Reception Questioning (development skills)

Researcher: Sarah Bugg: Minchinhampton
Context: Reception / Questioning (development of thinking skills)
Desired Outcomes:
Through the activity “What’s in the box?” – an activity where the children are invited to ask a series of questions to enable them to find out what is in the box – the children will develop their own questioning skills. They will understand what a question is and be able to ask a question. Some children will be able to ask a question which progresses on from a previous question.

Method 1:
Evaluate whether each child in the class can ask a question at the beginning of the project using an activity called, “What’s in the box?” (Baseline) Provide the children with opportunities to experience the activity regularly once or twice a week. Evaluate which children are able to ask questions at the end of the action research using the activity, “What’s in the box?”
Method 2:

Provide the children with opportunities to explore different objects and explore their properties. Evaluate the language they acquire to enrich their questioning skills.


During the first session of “What’s in the box?” 2 children out of a class of 23 children asked a question. During the final session 20 out of 22 children asked a question. One child was absent.
During the final session half the questions (14 out of 28) were questions built on a previous question and 4 children asked a question another child had already asked.
The questions in the final session demonstrated a greater understanding of the properties of objects.

1. With opportunities and practise the children who couldn’t ask a question at the beginning developed the ability to ask simple questions.
2. During the sessions the children have begun to think independently and ask questions to gain information – evaluating what they knew and what they wanted to know next.
3. Enriching the children’s language through exploring objects had an impact on the quality of the children’s questions.

Year 1/2 Questioning

Researcher: M Gittins
Context: Year 1/2 questioning
Desired Outcomes: Children thinking more deeply about their learning and exploring the points of view of others.

Can you put it another way?
Is there another point of view?
What if someone suggested that…?
What is the difference between that view and…?
What would someone who disagreed with you say?

I began this research by choosing six children (random selection), interviewing them and recording their responses. At the end of the research, I hoped to see pupils who enjoyed debating and who saw themselves as thinkers with a point of view.

Evaluation 1 – intermediate results and conclusion:
[Looking at cubes and cuboids]. I asked the question, ‘how do we know?’ I thought this was effective because it ensured that Child A gave me an answer and articulated his thoughts on a cube. When I asked Child B if he agreed with Child A, or if he had an alternate point of view, this appeared to confuse Child B at first because I assume that he thought I was announcing to the group that I thought Child A was incorrect. However, Child B had the confidence to tell me that he agreed with Child A and that he knew this because the other shape was a cuboid with rectangular faces (hence it couldn’t be the cube).
When asking children to count the number of cubes and next the number of cuboids and then asking ‘do we all agree?’, this gave any child who disagreed the opportunity to voice their opinion (and therefore perhaps open up another discussion) and also allowed room to go over these/any misconceptions present (also known as marvellous mistakes).
[Now looking at the difference between 2D and 3D shapes]. The questions ‘what if someone suggested that 3D shapes have flat parts to them?’ and ‘what if someone suggested that circles and spheres were the same?’ opened up some good avenues for conversation and the group talked about what was the same and what was different about both of these concepts.
The final learning point from this first evaluation was that, naturally, as the children became familiar with these question stems, they were responding to these different types of questions with more ease. Therefore, as they are exposed to various types of questions in the future, I believe they will more easily be able to tackle and adapt answers to them.

The time between evaluations:
In the time between evaluations, I kept practising these question stems with the class, analysing and evaluating what the responses told us about children’s learning and ability to answer these kinds of questions. The exercise was then repeated and I looked for any differences in pupil responses, any conclusions from such differences, improvements in responses and improvements in learning.

