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.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

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?

February 25

Learning how to say, read and write Big numbers

Reading numbers like this  830 150 753 is a challenge, so where do we start?

Well knowing place value helps. That is looking at the value of a digit and knowing what it is worth by the position in the number.

We have been having a lot of fun learning how to better understand place value. We have learnt the first four places – Thousand Hundred Ten One then we played a game using playing cards. In pairs each player would flip a card and place it in one of those positions. The aim was to make the highest number. The winner was the one who could win five times.

I love it when they explain their mathematical strategies while they are playing, it helps us with our thinking. I reckon sharing how you do work is very helpful to others and ourselves.

This was a great warm up place value activity, then it came to writing these big numbers. First thing we did was to make our own set of arrow cards. These were colour coded for each place value. It took a while to cut everything, but it was worth it.

Go team one

Love the concentration team five

Way to go team three great modelling for others

Once that job was done we could make lots of four digit numbers. So randomly choosing one of each colour, we made 4 digit numbers.

But that’s not all.. No, we learnt that there were three ways you could record a number.  Check this out..

Anita has built the number 7762 with the cards she randomly chose, she can write it 3 ways

  1. Standard Form 7762
  2. Expanded Form 7000 + 700 + 60 + 2
  3. Written Form seven thousand seven hundred and sixty two

Look at them go..

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Using the arrow cards made a lot of sense to us. We could clearly see where the numerals needed to go to make the standard form and when it came to expanding the number, it was easy to read. Once we could read it, it was easy to write what we said… but we had to check our spelling for accuracy.

We’re not experts yet, but we have a made a great start to becoming one.

Something to think about.

What did you think of the place value card game?

What could you do to try to win the game?

Is it better to go first or second?

How do you feel about place value after using the arrow cards?

What confuses you with big numbers?

What do you still need to learn?

February 7

2017 A New Year Begins


Greetings to all our new families for this, the beginning of the school year. Welcome to our blog too, we hope you find it useful to keep in touch with what is happening in our class and to provide people with supportive and thoughtful feedback.


There’ll be lots of routines and procedures to learn.  It’s early days we’ll get there.

How exciting to be starting in the primary, year three is going to be so much fun indeed. I will catch up with parents and caregivers at acquaintance night next week to clarify  a lot of things. Hope to see you there.


Our class has a mantra

“We work together, we think together, we act together. We collaborate”

This term we will be practicing collaboration and what this may look like, sound like, feel like and think like.

Today we stared by working in pairs on a maths task.

The task was  – To collect 3 digit numbers, sort them and publish our thinking.

Now while we were using our mathematical logic smarts, we were also practicing our skills in working together. Check us out.

For our first go, I reckon we have a positive start and I particularly liked the way they all respectfully shared their information.

I was also impressed by the variety of ways to sort information. Take a look at their posters.

Some things to think about, let us know your comments.

How do you feel about year three?

What are you looking forward to?

What might have you worried?

How do yo feel about working in teams?



September 28

Who gets the bigger half?


fraction |ˈfrakʃ(ə)n| noun

a numerical quantity that is not a whole number (e.g. 1/2, 0.5).

a small or tiny part, amount, or proportion of something: he hesitated for a fraction of a second | her eyes widened a fraction.

For the past few weeks we have been investigating the mathematical concept of fractions.

We had all heard the words like half and quarters and began to share our understandings of what we thought fractions were. Alex Narcys, our Maths coordinator, wanted to come in and work with us further on this concept.

We began by reminding ourselves of what we valued when doing maths and what we didn’t like as well. You may want to revisit our earlier post on that from term one for our posters.

All photos taken by Ellen


Alex began by showing the students a bowl of fruit but we didn’t know how many apples there would be.



They all worked out that there were 6 apples. To solve this problem, students discussed their reasoning and the strategies used such as addition, others were using the language of halves and doubling numbers. They agreed on getting the language and concept right.

So what is a half?

Halves are two equal pieces


It soon became clear that students knew what made a half two equal pieces ….. or did they?

Alex gave them all squares and challenged them to find as many ways as they could to show half. After folding down the middle some had to think again, does it always have to be in the middle?  What could a different way look like?

What do you think of these samples?

Then we tried the same task with wavy lines… that was challenging but fun.

Fraction Walls

img_1109 img_1110

It was time to get building. We began to build fraction walls. Starting with a whole brick, we laid the foundation stone. Taking another brick we cut that into two equal pieces and laid that above. The third layer was divided into three bricks, the fourth into four bricks and so we went on to build strong walls. Ellen let us find our own ways to make the equal sized bricks.

Getting the bricks to be all equal sizes was a challenge. Children discovered  amazing strategies to get them to work. They realised wholes could be folded into halves and once they knew how to get thirds they could get sixths by folding thirds into halves. They all agreed the hardest was the fifths and then they thought ninths was almost impossible. But with persistence and strategic thinking, they completed their walls.

So what do we know now?

  • that fractions are equal pieces
  • a whole can be divided into many smaller equal pieces – these are called fractions.
  • the more you divide the smaller the size of the fraction
  • fractions have mathematical names -top is the numerator how many fractions and lower is the denominator how many equal pieces

You think you know it? Can you show it?

Mr Narcys wanted to see us put that new learning into practice. Choosing a random fraction he wanted us to show the fraction in different ways as a circle, in a square, as a collection, on a strip of paper and on a number line. We had these fractions  1/2, 1/3, 1/4 or 1/5 to pick from. Some children sighed with relief when they got 1/2 and 1/4. Others groaned when they got 1/3, 1/5. Why do you think that?

The children found themselves using a lot of mathematical problem solving strategies particularly organising equal fifths. However they were collectively challenged by showing fractions on a number line.

We know where we need to put some investigation into for next term…. Numberlines

Stay tuned for more fraction investigations.

What did you enjoy about working with fractions?

What did you find tricky to do?

How would you explain fractions to a year two student?

What else do want us to investigate about fractions next term?

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)