April 2

Morning Maths


This term we have been using the time before school really starts 8.30 am and a little after the bell 8.55 am to sharpen our maths fluency skills. We have been working on our recall skills for number facts. We were taught a great game called flip.

Using a pack of cards we flip over a card and we need to say the number to finish the fact. Learning facts to ten. All number cards are face value e.g. 7 of hearts is worth seven. Picture cards Jack, Queen and King are worth ten. Aces are worth one.

Using a timer we set one minute to go through the pack. When the minute is up, we count our successful cards. We have found that over the weeks our totals are increasing. We are recalling facts a lot quicker. The helps us when we need to calculate in problem solving.

The great thing about flip is we can play it individually or in partners. When we feel really confident, Ellen does a game with us to test our skills.

Once we are confident at one fact family, we challenge ourselves for different amounts such as to 20, or to 8. It’s great fun. Beepers are going off everywhere, there is a hive of mathematical activity.

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As we move into learning our multiplication facts we can still play flip, instead of making totals to a number, we can multiply the card shown by a certain table number e.g. pull a seven, times by two is 14. So we can learn our two times table facts a lot quicker.

There’s a lot to be said about practice makes perfect.


What do you think about morning maths?

How have you improved in recalling your facts?

What helps you or gets in the way?

Which tables do you think you should begin with?

March 14

Understanding number


For most of this term we have been familiarising ourselves with numbers.

Talking about your learning helps clarify your thinking

Talking about your learning helps clarify your thinking

That means understanding

  • odds and evens
  • place value to thousands and ten thousand
  • how number expanders work
  • expanded notation
  • rounding to ten

Reading large numbers can be tricky and we know the more we have a go the more we begin to understand. We are certainly working on building stronger mental pathways.

Have a go at working out these numbers? (answers later)




23 hundreds +8tens+ 2 ones



Then of course we need to know how to read and write three different versions of a number.

Standard Digital Form  4 852

Expanded Form 4000+ 800+50+2

Word form  Four thousand eight hundred and fifty two


We played some games of Bounty Hunters where we had to calculate our collection of nasty pirates to see who could get close to a target number. Our knowledge of adding and counting in hundreds, tens and fives came in handy. But it was our clever mental calculations and strategic thinking that helped us get close to the winning number. Sometimes the cards were not in our favour!

Sometimes in maths we have to think and calculate quickly.

Knowing our number facts is a really useful skill in maths. Games like Pig help us to build quick thinking and calculating. Have you explained how to play this game with your families yet? Why not challenge them to a game.

Adding scores is when we rely on our mental computation strategies.

Such as:-

  • chunking,
  • friendly numbers
  • doubles
  • rainbow number facts
  • make to ten
  • near doubles

All this practice helps us to make better sense of how our number system works and so that we can use this knowledge to get to really interesting activities such as problem solving. We are going to learn and share lots of strategies that will support us in solving a variety of mathematical word problems.

 Answers to the numbers are. How did you go?

2673, 7509, 5090, 2382, 2467, 6742

How do you feel about your understanding of place value?

What are you doing to help you mental facts along? (read an earlier post on number facts)


February 21

Maths – Changing your Mindset

Sometimes when I tell kids we are going to do Maths or ask children how they feel about themselves as Mathematicians they sometimes look like this.. facs_feelings

is this you?

What is it about working with numbers that often makes our children feel confused or overwhelmed. I remember loving Maths and enjoying Mathematical challenges, but as the years went on my mindset began to change too and I nearly looked like this poor child by the time High School rolled around. I am trying to work out why.

There has been a lot of interest with educators of late on how our Mindset impacts on the success we experience. Last year our school attended some T and D where we looked at work by Carol Dweck who examined the differences between a Fixed Mindset and a Growth Mindset, you may recall the information sent home.

Screen Shot 2016-02-21 at 4.05.11 PM


Of course this has implications for all areas of learning, but when beginning our sessions in Mathematics it is important that we have a headset that will grow with an attitude that I can do it.

So it was important that we establish some criteria for working during our lessons. We worked out what we didn’t want to see happen and what we did. This is what we came up with..


Alex Narcys our Maths Co-ordinator shared some work by Jo Boaler from Stanford University. We had a look at some of these powerful videos on how our brains work and what goes on when we make mistakes in Maths.

Here is a snippet.

Really powerful, positive and reassuring information on how we can work on building successful Maths Skills. So as we investigate Place Value and big numbers is clear that we need to just have a go at trying to put our understandings through its paces.

Questions to think about.

When do you use maths?

Have you seen your family do any Mathematics?

Why do you think we should learn Maths?

How do you feel about Maths?

What’s your favourite Maths topic?

August 11

Recalling Number Facts


A major area of maths for year three is number. There is so much in number that students need to be able to show me they understand and can apply the concepts in different situations. I have been showing the class the expectations that need to be covered, as it allows them to see what they need to be able to do.

One part of number is to be able to recall number facts. We are starting with recalling subtraction and addition to ten. So this term we are having an audit and children are able to come to me when they believe they can recall them.

What does being able to recall mean? It means being able to answer something you already know but it feels very fast.


What are subtraction and addition facts? The facts for 3 are

3+0= 3        3-0=3

0+3=3         3-3=0

1+2=3          3-2=1

2+1=3          3-1=2


Students need to know these facts for numbers 1 through 10. At the moment all the students have a table that they can record when they show me evidence which they can update in their Maths Journals..


So how will you know you have learnt each set of facts and want to show me evidence?


To your brain it will feel like

  • It’s fast
  • No-one can trick you
  • You can do them anywhere anytime

Learning number facts one through ten has a flow on effect for knowing larger number facts, so it’s important that they get these to be automatic. Of course we then need to know multiplication and division which we’ll move on to later. Keep practicing anytime you can .


What do you do to learn your facts?

Which strategy do you prefer to use to learn them and to show me?