Evaluation 2 –results and conclusion:
The second evaluation took place during the first RE day, when the children were asked to guess what gold, frankincense and myrrh represented and symbolised. I used the question ‘is there another point of view?’ many times and I felt that this encouraged the children to have a go and think more deeply about the potential reasons, using what they knew about both Jesus and the nativity story. A rich discussion ensued and the children seemed excited about getting to the answer. Many of the answers I received from children were in the form of a question; therefore, I think this activity also developed their ability to ask questions. Again, the question stem ‘Can you put it another way?’ encouraged children to clarify their meaning if it was unclear and explain it again more clearly.
When looking at artwork of baby Jesus and an image of unknown children, the question ‘What if someone suggested that this baby was the most special baby in the world and was good at this…..?’ sparked much dialogue. I heard children concluding that you could not tell anything from the images, they looked like normal children and that it was strange to think that this baby was in fact God himself on earth. Another child pitched in, ‘that was difficult to do because we don’t always know what someone is like just by looking at them’ and ‘no one looks too special on the outside, it’s the inside which counts’.
When designing the bedroom of a baby who was also a king, the children gave the rooms swimming pools, slides, rockets and hundreds of toys. Yet, when I asked ‘what would someone who disagreed with you say?’ this again opened up an in depth discussion about how Jesus came for all people, both rich and poor and how him being born in a stable had huge meaning. The living conditions he was actually in were ‘awful,’ ‘poor’ and ‘practically nothing there’.
‘What if someone suggested that the wise men visited Jesus as a baby?’ had some children arguing in a healthy way- we looked at a range of images and some children noticed that Jesus was no longer a baby but a toddler. The children who were adamant that Jesus was a baby at the time thought this because in typical nativities, the wise men are not far behind the shepherds. Of course, in reality they were several years behind! Some children made good links here between the picture and the story.
The meaning of Christmas as being ‘for presents/Santa/Christmas trees’ was followed by the question ‘what would someone who disagreed with you say?’ and this led to answers veering towards the true meaning of Christmas and a greater understanding of thankfulness, gratefulness, celebration of family and of Jesus.
In conclusion, using these question stems meant that the children offered deeper thoughts rather than their first thoughts. The children became more independent thinkers and those children who often would be the last to answer became eager to participate (although perhaps this also had something to do with the guessing element of the one activity). Children were giving reasons for their thoughts and were using each other’s ideas to create new thoughts or to extend existing thoughts. Questions such as ‘what if someone suggested that…?’ and ‘what would someone who disagreed say?’ and ‘ what is the difference between that view and another?’ encouraged children to think about the sometimes stark differences between people’s opinions and understanding of why others may have this point of view. Overall, I believe the best outcome of this questioning was an improvement in extending and challenging the pupils thinking and getting them to consider the views of others.

Year 5/6 Literacy

Researcher: K Aldridge Minchinhampton
Context: Year 5/6 Literacy
Desired Outcomes: Pupils to be self-assessing from a selection of feedback statements provided by teacher. Talk partner support in choosing most suitable statement and advice on how to respond.
Method: Informal discussion with chosen sample group … ‘How do you feel about this form of feedback?’…. ‘What are the things you enjoy/don’t enjoy about this way of feedback?’ Oral responses recorded by TA in the form of a pupil questionnaire.
Results: It is clear to say that the proposed way of giving feedback was received differently by groups of pupils within my class. Some children are confident in selecting feedback and also at giving advice to a partner as to how to improve. In return, it would seem that the opinion of these children is listened to and valued. These pupils have more self-awareness as to where to take their writing next and so are arguably less reliant on needing guidance from an adult.
However, for other groups of pupils, this way of receiving feedback was not constructive. These children are very clear in saying that they want/ need/prefer direct teacher support. They have a much clearer cut impression of their role in education. They want their feedback presented verbally and backed with written feedback from an adult daily. My concern of ‘do they even read my marking?’ doesn’t appear to be the case with these children- they do read it and do look for that positive confirmation.
From this over the next series of lessons, I deliberately moved this group of children to be nearer to me during whole class teaching time. I called their time with me ‘our workshop’. I explained to the children that they could ask me for any advice at any point at any time- like a patient asking a doctor. It enabled me to see them at work a lot closer and to pin down the simple errors they were making. Colleague writing moderation recently highlighted that it was clear how supported these children had been during this time and that alongside opportunities to let them explore independently, this was a useful exercise.
1. It felt good to be asking them about my teaching style and what worked/didn’t work for them. It opened my eyes into that one rule doesn’t fit all.
2. The quality of the feedback was excellent in partnerships that were balanced not only academically but socially too.
3. Pupil ‘workshops’ are worth exploring further.

