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 Post subject: Maths taught in blocksPosted: Tue Jun 24, 2008 1:41 pm

Joined: Tue Oct 16, 2007 9:28 am
Posts: 1123
Location: Bexley
Can anyone help with this one please?

Had a conversation with my yr4 daughter's teacher about her latest maths lesson. It was all about area - which my daughter excels at. She is doing complex area questions at home and with her tutor and coping well. She really enjoys this subject.

Here's the problem. The yr4 class as a whole has just started to learn area and the teacher has grouped the kids in ability gruops. She has placed my daughter in the 2nd to lowest group. I couldn't believe this but the teacher confirmed it today even though it was only my daughter that could answer the questions that were directed to the class as a whole.

The reason for being placed in this low ability group is that she doesn't understand timetables (train, bus etc) which will crop up next week. This is true - she's hopeless at these! The teacher says that as the subjects are grouped together in blocks, this is how it has to be.

I find this incredible. I'm flabbergasted! Is it me? Am I on another planet? My daughter is being denied the opportunity to ecxcel in area at school because she struggles with timetables. Can anyone else see the logic in this? Is this the norm?

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 Post subject: Posted: Tue Jun 24, 2008 3:37 pm

Joined: Mon Feb 12, 2007 1:21 pm
Posts: 11956
The teacher is confused about block planning I think! Nowhere does it say that the children need to be in the same groups throughout a block ...

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 Post subject: Posted: Tue Jun 24, 2008 6:02 pm

Joined: Tue Oct 16, 2007 9:28 am
Posts: 1123
Location: Bexley
Thanks Guest55, I thought maybe it was just me who thought this was ludicrous idea.

This is where we are at with area:

Started off with counting 1cm squares in various shapes.
We then progressed to doing length x width.
After this I gave her the area and one length and asked her to work out the missing side.
All of this has presented no probs whatsoever.
We then went onto squares where I gave her the area and, reminding her that it was a square, asked her what the length of the sides were. Again no probs.
After this I introduced triangles - no probs here either.
And finally I have recently been taking her through more complex shapes where she needs to work out two or three areas and add them together. She basically gets what she has to do abut needs more practise as sometimes there can be silly addition errors.
As far as I can see the only thing I have not done is given decimals in the measurements. I though it was best to keep to whole numbers until area was absolutely cracked.

Can you tell me what level this is for just this topic?

At school yesterday the teacher placed her in the group counting 1cm squares. She was then allowed to do some questions of l x w. The other groups were given harder work but I don't know exactly what. When I questioned the teacher today she was evasive as to what the other groups were doing. I asked her to send the 'other' sheets home as homework but so far nothing has been received. I really don't see why I should rely on our tutor and WHSmith to provide decent Maths. I feel my daughter is being denied the chance to shine here simply because she hasn't a clue on train timetables! And yet again she's bored at school....

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 Post subject: Posted: Tue Jun 24, 2008 8:23 pm

Joined: Mon Feb 12, 2007 1:21 pm
Posts: 11956
After rectangles the children would normally do compound shapes i.e L shapes or shapes with holes, triangles follow later.

area of rectangles is about level 4 - this is the primary maths framework:

http://www.standards.dfes.gov.uk/primar ... thematics/

You might find some help ...

Why don't you practice timetables at home then perhaps the teacher will move her?

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 Post subject: Posted: Tue Jun 24, 2008 8:51 pm

Joined: Thu Jan 11, 2007 10:30 pm
Posts: 960
Does it matter so very much? If she's cracked the area thing then that's fine, but she's in the right place for the rest of the work they are doing. Area work is only a very small part of the maths curriculum.

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 Post subject: Posted: Tue Jun 24, 2008 9:05 pm

Joined: Mon Feb 12, 2007 1:21 pm
Posts: 11956
I think it does matter - learning should be personalised.

Area is a much bigger topic than timetables!

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 Post subject: Posted: Wed Jun 25, 2008 9:55 am

Joined: Tue Oct 16, 2007 9:28 am
Posts: 1123
Location: Bexley

I wonder if I'm making too much of an issue over this but when my daughter comes home and is upset because she is being denied the opportunity to do work that the others are doing - and they're not doing it as well as her - then something clearly has to be wrong. I can't understand what is wrong with moving her to one group for one topic and another for a different topic. Obviously it would mean more disruption for the teacher but at the moment there is no flexibility.

Also why should I have to supplement the topic with extra at home just because the teacher hasn't stretched her enough? I don't mind doing the extra if the teacher has exhausted her supply of challenging work but I feel like I'm doing this in place of the teacher!

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 Post subject: Posted: Thu Jun 26, 2008 9:20 am
Tracy, why don't you focus on the areas she is strugging in with the tutor so that she will be in the correct block for all other maths topics?

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 Post subject: Posted: Thu Jun 26, 2008 10:51 am

Joined: Tue Oct 16, 2007 9:28 am
Posts: 1123
Location: Bexley
Thanks Tipsy, yes I will do that but timetables have almost been a no-go area for a while! Over the last couple of days she has managed to crack very simple ones so we will work on them.

Yesterday I insisted that she brought home the top group's area classwork. Well, I was shocked! If this is what the top group is working on (and it was, I had it confirmed) then no wonder our recent 11+ results have been so poor! My yr4 daughter has well exceeded this and even yr5's work!

The reason that I am so annoyed with the school over this is that my daughter has had a confidence isssue. The tutor and I have been working on it and she has come on leaps and bounds then the teacher puts her in al ow group for something she excels at and tells her that she isn't able to do the top group work. It's almost like the teacher doesn't want her to learn any faster than she is to the point of holding her back. My daughter is very bored and frustrated.

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 Post subject: Posted: Thu Jun 26, 2008 11:03 am

Joined: Mon Apr 28, 2008 10:28 am
Posts: 114
Location: Kent
Hi Tracy,
Same old story......!
Sounds like your daughter has quite a flair for maths if she can do complex areas in year 4. My response (right or wrong!) would be to spend the next week solely working on timetables so she is brilliant at them, if this is the only reason for the teacher holding her back. Even geniuses have concepts they find tricky, but would not expect to be judged solely on that subject!
Will your daughter have this teacher again next year? If not, maybe a chat with the new teacher before the summer hols may be in order, possibly with a look at any SAT/CAT papers she has taken to plan ahead for next year. Depends on how amenable the teacher is, though!
Let us know how you get on

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