINK 1 – trafford learning

LINK 2 –

My resources:

maths plan 07-06-10 algebra function machines plans

DfE Transition Units maths (not mine)

As the slides are for SmartBoard and Promethean, I can’t upload them here. If you want them, email me: or tweet me: @mrwaldram

function 1 function 2


Posted by on June 8, 2014 in Numeracy


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Maths Problems: Working backwards

This is a problem I used when I was teaching in Notts a few years ago and have since used again with Y6. It’s a good example of working backwards; eliminating redundant information; and partner work. As an extension, the children changed the names of the teams and re-wrote the scores using the same pattern. For the really able, they produced a similar problem but changed the wording of some of the problems.

I altered the team names to match the then current employees – more for amusement value than anything else.

Let me know if you try it and it works. It is available in Smart Notebook, Promethean but the quality has changed during the transition from one to another. Best solution: use the word doc and drop it into your own table. I am happy to email the files for you if you want, can’t upload them here.


basketball scorelines – word doc

basketball-scorelines – PDF

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Posted by on April 6, 2014 in Numeracy


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Tweetable links and goodies.

Have recently prepped a load of my (and @batttuk’s) more popular links into a ‘tweetable’ form. Lots of good stuff here – not all mine. Take a look.

My TMMidlands presentation – Ben’s Google Tools: Boogle #ukedchat

GTAUK: food for thought and stomach

#esafety poster idea (used in anti-bullying week) #ukedchat

Maths: layered learning – an Ofsted like. #ukedchat

#Y3 #tagrugby plans

Macbeth resources: a veritable hoard/horde #Y6 #shakespeare #ukedchat

Positive behaviour card #ukedchat

Circuit training cards with Action Man #ukedchat #pe

#Y6 spellings: a collection to use & abuse #ukedchat

Maths & writing marking policy – a step in the right direction? #ukedchat

Punctuation tally stickers – very useful. Levels 3,4 & 5 #ukedchat

ICT AUP – acceptable use policy #ukedchat

Level 6 grammar resources (not mine – just passing them on) #ukedchat

Alice in Numberland – a large problem-solving pack. Can be tailored to suit. #ukedchat

Who is responsible for the death of King Duncan? #shakespeare

Adverbial phrases homework #ukedchat

#esafety presentation to parents

Shoved-in-clauses: embedded clauses, a festive take…

Want 20gb of FREE cloud space? A couple of clicks and you’ll be there. COPY is fab.

Using twitter in education. @ianaddison @ideas_factory

Surviving an EBD school via @njthurly #ukedchat

Twitter Magic – guest post by @ICTMagic

#batttie by @johnmayo

#battt week guest posts – old but still great to read. #inspiration

10 ways to use twitter – a helpful guide. #ukedchat

Twittering Tweachers @sorrell_km #ukedchat

School Twitter Account @basttuk #ukedchat #bastt

Twitter Tips from @syded06 @mracolley #ukedchat #battt

What the # are hashtags? #ukedchat

The 10 stages of Twitter: stolen from @syded06 #ukedchat

Pimpin’ the profile – make yourself ‘followable’ #ukedchat #battt

Breaking out of the egg shell – show us who you are. #ukedchat #battt


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Maths – layered learning

I am no maths guru, I don’t have all the answers and I’m more than aware there are some cracking maths blogs out there to look at. However, this is one way I teach maths occasionally that works well. (Both Ofsted and the Local Authority liked this form of differentiation and commented on its worth recently. Feb ’14)

Most maths groups/sets will have small sets within them; you might have a set where the levels range from 3C to 3A but even in such a tight range, there will be children who find maths easier/trickier than others. This needs to be differentiated properly and not just in case Ofsted come in!

I currently have 29 Y3 in my maths set and I organise the children into 4 groups: circles, triangles, squares and hexagons – basically, the more sides the shape has, the better they are at maths (or higher the level).

It is really important though that we don’t pigeonhole these children, just because Sam is in the hexagons group and is brilliant at number, doesn’t mean he is going to succeed as highly when we look at shape and space. Equally so for Beth who is visually spot on and understands shape and nets really well – she just can’t grasp number bonds and multiplication tables. This is a system I have used in all year groups in KS2, it’s nothing revolutionary, but it’s my RAG system. Red, Amber and Green (see photo).

maths rag

Once I have taught the children the method and am confident they are ready to show their learning in their books, they crack on with this in their books. I don’t say that circles you must work on red, hexagons you must work on green – that caps their learning. I once observed a lesson where one child was working in a text book and asked to continue onto the next page (this is so wrong, it’s untrue) and the teacher said: no, you’re blue group, you’re doing page 14. Horror show! That child has been labelled and capped and demoralised and probably still hates maths to this day! Rather, I let the children choose to work at the level (colour) they are comfortable with. If they want to challenge themselves and have a go at the next colour, excellent. My class know that I am not interested in the answer, it is the understanding that is key (I sometimes give them questions with the answers and get them to prove how I got them…)

What is amazing is that children will work where they need to – if they are struggling, they start at red. If they think they want to work independently but need to move at a slower pace or with support, they focus on amber, even if only for the first two questions. They are honest and open about their needs, what they can do and what they have learnt (or need to do to improve learning).

maths %

You can’t use this style with every aspect of maths obviously, but it works with a lot of them – mostly number. I always finish with an application or Star Question to see if they can apply what they have learnt. Normally: secure and extension – again, they choose which one they want to try.

Not difficult; simple and very effective.

*All names have been created to protect the innocent.


Posted by on October 29, 2013 in Numeracy


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Maths & Writing marking policy

Ok, not the most exciting of posts but if you want to take a look at a maths and writing marking policy, I guess you would consider it gold.

This is the one that we used at my last school. It has the marking policy for literacy and numeracy.

Change, tweak, use.

Marking Policy Writing and Maths 21.05.13 – Word Doc

Marking Policy Writing and Maths 21.05.13 – PDF

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Posted by on September 15, 2013 in Literacy, Numeracy


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Alice in Numberland

I floated the Alice in Numberland maths project pack on the TES website but have also placed it here – I have had many people asking for it so they can tailor it to their own class/group that I thought it would be easier to put here.

By all means, take it. Use, abuse, distribute. I only ask that you leave a comment below or on the TES page.


alice in numberland (pdf)

alice in numberland (publisher)


Posted by on March 4, 2013 in Numeracy


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It just doesn’t add up.

So, I read recently on the BBC website that calculators were soon to be banned from KS2 tests as  children weren’t bright enough to use them. Well, that’s sort of what it said. Check it here: Basically, we need to stop faffing about and teach our children the basics of arithmetic and have that soundly ingrained in them before we hand over a calculator.

I have no issue with the principle of deeply-rooted arithmetic, it is something I truly believe in. But, to take away calculators just because children don’t know their times tables? Is that a little similar to not teaching them semi-colons because they haven’t mastered the full stop and the capital letter?

I sat there scratching my head and felt a little put out by Education and Childcare Minister Elizabeth Truss’ comments. But, alas, she obviously knows best; I am merely just a teacher where she holds a much higher and loftier position than I. Although, reading her comments that:

“All young children should be confident with methods of addition, subtraction, times tables and division before they pick up the calculator to work out more complex sums.”

did incense me a little. I thought sums were for addition only?

Oh yes, they are. Tut tut Miss Truss. Need to secure that basic knowledge before moving on to the next step.


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Posted by on November 11, 2012 in Numeracy, Thoughts & Musings


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