Year Two maths

Researcher: N Hugginson Minchinhampton
Context: Year 2 Maths
Desired Outcomes:
• Pupils who enjoy maths.
• Pupils who see themselves as mathematicians
Evaluation 1:
Interview sample group using questions that probe maths growth mindsets— eg do you enjoy maths? How do you feel when you encounter problems?
Evaluation 2:
Children showing greater evidence in books of their successful reasoning and problem solving, showing an ability to explain, prove, discuss etc
Children have become more confident contributing to whole class situation ie during Maths Talk sessions, including less able children. Children have used a P4C ethos during these sessions.
We have used more “do it, secure it, prove it” during most lessons for many worksheets and this has worked well. The children have got used to the format and are able to progress further through the sheet.
On other occasions, the children have started with a problem and have explored different ways of solving it. Mixed ability groups have worked with some children, but not always for the lower ability. We have thought about giving them a related problem using smaller numbers etc as some children have been visibly switched off by this.
Thumbs up has shown that the children have gained confidence in maths and are happy to have a go more readily. They talk happily about the things they find tricky and how they might be able to attempt it and what they could get or do to help themselves.
I have used hinge questions on the IWB and these have been very good for engaging the children in discussion with talk partners. Also this has sometimes been done by “voting with their feet” and then giving the children the opportunity to explain. their reasoning and then change their opinion based on their thoughts provoked by other children.
After a lot of practice and modelling. their written explanations have shown some improvement after practice. The children now reason more fully and give more careful explanations (see Maths Books). We will be continuing to work on this next term too as the written explanations can be difficult for children of this age.
1. Developing children’s confidence in maths is of paramount importance to their enjoyment of maths. A previously high attaining child may think of themselves as a mathematician, but not have an open enough mind set for solving problems. A previously lower attaining child can often perform the problem solving/investigative maths more carefully and analytically.
2. Hinge questioning and thumbs up give teacher/TA an immediate assessment of children’s progress within a lesson and if tailored well, can reveal misconceptions and gaps in children Knowledge, Skills and Understanding. Yellow postits are also of importance to the process and enable staff to discuss misconceptions etc
3. Shanghai interventions may be based on the lesson’s work, so may involve problems as well as maths strategies.

Year 3/4 Feedback

Pupil Evaluation of Teaching and Learning
Researcher: C Wilson
Context: Year 3-4 English and Maths
Desired Outcomes: Feedback from pupils that leads to a cognitive response; that has a positive impact on the way teaching and learning is delivered.
Method 1: Informal discussion with pupils in lessons … ‘How do you feel about learning this subject this way?’…. ‘Is there any other way you would like to be taught or have support?’
Method 2: Informal discussion and pupil completed slip. Made clear to evaluation partners that evaluations had to be positive and build on strength (see feedback policy).
At both stages the feedback was constructive / instructive and influenced the way Maths and English was being taught. As a teacher it felt sensible the pupils themselves were the ones driving how they learned.
The feedback worked especially well because careful parameters were laid down for the ‘evaluation partners’ (in line with the school’s new feedback policy) including the need for all feedback to be overwhelmingly positive in nature and where suggestions/ constructive criticism was to be offered, it was best if it built on an existing strength, rather than a flaw in the teaching. It was made clear to those doing the evaluation that they had a responsibility, as evaluation partners, to consider carefully the possible impact of their words on the person being evaluated; to ensure it led to some good thinking as opposed to anyone taking offence.
Typical feedback was carefully written and qualified. For example: ‘I like the way everyone is motivated with learning powers and if anyone lacks confidence they know their talk partner can support them …….I like the way we can work with different people and act it out and if neither of us knows how to say something, we can ask the teacher…..and we can get specific help with the thing that isn’t working yet.’
It appeared that the pupils felt a little more empowered in their learning by giving the feedback and by being consulted on their opinions on what worked for them. They particularly liked it when their requests were followed up.
1. Pupils appear thoughtful and well engaged in the process of driving their learning forwards.
2. The quality of the feedback was fair and useful, so it could be actioned.
3.The pupils were pleased to be consulted.

Year 1 Questioning

Researcher: Mrs C Jackson and Mrs D Young: Minchinhampton
Context: Year 1 Questioning (across the curriculum)
Desired Outcomes: Children thinking deeply about their learning and applying reasoning to their thoughts.


Initial evaluation: Pupil conferencing with six randomly chosen children, some previously high attaining in questioning and some previously low attaining in questioning. Questions asked include ‘Why do you think that..?’, ‘How do you know that…?’ and may in lesson time include ‘What are your reasons for…?’, ‘Do you have evidence of…?’, ‘Can you justify your opinion…?’
Second evaluation: Repeat above exercise and look for qualitative differences in pupil responses/ Any conclusions from difference – improvements in responses responses/improvements in learning.

When we began this research in September, the children concerned had just come out of Reception. The age of the children at this time, combined with their early language and communication skills, presented a challenge when it came to collecting evidence. Given this barrier, we saw fit to engage the children 1:1 with the reasoning and evidence questions, such as ‘Why do you think that…?’, ‘How do you know that…’, as it was difficult to ascertain their opinions in a small group setting.
We found that the children’s ability to answer our questions at this early stage with any deeper reasoning than ‘because it is so’ was limited. They struggled to apply logic or make links between different areas of their learning to help them answer the questions. Generally, they were not willing to question their conceptions themselves, and would attempt to ask for the answer rather than choosing to explore it more deeply on their own.
We employed the ‘reasoning and evidence’ questioning techniques steadily throughout the Autumn Term, encouraging the children to give deeper answers in the hope that they would become more confident in offering their opinions in front of others. Over time, a few of the children began to do just this, and the responses of their classmates became increasingly respectful and carefully considered. As a class, the children are developing the ability to bounce off each other’s thoughts without completely changing the subject, although they still require support with the structuring of their conversations, e.g. ‘I understand your idea but I disagree because…’.
In conclusion, we have found that mindfully applying reasoning and evidence questioning to everyday conversation with the children has led to them becoming more autonomous in their thinking, which has been extremely satisfying to witness.

1. The children’s ability to think openly and give reasons for their thoughts developed throughout the term.
2. The children became more able to bounce off each other’s thoughts.
3. Structuring the conversations with prompts such as ‘Why do you think that…?’, ‘How do you know that…?’ often lead to the children questioning their previous ideas and laid misconceptions bare.

Year 3/4 planned feedback lessons

Planned feedback lessons.
Time devoted to feedback in lessons- methods/tools for planning for this before lesson.

2. Desired Outcome:
Feedback that results in cognitive rather than emotional response.
Feedback that motivates pupils to take a next step.
Teacher’s time used more efficiently
More opportunities for teachers to interact with pupils as close to the coal face as possible

We interviewed the pupils:
In what way does this feedback make you think?
· “It has given me a reminder of something I need to check back on.”
· “It forces me to go back and improve and to rethink the sentence/answer.”
· “It pushes me to do something I am not happy with and challenges me.”
How does this feedback help you improve your work?
· “I can have better vocab/sentences.”
· “My work becomes better through this as I am always looking to improve.”
· “Forces me to try new things that I probably wouldn’t do by myself.”
How did receiving this feedback make you feel?
· “It depends on who the feedback comes from – I can sometimes panic if it is from an adult as I think it’s going to be confusing.”
· I can panic if the EBI is going to ask me to do something I am not confident with.”
· “I like getting advice from others and new ideas.”
“It can be annoying being asked to improve something when I feel I have done my best.”

When asked who they prefer receiving feedback from:
18/28 – Preferred receiving it from an adult
Justifications – Get stronger feedback from them, the adult has more experience, I trust the adult more than the child, they read it properly
2/28 – Preferred receiving it from a talk partner
Justifications – they don’t hide the truth, they offer new ideas
8/28 – Preferred receiving it from a friend
Justifications – they know how to tell me something ‘bad’, they won’t hurt my feelings when they offer advice
Evaluation – final results and conclusion:
We have found that the children are more engaged with their feedback and more motivated to want to take the next step in their learning. They are also more independent in generating or choosing feedback related to their own work or their partners work, although some children still need more scaffolding with this, with particular regards to peer feedback. From questioning the children, it is evident that they prefer feedback from teachers as opposed to their feedback buddies and they often deem their partners comment ‘useless’; this can however improve with further training and practice and this will be incorporated into our planning during Spring 2018. We will give the children explicit opportunities within lessons to understand how to generate appropriate and useful feedback. We will continue to focus on pupil autonomy, ensuring that each child reaches their full potential.

Year 5/6 maths – children who see themselves as mathematicians

Researcher: G Ricketts Minchinhampton
Context: Year 5/6 Maths
Desired Outcomes:
• Pupils who love Maths and see themselves as mathematicians.
• Teachers who are able to accurately judge learning in pupil’s heads and better able to adapt and refine Teaching & Learning mid lesson to facilitate the learning going on.
Evaluation strategy 1: Pupils place post-it notes of where they are on evaluation scale of maths attitudes and pleasure. Revisit just before end of study period.
Evaluation strategy 2: Pupils interviewed by TA after lessons asking them; what went well for you today? What were your struggles and how did you overcome them? Did the hinge question help your learning and how?
Evaluation strategy 3: Evaluation partner — to observe pupils caught up in the process –who voted what and how they were intervened with thereafter in lesson.
The use of the confidence scale in Maths lessons gave the Teacher and Teaching Assistant a valuable insight into initial confidence and attitudes towards learning in this subject. The outcomes were very revealing and would suggest that there was a massive gulf in confidence from child to child and didn’t necessarily fit to the labels of “previously high/low attaining”. Even though certain pupils were producing high test scores and producing evidence that showed they were working at the expected standard or in some cases, exceeding the expected standard they remained uneasy about their abilities in Maths.
The use of hinge questioning and mole voting combined allowed the staff to better assess (as close to the coal face as possible) where children were in their understanding of the subject matter from moment to moment. This was hugely beneficial for identifying children that were able to apply Knowledge, Skills and Understanding to problems and children that were harbouring very specific misconceptions. It also helped to identify missing gaps in pupils’ skill sets or knowledge. Depending on the nature of the misconception, this was either tackled immediately or in a planned intervention afterwards giving pupils the opportunity to start the next lesson at a similar point regardless of their previous levels of confidence.
The application of this strategy and its regular usage meant that children became familiar and comfortable with the procedure and understood its value for themselves. When asked about the use of mole voting and hinge questioning, selected individuals from different ends of the confidence scale gave the following responses:
“I like it because when I don’t know the answer to the hinge question I can let the teacher know and nobody else knows. After we have talked about it I can usually see my mistakes.”
“It’s good because Mr Ricketts never tells us what the right answer is and if he doesn’t come over we know we’re fine. It helps us see if we’re getting it but it’s private. It’s just for us.”
Re-administering the confidence scale during the interim and at the end of the study showed a big jump forwards for nearly all children except two. This again was useful information because it clearly identified which pupils to monitor and support more closely in the future. Good work with Teacher and Teaching Assistant has since been done that has improved the confidence of these individuals further. Revealed through informal discussion, one had described a lower level of confidence because of the specific lesson they had just been in but normally felt happier about maths. The other child wanted to practise their basic skills and become more fluent with their times tables and thought this would help them feel happier in lessons.
Questions raised and next direction of study:
1. Should the confidence scale be part of every lesson, or done at least weekly to be most accurate since children’s confidence will vary from lesson to lesson depending on content and challenge?
2. What specific factors meant that the two identified individuals hadn’t made such a big leap forward as the rest? (Basic skills, gaps in mathematical language, trouble retaining procedural steps for carrying out written methods etc)
3. Is there a way of dealing with all struggles in the moment to save a potentially demotivating intervention?
1. Children’s confidence is paramount to their enjoyment in Maths. A previously high attaining child with low confidence is still at risk of not “feeling like a mathematician”.
2. Hinge questioning and mole voting gives staff an immediate assessment of children’s progress within a lesson and if tailored well, can reveal misconceptions and gaps in children Knowledge, Skills and Understanding.
3. Teachers need to have a real ‘handle’ on children’s confidence and attitudes in Maths if they are to facilitate a deep and long-lasting passion for Mathematics.

Year 5/6 Reading. Reading for pleasure

Reading for Pleasure
Researcher: C McCarron Minchinhampton
Context: Year 5/6 Reading. Target group: resistant readers.

Desired Outcomes: To inspire target children to move from being competent readers, to having a genuine desire and passion to read. Who search out new books and authors and to discover that curling up with a book at home is a pleasurable thing to do.

Method 1: Reading questionnaire. Q & A based on ‘Reading for Pleasure’ and ‘Power of Reading’ questioning around reading.
Method 2: Ongoing dialogue via link books and a once a week session with pupil and teacher discussing character, setting, likes, dislikes, connections, patterns.

The opening questionnaire dialogue was in depth and really challenged pupils to think about the how, why and when they read. It also looked at the pupils’ knowledge of authors, poets, fiction and non-fiction. The children were very open about their reading habits including likes and frustrations. The children needed very little prompting to talk at length about reading. The biggest surprise was how little they knew about poetry and poets.

The reading dialogue that took place over several weeks then built upon the premise that a frequent reading habit is desirable. A better quality of book was encouraged as well as stickability and a more varied reading diet.

Pupils were gradually drawn into a deep discussion about their book and came to the short sessions with a sense of excitement to talk about where they had got to each week.

The children were also exposed to a variety of poets and poems through assemblies and end of day reading. As a result they can now ask by name for a poem they have enjoyed and would like to be read again.

1. The pupils enjoyed being conferenced on what they thought of their book and their ‘book talk’ grew in confidence and clarity.
2. The dialogue from these vocabulary poor pupils was surprisingly rich in their emotional response to the text even although they didn’t always have the right word to express themselves. They were more open to learning a good word that would help them to articulate their response..
3. We need to build our menu of poetry.
4. The project needs a longer time to reach the stage where ‘readers for life’ have been created.
5. The 1:1 adult attention has had a significant impact on reading for these target children.

‘Reading for Pleasure’ by Kenny Pieper
‘Tell Me’ by Aidan Chambers
‘Power of Reading programme at CLPE.

Action Research Year 5 Maths

Researcher: J Weinberger Minchinhampton
Context: Year 5 Maths
Developing lesson design in maths that based on problems and ensures a growth mindset
Desired Outcomes: Pupils who enjoy maths. Pupils who see themselves as mathematicians
Pupils complete PERTS academic mindsets questionnaire.
Repeat questionnaire and draw conclusions re impact based on qualitative differences at start and end of process; interview children.

The quantitative results from this research have shown a positive shift in attitude towards maths and growth mindset in the sample group interviewed. Beginning a maths objective with some kind of problem solving has not only given all children the chance to experience a deeper applied level of mathematical thinking, but also given their maths learning a purpose. This has made the children more enthusiastic in the way identified by Jo Boaler in Mathematical Mindsets. In addition to the quantitative results, there have been general shifts towards a more positive attitude towards maths. The SEND boy who showed least change in the data at the beginning and in the middle of this research – both in terms of his thinking that maths was relevant to him and that he could improve at maths – began to show much greater positivity in the second half of the project. On a continuum of ‘How I feel about maths’, he moved himself from very negative to very positive; when absent from school due to sickness, he continued lots of the maths learning we had been doing (about multiplying and dividing by powers of 10, 100 and 1000) at home and very proudly presented it to me and the class upon his return.
One of the key challenges of this approach has been in finding, adapting or creating activities that fit a particular learning intention and are low-threshold / high ceiling. Carefully-thought-about maths resources for children who are finding an activity hard are crucial scaffolding for ensuring that all children can get over the threshold – off the first base – of any activity.

Through further thought and discussion with colleagues, the initial direction of this research has led to similar but different approaches to the initial teaching of a learning intention: it could begin with problem solving, but equally could be a maths game, number talk or a maths enquiry that gets the children thinking, exploring and talking about the concepts involved. A mixture of these approaches, according to activities that work best with particular learning intentions, still gives the children a hook. It is useful to use a range of different ‘hooks’ in order to prevent the learning process from becoming stale. For the same reason, every learning intention needn’t be approached using a problem, game or number talk, and instead could go straight to a more traditional fluency activity.

When approaching an objective through one of the ‘purposeful’ ways above, opportunities arise to talk about children’s questions, ideas or misconceptions – their ‘marvellous mistakes’. Shared with the class just verbally or using a visualizer, these are valuable ways to delve into the children’s understanding from their point of view and enables the learning to be led and informed by them.

In a similar way to trying to make the maths purposeful and relevant through problem solving, I have found it useful to begin each particular topic (place value, addition and subtraction, multiplication and division etc) with a discussion about how and when this maths is used in our lives. It has led to interesting ideas that come from the children, and give a broader purpose to the mathematical learning.

All of these ways of approaching a learning intention have meant that the subsequent ‘Shanghai’ stages of teaching and learning – fluency, followed by reasoning then further problem solving – have taken a longer time, however that has not proved to be particularly problematic. In fact, the additional time spent on a learning intention can only to help the children to gain a greater depth of understanding.

Though an evaluation partner interviewed the four sample children at the end of this research process, the opportunity was missed for a lesson study from them; that would still be useful next term as I am encouraged by the results so far. There was a good opportunity for the Academy Development Partner (ADP) to do a lesson study. He identified ways in which the practice could be developed: more explicitly teaching problem solving skills (using a table, trial and improvement, acting out etc), further drawing out the children’s own ideas and conceptual understanding, and teaching the children to know which maths resources to choose to use.
1. Beginning a maths objective with some kind of problem solving, number talk, game or maths enquiry does make the children’s learning more purposeful and they are more enthusiastic / positive as a result.
2. It ensures that all children are regularly encountering reasoning and problem solving activities.
3. Using a ‘hook’ at the beginning of a learning sequence enables the learning to be led and informed by the children’s own thoughts and understanding.
4. Careful, creative thought needs to be given to these activities to make sure that they are low-threshold, high ceiling, and will generate a fruitful exploration of the key concept/s of a learning intention; maths resources such as number lines and multiplication squares are also crucial to ensure all children can get over the threshold, and children need to be taught which resources could be useful, and which not for particular activities.